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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Car trouble

It's the last blog entry for the year and only one thing out of the ordinary to report. The car broke down during the storage round yesterday. All kinds of strange things happened, warning lights went on, it smelled burnt and it got overheated. I knew what it was. We had seen this coming for several months. The radiator finally gave up. I was standing at a traffic light and saw the indicators go nuts, and just hoped it wouldn't break down right there. It would have been more than embarrassing. I managed to get to the third storage, where the water poured out of the car from underneath. I called the janitor and he came to pick me and the books up with another car. All of us who usually drive the now broken-down car hope that it is so damaged that the boss will let us buy a new one.

These three days there haven't been that many visitors at the library. The ones who have shown up haven't required any hard-to-find books. Instead we have had time to do some shelving, which was needed.

It's pretty cold here, about ten centigrades below zero. There are already some fireworks outside. I treated myself to salmon for dinner, it was very tasty. Only a few hours left to the new year now.....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas celebration

The Christmas celebration was of the nice and family-oriented kind. Great to get a break from the usual routine and do something else. Although I can't say we have done much else than eating and talking. The food was traditional, with some vegetarian alternatives. Ham, salmon, herring (several kinds), Jansson's temptation, meatballs, homebaked bread, cheese (several kinds) and other things. Santa visited just after dinner, and the three present kids were rather excited. They all got lots of gifts, and John was especially happy about the big rescue helicopter and the airplane (both more than half a meter long). He also got a Batman-suit, which he liked very much. It was difficult to get him to take it off at bedtime.

Even though I hadn't come up with a wish-list I also got gifts: a wooden fruitbowl, two red santas to hang in the tree (made by John), necklace (made by my mother), tea, chocolate (which I am eating right now - tasty!), a gift certificate for a spa treatment, a red knitted scarf, two pairs of pants, and a blouse that unfortunately was too small. The blouse was exchanged at the after-Christmas sale for two other tops. Apart from that, I didn't shop that much at the sale (only one more top in another store). My mother is an expert in the area of second hand stores, and she had found an outlet store that sold last year's collection for an underwear catalog company. It's a high quality brand, and we both shopped underwear there very cheaply (about one fifth of the original price)!

Sunday evening I returned home by train (three different ones - all of them on time)! The snow was all gone in Skåne. Today there were some book requests, but not that many. Since it was fairly slow, I took the opportunity to bring the newest employee on the storage round. We retrieved books at three of them and we just barely made it back before noon. It was great to have an assistant, because he is taller than I and could reach one shelf higher (I have to use a ladder to reach the highest shelves). He was also persuaded to load and unload the crates from the car. My back is a lot better, but I didn't want to lift more than necessary.

On the way home today I went grocery shopping and noticed that the Christmas ham was sold for half price. Very affordable, so I bought one and have roasted it in the oven. I will use it to have on sandwiches and for lunches.

Thank you for the Christmas cards and e-mail greetings I have received!!! It's great to get up-dates from all of you and to know that some try to keep the Swedish traditions alive!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


It has been fairly slow these three days at work. Most of the students have gone home for the holidays. There are the occasional scholar and people who do private research (mostly genealogy, but also newspaper reporters come in to check facts). During desk duty Tuesday there were three visitors in total, and one of them didn't even get any material to study (he mistakenly thought the newspaper he wanted was on microfilm).

I finally decided to use the gift certificate I received at work to get three pieces of cheese! Strange, but among the glass bowls and other things there was a choice of three large pieces of cheese from a specific company. The Christmas present my father gave to me when he visited turned out to be a wireless weather station, a device to put indoors and it will show outdoor and indoor temperatures, humidity, time, date and also weather forecast.

The snow has started to melt again. I hope it will still be a little left the next few days. Tomorrow morning I will go by train to Göteborg to spend Christmas Eve with my mother, sister, her family and her in-laws. I will return late Sunday evening.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas concert

We have even more snow now, much to the delight of the neighborhood kids, who got their skis and sleds out this weekend. It's about 6 centigrades below zero and the snow has dried up. It's easier to walk on and I don't think there have been that many road accidents today. We don't get this amount of snow here normally, so people aren't used to driving on it. Personally, I find this kind of weather wonderful, as long as I don't have to go anywhere. It's much lighter out and it gives more of a Christmas-feeling.

Yesterday I walked down to the center of the village to get a hair cut. This afternoon I walked to the church to attend a Christmas concert. It was getting dark and there was that strange light in the sky that you can only see here in the north. The brass band and the choir performed several pieces suitable for the season. The choir, which consisted mostly of elderly ladies, made an attempt at singing You raise me up, and they did that very well. The other songs had Swedish lyrics, for instance Jul, jul strålande jul, Härlig är jorden and Bella notte. Some of the instrumental ones were Winter wonderland, Amazing grace and White Christmas. It was a very nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I must say.

Friday, December 18, 2009

More snow

It has been snowing on and off for two days now, and the ground is completely covered. It's below zero also, and windy. Naturally, there are massive train service delays and cancellations. I had to go on a replacement bus home last night. It took 40 minutes. Normally it would take 10 minutes. I know I shouldn't complain, but this happens so often during the winter.

This week there have been many opportunities for cookies, chocolate and candy. We were treated to Christmas coffee (saffron buns and ginger snaps) by our department head. She also placed chocolate (two boxes), apples, clementins, dried figs and dates for the stacks staff to take. The Christmas present this year was a gift certificate, and you had to log on to a specific website to pick an item. There were clothes, kitchenware, bags and decorative things. I haven't chosen anything yet.

This week I also started to send out the annual Christmas letters via e-mail. If anyone feels neglected, will you please contact me.

I intended on writing this message from home yesterday, but my computer insisted on the network cable not being installed. It was, of course. It has been for over three years. Very annoying. I consulted my technically gifted colleagues today and they had some suggestions, so we'll see if I can fix it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas party

The new exhibit at the library was opened Friday, but I didn't get to see any of it. I was busy making preparations for the Christmas party in the evening. We collected china and utensils from the kitchen, arranged the candles, covered the desks in plastic sheets, installed a music equipment, got tables and chairs from the basement storage, waited for the food (arrived half an hour late), and ran around trying to make everything work. It was a tough job, but we got it all arranged in one hour (the library closed at 6 and the party started at 7). 43 colleagues from the network attended the party, which was held on the ground floor, between the information desk and the reception. There was a quiz (about comic strips), we handed out presents and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. The food was of very good quality also. Salmon, herring, turkey, ham, Jansson's temptation, salads, bread, sausage and quiches. Rice pudding for dessert. I heard several people say they preferred having the Christmas party here rather than in a restaurant (like we have the previous few years). It's just a lot more work for the board members to have it at the library. Though I avoided most of the cleaning afterwards, because I had to catch a train home (limited service in late evenings). Anyway, the party was very nice and I'm sure we will have it at the library also next year.

This weekend I haven't done much. I was tired and my back is telling me to slow down again. There have been lots of sports events on TV, mainly cross country skiing and biathlon. The Swedish teams do pretty well. I missed the Lucia singing on TV this morning (I didn't feel like getting up at 7 on a Sunday). It got colder yesterday, it's about zero centigrades. There is a light snowfall outside right now, which raises hopes for a white Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paper bookmarks

It's the third week of back problems and it's getting a little better. My colleague who got double loads is complaining, and I don't blame him. I have been physically present at work, but haven't been able to do much. We went to the grocery store to shop for the Christmas party tomorrow and I could hardly lift up the groceries from the cart. I got backmassage at a fitness center Tuesday and afterwards I could really feel where my problem areas are. But it seems to have helped a little.

The desk duty this week was Wednesday and it was very busy. The visitors are supposed to order the books in advance, but sometimes the information gets lost on the way or is misinterpreted. This time I had to call my back-up twice to get assistance. If the visitor has travelled a long way we do our utmost to get the books right away. This afternoon I was asked to instantly retrieve a book that was placed in a remote storage. I sighed loudly. But the request came from the person who arranges the new exhibit, and he was desperate, since it opens tomorrow. So I got another colleague to drive me to the storage on the other side of town, and luckily it was easy to find the book.

I have spent the evenings of this week wrapping presents and creating some Christmas ornaments. I have a lot of paper bookmarks that I thought could be decorative, so I glued some of them onto cardboard and hung them in the tree. It was rather fun, but there is a huge mess in my living room now.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas decorations

My father and his girlfriend visited yesterday. We exchanged presents and went to the mall. My father also helped me get rid of the balcony mat (it was brought to the county recycling station), get the Christmas tree down from the attic and hang the Christmas curtains in the kitchen. I still can't lift my hands above my head. I also got some of the family heirlooms he has stored at his house. There were some old paper bookmarks, small ornamented boxes from Japan (his great grandfather was a seacaptain who traveled all over the world) and a wooden box filled with almanacs containing written accounts by his great aunt (dating from 1910 until the 1980s). Someday, when I get time, I will look at the almanacs more carefully. I just glanced at them now and they seem to contain short notices about the family members (births and deaths), trips she went on and people who came to visit. I especially noticed an entry from 12 July 1981 where it simply said: Claes and family have been here for a visit. That's us!

Today it was a Christmas market here in Kävlinge. The stores displayed their best decorations and had special offers, there were bake sales and lotteries. One shop had living clothesmodels standing in the window and the fabric store had made a copy of Cinderella's ball dress. I made some small purchases and then went to the grocery store.

This evening I also finished decorating the tree. It is now overloaded with bells, straw angels, small santas, tinsel, and other decorations in the shape of hearts, balls, stars, trees, horses, shoes, apples, pine cones, goats, violins, horns and drums. All the other decorations are also up. This year I decided to clear out some of the things, because there were too many items. I will give them to the charity shop in Lund.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Issues at work

I still have back issues. It seems to be mainly a muscular inflammation. My mother, who has had the same problem, said it will take at least three weeks before it's healed. Sigh. I can't say I have done much at work, my poor colleagues have been forced to do my chores also. Right now I can't lift my hands high enough to get the books down from the top shelves. But I'm stubborn and try anyway.

