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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

American relatives

The pace at the library is slower and that's very good because my personal life has been extremely hectic. I drove the storage round three days last week and attended one meeting. Thursday I left work early and took the train to my father's place. After the fika I borrowed his car and drove to Helsingborg, which is across the other side of the province. I went to Ikea to get some things for my mother. Also did some grocery shopping at the mall. I returned home and have to say I was lucky to have survived because they drive like crazy on the highway on the west coast. Saturday I went to the nearest mall, where I left several bags with items to the charity shop, looked for furniture and lamps for my mother but found nothing worth buying, and went grocery shopping one more time. In the evening I saw a performance by the local amateur theatre company. It was a farce with extravagant costumes and lots of singing. Pretty funny with several references to local places and names. I had been given the ticket by a friend who were supposed to go too but she unfortunately got sick.

Saturday night I packed. At 4.30 Sunday morning (yes, I mean it) I crawled out of bed and got ready to leave. At 5.15 I got into the car and drove to Ystad on the south coast of Skåne. My American relatives Mara, Philip and Alisa arrived on the morning ferry from Poland at about 6 AM. These kids (they are siblings and aged 18-22) belong to the Nelson side of the family. Their ancestor August Nelson left Sweden in 1869 and settled in Iowa and later Minnesota. I brought the visitors out east, to Ales Stenar, which is a megalithic monument high up on a hill just by the ocean. It's a large oval stone ship with 69 pieces of rock probably dating back to the Iron Age. It could have been used as a solar calendar and/or a burial site. The view is amazing from there. We had breakfast near there. Since it was so early the easiest way to get food was to bring it. I had made sandwiches and bought some apple juice. After this we went to Lund, an hour away. I showed them the library and some books on history and then we went to the Museum of History and saw all the exhibits (coins, church items, cathedral interiors, curiosities, stone axes, Nordic postglacial fauna, Greek/Roman statues and a few other things). We also saw the large cathedral, built in the 1100s. We had lunch at a mall and then drove across the province to the east coast. We had a pretty tasty ice-cream in Åhus and then went down south to the summerhouse. We spent much of the evening talking about family history.

Monday morning (sort of) we (plus my mother) went on a bicycle ride in the area. We rode through the forest and out to the beach. At noon we packed all the belongings in the car and said goodbye to my mother. It was time to visit the ancestral origin, Norra Strö parish. We went to the church where many of our ancestors worshipped, were baptised, married and buried. I explained why there is a wooden chair from 1665 at the front of the altar (it was made by a parishioner who was always late for service, so he brought his own chair to be sure to get a seat). The tour continued out in the cemetery, where many relatives were buried. Next we went to the place where August Nelson was born. There is no house anymore, only ruins. Nevertheless, I wanted to show it. We drove through a forest and managed to find the place. I hadn't been there in ages and there was a large amount of trees where the house used to be. The stone walls surrounding the fields were still there, but it wasn't much to see, really. After this we went for a late lunch at the golf club in the next town. Then we returned to the village. We stopped by my uncle's place to get the key to the Historical Society Museum. The museum contains several rooms with exhibits and the school room was decorated like in the old days. My mother went to school here and we could spot her on a few photos on display. We had a snack here and I got the history books out and pointed out the lists with emigrants related to the Nelson family. After stopping by at my uncle's place again to return the key (and we also had a chat of course) we drove to Hässleholm. The young Nelsons had booked tickets on the night train to Stockholm so we had to wait it out. We spent much of the evening in a pub, eating and talking. I made sure the train was scheduled to actually leave before I left to drive home. I came home at midnight and went straight to bed. Getting out of bed this morning to go to work was tough. But I am very happy that these young people took the trouble to go to Sweden to visit their relatives. It warms my heart to know that they are interested in their personal history and I hope they will spread information about all this when they come home again. We would be happy to host more visits from our American relatives!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Library visits

The shopping trip to Copenhagen last Monday was intense. I managed to visit three malls and the main shopping street downtown. During the day I did a total of nine train rides, mostly by metro. It's the easiest way to get around there. All those malls are conveniently located at metro stations. I bought some small things and a dress. It was a nice trip.

Tuesday we arranged a picnic in the city park where we also had a boules tournament. About 20 colleagues participated. It was a great evening with wonderful weather. Just the next day it started to get colder again. It is now around 16-18 degrees and cloudy/rainy.

