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Showing posts from December 8, 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 h

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 th

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,

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 illustratio

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 s