Archive for September, 2016


People who have a good sense of humour are rarely funny themselves. In contrast I am often very funny indeed, but I have no sense of humour (except for my own).

Sometimes when I am feeling rude I will tell a friend who just told a joke or a funny story, “I can see how other people would find that humorous.” And then we laugh.



My son, Dr. Miles Basil, has a birthday today. I am very proud of him.

Best in Vancouver


Congratulations to my friend Emily Cooper, who was selected “Best Professional Photographer” in the Georgia Straight’s annual “Best of Vancouver” awards. I find her work magical and truly delightful.

Autumn tomorrow



In the New York Times’ obituary of Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder of the French Culinary Institute in New York City, the Times reporter asks the famous chef Bobby Flay whether Hamilton was a good cook herself.

“I think she was O.K.,” he replied, then cited an even greater gift. “But she was very good at getting some of the best chefs in the world to cook for her.”



My Mom and Dad were married 62 years ago today.


My sister Jenny Basil read these words at our mother’s funeral yesterday.

“Thank you, Jenny, for reading this for me.

“Our mother, Maureen, was a charismatic person. Everybody here felt her energy. When she was looking at you, she was REALLY looking at you. Her assessments were honest. Scrupulous. Her example has always been in my head in my career as an editor and as a teacher.

“Last year I dedicated a communications textbook to my parents and to my son. Mom said that when she opened it, she found herself at the grammar chapter. She told me that she was delighted; she enjoyed discussions of grammar. My Mom wrote beautifully. I’ve kept the typewriter she used to write her university essays. The last time I saw my Mom, I told her I was so very proud of her for returning to university as a mature student. She said she was proud, too.

“My mom loved art and was an artist. My siblings and I were always encouraged to explore the arts. She drove me to piano lessons and sent me to music summer camp, which was a totally wonderful experience; memories still make my eyes well with tears of gratitude. Thank you, Mom.

“I know that too often I was a hard case as a son, but my Mom was always generous with me. She was surpassingly gracious and kind to me at her end, calling me ‘sweetie.’ In her honour and in my Dad’s I am endowing in perpetuity the Maureen and George Basil Award at Kwantlen Polytechnic University; the annual award is about ten years old now. My Mom once told me that she found it odd to appear on the resumes of so many strangers.

“In a profound way Mom – Maureen Basil – appears on all of our spiritual resumes.”


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