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Monday, December 28, 2015

Very nice Christmas holiday

I worked Monday-Wednesday last week. Not many others did, so I was busy. Wednesday evening I engaged myself in baking - three different cookies. All of them rather experimental as I don't always follow the recipe. Thursday, Christmas Eve, I brought the cookies with me on the train to Göteborg. My sister's in-laws usually invite us all to holiday celebrations at their apartment. We have the main meal there (very tasty with herring, homemade crisp bread, roasted ham, meatballs etc) and then stay over to the next day. This year I got some presents; necklace, fudge candy and an egg cup. Generally, the number of presents was moderate this year, which is a good thing. We have all given money to charities - more needed now than ever before. Three of us also attended the midnight mass at a nearby church.

Back in Borås I stayed with my sister and her family. Their kitchen was being renovated, which meant that the fridge was in the living room and there were some logistical challenges. But I got to sleep on the couch like usual and it all worked out well. Over the weekend I went shopping with my mother and sister (got a pair of boots), went to the movie theater to see a hilarious Swedish movie with my mother and delivered the research I had done for one of my mother's friends (and got dinner there). Before I arrived my mother had gone shopping for me at a mail order outlet. She bought a black down winter jacket of high quality at a ridiculously low price (about one tenth of the original price). She had also found a pair of mittens and a pair of jeans very cheaply. If anyone is wondering, bargain shopping is my mother's favorite hobby. We all benefit from it. The deals she finds are just amazing.

Today I got a ride to Göteborg and first went to lunch at my favorite restaurant. I also went shopping at a closing down sale (a plus size chain is closing down at all locations), where I got a long tunic. After buying a blouse at a very crowded H&M I took the train back home.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the Christmas letters I have received, both in print and electronically. I especially noticed the Farm Fleet calendar from the Nelsons in Stillwater! It will be on the wall next year, for sure. Also a special greeting to Anders and Lydia in New York, who welcomed their first child about a week ago!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Decorated tree

We had lots to do at the library the last full week of the year. I attended four meetings and drove two storage rounds. We were one staff member short and that was noticeable. The number of requests are going down at this time of year but the returns are increasing in volume.

This year's Christmas present at work was a pedometer. At the same time a competition was arranged. The next three months there will be a prize offered to the employee who walks the most at his/her job. I don't know if that will be much of a competition. The ones working in the stacks walk the most, there is little doubt about that.

At home there is now an overloaded Christmas tree in the living room. It is decorated with all sorts of ornaments I have inherited, received as gifts or bought (or made) myself. There are items shaped like santas, angels, apples, hearts, balls, pine cones, cupcakes, wreaths, stars, icecream cones, shoes, snowmen, flags, bells and all kinds of figurines. It looks very nice.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Lots of food

The theme last week seemed to be food. There was a large supply of ginger snaps and candy offered at work. Also Wednesday all the staff members were treated to Christmas lunch at a fancy hotel. It was the first time we have received such an expensive meal at the employer's expense. It was the same place we had dinner after the August bus excursion and were disappointed by the food. This time it was better but not near five stars. Like I usually do I focused on the herring and salmon, and some were not edible. The mustard herring was over-spiced and the salmon was very dry. It was somewhat compensated by the dessert table, which was magnificent. Almond cakes with whipped cream and cloudberry jam, rice pudding and all sorts of handmade candy and toffee.

The other major food event occurred Saturday. I decided to go to Ikea in Helsingborg to try their Christmas buffet. It costs less than one third of the hotel buffet above, but it was better. There was one kind of herring that was just amazing and the salmon was very tasty. The Småland ostkaka (rice pudding Småland style) was incredible, without a doubt the best one I have tasted. While I was at Ikea I bought some textiles, and went to the mall next door also. There was a closing-down sale where I got a top rather cheaply.

We did some other things last week at work. One of my colleagues got the idea to use the National Union Catalogue (a large set of green volumes) to build a Christmas tree in the main hall of the library. This is sometimes done at American libraries so the idea was not unique in any way. The tree turned out to be about two meters tall and has attracted some attention. It looks pretty nice.

Today I started to decorate my apartment in the spirit of the season. I got the fake tree, four boxes and two bags down from the attic. The candles, santas and other figurines are up on the shelves and tables, and the star is in the window. I assembled the tree but haven't decorated it yet.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas party

It was a tough week at work with three storage rounds and long hours. I had lots of books to relocate from the open collection to the stacks also. Friday evening it was time for the annual Christmas party, arranged by the social club. We chose to have it at a restaurant this year and it turned out great. It was a cosy place and we had a very good time eating and talking. It was traditional food like meatballs, herring, Jansson's Temptation, rice pudding and much else. Very tasty. We had asked people to dress for a theme (castle) and some of my colleagues had gone far and dressed up as a fair maiden (a guy) and a knight in armour (a woman). They both got first prize. Presents were also handed out. A very nice party.

I have received a new request for research and that has kept me busy. It was a very tricky case, where the families moved to a new place every year. I couldn't always follow them everywhere because some archival resources were missing. Sometimes the information in one household ledger was incorrect and in one case the husband got his surname changed in between two ledgers and there was no explanation for it. It took a while to establish his identity because of this.

Today there was a Christmas market in town, but there were not many people or stalls this year. The weather is pretty bad, it's raining with strong winds. It's not really cold, it's about 10 centigrades, which is warmer than usual for the season.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Unusual questions

The snow melted very quickly so it's now dark and rainy again. Over the weekend there was a huge storm that caused some damage to houses and roads. The train service still hasn't recovered completely, but they will hopefully get it sorted out by tomorrow.

Last week I worked four days. The most interesting thing was when I retrieved a book for the American TV-series Who do you think you are. They needed a specific book that we have, but I don't know who the celebrity is that they were doing research for. Nevertheless, it was an honor to be able to supply the material.

Last week was also the first time someone has ever asked how many shelf meters our printed catalogs consist of. The question came from the National Archives. I didn't have that figure so I had to walk through the entire library, measuring the catalog boxes. The answer turned out to be about 630 meters.

Wednesday I asked my father to come and take a look at the locking mechanism on my apartment door. It wasn't working properly. I have had problems with it before and now it turned out to be beyond repair. It required two trips to the building supply store and a total of six hours work. I feel kind of sorry for my father here, that much work and all he got in return was dinner.

I'm very sorry to report the passing of my nearest relative in the US, Jeane. She was my mother's second cousin and I located her back in 1995. I visited several times and it was wonderful to make her acquaintance. She was so interested in family history and we had so much to talk about. A genuinely warm and caring person, she will definitely be missed.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Amazing musical

Last week was busy with two storage rounds, one workshop and two meetings, but I only worked from Monday until half of Thursday. At noon I went to Stockholm by train, arriving at my mother's cousin's new apartment in the evening. It was in the same block as the other place so it was convenient. Friday my mother also arrived and she and I went out exploring the shops in town both that day and Saturday. There were several nice home decor shops but we only made a few purchases. We also visited my great grandparent's grave and the house where they had lived. Sunday we walked to a local train station to meet my mother's friends who were coming in by train from outside of town. We have known them for ages, they used to live nearby but moved some years ago. We had lunch at a restaurant on top of the train station. I had a very nice meal with fish and mashed potatoes. After this we took the bus to a place called Djurgården. The four of us went to see the musical Kristina from Duvemåla. It's the musical version of Vilhelm Moberg's fictional work about the emigrants from Småland, Karl-Oskar and Kristina, who settled in Minnesota in the 1840s. It covered many aspects of emigration, still valid to this day with surprisingly current themes: reasons for leaving, the journey, the adjustment to a new environment, the prospects and new challenges, and the longing for home - wherever that may be. I cannot put into words how magnificent this performance was. My mother said afterwards that she almost forgot to breathe on some occasions. It was so meaningful, not only to me, as I had thought, but my mother was just amazed. It was actually her suggestion that we should go and see it. A great evening.

Today my mother and I travelled to our respective homes again. It is colder at home than when I left. It has also snowed, which I heard surprised a lot of people who hadn't changed their car tires to spiked ones. There have been quite a few accidents over the weekend here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

New project

I have now decided what my new project will be. Back in the mid 1990s I made an inventory of the gravestones at the local cemetery in the parish where I was born. The intention was to send it in to the project co-ordinator at the Genealogical Society, but that never happened. I lent the material to the Historical Society and it took more than a decade before I got it back. By then things had changed and the project wasn't active anymore. A few years ago they got it started again with a better system. You can now make the registration yourself directly on the computer screen. This wasn't possible before. So this weekend I have spent time researching the names on the gravestones. I have also tried to update the material with the burials occurring the last 20 years. My uncle's wife took photos of many of the gravestones and they will be included, but I will probably have to go to the cemetery to get the rest photographed also. It has all the chances of getting to be a long-term project.

Apart from this there really isn't that much to report from here. The week at work wasn't as bad as many other weeks. I was asked to go to a faculty library for consultation regarding old books and that was rather interesting. One of my colleagues asked for help with a genealogy question and that was even more interesting.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


It was a busy week, with three meetings and two storage rounds, among other things. I was interviewed by two colleagues about the quality of our services, from the staff perspective. I had a few things to say, so I hope it was noted. After three work weeks it was necessary to get treatment by the chiropractor again. That's how much my back can stand, apparently.

