Welcome to Tessa's blog

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.