Friday, December 13, 2013

Nothing But Trouble For Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th. It's an event that often passes without me noticing a thing.  I don't recall any noteworthy bad luck confirming the superstition for me. It's generally just a typical day,  albeit often mixing the bad with the good not unlike many normal ones. Gosh knows, the hundreds of motorcyclists who have made it a tradition to converge on the charming Lake Erie community of Port Dover every possible Friday the 13th have no concerns either.

Yet, as there are people so crippled by fear of this day they avoid normal routines,  refuse to travel or in some cases even get out of bed, it got me thinking about the origins. Why when the 13th day of the month lands on a Friday are people expecting to be besieged and beleaguered by misfortune?

While there are apparently many theories, one simple one is that both the number 13 and Friday are each considered unlucky.  That, however, has never made sense to me. Thirteen is not a number that's struck fear in my heart or made me the least apprehensive. And as for Friday..  well, all I can say is it's my favourite day of the week.

But what would be the point of blathering on about Friday the 13th if the illustrations I chose to accompany it reflected my view that it's really just another day? No, the focus on this collection is all about bad luck and misfortune in honour of a date that possesses the power to send some people into hiding:

iCLIPART.com Bad Luck Illustrations

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Celebrating 'Birth' Days

With only two weeks of shopping days left, Christmas is, or should be, on everyone's mind.

At our house, however,  the gifts have been purchased, wrapped and under the tree for quite some time as we focus our fun on the birthday celebrants in the family.  Today marks our youngest child's birth,  followed four days later by his son's birthday,  then our older daughter's celebration the next.

With my babies no longer living under my roof, making the fuss I used to when they really were my babies can't happen. But I sure give it a good try, from the morning's Happy Birthday to You phone call, to emails, to a squeezed-in visit if I can manage it on the day or at some point on the weekend after.

It's always been important to me to acknowledge birthdays in a big way. There's no day that honours a person more than the one on which they came into this world.  We all know life should be celebrated. It just makes sense to me then that it be done well on the day that life first started.

Therefore, smack dab amidst the festive season celebrating one of the most important births there is,  we offer these collections of  charming illustrations to pay tribute to the excitement of 'birth' days:

iCLIPART.com Birth Illustrations

ClipartGuide Birth Illustrations

ClickArt Online Birth Images

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Illustrations for the Insomniac

I don't sleep. Well, not enough. It's sadly not a new condition, has been evident at least as long as I've been a mother, which has been a significant length of time.

Anyone who suffers from insomnia knows it's a frustrating condition. It's characterized by an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep or sleep long enough. Lucky me, I suffer from each of these at varying times.

Just when it seems I've mastered falling asleep with ease, I start rousing mid-sleep and toss and turn for hours. Knowing the morning comes at a set time adds to the frustration thereby making rest even more elusive.  Then there's the early waking, which I'm experiencing this week. The eyes are popping open a good hour before the alarm, and I, while exhausted can't seem to drift off for the extra snooze.

The variety makes it rather difficult to find solutions.  Following an evening ritual or reading before bed can help — then nights later, can't. A spritz of melatonin, an herbal tea or warm milk have been known to break a cycle of wakefulness, as have a massage and sauna. For a bit.  Exercise, yoga and deep breathing have all given me hope, which sadly soon fades away.  I have utilized a sleep mask and earplugs when the problem seems to be staying asleep, but alas, this too comes with no guarantee. Though I do look adorable.

This week has been a particularly rough one. When I mentioned to a colleague that I'm so tired I was having problems focussing on a blog topic she suggested counting sheep. Illustrations that is. Here then are some adorable collections of the long-touted insomniac's friend:

iCLIPART.com Sheep Illustrations

Acclaim Images Sheep

ClipartGuide Sheep Illustrations

ClickArt Online Sheep Illustrations

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Free Generally Comes at a Price

There is one seemingly innocuous word that will make me suspicious every time. Seriously, don't we all know by now, there's nothing in this world that's 'free'?

At risk of sounding cynical, experience has taught me well that free generally comes at a cost, such as loss of quality, the addition of a hidden agenda or trouble down the road.  This is no less true in the world of images.

When I first started searching for images for small projects, I soon discovered sources claiming to offer illustrations and photos that can be used for free.  While one might assume these fall under the realm of public domain, it made me wonder where those images originally came from and who was so nicely doing all the work just to give them away.

Then I noticed in teeny-tiny print at the bottom of the page that some of the images might be subject to copyright. A quick click on one of them proved this to be true as it took me to an online service offering royalty-free illustrations and photos with the purchase of a subscription.

The term royalty-free allows an individual who has purchased the right to use the image to do so without ever paying any additional costs down the road. This means that if you got an illustration to use in a greeting card today, you can put it on a flyer two years from now without paying again.

The message here is that had I just saved the image as it appeared I was permitted to do, without reading the fine print, I would have been using that image illegally, which could have resulted in legal woes and heavy fines.  How much? Well, here are a few enlightening blogs that offer some rather eye-opening insight:

Web Copy Plus

The Content Factory

Bubblews

It has become such a concern in the industry that there are lawyers now specializing in this particular type of theft.  And make no mistake. It is theft.

For me, considering the many safe resources out there for image needs with affordable options to meet every budget, the only way to go is by paying the money now. Accessing images online may not be free, but it can be care-free.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Riding Through Winter

It was October 1976 when I met my husband. Just a little over a month into autumn and already there was snow on the ground — a situation that sadly remained until spring.

Perhaps sadly wasn't quite the right thing to say. Back in those days, I somewhat looked forward to the snow and cold as my new guy was an avid snowmobiler and weekends meant lots of time on the trails with friends.

The sport was different then. Breakdowns happened frequently, extra fan belts were carried on the steering column as we were more shocked if one didn't break than if it did. Trails were usually blazed by the machines, rather than the fancy groomers of today, so riding was often rough and occasionally harrowing.

It was  a time when with a reckless lack of responsibility little thought was given to the consequences of drinking and operating motorized vehicles, so our outings were often like house parties in the snow. Large groups would travel out, stopping often for a break, before reaching some rustic pub for a quick warming and hot food.

They were fun times.  But as our family grew I spent less winter hours on the trails and more rocking babies.  As trail systems improved, my husband took great pleasure in swift and steady rides, logging kilometre after kilometre, rather than enjoying the halting progress we used to make.

It all came together to diminish my interest and it's probably been a decade since I've gone for a tour on those highways in the snow. I do somewhat miss the beauty of riding on a cool crisp winter day through quiet rural bushes and across spacious fields. But rather than face the cold these days,  I'll take my trip vicariously with these wonderful photos instead.

iPHOTOS.com Snowmobile Photos

Acclaim Images Snowmobile Pictures

Your Shot National Geographic Snowmobile Photos