One very fun thing happened this week at work. There were some specific books missing and a colleague had sent out a general email to the staff, asking for help locating them. He wrote that there would be a reward if anyone found them. Thursday I saw the books on the return shelf and quickly sent an email to everybody, claiming the reward. The answer back was very funny, he offered a box with a conserved roll of bread (given to him from a conservation company). After that, people who saw me in the corridor laughed and commented on it - all my colleagues had read about it. The box with the unedible roll is now in my office. (The last time a reward was offered and I could claim it, I got a Snickers)!

Friday one of my third cousins came to visit at the library. I met her grandfather several times when I did research for the book about Arndt. She has just moved back to Sweden after four years of university studies in England and now chose to continue her studies in Lund. I have never met her before. I showed her the library and then we had lunch. It was very nice to see her.

This weekend has been slow, I can't even remember the last weekend I spent at home. The weather was pretty bad with high winds and rain. I have attended to the large piles of documents on my desk, the floor and the coffee-table. I managed to file some of them but not all. I have been thinking about what my next project should be but haven't decided yet. There are seven items on the list right now.

One of the more odd features this week was my mother's appearance in the audience at a live tv show. For many years there has been a bingo-show on tv, raising money for the local sports clubs all over the country. It's a popular event and my mother had been offered a seat in the audience this evening. I was then forced to watch it, and did spot her somewhere in the middle.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lots of shelving

This week went by incredibly fast. We were very short of staff so we had lots to do. One afternoon I brought a colleague to the storage to do some shelving. It was definitely needed. It's hard work to climb up and down ladders to reach the top shelves. We were very tired but we got a fair amount done.

This weekend it's All saint's/Halloween but I haven't noticed it much. No one has asked for candy here. Since the library is closed I had to find something else to do. Saturday I went to the mall outside Helsingborg. It was packed with people. I had lunch there but didn't buy anything. It's not like I need anything after those shopping trips abroad recently.

This week a refugee housing facility opened across the street from where I live. It houses young people from the Middle East. The large amounts of refugees are an enormous strain on our economy. 9000 people per week are applying for asylum here. This is a small country with limited resources and the situation is already now difficult to manage.

Weatherwise it's a pretty typical Swedish fall, though maybe a little mild. Dark, about ten centigrades and foggy. I have thrown out the summer flowers on the balcony. There is now heather instead. It looks rather nice.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Nice chocolate

The second week at work was also incredibly busy. More meetings, lots of shelving and several trips to the storage for various reasons. I picked up eight boxes with a donated collection from a faculty library and placed it at the storage. A nice thing was the pay raise that no one had told me about - I discovered it when I logged on to the administrative system to see how many vacation days there are left (only six).

This week I got a package containing a box of chocolate - it was my mother who had entered my name in a consumer competition again. Very nice chocolate, it's already gone.

This weekend I went to an indoor fleamarket store but didn't buy anything. The lunch at the 1950s style cafe in Helsingborg was very tasty. Today I was at work to print out more copies of the books I have written. I had run out because other people, apart from relatives, have asked to read them too.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Unusual work week

The first day of work turned out to be a real anti-climax. I arrived at work at about eight on Monday morning only to discover that everything was closed. There had been a threat posted online, indicating something bad would happen at the university that Monday and the police decided to close all the university-related workplaces. This had happened during the previous night and I hadn't seen the text message sent to me at 1 AM. I met one other colleague who hadn't seen it either. So I had to return home again. I went grocery shopping and did the laundry instead. Tuesday it was business as usual, though. The four remaining days of the week were very hectic. We had lots of books to retrieve, as there were requests from one extra day. I attended three meetings and was very quickly given two shifts per week driving the storage round. I still haven't been able to read through all my e-mails properly, even though I have had access from home. It's slightly overwhelming. This weekend I didn't do much, and that was also the plan. The only useful thing was vacuuming, which was very much in need. I have also been writing on a short publication about the visits to Germany my ancestors made in the 20th century. It's soon finished.

The weather is rainy and it's about ten centigrades, just like a typical Swedish fall. It's also getting darker, especially in the mornings.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Visit to Berlin

For the third time in four weeks I went on a trip abroad this week. I haven't really had time to travel the past few years, so now I took the chance. I have spent three days in Berlin. It was both for pleasure and for research. My great grandfather (and my grandmother) visited Berlin and other parts of Germany quite often. There are some short descriptions of these visits and also some old postcards. I went to Berlin to see what was left of the sights they saw, and that wasn't a lot. Berlin suffered huge losses during World War II and not all buildings were repaired. The city has also changed since the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989. There is lots of history to learn there, without a doubt. Many museums and historic monuments. I visited the Memorial for the murdered Jews, which is a fairly large area with concrete blocks in symmetrical pattern. Beneath it, under groundlevel, is an information center presenting the history of the Holocaust, examples of family destinies, maps with concentration camp locations and a room with video testimonies and access to databases. I have rarely been in such a silent museum. The visitors didn't say anything at all, they wandered through the place in respectful silence. So did I. In the last room I searched the databases for a Jewish family my great grandfather tried to help during the war by sending food to them while they were in a concentration camp. It did actually keep them alive. I found out more details and discovered that four of the five family members survived and later ended up in Brazil. Very interesting.

I spent one morning at the Aquarium, which is a three storey building next to the zoo. My great grandparents had been there in 1921 (same building) and were amazed at what they saw. I do realize that everything has changed there since then, but I too found the place interesting. I was especially fascinated by a large round tank with jelly fish floating around. There were many different kinds of fish and also snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, insects and sea horses. It was difficult to see the frogs, they were hiding under the leaves. It was a well kept aquarium with very informative displays.

Since it rained basically all three days, I spent much time in shopping malls. There are many of those in Berlin. It's a great place to go shopping. I visited a Christmas shop, second hand stores, discount stores, large department stores and some pretty expensive fashion boutiques. I came home with a total of nine pieces of garment. Over these days I enjoyed German pastry and other baked goods, in addition to the visit to Hard Rock Cafe, of course. The hotel was one of the best ones I have ever stayed at because everything functioned and a very nice breakfast buffet was included. Compared to the hotel in London this was a dream, and at a considerably lower price. The flight time is only 45 minutes, so I can't really understand why I haven't discovered Berlin until now. It's a very nice city. And the German I learned at school in the 1980s still worked, at least in some cases...

Tomorrow it's time for a reality check - I will start working again. I have several hundred e-mails to go through and I'm sure my colleagues will hand over some tasks. In fact I know they will, there are already items in my (physical) mailbox.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Moose meat and lingonberry jam

Last week I wrote a travel description of my visit to Rome. I included both Arndt's photos from 1929 and mine. It wasn't possible to take exactly the same photos as he did in some cases. For one photo he had climbed up on a hill, but that wasn't allowed now. Also in the Colosseum he was one floor higher up than I could go.  In my previous blog entry I forgot to praise the Italian icecream - it is very well worth tasting!

Also last week I did some excursions around Skåne. I went to Ystad and Malmö, among other places. Wednesday I went to visit my father, I haven't been to his place in several years. We always meet at the summerhouse, so we almost never visit him. My father's first moose hunt this fall was successful and I ended up with some meat, and also homemade (yes, my father's) lingonberry jam and apple sauce. This last thing was a little unexpected, but his girlfriend had supervised the making of it. My father is definitely not known for his cooking abilities. He has recently bought a motor home, which looked very nice. He is planning on doing some travelling both in Sweden and possibly to mainland Europe next year. It will be very practical to have such a vehicle then.

This Thursday I passed by the central train station in Malmö and was very sad to see the large number of Syrian refugees sitting there. It is a terrible situation. Last month 24 000 people applied for asylum here - record breaking amounts. We have major problems finding housing for them. They are going to open a closed correctional facility and put up temporary buildings in a city square, but it will not be enough.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Visit to Rome

I have spent a week in Rome. I decided to visit because my great grandfather Arndt expressed a great fascination for Italy, and especially Rome. So I travelled in his footsteps. There are photos in his album from 1929, when he visited, and I tried to take photos of the same things. He visited the famous sites, like the Palatine Hill, Forum Romanum and the Colosseum. I did the same.

Even though it's September there were lots of tourists and there were lines for everything. The line outside St Peter's Basilica was about 200 meters long and I decided it was not that important (Arndt didn't visit). I spent most of the days walking around (or taking the subway) to all the sites around the city. In addition to the sites Arndt mentioned, I also saw Pantheon, Circus Maximus, Spanish Steps, Capitoline Hill and several other places. But the most interesting ones were Forum Romanum and the Colosseum. I could trace Arndt's path and even figured out where he was sitting when he made a sketch of one of the arches (he made a painting of this later). There is an enormous amount of history to learn in Rome. Old buildings, statues, columns and archaeological sites everywhere.

During my visit I rented a small apartment owned by a Swedish family. It is in a building from the 17th century and situated in a tourist area called Trastevere, west of the river Tiber. Unfortunately, the windows facing the street were not insulated so the noise from the party people kept me awake until after midnight. Two hours later the surprisingly efficient Italian garbage collectors started working, with intervals of about two hours. I woke up every time they stopped to pick up the trash. It was also a strange feeling to have a nightclub on one side of the apartment wall and a church on the other. Especially on the Sunday evening, when both had activities (both included some kind of singing)...

