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Friday, December 31, 2010

Last days of 2010

I can't believe another year has passed soon. Time really flies. For the upcoming year there are no specific plans. It will be mostly work, I guess. I would have liked to make another trip to the US someday. It has been a while now, it's about two years since my last visit.

I have no plans for this evening either, apart from making a salmon dinner and watching TV. There are usually pretty good movies shown during the holidays.

The three working days this week were occasionally busy. It was just me and one other guy working half time. We had to help the others also, so we had a few things to do. Many people take vacation at this time of year, so we were rather few on the staff. And then some people can't come to work because of the snow drift and cancelled trains. The service on my line is down to one train an hour now, and it's not like it's on time or anything. Every day is a challenge, mostly because of this. Remarkable that the weather can cause such problems here. I have heard that there are weather issues also elsewhere, floods in Queensland and blizzards in large parts of the US.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas celebration

It has been a very nice Christmas weekend. I made it to Göteborg by train, it was only about 40 minutes delayed. That's nothing compared to what other people have endured. Many people have spent Christmas at airports in Europe.

We had the traditional meal Friday with meatballs, roasted ham, herring, cheese, bread, Jansson's temptation and much else. Very tasty, and of course you eat too much. Santa, whose true identity one of the kids figured out, came knocking on the door and delivered some presents. He was in a hurry back to the north pole, so we handed out the rest of the presents ourselves. Some of my presents included a book with brownie recipes, necklace, bracelet, a bedding set, a calendar with photos of my sister's kids, Christmas ornaments (fabric hearts made by my mother), a scarf and several gift certificates. All of these things will come to good use.

Saturday we were tired, but went for a walk in the nearby park area. It was bitterly cold, so it was a short walk. For lunch we had lutfisk - at least the others liked it. I got some leftovers instead, and there was plenty to eat. In the late afternoon we drove to Borås. Sunday my mother treated us to homecooked lunch at her apartment. My nephew got a snowracer that he made use of in the hilly terrain near the house. He and I also spent a lot of time building things of Lego. Mostly space ships, helicopters and other vehicles.

This morning it was time to check out the after-Christmas sales. I got a tunic, a pair of shoes and some Christmas ornaments. I started my return trip at 3 pm and arrived home a little after 7 pm. All the connections worked (three different trains), and that was truly amazing. Let's see how it is tomorrow when I have to get to work. I can't stay at home, because I'm the only one working in the stacks, except for one part-timer.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas weather

The weather is still terrible and the train problems have reached new heights these past few days. The snow blows sideways and it's very cold. Saturday I was going to Malmö to go shopping the last presents. I went to two different malls, and the city traffic (buses) was basically running ok. When I was going home, I thought I would start from the new Malmö Central Station. A pretty big mistake. I will spare you the details of this ordeal, and just say that it took two and a half hours to get from there to Kävlinge. Normally it would take about 20 minutes. Just awful.

There hasn't been much to do at the library this week. Because of the weather not many people from outside Lund come in. I was really supposed to work today, but told my colleagues already yesterday that I can't make it. I knew what the weather forecast was like, and thought it to be useless to even try going anywhere today. I still remember how cold it was Tuesday to stand at the platform in 20 centigrades below zero, waiting for the delayed train. I have spent more than two hours every day travelling - one way (normally 30-40 minutes). My job isn't that important.

It remains to be seen if I can make it to Göteborg tomorrow morning. The traffic authority recommends that passengers bring plenty of food and drink, and extra warm clothes..... It doesn't sound particularly safe. It has happened a few times that trains have broken down in the middle of nowhere and the electricity went out. It is amazing to us that the infrastructure in this country stops functioning in the winter. This is the second winter with such weather, didn't they learn anything?

I have received some Christmas letters/e-mails from relatives and friends abroad. It is always nice to get news and updates from all of you. I have sent out my letter via e-mail, and if anyone was forgotten, please remind me. I hope you will all have a joyful holiday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Train and weather problems

Like I suspected, the train service hasn't been working that magnificently this week. It's not only the new train tunnel and all the technical pieces that have to fit, it's also the weather (snow, wind and ice). Mornings and evenings all the trains are delayed. I haven't bothered learning the new departure times, because right now it's useless. It doesn't matter when I go to the station, it's just luck if I catch a train without having to wait a long time.

There have been a lot of things going on here this week. Some good and some bad. Monday and Tuesday we had more requests than we normally would. Monday afternoon we got the new car for the storage round. We never thought we would see the day. It's a Volkswagen transport vehicle, so a little larger than an ordinary car. Bright red. I have been nervous about driving it, it's brand new and I'm not familiar with it, the weather is awful, and I'm worried I will damage it. It seems to be working quite well though, it's easy to manage and the breaks are definitely functioning (I tested).

Monday it was Lucia Day, but the only celebration was the saffron bun for the afternoon coffee. Later in the afternoon I heard a strange noise coming from an office three doors down the corridor. I didn't react until a colleague came rushing, saying something about "we have to call an ambulance". I ran out of my room to see what was going on, and met a colleague with blood pouring down from the top of her head. The entire light fixture had fallen down onto her. She seemed to be shocked so I grabbed hold of her, moving her in the direction of the bathroom. I couldn't see how deep the wound was, but suspected it was pretty deep, since the amount of blood was huge. My other colleague had the sense of contacting the janitor, who agreed on taking the wounded one to the emergency room. It is really close (600 meters) if you walk, but it was not an alternative. I stayed with her, trying to stop the blood flow (it was impossible) and then went with her to get her belongings, and followed her out to the car. I know that she is a level-headed person who can stand a lot, so I wasn't worried that she would faint. Afterwards we were three people who cleaned up the blood from the corridor and the bathroom. It wasn't easy, it dries quickly. A terrible accident, no one would have thought that the light in the ceiling could fall down like that. They have checked all of the lights now, to make sure they are properly fixed. The visit to the emergency room went well, she had bled all over the floor also there, so the nurse had taken her in right away. She was stitched up and is doing ok. When she came back to work yesterday she hugged me and also gave me a present for helping her.

Yesterday we were treated to Christmas style lunch by the employer. Salmon, herring, meatballs, sausages and more. Today my department head arranged coffee and cakes for us. Very tasty saffron cake. Also crullers (klenät) and chocolate pralines.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas party at work

It was a hectic week at work. In addition to the regular work I had to make preparations for the Christmas party Friday evening. We were several people who went shopping, decorated the room with two fake trees, got the tables and chairs out, and installed lots of lights, both electric and live candles. It went very well, because we were in a room that isn't used for anything at the moment, so we had time to decorate it. Last year we had one hour to do everything and it almost killed us. We used the same caterer as then and it was a great success. Even though she didn't have the cakes ready in time, so she had to make a second delivery. But the food was magnificent, and very much worth the price. She had handmade meatballs, for instance. Very nice food. The party was also very successful, everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. There was lots of talking and eating. Even presents and a quiz.

Saturday I rested. I had a marvelous headache and didn't do much. I watched TV, winter sports mostly. This weekend I have also wrapped presents and written Christmas cards. I didn't go anywhere today, because the train service was interrupted. They have built a train tunnel under Malmö, making access to Denmark easier. There are also two new stations. They have spent all night and day reconnecting the tracks and changing the computer system. It seems to be working. We'll see how it is tomorrow morning. There is a new timetable to learn also.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas concert

It was a rather active weekend. Saturday I was in Lund to do some Christmas shopping. It went surprisingly well. Some stores had long lines, especially the book store. I also went to the optician, because my glasses had broken. They agreed to replace them at no cost (guarantee case), so I had to decide on new frames. It was difficult for an indecisive person like me. I got help from the staff, so it didn't take too long to get it done, though.

Sunday morning I went grocery shopping and then I spent hours decorating the tree. It is now overloaded with santas, bells, balls, angels, hearts, horses, stars, cones and other things. After a late lunch I went out to see the Christmas market in town. It was a disappointment, there were not many stalls. The local stores were open and I got some small presents. Also more ornaments at the thrift shop. In the evening I attended the Christmas concert by the Police Choir and Orchestra in the church. It was the first time I had heard them and it was a very nice performance. They sang the traditional songs like Silent Night, Mary's Little Boy Child, White Christmas and also several Swedish songs of the season.

It has been long days at work these past two days. I got a request from my boss to find information about a student who had attended the University around 1770. It turned out to be very difficult. In fact, it was impossible. He was enrolled in 1761, and was listed with his name only, no vital information. Back then they weren't that meticulous. Very annoying, and not a proud moment when I had to tell my boss about the failure.

There is still snow on the ground, but part of it has melted. It is colder again now and very slippery.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bad weather

We have pretty bad weather here. Lots of snow and very windy. It was really cold to stand waiting at the station this Monday morning. The train I normally take was delayed. The next train was shorter than usual, and when passengers for two regular trains tried to board that one, some had to be left on the platform. I was one of them. The next train arrived two minutes before another one, so there were passengers for two trains also for that one. But I made it onboard. I arrived at work forty minutes too late and it's a long time in my world, because we have a deadline. The train service has been working on and off this week, making life a little difficult. One of my colleagues didn't make it to work today, for instance. She was snowed in.

It was of course my turn to drive to the remote storages this week. The first problem was to dig out the car, the second to get the doors open, and the third, and biggest problem, was to make it back without damages to me, the car or the books. Getting the car started was no problem at all, and that was quite surprising. It was really slippery, and I was forced to drive on roads that were not plowed at all. Not my idea of fun. Still, I'm impressed by the fact that I remember the techniques for driving in such conditions.

