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Thursday, December 29, 2016


At work there are lots of candies and cookies (especially ginger snaps) at this time of year. I even got extra for helping a colleague with research. Last week I made one more trip to Ikea for their Christmas buffet. The herring was so good.

The Christmas celebration was the shortest in history - I spent about 28 hours in Göteborg. I had to leave early because there was a storm coming Monday. But we managed to do most of the things we normally do. There was great food, for instance herring, Jansson's Temptation, meatballs, homemade bread, cheeses, roasted ham and much else. Santa arrived very conveniently after dinner, bringing some presents. I got a ticket for a show, a bar of soap, a fridge magnet, a veggie peeler(!), a cookie tin and five pieces of Christmas ornaments. On the Sunday the mall in the city center was open and the sales had already started. I went with my mother and sister on a shopping trip. We got even more ornaments, this time half price off. After the lutfisk meal (which I can't stand so I have meatballs instead) I went home by train again Sunday afternoon.

The storm was pretty bad, parts of the roof fell off my building. It was impossible to sleep so Tuesday at work I was not at my best game. Few of us were. This time of year there are not many visitors but at least two people have to be on duty in the stacks. I have done the storage round myself twice this week. It happens that people who are not normally patrons here use the library over the holidays. Today we had a large request, 20 years of an economics journal, and the person wrote a message saying he wanted all of it at once because he was only in town for a few days. It filled up a double-sided cart.

I sent out the usual Christmas letter last week via e-mail. If anyone feels neglected, let me know.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

New project

I haven't written here in a while. There are lots to do at the end of the year. Last Monday we had one more Christmas party. It was only the main library employees attending. We had a potluck style event and it turned out to be incredible amounts of food. All of it very tasty. Some had made their own pickled herring and Jansson's Temptation. I was not that advanced. I bought a box with red beetroot salad in the store. It was a great party with a complicated quiz and lots of talking and eating. We had leftovers for several days after.

I have a new project at the library. After a re-arrangement of the microfilmed newspapers there was space left. I was asked if we wanted the microfilms in the stacks moved to those open shelves so that we didn't have to retrieve them. I said yes without thinking too much about it. It turns out that our microfilms (which contain monographs) are not properly catalogued and many of them need to get a new roll. The boxes are from the 1950s so they need to be exchanged also. This became a bigger project than I thought. I have started reviewing it but we didn't have that many boxes or rolls so I can't do much more right now.

This past weekend I did most of my Christmas shopping. There were lots of people at the malls of course. I also had to go to work this Sunday to clear my desk. It looked terrible. I had a lot of my own research-related material there so it was time to get it out. The piles of paper tend to grow large very quickly.

My apartment is now decorated in the style of the season. There are santas and other decorations everywhere and an overloaded tree in the livingroom. I have already received a few Christmas letters from overseas relatives. Thank you!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas party

Last week was relatively busy. There were really only two noteworthy events. One was the opening of a new exhibit at the library. It was about the Botanical garden and its history. Especially one of the managers and his efforts to make the garden a place worth visiting in the early 19th century. We have lots of seed catalogues and garden books on display, along with garden tools and actual plants (some of which allergic visitors have complained about). The other event was the Christmas party this Friday. It was one more successful party arranged by the social club. We had it at a restaurant. The food was great, even the vegetarians liked their food (this is not that common in our experience). We had gift exchange and I got a red rubber spatula with Christmas decor. We also had a theme but it was quite difficult (something beginning with V). Not many had dressed in costume but one woman dressed as a plant (green dress with plastic wreath in her hair and spruce tree branches in her hands) got the first prize. Plant = Växt in Swedish.

This weekend I was tired but still went on the bus to the closest mall to get more craft items. It turned out to be rather fun to make ornaments for the Christmas tree so I got some more supplies cheaply at the second hand stores. Also got groceries.

Sunday the timetables changed for trains and buses. Surprisingly, not for the better. They have re-routed one of the trains so that it does not stop in my town anymore.The trains are already overcrowded. We didn't need fewer trains per hour, we need more. Life as a commuter is sometimes challenging.