Most things were pretty expensive in Rome and there were no clothes that would fit me, so the shopping only included some souvenirs and cheap bracelets at a flea market. The food was of varied quality and of course based on wheat, which is not so good for me. But I tried the lasagna, the pizza and the sandwiches, of which the first and last were best. Like I try to do on my visits abroad, I also had a meal at the Hard Rock Cafe. After a week in this hot (28-30 centigrades) and noisy city (unbelievable traffic) I was glad to get home again yesterday. My mission to travel in Arndt's footsteps was accomplished and it was definitely an interesting trip.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Weekend at the summerhouse

I was at the summerhouse over the weekend. My mother will move back to her winter residence next week, so this was the last chance to see her before she leaves. We went to the fleamarkets in Åhus, had some people come over to visit and went to church coffee with music entertainment. We attended this last event because we know the guy who played the flute. I returned home Tuesday after one more fleamarket round in Kristianstad. It was not any extensive shopping; I got three egg cups and a cookie jar and my mother some pocket books and a cardigan.

Wednesday and Thursday I was at work to make plans for my next trip abroad. I'm leaving tomorrow for a week in a European capital.

The September weather is windy and occasionally wet (though no rain when I was in London!). I have given up on sitting on the balcony so the furniture is now back in the attic storage. I threw away some of the flowers also.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Shopping in London

Early Monday morning I spent 23 minutes in total (including breakfast and shower) to get ready and was out of the door before 7. The trip to Copenhagen airport took about an hour by train. Travelled with Norwegian to Gatwick south of London. At Gatwick you scan your own passport on arrival, if you have a passport issued in the EU. Bought a sandwich and consumed it on the train to the city to save time. The first day of shopping started at the east end of Oxford Street and ended at the west. The primary reason for visiting was to buy plus size clothes. Some of the stores: Simply Be, New Look, Evans, Yours Clothing, Bonmarche and Forever 21. I didn't make purchases in all of them though. In the evening I had a hamburger and a chocolately dessert at Hard Rock Cafe. I was very tired after that much walking so I took the subway (called the tube) to the hotel. Hotel rooms in London are in my experience of very low quality and this was not an exception.  I got a room facing one of the busiest streets, there was a gap under the door to the hallway, the bathroom looked like it was from the 1930s, the toilet would only flush occasionally and the floor squeeked. It said on a poster that the plumbing was from the 1860s. I was exhausted and did get some sleep, despite all this.

The next morning I noticed that the showerhead was fixed in a position too low for me. I had to bend quite a lot to wash my hair. The breakfast was two boiled eggs and two slices of bacon. At 9 I took the tube to a shopping center called Surrey Quays pretty far south. Bought two tops at Yours Clothing and then went to a big grocery store, Tesco. They also had clothes and accessories, I found a very nice handbag with butterfly pattern. I had a chicken sandwich in the food court. Returned to the tube station and continued on the same line to one of Europe's largest shopping malls, Westfield Stratford City. 250 stores and 65 restaurants on several floors. I knew that there wouldn't be any stores with plus size clothing but I still wanted to see it. I walked from one end and then down a floor back. There were some Swedish stores there, Lindex and Polarn & Pyret, for instance. Also the Danish shop Tiger, selling cheap useful items like toys, kitchen utensils and small things. It was interesting to see. I returned by tube to Leicester Square and had a cheesecake at Hollywood Planet, mainly to get to sit down. My legs were hurting from all the walking. Made a small purchase at the gigantic M&Ms store and walked down to National Gallery. I wanted to see their collection of 17th century paintings, but that section was closed off for unknown reason. Slightly disappointing. I returned to Oxford Street by tube and bought a pair of boots and a top at two different Evans stores. I was at the west end of the street where there are very few restaurants, so I had a meal at Pizza Hut. A rather nice barbecue chicken pizza. Back to the hotel by bus.

Wednesday I woke up early but waited until 8 to get breakfast. This time I had the continental variant, two croissants with butter and jam. Not what I'm used to, but I survived. I checked out before 9 and made an attempt at going by the tube when it was still rush hour. Not a wise decision. Every train arriving (with 2-minute intervals) was packed with people in office suits. I had to wait at the platform quite a while before I could get onboard a train. In Sweden rush hour is over before 9, but obviously not in London. I made it to Holborn Station and changed to another line to go rather far north, Turnpike Lane. There was a store, Bonmarche, I wanted go to. It turned out to be a store aimed at women considerably older than myself. Even so, I walked in and right then lowered the average age of customers by several decades. I went through the stock and found two dresses (one of which was on sale). I was very happy about this, as it was a long journey to get there. I returned by the tube from far north through the city and ended at Victoria Station in the south. It took about 45 minutes. I had lunch at Ed's Easy Diner in the food court above the train station. A very nice barbecue pulled pork hamburger with cole slaw and onion rings. After this I managed to find out what trains went to Gatwick, bought a ticket in a machine and went onboard. The train ride took about 35 minutes. I returned to Copenhagen by the same airline, was rather lucky with the trains and arrived home at 8 in the evening.

Going shopping in London is not cheap. The clothing prices are basically the same as in Sweden, but everything else is more expensive. For me, it was the plus size collections that was the attraction, since it's different from here. I am pleased with the result: seven tops, three dresses, one pair of boots, three scarves (all three with butterflies on!), one handbag, some underwear and a few more small things.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Research success

The semester at the university started this week and it's very busy in Lund now. Many new students arrived and my colleagues do little else than issue library cards in September. It's a hectic time of the year and I'm glad I'm not working right now. I have done some small things at work, but not near my usual work load. I have been there quite a lot to do research (for someone else) and this weekend I finally got it finished and sent it off. Regarding this, it really is amazing what you can find online these days. I was able to get obituaries published over 100 years ago from a Norwegian newspaper for this. It's scanned and searchable for free online. The package I sent was rather large and I hope they will find it interesting. I certainly thought it was.

Apart from this, I have done some chores like window washing. It was very much in need. I have also been to the large recycling place on the other side of town with some items (crushed plates) that I can't leave at the place in the same block. Other activites include crossword puzzles and some vacation planning. I'm going on a short trip abroad tomorrow.

The weather is getting to be more fall-like. Around 15 centigrades, very wet and windy. There was not much of a summer this year.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Museum visit in Elsinore

Last Thursday it was time for the annual bus excursion arranged by the social club at work. 50 of us were going to leave at noon and just ten minutes before that there was a major power outage in Lund. All our computers went out and all other technical equipment quit working. We couldn't even use the PA system to tell the visitors they had to leave the building. The situation was the same when we left to go on the excursion but we later heard that it had lasted for about two hours. The ones who left on the coach got to see the Maritime Museum in Helsingör (Elsinore), Denmark. It's a short ferry ride from Helsingborg. The museum is renowned both for its architecture and displays. It's situated in an old dry dock very close to the harbour. It's completely below ground level. We got a guided tour in Danish. The guide spoke clearly and we could understand him. Since my great great grandfather sailed the seven seas I took a special interest in the paintings of the old ships. There were displays of items brought home by the sailors from faraway places, interiors of a ship, trade routes and old maps, navigation instruments, merchant trade and the losses during wartimes and a large number of model ships from the 15th century and on. An interesting museum. After returning to Lund we had a meal at one of the hotels and I'm sorry to say it was not worth the money. There were many things wrong with it; too little food, almost nothing vegetarian and rude staff. I don't think I have ever heard so many complaints from my colleagues about a dinner (and I don't even work right now). We actually sent these complaints on to the hotel management and they asked to see some of us in person to discuss it. We'll see what happens.

Friday I worked for a few hours. This was planned ahead of time. I attended a meeting. It's far too early to say, but it is possible that I got one of my most brilliant ideas ever at this meeting... I might write more about this later. Over the weekend I was at work to do research for someone else. Today I went to Malmö and managed to find five different second hand shops. Got some small things and then went to work to try to finish the research. Didn't quite make it so I will have to visit again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Educational exhibit

Last week the weather was very nice and I made a few excursions. Tuesday I went to Copenhagen. The main reason was to see the exhibit on the White Buses at the National Museum of Denmark. The White Buses were Red Cross-vehicles that went from Sweden and Denmark to rescue Scandinavians from the German concentration camps in 1945. The operation was made possible after negotiations by Swedish diplomats. 17 000 people were rescued on these buses, not only Scandinavians but also Jews. In particular, a large group of Jewish women from the Ravensbruck camp were rescued. When these women arrived in Sweden, they were interviewed about their experiences. These documents are housed at the library I work at. The drivers, doctors and nurses that went with the White Buses were volunteers. It was very dangerous as the war was still going on. The exhibit was well done and it gave horrifying details about the situation in the camps you really didn't want to know. Very educational, and very necessary for the present generation to learn about.