It seems like our patrons have problems getting here, because they order books (online), but then they never come to pick them up. Desk duty today was very slow. Two visitors in total, and they had no questions, so I was bored.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas decorating

I have taken it easy this weekend. The weather has been fierce. The snow fell sideways because of the high winds. It's nice to look at the frosty scenery through the window, but it's pretty cold to go out. I was just out briefly today to get groceries.

Friday evening I started my Christmas shopping in Lund. Like every year, it's difficult to shop for the family members. I haven't got wishlists from anyone yet. I don't have one myself either. I don't really need anything.

I spent a large part of this weekend decorating for the upcoming season. I changed the curtains, assembled the tree, applied tinsel, lights and the top star, and got all the candles, small santas and snowmen out on display. Everything looks very nice. Now it's only the rest of the tree decorating left.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Disaster lecture

The weather is kind of interesting. It has been snowing since yesterday, and it is pretty cold, at least in the mornings. It's a little early for so much snow. Needless to say, traffic is affected, but not severely. At least not yet. The train was delayed yesterday, but not today, so they have some luck.

Yesterday afternoon all the staff assembled in a large lecture hall for - lectures. The theme for this staff education day was security. It sounds crazy, but it was very interesting to see what disasters can happen to libraries. The lecturer showed a film from the Haiti national library surveillance cameras during the earthquake. He showed photos from the library fires in Weimar and Linköping, and the collapse of the city archive in Cologne. He also explained why these disasters could happen, and all of us immediately thought of the old building we keep our books in. There is also the risk of flooding, which happened to an archive in Sweden not long ago. It's not only the cultural heritage and historical documents that are gone forever, people have lost their workplaces (and in reality their jobs). The other lecture was about personal security, and it was useful for us to hear about. There are unfortunately many thefts at the library, and that's because it's an open environment, everybody is allowed in. The library has lost several computers. The visitors have also lost personal belongings. There are now security guards all days of the week and we hope it will help.

The desk duty today was uneventful, not many people showed up. Probably because of the bad weather. We have had lots of visitors the entire fall.

I delivered the answers to the last genealogy requests this week. I was just thinking of returning to the long term projects that I always have, when I received another question. It's from a patron who has a most interesting ancestry. Tragic is not enough to describe it. It involves concentration camp survivors and prisoners of war. It will be a great challenge, but I will try to help her.

On the way home I got a much needed hair cut. Nothing else to report today.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Genealogy requests

It seems like the statistics and the reality didn't agree much this year. We have the number of weekly requests saved from previous years, and it didn't follow the trend this last two weeks. The work load hasn't been as bad as expected. We are certainly not complaining, we are lagging behind with so many things, so we are able to keep very busy anyway. It was a rather normal week, except for the fact that I didn't get any desk duty. The weather also caused some problems during the storage round, it was raining/snowing and unfortunately the books got wet (I didn't notice that someone had removed the plastic cover that is supposed to be in the car).

The library is now open also on Sundays. I'm lucky not to work during weekends. I was thinking of perhaps visiting there on Sundays for private errands, but I really shouldn't be at the workplace seven days a week. People already think that I don't have another life than the library.

Yesterday was of course spent at the archive, and I think I can deliver the last three genealogy files to the people who asked for them soon. There were two "ordinary" requests and one very special. The very special one qualifies in the category Tragic Life Story multiple times. It's a request that I have had on file for years, without finding the answer. When I finally cracked it, and saw the result of a search on the computer screen, it was a great relief. However, it immediately raised a whole lot of questions no one will be able to answer now. This happens often in genealogical research. Finding one answer means that you ask more questions. One other thing I have noticed is the fact that you almost always start asking about the family legends too late. When you get around to asking, the relatives who would have known are usually dead and gone. In this last case, the questions are forty years overdue. It's really sad.

I noticed that some of my neighbors have started to decorate for Christmas, so I made an effort today and got the fake tree down from the attic. I will not decorate it until next weekend, though.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend at the summer house

Last Sunday I went to Helsingborg, both to a second hand store and to the large mall. At the first place I found a book that I know we don't have at the library, so I bought it. It's in the category Swedish biographica, and that's always of interest to our patrons. At the mall I got a top and a denim jacket.

The week at work was tolerable, even though one weakling was at home sick. Nothing special to report, really. On Friday afternoon I took the train + bus to my mother's summer house on the east coast. My mother, sister and her kids had been there the whole week. I arrived at 7 and was immediately asked by my nephew to build some Lego space ships. Late at night my brother-in-law also arrived on the last bus. Saturday we went to one second hand store (the largest one), and I got some Christmas ornaments. My sister found a much-needed Christmas tree stand among other things. In the afternoon the others attended a wedding, and my mother and I took the bus to town to see a friend of hers. We had coffee & cookies and later dinner (very tasty pizza) and then took the bus back in the evening. Transportation has become so much easier since the bus line was extended down to Furuboda about a year ago.

Today we didn't do much, apart from packing and trying to get everything into the car (one extra person and lots of other things had to be crammed in). We had lunch at Furuboda, and then the others drove back to Borås. I went by one bus and three trains (one seriously delayed) home. In addition to this, the time tables don't fit very well on Sundays, and the entire trip lasted almost four hours. It was so boring to wait in between trains, so I bought a magazine to read in Hässleholm. It's times like these when I wish I had a car.....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Surprise visit

The new genealogy database at work has helped me a lot with the requests that I have right now. I still have to go to the archive for the resources that we don't have, but it saves me time. It means of course that I spend all the day at work, from about 7 to 7. We aren't allowed to stay longer in the building.

One of the patrons wanted to see a collection we keep in a remote storage, so on Tuesday afternoon I drove her there. She was overjoyed to see all those books, and she made me bring six boxes filled with Montgomery books (all editions we own of Anne of Green Gables) back to the library for her to take a closer look at. I'm glad that our collection comes to good use, but what a heavy job.

It seems like many of the patrons are getting ready to write papers, because the number of book requests are increasing. Statistically, the next two weeks will be the worst weeks of the entire year. We are still not in sync with the work load, and that is slightly worrying, considering what is waiting ahead.

Last Friday I got a surprise visit at the library by some relatives from Kristianstad. They had driven all that way just to get an old map of the parish our common ancestors lived in. I asked the map librarian for help, and he found one to copy. I also brought them on a short tour of the stacks and they were impressed by all the book shelves. People in general are amazed when I tell them that we have seven million volumes and it's my job to keep track of all of them.

Today is All Saint's Day and the archive was closed. Instead I made a trip to the mall. I got a pair of boots that actually seem to fit me. I have big feet and it's a problem finding shoes that I can wear. I noticed that many stores already have their Christmas items on display. It feels a little early, but it's the same every year, I guess.

With the help of my dear relative and colleague in Illinois, Nancy, I now have lots of information on the four Herrlin brothers that emigrated 1880-1892. One kept his original name of Hansson, the other three used their mother's maiden name Herrlin. So much easier to find them in the US with a name like that, I have to say.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lots to do

Things are still crazy at work. There was a scholar asking for books printed pre-1800 in cyrillic letters. This is incredibly hard to find, because that information is not noted in the catalog. The worst part was the fact that my boss didn't pass on the request to me, so when he arrived at the library it got a lot more stressful than anyone wished. He had travelled from Stockholm just for this, and he was in a hurry. His gratitude was limitless (I found books he didn't know about), but I really don't want that long workdays. I have been at work almost 12 hours several days the past weeks. It's supposed to be eight. I can't take out the overtime in money, I have to take time off - the question is when..... Sigh.

Last week we had another intern visiting the library. She was from the Royal Library in Copenhagen, and was here on an exchange for a week. She was in the stacks for two days and seemed to understand the concept. I have problems with the Danish language, but we managed to communicate anyway.

Desk duty today was busy. I got several challenging questions. One elderly man came in and asked for the book that had been retrieved for him. I noticed that the book (printed 1804) was written by someone with the same surname as the patron. I asked about this (we are really not allowed to inquire, but I couldn't help myself) and he gladly explained that it was one of his ancestors. In fact, he was there to find out if the book contained any family information. It was an unusual name, so I googled it and found some more details and a reference to another book. He was happy to get this info also. Other questions regarded an 18th century book in French vs English (we had both, to my surprise), if there are any manuscripts from the Färö Islands (I couldn't answer, but sent it on to a colleague), and if the handwritten signature on a title page could be deciphered (yes).

Outside of work, I have more research requests than ever before, and from several different people. Even a colleague asked for help. It's one of my bosses and he was impressed by my findings. It was easy to get the answers, but of course I didn't tell him that.

Yesterday I suddenly noticed that there was a new thumbnail added to my computer at work (this is done centrally on all computers). I was thrilled to see that the library now subscribes to one of the Swedish genealogy databases with scanned church records. This means that I will be at work even longer hours (not to work all the time, though).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cruel week

Last week was a cruel week. Incredible technical problems, short of staff and heavy chores. The entire server hosting an online catalog broke down physically (it's very unusual) and it took six days to repair. In the meantime we couldn't send any articles or find out what the patrons had actually ordered from this catalog. A little frustrating. At the same time two scholars asked for more material, and that wasn't a little. It was no use counting the volumes, it was several shelf meters of journals that we had to pick up from a remote storage. After such an incredible week I had to go to the chiropractor again. He wondered what on earth I'm doing at my job.

One of my colleagues became a father for the first time ten days ago, so he was at home for a while. I was happy to see him return yesterday, because he drives to the remote storages. Last week we also had a library school intern from Germany visiting. Despite the language barrier she was a fast learner, so she helped us retrieve books in the mornings. Her main interest was actually the stacks (who would have thought this...) so she spent all the time there. She was especially impressed by the old collection. I also arranged visits to the book bindery and the manuscript department.