Tuesday I had a serious discussion with the highest boss about my future at the library. She wanted to know if I intended on staying there, and I said yes. She also asked what changes, if any, I wanted to see happening, and there were a few things mentioned. More staff to shelve the books and more staff to help in the upcoming move, for instance.

This week I also managed to bring three bags with unwanted items to a charity shop in Lund. There might be some more things to get rid of later.

The social club at work will arrange a Christmas party next week and the preparations have been extensive. We usually have it at a restaurant, but this year we will be at the library. It means a lot more work for the board members, since we have to set the tables, order food, arrange entertainment and clean up afterwards. We had a meeting today to discuss the details and decide who will do what. We are seven people on the board, so we think we will make it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas decorations

My back isn't doing well, unfortunately. It's worse than most days. It's difficult and the chiropractor can't do much. Two vertebras are larger than they should be and they have a tendency to move slightly out of their position, causing a whole series of problems. The heavy lifting at work doesn't help, either. Annoying.

I was waiting for some strange side effects from the flu shot, but nothing happened. Some other people I have heard of got really sick, so I guess I was lucky this time.

Saturday it was a charity sale in Lund. One of the international aid organizations, IM, had a sale of second hand items like books, toys, ornaments and textiles. Very high quality for being second hand, I must say. I got some Christmas decorations there.

Speaking of Christmas decorations, I have started to get mine out of the drawers. I have exchanged the table runners and the candles so far. Exchanging the curtains will be a problem since I can't lift my hands above my head right now. Sometime the following week I will get the fake tree down from the attic.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Staff day

The TV-series about Swedish celebrities searching for their ancestors was so popular that they have continued with more stories. In the program this Monday a comedian/musical artist wanted to know more about his own father, who was an opera singer and had died early. There was a rumor in the family saying that the opera singer had one more son, and it turned out to be true. He was finally located, and was rather surprised to learn that he had more siblings. It was a fascinating account and I look forward to the rest of the programs.

Today we had a staff day in the afternoon, meaning that we all were gathered in a auditorium to listen to a few different speakers. First there was information about the budget and other administrative issues, then there were two presentations of projects. One was a project I'm involved in. It's a service to the patrons where we scan articles and send the links directly to the patrons, instead of them coming to the library in person to make copies. It saves everybody time and effort. It's a very popular service and I think we don't get enough credit for all the work we do. Most of the journals are at remote storages and it's a heavy load every day. One of my colleagues gave the speech and ran the slide show, although the technical problems were large. The auditorium didn't have internet access, which was unbelievable. The other project was about a large manuscript archive, for which a historian has been hired to make a complete inventory of. Very interesting material, it includes personal letters and documents from royalties, noble families and other prominent persons from about 1500 until about 1800. The staff day ended with a retired professor of literature giving a speech about a Swedish author, Hjalmar Gullberg. The professor repeatedly praised our library for all the assistance he had been given over the years (47!). We have retrieved lots of books for him, and I remember getting the one he spoke about today.

On the way home I stopped by at the medical center and got a flu shot. They were really fast, it took about 45 seconds in total. It will be interesting to see what side effects I will get from the flu shot. Some of my colleagues got strange sickness sensations and headaches.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Christmas shopping

There is not that much to report, really. The weather on Saturday was very sunny. It's surprising, because November is usually never sunny. It is also warmer than normal. I spent Saturday vacuuming and tidying up. When I watered the plants I noticed that my cactus was blooming with white and pink flowers. I have had it for several years and this was the first time it showed such colors. I went to the recycling place and also to the grocery store. Ordinary chores, and not exciting at all.

Today I made an attempt at getting a flu shot. I was summoned to the medical center in Lund, but when I got there the sign on the door said they were out of vaccine. There have been problems getting enough vaccine from the manufacturer in Germany. We'll see if I bother about it later. Instead I took the bus to the mall, Nova. I got more presents for Christmas, and I think I only have to come up with something for my mother and sister now. The Christmas shopping is going better than most years, there are still about five weeks to find the rest of the gifts.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dewey seminar

Starting with the trip to London, I have engaged myself more seriously in Christmas shopping. This week I have been to the mall Nova and also downtown Lund, and actually found several items suitable for presents. In addition, my favorite clothing store had half price off the sales price. Pretty affordable, and I got two tops mainly to have at work. My work outfit generally includes jeans and a jersey top. The stacks and the remote storages are not particularly clean, we walk on concrete floors, there is always a risk of getting the shirt stuck in the compact shelving systems, and the car we drive is old and no one cleans it. I make sure the clothes I wear are appropriate, and I never buy any expensive clothes for work. But I keep a blouse there that I wear when I have desk duty. Wearing jewelry on my hands or long necklaces is out of the question (risk of getting stuck in moving shelves). Normally I ruin one or two wristwatches every year when I accidentally scrape them against the metal shelves. There are worse accidents that can happen, of course, but I have been lucky. I was really close to falling down from the loading dock at one of the storages once. Driving a car in a town where 90% of the cyclists (= the students) are completely unaware of the world around them is also dangerous. I have seen a young woman riding her bike while writing a text message on her cell phone, for instance.

Yesterday there was a severe rainstorm, up to 40 meters per second. The rain was coming from the side and it was impossible to keep dry. I was worried about the train service, so I skipped the swimming and went home early. Later in the evening one train had run into falling trees, but it was all cleared this morning. It's not so cold here, it's about 8-10 centigrades and rather wet.

This afternoon I attended a seminar on the Dewey Decimal Classification. It's a classification system for books used mainly in the English speaking world. For some reason (I have yet to figure out why) all the academic libraries in Sweden will start using this system in 2011. We have up until now had our own system, SAB, consisting of combinations of letters. Dewey is a number system. Even though I have visited an enormous amount of libraries in the US, I have never been able to fully understand the Dewey system. Changing the system will have profound effects on many levels for us. On the way from the seminar I began discussing this with one of our catalogers and she said that we will probably have to re-organize the open collections (70 000 books). In the open collections the books are placed according to subject, which means that we will have to change the call numbers on all of them. Not a project I'm looking forward to, really.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Archive visit

The two workdays last week were tough, but I survived. One of our regular patrons made me rather frustrated Friday. She had stated on the call slip that she would return in two weeks. This meant that I didn't retrieve the book for her, since we had lots of other requests. Half an hour before deadline, she showed up at the desk, asking for it. The attending librarian called me, but then I was on my way to the chiropractor, and couldn't do anything. The two others who would have a chance finding the book (it was a complicated request), were unavailable. When I got back I got the volume out, but I don't know if the patron returned again.

The desk duty on Friday was busy. There are many students asking for journals and newspapers right now. They have an assignment to study one of each from the 17th, early 18th, late 18th, early 19th, late 19th, and early 20th centuries. There are at least 30 students. That's a fair amount of volumes to be retrieved.

Saturday it was Archive Day and I visited the local community archive with my friend Eva. It's just two blocks away and I had never been there before. The local genealogical society also showed their books and databases and tried to recruit new members. The archive contained mostly minutes, accounts and records from the local administration, but also more interesting things like records from local societies and schools. Eva found a photo of herself from 7th grade, for instance. There was a film from 1974 showing a nearby town and quite a few photo and clipping collections. There were photos of the apartment building I live in from before I moved here in 1991. The archive was small, but quite interesting.

After having tried most of the flavors of Ben & Jerry ice-cream sold here, I have come to the conclusion that I like New York Super Fudge Chunk best. Just in case anyone was wondering.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

London shopping

Sunday afternoon I went to London with Norwegian Air. I arrived at Gatwick airport and took the express train to Victoria Station, and then a taxi to the hotel. The hotel was of rather poor quality, it looked run-down and there was no bathroom in the room (even though the info I received said so). The hotel was three blocks from Oxford Street, however, so the location was excellent. It was late in the evening when I arrived, but I went a short round to see where the stores were.

Monday I walked along Oxford Street, Bond Street and passed Piccadilly Circus on the way to Leicester Square where the ticket booth for the musicals is. I got a ticket for a show that evening, and then started browsing the stores selling books, clothes, shoes and souvenirs. There were lots of super expensive designer boutiques like Burberry, Calvin Klein, Hermés, Bulgari, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and so on. Interesting to see, but not for my budget. The exchange rate made everything pretty expensive, unfortunately. I did get some books with cookie recipes, though. (Since some readers of this blog will receive items I got in London as Christmas gifts, I cannot reveal all the details)!

Monday evening I saw the Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre. It was a marvelous musical with complicated decor changes, powerful music and singing, impressive costumes, and it included a falling chandelier and a theatre ghost, among other things. High class entertainment.

Tuesday morning I went shopping again. The underwear department at Marks & Spencer is large, and I got some things there for myself. There was another store, Evans, that sold clothes of my size (the only one I could find, sadly) and I got some small items there. After dropping off the bags at the hotel, I took the subway to South Kensington. Riding the subway in London requires orientation skills and patience. After three train rides and a walk through a long tunnel, I arrived at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It's a large place with very diverse collections, gathered from all over the world, but mainly from Asia and the East. I looked at the enormous tapestries from the 16th century (some of them over 40 square meters large), and the textile department with laces, embroidery and woven materials from the 5th century and on. Incredible craftsmanship. There was also a room filled with jewelry and gemstones from 1000 B.C. until the present day. Very interesting.