Wednesday I made a stop at the library to use the technical equipment. My colleagues spotted me and gave some remarks, but they are used to seeing me even when I have vacation. Thursday was a long day. I had to do laundry at 7 in the morning and managed to get it done by 9. Went by train to Båstad, which is a seaside town on Skåne's northwest coast. I went there for a reason - this is where my great grandparents vacationed almost every summer for more than four decades. The place where they stayed was a well-known hotel, but it was torn down years ago. All that remained was a plaque with a photo of it. I walked along the beach, mostly in the water, and enjoyed the lovely weather. The schools have started so there were almost no people there. I had lunch at a cozy cafe and then walked past the church where my grandmother was confirmed in 1931. Had a look through the expensive shops with upscale clothes' brands and then decided on an ice-cream at the marina. The return trip was long, as I first took the bus to my favorite mall outside Helsingborg. I thought the views from the bus (following the coast south) would be nice and I was right. At the mall I didn't do much, only had an early dinner. Returned home by bus and train in the evening.

Friday I went to the summerhouse and got to see the results of the renovations. My mother was happy about the floors but not the wallpaper. There was nothing wrong with the colours, but the craftmanship was not done well. She has complained but I don't know if it can be fixed. Saturday it was time for the annual Play Day at Furuboda. My mother and I volunteer every year. She got a tough assignment at the cafe, selling cookies and ice-cream. I got an "easier" task helping out at the gocart event. My job was to put helmets on the kids who wanted to go for a ride, and then also get the helmets off. It meant that I knealed down a couple of hundred times that day. I could feel that very much the next day. But I have to say it was not so tiring as last year. It's a fun day with lots of activities for the kids and we are happy to help out. The rest of my visit at the summerhouse was spent mostly solving crossword puzzles or relaxing in the reclining chair on the terrace. My father stopped by one morning to let me listen to a recording my great grandfather made in 1951, singing a Swedish song. Someone he knew had a recording device. The quality was not good but it was interesting to hear his voice. The weather was very nice at the beginning of my vacation but now there are rainstorms and high winds. I returned home today.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Time for vacation

Last week at work was the last for quite a while. There is a fairly long vacation ahead of me. I tried to clear my desk and delegate responsibility to the others before I left. Last week I also managed to get an emergency appointment for a dentist, which was not easy. I was directed to a clinic outside Lund, but accepted it and it turned out very well. My regular dentist I have been treated by since the 1980s has retired and I know that I have to get listed at another place, but it's difficult to decide that quickly.

The summerhouse was renovated the past week and my mother visited me again. We spent an afternoon in Helsingborg but apart from that she has done excursions of her own. She went to Ikea again and ordered new bedroom furniture to be delivered to the summerhouse later.

Saturday morning we went to the fleamarket along the esplanade in Lund. It's where people sell their unwanted stuff. I found a new pair of jeans for 40 SEK. Of course it's a chance buying pants there because I couldn't try them on, but I was lucky this time, they fit me. Also got a new wallet. In the afternoon we went to visit an elderly couple who happen to be our neighbours at the summerhouse. Their permanent address is in Lund. We got some very nice waffles and enjoyed sitting on their balcony. After this, my mother returned to the summerhouse by train and bus, as the renovating was almost finished. Three rooms have new wallpaper, the kitchen has new tiles on the wall and a new floor mat, the wooden floors in two rooms have been resurfaced and there is a new mat in the hall. I haven't seen any of this yet.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Short vacation

The week at work was a little straining. I still have back problems but after a second visit to the chiropractor it's better. We were three or four people in the stacks this past week and I didn't have to work as hard as the previous week. We have already now noticed that the new students have acquired their reading lists for the upcoming semester. There are several repairs going on in the building and it's causing some distress. The main elevator is being cleaned and painted so we can't use it. One morning our computers were out after the power was broken by electricians doing some rewiring. It was difficult to get everything started again and one computer (which almost never gets shut off) took a long time to get running again - it had to install 23 000 updates first.

Saturday morning I took the train to Hässleholm and was met by my second cousin and his wife. It's a tradition that we meet over a weekend once a year. My mother also arrived by train half an hour later and we all went to a flea market outside of town, arranged by a sports club. It was outdoors and pretty big. My mother was the only one shopping, she got a top very cheaply. We had a meal at a newly opened cafe in the countryside. It had a theme that my second cousin favors - old American cars. It was a very nice place with decor from old gas stations and a large display of model cars. After taking the scenic route we arrived at their summer residence in the woods. It's her family farm and they have been remodeling it since they got it some years ago. The old farm fields have been planted with birches and spruce trees. Today we also toured the troll forests (high spruce trees and green moss make up a mystic setting, where the trolls lived according to the folk beliefs). We drove on the back roads and it was really nice to see something else than the highway. Returning to Hässleholm, we went for yet another flea market where we got some small things. We had discovered that there were massive train problems due to a power failure, so we decided to stay and wait until it was sorted out. We had lunch and then went to the local park. The ice-cream was good and the weather was great. Sunny and about 24 centigrades. We just relaxed and enjoyed the ambience. Three of us then managed to get onboard more or less the intended trains in separate directions. I went south, my mother east and my second cousin's wife went north (she had to go back to work). The visit was very nice, it was the first proper vacation for me.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Shopping weekend

The previous weekend, when I stayed at home and did very little, had consequences. I have had back problems since then. I went to the chiropractor and he did what he could but it was not solved right away. It's better, but the week at work was unpleasant. We were only two people in the stacks and calling in sick was not an option. The worst part was the daily storage round where you do a lot of lifting. We have been busy shelving at the storage and two collections of work material have also been relocated there.

The few reviews I have heard of the book about Arndt are positive. Just like I thought, his grandchildren didn't really know so much about his worklife. They were unaware of many things I have been able to dig up in the archives.

This weekend many stores had their final sales of the summer collections. There were offers of half price off the reduced price everywhere. For the past three days I have been to four different malls and found some bargains. A sleeveless top, a mat for the balcony, a scarf, sandals and some small things. Saturday I went to Ystad, which is a very nice town on Skåne's south coast. There were several flea markets and I visited the one in the square and a few second hand stores. I found two more eggcups for my collection (which has now outgrown its two shelves in the kitchen). One of my favorite clothing stores in Ystad will change owner and they had 50% off the entire stock. I got a pair of jeans there. Today I went to the closest mall. It's not really fun because they are repairing it and there are very few stores in operation. But there is a big warehouse selling building material and interiors. I wanted a new floor mat in the hall and I found one there. It is more than three meters long and it was pretty heavy to carry on the bus. Especially since I also got groceries and a few other things. Getting the mat in place was an ordeal. There was a book case in the way. I had to remove all the books and move it, clean the floor, put the mat in place, move the book case back and then put the books back again. But the result is marvelous.

It is now August and we can look back at a very rainy month. This was the first July in many years that I have had long pants and socks for work every day. The only exception was the first weekend, which was very hot and sunny.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Staff shortage

This past week most of my colleagues went on vacation. Starting Wednesday we were only two people in the stacks. This will continue also next week. It means that we will have to do the job of seven people. The number of requests is low but we have the hobby researchers that come in during the summer and they often ask for lots of books at the same time.  I have been to the storage a lot, both for retrieval in the mornings and shelving in the afternoons. The students we hired for moving projects have done one more small book move but are mostly engaged in database work. They sit and make corrections in the database. 15 years ago we moved many journals to storage but we were unable to change the location indicator in the database. I have for a long time asked for staff to do this manually, since this couldn't be done automatically. Many other things had a higher priority so it has taken a while, but this summer they will get it done finally.

The medicine I had to take for the borrelia made me tired so I haven't done much apart from work. I did deliver several bags of clothes to the charity shop, but not much else. This weekend the weather has been terrible with rainstorms so I have stayed at home. Generally, the climate has been good to work in, about 20-22 centigrades and often cloudy. Though really awful if you have vacation and planned on sunbathing. Many Swedes have gone abroad this summer because it has been a very lousy summer so far.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Shopping trips and concert

Two book moving projects were finished last week. Most of the open collection journals we were supposed to move to storage have now been relocated. Some of the titles couldn't be moved because there is no place for them at the storage. The two students also managed to finish their big move of books to the lower basement. They have some small projects left though.

Last week I worked shorter days because my mother was visiting. She spent most of the mornings in my apartment doing some chores like mending clothes and attending to the house plants. Tuesday she went to Helsingborg and in the afternoon I went there too so we could go to Ikea together. She is going to renovate the summerhouse and she wants new furniture also, so she took measures and made plans. We also went to a second hand store at a mall, where she found brand new clothes very cheaply. Friday we went to a concert in Lund, it was Sanna Nielsen, one of the Swedish Eurovision song contest winners. That woman can really sing. It was a very nice outdoor concert. Saturday my mother returned to the summerhouse.

Last week I had to go to the medical center - I have borrelia (caused by a tick three weeks earlier). This was the first time there in many, many years. It was fascinating to see how things work in the health care system these days. I first had to see a nurse, then a doctor and then another nurse. I was there for two hours, but I really shouldn't complain, because they were very meticulous and did extra tests to rule other things out. I was asked if I'm allergic to penicillin and I had no way of knowing that. The only kind of medicine (apart from vaccine) I have taken the last 40 years has been ordinary pain medication. Anyway, I was given penicillin and the situation is better.

The book about my great grandfather Arndt is, believe it or not, finished. I printed it out last week. My father is going to see most of those relatives in a few days so he will distribute the book for me.