The weather is typical of the season. It has been quite nice with cool, dark mornings and sunny in the daytime. The colors of the trees are beautiful, bright yellow, orange and red. Today was the first rainy day in several weeks.

Last Saturday I was at the archive again. I have received a few research requests that are quite interesting. I have been asked to do research in parishes in northern Sweden. Some of the places I had never even heard of before. Sunday there was a large flea market in Malmö, I only got a few small things (an eggcup for instance). Also went to two malls, just to browse the clothing stores.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bowling in Malmö

The first full work week after the vacation was tiring. Lots of things are going on, and we are busy not only with the daily chores, but also with planning for upcoming events. One of the highlights of the week was Monday when it was Cinnamon Bun Day. Strange, but true.

We were eagerly awaiting the announcement of this year's Nobel prize winner in literature. Just like other years, we checked how long time it took before the first request came through our system. It took two minutes this time. We have about 18 books in Swedish by Mario Vargas Llosa, and most of them are now on loan.

Tuesday evening it was time for another social club event. I didn't arrange this one, because I hadn't been at work. We went bowling in Malmö. We started with a very nice meal, a buffet with all sorts of meat, salmon, taco gratin, chicken and lots of greens. The salmon was definitely worth trying more than once. We seemed to be equally bad at the bowling, but it was a fun hour. One of the catalogers at my library won the tournament.

This week I have also been to the charity shop twice to give them discarded clothes and shoes, had dinner in town with a colleague from another library (I bumped into her while window shopping), and today I have been to the flea market (no purchases, but met another colleague) and the archive (yet another interesting case to investigate).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

More emigrants

Thursday and Friday were pretty tough days at work. My colleagues handed over some of the tasks they had been unable to do and there were lots of people I had to talk to. It was a peculiar feeling when several of them clearly sighed of relief when they saw me.

When I read through the Herrlin family history book I noticed several things that I didn't know (and there were also passages where I have a lot more info). There were more emigrants in the family than I thought. One was Nils Herrlin, who (according to the book) was the black sheep in the family, and he had emigrated to America. He was supposed to have been alive at least until the beginning of the 1900s. The author hadn't been able to find more on his life in the US. For this reason, I went to the archive yesterday. It was very difficult, but I found him in the 1910 US census with his name indexed as Niel Hurllin. He died the next year in New York, his name was misinterpreted also in that database. It said in the 1910 census that he had arrived in 1864, and that can be true. There are no passenger lists that early. I wonder how he managed to stay away from the census taker in 1870, 1880 and 1900. While I was at the archive anyway, I went through the entire book and compared the entries with the availabale databases. There were a few additions to be made.

Today has been a big cleaning day. I cleaned several windows, vacuumed everywhere and swabbed the kitchen and bathroom. I also put some items in the attic and went to the recycle place with some cardboard and plastic. My apartment looks better than ever before.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Visit to Växjö

The visit in Växjö was very nice. My mother and I visited some Mattisson-relatives this past weekend. They took us on the grand tour of the area. We saw old houses and forts, the university (very modern), a water tower, the Church of Dome, a small flea market, two second hand stores and we also went driving in the area near the lake. It was a beautiful view with small marinas with sailing boats, nice lakefront houses and deep "troll" forest. We talked a lot about our relatives and ancestors, of course. One other thing was discussed very much. Her father (not related to me) had passed away recently and they had cleared out the old home. They had then discovered a box with quite a few photos from America. She knew of three siblings of her great grandfather having emigrated, but had never tried to find any information on them. The photos were all nameless and taken in large cities (New York, Chicago, Minneapolis - all with many Swedes). The surname of the emigrants was Persson. Very difficult starting point for finding them in America. However - a research day and a half later I had found info on most of them, even some living. Interesting case with many challenges. And it was true, they actually lived in those cities.

Yesterday I had to go to Kristianstad because I had a dentist appointment. Knowing what the train service can be like here, I went early and had time for some shopping also. I don't have any problems with my teeth generally, so I only go to the dentist about every three years or so. No cavities this time either, luckily.

Today has been a very busy day. My father and his girlfriend came visiting. I had a long list of chores for my handy father to attend to. I wanted more insulation in the bedroom window (it was cold there this past winter), one more hanger in the hall, a rack in the kitchen, and some things mended. We also went to Ikea outside Malmö and I got a new hall mirror there. Also a chest of drawers in another store. It was a big job to assemble it, but it looks very nice and it solved a storage problem.

My father had two very interesting books with him. The local historical society has finally, after years of work, published the complete list of all the houses and farms in Norra Strö parish. There are photos and information about the inhabitants over the years. It also lists the ruins. It will be useful, without a doubt. The other book is about the Herrlin family (on my father's side). One of the descendants has written it, and included family information, photos and stories. Even a photo of my grandmother was in it, but not much on our part of the family. The author hadn't found anyone to ask, apparently. I might contact her later.

Today is my last vacation day, and I can't say I'm looking forward to getting back to work. But I got a lot of things done during my time off.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Difficult research

There has been even more shopping done. I have actually been to one more Ikea store. They just re-opened one outside Helsingborg after extending it quite a lot. I only got a cardboard box set, and then I did the other purchases at the mall next door. There is a store there for women considerably older than I, and it's very expensive clothes. Sometimes they have a sales rack, and I have been lucky several times. Now there was a pair of dressy pants for 50 SEK (about 6 USD). Incredibly cheap, especially since the original price was 999 SEK (143 USD).

There has also been more research done. I have been to the archive three times this week. My hand hurts from all the writing. Sometime in the (distant) future this work will be the base of another emigrant list, for Hjärsås parish. It's a great challenge to do this, because many of the church records have been destroyed by fire. The first household record is from 1861 and the first birth book is from 1869. I can tell from the passenger lists that there were more than 120 emigrants before 1861, but getting birthdates, birthplaces and checking for emigrants from the same families will be impossible.

Since I have been at home at least a few evenings, I have been cooking a little. The cauliflower soup was a success, but the tuna dish was not.

Tomorrow morning I will travel to Småland. I have relatives in Växjö that my mother and I will visit for the weekend. She will travel from Borås, and if everything goes according to plan, we will get there at about noon, by two different trains.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Active vacation

For having a vacation, I have been very active. I have gone through every drawer and every closet in the apartment, throwing out and re-organizing items. I have been to both the mall and Ikea to get boxes for storage. Ikea had some really practical large cardboard boxes that are so flat that they fit under the book cases. They are perfect to have maps and oversize genealogy documents in. There was also a large fabric box that looks very nice on top of the wardrobe in my bedroom. I got some plastic boxes and candles also. It was a heavy load to carry on the train, but I made it. It's easier to get to Ikea now, they moved to a mall area outside Malmö that I can get to by train. The new catalog has just been published, so the place was packed with people.

This Monday I made a trip to Helsingör (Elsinore). I haven't been in the center of that town for ages. I took the train to Helsingborg and then walked on to the ferry to get across (takes 20 minutes). Helsingör depends heavily on Swedes buying alcohol there (it's cheaper than here). I wasn't interested in that, I went to the clothes and second hand stores instead. I got a pair of jeans cheaply. It was a nice visit, the town is old and the shopping is a little different from home.

Friday I spent at the archive. There is a new database published, Swedish deaths 1901-2009. It's not complete because it was a volunteer project, but most of the people I was looking for were in it. Let me know (via e-mail) if you have any search requests for this database. There are also several databases with Swedish burials that can be used as a secondary source. In addition, the 1880 Swedish census is now searchable by name.

After the archive I walked to the library, which is on the other side of town. My colleagues took the chance to complain about their work situation. I sighed. I do understand them, it had been crazy with people getting sick and others being forced to take leave for personal reasons. Next week they will be two people doing six people's jobs. I wished them good luck with that.

This past week a new TV series started, Who do you think you are. They have earlier shown this program, where Swedish celebrities have searched for their ancestors. This time it's the American version. In the first part Lisa Kudrow travelled in the footsteps of her Jewish ancestors. Definitely worth watching, very interesting.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Visit to Borås

I managed, on the second attempt, to go to my mother's place last week. We packed her car full with her belongings and drove to Borås on the Thursday. We made a stop on the way at Ullared, Sweden's largest outlet store. It's an interesting place that was featured in a reality show on tv, both last year and this. They sell clothes, electronics, toys, and lots of other things. The store can house 5500 visitors at the same time, on two floors. There are 62 cash registers. It's gigantic. My mother found some clothes, but I only got some small things. When we got to Borås, we unloaded the car and my mother moved back into her apartment. It's too small for me to stay in also, so I walked down to my sister's place, about 800 meters away.

My visit in Borås, which lasted exactly one week, was both relaxing and nice. There are outlet stores also in Borås, and I made some purchases, of course. A nightgown, a pair of shoes, some underwear and a few tops at extremely low prices. One outlet store had everything half price off, because they were going to move. My mother helps out at a charity shop, and I did too on the Saturday and Wednesday opening hours. We sold fabric, yarn, thread and lots of other things associated with sewing and handcrafts. It was quite fun to sort the buttons, measure the fabric and to hear what people would do with the items they bought. One person needed 40 meters of fabric for a wedding. I'm glad I didn't have to measure that length.

Sunday we made an excursion to an idyllic place by a lake, Hofsnäs. There was a trunk fleamarket there, and my sister and mother did some bargain shopping. We had a picnic lunch right by the lake. Very nice place.

The visit also included baby-sitting, grocery shopping, browsing of several second hand stores, cooking pizza the difficult way, creating numerous spaceships from Lego at my nephew's request and crossword puzzle solving. I have had a nice time, even the weather was great during my stay. I returned home Thursday evening by three trains (all of them on time - unbelievable). It has rained ever since.

