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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.