Today the catalogue of a donated collection of serial stories was finally published at the library. It involved several people and it took much longer than anyone thought. I was the project manager and I'm glad to see the end of it. We got access to a small display case to put some of these books in, to advertise the newly added collection.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas ornaments

It was a bad week at work. Many things I tried to do turned into failures. I had to go to the storage several extra times to shelve dissertations. On one occasion I started out from the library reversing the car and ran right into the university book transportation van. All my fault but there was no sight of that van in my rear view mirror. The van will have to be repaired and I'm pretty sure that will be costly for me. Sigh.

Saturday I went to Malmö to do a tour of the second hand stores. Got some small things. I had a chicken salad for lunch in a cozy cafe. Unfortunately, I got food poisoned from it later in the evening. Very unpleasant. My plans for today had to be cancelled because of that. I have instead brought down the Christmas ornaments from the attic and started to decorate. I even got the beads and craft items out and have managed to make four ornaments for the tree. There was also sports on TV, biathlon and down hill skiing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Christmas buffet

Last week at work was not so busy. It seems to be a slow period right now. But we have a patron who is going to request all the books on local history. That's several thousand volumes. He has agreed to request 250 at a time. It's manageable. My boss also gave me the task of filling in three forms with technical information. It was a short time to get it done and I had to ask someone else for help but it worked out. I also had to go to the storage twice to shelve new dissertations.

Last Friday it was Black Friday - something we have copied from the US. I was too tired to go shopping but most of the offers were extended to Saturday. I went to the mall outside Helsingborg then and got some underwear at 25% off. The main reason for going there was something else, though. I went for the Christmas buffet at Ikea. It was very crowded but so worth it. I'm a great fan of their herring in crayfish sauce. Also the salmon and veggie gratin. There was dessert also. I ate too much, of course. Sunday there was lots of sports on TV, both skiing and equestrian events.

Monday afternoon the social club at work arranged yet another success. One of my colleagues gave a lecture on a book history-related topic. He talked about a book printer in Lund in the 16th century. We got to see (and touch) some of the actual books also. It was a very interesting lecture.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


It has been a rather ordinary week at work. I was reminded of a report I had to write and got started on it. I was supposed to have done that over a year ago, so my boss was really wondering what took so long. I had done the interviews needed for this, but still hadn't assembled the information. It's not that I'm lazy, I promise. I have been very busy with other things.

The snow melted pretty quickly and it's now a more typical winter for this part of Sweden: dark, rainy and windy. It's about 7-9 degrees.

This weekend I went to a mall outside Malmö. I looked in several clothing stores but didn't get anything. Instead I went grocery shopping. Apart from this the winter sport season has started so there are competitions to watch on TV.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Birthday party

It has been a historic week. Not here though. Early Wednesday morning we found out the result of the US election. There was little else discussed at work that day. Our coffee breaks became very long. It's hard to put our feelings into words. We are truly amazed by a lot of things, both the road leading up to the election and the result. It will be interesting to see what impact this will have on world politics.

It was an ordinary week at work, so not much to report from there. Other things I had to do this week included getting a hair cut and getting new glasses. The latter was by far the most expensive. I have reached that age now when I need special glasses to read text close up.

Wednesday the first snow of the season fell. It was early and it caused a lot of traffic problems. It has also been pretty cold. Very few people had changed their tires to winter tires. I had to drive the storage round that day and had to dig the car out first. Driving went well as they had removed most of the snow by the time I started.

Friday after work I went to the summer house. When I arrived it was 10 degrees inside. I changed the ventilation and heater right away but it took a long time to get the house warm. Later my sister and her family arrived also. Saturday we went for a walk to the beach on very icy trails in the forest. It was special as it was very cold and very sunny at the same time. The kids loved skidding on the ice. The adults not so much. In the afternoon we all went to my father's place an hour away. It was his 70th birthday. Two of his sisters with spouses were there also. It was a great party with good food (salmon and moose) and great conversation. It was very nice to see everybody. (And the glass keg which was bought last weekend was used for punch, as planned).