I have been rather active indoors. I decided to throw out even more things from my bedroom. This time I discarded some towels. The curtains and tablecloths in the drawers needed to be reorganized and I threw some of those out too. I need more boxes to have in the closets, so I'm thinking of making a trip to Ikea one of these days.

Today I went to Lund, mostly to use the computer at work for my own purposes (I have access to some genealogy databases from it). There were some disturbing messages on the intranet, one including an obituary of a former employee. I could figure out from the other entries that my colleagues are having a tough time without me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Train delays and cancellations

I don't think it has ever happened that I have posted two entries the same day. But this has been an extraordinary day. I started from Kävlinge at 4 PM, changed trains in Lund and got as far as Eslöv. We were told that there was no power on the line between Hässleholm and Höör, so the trains had to terminate in Eslöv. We all got out and went to the bus terminal, where there were supposed to be buses for us. Every normal person could understand that there is no way they could find that many buses. There are at least four departures an hour going past Hässleholm, each containing hundreds of passengers. The train I went on was triple the normal length - it was rush hour. I spent three hours in Eslöv and then gave up, went back to Lund and had dinner at Burger King (no food at the apartment), and returned home. I have just written a very angry message to the train service company. If they had had the sense of telling us that the train wouldn't go further than Eslöv before we embarked on the train, I would have made it. I would have taken the other route from Lund, going to Helsingborg instead and changed trains there to Hässleholm, and further on. A detour, but it would have worked. No one said anything about this, and that's what is bothering me the most. There are alternative ways, but the train crew/station announcer didn't even hint this fact. There is even a bus from Lund that I could have taken, if I had known about the problem. I really hope they have fixed it by tomorrow. I will make a new attempt then.

Upcoming trip

I haven't really done much because I have a cold and feel rather tired. I managed to do the laundry yesterday and get groceries, that's about all. I have been sitting in front of the computer a little to look for more information about emigrants also.

This afternoon I'm going to my mother's place again. On Thursday we are going to drive to Borås in her car, with a large part of her belongings. We did the same thing last year. We will keep up the tradition of making a stop at Sweden's largest outlet store in Ullared on the way, and this I look forward to. I will be in Borås about a week and I hope of course that there will be opportunities for shopping also there.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Museum visit

Since I was in Lund anyway last Tuesday to get treatment by the chiropractor, I went to the library also to see what was really going on there. They had actually managed to rearrange things so that it was functioning better, which was a relief. There were very few staff members that week and the semester is about to start, so they were busy. I did some chores while I was there, but not a lot.

Wednesday I spent the entire day at the archive. It was for one of the projects I have started on, emigrants from other parishes. Thursday was a busy day. I worked in the morning (one of the others had to be elsewhere). At noon about 30 librarians went by bus to a museum near Skurup. It's a memorabilia museum with lots of different things like old cars and bicycles, interiors from several kinds of businesses; bank, hair dresser, smith, carpenter, general store, book binder and car mechanic. Many things from the 1950s and a special exhibit on wooden toys. Also other strange items such as a barrel organ and a balcony from an old theater. Very interesting place. We had coffee and cakes there also. After returning to the library, we had drinks outdoors and then we walked downtown to have dinner at a restaurant. More people attended this event, about 40. It was a buffet with chicken, cold cuts, salmon, potato salad and vegetables. High quality food. The excursion was yet another success arranged by the social club - and surprisingly easy to make bookings for (I did all of it). The biggest problem is finding a restaurant that can have up to 60 seated people and agree on a menu that all of them can eat. It worked out very nicely this time.

Most of Friday I spent cleaning the apartment and trying to get things more organized. The new Ikea catalog had arrived, and I started to make some plans for the bedroom. Even though I have thrown out several bags of clothes, I need more storage space. I'm thinking of getting one more wardrobe. I also want to get a new mirror in the hallway and some other small items. Yesterday I went to the mall to see what the other furniture stores had to offer and there were some really nice items there. Much more expensive than at Ikea, though, but I wanted to compare.

It seems like the fall weather has arrived. It's colder, rather rainy and windy. It's difficult to get used to after such a warm summer. I also have a cold, and it's not making things better.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Start of vacation

Sorry about the long silence. The last week at work before my vacation started Thursday was a little crazy. I actually couldn't go to work last Monday because of my bad back ache. The chiropractor said he had never seen my back in such a condition. And all this because I had been sleeping in my new bed..... Really annoying. My back is a lot better now. Tuesday and Wednesday were busy days, trying to get the others updated and making sure things would function during my absence.

Wednesday evening I went to my mother's place by train and bus. Thursday my sister and her family arrived. Friday her in-laws arrived also. We have had a full house. We haven't been extremely active, but still we have been in Åhus (flea market, art glass factory, shopping street and marina), to the beach (John would throw himself into water of any temperature it seems) and to the museum train (Brösarp - S:t Olof round trip in an old third class train with a steam engine from 1914 - a fun ride)! We have also been picking mushrooms and blackberries. The weather has been quite nice until today when it started to rain. I returned home this evening by train.

As you can probably imagine, my efforts to make things work at the library were useless. I read my work e-mail this evening. I have been away for three days and things have already gone straight to hell. I got a message saying they can't even make the deadline this week. I lack words.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tour of the library

It has been a fairly slow week at work, even though we have had quite a few requests. I have also tried to clear my desk. Books and papers have a strange tendency to pile up on my desk.

Wednesday at noon I walked down to the Church of Dome to meet the Andersons. They had arrived on the train just before that. Keira had a friend from college studying here, and she and her boyfriend joined us for lunch at a pizza place. Afterwards we walked (in rain) through Lundagård (park) up to my library. I brought them to the basement level and showed the oldest collection of books. They were also shown my messy desk, one floor of the stacks, the large rune stone in the entry hall and the manuscript reading room. After this express visit I walked with them to the station and they just barely made it on the intended train back to Kristianstad. It was very nice to see them again, and it seemed like they were enjoying their visit to Sweden. They went to Germany by train early the next morning.

Friday morning I woke up with a neck ache, probably from sleeping in an odd position. I have slept in my new bed for a few weeks and I'm not totally agreeing with it yet. The ache has actually become worse, now it hurts all the time and I can't find a way to sit/stand without feeling the pain. I can't even stand up straight. I went online to find my chiropractor (who has moved), and managed to get an appointment on Monday afternoon. It's the last weekend with the summer pass and I thought I would go somewhere, but the pain and the rain have kept me inside. It has been raining the entire day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Andersons on a visit

Thursday evening I went to my mother's place by train and bus. I needed a hair cut and since my mother has talents in that direction, she did it.

Friday morning we went grocery shopping and in the afternoon I drove off to Kristianstad to meet the Andersons. They arrived by train from Stockholm at 2 PM. Mark and his daughters Keira and Alexa (and I) were shown parts of the town by Tommy, who was the chairman of the Centennial committee two years ago. We visited the Holy Trinity Church which is right by the train station. It was built 1618-1628 on the order of the Danish king Christian IV as a cathedral with very high windows. Tommy, whose wife is one of the ministers there, had the key to the treasure cabinet and brought out beautiful pieces of silver, chalices, cups and also a large Bible printed in Denmark 1633. Afterwards we walked in the center of town and did some shopping, before we went to my mother's place. For dinner we had quiche, one with broccoli and one with turkey. Dessert was icecream with forest raspberries and cream. Very tasty.

Saturday we started at the fleamarket store in Åhus, but didn't really find anything, so we continued on to Glashyttan. The art glass was colorful and rather expensive, but worth a look. Downtown Åhus we had a baguette at a bakery and then the Anderson girls went horseback riding at the local riding school. Keira got a yellow fjord-horse named Flora, and Alexa got a brown larger horse. During the hour they were away on the trail ride, the rest of us went to the east side of the marina to look at the rich people's boats and an occasional fishing vessel. We also walked over the bridge to the west side to view the rich people's riverfront houses and some of the old buildings. When the girls returned from the trail ride, we went back to the house to rest. I took the opportunity to go swimming in the ocean - the first time this season! It was fun to jump in the waves. In the evening we went to the Rökeriet restaurant for the seafood buffet. It was a nice meal, several kinds of salmon, crab, fish soup, shrimp and more. We all agreed that the music entertainer (a guy with a guitar) would have needed some more practising, though. After the dinner we drove a round in Åhus, down past the marina to the hotel facility known as the Chanterelle. It's right by the ocean. We walked out on the pier and viewed parts of Åhus in a light rain.

Sunday we had an early start. At 8 AM we left in a miserably rainy weather that continued on and off for the rest of the day. We went to Norra Strö - the origin for the Andersons. The Sunday service in church was early, and we had to be there some time before to view the mural paintings and tell the tale about the old wooden chair. Mark and I attended the sermon, which none of us really could understand. It's beyond me why they can't make it easier for normal people to comprehend. Two children were baptised also, so the whole event was rather noisy. After this we drove a few rounds in the parish, visiting the ruins of my ancestral home, for instance. We had lunch at the golf club in Färlöv. It's by the 18th hole where there is a pond. We watched several (soaked) players hitting the ball into the pond. After shopping some in the store there, we went home to Mats, who is the current owner of the Anderson family house in Övarp, Norra Strö. Mats and his shy cat were waiting for us and we were invited for coffee. We accepted this offer, especially since it rained so much. We sat in his kitchen for quite a while, eating cookies and talking about the family matters. Even though Mats is not related to the Andersons, he is very interested in the history of the house. The next stop was the local historical museum, just a few hundred meters from the house. We had quick look at the exhibit on the second floor and the school classroom. I dropped the Andersons off at the hotel in Kristianstad in the afternoon and drove the car to a certain parking space and left it there. I then took the bus to the train station and two different trains home again. My mother, who had spent the day in Helsingborg (she has a summer pass too), picked the car up later and drove home to her place.