I worked Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning I went to Linköping with seven colleagues. We all went by train and arrived at mid-day. We visited the university there. It's different from ours, as it has focus on medicine, technology and science subjects. It's a lot smaller but we still wanted to see the library. We asked about interlibrary loan strategies, staffing schedules, overdue fines, statistics, house rules, electronic services and much more. We talked most of the afternoon and also walked around in the building, taking photos of all sorts of things (barcodes, signs, carts, book cases etc). Later we continued on by train to Stockholm, where we spent the night at a hotel just across the street from the station. Rather nice place. We all went out for a meal at a restaurant and it was fun to meet the colleagues away from work. At the hotel, the breakfast buffet was worth mentioning. Very nice with i.e. herring, bacon, several kinds of eggs and cheeses.

Friday morning we walked across the street to catch a regional train to Uppsala. It took 30 minutes to get there. We walked up to the big university library called Carolina. It's a place more similar to ours, with an old building, the same compact shelves, the same database provider and the same problems. Here we asked a lot of the same questions as in Linköping. We covered many aspects of library work and it was interesting to see how they do it at other libraries. They treated us for lunch and the boss showed up and invited us to his stylish office with a view of the city. We got a guided tour of the oldest book collections and the fancy room with six 17th century globes. We don't have anything like this. After this informational visit (we took photos of just about everything) we returned to Stockholm, where we split up. Some were going back home and some were going on family-related visits over the weekend. I stayed in Stockholm to visit my relatives (my mother's cousin).

Saturday I was disappointed to notice that two of the plus size stores had gone out of business. Now there are only chain stores left. I went to a mall I had never been to before. It was rather nice there, I bought a pair of sandals. I returned to the city center by subway and went to the Hallwyl Museum. It's a unique museum in many ways. It's a palace-like building with 40 rooms built in the 1890s at a very expensive address. It was just for two people, a very rich couple named von Hallwyl. They had decided early on that their house would be handed over to the government and be opened to the public as a museum. The wife had catalogued everything in the house. Every single item. The catalogue consisted of about 80 bound volumes. They had collected a few things that were on display; china, 17th century Dutch paintings, old weapons and silver items. I joined a guided tour of a large part of the house. It was definitely an interesting place.

Sunday afternoon I went to visit my other relatives, who are related to my great grandfather (the one I wrote a book about). They had also invited their son, whom I had never met. We had a very good time sitting in the garden having coffee and cookies. We talked a lot about the ancestors, of course. Monday morning I did a very short shopping trip near the apartment and then walked to the train station. I arrived back home in the evening after a rather boring train ride.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hot weather

Yesterday it was 28 degrees and I had to leave the apartment to go someplace where it was airconditioned. It was a while ago I visited the large mall at Hyllie, so that's where I went. I didn't do much there, had lunch (a very nice chicken bacon burger) and browsed the shops. I sat down and rested in several places along the way. There are two large grocery stores in the basement and I picked one to get some veggies. When I left in the afternoon I had managed to spend most of the hottest part of the day indoors, which was the main goal.

The week at work almost killed us because it was incredibly hot inside. I tried to shelve some of the older books but gave up after two carts. It was unbearable to work in the stacks. We have just done the most important tasks. It was a relief to do the two storage rounds but it's not good to work in places which differ in temperature that much. In the actual storage it is 17 degrees, in the glass corridor next to it it is way above 35 and outside it is 26-28. I also had to drive to the grocery store to get some things for a social club event next week. When I had driven more than half way I realized that I had forgotten the credit card. I blame the heat for all the mistakes I made this week.

Tomorrow is our National Holiday and I intend on celebrating it by going abroad. The shops in Denmark are open so I will do a mall tour.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Visit to the Agricultural University

Last week I had to go to the storage five times. It's not my favorite place usually. In the summer it can be nice because it's always 18 degrees inside. The Friday wasn't a day I care to remember. Lots of things I tried to do went wrong. I cut myself slicing bread for the morning fika. I had to drive the storage round alone and it didn't go that well. It took longer than usual. We were three people trying to do six people's jobs and that was not an ideal situation.

Wednesday afternoon I went with about 80 colleagues to visit the University of Agricultural Sciences nearby. It's situated in a park area with trees and plants from all over the world. We attended a lecture where the librarians talked about their special communication systems and meeting techniques. It is a university with a difficult geography. It is located at 36 different places in Sweden, with libraries in three of them. It's a challenge to gather the staff so they have meetings via Skype and other systems. It was interesting to hear about their world. We also got to see the library. It was very small compared to ours and had its own call number system. Afterwards we got a light meal. The weather was wonderful and we sat out in the park under the trees. A very nice excursion.

