Each year my mother sends me a bit of money for my birthday. Not a lot but enough to have a little bit of fun with. I frequently use it to buy books. If there is something newly released I'll buy a new book but most often I'll use it as an excuse to have a shopping spree in a second hand bookstore.
Two years ago, shortly before I moved to Ottawa, I went on a shopping spree at Cheap Thrills in Montreal. I was looking for Viragos and oh did I find them. I walked out of there with 14 of those beauties for only about $60. That was a score.
I couldn't tell you what I did with my birthday money last year. I was too distracted by my birthday present, which was a biggie. No, I'm not talking about the Sony Reader, though that was huge and we maybe had a bit of a chat about how that was perhaps a bit much for my birthday (his argument was that it was my 30th so he was allowed to go big). The big gift was that he actually flew my best friend, whom I've known for more than 20 years) in for the long weekend. (Yes, indeed he scored major points with that one.)
This year there were not going to be big surprises. Yesterday we took the day off of work and went to Montreal. I did a teeny bit of shopping but mostly we walked around and just revisited a place I really love before meeting up with friends and filling ourselves full of yummy food. It was a great day.
Since I didn't get a cake yesterday I had pretty much full say on whatever cake I wanted to buy today. I've been wanting to try the lemon thyme cake at Thyme and Again so we were heading into Westboro (we live just outside it). Right by Thyme and Again is a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store and I've had some great success finding children's chapter books there in past. I lost all my favourites along my travels and I'm replacing them. Today was no exception.
There's Francesca Lia Block's I Was a Teenage Fairy. I've never read Block and I was sure that someone was going to come force one on me soon. Ally Carter's Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, which I listened to on audio from the library and really wanted a copy of. I Want to Go Home is one of my favourite Gordon Korman books. I read my version to pieces as a kid. This one doesn't have the same cover I had but I'll adjust. I had to pick up The Celery Stalks at Midnight by James Howe because one can never have too much of Bunnicula in the house. (I had on a previous visit picked up Howliday Inn at the same store.) And finally Scott Young's Boy on Defence is the only one from his triology that I didn't own. (They are must-haves for young hockey fans.)
But the biggest score of all was not mine. Lee found it. He remembered that time that I bought all the Viragos. He couldn't remember what they were called but he was pretty sure that he knew what the dark green covers looked like. So while I was hoping around in the children's books he presented me with this book and asked if it was one of them.
Yes, that is the Virago edition of Rachel Ferguson's The Brontes Went to Woolworths. I've wanted a copy of it ever since Danielle read it years ago. My library didn't have it and when I searched for it on eBay back then I darned near had a heart attack over the price. At the time if you could find a copy under $100 you were lucky. Bloomsbury has since re-released it and prices have come down a bit but it can still be really hard to find a this particular Virago edition. I got it for $1 CAD.
Lee had no idea that he not only found me a Virago but one that I considered to be the Holy Grail of Viragos. Needless to say it now has a home with me and I was left wondering if Lee was born with a horse shoe up his butt.
Or maybe it was just birthday magic. After we left the thrift store we went to a store we had recently noticed in a different part of town. We have our eye out for a small retro formica-topped table, like each set of our grandparents used to have. We thought that this place seemed like the type that might have it. They didn't but I left with a treasure anyway. I'm moving away from plastic in my kitchen and moving in the direction of Pyrex. Last summer I got a set of the primary coloured stacking mixing bowls at a flea market. Today I stored these, for a whopping $30. (I paid twice that for the bowls I bought last summer.)
There were a couple of different Cinderella bowl sets that I would have been happy with but these were definitely in my top three.
It's been a very lucky birthday weekend.