Lunch was at an Italian brasserie, a chicken club sandwich with chocolate mousse cake for dessert. Very tasty. Spent quite a long time at Harrod's, the big and famous store. They had a large area with Christmas decorations and I made some purchases there. I browsed through the other shops in that area also. One sales assistant in the Accessorize store changed language when she saw my credit card - she was Swedish. There are lots of Swedes in London, not only tourists. I had dinner at Hard Rock Cafe - the original restaurant. The Cobb Salad was very nice. Talkative waiter. The stores close at 9 pm, so there was more time to shop after dinner. I went to Selfridges, a large department store celebrating 100 years, and found even more Christmas decorations there. After a short rest at the hotel, I went for a walk in the area just west of there. It was different than the touristy areas. The stores had signs in Arabic and sold strange food items and offered Chinese herbal medicine.

Wednesday I left the hotel in the morning and walked north to the Marylebone area. There were some book stores and charity shops there. I walked up Baker Street and looked at the statue of Sherlock Holmes and visited the memorabilia store that bears his name. After even more souvenir shopping (an egg cup for my collection, for instance), I took the subway to Victoria Station. Lunch was once again at an Italian place, Bella Italia. The chicken was excellent and the dessert, The Godfather, was too. Brownie, ice-cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate chips and pieces of fudge..... It was raining and there wasn't much interesting to see or do in that area, so I took the train back to the airport in the afternoon. Did the last shopping in some of the taxfree shops there and had a traditional bacon cheeseburger for dinner before boarding the plane back to Copenhagen in the evening. It's a two hour flight and it was actually on time. I was lucky with the train connections on the way home, and arrived at my apartment at midnight.

Generally, the visit in London didn't include as much shopping as I had thought. I never had to check my luggage on the way back, it passed as carry-on. Personally I didn't find that much to buy, but it was still interesting to see what's in fashion, and the museum, the show and the architecture were fascinating also. It takes a while before you get used to the traffic, since they drive on the left side of the road. Even though there were few ordinary cars in the city center (due to toll roads), it's not a healthy city to live in. It's very dirty and noisy. And I can't help comparing the subway to the one in New York. It's definitely easier, cheaper and faster than the London system.

There were no surprises at work today, but I was told I had been missed. It's a fairly busy time of the year. I did notice that I had been walking a lot lately, my legs and feet hurt.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Book sale

The week at work was a fairly normal one. It was my turn to drive to the remote storages, and it went ok. It's not particularly fun, but someone has to do it.

Yesterday the local Amnesty group had their biannual second hand book sale. It's always very well organized, they even divide the books into subject areas. I found three books of interest; a memoir by a Swede in Canada, a collection of letters written from emigrants to their families in Sweden and a biography of Gustaf Hellström (an author whose mother was born in Norra Strö). Several of my colleagues had also made it to the book sale, and one even found books for her library. My favorite thrift store had Christmas decorations for sale (like most other stores), and I got a small bag with various things to hang in the Christmas tree.

This afternoon I'm going to the airport in Copenhagen, to catch a flight to London. I haven't been abroad this year and I thought I would go on a trip somewhere. It was ten years ago I was in London and I have been wanting to go back again. It's just a three-day visit, but I hope to get some of the Christmas shopping done there.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November darkness

Already November and it gets darker and darker. Colder also. The jacket I bought very cheaply at Ullared in September has proven to be very useful. It's both thick and windproof.

Sunday I went to the mall and bought some small items, but the rest of the weekend was spent at home. There was not much activity. I solved some crossword puzzles and tried to decide what clothes to bring on my trip to London.

We have been asked to do a presentation of a project my department is involved in at work. We decided to do a slide show. Today my colleague and I went to the remote storages and he took photos of me taking the request from the printer, loading the carts into the car, climbing up on a ladder to retrieve the volume at the storage and so on. The guy who scans the articles also got photographed. We will show all our other colleagues the routine from the moment the article is requested until it becomes available online. My more technically gifted co-workers will enter these photos into a viewing program, and we will present it later this month.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Work related issues

Wednesday morning I woke up an hour and a half too late! I had forgotten to set the alarm clock. It was not a pleasant awakening, realizing that so much time had been lost. We are so busy at work in the mornings. It wasn't a world record, but I was out of the door in 22 minutes. I even remembered to bring the lunch boxes with me. When I arrived at the train station, the screen indicated train delay by 20 minutes. It was not a good start of the day. I lagged behind with work for the rest of the day.

Today I actually remembered the 8.30 meeting, much to the other's surprise. I had told my closest colleagues to remind me, and it helped. The desk duty this afternoon was kind of interesting. I knew beforehand that a woman would come and ask for old music material (chapbooks) that I had retrieved. The main problem was that she arrived five minutes before closing time (which is 5 pm). She was totally clueless of everything. She had gone to the city library first, believing that it was the right place. When she got to our library, she couldn't find her way to the manuscript reading room (there are signs). A reference librarian had to escort her. When she told me who she was, I got the material out, but she was so stressed for time that she couldn't sit down to look at it. I was prepared to make an exception and let her stay longer, but it didn't help. She hastily decided on having all of it copied, and filled in the form. During this whole time she talked non-stop, mostly about unrelating subjects. In addition, she asked for copies from two books she had seen in the reference collection ten minutes earlier, but couldn't remember the titles and didn't have time to show me. It will be a guessing game for me tomorrow. There is no way she is a regular visitor at any library.

Monday, October 26, 2009


It's dark and rainy here now. Typical Swedish Fall weather. It's dark when I leave home in the morning and dark when I leave work in the afternoon. Pretty boring and slightly depressing. I decided to cheer me up with a shopping trip - I'm going on a three-day visit to London on November 8. So I have spent most of the weekend searching online for clothing/shoe/vintage/second hand stores that I want to go to. I was thinking of seeing at least one museum also.

Friday we had a party for seven employees who no longer works at the library. Six of them retired and the seventh got a new job in Stockholm. It's always nice to have a party, but sad to see so many colleagues go at the same time. With the current financial problems none of them will be replaced. This will soon have pretty interesting consequences. The acquisition department no longer has time to open all the boxes with incoming books, for instance. For my department I'm not going to complain yet, we have the youngest staff members. But one part-timer is leaving in February and the newest employee will get changed duties part of the time he is in the stacks, starting January. There haven't been any changes for the better at the library for quite a while, unfortunately.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bowling in Malmö

Tuesday evening the social club at work arranged dinner & bowling in Malmö. We had this arrangement also last fall. We started with the dinner and it was marvelous food. Wild boar steak, moose meatballs, deer steak, bbq ribs, spicy chicken and lots of other great dishes. It was called Hunter's Buffet. We all ate too much. The bowling was fun and the styles varied a lot. One in my team won, but he was not really an amateur, he had done this quite a few times before. I managed four strikes in the last series and I was told it was pretty good. I hope everybody understands that it was just luck. It was the third time I had been in a bowling hall in my life. The arrangement was definitely a success and we will probably do this again next year.

Today we had a visit from a young German library science student from Berlin. Her name was Dana and she followed me around during most of the morning work. She retrieved books in the stacks and then we drove to the remote storages to do the same. She was really impressed by the large shelving systems. Her English was quite good and she actually tried to learn Swedish.

Yesterday a brand new gigantic Ikea store opened in Malmö. They had grown out of their old building. The newspapers reported that 20 000 people had visited. Unbelievable. I might go there some day later, when things are not so crazy.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Challenges at work

This week at work has meant quite a few challenges by our patrons. A patron came in and asked what trunier means in French. He said it was a military title. We went through all the French language and military encyclopedias we have from around 1700 and on, and we came up with nothing. I really hope the word was incorrectly spelled, otherwise we can't help him. Another patron handed in four requests for Swedish books he couldn't find in the catalog..... It took me over two hours to locate three of them. One was a newspaper, one was "grey" print (uncataloged) and the third was an article in a magazine. The fourth I actually gave up on. It's not like me to do that, but not even the Royal Library had it, and it was unlikely that we would have it then.

Desk duty on Thursday was incredibly busy. I hardly got to sit down. There were many scholars who read manuscripts and old books, and they had lots of questions also. I felt slightly braindead afterwards, but at the same time it had been quite fun.

This Tuesday we had a meeting with a company that sells shelving systems. The meeting was really not interesting. It was very different from the other company, the one in Denmark where they treated us to lunch, dinner and a factory tour. This Swedish company sent one representative over, and what he basically did was to apologize for the crappy system they had sold to us a few years ago. He promised that the electronic part of the shelves had improved since then, and I definitely hope so. We have had lots of problems with it. If the shelves get stuck and we can't open them (it's a 10 meter high compact system on rails), we miss our deadline and have to send messages to all the patrons waiting for the books. It's annoying, especially since we can't fix the problems ourselves. If we get to have a say, we want the shelves from the Danish company. Now, we don't get to have a say, because the lowest bidder gets the job.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wedding in Västergötland

Friday after work I went by train to my father's place. We had pizza downtown Vinslöv. This is the place where I grew up, I lived there for about 20 years. There were not many stores that had survived from that time.

Saturday morning my father and I went by car to the province of Västergötland. It took about four hours to reach the area of Kinnekulle, which is a forested hill with a natural preserve. The fall foliage was very beautiful, the colors were very strong in red and yellow. We checked in to the hostel and met several of our relatives there. My grandfather (aged 95) was there, among others. It really is amazing that he can take such active part in the family events. We changed our clothes and drove to the church, ten minutes away. It was a small countryside church, situated with a wonderful view of lake Vänern. We attended the wedding of my first cousin Johan and his girlfriend Monika there. It was a nice ceremony, and surprisingly short, about 30 minutes. The party was at an old smith's house at a manor house nearby. About 80 guests enjoyed the meal (deer - very delicious), the speeches, the sing-along and the general ambiance. My aunt had made the cake herself, nine cakes with chocolate and raspberry mousse. In all, a great party!