Today I went to a rather new fleamarket place outside Helsingborg. I had never heard of it before, I found it on a listing on-line. It turned out to be a large warehouse were people could hand in the items they want to sell, pricemark them and leave them on a designated shelf. It was a huge place and I wish I had discovered it while my mother was here, she would have enjoyed it very much. I found some nice plates and a small decorative tray.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book moving project

Last week the weather cooled down and it is now about 18-20 centigrades and cloudy. Not much of a summer, but nice to work when it is like this. I got a project of moving open collection journals to storage a kick-start and did little else last week. There were lots of staff members in the stacks so I could do something else. I started from the end of the collection, and I have now moved all the foreign language journals from Z to G. The biggest problem isn't moving them, it's all the changes you have to do in the database. Every volume has to be updated with a new sticker and a call number.

Friday afternoon we made an effort and five of us went to the storage to shelve. We are constantly lagging behind with this task. The situation got better, but it wasn't enough. 

My mother arrived here Saturday evening for a week's stay. Sunday we made a trip to the flea market in Malmö, where she made some bargains (shoes and a top). We also went to a mall, where we got some decorative items. The summer sales are on everywhere and since the weather was bad the mall was crowded. When I arrived back home from work today my mother had replanted most of my plants, cleaned the kitchen, gone grocery shopping and had been to a mall to get me new tea-cups, flowers and a few other things. I wish I had that kind of energy.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hot weekend

Last Tuesday two students started working in the stacks. They will do a moving project. We have to move about 600 meters of books from the 4th floor to the lower basement. The biggest problem has turned out to be the hot climate. The weather has changed and is now sunny and warm. The 4th floor stacks is not pleasant during summer. Another challenge is the call number system in the stacks. All the books are placed from the bottom and up on the shelves. It requires some extra attention to get it right. This morning it turned out wrong when shelving and we all blamed the hot weather.

I attended the last meeting for the summer Wednesday, and the outcome was that I have to make a mapping of all the processes in my department. Meaning that I have to list all the tasks we do, describe them, count the number of hours it takes every day, identify the target groups and aims, and a few other things. This will be one of my tasks when I return after my vacation this fall, but I have already started on it.

Friday afternoon I made a strategic relocation to the summerhouse. The forecast indicated that summer would finally arrive and it turned out to be true. We had temperatures up to 30 centigrades and mostly sunshine over the weekend. Very hot indeed. Despite this my mother wanted to go to an outdoor fleamarket Saturday. We got some decorative things and fabric. We invited some relatives we happened to meet at this fleamarket for coffee the same evening. But for the most part I spent the weekend in a reclining chair on the terrace. We also visited the beach. I decided to go directly to work this morning, so I had to get out of bed at 5.30. But it was worth it.

The day at work was, not surprisingly, hot. I had 25 centigrades in my office, which meant that I tried to do my job elsewhere. The outdoor temperature was lower, 22, so it has cooled down. All the available portable fans at work are in use and the janitor was asked to find a few more.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Midsummer and fleamarket

Midsummer Eve was spent at the summer house with my mother and two of her friends. It was too cold and rainy to do anything else than sitting inside the entire weekend. We had the usual meal with herring and potatoes, with some boiled eggs.

Last week was very busy. My mother and I arrange a fleamarket at Furuboda every year (though last year we had too few items so it was cancelled). This year we had plenty. So many things were left unsold because people didn't see all of them. It was really crammed with stuff, both on the tables and on the floor. My mother and I were there five days in a row to sort things, put up signs, hang paintings, arrange books in rows and try to sell it at two occasions. We were 23 volunteers at the main salesday on Friday. We were all exhausted afterwards but at the same time it's a fun project. The proceeds go to Furuboda's summer camps for disabled children.

My sister and family arrived Sunday evening, just in time to help celebrate my mother's birthday today. Some friends were invited also for a delicious salmon meal and homemade birthday cake. Afterwards I got a ride to the train and arrived back home this evening. I will work at the library from tomorrow until mid August. Just as the weather forecast predicts sunny and warm weather (it has been very miserable so far with heavy rainshowers and cold winds)...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fun workshops

Last week at work I arranged two workshops on biographical material. In essence, I forced my colleagues to do genealogical research! Not in their own families, though. I gave them basic info about famous 20th century Swedes and told them to find that person's parents and grandparents. I provided weblinks and booklists and showed them basic search techniques. In my opinion they did very well. Some were very ambitious and located more details than I asked for. Several of them thought it was fun! And so did I!

The other tasks at work were not so exciting. We have a project involving weeding the reference collection and we wanted to know what books are actually used. We asked the visitors to put the used books on carts instead of back on the shelf. I had the worst week so far, I wrote down the titles of over 100 books and then shelved them properly. It actually seems like the collection is more in demand than we initially thought, which is a good thing. The rest of the week was spent trying to do as much as possible before the summer. I will work for the most part, but several projects require the assistance of colleagues, so we have had many meetings recently.

Today was the first day of the summer pass, which enables you to travel everywhere in Skåne the entire summer. I did remember to buy a pass in time. Today was also the first day with summer routines at work. Honestly, it could have gone better. Somehow we forgot to retrieve books on the third floor of the stacks... Remarkable. And rather embarrassing. We were few staff members today, but that really is no excuse.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mouldy books

I had to drive the storage round twice this week. At the same time I did a project. We are going to move many of the journals from the open collection to the stacks. Before we can do that we have to check if there is actually room for them at the different call numbers. It was a long list and I didn't have time to check all of them, but with the help of the other colleague involved in this project, we got a complete list by the end of the week. I would say we can move back 80% of them to the stacks.

We discovered some water-damaged books at the new storage this week. There was a leaking pipe two years ago and apparently we didn't notice back then that some books had been affected by the water. Now I had to remove about 15 books that looked awful - black mould was growing on them. There is no way we can save them, they will have to be thrown away. Touching mouldy books would really require a different type of gear, but I didn't know what to expect so I didn't have any gloves. I normally don't have to handle "bio-hazard" material...

Saturday was the national holiday but I only noticed that because the library was closed. I had to find something else to do and chose a visit to my favorite mall. It was crowded and not as nice as other times. I had lunch at Ikea and then bought a jar of cloudberry jam. Today I was at work like usual, but this time I did research for someone else. I got a request from a man who will give his wife her family history as a birthday gift. To 75% it was very easy because those ancestors lived in the same parish, but the remaining 25% will be difficult because they originated in Norway. There will be at least two empty boxes on the ancestor chart and that bothers me very much.

The weather here is a little out of the ordinary. It was the coldest May in over 50 years. It has changed now and it's around 16-18 centigrades in the daytime, but I wouldn't say it's warm. It's not a pleasant start of the summer season.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Guided food tour

The week at work was not as busy as the previous one. The number of requests is lower at the end of the semester. I attended five meetings, had desk duty for the last time in many months, went to a medical institution to look at a book collection we will take care of and attended a party for a retiree. The last thing was the most fun.

Thursday afternoon I made use of the last event ticket I got for my birthday. It was a guided tour of the indoor food market. It's rather small and I expected it to be a short tour. I was slightly wrong. It took us 2 hours and 20 minutes to eat our way through the entire market, while we listened to the entertaining guide. We got samples of food everywhere. We started at the fish dealer and he offered fresh oysters. I hesitated, but then decided to try it and survived. At the other places we got seafood wrap, chicken, sushi, thai food, sausage, mushroom soup, cheese and cookies and chocolate for dessert. All of it very high quality. It was marvelous food, I especially liked the soup and wrap plus the desserts. Most of us made purchases.

This weekend I spent some time at work to write on the book. I have most of the text, so the job is mainly to edit it and rearrange the paragraphs. The book will probably be around 80 pages. This weekend I also managed to squeeze in visits to two different malls. The results were one tunic and hygiene products.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Balcony flowers

The week at work was rather varied. Several meetings, like usual. Apart from the normal routines, I have made preparations for a workshop in June, I was asked to evaluate a library service and I unpacked two boxes with microfilms. I spent the weekend at work to add the information I found at the Vadstena archive to the book about Arndt. I didn't quite finish it, mainly because my dear mother called and asked how to operate the TV remote control. A very difficult thing to answer if you don't actually see it in front of you, but after a while I found the instruction manual online and finally she could get the channels back on the screen. Speaking of TV, Sweden actually won the European Song Contest in Vienna yesterday. Impressive. My mother and I did see the Swedish contest live back in February where the final winner participated.

Locally, the biggest news is the opening of a new grocery store. I have been there and the reviews are mixed. It has a slightly higher price range than the other main grocery store and only time will tell if they can all survive. In favor of the new one, it's closer for me and has a fresh deli with personal service.

There are now some flowers on my balcony. My mother shared some of hers and then I got one more here. Blue and yellow ones in the large box and a pink one beside it. It looks pretty nice. The spring weather is rather cold for the season and it's way too early to spend any time on the balcony.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Research in Vadstena

After a complicated four and a half hour trip by three different trains and one bus I arrived in Vadstena Tuesday at noon. I went there to do research at the Regional archive. They have the Swedish Match company archive. The entire Swedish Match archive consists of more than 1000 shelf meters of material. I had "only" requested 51 volumes, containing correspondence, clippings and staff files. It was incredibly interesting to read the correspondence between my great grandfather and his bosses. They discussed everything from importing chlorate and oranges to currency exchange rates and taxes. It's evident that keeping up the normal trade during World War II was close to impossible and they tried to find other suppliers than European ones. Several of my questions were answered by this material. I have found out exactly when he was employed (Nov 11, 1919) and what his salary was (at least some years). After the financial crash of 1932 he was laid off for technical reasons (they couldn't fulfil the statutes of his contract). But he was employed again, with another contract and a considerable pay cut. Others weren't so lucky. Many people lost their jobs at that time.