The Andersons are still in Kristianstad, exploring the neighborhood. I hope to see them in Lund tomorrow, so that I can show them the sights here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Upcoming visit

It has been a slightly easier week at work, because almost all staff members in the stacks were on duty. The best thing was that I didn't have to drive the storage round. It is so boring and it has been tough due to the heavy loads.

Tuesday my maternal grandmother would have been 100 years. There is only one left of her siblings now, a younger sister.

This afternoon I will take the train + bus to my mother's place. Tomorrow we will pick up Mark Anderson and two of his daughters at the station in Kristianstad. They will visit Skåne for almost a week. They will spend this weekend with us and we have lots of things planned for them.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Visit to Ystad

Tuesday afternoon I was on a two hour visit to Sweden's most boring town - Eslöv. It's just north of Lund and it's a place you pass by, never visit. There is nothing there to do or see, really. I had searched on the internet for a plus size brand and found out that there are more stores in Skåne offering this than I thought. One store is in Eslöv, so I took the train there. It was only a small part of the collection that was plus sizes, but almost everything was on sale. I got one top there and then checked out the other stores. One, a clothing store primarily for elderly women, had a talkative sales assistant, and she gladly picked out the pieces that she thought would fit me. She was actually right. I got two tops there and then went back to Lund to have dinner at a restaurant I had never been to before. Very nice bacon cheeseburger.

We were very few people running things at the library this past week. I got two desk duties instead of the normal one, and I was on call the other days. We did manage quite well, but I had to skip the morning break.

Yesterday I was on a very nice visit to Ystad, a picturesque town in southern Skåne, on the coast. It's an old town with small houses in pastel colors with narrow cobblestone alleys. It's known for having a film studio where they make films in the detective story genre, called Wallander-films (after the detective). Some of the films are shown in other countries. There are many tourists here, also because there are direct trains from Copenhagen and a ferry going to Bornholm (a Danish island situated southeast of Skåne). The shopping area is rather large for being such a small town, but that's because there are so many tourists. There was a flea market in one of the squares, and I got a Tupperware bowl there, a whipping bowl with a lid, that I had been wanting for quite some time. She asked 20 SEK for it, and that's a ridiculously low price. For clothes shopping, I got a lavender colored top and a turquoise-green blouse. They have a little different types of stores in Ystad than the big towns and it was fun to go browsing there. Lunch was a baked potato at a cosy book café. I also found, to my great surprise, that particular kind of sandals I have at work, Green Comfort. There are no better shoes. The inner sole is made of a gel-like substance so the foot sinks down and the shoe forms itself after my foot. Very expensive, but worth it. Now I don't have to go to Denmark to get them.

All this clothes shopping has meant that there are no more hangers in my closet..... And no room for any more either..... Even though I have just given my friend Eva some clothes, there is a great abundance of items. I will give some things to the charity shop, and also to my aunt. Recycling is the best way.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Various items

It's not so warm anymore, about 20-22 degrees. Much more pleasant. Saturday I was in Helsingborg to try to find a pair of sandals to have at work. There is a certain Danish brand that I would like to have, and I used to get them in a store that has moved and no longer provides them. It actually seems like I will have to go on a shopping trip to Denmark. I haven't been there in two years! Perhaps on my vacation. I'm thinking of postponing my vacation by one week, so it starts August 23 instead of 16. I am also thinking of making a trip abroad, but no decisions yet.

This Sunday it was very windy and it ruined the business for the people at the trunk fleamarket in Lund. They had to hold on to the goods and the blowing sand made it difficult for the customers. I didn't get anything.

Yesterday my mother and a friend of hers, both with summer passes, went by train to Ikea outside Malmö. In the afternoon they came to Lund and we all went on a short shopping round to the most interesting stores. We also had a light evening meal at a bakery. Just before 7 PM we all took different trains home.

There were 22 projects on the to-do list this summer. We have finished two of them. Actually, I did both. We started on one that we had to give up because we needed assistance from another librarian who is still on vacation.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Old compact shelves

Tuesday we had a visit at the library from a Danish technician who has been working with compact shelving systems for more than 25 years. He is the one who repairs the systems at one of our largest storages. When he heard we have an electric compact system from 1955 that still functions, he asked to see it. It's in the lower basement and he spent more than two hours there, taking photos of almost everything, taking measures and looking at the engine and the locking arrangement. He was absolutely fascinated. He had never seen such an old system before and he was impressed by the quality of the metal shelves. A total nerd. I am not so impressed, because I have to get the enormous thing to work and that's not easy. 55 years of moving the heavy shelves back and forth on concrete floors have caused some damages, both on the system and the floor. He thought he could make it work better by exchanging several things on it, but it will be pretty expensive. We'll see what my bosses say about it.

This week has been "challenging requests" week. For instance, we got one question that definitely qualifies in the category tragic lifestories. They called me from the manuscript reading room and I was asked to help a young woman to find information on her grandparents. She had never met them, neither had her father (!). His mother was a concentration camp survivor and his father a Russian officer during World War II. Both of them had ended up in this country; she was rescued by the Swedish Red Cross, how he got here we do not know. He disappeared from the records in the 1950s. The thing that bothered our visitor more than anything is the fact that he could still be alive somewhere. There are many questions she will never get answered, unfortunately. I went to great lengths for her (several of us did), and came up with very little. There were some records from the transportation of the mother to this country, but as can be expected, the information given was brief. She did get an origin for her, though (Poland).

We have another challenging visitor here this summer. It's a guy that is in the process of ordering all the comic magazines we have. You might think it's not serious research, but it is. He is doing a project for an archive here in Lund. I hope he has some limitations, because we have over 1000 titles in that category. Most of them are placed in storage also, so it adds to the burden.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weather and shopping

The Swedish summer is straining on us. It has been quite warm this past week, about 26-28 centigrades. You might have noticed by now that Swedes have to complain/discuss/remark on the weather no matter the conditions. This comes from the time when we were all farmers and were very dependent on the weather for getting food to eat. This habit of discussing the weather was "exported" to the US as a large number of Swedes left for better prospects in the mid-late 19th century. I have rarely talked about the weather as much as on my visits to Minnesota.....

In order to get out of the library building for a while, the janitor and I went to the car dealers in eastern Lund Tuesday afternoon. We need a new car for transportation of books. We are thinking of a larger vehicle than the ordinary Volvo we have now. I especially liked a dark blue Ford. No decisions were made, but we gave our boss some suggestions.

Other activities at the library included three hours of desk duty that was hard on both the visitors and me, a visit from an Italian scholar who was very surprised to be addressed in Italian by one of the librarians (she used to live there), and a minor water leak in the old collection. We have been told that there isn't enough power to keep all the air conditioning going, so they have a priority list. I doubt we are even on it. If I could move my computer to the basement I would, but there are no outlets there and no internet access. I asked for a 75 meter extension cable and was laughed at.....

Since I want to make use of my summer pass on trains and buses, I have done some excursions after work and this weekend. Mainly to go shopping of course. By now the stores are getting more and more desperate to sell their spring/summer collections, so it's getting rather affordable. I was in Malmö Friday afternoon. I got on the wrong bus in the city, but it didn't matter so much, because I figured out how to change to get in the right direction again. I went to a large second hand store, Myrorna (=The Ants). I was surprised to see clothes in large sizes there. Actually larger than my usual size. I got a very nice dark grey long jacket there. Saturday it wasn't possible to go anywhere because of a terrible thunderstorm + rain that woke me up at 5 AM. Today I have been in Helsingborg, there are now three stores at the mall that specialize in plus sizes. I got short white pants, a purple blouse and a brown long top. I also found some fake flowers in pink colors to replace the yellow ones I have had in a tall vase probably since I moved here in the early 1990s. Some things take a long time to get changed around here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hot weekend

Incredibly hot weather this past weekend. 32 degrees on Saturday and 33 on Sunday. Very humid also. To put this into perspective, the Swedish record is 38 (=100 F). It was that hot in Småland back in 1933. We are not used to this kind of weather. We do not generally have air conditioning in our apartments. I certainly don't. Basically, I spent the weekend sitting on the balcony, drinking water and eating all of the ice-cream.

Despite the outdoor temperature I took the bus to the mall Saturday. Both had functioning air condition, luckily. Some of the flowers on my balcony didn't make it, so I wanted new ones. There were of course also summer sales in most stores. I just got a little bit of shopping done.

The hot weather meant some pretty powerful thunder and lightning Sunday evening. A heavy rain followed by double rainbows also. There was a power outage in Lund. When I got to work Monday morning there was no ventilation. I was ready to turn in the doorway. They got part of it fixed, so we could actually breathe indoors. But it wasn't possible to sit in my room, not even with three windows open. I spent as much time as possible in the basement. I also drove the storage round, so I was away for a few hours. I got out of there early, because it was pointless to stay and try to do anything useful. The heat affects the ability to think. I made several mistakes at work and also forgot that I was supposed to do laundry Monday evening.

Both yesterday and today after work I have been to the mall in Lund. I forgot to measure the mattress, so I had to go back again in order to get the right sized bedding for it. Got some new bathroom towels also. All in blue color.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hot weather

It's getting hot here. It's 26 centigrades according to the newspaper, but it feels worse. I have to drive the storage round for another five weeks in a car without air condition. There can't be much ventilation in my room either. It's tough summers in the stacks.