I might add that I was wearing a brown dress with turquoise-blue dots on, a necklace I got at a second hand store for 30 SEK and a bracelet I had made myself. I bought the dress at Macy's in New York City last year, and it was the first time I used it. A great bargain, I think it cost something like 25 USD.

Sunday morning my father was going to continue further north, to go moose hunting, so I went with my sister and her husband to Borås instead. My mother and nephew joined us for a lunch at a Greek restaurant. It was a small celebration of my sister's and her husband's wedding anniversary. After coffee at my mother's apartment, she drove me to the train station. It took about four hours to travel back home to Kävlinge.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nobel Prize winner books

It's the same thing almost every year. It takes just a few minutes before someone orders all the books we have by the author who is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The winner was announced today at 1 pm exactly and three minutes later a scholar ordered the books by Herta Müller. We had eight books in Swedish and one in German. I have never read any of them, but I recognized some of the titles.

Yet again I somehow blacked out and forgot the 8.30 meeting today, but this time they went looking for me. The meeting resulted in even more work for us in the stacks, so I would gladly have missed it. The entire circulation department will physically move up two floors to the same level where I have my desk. The process involves making a total review of all the routines we have, both in common with them and separate from them. The flow charts we will have to create will be rather complicated.

Tomorrow I will travel to my father's place outside Hässleholm. Early Saturday morning we will go by car to the province of Västergötland. My first cousin will get married in a small country church and we are looking forward to seeing the other relatives also.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cauliflower soup recipe

In a large pan fry a chopped onion a few minutes until soft and golden brown. Add a cube of vegetable stock, 2-3 dl/1 cup of creme fraiche/cooking yoghurt and about the same amount of mushroom soup/sauce (chanterelles preferably). Finely chop a cauliflower head and put in the pan. Add more liquid if it doesn't cover the cauliflower. Cook for 15-20 minutes. If it's not thick enough, add grated cheese at the end. Salt to taste. Also nice to fry fresh chanterelles and bacon or ham with the onion.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ordinary work week

I can't believe it's already October. Time goes by so quickly. It's pretty cold here (especially in the mornings), and very windy. There are some pretty amazing rainshowers also, often with hail.

It has been a fairly ordinary week at work, except for the fact that I have desk duty today (normally it's on Thursdays). There is a total of one visitor. I'm glad I brought some work with me, otherwise this would be very boring.

Apart from the hair cut I got yesterday, there isn't really much else to report. Everyday life in Sweden isn't that exciting.

I have (had?) technical problems with the blogspot-page, which often means that it takes a long time before the page gets updated. Sometimes the automatic sending doesn't function and those who get these blogs as emails don't get any messages. The last blog posting was 27 Sep and I think most of you missed that one.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I was in Lund yesterday to visit the last fleamarket for the season. Found three egg cups for my collection, all with chickens on. There was a stall where they sold items for necklace making, and it was pretty cheap, 5 SEK per bag. I got five bags with beads and other things and paid 25 SEK. They really wanted to get rid of it, because the seller added more bags at no extra charge. I will share these items with my mother. There was a farmer's market in the square, and I couldn't resist the fresh cauliflower and broccoli. The quality was outstanding, this is really harvesting season. I roasted the vegetables (also red beets and shelling peas) and sprinkled olive oil and spices on top. I ate it with the hamburger I made the previous day. There is a spice mix for Swedish meatballs which is very nice to use also for hamburgers. The meal was one of my successes in the kitchen, without a doubt.

There was more cooking done today and it was also rather successful. It was one of my standard dishes, sausage casserole. It turned out to be enough for eight future lunches (not in consecutive order, though). The freezer is filled to the brim now.

I have also been tidying up at home, been to the recycling place nearby and shopped for groceries. Since I don't have a car, I have to go grocery shopping quite often. One project I have started is to get rid of things I don't really need. I'm filling a box with stuff like Christmas ornaments, fridge magnets, books, kitchen utensils and (duplicate) egg cups that I will give to one of the secondhand stores in Lund.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three Americans

Yesterday I left work at 11 am and walked down to the Church of Dome. After a few minutes three Americans showed up, all eager to learn more about the country their ancestors came from. In 2006 I was contacted by Cal from Minnesota, since he had seen on the internet that I do research in Norra Strö records. His great grandfather was born in Norra Strö, and it was rather easy to find the details about his ancestors. He is not related to me, but our ancestors lived in the same village. I went with Cal, his wife and son to the church at Norra Strö, where a local resident explained the images on the mural paintings. That church was built around 1150 and the renowned paintings are from about 1450. The visitors were really impressed. We continued on to the site where the ancestral home had been, on the border between Strö and Övarp villages. Several generations had lived there until the end of the 19th century, when all of them decided that America was a better place to live. We also visited the historical museum, where there was a painting of the house. We viewed the exhibits too, both the school room and the local memorabilia section. Very nicely done exhibits. Afterwards we had dinner in Kristianstad, and they all expressed gratitude for the guided tour. It was great fun to be a guide, and I'm glad my knowledge of Norra Strö history comes to use sometimes. Later in the evening I returned home by train.

The weekly routine of going swimming at the indoor pool in Lund started again last week. I usually go on Wednesdays, so I was there today. I have to say that the best part is the 20 minutes in the hot sauna afterwards. The actual swimming can be rather stressful, since the kids in swimming training splash a lot in the next lanes. For some reason everybody else seems to swim faster than I also.

There is just one detail from the workplace I must share. Today a sign was displayed in the restrooms, explaining proper handling of the liquid used to keep our hands extra clean and free of bacteria. It was short and simple statements in Swedish on one half of the paper and in English on the other. After reading the English version I burst out laughing. First of all, they called the alcoholic liquid detergent (which to me sounds totally wrong), and then there were a total of four spelling mistakes in the text (flue instead of flu, for instance). This sign is displayed all over the university. I lack words.....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New glasses

I would have written on the blog earlier, but I kept getting error messages when I tried to log on. It seems to be working again now.

The week at work was tough and I have yet again back issues. It was too ambitious to shelve eight meters of folio format books on the same afternoon. The backlog was one of the worst I have seen. It is better now, but I really don't want to have to work that hard to keep the flow of books at an acceptable level.

It has been interesting to ride the trains this week. There are even more commuters than before. The highway between Malmö and Helsingborg is blocked by road work, and many more people are taking the train. The train company has tried to extend the trains, but failed most of the times. One driver, whose train was 20 minutes late, told us an entertaining story of the worst work day for him so far. His train set had been locked in by railroad construction at the freight station, and it took a long time to get it out. In order to make up for lost time he drove fast, and was forced to brake hard at a red light. This produced smoke that set off the fire alarm onboard. We forgave him for the delay.

Saturday I picked up my new glasses. I got the others five years ago and it's incredible what a change it was to get new ones. I didn't realize how scratched the old ones were. I also went to the fleamarket and got some necklaces cheaply. I will use the pearls to make new necklaces. When I write pearls, I really mean glass beads. Sometimes plastic. Today was also a shopping day. I went to the mall, but only bought some small things. A new box with compartments to keep the beads in, for instance.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to work

This weekend I did even more cleaning and tidying up. The apartment looked really messy and I had a large load of laundry to do. Sunday my friend Eva visited to get some of my discarded clothes. In return I got apples and pickled herring. I used the apples to make a pie and it turned out pretty good. I was cooking lunches for work also, but the result wasn't that great. It was edible, but I should have taken cream instead of lowfat milk in the shrimp pie. The crust wasn't crispy either.

It was the first day at work today after four weeks of vacation. There were no surprises, just the usual technical and staff problems. The amount of returns not shelved was enormous, and it will result in a very serious talk with my boss when she gets back next week. We can't continue like this, there must be enough people shelving the books.

The main topic of discussion in the lunch room was the pandemic flu. The daughter of a colleague is sick, but it was uncertain if it was the really bad flu. There is no escaping it, it's just luck if I don't get it. I don't meet that many people during work, but I ride a (packed) train every day and the virus is airborne. We have been told to wash our hands thoroughly and often, but I already do since I work in the (dusty) stacks.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Shopping and research

Monday was yet another shopping day with my mother. There are several outlet stores in Borås, many mail order companies are based there and have a place to sell last year's collections to a fraction of the original price. I got a pair of jeans for 60 SEK and a tunic for 50 SEK, for instance.

Tuesday my mother drove me to the train station (after checking out a second hand store first - bought a yellow bracelet). I had a heavy load to carry: a backpack, a suitcase, a large plastic bag and a handbag. After riding three different trains I arrived back home in the evening.

Wednesday I had a lot to catch up on. Lots of junk mail to sort, dead insects to dispose of, plants to water, clothes to unpack and e-mails to write.

Yesterday I went to the archive to do some research. I hadn't been there in quite a while. There are a few Americans (not related) coming here in a week and a half, and I wanted to add to the genealogy files before they arrive. Another thing I found was the address to a very distant relative in Ottumwa, Iowa. She was just referred to as Mrs F Nelson and I had no idea if she had any children. I know from earlier cases that there is a chance the younger generations keep the house (especially if it's a rural area). I entered the address in the most used search engine online and in seconds I understood the connections. It instantly solved a brick-wall case I had eight years ago. I keep all unsolved cases in a special file. I never, ever give up. In 2001 I visited a granddaughter of Selma and August Peterson (Maywood, IL). Among the family belongings was a letter written in the 1970s from a woman in Ottumwa, Iowa, stating that she was related to the Petersons - but didn't explain how. The letter writer turned out to be a second cousin to Selma's children. (Also a second cousin to my grandfather and his siblings, but none of them would ever have known this).

