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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.