Wednesday evening my new bed arrived. My father and one of the neighbors in Furuboda drove it here on a trailer. We carried it up three floors. The frame is made of steel and very heavy. We had to rest at every floor. But the bed is finally in place. It will need some new bedding and also something to protect the wall behind it. Afterwards we also drove the old bed to the recycling place. Glad to get rid of it. After sandwiches and coffee the two guys returned home (they rushed to get back in time for the world cup football game).

It's my turn to sit at the desk in the manuscript reading room today. There is a total of one visitor. Not that exciting, I must say. People are at the beach instead, probably. During the summer it happens that we get unusual requests. The latest one is from a scholar in Argentina, asking for information on Swedish people who emigrated there. He only had their names, and finding the Nils Andersson he asked about just wasn't possible. But some of the others I managed to get the origin for. A few thousand Swedes went to South America around 1880-1920, many of them became farmers. There are still Swedish-speaking people there.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fleamarket at Furuboda

Tuesday last week I took the train + bus to Vinslöv, the town where I grew up. It was my mother's big birthday and she didn't want to be at home. She had been invited to a friend of hers for dinner, and we all joined her there. My sister and her family came by car from Borås. We had a great salmon meal, and strawberries with icecream for dessert.

Wednesday morning my mother and I started working with the fleamarket at Furuboda. It took two and a half days to unpack all the smaller items and to get the furniture out of storage. But when we were done it didn't feel like there had been as many things as last year. I don't know the sum we sold for, but it can't have been higher than last time. Still, it was great fun to sell the books. Another woman who was the cashier at the auction had such a good time she didn't want to take a break. Among many other things, we sold a loom, collectors china, teak items (lamps, sideboards), sofas, camping chairs, clogs, curtains & fabric, Christmas decorations, old radios and an endless amount of kitchen utensils and household ornaments. I actually bought a bed at the auction there. It was almost brand new, it had been used in a guestroom. Very expensive if I would have bought it at a store, now I got it for one tenth of the regular price. Now the problem is to get it to my apartment, but I'm working on it.

Saturday we were tired, but made it to Åhus for a short visit to the merry-go-rounds near the marina (my nephew took several rides) and lunch at a café. In the evening I borrowed my mother's car and drove to the "Goldcoast", which is a nickname for a beach at a lake in the middle of Skåne. One of my friends from school (same class until 9th grade) celebrated her birthday there with a barbecue party. It was a wonderful Swedish summer evening with a magnificent sunset. A very nice party. Main meal was steak & homemade potato salad, dessert was icecream, whipped cream, meringue, strawberries and chocolate sauce.

Sunday we opened the fleamarket again for a few hours in the afternoon. The kids who were there at summer camp came and bought some small things. The things that are left will be given to a second hand store. In the evening I returned home by bus and two trains. My house plants had survived the hot weather. It has been very warm and sunny.

Today I returned to my regular job. There is just one other person working in the stacks, so we are quite busy. I drove the storage round, and it was a challenge for several reasons. There is lots of road work in Lund during the summer. I had to look at a map to see what roads would be open. I still didn't get it right, I missed the turn to the first storage and had to go back. The round is much longer now, and takes at least 20 minutes longer time to drive. In addition to this, I had to call my colleague twice to get help with call numbers and titles for some books I wasn't able to locate. The second time I called he laughed at me - it has never happened before that I have such big problems finding the right books. There are no computers in the storages, so we are quite meticulous when we sort the requests at the main library (or at least we should be), so that we have all the info we need when we get out there. In this case I blame the hot weather. It's not at all pleasant to sit at my desk at work. It's too hot to even think.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Midsummer weekend

It took two and a half hours to get to my mother's place. The bus from Kristianstad was delayed already from the beginning. Lots of people were going to Åhus, the nearest beach is there.

It has been a wonderful weekend. Perfect weather in my opinion. Warm, but not stifling hot. Fairly sunny, with some clouds. I relaxed in the folding chair on the deck for a while. We were really quite active. We (my mother had two friends visiting also) walked to the beach several times (very cold water), we participated in the quiz walk arranged by the home owner's association (we didn't win) and we rode bikes to the forest to see how far the blueberries had developed. Friday, Midsummer's Eve, we watched the folk dancers perform some of the old Swedish dances, with complicated movements and turns. The costumes were very pretty, but must have been very hot - most of the fabric is wool. When they had finished the performance they invited the kids to join them in "Små grodorna" [Little frogs] and other easier dances around the maypole. In the evening we had the traditional food. Pickled herring, eggs, potatoes, sour cream with chives, crisp bread and cheese. Ice-cream and fresh strawberries for dessert. Very delicious.

Both Saturday and Sunday we had lunch at Furuboda. Pretty good food also there and it's a buffet, so you always eat too much. This afternoon I returned home by bus and train.

This upcoming week I will work two days and then go back to my mother's place. It's time for the annual flea market at Furuboda (it's on Friday) and she is the main organizer. There are more items than ever before, so it's going to be hard work.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pretty bad cold

I was right. I have had a pretty bad cold the entire week. Nothing to stay at home for (no fever), but I have worked shorter hours and have avoided the heaviest chores. Another colleague is also sick (the same thing), but the weakling has been at home all days this week. It's a man.

Starting this week the library has shorter opening hours. This gives us more time to do other things. We have started on more projects; rearranging collections, moving collections, and making lists of certain books. Most of these projects have to take place in the storage facilities, because that's where the messy collections are. Not fun at all, but necessary.

It seems like the summer weather has finally arrived. It's rather warm, about 20 centigrades, and sunny. This is the time when I start to think it's generally unpleasant. I can't stand hot climate. I hardly ever take vacation in mid-summer.

This upcoming weekend is the Midsummer holiday. We have Friday off, so I'm going to visit my mother on the east coast this evening after work. The bus now goes all the way down to her village, so she will not have to come and get me in Åhus. But the trip (train+bus) is going to take two hours.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Royal wedding

Saturday was a big day for the crown princess Victoria of Sweden. She finally got her prince - Daniel. They were married in Stockholm and everything was broadcast live from early morning until after midnight. There were 500 000 people in town to cheer as they rode in horse carriage through the streets afterwards. Even I, who am not that interested in royalty, watched a fair bit of the ceremony on TV. It was a magnificient wedding, without a doubt. The greatest thing was that it was very obvious that they married for love. Not always a given thing in royal circles. It was reported that the guests had a great time and the last ones left at five the next morning. It must have been quite a party.

My own Saturday morning was spent shopping. I don't think anyone is surprised at this. I started at the flea market in Lund and then took the bus to Malmö. I had heard of a store that sells beads and other items to make your own necklaces, bracelets etc. It was a very busy place. The woman in front of me in line bought beads for over 1300 SEK. That's a lot. I bought clasps for my mother, and didn't even spend one tenth of that amount. I went to some more shops in town, but there wasn't much else of interest, so I went back home to watch TV.

Sunday I went shopping again, this time in Helsingborg. There is a trunk fleamarket on Sunday mornings, and it was the first time I was there. Quite far to walk from the station and I didn't get much - a Tupperware bowl. Then I took the bus to the mall at the opposite end of town. I hoped that the stores with plus sizes would have a sale, but only one of them did. I got some small things there and then went back home again.

This morning I woke up with a sore throat. Very annoying. It's still sore and I guess it will turn into a bad cold or something. I'm consoling myself with chocolate ice-cream, but it helps very little.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer sales

Monday morning my mother returned home, and I went to work like usual. I was a little tired, but not too much. My colleagues enjoyed the candy I had bought in Germany. It has slowed down at the library now. It seems like most of the students have left town. The scholars, however, are still here. They challenge us by asking for rather obscure material. At the end of the semester we have lots of returns, but this year we have had a better situation than other years. We are in sync with everything, actually. There is of course a list of about 18 summer projects we have to do, so we will not be idle.

This Tuesday the summer pass on the trains and buses was introduced. It's a card for the entire Skåne region and it lasts for two months. The card I normally get is only valid between Kävlinge and Lund, so other travel is usually limited during the year. Apart from using it for regular travel to and from work, I also make excursions to other places. I started already the first day by going by bus after work to the second hand store in Åkarp. I found some Swedish style souvenirs there. Then I continued on another bus three stops to the big mall at Burlöv. There the stores had started the summer sales (it's early, they start next week normally). I found a pair of jeans at an affordable price, and also two tops.

Wednesday afternoon I was in Malmö. I visited my favorite store there, Gray's. It's a store that sells American style food, candy, and memorabilia. I got some chocolate bars. One jewelry store had everything half price off, and I got a necklace and matching bracelet.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trip to Germany

Last Monday I received a publication in the mail from the Göinge Historical Society, containing different articles. It's their annual publication with articles relating to the history of that area (northeastern Skåne). The travel diary of Nils Nilsson, my relative who emigrated to Australia in 1909, was transcribed in it. Also with some details about his family and photos. I was involved in the process of putting it together, but most of the work was done by someone else. I read the diary again, and it's really amazing that he was on this journey for two months with wife and four small children.

Last week was student graduation week for the high schools. There were quite a lot of noisy teenagers in town, waving flags and singing that "school is out". There were parties and balls in town also. Several times I saw young women in ball dresses taking the bus at 7.15 AM home from the party.

