Free Stuff That Makes Me Smile

I’ve been making a conscious effort to be thankful these days, maybe because Thanksgiving’s coming (and both kids and partners will be home!); here are some of the free things that have brightened my days lately:

*Walking through the woods, really paying attention, marvelling that the ingredients to grow such massive trees are all contained within tiny acorns, pinecones and prickly horse chestnuts.summer-2010-005

*The excited little love whimpers Charlie makes when we pick her up from the kennel.

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*Sun lace on the ground tatted by sunlight dappling through the trees.

*Surfing Kijiji, an endless 24/7 online yard sale.

*Weekly visits to the library and walking out with hours and hours of reading enjoyment in my bag.

The Wolfville Library

The Wolfville Library

*Browsing the racks/shelves at used clothing/junk stores like Guy’s Frenchy’s, Value Village (said with a French accent) and Goodwill. This is not usually free as I often find some bit of treasure to take home.

*The Canadian health care system. Okay, I realize we pay for it through our taxes, but it is nice to seek medical attention without worrying about how you’re going to pay for it.

*Hiking and biking trails, especially the parks, TransCanada Trail system and Rails to Trails here in Nova Scotia.

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*The salty smell of the sea and the shushing of the surf, beachglass, sunsets, shells and beach art, like this:

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*Google with all its blogs, YouTube videos and how-to sites – the answer is always on there somewhere if you spend enough time looking… Here’s one of creative illustrator Sydney Smith (transplanted Nova Scotian) doing an illustration for GRANT AND TILLIE GO WALKING (by Monica Kulling) – fascinating!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dwpwc6NU3Ew  Again, this isn’t exactly free, but almost…

What’s been brightening your days lately? Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Turkey Day!p1010677img_3579

Libraries, Old and New; WOTS

One of the (increasingly) few memories I have from my pre-school life is of waiting for my fifth birthday so I could get my own library card. You had to be five, but you also had to be able to print your own name! img003The library in my hometown of Truro, Nova Scotia in 1965 was an old wooden structure, and the children’s department was at the very top of a very steep set of stairs – I remember the excitement of climbing those stairs, wondering what treasure I’d take home that day. Sadly, I couldn’t find an image of that library online, but this is my hometown (Wolfville, NS) library now, formerly the train station, back when we had trains! I’m a frequent visitor.

Wolfville Library

Last week, I finally got to see the new Halifax Central Library while I was there reading The King of Keji at The Word on the Street. It’s stunning, as you can see. halifax librarySo spacious and open inside with sweeping staircases, downloadcomfortable seating, very kid-friendly, there’s a coffee shop and you can even check out your books yourself by scanning your card and the book barcodes. Librarians are some of my favourite people (especially the fabulous women at the Wolfville Library!), and I feel like that social interaction is a huge part of the library experience for so many people; hopefully the scanning option won’t eliminate that for those who aren’t in a hurry.

And a shout-out to the MANY volunteers who organized and delivered an excellent Word on the Street experience for one and all at the Halifax Central Library last weekend. download (1)This was the first year WOTS was run entirely by volunteers, and it seemed very well thought-out and lots of people came out to show some love for local books, writers, booksellers (yay, Woozles!) and literacy. Thank you!

How’s your local library these days?