Today I went to Lund again. This time to get new glasses. There was a waiting time of three hours to get my eyes examined, so I went shopping first (is anyone surprised?). Not so many clothes this time, just a top on sale. I stocked up on medicine to ease flu symptoms (the most feared kind of flu has already spread at the university). I also got some plastic containers to keep the flour in so that bugs can't get into it. The eye exam went well, my eye sight has changed very little in the past five years. I will get my new glasses (two pairs) in a few weeks.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Trip to Borås

Friday August 28 I spent most of the day clearing out my cupboard in the kitchen. There were unfortunately some small bugs that had moved in that I had to get rid of. I threw away seven bags of food, sprayed the cupboard with bug spray, closed the door and left home.

The visit at my mother's place was mostly packing and cleaning. The Saturday and Sunday we got a visit from a Mattisson relative, Roland and his wife Ewa. We went to Övarp to see the ruins of the old family farm. The house burned down in December 1946, and the area is now forested and difficult to get to. We had a picnic on the front steps. We talked a lot about the ancestors (it had been the location for the Mattisson family since late 1600s) and what we would have done without the internet (they found us through Swedish Roots website).

Monday - Wednesday we spent emptying the fridge, freezer and other spaces in the kitchen, preparing the house for the winter, solved crosswords, and got a short visit from aunt Elna. Early Thursday morning my mother and I started with an overloaded car towards the western part of Sweden. We made a stop at this country's most famous discount store, Gekås in Ullared. It's a huge place that sells clothes, toys, electronics, dry goods, and many other things very cheaply. There are also other outlet stores in the area. We didn't shop that much (compared to other customers), but I got two winter coats, a grey top, a swimsuit and some other things. My mother also found some nice tops, and shopped in the pearl outlet store. After driving in a terrible rainstorm, we arrived in Borås at about 3 pm. We unloaded the car and rested for a while. My mother's apartment is pretty close to my sister's house, and I walked down there to spend the night.

Friday morning my mother came to pick me up and we did a tour of the town. I still need new glasses, and we went to the optician to look for some appropriate ones. I picked some out, but will not buy them here. It's easier to do that in Lund when I return home. After buying a shirt on sale, going grocery shopping and picking up my nephew at daycare, we returned to the apartment. Dinner was at her place also.

Saturday my mother and I worked from 10 to 1 at the second hand store she regularly works at as a volunteer. It was a big place and very popular. I attended to the clothes and it was busy. People are sloppy and clothes end up on the floor or in the wrong crate. I can understand that my mother enjoys being there, because it was quite fun. Afterwards we were in town to cheer on my brother-in-law, who was running a 10 km race. We missed him at the finish, but met for an indoor picnic later with a few other participants and their families. There were many young children and it was rather noisy.

Today we went to a small village outside Borås, where they had a flea market. People had parked their cars, opened their trunks and sold items from there. There was also a house with small rooms, each rented by a seller. There were jewelry, second hand items, children's clothes and decorative items. My mother was the only one who made purchases, she found some necklaces she will take apart and use the pearls to make new ones. She also got two bags with pearls for 20 SEK (very cheap). Afterwards we had lunch at Ellagården, a restaurant outside of town in a rural area. The restaurant was in the renovated barn, and the food was really great with a large buffet. Waffles for dessert. We also went to a resting stop at the highway. It was a beautiful spot by a small lake. There was a handcraft sale there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Railway museum

Tuesday I unpacked and went grocery shopping. Wednesday I travelled to Helsingborg to a mall and found a jacket in the store where it's not possible to shop unless it's a sale. They had 70% off all summer clothes. The jacket had cost 1900 SEK (I paid 500), so it was of pretty good quality.

Yesterday I went to work in the morning and helped out for an hour, so that all the staff members who wanted to could join the bus trip to Ängelholm, arranged by the social club. We started at noon from Lund and it took about one hour to get to the railway museum (slightly delayed by two road construction sites and the absence of a gps/map/directions to the museum). It was a fairly large museum with built-up interiors of a railroad worker's cottage, a station waiting room from the late 19th century and a mine. There were several model trains from all eras, informational films on small monitors, a large steam engine built in Kristianstad in 1906, a movie theater where the benches were moving so it was like riding the trains you saw on the film, displays of different signalling systems, bridge constructions and much else. I don't think there has ever been that many male colleagues on any trip we have done before. After surviving the rush hour traffic, we got back to Lund at about 6 pm. We then had dinner at a restaurant focused on organic, locally produced food. It was a buffet with lots of vegetable dishes, and the food was great.

Today is yet another travelling day. I will visit my mother again. Some time next week she and I will drive to Borås. It may take a while before this page gets updated.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Trip to Stockholm

My sister and her family were also at my mother's place the weekend of August 15-16, and we did some excursions in the area together. We went to the highest waterfall in Skåne, Forsakar, which is about 10 meters high (a second one in the same creek is about 8 meters high). Not that impressive statistically, but a pretty area with "troll forest". My brother-in-law is interested in geocaching (treasure hunting with a gps), and he found some locations during our trips. We were also at an old water mill for the bakeday and we drove around in a formerly military area on the coast which is a moor with grazing sheep. It was a special place with dry grasslands and flowers, with a very nice view of the coastline.

The first three days of last week my mother and I went to several fleamarkets and second hand-stores, visited some of my mother's friends, picked wild blackberries, and prepared for the up-coming trip. Wednesday we took the train to Stockholm. It was two hours delayed, and it was very boring to stand and wait for it, but we endured. We visited my mother's 1st cousin Rolf and his wife, who have an apartment two subway stations away from the central station. I visited them in May also. My mother and I couldn't help ourselves, so we frequented many of the second hand-stores in the area. We found some real nice things. I got a pair of shorter pants for 20 SEK and a white skirt for the same amount. Also a handbag cheaply. My mother found an ad in the local paper about a store that sold pearls for 70% off, and she spent an hour in there, shopping like mad. She got some great bargains also in other stores. Our relatives brought us to Millesgården, which is a sculpture garden formerly owned by the artist Carl Milles. Not only interesting pieces of art both inside and outside, but also an incredible view from it and a great restaurant.

Saturday my mother and I travelled on to a friend of hers who lives northeast of Stockholm. We travelled by train (two different) for about an hour. We found the Petersen family at the greyhound racetrack. They were working there as volunteers, and didn't participate actively in the racing. They have two greyhounds, but one is too young to race and the other too old. It was interesting to see the races, the dogs were running very fast. A race was over in 32 seconds and it was hard to see who actually won.

Sunday we went to Vaxholm to take the ferry out to an island in the norteastern archipelago. Finnhamn is a rocky island covered with forest. There is a restaurant, a hostel, a small farm, some small houses for rent and lots of visitors come from Stockholm during the summer to enjoy the nature, go sailing and hiking. It was very picturesque. We had a magnificent lunch there, a special kind of herring on crispbread.

We started out early this morning and that was good, because there were transportation problems in Stockholm. It took two and a half hours to get from Åkersberga to central Stockholm by train, subway and bus. We spent the morning in Gamla Stan (the Old Town), a very touristy area with lots of souvenir shops and small cafes. We found a store with everything half price off, and made some purchases there. After lunch at a coffee place, we returned home by train this afternoon. I arrived back in Kävlinge at 8 pm.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Seafood buffet

We missed out on the fleamarkets because my mother's car was at the mechanic's. It took longer time than expected to get it fixed, but it's now running smoothly without the annoying noise we had to listen to for many months. The only thing left to fix is the air conditioning, which all of a sudden thinks it's winter outside and switches to hot air.

Saturday we had seafood buffet at a restaurant near Åhus. We were supposed to bring Mark here, but instead of cancelling the reservation, we kept it and had a wonderful meal. Prawns, several kinds of salmon, clams and crab with salad, potatoes and bread. There was also music entertainment, three young people were singing easy-listening tunes. Very nice evening.

Sunday my mother and I went to the beach closer to Furuboda. The waves were fairly high and the water was reasonably warm. It was the first time I jumped into the ocean this year and it was great fun!

Monday there was a package for me to collect, and it was a blender! It seems to be the result of a competition where you were asked to give a smoothie recipe. My sister and I composed a few for this competition back in June, but we didn't try them, so it's uncertain if they were actually drinkable. My brother-in-law won one too, so they might not have gotten that many answers.

The week at work has so far been busy. One colleague called in sick today and we didn't really need that. Some of the students have received their reading lists, and have already started to order books for the upcoming semester (starts August 31).

Friday I will again travel to my mother's place. My vacation starts then and I will be away for about ten days. I might not get to a computer to write here in a while.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


We are a little surprised by the nice weather here. It's quite sunny and warm. Many of my colleagues have already had their vacation and have not been that happy to return after four weeks of mostly rain. The wet ground has enabled bugs of all kinds to flourish. Some parts of Malmö have been invaded by ladybugs. I have to keep the window open at my desk at work (no air conditioning) and there are lots of insects finding their way in.

I drive to the remote storages also this week, but now I also retrieve books at all four places (usually it's two places). Apart from myself, there is one fulltime and one parttime worker right now. Not much, but we are making it. The hard work has taken its toll a little sooner than I hoped. I had to go to the chiropractor again this Monday.

This upcoming weekend I will spend with my mother. I'm sure there will be at least one fleamarket visited.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Closet clearance

I was in Malmö this Saturday. I went to some of the second hand stores, but didn't find anything worth buying. One of my favorite stores is Gray's. They import American food and cool things like fridge magnets, Elvis memorabilia and bbq equipment. I got some cake mixes there.

After all the clothes shopping recently, I thought it was time to clear out my closet again. I ended up throwing away some tops I have ruined by eating too sloppily. The usable clothes I don't want anymore filled two bags. Amazing.