This weekend I cleared out more clothes. It had reached the point where I had run out of hangers. It was definitely time to do something about it. I have accumulated two bags to give to charity so far. Sunday I went on a fleamarket round in Helsingborg. Only found a few things and then went on to the mall. No excessive shopping there either. It was a soccer game in the highest league  that afternoon and I have never seen so many police officers in that town before. They expected big trouble but I didn't hear of any. I was out of there before the game was over.

It's still warm and sunny here. There has already been quite a few complaints about the indoor climate. It's very difficult to concentrate in such hot and stuffy offices. It's the same in the stacks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bargain shopping in Malmö

It's warm weather here. 25 centigrades and partly cloudy. I am melting away. We are not used to this after that long winter. The fans are all turned on in the offices at the library. It's tough to work in the stacks because there is little or no air conditioning.

Last week there was a German Library Science student on a study visit at our library. He got to see all the departments. I showed him the stacks on Thursday morning. He even retrieved some books. I brought him to the shelf with books on German history and he was amazed by the fact that we had those.

Wednesday last week our lunch room on the fifth floor closed for renovations. We were slightly upset about this because that's also where the terrace is. We have all been forced to find other places to have lunch and by now I think most people have adjusted. I have eaten out often but also used the janitor's breakroom to have my salad lunch. We were also forced to move the Friday morning fika (sandwiches and coffee) that we have arranged for about 20-25 staff members for many years. I buy the butter, marmalade, cheese and cold cuts. Someone else buys the bread and buns. After some debate we ended up having this fika in the book bindery! It was the only place that had enough room for all of us and access to water.

Over the weekend the database was upgraded. It seems to have worked well. We have noticed one small detail that is causing trouble but we can handle it for now. I have reported it and the technicians are working on it.

This weekend the weather was rather nice and I decided to go to Malmö. I wanted to visit the large second hand stores in the outskirts of town. Meaning that I went to the suburbs. It was interesting, not only to see the stores but also to experience something else - the immigrant neighbourhoods. Where the shop signs are in Arabic and other languages and you as a white person is in definite minority on the bus. I made it to three large stores and one mall. At the mall I discovered that a clothing store had the kind of jeans I can wear half price off, so I bought two pairs (all they had in my size).

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Shelving at the storage

Last week at work was not that bad. I had to drive one extra storage round due to a colleague's absence. I also brought the newest colleague there one afternoon to do some shelving. We are constantly lagging behind with this. There has for many years been some shelves in the stacks with old material left by a former colleague. It was primarily small pamphlets he had written himself and various books he had been given. I decided it was time to clear that out and I got time to do that last week. It ended up being a large cart with materials we didn't need. I offered it to the staff but very few items have been taken.

This Friday we had the first social club board meeting of the year. There were four new members. The tasks as economist and secretary were unchanged. Also my task as chairwoman continues.

Thursday the Folk Life Archives had a Diary Day. Occasionally they ask people to write down what they do during a specific day and send it in to the Archives. The material will be used in future reasearch. This time I participated. It was fairly easy, it was an online form to fill in. Not that I think my diary would be incredibly interesting but the entire project aimed at getting material about people's ordinary lives. My day was very ordinary; I worked and then went to the grocery store on my way home.

The weekend was very slow. I did very little, apart from solving crossword puzzles and watching TV. It was the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday but I didn't see all of it. I found out who won (the Ukraine) the morning after. The weather has been quite good, especially last week was sunny and warm. So warm that I had to turn on the extra fan in my office. A little colder now, about 14 centigrades and cloudy. There has been a lot of pollen in the air, even I noticed it.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Long weekend at the summerhouse

It was a short and intense work week. I crammed in two storage rounds, one meeting and one desk duty in three days. Thursday was a holiday and I managed to avoid working on the Friday. Wednesday evening I went by train and bus to the summerhouse in the evening. My mother and sister plus kids arrived later that same evening. We spent this extended weekend doing lots of things. The weather was very good with temperatures around 18-20 centigrades and a clear blue sky. My sister and I went to a fleamarket and got a few things (books, egg cup, oven tin). One day we went to a nature preserve fairly close by to have a picnic. We spotted some sand lizards and birds of prey there. Very nice to visit. Later we had ice-cream at Kivik further south. One day we visited my mother's friends, who treated us to a marvelous rhubarb pie.

At the summerhouse we also did some work. My mother wants to paint the guest cottage this summer and as a preparation for that we had to scrub it clean. It was an ordeal. My nephew sweeped the roof and the rest of us scrubbed with (very cold) water and brushes. My nephew also mowed the lawn. So it was sort of a working holiday. We did get the chance to relax in the sun and play with the kids too. I returned home around noon today by a different way than normal. It required three train rides to get home because the main train line was closed due to track repairs.