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Thursday, May 29, 2008


So, no one noticed the grammatical mistake in the previous blog entry? I saw it too late to bother about changing it.

The weather is very nice here. Very sunny and warm. This weekend it will be even warmer. Since Swedes live their lives in darkness for several months during winter, this season is what everybody is waiting for. Everybody except me, it seems like. This is the time of year when I suffer from sleeplessness and I can't be outside without wearing sun-glasses. I can't stand the hot and sticky weather. That's why I normally work during the summer. Though I admit to the fact that it's nice to have slower days at work, to eat lots of ice-cream and go swimming in the sea.

I have made some use of my mother's car - I went to the mall in Löddeköpinge yesterday evening. It's a big place with many different stores. I didn't shop that much, just some groceries.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shopping in Kristianstad

There was no grass to cut at my mother's place (the weather has been very sunny and the lawn was more brown than green), but instead the plants needed watering a lot. I also washed the car. Not that it was much use, because there is lots of pollen in the air and it covered the car again very quickly. My mother wanted to go to Kristianstad, and we managed to get her into the passenger seat and the wheel chair in the back. It's a small car, but very useful with a large trunk. We had ice-cream in town and then went shopping. I was surprised to see so many stores that still have steps. It's not only disabled people who have problems getting in, it also prevents people with baby-strollers to go shopping there. Almost all the walking streets in Kristianstad are covered with cobble stones, so the wheel chair ride wasn't particularly smooth either. But we took it easy and slowly. My mother was happy just to see something else than her house. Both of us bought some clothes at our favorite store, Kappahl. I found a pair of jeans about half price off, and my mother got two tops from the sales rack.

Today I went through the exhibit material I had used at the concert. I needed to know if everything was there (it wasn't) and I wanted to see if I can use some of it again on June 29 (I can). My mother and I also engaged ourselves in cooking. We made a very tasty vegetarian lasagne that we ate outside on the deck. She wanted to get rid of the chicken (which she doesn't eat) in the freezer, so we cooked it too and I brought it home to have for lunch at work.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


The most interesting event of the week was a speech I and a colleague had to give in front of almost 100 other colleagues on Tuesday. It was all the other librarians at the university. We had a conference day, where people from the different libraries presented their on-going projects. Some examples: teaching students how to write references, evaluating a library website, making 2000 year old papyri available online, scanning and electronic delivery of journal articles and much more. Our speech was about the project we are doing in the stacks, where we use technical support to sort the requests to stacks, and have an electronic answering system so that the student doesn't have to show up in person to get the answer that the book is unavailable (we email them directly from the stacks now - a great improvement from before). Our speech was very well received, and we got a lot of questions afterwards.

Today's desk duty was uneventful. There were no visitors at all the first three hours, and then 30 minutes before closing two scholars came to read old books. The number of visitors varies a great deal. Some days it's so busy I have no time to do the tasks I bring with me.

This weekend I will visit my mother again. No doubt she has a long to-do list for me.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Egg cups

The last working day of the week turned out to be rather pleasant. I have joined the organizing committee which arranges social events for the staff. We are now planning for the annual excursion in August, and we had to look for a decent restaurant in Lund. So seven of us were treated to lunch at a local place with (as it turned out) very good food. After the meal we decided that it's going to be the place to have the dinner after the excursion. Where the actual excursion will be remains to be seen. We have arranged for buses, but still haven't got a destination!

The weekend at my mother's house was just like I thought it would be - lots of work. I had to cut the grass again, but it wasn't so difficult this time. I watered the plants outside and inside, did the laundry and a few other household chores. I drove to Åhus also to pay the rent for the van we had used when the Andersons were here. There are several flea markets in Åhus on Saturdays, and I stopped at one to see if they had any nice egg cups. When I moved to this apartment my mother gave me her collection of egg cups made of china, and I have continued to collect them. I found six at the flea market, three with flowers on and three with chickens.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Busy work week

It has been busy at work this week. It started with a meeting this Monday, where we discussed all the projects we are involved in. I handed out a list of eleven tasks we have to do during the summer, when things are slower here. It ranges from checking books on the shelf that still have "at bindery" status in the database after more than a year, to moving three different collections to other locations. We will get access to one more remote storage in July, and will fill it with about 4000 shelf meters of books. More space is always needed, the storage we are really waiting for is a big building that will house about 45000 shelf meters. The university lacks funding right now, and it's a little frustrating.

Tuesday I was at a remote storage to load old dissertations on carts. It turned out to be ten carts, and I asked the maintenance guy to bring it to the main library, but so far they haven't shown up. Wednesday I had, to my surprise, desk duty in the manuscript reading room. I usually get Thursdays. But it didn't matter, the job is the same. Today there was a new exhibit opened in the entrance hall of the library. It was about a Swedish composer named Lars-Erik Larsson. It is his centennial this year. He composed classical music and was also a professor of music. His most known piece is called Pastoralsvit.

This weekend I will go and visit my mother, who seems to be doing better. She has cut down on the pain medication, and that's a good sign.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Back to Kävlinge

Last Sunday I spent most of the morning trying to cut the grass in my mother's back yard. It had been neglected for quite some time, and it was very long. The lawn mower gave up and had to be restarted after every twenty meters or so. After the household chores were done, I rested.