The archive closed at 8 p.m. that day and I was there until then. The only restaurant I could find was a pizza place, so I went there for a meal. I stayed overnight at a B & B, which was very nice. Old style house with winding stairs. The next morning I made a visit to the abbey church, which is a very large church from the 15th century. It holds the relics of our most famous nun, Saint Bridget (1303-1373). Vadstena is a very picturesque place, but I didn't see much of it as I had to go back to the archive. After one more day of research I was pretty tired and my hand hurt. I had written 32 pages in my notebook. One bus ride and three train rides later I arrived back home late in the evening. It was definitely worth the trip, I have found so many new details about my great grandfather's life and work.

Thursday was a holiday so I got a chance to rest after the archive visit. I spent some time in front of the computer to search for more information about certain things I had read about in the files in Vadstena. Friday I worked, which was rather stressful as we were only three people in the stacks and the other two had desk duty also. In the afternoon I went to the summerhouse. My mother has now moved down for the season. My sister and family were visiting. We did some chores, but also played with the kids and did some minor shopping (my mother wanted to plant flowers in the garden, so we got some). There had been new cabinet doors installed in the kitchen and it looked very nice. My mother is planning on getting new flooring and wallpaper also.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mummified bishop

Last week was fairly busy at work. This entire spring has been unusual when it comes to the number of meetings I have had to attend. I'm a member of several task forces and it's just incredible how many meetings I have been to the past few months. I'm booked almost every day. The most interesting thing that happened last week was something else - a visit to the History museum's storage. Last fall they opened a coffin where a mummified body from the 17th century was placed. It was the bishop of Lund, Peder Winstrup (1605-1679). He was the bishop there even after the Swedes won the war with Denmark and Skåne became Swedish. He was the one who suggested to the Swedish king that Lund should have a university. The museum curator told us that it's thanks to Mr Winstrup we have a job. The university was founded in 1666. His body was well preserved for being so old. It was remarkable to see it. We were given a thorough lecture about the bishop and his life, along with details of his health. They had run him through a CT scan and found that he had had dental caries, tb and gout. His body is a unique opportunity to study the living situation for the people in Lund at the end of the 17th century. The investigations will continue for quite a while.

The weekend was spent shopping at two different malls in the Malmö area, but the results were meagre. A scarf at a second hand store and two tunics. Today I had taken time off to go to Malmö city archive. I did research there occasionally when it was in another building, but they have since moved into a much better place. It's much more modern and easy to access now. I went there to look at a personal archive handed in by an in-law to my great grandmother's family. I knew there would be some information also about them, but it turned out that I already had those details. It was still interesting to see it, it was family history research done about 100 years ago.

Tomorrow I'm going to yet another archive. It's a much longer trip and I hope it will be worth while.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Educational week

As a part of the reference collection project four of us walked a few hundred meters to the humanities library to talk to the librarians. They had recently moved their books and had been forced to downsize a lot, turning five different reference collections into one. They had also changed the call number system to Dewey, which we still haven't made any decisions about. It was interesting to see how they had done it, even though their reference books make up less than a tenth of our collection.

Wednesday the social club at work arranged an event many of us attended. One of the last Holocaust survivors came to talk about her experiences. Her origin was in Poland and she had survived walking from there to northwestern Germany and then spent several months in a death camp. Aged 90, she still remembered dates and places, names and faces. She had just made a return visit to Bergen-Belsen, which was liberated by the British forces 70 years ago this April. She said that her body was present but her mind was still back there. It was the first time I had heard anyone talk about these things in person, and it was just as horrible to hear as you can imagine. She talked non-stop for two hours and 20 minutes with the audience in full attention. Very, very educational.

Thursday was the big spring party day for the students and just as I thought there were no visitors in the manuscript reading room. I sat there guarding an empty room. Friday was May 1st, traditionally the day when politicians give speeches and there are labor union demonstrations. I did not attend any of it. Saturday I was at work for a few hours and then I made use of one event-ticket I was given for my birthday. It was a guided city walk, the theme was Women in Lund. It was the first time they arranged it. We got to hear about the wives of professors, housekeepers of prominent persons, women photographers, doctors and authors and a few more. The time span was 1300-1950, so a pretty wide scope. It was quite interesting. The guide even said she had been to my library to do research for it!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Housewarming party

The week at work was pretty intense. I doubled most of my regular chores because other people were absent. I had to drive the storage round twice. While I was there I managed to shelve the contents of 13 boxes also. It was video cassettes with interviews done more than 20 years ago. For some odd reason we have to store them, even though most of them probably can't be viewed anymore.

I have a tendency to get involved in other colleague's projects. Either by invitation or accident. Friday I was asked to join some colleagues who were going to pick up some books at an estate. The owner of a printing house had passed away and he had wished our library to get his personal books. We couldn't take all of them (he had hundreds of shelf meters in his apartment and a basement storage), but we picked out a total of 16 boxes. I was invited on the last visit to scan the remaining shelves to look for books we didn't have. I added to the load by about 20 books.

Thursday we had the annual social club meeting. I have been the chairwoman for a few years now and the meetings tend to get shorter and shorter. I think we broke last year's record and finished in 18 minutes. Afterwards we had a great buffet with salmon and shrimp.

Friday evening a colleague had invited eight of us for a housewarming party. He had made broccoli quiche and rhubarb pie, and we were all very impressed by all of it. We had a very good time and I came home rather late. The weekend has been slow, I did some washing and I brought down the balcony furniture. I have also washed the windows, which was very much in need.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spring party

Last week quite a few things happened at work. Like usual, I attended a few meetings, but I also did a user study. I stood near the reference collection and watched how the students use those books. The results were very disappointing. They hardly ask for them. During one hour a total of two students looked for reference books. There is no crowd. There is one major reason for this - the internet. Many encyclopedias and dictionaries are online these days. We have 1650 shelf meters in our reference collection and we have to downsize it. As far as I know the collection has never been weeded, so we are some librarians who will look into that matter. It's a long term project.

There was a new exhibit opened Friday, with a large selection of ephemera print. It's calendars, postcards, catalogues, instruction manuals, timetables, posters, phone books, flyers, local community prints and much, much else. They want to make the ephemera collection more widely known, so they have spread this material out all over the library's open spaces. It was interesting to see, the focus was Sweden in the 20th century.

Thursday the library closed early (very unusual) because we were going to have a spring party! It was some sort of a party to celebrate the fact that some of us got new offices. Any reason to have a party at the employer's expense is embraced. We had a quiz about university buildings and I didn't get many of those answers right (even though I pass by some of the buildings regularly). The food was very tasty: Italian style meal with chicken and lots more. There were leftovers and many of us got lunch the next day.

Last week I got a parcel in the mail. It was a consolation prize in a consumer competition. I'm guessing my mother had entered my name in it. I won a DVD set with a TV-series. Too bad it wasn't the first prize - it was a trip to London.

Today I cracked a very difficult case at work. It was a question about a person's correct name. I had a misinterpreted last name and first initial to start with, along with the street name (no number) where this person had lived in 1986. It was challenging, but I found it by going through all the people living in this street according to the 1990 Swedish census.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Shopping day in Copenhagen

The first workday last week was Tuesday. My colleagues in the manuscript reading room had called a meeting at 8.15 that day and less than half the staff members attended. For obvious reasons. Way too early in the day after a long weekend.

The physiotherapist visited me at my desk Wednesday and she had complaints about my chair. So do I, but we will get new ones so it was not a big issue. Apart from that everything was fine. I attended a few other meetings last week and especially one was frustrating because no one understood that I was right and everybody else was wrong...

The visit at work over the weekend was short. I only went there to book some tickets for a trip in May. Spent Saturday afternoon in Lund, going to several second hand stores. No major purchases, though. Since I have too many overtime hours, I had to take time off today. I went on a shopping trip to Copenhagen. It takes about an hour to get to one of the malls (two train rides and one metro ride). One of my favorite stores is a small shop in a suburban mall, where I usually get very nice clothes. Also this time, a long tunic in green pattern. I also visited several other shops in the city center and the biggest mall in Scandinavia, Field's. I'm pretty tired now after all that walking.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter weekend

Last week at work was shorter than normal, we worked until Thursday afternoon. All the staff members in the stacks were pretty tired on Tuesday, after having shelved such a large number of books the previous day. Again, my back problems were clearly noticeable. Tuesday we also noticed that our dear colleagues hadn't succeeded in doing our job to 100% on the Monday, so we had some catching up to do. Mainly sorting returned books. I think I sorted six carts on the Tuesday, which is a lot for one day.