I have also given up on the balcony flowers. I threw most of them away this weekend. They were really not attended to as much as they deserved. The weather has been bad (except for this past weekend), so I haven't spent any time on the balcony. The weather today was extreme, the rain was very heavy and the thunder and lightning caused traffic problems. The trains were over one hour delayed this afternoon.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Designer clothes

The Andersons have been in the Kristianstad area for a few days now. They seem to be enjoying their visit. They have been to the ancestral home in Övarp, where they met the current owner Mats. My father was also there and he said it had been a very nice visit. The Andersons will leave today to go to Copenhagen, for further transportation to Italy early tomorrow morning.

I just received the both good and bad news saying that Mark Anderson got his job back and can't come to Sweden. He was supposed to come next week, but was forced to cancel everything because he had to start working again. He was laid off this spring and expected to have lots of time to travel, so it was disappointing that he will not get to visit us as planned. We are happy his job situation got solved, though.

There is a fairly new second hand store in Lund that sells designer clothes. At least that's what it said in the shop window. In my experience, designer clothes never come in my size, so I was skeptical. But I did find a pair of black jeans with embroidery that was on sale for only 79 SEK. It was not a designer brand, however I don't think I have ever bought jeans that cheaply.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Salmon and blueberry pie

Saturday my mother and I spent a few hours in Åhus. First we went to the two flea market stores, but only found one thing worth buying (an egg cup). Afterwards we had a baguette at the nice cafe in the center of town. We also went shopping at a clothing store where everything was half price off. It's very unusual to find jeans in my size in ordinary clothing stores, so I was surprised to find a pair there, and quite affordable too. My mother found two very nice tops there. After going up and down the shopping street, we finished with a big ice-cream from the stall in the old square. Åhus is a picturesque town and there were many tourists from different countries (mainly Germany and Denmark).

Sunday morning my mother and I loaded the car with boxes of decorative items and shoes, and drove about 600 meters down to the public sports area, where there is a tennis court and a field for basketball. The local home owner's association arranged a small flea market, where the residents sold their unwanted stuff. It was fun to be there, but we really didn't sell much. The people who had brought toys to sell were doing pretty well, but we had no such things. We managed to get rid of one pair of shoes, two table runners and a set of coffee cups. Naturally, my mother shopped from the others (fabric), but we still ended on plus.

Around lunchtime we gave up the flea market, went home, changed clothes and drove to Kristianstad. We met Jane and her family at the hotel, and it was great to see them again. They had borrowed a car and we drove to a fish restaurant south of Åhus. The salmon was incredible. Very, very tasty. We had a good time talking about basically everything from environmental issues to the trip they had just been on in Norway. Then we continued further south to my mother's place and had afternoon coffee. The blueberry pie was praised, and rightfully so. We also made a quick visit to the ocean. The water was bitterly cold, but it was beautiful weather and we all enjoyed the view. Back in Kristianstad late afternoon, they dropped me off at the train station. I arrived home at nine pm.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lots of materials

There really isn't much to report. It's busy days at work. Today we had two scholars from Germany visiting the manuscript reading room. Luckily, they could speak English. We have been challenged several times recently by visitors who have asked for material not found in any of the catalogs. We do have a huge collection (more than seven million items) and a fairly large part of it is not properly cataloged. As a general rule, if it was printed in Sweden, we should have it. It's a repository library, we (should) get everything printed in this country. I mean everything. The paper ads displaying the local grocery store's special deals, newspapers, brochures from the IRS explaining how to do your taxes, phone directories, text books, maps, billboard posters, novels & poetry, calendars, yearbooks from local historical societies, annual reports from businesses, glossy magazines, encyclopedias, mail order catalogs, children's books and fact books about any imaginable subject. It's a challenge to keep track of everything.

Tomorrow I will travel to my mother's place after work and spend the weekend there. We will see Jane and her family on Sunday.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Projects at work

There are still problems with the trains, but it's not as bad as it could have been. During the summer there is the summer pass, which is much more affordable than the regular monthly card. The summer pass gives you 50 rides in Skåne, no matter the length of the trip. My monthly card is only valid between Kävlinge and Lund, so now I can go to other cities more easily. This year I haven't been to that many other places. The weather has been either too warm or too rainy. Right now it's cloudy and very windy, and I decided to stay at home.

We have a lot to do at work, because of all the extra projects. They hired three people to move some 40 000 books and they did that much faster than we expected. We had to come up with another task, so they are now out at a remote storage to unpack eight pallets with books. This means that we have to give them a ride there every morning, get them for lunch and pick them up at 3 in the afternoon. Lots of driving, and my boss who was supposed to do most of it got sick, so I have had a busy week. I have also tried to train the recent employee to manage retrieval from the older collection, discarded unwanted books and several other things. Next week will be even worse, two of the most experienced colleagues will be away (one just got married and the other is a heavy metal fan who goes to Germany for a music festival every year).

In about a week Leroy Anderson's daughter Jane and her family will visit Sweden! They will arrive in Kristianstad on Saturday and spend about five days there. It will be great to see them again, and I really hope the weather improves until then.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Saturday I didn't do much, but Sunday was shopping day. I went by train and bus to Väla, a large mall outside Helsingborg. There is a special (and expensive) clothing store for the full sized woman, and it's affordable only during sales. I ended up with two pairs of jeans and a long tunic. I also found bargains in other stores, some tops mainly. One store had the offer of getting three pieces on sale and pay only for two, and annoyingly I found two pieces there that I wanted. After some searching I chose a skirt also.

Monday morning the work of exchanging the train tracks beween Malmö and Lund started. It was not a good day for the train operators in this region. The line is heavily used, and even though it is summer, the number of passengers is large. Instead of three trains an hour, there is now only one an hour for me to get to and from work. A significant change, since I have never had to bother about the schedule before. We will have to endure this arrangement for three weeks.

Since my father asked me to get a book for him about the area in southern Stockholm where he grew up, I also ordered some books I have been thinking about for a while. I got two cookbooks for myself, by the same authors (two sisters). I had one of their books on loan for several years, that's how interesting it is. Both books contain recipes for cookies, cakes, icecream and other sweets. Some examples: Southern pecan pie, Death by chocolate, Aunt Martha's secret almond & nougat cake and pop tarts. Definitely my kind of cookbook.

This evening I went by train from work to Helsingborg (45 minute ride) for the only reason to have dinner at Ebba's cafe. It's a well known cafe with everything in 1950s style. Posters with ads for soft drinks no longer in existence, real china plates and utensils from that era, a jukebox playing Elvis and old fashioned food. They have hamburgers, salads and sandwiches, in addition to a huge selection of homebaked cookies. I got a grilled chicken sandwich that was very nice. Pecan pie for dessert.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Failed cakes

It has been a pretty ordinary week at work. The weather is not so good anymore (rain showers and partly sunny), and it's bearable to sit at my desk. We have started on the summer projects, and it's not fun. I sit and compare about 5000 printouts from the database with a card catalog. Very boring. The others got their share of tasks: one got the long term project of moving about 20 000 meters of books and another is scanning an entire set of a journal which started around 1890.

Yesterday evening I made an attempt at baking cupcakes and failed. I started baking according to the recipe and discovered that the wheat flour was outdated. I couldn't use it, so I had to walk across town to the store. They were out of flour! How is it possible not to have such a basic food item in stock?! I had to walk even further to the other store to get it. Back home I continued baking and decided to add pieces of strawberries. The result was not good. I claim that there was something wrong with the recipe, the cakes were not baked all through. I was supposed to treat my colleagues today, but they got bought cookies instead. They actually commented on it, because I always have homebaked ones.

Monday, July 6, 2009

More research

Despite the hot and humid weather I went on the free bus to the mall Saturday. In retrospect, I probably should have stayed at home. It was an ordeal to try on clothes and shoes in such a temperature. Even though most of the stores are under a roof, it took a long time to get cooled off indoors. I did find a few tops and a pair of (short) jeans.

The rest of the weekend was slower. I talked to my mother several times on the phone to help her with clues to crosswords. It's kind of difficult when you don't see the actual crossword, but we finally managed all of the missing clues. I hope she wins something when sending them in. I also did some more searching in my grandfather's ancestors, trying to get further back on the Danish side. It was fairly successful, thanks to other researcher's postings on the internet. We descend from people named Lorup, Finck, and Torm, in addition to more Danish-sounding names like Christensen, Jensen and Olufsen. They originate mainly from Denmark, northern Germany and Holland. Several lines can be traced back to the 15th century, and that's rather unusual. I would never have found information about the ancestors that far back without access to the internet.

Speaking of ancestors, my mother got an interesting book for her birthday at the end of June. It was from John, and the book was entitled: For my grandchild. It is like a simplified autobiography. It contained many pages with questions like favorite color, lucky number, how did your parents meet, where did you grow up, where did you go to school, when did you leave home, and many, many more. There was also a family tree with spaces to write the names of the ancestors. The idea is that she fills in all the answers and then gives the book back to John. I encourage all efforts to make people write about their lives, and I hope my mother will take the time to fill in the answers in this book.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Upgrade and weather

It had been a tough week for the others at work when I was at Furuboda. The database was upgraded, and it went rather badly. When the database started functioning again on Wednesday, the staff members (at about 30 libraries) entered all the transactions they had kept on paper for over a week. The next day there was a message saying that all the transactions done Wednesday had been lost and no back-up had been made. By then several libraries had shelved all their returns. This means that there are thousands of books on shelves that are still on loan, according to the database. It will be interesting to see what the patrons will say when they get notifications about books they have already returned. And then there are all the books that really are on loan and will be lost, because there is no longer any evidence indicating the patron's names. This was one of the best upgrades, believe it or not. On other occasions we have had much bigger problems.

The weather has been very sunny and warm, with some thunder and rain. It's very humid also, and it's not at all pleasant to work in the old part of the library where my desk is. It's much better to be down in the basement where it's cooler. Unfortunately, I don't have any projects to do in the basement. At home there is 29 centigrades in the kitchen and it's kind of difficult to do any extensive cooking.