Monday I drove up to Åhus to get the winter tires of the car removed and summer ones put on. Another thing that had been neglected..... I did some bank errands and then continued to Kristianstad. I spent an hour in the library, checking my email messages. There were a few. After reading the work-email, I understood that my colleagues missed me, but I decided to ignore it and logged out. In the evening the centennial committee had a meeting. We really had nothing of importance to discuss, because it is all over now, but even so the meeting lasted for three hours. It was great to hear everybody's stories about the concert and everything that had happened. We looked at pictures and talked about the fabulous event we had arranged.

Tuesday morning I had an unpleasant experience at the dentist. He mended a broken dental work and then removed a wisdom tooth. The last part was the worst. To get it out was easy (according to the dentist), but then it bled a lot from where it had been and I'm still sore. Later I went over to the city library and removed the Leroy Anderson exhibit. I could tell a lot of people had seen it, because almost all the brochures were gone. Having the exhibit at the library proved to be good, it's a place lots of people visit.

Wednesday I borrowed my mother's car and drove home to Kävlinge. She will have to manage with the help of home-care services and her friends now. My apartment is yet another place that has been neglected for a while, and it will take weeks to get it back in shape. It looked very messy, and it didn't get any better when I came home with loads of stuff and just threw it into the living room. All the house plants except one had survived.

I had to work Thursday and Friday, and that's the amount of time it took to go through all the messages, basically. I did some actual work also. My colleagues were happy to see me. This is one of the high seasons at the library, when the students are finishing their essays (and order a lot of books) and they also hand back large amounts of books before the summer.

This weekend I have made some use of my mother's car and went to all four fleamarkets in Marieholm (bought some minor things) and to the mall to get food and ink for my printer. I also got some plants to have in the balcony flower box (three geraniums). I brought the table and chairs down from the attic and put them on the balcony, so now I can enjoy the warm and sunny weather there. Today was laundry day and it was more work than usual - five loads.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

After the concert

The day after the concert, we visited Övarp - the place where most of Leroy's father's ancestors lived. We started at the church to look at the interiors with renowned mural paintings from the 1470s. The church itself was built around 1150. After lunch at the nearby golf club, we drove to the house in Övarp where Brewer Anderson was born. Several people were waiting there, among others the current owner Mats. Mats told the story of the house and how he got to live there. His great grandfather had purchased the little house from Brewer's father Nils when they had decided to emigrate in 1882. The visit to the ancestral home was definitely one of the high points of the day. Later in the afternoon we went to the local historical museum, and the ladies on the board had the coffee and five kinds of homebaked cookies ready for us. The concept of Swedish "fika" (coffee-break) was explained to the Americans. Fika is very important here. At the museum we also met the oldest living relative the Andersons have here, Sture, aged 94, who had travelled from Malmö to be there. In the evening I managed to serve dinner at my mother's house. It was an easily arranged meal with pickled herring, boiled eggs, crispbread and smoked salmon from the local fisherman.

Monday April 28 most of the Andersons and I attended a music class at Furuboda. It's an education center for people with disabilities, where my mother is doing a fair amount of volunteer work. We got to listen to several Swedish hits in somewhat unusual versions, and some American ones also. The joy for music was evident, as the teacher and students kept on playing long after the class was supposed to end. We also got an introduction in English about the activities at Furuboda. Later in the afternoon we visited Ovesholm castle. We had been invited there by the owner, whom we had met at the concert. Ovesholm is a pink three-storey large manor house situated in a very pretty area outside Kristianstad. We got the guided tour, and were shown impressive paintings, old furniture and a huge handwritten ancestor chart from the mid 19th century. The owner belongs to a noble family and he could trace his ancestors back to the 10th century!

Tuesday we got up early to go to Växjö in Småland. We spent a few hours in the House of Emigrants, where we saw the exhibit about the emigration to America. Part of it was dedicated to famous Swedish Americans - Leroy Anderson was one of them. After a quick tour of the archive we met two relatives who live in Växjö and went to lunch together. The Kingdom of Glass is in Småland and we stopped at two different places to do some bargain shopping at the outlet stores. We returned to Kristianstad to have dinner at a nice restaurant where they served up-scale pizzas (very tasty). On the way back to Nyehusen we had to return the van (which had been very useful to us).

Wednesday was a day of goodbyes. Mark A left early for Copenhagen, where he got a train ticket to Berlin and would later fly home from there. Jane, Anders and Rolf all went on a train to Stockholm for a few days of touristing. I had lunch at an Asian restaurant with the remaining Americans, Mark B and Cindy. I then went to the local hospital, to which my mother had been transferred the previous Friday. It was the first time I saw her after the accident. Her injuries force her to use a wheelchair for the next six weeks or so, and it will be a problem because her house is not really adapted for it (narrow doorways and steps). Wednesday evening it was Walpurgis Night, the time when we chase out the winter. Mark, Cindy and I attended the event at Furuboda. We listened to the Ultreia gospel choir and then we watched the large bonfire and fireworks. Very nice.