Wednesday evening my mother came to stay here over night. Early Thursday morning we drove to a bus station near Malmö. We were going on an arranged bus trip to northern Germany. This was my mother's birthday gift from her daughters. We were 43 passengers, mostly elderly people from Skåne. We went over the bridge to Denmark (it was the first time my mother had done that - it has been there for ten years)! Further down to Rödby, where we embarked on the ferry to Puttgarden (45 minute crossing time), and then on to a small town in Schleswig province for lunch. It was a quick stop also in another town, Mölln, with houses in medieval style. We arrived at our hotel in the evening. It was a small rural town named Fallingbostel. There were sheep grazing outside our window, and chickens in a field in front of the building. Very nice place. Dinner was three courses; asparagus soup, chicken stew and raspberry mousse. Very tasty. In the evening we went kegel-playing. Kegel is similar to bowling, but the bowl was smaller. It was the men against the women, and it was a tight game. We had to play one extra round to get a winning team - the men won. It was great fun.

Friday morning we went to Lüneburg, a town further northeast. We visited the salt museum there. Lüneburg was a Hanseatic town and had for a long time, 950 until 1980, been exporting salt. The water from the ground contains 26% salt. In the early days they extracted it by heating the water in leadvats, which meant that the workers died from poisoning usually before 30 years of age. A tough job.

After the museum tour, our guide Malin took us on a trip in the center of town. There were many old buildings made of bricks with wooden frameworks. We also visited the Johannes church. The ground had become unstable because of the salt works, so the tower was leaning two meters. My mother and I went for lunch at a restaurant where the waitress didn't know one word of English. It was kind of interesting because it meant that I had to practice my German. I have spoken it on very rare occasions since I learned it in school more than 20 years ago. It seemed to work out though, because we got what we ordered - fish and potatoes. Very nice meal and also affordable. After some minor shopping in the touristy shops, we went back to the bus. At departure time one person was still missing, and it created some problems when seven people went out to look for him. He came back by himself 30 minutes later (he lost orientation in the town), but then one of the seven couldn't be reached (no cell phone). We got an hour delayed there, but we had a margin. In the evening there was yet again a three-course meal at the hotel; broccoli soup, a meat dish, and jello for dessert. My mother got a mushroom casserole. Very nice.

Saturday morning we went by bus to the other side of the town. There was a stable at an inn, where they had horse and carriage tours. We were about 20 people who went on a carriage, drawn by three large horses. We went out in the fields, they grow a lot of potatoes there. We stopped by at a sheep pasture, and the driver let his bordercollie out into the field to round up the sheep. He ran very fast and managed to get the sheep moving in whatever direction he was told. Impressive. We continued on the carriage to a natural preserve. This area is a part of the Lüneburger Heide, a large heath. Most of it is farmland now, and the only areas with genuine heath are preserves. We went for a walk on the heath. It was sandy soil with heather, juniper and grazing sheep. We had lunch outdoors, goulasch soup. They had forgotten the asparagus soup for my mother, but when the rest of us had finished, the chef came with it in his car. We returned to the stable and went on the bus again to another nearby town. We visited a bee keeper and he gave a short lecture on the history of his business and showed us old beehives made of straw. We also bought some honey products there. The dinner in the evening was tomato soup, three kinds of meat, two kinds of potatoes, chanterelle sauce, with icecream for dessert. Delicious. No risk of starving on these trips.

Sunday we checked out and left at 9 in the morning. On the way to Lübeck we handed in the bus company cross-word puzzle we had solved (it was difficult), and to our surprise we won the prize - a small marzipan pig. We arrived in Lübeck just before noon and Malin gave a short guided tour. It was yet another picturesque Hanseatic town with old buildings in different styles. We had lunch at Niederegger, which is really a marzipan shop. They also have a café with a large selection of cakes. We had a ham lunch and then we made some purchases in the store. We made a short visit to the museum, where we learned that Niederegger was founded in 1806. They export marzipan to 35 countries and is one of the largest manufacturers. There was an apprentice sitting in the museum, making small figures of colorful marzipan. It really is a handcraft. In the afternoon we continued north, and made it on to an early ferry (Malin rushed to the ticket office and back). It was the same way home, Puttgarden to Rödby and then through Denmark, over the bridge and on to the bus station. My mother and I made it back to Kävlinge at about 8 PM. It was a very nice trip, we had a good time and got to see beautiful places.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weather changes

The warm weather stayed until Sunday. It has been very pleasant. About 20 centigrades and sunny. When it gets warmer in July (?) it's too hot to even think. Today the rain has poured down the entire time, though. Very strange weather this year.

The sunny weather inspired me to get some strawberries in the market. They were not Swedish, it's too early still. But even so, they tasted really good with chocolate icecream and whipped cream.....

This Saturday I started at the flea market (got some Tupperware items), continued at the market in the square (got apples and carrots), and then spent the afternoon at work (to use the computer). It's a rather practical routine, because I can get fresh vegetables from the market and place them in the kitchen at work, to have with the lunches the following week.

Sunday was mainly cleaning and laundry day. My mother is coming to visit again and part of the apartment wasn't presentable. Sunday was also our national holiday, sometimes called the Swedish flag day. I didn't notice it that much. There were some programs on TV with music and speeches.

It might take about a week before the next entry gets written here. My mother and I are going on a weekend trip on Thursday. More details later.....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Picnic in the park

There are still lots of returns, but we are managing so far. The time has come when the scholars are requesting more material than usual. They don't have time to do any research during the semester, because they also teach. When the summer comes, we get more visitors in the manuscript reading room and they ask for a wide variety of materials. Some of it very difficult to find. Like the book by Ovid someone wanted today. After hours of searching it was clear that a librarian (over 200 years ago) had made a mistake cataloging it. We had two copies of the book, both of them bound in volumes with other items as well. I need to know what the first item of the volume is, otherwise I can't locate the book. For some reason, the librarian had forgotten to state that on the catalog card. Luckily (for me), the Royal Library had the same book bound the same way, so I found it. But it was very tricky.

Speaking of books, I have started to make an inventory of my book collection at home. Only the ones dealing with emigration to North America. I have about 200 books on that subject. I noticed last weekend when I was at the second hand book store that I really can't remember what books I already have.

Yesterday evening the social club arranged a picnic with a boules tournament in the city park. We were incredibly lucky with the weather, because it was the first sunny day in a long time. We had bagels and drinks, and then we played boules on the gravel walks. It was quite fun, even though we were equally bad at it. It took a couple of hours to get a winning team (three guys from my library), and they were awarded a colorful salad bowl each. It seems like we had managed to arrange yet another successful event, and we will probably do this again next year.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Second hand items

It has been another week with lots of returns and also three meetings. Two ordinary ones and one more on Dewey. We discussed how on earth we will cope with changing all the call numbers on 70 000 books. We decided that we can't. We will have to make the current collection a "dead" one and start over with the number system next year. The problem is space. There will be more meetings on this subject, I'm sure...

The weather here is not very spring-like. It's still not warm. The far northern part of Sweden has had better weather than we have down here. It's windy and rainy. I hope it improves quickly, because we will have a picnic on Wednesday.

This weekend I have been in Lund both days. Yesterday I went to a closing-down sale. It was a gift shop and they had Swedish style souvenirs more than half price off. I did some shopping there, and I also got some office materials. The second hand store in Lund had a pizza plate of the same kind I had dropped on the floor a few months ago, so I got that one. I went to a book shop and noticed several used books on emigration. When I looked at them more closely, I noticed that they were rather unusual for being sold here in Sweden. It was mainly local histories of small towns in North Dakota and Minnesota, for instance. Also some cookbooks with Scandinavian-American recipes. Some of them had a dedication on the title page. I just stared at the names - Karin and Stig Johansson. I know where those books came from - my distant relatives who both died within the last two years. I had only met them once and weren't able to communicate with them because of their poor health, and it's really sad that their books ended up there. In the 1970s and 1980s they had made several trips to the US (without having relatives there) and the books they bought ended up being a fair sized collection. I bought three of them now, and might go back for some more later.

Today was another trunk fleamarket in Lund. I bought some necklaces (to get the beads) and a book (fiction) on Swedish gold diggers in Alaska. I will give the book to my father. He has been talking about going to Alaska some day.

This evening has been very busy. I started cooking and for some strange reason half an onion ended up behind the stove. It was very slippery..... I couldn't get to it, so I finished cooking (sausage stew and rice - tasty) and then moved the stove. The wall behind it looked terrible, so I decided to clean. The mess extended into the actual kitchen also, so I continued cleaning the floor with a mop. And then I also did the bathroom floor. It was hard work and I was exhausted afterwards. The whole apartment now smells of lemon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Carnival in Lund

Sorry about the long silence. Most of last week was uneventful, so there was nothing to write about. When I finally had something to write about, my computer was not cooperative.

Last week there was a shift in the flow to and from stacks. We now have more returns than requests. It's at the end of the semester, and the students are finishing their courses. During the summer we will get visits from scholars mostly.

Last Friday the student carnival in Lund started. It's only every four years, so it's a big event in town. They occupy one of the park areas near the church of dome and offer shows, concerts, theater, dance, food and drinks (lots), and several other things. It's arranged by 5000 volunteer students. People visit from other parts of Sweden, and also Denmark. I stayed in town after work on Friday to do some people-watching, listen to the student bands playing and to see the Rufus Wainwright concert. The concert was pretty good, and it was surprising that they managed to get an international star to perform there.

Saturday I watched the parade. Along with 250 000 other people. Very, very crowded. There were about 16 floats on the back of trucks slowly driving through town, and in between there were marching bands, small floats on wheels and students in different costumes. What a spectacle! The floats illustrated, in the minds of students, current events. Among other things, there were references to bad student economy, the constant delays in the public transportation system, lack of housing (a tent on wheels), the Icelandic volcano (a papier-maché volcano with smoke), bonus programs for executives (new subject to learn at the economics faculty), the upcoming royal wedding and general partying. It was well organized and fun to watch.

