Archive for the 'Yours Truly' Category

Baby boy Burrell

November 26, 2014

The purpose of this blog is not to chronicle my personal life, but every so often something sufficiently significant happens that it seems wrong to pass over it in silence. With that in mind, let me draw your attention to the set of alarms I currently have programmed into my beastly little phone:

And that is just a sampling.

Yes, that’s right: we have a new baby!

Our little boy, Joseph Arthur Owen Barthos Burrell, was born on 5 November 2014, weighing 4 lb 4 oz. Being a tad small, he spent his first few weeks in hospital, but is now home with his big sister, big brother, mom, and dad. We’re pretty delighted with the little guy.

Blogging, which has already been slow of late, is likely to remain so for some time.

Joseph is named for St. Joseph — whose name, fittingly, and, we hope, prophetically, means “He will increase”. His middle names honour his maternal grandfather and great-grandfather (Arthur) and St. Nicholas Owen, a man whom I have long admired for his discretion and courage and whose martyrdom bears some relation to the date of birth.

Forgetfulness of remembrance of times past?

December 30, 2013

Usually at this time of year I write a series of posts reflecting on my favourite books, music, and films of the past twelve months. Probably nobody has been bothered overmuch by my failure to do so this year, but, in any case, let me send this reassurance into the void: I am writing those posts, and I plan to put them up during the first week or two of the new year. They are shaping up quite well, it seems to me.

…some say in ice.

December 23, 2013

A big ice storm swept through our area this weekend. A local rag has captured some photos from around the city. The biggest problem seems to have been tree branches falling on power lines, leaving many people without electricity. A good proportion of traffic lights are out, with massive traffic jams in consequence. The silver lining is that the ice on the trees is quite beautiful.

As for me and my house, we were fortunate that our power stayed on (despite some odd intermittent dimming in the evening hours). Our car was encased in a thick layer of ice yesterday; we had to chisel it out in order to open the door. And on our driveway and sidewalk the ice is an inch thick. But the kids love it, and they say that the temperatures will rise in the spring, so I’m not too worried.

Reading now

November 16, 2013


I mentioned a few months ago that a new book of Flannery O’Connor’s writing was to be published. My copy arrived this week; that’s it on the left. I haven’t had time to read it yet, but plenty of other people are talking about it. (Sometimes literally talking.)

Part of the reason that I’ve not yet sat down with Ms. O’Connor is that I’ve been preoccupied with David Bentley Hart’s most recent book, which I also mentioned a while ago; that’s it on the right. When I read I have a habit of turning down the corners of pages that contain a passage I’d like to return to. Clearly, I am enjoying this book.

WordPress advertisements

October 15, 2013

I have just learned that WordPress is occasionally inserting advertisements at the bottom of posts on this site. This is annoying. I have an option to purchase a ‘No Ads Upgrade’, but before doing so I would like to have some idea how frequently the advertisements are appearing. One in a hundred? One in three?

If you’ve noticed ads on this blog, and especially if you’ve found them intrusive, I’d appreciate if you could leave a brief comment letting me know. If you read the blog with some regularity and have a feel for how frequently or infrequently WordPress is inserting them, such intelligence would be very welcome.

Thank you.


Lunch time

August 16, 2013

In a couple of weeks I am going to have to start packing a lunch every day for our daughter — and not just a lunch, but a lunch and two snacks! Naturally I’m dreading the onset of this particular obligation, and I’m doing my best to avert my eyes from the prospect of it continuing for 15 years.

But, as the Boy Scouts say, “be prepared”: I thought to look online for ideas for simple and nutritious meals that I could consider making for her. The very first article I found, from Canadian Family magazine, is called “15 School Lunch Ideas They’ll Love”. Sounds good, right? Their first suggestion is this:

Honey Cider Ricotta Fondue

Honey Ricotta Fondue with Fruit Dippers. 

For crying out loud.

If anybody cares to share ideas for simple lunches, you’re most welcome to leave a comment.

Wall o’books

July 28, 2013

The general quietness around these parts these days is simply because we’ve moved; those moments that might ordinarily be “spare” are instead devoted to digging out from under the boxes. There are these, for instance, in what will one day be the library:


I’ll get to them someday…

Springtime in Alberta

May 1, 2013

I am back from a few weeks vacation:


If pressed, I will admit that conditions were not quite this bad, but to say that they were entirely unlike this would also be false. It was a great vacation nonetheless.

Easter bustle

April 3, 2013

One or two people may have noticed that things have been a little quiet around here of late. This is because things have not been quiet elsewhere, and I’ve had little to no leisure.

I have been learning that selling a house is an all-consuming activity. We were advised to “de-clutter” prior to listing the house, and so, after several weeks of sorting and sifting and packing, this past weekend we moved a fair bit of furniture and about 80 boxes out of the house and into storage. I am still trying to understand the mindset of people who consider books to be “clutter”.

With that out of the way, we turn our attention to little matters like painting, scrubbing, staining, fixing, and generally beautifying the place. It’s a lovely house, and I can’t see why someone shouldn’t want it. But it will be even lovelier when we’re through. I hope.

Did I mention that the only time I have to do any of this work is when I should be in bed?

In the middle of all this was Easter: Happy Easter! It was the tenth anniversary of my reception into the Catholic Church, and I had really been looking forward to it. It turned out to be the worst Triduum that I can remember: we had to leave the Holy Thursday Mass early because the kids were crazed, we were terribly late for the Good Friday service, and I even missed the start of the Vigil Mass (which, if you’ve never been, is the best part). Between times, when I would normally want to think about Easter, I was instead thinking about boxes and tape and cleaning supplies and when I went to the church it felt as though I had parachuted in from another realm.

But there was much to be thankful for, all the same. Our wonderful priests, who delivered some of the most thoughtful and provoking homilies that I can ever remember hearing, celebrated all of the Triduum liturgies with great beauty and solemnity. Being there was a balm. We really are blessed to have found our parish (and now, of course, we will really miss it). We are thankful for friends and family who, in the middle of all of this exhausting activity, are lending a hand when and where they can. Mostly we’re just thankful for Easter.

Happy Easter!

Favourites of 2012

December 4, 2012

Every year at about this time I write a few posts about my favourite books, music, and films from the past year. This year will, I hope, be no exception, and I am busily at work. Not that anyone much cares, of course, but it is an enjoyable exercise for me.

Last year I think I jammed in all the posts between Christmas and New Year’s, but this year I want to spread them out a little. My plan is to complete roughly one such post each week until the end of the year.

Even the best-laid plans…


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