My Mom

My mother is turning 75 today.

I said it before, but my mom is quite amazing …or, as Poupoune says, “Madame Michaud rocks.” Five feet and shrinking, she still has enough presence and personality to fill several rooms. The brightness of the colours she wears, alone, ensure no one misses her in a crowd. One minute, she’s at the computer, creating little Powerpoint presentations and sending them by e-mail; the next minute, she’s racing off to the golden age club where she volunteers to work in the kitchen, providing catering for people going through both happy and sad events in their lives.

Mom tends to take the whole aging thing in stride. One birthday that hit her more than others was her 60th, so what did she do to fight off the blues? She registered full-time in an English immersion course at the local community college. Another birthday that hit her wasn’t her own, but my elder brother’s last year, when he turned 50. In a way, she couldn’t believe she had a son who’s 50. But, invariably, she laughs it off in the end. Mostly likely again this year, she’ll transpose the digits of her age and unconvincingly pronounce, “But I’m only 57!” That, of course, would mean she would have been 6 when she had her first-born… 😛

Really, I think I’m the one who, today, can’t believe my mother is turning 75. I remember when the only grandparent I ever knew was 75, and he seemed ancient to me, through my eyes of a 6-year-old. But Mom is still just Mom, and I can’t begin to express just how grateful I am to still have her with me.

Bonne fête, Mom!


I was one of those very odd teenagers who liked dictionaries. I suppose I had to, since, at the time, I wanted to become a translator. Then, when I changed my mind I opted for a career in communications, dictionaries still played an important role in my life. And for the first four years after my undergrad, I was the managing editor of Atlantis: A Women’s Studies Journal …so I spent even more time looking up words in the dictionary.

How different that would have been, however, if back then the Web existed. Today, whenever I do the least bit of serious writing, I have a Netscape tab for But lately I’ve been having to do a bit more writing in French, and thus I discovered Hachette’s Dictionnaire universel francophone en ligne [no longer online]. One feature I like with Hachette is how every word in each definition is a hypertext link leading to a definition of that word. You can get lost forever, straying considerably from the word you looked up initially.

Online dictionaries are truly wonderful. Since I do all my writing at the keyboard, I enjoy remaining in the same medium and still be able to satisfy my obsessive-compulsive need to double-check spelling and word choice. I think that, if it’s at all possible, I would have enjoyed my tenure at Atlantis even more if I had had access to those marvels back then.

California Spam Cops

Read this short article from the BBC News Service on an anti-spam victory in California. Notice in particular the last paragraph. Does this mean that if I lived in California, I could get rich awfully fast? I mean… I currently receive from 90 to 120 spam messages a day. Multiply that by $1,000 a piece… 😛

I suspect there would have to be several overarching conditions. First, the message would likely have to be traceable to California. And second, an individual would probably still be expected to have anti-spam filters so that only messages that meet the first condition and still manage to get through would be “eligible.”

This victory in California might make people feel good, but the challenge spam poses remains daunting.

MT Spam Bug with a Twist

Lately there’s been a lot of of talk among MoveableType users about how it has become vulnerable to spam comments. Well, I just received another one today, which I promptly deleted. But I must say I’m mildly amused that it was attached to this post in which I was telling you how my credit card had been charged twice in the same day for something I knew nothing about.

Amused, and a tiny bit worried, really…