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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.