Christmassy in Quincy

Thomas Crane Public Library Christmassy
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! It’s even feeling Christmassy too.

One of the things that I want to do regularly is take pictures of the ordinary. What I see day to day or even year to year.

The picture above is the main Quincy library. It’s a gorgeous building all the time, but even prettier when it’s decked out for Christmas.

Quincy ice skating rink
This afternoon an acquaintance and I had planned to go skating at the new skating rink in Quincy. There was a few hours wait, so we ended up not going.

Since it was unseasonably warm, we decided to walk around to catch up and enjoy the outdoor Christmassy vibes.
Quincy Town Hall Nativity Scene

We strolled by the Nativity scene at city hall and even saw the little baby Jesus statue! He was often stolen from the manger like some sort of item listed on a Christmas scavenger hunt, so I was surprised that he was there. Hopefully the display will remain intact this year.

Spice Bank at the Boston Public Library

spices

Unlike a regular bank where you deposit money, instead, the Boston Public Library‘s Spice Bank is looking for spices and dried herbs. Tasty!

Since 2021, the Greater Boston Food Bank and the BPL have joined forces to collect and distribute spices, along with food, to people across Eastern Massachusetts. Library patrons can bring unopened spices and dried herbs to any of the participating library branches (Brighton, Central Library in Copley Square (Newsfeed Café), Charlestown, Connolly, Fields Corner, Jamaica Plain, Lower Mills, Roslindale, Roxbury and South Boston) through April 15, 2024.

The spice bank came about because, “the BPL hopes to offer a way to maintain a sense of cultural identity and family traditions, encourage creative and nutritious cooking, and promote the abundant cultural make up that is found in Massachusetts.” Hopefully this bank will yield a lot of interest. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!

The BPL is no stranger to innovative programs like this. They have a seed library and over the past few years have given away free gardening kits.

Recently I’ve been trying to visit BPL branches that I’ve never been to before. I visited the Adams Street Dorchester branch most recently, and took out a bunch of books. One of the books is aptly called The Last Chance Library, by Freya Sampson. So far I’m enjoying it. It’s lighthearted and set in England, about a librarian who finds out that her library may be closed down due to budget issues.

Libraries have always been a big part of my life. It’s wonderful that there are many available near where I live. I love seeing how libraries continue supporting communities in so many new and innovative ways.

Emma Andrews Library Author Series

Emma Andrews Library Author Series

I have some exciting news! On Thursday, April 7, 2022, at 7pm, I will be interviewed as part of the Emma Andrews Library Author Series!

Over the past week or so, I’ve shared it on different social media platforms. But of course the news had to make its way here. The main topic is about why and how I blog! It all started here. Hmmm. Well, actually my blogging beginnings go back to the old blog, Anali’s First Amendment.

It’s hard to believe that I moved to this domain eight years ago! And it’s now almost eight years here. For a combined 16 years of blogging! The official anniversary is April 29th, which is approaching fast. Time to start thinking about my new word of the year and the lessons of last year’s wordSURRENDER.

But back to the event! Emma Andrews Library is a small library and community center in Newburyport, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1886 by schoolteacher Emma Andrews as a lending library to serve local children. For me, as someone who grew up with parents who were both schoolteachers, and from childhood to this day always enjoying going to the library, this event feels especially wonderful.

The interview will take place over Zoom, so everyone is invited to watch and take part. It will be a Q&A format moderated by local author and writer Áine Greaney. If you’re interested in registering for the event, send an email to emmaandrewslibrary@gmail.com and you’ll receive a link.

Hope to see you then!

Free Yoga On The Library Lawn

yoga on the libary lawn

Over the years, I’ve read about many free yoga classes at public libraries in Massachusetts and in other states as well. This morning, I was finally able to attend a free yoga class right here in Quincy, outside on the lawn at Thomas Crane Public Library. This class was the first in a series of community classes taking place each Wednesday morning in September on the library lawn.

It’s hard taking pictures and enjoy the relaxing vibe, but I managed to snap a few.

There was a nice breeze — and lots of bees. Four or five bees hovered over blades of grass in front of me. A few ants made their way onto my mat too, but no stings or bites!

I was beneath a large tree, so there was some shade and bright sun streaming through the branches. There was a mostly clear blue sky with a few wispy clouds floating by. Even though the class was in the morning, it was warm and a tiny bit humid. Perfect weather and a reminder that summer is still here.

There was a good turnout and new arrivals kept showing up through most of the class. We were mostly an older crowd, but there was young woman who arrived towards the end with the cutest little girl. They both got on their mats and dove right into their practice.

From conversation I heard, a few people said this was their first yoga class. Our teacher, Rhiannon Skolnick of Humble Roots Yoga, was enthusiastic and has a gentle soothing way about her.

This might have been my first yoga class since the pandemic started. Possibly the second, but the first this summer. Because I’m vaccinated now and there was a lot of space to spread out on the library lawn, I felt comfortable not wearing a mask. Hopefully the weather will cooperate next week for another wonderful class.

BPL Offering Free Gardening Kits

*UPDATED 6/1/23*

The Boston Public Library Seed Library Initiative is back! Check out the BPL website!

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Boston Public Library Gardening Kit

A few years ago, I remember reading about seed libraries and thinking that it was a wonderful idea for those interested in gardening. The idea has taken off and you can probably find one near you or even start your own.

What is a seed library? Pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a place, like a library, that shares seeds with people in the local community. The specific rules may vary from place to place, but you can generally get seeds for free or at a low price.

While you can have seeds for houseplants, flowers and herbs, having seeds for growing fruits and vegetables provides a way to strengthen food security. In other words, being intentional about keeping seeds for growing food allows some independence from the mainstream food system.

Food is delicious and fun. But it’s also a necessity for life and therefore political. There is enough food for everyone, but everyone doesn’t have enough. Systems in place need changing.

As we leave the pandemic, more of us are thinking differently about life and welcoming systemic change. This week I had my second COVID-19 vaccine, so I’m looking forward to normal life again. However, I’m hoping the new normal is better than the old one.

Seed libraries provide the literal seeds to grow our own gardens. Starting on May 5th, gardening kits were available from the Boston Public Library – 850 kits spread out among the branches.

You can choose from two types of gardening kits. Resilient Gardening Kits include everything you need for a veggie garden. For those with a focus on herbal remedies, Herbal Wildflower Kits contain what you’ll need. I’m not sure how long these will last, therefore, it’s probably best to go sooner than later. Happy planting!

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Screenshot: Boston Public Library