Friday I went to the summerhouse by train and bus. My mother and two of her friends were there. Easter is traditionally the time when painters, sculptors and other artists display their works to the public, either at open houses or gathered at a venue like a hotel lobby or community center. Saturday we went to Åhus to look at some of it. It was bitterly cold outside even though the sun was shining, so it was a short round. We did some garden work later, clearing away fallen branches and old leaves. Sunday was my birthday and several people came for afternoon coffee and cake. My aunt, my father and a few friends showed up. I got some nice presents also: three egg cups, a cushion (made by my mother), a kitchen towel, two event tickets, a bracelet (made by my mother from an elastic band and colorful buttons!), a toiletry bag and chocolate & candy. My father also brought the paintings he has which were painted by Arndt (his grandfather). I took photos of them, some will be included in the book I'm writing about Arndt.

Apart from this, Easter was a lot about eating. Swedes consume an enormous amount of boiled eggs during this weekend. We had eggs every day, plus lots of pickled herring, smoked salmon and Jansson's temptation (potato dish with anchovy). Today we visited some of my mother's friends for lunch - chicken. Not a single egg in sight! It tasted great though, especially the dessert, which was apple pie. I returned home this afternoon by train.

Monday, March 30, 2015


Last week at work was filled with long and tiring meetings. Three, to be exact. We also got to listen to a lecture on ergonomics, which was interesting. We were told how we are supposed to sit at our desks so that we don't get health problems. The physiotherapist also explained how to lift things correctly. When she said that you shouldn't lift anyting higher than your shoulders, the staff in the stacks smiled and wondered what reality she lived in. Our book cases are up to four meters high. Even with a ladder you have to stretch pretty much to retrieve the books on the highest shelf.

Speaking of high book cases, today we had an entire day of shelving at the storage. Other people retrieved books at the main library. I don't know how that went, but no one called me, so I think they found everything. We were six people at the storage and we worked hard to get the books back on the shelves. The backlog was very large. We were not able to shelve all of them, but the situation is better. I also introduced the new employee to the work routines at the storage.

Over the weekend I made a trip north by train to a small town named Ängelholm. There are some nice shops, but this time I didn't get anything. I continued on by bus to my favorite mall, where I got a top on sale. Sunday was rather slow, but I did get started on a project for work. Later in June I will arrange a workshop for my colleagues, so I have searched for information to include.

This upcoming weekend is Easter and I will spend it at the summerhouse with my mother and some of her friends.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Archive Center study visit

I was at home Mon-Wed last week due to illness. Thursday my computer was going to be exchanged, so I had to go to work for about half a day. I didn't have to retrieve any books, but did some emailing and other minor tasks. The workload the past few weeks has been moderate. We are happy about the new employee, she is keeping the volumes of returned books down and she is even asking for more work(!). Over the weekend our library system was upgraded and it went surprisingly well. It meant that we didn't have that many requests to deal with today, since it had been shut down.

This afternoon the social club arranged a study visit to the Archive Center, where our big storage is located. We had the university archivist give us an introduction and it was very interesting to see their material. Apart from university administration documents they have ledgers of the students and teachers from the 1660s and on, with their written essays and other papers, admission documents, manuscripts from lectures and much else. He gave us a tour of their stacks, which is in the same part as  we have our older stacks. Afterwards we all went over to our new facility in the same building, where we keep about 35 000 shelf meters of books. Everybody was impressed. It was a very nice visit, even though my nearest colleagues who go there every day to retrieve books, couldn't imagine that anyone else would like to see the place. But I had heard so many questions about our new storage so I thought there would be interest, and I was right.

There isn't much research to do right now, I have exhausted the possibilities. I think I will have to go to another archive later and then I have to wait for the material about Arndt's boss to be dug up this summer. It meant that I spent this weekend away from work. Saturday I went to a total of four second hand stores and two malls in the Malmö area. It resulted in a top and a summerdress. Sunday I vacuumed and brought the coats back to the attic. It's going towards spring weather here quite rapidly so I have stored the thick winter clothes. It never was much of a winter here in the south.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Visit to mall

Things are pretty miserable here. I have a bad cold and had to stay at home from work. I have noticed that I get sick more days than a few years ago. I assume it's a sign of old age... I sit on the couch and do nothing. My brain isn't working properly. The flu has taken out some of my colleagues, but I'm not sure that's what I have.

Last week some minor things happened. I got a much needed hair-cut. My boss gave me more responsibility and invited me to a meeting about this issue in April. I actually didn't spend the weekend at work, instead I tried to tidy up in my apartment Saturday and went to my favorite mall on Sunday. I haven't been shopping for quite some time, so I made some purchases now; three tops and some small things. Later in the evening I noticed that I was getting sick. It's really not pleasant.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lots of statistics

Not much is going on here, apart from work and research. The only thing out of the ordinary happened last week when the bus driver took a wrong turn and I ended up at another bus stop than the intended one in Lund. 

At the library these days are filled with work on statistics. We have to hand in quite detailed statistical information to the Royal Library every year and it's a long and complicated process. This year they changed the form completely and gave us one month shorter time to answer. There are things we sometimes would like to say about the Royal Library which is not suitable for any kind of quotation. I'm not responsible for handing it in for my department, but I have attended several meetings about the matter and I have to count the books and/or the shelf space. It's basically the same problem every year - we don't know exactly how many books we have...

This week I went to the chiropractor to get treatment and the first thing he said was: So, you have started working again, haven't you? My back problems are very much associated with my work and he hadn't seen me in over six months since I was on leave most of last Fall.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Arndt on film

I can't believe the material I get about Arndt from the grandchild of his boss! She has sent photos from the 1930s when Arndt visited their newly built summerhouse. There is also an amateur film from the same era, where Arndt is standing outside a car and greeting his boss. Very short sequence, but just incredible to see. I cannot thank this woman enough for helping me find information about Arndt. She said much of the correspondence is kept at another place and she will not be able to get to it until summer, but she has already found such interesting things. She is also doing some research in her family, and I will assist her with details I can get through the databases at work. It's the least I can do in return for all these images of Arndt. We have also discovered that my grandmother was the witness (godmother) at the christening of the grandchild's uncle!

19 days in a row at work was enough, so Sunday I stayed at home and did very little. These past few weeks have been very tough to get through. Last week I had three meetings and tried to attend the internal desk in the stacks at the same time. Today I had two meetings and desk duty. Recently I have also moved two collections to the remote storage, reviewed half of the books on medicine (many of them are misplaced) and tried to keep up with the incoming e-mails. We currently have two scholars ordering large amounts of books; one is interested in just about every book about labor unions we have (and he has requested thousands of them) and one other is researching Swedish hymns and have requested many hymnal books (but not thousands yet). One positive thing is the fact that we got a new colleague today. We hope she will help us with the backlogs - the number of books that need to be shelved is reaching historic amounts.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Not a good Friday

There really isn't much to report from here. I spend every day at work to either work or do research. I got a research request from my mother's friend, so I'm busy with that too. It's the usual mix with early deaths among the children and ordinary farm life in a rural setting. There were a few emigrants also, they settled in the Boston area. I'm glad there are pretty good vital records for Massachusetts. Most of these emigrants were women and that's always a challenge to find them after they get married. I did locate them and their families.

I got a temporary book case in my new office now. We are supposed to get new furniture in April, but I couldn't wait that long. I asked the janitor to install my old book case, and he did. I have now unpacked all the office materials.

Last week was not a good one. Several people were absent and it was noticeable. Friday was especially bad. It was a day filled with mistakes, both mine and other's. I had promised a scholar that I would bring a box of books from a special collection to the reading room by 10 AM Friday. Naturally, I forgot it. I had to drive the storage round very early and made a colleague go with me, in order to retrieve those books. It was rather stressful. Later I found out that the scholar hadn't been there.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Research weekend

Last week it was work during the weekdays and research over the weekend - in the same place. I'm very privileged to have easy access to all those books and newspapers. This Saturday there were four other colleagues at work too, so I'm not the only one using the facilities for private reasons.

I have located a grandchild of one of Arndt's co-workers (his boss, actually). It was basically the last straw, since there is information lacking about Arndt's work, especially in the 1920s. She answered back and said that she has a lot of material about her grandfather's job, both letters and photos. I didn't think there would be, since her grandfather died rather early, in the 1940s. She would dig into it and I hope that Arndt will be mentioned in this material. It's very far-fetched, but you never know.

This last thing reminded me of the times when I started doing family history research 25 years ago. Back then you wrote a letter (by hand) to someone and it could take weeks or months before an answer came (if it did at all). Now I found this woman's e-mail address in less than 20 seconds and I got a reply the next morning. Correspondence is definitely easier and faster these days.

It's not much of a winter here in the south. It's just above freezing temperature, with occasional rain showers and high winds. Rather boring.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Song contest and emigrant museum

Last week was very hectic. At work I moved my office three floors up, and all my colleagues in the stacks did the same. Many people from the administration also moved to the same floor. We are now over 100 people in the same building and it is already noticeable that our kitchen is not large enough and that the only elevator to our floor is not going to cope with it. Not to mention the complaints we have about the design of our brand new offices. I can't believe that designers don't understand that we need book cases - it's a library! What do they think we do there?! All of us moved the furniture around and we were all scolded by the building department for it. Again, the designer had misunderstood everything. We don't want our desks turned towards a wall and we don't want to have our backs against the door opening. All these problems have meant that I (and many others) have been forced to change the way we work. I have to use another desk on another floor also, because most of the daily activities are concentrated to a lower level. I really hope things will improve, this is not a good working environment as it is now. The minimum requirement I have is a book case...