There are sales in almost every store at this time of year, but I haven't really had the energy to go to that many of them. The only bargain was a pair of jeans for 99 SEK. Apart from that, just some small things. I have also been to several opticians because I need new glasses, but haven't found any ones to my liking yet.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


The weather changed between Monday and Tuesday. We now have the sunny Swedish summer weather we have been waiting for the past month.

Tuesday evening I went back to my mother's place. Wednesday and Thursday we were busy unpacking an incredible amount of kitchenware, decorative items, electronic devices, fabric, curtains, paintings, prints, books, lamps, furniture, ceramic pots, jewelry and a whole lot of junk. Furuboda gets estates through wills and donations, and they sell most of the household items at the flea market. They sell the more expensive furniture and paintings at an auction house. The money acquired goes to the education center, making it possible to (among other things) arrange excursions and study visits for the handicapped students. The unpacking was hard work, and I'm glad I remembered to bring my work shoes so that I didn't get sore feet. There were more things to sell than last year. And it really is amazing what people will buy. The fleamarket on Friday was great fun! I sold books, of course. I had arranged the books in order, separating fiction and fact books. I even sorted the fact books in large subject areas. Once a librarian, always a librarian. My sister also helped out, she sold ceramics. She didn't sell that much, but then a woman came and said she would buy all the remaining items afterwards. The other things left will be donated to two second hand stores that give the incomes to charity.

During these days I have also had several icecreams, played with my nephew (especially Lego-building), solved the most difficult crossword puzzles with my sister and her husband (my mother wanted to send the puzzles in to win something), had several tasty lunches at Furuboda (we got that in return for the work at the fleamarket) and made a visit to the ocean (but the water was too cold for a swim). I returned home this afternoon and found my plants on the balcony in a sorrow state. Some of them might survive, but the roses were beyond hope.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Midsummer holiday

The Midsummer holiday was a nice relaxing one. I went by train and bus to Åhus Thursday evening, and my mother picked me up there. Friday was the actual day for celebrations and the weather was again pretty bad. Two of my mother's friends visited us, and we had strawberry cake in the afternoon. We were sitting outside despite the rain and cold winds. If it is a tradition, then you can't change it. But we didn't have a maypole and we never went to the dancing. In the evening we had herring, potatoes, sour cream, chives and a salad. More strawberries for dessert. My mother's friends are almost as talkative as my mother, and the chatting was extensive.

Saturday my mother and I went to another town to visit the handcraft store. We brought an old lady we know through Furuboda, Hanna. She is a first class knitter, and is a regular customer at this store. I found a great fabric for aprons, it was Dalahorses printed on a dark blue background. Afterwards we visited Hanna. She is in her late 80s and still lives in the old family farmhouse. It was like visiting the 1950s. Old furniture, wall paper that hasn't been changed for decades and the stove was definitely not a modern one.

Today my mother and I had lunch at Furuboda, and it was an especially tasty salmon. I ate too much. Today is also my nephew's birthday, he turns four. He didn't want to talk to us on the phone because he was busy opening presents. We will see him and his parents later this week when they arrive to help out at the fleamarket at Furuboda. I will only work at the library two days and then return to my mother's place Tuesday evening. We will prepare for the event on Friday. It starts with a fleamarket and then there is an auction on the more valuable items. This year we have 22 volunteers and an enormous amount of stuff to sell, so it's a major operation.

Thank you to those who have sent me Midsummer greetings!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hard work

The weather has been terrible here. Friday I endured a cold rain storm on the way to work and I was soaked when I got there. I changed all my clothes, and I'm lucky my closest colleagues are male and have no sense for fashion. The extra clothes I keep at work are for accidents like tomato sauce on the shirt, and not meant for exchange of the entire outfit. They said on TV that this has been the coldest beginning of June in 50 years. It has improved a little now, but it's still not really a Swedish summer.

This past weekend was rather boring and that was the intention. There has been too much going on lately, and I decided to stay at home and do very little. I gathered some of the documents on the floor and made two new files, making the total number of genealogy files 77. Sunday was laundry day, and the load was large.

I really earned my salary at work today. I moved about 60 shelf meters of books, and most of them were very heavy oversize books from the old collection. I worked with a colleague and we were both exhausted afterwards. Like usual, the people in the stacks get the heaviest work when our bosses can't plan things correctly (or not at all). We were told that the books housed in the third floor west wing had to be removed by Monday. What they failed to say was the fact that the cleaners would start already this Wednesday, and that shortened the time span considerably. There are fewer retrievals now since the semester ended, but we still have a lot to do, and this additional project messed things up quite a lot.

One of my American relatives, Mark A, will visit us in August. It will be great to see him again and we are planning for the grand tour of Skåne!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Loud students

There has been a lot to do this week even though many students have left town. Today I was so busy that I totally blacked out and forgot to go to the meeting at 8.30. My boss couldn't call me because I was in the basement, two floors below ground level. She got hold of me later, when the meeting was over. If it had been really important, they would have found me. But I took part in the coffee and sandwiches we were treated to afterwards. It's a tradition in our department that marks the end of the semester.

Today's desk duty was rather busy. Some of the studied subjects included Kepler's books on astronomy, a Swedish-German society in the 1940s and the earliest Swedish language hymnal book from 1686. People's interests vary a lot.

Some days this week I have seen young women in long ball dresses walk (still in high heels) to the bus at 7 AM. They were on their way home from a student party. In the afternoons the high school students who graduate make their rounds in town with the ambition to be as loud as possible. They celebrate that high school is over by getting drunk and riding in the back of a large truck while shouting, singing (sort of) and playing music. It hasn't been that bad this year, mainly because of the lousy weather. But generally I try to stay away from the center of Lund this week.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More balcony flowers

It has been a cold beginning of the summer. It's about 12-14 centigrades and there's a cold wind coming from the north. It's not a good start of the season.

Knowing that we are in a recession, the note stating my new salary surprised me. It was a fairly large pay raise, and I can't really figure out why. Not that I'm going to complain or anything.

The National Day, June 6, passed more or less unnoticed. There were some music and speeches on TV, but I can't say it's a big event here. I spent most of the day house cleaning.

Today my father and his girlfriend came to visit. He wanted to get rid of a few family heirlooms, some china plates with a rose pattern. I already had most of the set in my cupboards. We did some shopping at the mall in Löddeköpinge, but it was a pretty quick visit. I got some more flowers for the balcony, so now there are bluebells and a sunflower also. I had to get new ink cartridges for the printer and I'm sorry to say that they cost about the same as the printer itself. My father helped me exchange a lamp switch while he was here. It's great to know handy people.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Monday the fire alarm interrupted work twice at the library. On both occasions I had to walk six floors down the stairway. The cause was (after a long while) discovered to be an engine for part of the air conditioning that had become over-heated. There was no real fire. Though it's reassuring to know that it takes only four minutes for the fire department to get here.

Tuesday evening the social club arranged a picnic in the city park. It included bagels, drinks and a boules tournament. We had a very good time eating, talking and trying to throw the ball in the right direction. I had bought the prizes at Ikea, and the winners were awarded a sun umbrella each. There were also beach towels and small bags for second and third teams. The whole thing was a great success and it was suggested that this tournament should be arranged once a year.

I write this during desk duty and I can't say it's overloaded with visitors. There is none at all at the moment. The first two weeks of June there are many other things going on in Lund; school graduations, balls and other parties and most of the students leave town around this time also. Later, in July and August, we get visitors that come here as tourists and those teachers who don't have time to do research during the semester.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lots of shopping

There was a sale at one of the mail order companies, and it wasn't possible to resist. I got a lavender top, a grey cardigan, a blue skirt and quite a few pieces of underwear. The cost was smaller than the amount I had to spend on new work shoes this week: 1000 SEK. I need special heavy sandals with a very thick sole, since I walk all day on concrete floors.

There were only two events out of the ordinary at work this past week. When I was at a remote storage located in the basement of another library to retrieve the requested books, the fire alarm went off. Very annoying, especially since it was very obvious that it was a drill. There was no smoke in sight and the staff didn't leave the building. At the social club meeting I was elected vice chairman. It's uncertain what the actual duties are, if any.

My mother arrived here Friday evening for a visit. Saturday we drove to the big flea market in Lund. I had told her that it was huge and normally took two hours to go through, but she still didn't think it would be that enormous. There really is a lot to see. The best stalls are the ones where ordinary people sell their discarded stuff from the attic or elsewhere. These people generally don't know what things are worth..... You can find great bargains there. My mother did shop, mostly fabric (to make aprons) and necklaces (to get the pearls). We spent two hours there, but still didn't see all of it. From there we went on to Ikea in Malmö. This time I actually found it without a map, which on most other occasions have been difficult. I never drive in that area normally. It was not particularly crowded at Ikea, even though it was a Saturday. I got a new lamp as a delayed birthday present from my sister. (Thank you)! As a matter of fact, it's exactly the same as the one I had before. The old one stopped functioning after an attempted light bulb change where the bulb exploded. Very strange, since it also shot out the extension cord to the computer (but not the computer) at the other end of the room. Anyway, we did some shopping at Ikea, and even though the prices are low, the total amount always seem to surprise you. Afterwards we were tired and went back home to Kävlinge.