Sunday was the last carnival day, but I wasn't there. I had laundry to do. I went through my closet and threw away some old clothes also.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shopping at Ikea

Friday I had to work and we were rather busy. I did another person's job also, but I could leave at about 2 in the afternoon. I managed to go grocery shopping and clean some more in the apartment before my mother arrived at 6 in the evening. She had brought small photos of Olga, and I will use them in the biography. It's a long-term project, and I have no time plan, but it's moving forward.

Saturday it was raining unbelievable amounts, so the only thing we could do was to go shopping. Not that it's a problem, but still. I had heard of a second hand store in Åkarp, but had never been there. We made this our first stop and it turned out to be a large and well organized place. My mother found a small table for her deck at the summer house. After this, we drove to Ikea in Malmö. It's a new building and probably one of the biggest Ikea stores in this country. This was my first visit at the new place. It was packed with people, not only from Sweden, but also from Denmark. We started with having a very nice lunch and then we walked the long round in the store looking at furniture and other things. I tried their beds, and found (to no surprise) that the most exepensive one was also the best one. They had wooden floor boards (in the shape of small squares) for sale there, and after some calculating and measuring, I got seven packages. After several hours at Ikea, we were tired and went home.

This morning we cleared out my attic space. We brought cardboard boxes, an old lamp, damaged kitchenware and other things to the recycling place on the other side of town. It's strange how much junk finds its way up to the attic, and it was great to get rid of it. Then we went north to the fleamarket town of Marieholm. We went to three places there, but I was the only one who made a purchase - two egg cups. This afternoon we have been busy cleaning the balcony and laying the floor boards there. It looks much better than the grey concrete. We have also replanted some of the flowers. Meaning that my mother did it and I cleaned up afterwards. For dinner we had pizza and then my mother drove home to her place again.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Trunk fleamarket

Sunday I got out of bed fairly early and went to Lund to go swimming at the indoor pool. I missed it the previous Wednesday because I forgot the swimsuit at home. There were lots of people Sunday, but it was ok anyway. Just behind the building there is a football field, and this day there was a "trunk" fleamarket. People park their cars at the sides of this field, open their trunks and sell items from there. Most of them had a table in front also. The prices were very low, and I got two pairs of short pants and some necklaces.

The only thing worth writing about from the work place is the cake we got Wednesday. Monday morning we received the 10 000th article request. We have had this service for two years and it's very popular. We work hard with it and we told our boss that we expected cake to celebrate. She complied.

Today is Ascension day, a holiday. I have spent a few hours at the mall Nova, but didn't get much. I have been looking for some sort of floorboards for my balcony, but haven't decided on any yet. I need some assistance getting it home, so I have to wait until either of my parents visits. My mother has actually been talking about coming here this weekend. For this reason I have also spent a fair amount of time tidying up in the apartment today.

The flowers on the balcony are still alive, even though the weather has been pretty bad. Lots of rain and colder than usual in May. We are really waiting for better times here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lots of meetings

It has been a week of meetings. Not the most constructive ones, but we have to pretend we are deciding something. The best one was the social club board meeting, where we greeted two new members and managed to decide on a date for the picnic and the destination for the fall excursion. Both items will be kept a secret for now. At the stacks meeting I handed out a 17 item project list for the summer. When I wanted volunteers for these projects, there was silence. It will take some persuasion to get those things done. The third meeting was about the problems we will encounter when we start using Dewey as a classification system next year. We will have to rearrange the entire open collection (70 000 books) and the reference section (30 000 books). It's not only a question of moving them physically, we have to change the entry in the catalog also. There are several issues left to solve. We have absolutely no staff for this. We have no room to rearrange anything either. The number one rule about libraries is the fact that they never cease growing.

Today I have been in Helsingborg. One of my favorite places to go shopping. I located a second hand store I had never been to before. I had to take the bus from the station, and that's always interesting. They drive like mad in that town. You have to hold on tight even though you are sitting down. But I survived the trip and found the store to be quite large and packed from floor to ceiling with all sorts of things. Clothes, furniture, china, kitchen utensils, books, and much else. I got two egg cups and a table cloth. Unfortunately, the owner was aware of what things were worth, so it wasn't possibly to make any great finds. I continued on another bus to the mall to have lunch. Also did some minor shopping there. The weather was kind of bad, so the mall was really crowded. On the way back I stopped by at the café in 1950s style and got a piece of chocolate cheese cake with orange flavor topping to go. I can't make cakes like that.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Peanut butter cookies

The end of the work week was rather busy because we had to move back all the furniture and everything else to our room. I was very happy to get my computer back. Friday was half working day, but I stayed longer to get things in order on my desk. For the morning coffee I had baked peanut butter cookies. It was a somewhat delayed celebration of my birthday. The cookies turned out pretty good, so there were no leftovers.

Friday was Walpurgis night, which is the time when we light bonfires and celebrate the arrival of spring by singing. This is the traditional way, at least. In Lund they have an additional tradition including astronomical amounts of alcohol. The students occupy the city park, drink, sing, play and go crazy. It looks like there have been riots afterwards. I avoided all of it.

Saturday was May 1st, which is our Labor Day. The day for political speeches and union demonstrations. Neither interests me, so I went shopping at the mall instead. I got some flowers for the balcony. When I came home I got the furniture down from the attic and placed it on the balcony. I made a mess in the kitchen when I planted the flowers, but now there are pink, white and blue flowers in the box and on the table outside. Let's see how long they survive.

The mess in the kitchen meant that I had to start this day by vacuuming. I also did the laundry and went grocery shopping. Necessary, but not worth writing about, really.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Aunt's party

Sunday I travelled to the village where I was born, Övarp. It required three train trips and then my uncle had to come and get me at the station. The event was my aunt's birthday party. In her opinion, birthdays should always be celebrated and missing one is unheard of. At the party I met some rarely seen relatives and friends. We had a good time talking and eating. The princess torte was very nice.

The work week has been somewhat out of the ordinary. We (four people working in the stacks) haven't had access to our desks or computers. The carpet in our room had to be replaced and that has taken four days. In the meantime, I have used another computer to check my e-mails, but haven't been able to access my documents or the special programs we use for the requests. It has been difficult to rearrange the work for all of us and we have felt a little lost, but we have kept busy shelving. It is my turn to drive the storage round this week and like all other occasions, it hasn't been fun.

There are more ashclouds coming, but we don't know how that will affect airtravel yet. The weather is a little warmer and more like spring, about 10-12 centigrades and sometimes quite sunny.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Old books on baking

It has yet again been a busy week at work. The months of April and May are usually pretty intense. Lots of student are writing papers at the end of the semester, and they need more literature than normal then.

Tuesday afternoon I went to Malmö to do some shopping. The supply of clothes in my taste was very limited. I came home with some socks. Not much of interest there. I managed to find a special birthday card that someone in the US wanted, though. I had dinner at TGI Friday's, a restaurant that opened only last year. Interesting place with food in American style, and better than the one in London. Had a cheesy baconburger and then mud cake for dessert. Very nice.

Desk duty on Thursday was slow at first, but at the end it was mad. At one moment there were five members of staff and three visitors standing in front of the desk at once and all of them were talking (to each other or to me) at the same time. To make things worse my computer wasn't working properly and I didn't dare to do any work on it that had to be saved. It has happened before that documents I have written on it have been lost and e-mail messages I have sent have never reached the intended persons (or anyone else). We are so dependent on the computers these days.

There must have been something wrong with the dinner I had Thursday evening, because I got food poisoning during the night. Very unpleasant to get so sick. I did make it to work on Friday, but I was tired and made several mistakes. It's hard to believe, but shuffling books to and from the stacks is an intellectual job that requires a connected brain.

Today Amnesty had a second hand book sale in Lund and I was there, of course. I got two books on baking. They were rather old, from 1934 and 1946. It was interesting to see that some recipes can still be found in modern books. The book from 1934 didn't contain any oven temperatures and sometimes not even number of minutes the cake should be baked. Instead they wrote something like "bake in moderately hot oven until cake is dry". I have about 30 books on baking/cooking from the past 80 years and it's fascinating to look in them and see how the way we bake/cook has changed (or not).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dark clouds

Thursday evening I went to a show at the theater in Lund. My sister had given me a ticket for Wear it like a crown. It was a small but very advanced circus show. The acrobatic numbers were performed by a woman who had an incredible strength. There were juggling with knives and chainsaws, balance acts and crazy things. The entire show had also an undertone hinted by the title - it's a song about facing your fears. Very interesting show, and I'm glad I got to see it.

The same evening the dark, ominous clouds with volcanic ash started rolling in over Scandinavia. With them came a cold wind. The volcano in Iceland is increasing in intensity and they are worried that one of the big volcanos will wake up also. The ash prevents airplanes from flying. 16 000 flights per day have been cancelled to, from and within Europe. Millions of people suddenly found themselves unable to go home from their trips. In my little corner of the world there have been lots of transportation problems. The bus and train companies have worked day and night to get extra drivers and vehicles. The long distance trains have been double in length and it still hasn't been enough. I saw on the display at the station in Lund that all the long distance trains were delayed, and that's no wonder. The ferries to mainland Europe have also been overcrowded. Even freight ferries have taken passengers.

According to the media here, the volcano can stay active for years. No one has planned for such a scenario. I'm sure there will be some long term effects of this. Several of the airlines will have to be rescued by their governments, for instance. Again. In a wider perspective, it's probably useful for us to be reminded of the fact that we cannot control nature.

This weekend has been similar to the last one, but I only made it to one flea market. Saturday I went (early) to the one in Lund. I got a handbag very cheaply, 10 SEK. Then I spent the rest of the day at work to continue with the emigrant lists. Today I did the laundry, went grocery shopping and did some cooking (sausage casserole).