Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Very Special Birthday Surprise

This my friends, is an extremely special birthday gift. This is the culmination of 5+ year search for a photo of this building. It's an enhanced print of the original Bill Library in Ledyard, Ct. In 1867, $1000 dollars was given to the Town of Ledyard by Mr. Henry Bill, to establish a free lending library. You can read about it here, thanks to Google's book project.

Always a voracious reader, landing my first "adult" job at The Bill Library, earning minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1971, was more than I'd ever dreamed of. Quite a change in status from babysitting for only .50 an hour! I read almost every book in the library.

The library had ghosts, leading to my lifelong interest in such matters. I learned alot about life from working in the library and it didn't all come from books. I also met The Viking in a very unusual circumstance in the library, a long time ago. There are many heartstrings tied to this modest Queen Anne building that sits across from the Congregational church, in what use to be the center of a tiny New England hamlet.

Because it was such an everyday part of our lives, no one took photographs. Developing was expensive in those days and in my family, at least, mundane daily things didn't rate the expense. Eventually, the town decided to expand the library. I had not seen it for many years and then one visit home, it had morphed into this.

My sister, Chia (crafter extraodinaire) also worked there as a teen. It was a big part of our lives. Off and on, we've both tried to find an old photo of the original building with no luck. Then one day, months ago she emailed me a black & white photo! The Holy Grail ( or one of them anyway) had been found!

She has a knack that way. Some day, I'll tell you about her amazing luck in reclaiming a photo album of 1800's era relatives that had quite a journey.

Not long ago, on her blog she describes how the black and white came to be this impressionistic print that is now mine. To most other people, it's just another building that has been modified to better meet the needs of our growing society. To me, it's a treasure chest glowing in the darkest corner of an attic, full of mystery and promise.

I am touched beyond words.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Birthday Surprises

The 15th anniversary of my 39th birthday was this past week, as The Viking, ever kind and gentle, pointed out to me. Because it was a midweek day, we didn't plan much, just dinner out. Mexican. Good Mexican, which is no small feat in the middle of Farmland. We're lucky to have a 3 star place here in town.

His gift for me didn't arrive on time but he is a great gifter so whenever it gets here I'm sure it's going to be just right.

He usually gives gifts first thing in the morning, so although the logical adult side of me knew it
was just a matter of time before it arrived, the birthday child inside was a little bummed out when I left for work with nothing fun having happened.

Then I got to work and the fun started.

It was an all day birthday party! Complete with a flaming birthday cake and a singing group of cake escorts. It's mildly embarrassing when they outline the cake in enough candles to torch the place and you know it's nowhere near enough.

Ok, so not really. It was fun.

At the end of the day, another surprise. The mail man had left a package pick-up slip in our tiny apartment mail box. Score! What's more fun than a totally unexpected birthday surprize?

Yeah, I couldn't think of anything either.

The Viking was kind enough to go pick it up while I luxuriated on the couch with a fresh pot of coffee Saturday morning. I think it occurred to him that we'll be celebrating the 22nd anniversary of his 39th birthday soon, and maybe doesn't want me to remind him!

Oh Look!
Bubble wrap from my sister! She is a crafter extraordinaire, so maybe in her mind this qualifies as art supplies.

Wait... what's this.... see, I told you she's one of those artsy ones. A simply sweet little birthday book. And I do mean little, it's only 2 1/2 inches wide!

Filled with flights of fancy and adorned with the most delightful fibers in my favorite colors, this alone would have been enough of a gift. It makes my soul sing. If you fall in love with this little gem too and want to make one, check out Chia's blog, she'll teach you.

Wait...there's something more in this box! And what a treasure it is. I'm not going to tell you what it is right now. It deserves a post of it's own. It's good. Really good. I'll tell you about it tomorrow.

Just like a birthday, anticipation is half the fun!