This morning we gathered all the junk I had at home and threw it away at the county recycling place on the other side of town. Among other things, three old suitcases and some cracked dinner plates. I got new plates at Ikea yesterday. It was great to get rid of all that junk, because it had filled up my attic space. Some of the usable things my mother took to be forwarded to the flea market at Furuboda this summer. At 11 we drove to Marieholm, a town known for its second hand stores. It's a small place, the population is 1500 and it's remarkable that there are so many stores there. We visited all of them, naturally. Also one outside the town. We did some minor purchases; one egg cup for my collection, decorative items and necklaces. It's also Mother's Day today and we celebrated by eating a chocolate Daim cake my mother had bought. After one of the busiest shopping weekends ever, she returned to her house on the east coast later this afternoon.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Birthday celebration and Stockholm visit

Wednesday I went by train to Enköping (a five hour trip) and was picked up by my father, who had travelled almost the same distance by car. We stayed at a camping site where we rented a cottage. The big party for my grandfather's 95th birthday was Thursday at a service center restaurant. Everybody was there and it was great to see them. His four children with spouses, eight grandchildren with spouses and eight great grandchildren. The youngest was just born, so it was a huge variation in age. The food was delicious, the topics of discussion varied and the children were noisy. We also managed to gather everybody for a picture. Afterwards my grandfather was pretty tired, but happy to have seen all of us. It's very difficult to come up with a gift for a 95-year-old, but the basket with crisp bread, homemade jam, brandy, and other food items my sister had assembled was much appreciated.

Friday my father, his girlfriend and I were invited to my cousin's place outside Uppsala for lunch. He lives out in the countryside at a beautiful spot close to a river. He is active in the garden (with the help of his mother) and we could tell he had done a great job also with the house. After the chicken lunch I was dropped off at the train station in Uppsala and took the train to Stockholm. I walked the distance of two subway stations to my mother's cousin's place near the city library. Rolf, his wife Inger and daughter Åsa and her dog Hugo were in the apartment, greeting me. It had been a while also since I saw them, and we had a lot to talk about.

Saturday morning I went shopping a little with Inger, who knew where some of the nice stores were. We found a store that was closing down and had 70% off everything. I got a pair of pants, a skirt and a sleeveless top there very cheaply. In the afternoon the others had to leave, since they really had moved out to the summer house. They left me to manage by myself in their apartment, and for this I am very grateful. The apartment was located two blocks away from the subway station and it was a 35 second ride to the center of the city (I timed it). It was a wonderful opportunity to explore the capital city and I really did. My feet hurt from walking so much, but I enjoyed the visit in Stockholm very much. Saturday afternoon I was walking in the shopping malls, doing some minor purchases. The dinner was at an Italian restaurant with great food.

Sunday I started at the Vasa ship museum. The Vasa is a large war ship from 1628 that sank on its maiden voyage and was salvaged in the 1960s. It's impressive with lots of ornamentation and two decks with cannons (normally there was only one). The displays were well done and it was a busy museum with enormous amounts of tourists from different countries. To get lunch I took the bus back to the subway station, changed trains once, and walked about seven blocks to the Mississippi Inn in the southern part of the city. I had a bacon cheeseburger there that was very tasty. After some more shopping in that area and walking around also in the Old Town with narrow streets and touristy shops, I was very tired and went back to the apartment to rest. In the evening I walked three blocks to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner; Cobb Salad and fudge brownie & ice cream - also very tasty.

This morning I went shopping at a few second hand stores and found a shirt and a handbag moderately priced. It was my last day in Stockholm and in the afternoon I went back home by train.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Upcoming trip

The treatment I got at the chiropractor's today was not particularly pleasant, but it was necessary. My spine made some pretty interesting cracking sounds. I feel better now, it's easier to move around.

It's time for another four-day holiday here. It's Ascension Day on Thursday. I have taken a few days extra off from work and will travel by train to Stockholm tomorrow. It's my paternal grandfather's 95th birthday on Thursday and it will be celebrated with lunch at a restaurant. I have other relatives in Stockholm also, and I will spend Friday-Monday there. I was thinking of seeing some of the museums in the capital city. I'm sure there will be opportunities for shopping also...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Danish ancestors

I used the hours at the archive Saturday to search for more information about my grandfather's Danish ancestors. His mother was born here in Sweden, but her parents were both from Denmark. I knew the Ellers had immigrated in the 1870s, but didn't have an exact date. I found it to be in 1874. There is a brief family history written by my great grandmother, so there are some names on the ancestor chart on that side. Doing research in Danish records is more difficult, because there are no household records. Only census records for some odd years, and the usual vital information (birth, marriage and death info). The problem is that you have to know where they lived. With the help of the extensive collections at my library and the internet, I now have more details about them. Some of the Ellers had prominent positions, one was a county governor and another a lieutenant colonel. The origin of the Eller family is believed to be in Strasbourg in present-day France. Back then (early 1600s), Strasbourg seems to have been an independent area. According to the legend, the Danish king Christian IV had invited Hans Wilhelm Eller from Strasbourg to become the fencing-master at the Royal Academy for Young Knights at Sorö.

On the way home from the archive the bus passed by one of the squares in Lund. It looked like it was time for another major clash between the police and an interest group. Lund is a liberal university town, and that means that it attracts groups with somewhat dubious intentions and/or views. This weekend the young rebels were planning on a demonstration and occupation of a few empty houses. It seems like most branches of law enforcement were there. Helicopters, equestrian units and large armored vehicles with police officers ready for riots. According to the newspaper, there have been about 30 arrests made. I'm glad I don't live in Lund.

Today was a rather slow day, but I got the laundry done. It was a big load, it was four weeks ago last time. Luckily, my interest in clothes shopping keeps the wardrobe full anyway.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hair cut

Unfortunately, the chiropractor got sick, so my appointment was rescheduled. I will have to endure my back problems a few more days. But I got another thing done that I also needed - a hair cut. There is a salon here in Kävlinge that is open late on Thursdays and I was there today. I told her to cut it as short as possible, and she really did.

The spring weather is pretty good, sunny and some rain showers, but still a little cold in the mornings. The lilacs are now blooming here. The daffodils on my balcony are no longer yellow, but the pansies are looking great in the flower box.

It's getting close to the end of the semester and the students are returning the books to the library in fairly large amounts. The peak season is end of May/beginning of June for returns. This is also the time when the lazy students are asking for books to write a paper on, which should already have been handed in. Some of the students are very high maintenance and show up at the library expecting the librarians to do everything for them. It doesn't work that way. They are taught to help themselves request books and check their loans online, and some of them are shocked to learn that they actually have to do the job of requesting the book and then wait until the next day to get it. My colleagues call these students the curling generation. They were born in the 1980s, and have been "curled" by their parents. In the sport curling you sweep the way for the stone. The parents of the curling generation have swept all the obstacles away in front of their children. They have never had to work hard or fight to get something. In an affluent society like this, they don't have to. What worries me is the fact that this generation will be the one who will pay for my pension.....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dalarna research

There hasn't been much going on this past week. Except work, and that was also rather uneventful. It was my turn to drive to the remote storages and it was not pleasant. My back is not really in favor of that kind of heavy lifting. I have made an appointment with my chiropractor on Tuesday.

Saturday I once again went to the flea market, but didn't find much. I got a brand new handbag for 20 SEK, that was all. I then took the bus out to the archive, which is situated in an industrial area east of the town center. This is also where we have one of the remote storages. This time I actually did some research for myself. My paternal grandmother had assembled some family information about 25 years ago, and there were considerable gaps on one side. There wasn't much about my grandfather's father's side. This part of the family lived in Dalarna province (towns Hedemora and Garpenberg), and that's not an area I'm used to searching in. I have to say that it was easier than expected. First of all, most of the household records had indices, both village- and name-indices. Wonderful aids for a researcher. Then these people didn't move around much, they tended to stay where they were born. Also something you prefer in cases like this. It took about four hours to get three more generations on my grandfather's father's side. Most of them were farmers or worked at the ironworks. When I came home I searched the internet for those names and found that someone else has done even more. For part of the ancestor chart there were names back to about 1650. I will make an ancestor chart for my grandfather and give it to him on his birthday in about two weeks. It will be his 95th birthday and he plans on celebrating with a lunch at a restaurant. We are all amazed at his good health.

Today I have cleaned the stove and vacuumed. Not much else, apart from the vain attempts at keeping the genealogy and other documents off the floor. I counted the number of folders I have associated with genealogy - 75! And then there are heaps of papers everywhere which are not yet filed.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekend in Borås

My last visit in Borås was in December, so it was a while ago. My sister and her family are having the bathroom and bedroom remodeled, and it's getting close to being finished. It has been a long process to get everything done, but it looks very nice. The bathroom is brand new with white tiles and a generous space for the shower.

On May Day we joined a group of other people for a hike in a natural preserve outside Borås. It was a wonderful and sunny day to go on an excursion, and we enjoyed the flowers and the view from the highest point. John was happy to climb among the rocks. Afterwards we had a picnic on the grass. We were also shown the old mill, which the local historical society there kept as a museum. The milling stone still worked and they have demonstrations of it a few times a year.

Saturday I walked about 500 meters (uphill) to my mother's apartment to visit her. I hadn't seen it since we painted it this Christmas. It was now furnished and decorated, and looked very cosy. She showed me the fabric she had, and I really don't think I need to buy anymore for her. She is a volunteer at a second hand store and can get fabric there cheaply. She has produced many aprons and oven mittens, and has also started to make necklaces. It's a very popular pastime here to use pearls to make your own jewelry. I got one she had made of fairly large brown glass pearls.

Sunday was spent shopping in the many stores in the area called Knalleland. This is an area known for clothes and textiles, and there are a few stores worth visiting. Sometimes even the chain stores sell their clothes cheaper here than in other cities, because the competition is really tough. I made some purchases; a flowery summer jacket, short blue jeans, a long shirt, black sandals and a bright yellow bathroom mat.

The return trip by train took longer than expected, because train number two was two hours late. To avoid annoyed customers they let us take the next available train instead, which was ok with me, since I had a first class ticket and got to sit down. The rest of the train was very crowded. It tends to get that when you squeeze in double amount of passengers. I missed my connection in Lund by seven minutes and went grocery shopping for about an hour (I walked slowly)..... I was at home by 10 p.m.