This weekend I made a short visit to Borås. My mother had entered my name in one of those consumer competitions where you could win tickets to go and see the local Eurovision song contest. I won two tickets and my mother went with me to Göteborg on Saturday evening. This song contest is well known in Europe. It was seven participants and they sang everything from rap- to opera-inspired songs. It was both established artists and newcomers. The event was televised live and it was interesting to see the cameramen work. The whole thing was quite fascinating. This was the first of five contests, the final will be in Stockholm in mid-March. The winner there will compete in the European final in Vienna later in May.

We also managed to do some minor shopping and visit my mother's friends over the weekend. This morning I took the bus to Göteborg. I visited the emigrant museum near the harbor. It has been there for about ten years, but this was my first visit. Website: http://emigranternashus.se/?page_id=191. Since I know quite a lot about European migration, it was moderately interesting to me personally. But I still spent over an hour there, looking at the displays of America trunks, images of ships, passengers and items they had brought on the journey. There were statistics, information about the reasons for leaving, the arrival in the new country and the societies and clubs formed by Swedes, along with stories of successful Swedes. A separate display was about Snusgatan (Snuff street or boulevard) which hinted at the Swedes' habit of using snuff (chewing tobacco). In Chicago it was a nickname for Chicago Avenue, but other cities had the same kind of name for the Swedish areas (Minneapolis and Winnipeg). Another display was about the Titanic. After visiting the museum, I went to lunch and then looked through some stores. Didn't get much, only a bracelet on sale. I took the train home in the afternoon. When I checked my mail, Arndt's nephew had sent the booklet just published about his father, Sten. It was written by a teacher at the same school where Sten taught Swedish and Latin. It was very interesting to read. Soon there will be books about all three siblings; Olga, Sten and Arndt. I'm sure none of them ever thought there would be.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Luck in research

It has been yet another busy week at work. My schedule is more strict than before. I attend the internal desk in the stacks every Tuesday, where I take care of the books that don't have bar codes, distribute the requested books to the different locations and answer incoming e-mails from patrons. That's a lot of work and I have to be there all day. Wednesdays I drive the storage round and Thursdays I have desk duty.

Friday we had a small party for yet another retiring colleague. She was my boss for many years and  will be missed. She told me she had started to do family history research, which is a typical activity for retirees here. I cheered her on, of course.

The newly found relative and I have been exchanging photos for a while now. I was pretty surprised to get two sketches made by Arndt from her. All this has raised more questions and we have both been doing more research. Her great grandmother had four brothers in America, which I found information about a few years ago, so I sent her that. This project is getting bigger and bigger, but it's really interesting.

This weekend I have been at work to do research. I have received cut-out articles from old newspapers about a shipwreck in 1907 (Arndt's brother-in-law was the captain). Arndt's nephew had found them and sent them to me. But it didn't say what newspaper it was or any kind of date. It must be a local newspaper from Halmstad and sometime between 1931 and 1949. I started with 1931 today. It takes an entire day to go through the microfilms for one year, so this will be a long term project if I ever finish it. I didn't find what I was looking for, but something much more interesting - Arndt had written several articles in this newspaper about his visits to Eastern Europe in the 1920s. I have so far found four. No one had any idea about this. It's remarkable that his articles would be in the newspaper for 1931. I was incredibly lucky.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hectic week

Over the weekend I contacted the woman who had posted a query about the same ancestor as I was searching for information about. She was pretty surprised to hear from me. We have now spent several days exchanging old family photos via e-mail. I had a photo of her great great grandfather that she had never seen. She was thrilled to get it. I was also happy about many of the photos she sent to me. One especially of Arndt and Valborg with her brother, who had emigrated to California and was on a visit to Sweden in 1954. Also photos taken at Arndt and Valborg's wedding party in 1914. We have also, with some effort from both of us, been able to put names on some of the previously unknown people on a few photos. I'm glad I contacted her, she seems to be the one on her side of the family who takes an interest in genealogy.

At work it has been very hectic. It's the first week of the semester and the students are desperate in their hunt for literature. We have been struggling with the workload and have just barely made the deadline the first days of the week. I have been to the storage for the first time since August to retrieve books. I did remember the pin code for the door and the books were placed in the same order as last time. Today was a long day. It started with two meetings from 8.30 until noon, and then I had desk duty. I was rather tired when I got home.

This week I had to go to the dentist in Lund and that was very unpleasant. Very expensive also. One filling had cracked and there turned out to be more problems. My teeth are placed very closely together and the dentist had to use quite a lot of force to get the job done. I normally go to another dentist, but I didn't want to travel all the way to Kristianstad. The new dentist didn't know me and asked several times if I was ok, which I was, despite the abuse. Perhaps you don't want to know the details here, but there was lots of blood and there was no painrelief given (I was offered, but declined). I can say that I have endured worse than this though.

This past weekend I finally removed all the Christmas decorations in my apartment. I have bought some new items on the after-Christmas sales, so it wasn't possible to fit all of it into the boxes. I had to weed some out.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Grandfather's funeral

I worked until noon last Thursday and then walked to the train station. When I got there it was announced that all northbound trains had been cancelled due to an accident. There is always a lot of misinformation in these cases (28 years of daily commuting tells me this). So I stayed and waited without doing anything. After about 30 minutes they had decided to turn a southbound train, so my train was suddenly changed from cancelled to delayed. We finally arrived in Stockholm one hour and forty minutes late. It didn't really matter to me, but I feel sorry for the foreign tourists who were on their way to the far north. Not only was the most important information given in Swedish, it was also incorrect...!

Like every time I stayed with my mother's cousin. Friday morning I went out to take photos of the buildings where my great grandfather Arndt had lived and worked. At noon I had changed my clothes and went by commuter train to a small town west of Stockholm. On the same train I met two of my father's cousins and we talked a lot about family history. My father picked us up at the station and drove to the church. My aunts and cousins were there, along with father's cousin from Denmark and also grandfather's girlfriend and her family. Grandfather's funeral was an event celebrating his long life, with appropriate hymns hinting at his ancestral origin in Dalarna and his connection to Jämtland province (where he had a vacation cottage). Afterwards there was a meal at a conference center. There were a few stories told, mainly about grandfather's special traits and habits.

I spent most of the Saturday doing research at the Royal Library, but also managed to do some bargain shopping at a mall. We had a tasty pizza in the evening. Sunday I visited my other relatives two subway stations away. It's Arndt's nephew and his wife. We had a good time talking about the old days, I think we covered the last 100 years or so. We all have a huge interest in history and a desire to learn new things. Monday morning I helped my mother's relatives do the laundry. It was pretty bad weather, snowy and icy, so I stayed until it was time to go to the train. I returned home, without delays believe it or not, in the evening. It rained in Skåne.

I started working Tuesday and it was not that pleasant. There were lots of books to retrieve and sort to the different locations. I'm not used to such hard work, I haven't done anything like this for several months. Today I also had the first desk duty in three years. I will sit in the manuscript reading room every Thursday afternoon from now on. In all honesty, it was a little boring today because there was only one visitor.

Last week one of my colleagues died of a heart attack, aged 60. He was my boss during the entire book moving project so I knew him rather well. This morning we had a gathering to talk about this, and many of the retired librarians also showed up to pay their respects. We are all very sad, he was a great colleague and a very nice guy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First workday of the year

The New Year's celebration was rather quiet at my place. I watched TV and had boiled eggs and shrimp salad for dinner. I had a very good view of the fireworks from my balcony. Most of the free days I have spent in front of the computer doing research. I have also tried to identify the people on the old photos I received this fall. It required some research also in the families of the in-laws.

When it comes to genealogy, sometimes (but not often) the case solves itself. Just a few days ago I saw on the Swedish Roots website that someone else is also researching the same family (Arndt's wife's ancestors). This woman had the same problem I had, locating the parents of a soldier, born 1792. She posted a query about this and she got help from other researchers who were able to find his parents and birthplace. I was very impressed, because it was extremely difficult. I was also very happy because it meant that I got one more generation on the ancestor chart without much effort. And I will contact the woman who posted the query, since we are related.

The library has been closed for many days during the holiday, and it still is. It's the sprinkler system again. They have been working on the pipes and testing it over Christmas, but they are not finished with it. When I arrived at work this morning everything was covered in grey plastic sheets. My office looked like a moon landscape. All the book cases were also covered in about half the stacks. There were lots of book requests, because the students thought that we would open today. It was hastily decided that visitors were not allowed this week. By 9 A.M. only two staff members had shown up in the stacks. Two more arrived later, but the rest (four people) never made it. They had heard of the closure and took vacation. It was slightly complicated to perform the duties. They had taped the plastic, so it was tricky to get to the printers and computers. We didn't even try retrieving books in the closed off areas. One colleague was very ambitious and went to the storage to shelve books. I took care of the massive amounts of returned books that had been handed in through the drop box.

Tomorrow I will make another trip to Stockholm. My grandfather's funeral will take place on Friday.