Thursday was a holiday (both Ascension Day and Labor Day) and we took a scenic tour of the northeastern Skåne countryside in Cindy's fancy new Volvo. On the way back we made a short visit to my mother in the hospital, so that she would at least meet two of the American relatives.

Friday we went on a trip to Denmark. We went over the bridge and couldn't see anything of the water because of a very thick fog. We parked the car at the Frederik Church and walked to the royal castle, harbor, Nyhavn and the walking street with all the shops. Then we continued the coastal road north to Helsingör (Elsinore) after having lunch at a very picturesque place by the sea. In Helsingör we visited Hamlet's castle, Kronborg. A large castle situated very strategically at the eastern tip of the town. We took the ferry over to Helsingborg on the Swedish side, and could see absolutely nothing of the scenic view because of the fog. The fog was only over the water, we didn't notice any of it on land. We took the scenic road alongside the coast, going south to Lund. We did some souvenir shopping there and looked at the Church of Dome (also from around 1150). In the evening we were invited to Mark's relative Tommy who lives south of Lund. He treated us to elk and potato gratin he had made himself, and then we went for a walk to a part of the village where all the houses looked like medieval replicas. We had dessert at a restaurant there, blueberry pie.

Saturday morning Mark and Cindy left us, they first went to visit friends in Lund and then they would return to the US from Göteborg. My mother had come home yesterday and expected to be waited on. I did quite a lot of household chores, and tried to make it easier for her to move around in the house. I also attended my aunt's birthday party. Several of the guests there had seen the concert and praised it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The concert

Writing about the events the past two and a half weeks will be difficult because there are no words that can really describe what I have experienced. When we started planning for this about 18 months ago, we could never ever imagine that the Leroy Anderson concert would be such a smash hit! We sold out to the last seat and it was a fabulous music fest! A total of 700 musicians, dancers and singers of all ages came together and put on a performance never seen in Kristianstad before. It was a sparkling, fun, amazing and wonderful concert that will be remembered for a long time. So many good things came out of this - the music students got in touch with the orchestras in town, everybody co-operated in building the three stages, the young generation learned about the great music of Leroy Anderson, his family members were here to see it and learn more about their origin and much more. When the concert was over, and I sat alone in the car and breathed normally again, I wrote in my notebook: We did it!

Since my mother had an accident and spent most of these weeks in hospital, there were some changes in the program. To make a long story short, most of the Andersons and Bergstroms stayed in a house opposite my mother's. The first one to arrive was Leroy's son Rolf who came on the Tuesday. The next day he and I went by train to Copenhagen and viewed most of the sights worth seeing; the Little Mermaid, Nyhavn and the walking street Ströget. On the way back we stopped by in Lund to pick up Mark A, Rolf's cousin. He had arrived from Berlin that day. We all went to Kristianstad and after a few hours Leroy's daughter Jane and her son Anders arrived from Copenhagen. Thursday started at the Holy Trinity Church, where the chairman of the Centennial Committee, Tommy, gave a much appreciated guided tour of the huge building. We also got to see the organ there. Lunch at Grand Hotel and then the rest of the day we were at the school of music. The Andersons got to take part in a class and the press conference was also held there. Several of us were interviewed for the local radio. Thursday evening Leroy's great nephew Mark B and his wife Cindy arrived in their brand new Volvo convertible they had purchased in Göteborg (and will get shipped to the US later). My sister and her family also arrived, and stayed with me in our mother's house. Friday everybody except me went sightseeing with my father. They got to see a very old castle, Glimmingehus, and a huge rock formation called Ales stenar, among other things. I was at the sports arena to try to put up the exhibit. It wasn't the easiest thing. First, the others had blocked the area with floor boards. Then the owner of the cafeteria there told me I was blocking the place where he would have the coffee. I couldn't do anything until Saturday morning, but it went alright because I had everything prepared. The only mishap was when the screen fell over and destroyed some posters and a picture frame. I got help from the set designer with decorating the entrance hall (and she did a great job). The dress rehearsal started at five on the Friday, and I stood on the floor watching most of it. The Andersons got there later and was as impressed as I. When the 250 people in the choir sang Sleigh Ride, it was overwhelming. It was very powerful.

The concert day (Saturday) we had a V.I.P. meeting at Grand Hotel for a late lunch, and then the concert started at four. Everything went according to plan (only ten minutes delay of the start, but that was because it took time to get all the members of the audience in place). A representative from the US Embassy opened the concert and Rolf gave a short speech also. Lions Club gave a travel grant for a trip in the footsteps of Leroy Anderson to Patrik, the main arranger of this concert. He really deserved it, he has been working very hard for this. The music was varied and covered almost all of Leroy Anderson's most popular works. In my personal opinion, the highlights included Fiddle Faddle on marimbas, Waltzing Cat with two dancers dressed as a cat and a dog, Typewriter with a real typewriter, Sandpaper Ballet with dancers, Syncopated Clock with a very young and able percussionist, and the final piece Sleigh Ride with the gigantic choir (standing ovations twice)!