Today we winterized the summer house. We shut off the water, turned off the dehumidifier and changed the heater back to 10 degrees. This may all seem easy but I think we had to call my mother four times before we could get everything right. We have never done this without her being there before. We finally did all of the necessary procedures and left. I got a ride to a train station and got onboard a southbound train about mid-day. I had lunch in Lund before going back home.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Pope's visit in Lund

This Monday we expected chaos in Lund. The Pope visited the cathedral for a big event commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Both Catholics and Lutherans participated. The service was not open to the public but it was broadcast live on Swedish Television.  We didn't know what kind of crowds to expect so many of my commuting colleagues (and myself) arrived at work very early that day. In the end only about 5000 people showed up outside the cathedral. I had to drive the storage round and on the way back I very nearly got stuck when the police started closing off the access roads to Lund. I just about made it through before they blocked the road.

The university library did actually contribute to some extent to the Pope's visit. A few weeks earlier they called from the security department and asked if we had some books to lend out for decorative purposes. Before the church service the Pope was going to meet the Swedish royal family in a separate house which needed to be decorated. The book shelves there were empty so we lent them about 15 boxes with relatively good-looking books from the 19th century. I hope no one looked too closely at those books because they were mainly on German Protestant theology...

Two days this week we had an intern in the stacks. We already knew her because she works hours as weekend/evening staff. She helped us retrieve books both in the stacks and at the storage. She was, like most people, impressed by the electronic compact shelves at the storage. She also though it was a little scary to operate them, as the entire block (7 meters high) moved at the same time.

Saturday my father and his girlfriend came to visit. We went to the nearest mall as they needed to get some shopping done. It turned out to be impossible to find a glass bowl that was big enough for punch. It's apparently not in fashion at the moment. They ended up getting a large keg made of glass instead. I was also able to stock up on groceries and was daring enough to get an orchid as a house plant.

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Monday I drove the storage round and then attended a meeting. After this I had to go home. My throat was sore and I knew very well what that meant. Many of my colleagues have been sick and now it was my turn. This was really annoying because my work calender was full and we had arranged a bowling evening on Tuesday. I missed the opening of the renovated lunchroom also. I had to cancel several things and if that wasn't possible, force someone else to take my place.

I have had a severe cold with body-ache and high temperature. It was more like a flu. I was at home for three days and worked a few hours Friday. I'm still not well. It was incredibly boring to sit at home doing nothing. It's amazing how low the quality of the TV shows is in the daytime. Because of my fever, my brain didn't work well enough to solve crossword puzzles. It was truly a bad week.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall weather

The leaves of the trees are changing in color and it's very pretty. The rain storms are not pleasant, though. It's cold in the mornings and I have already started wearing my winter jacket.

It has been a rather ordinary work week. I have spent many extra hours at work because of that new database with Swedish-American newspapers. One other colleague was also interested in this and I tried to help her with searches. She has recently started doing research and she has already found several emigrants in her family tree.

This past week there was a choir festival in Lund. Two colleagues are members of a choir which performed in the large cathedral this Thursday. I attended (as did several other colleagues) and it was a very nice concert with sort of melancholic tunes.

Saturday I went to Lund but not to work (very unusual). I had to go to the optician as I need new glasses. There were many frames to chose from and I made a preliminary decision. I need to get my eyesight checked also, but they didn't have time until next week. While I was in Lund I also went to two of the thrift stores and some other stores. Had a salad lunch and then made some purchases in the expensive chocolate store. They have a very nice selection, it's hard to resist.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

New database

There is a new database out that is very interesting. We have been waiting for it for quite a while. It's digitized Swedish-American newspapers from 1850 and on to about the 1930s. Coverage varies a lot. The database is hosted by the Minnesota Historical Society and it's free to search here: http://www.mnhs.org/newspapers/swedishamerican. I have spent many extra hours at work this past week to search this database and I have found many clues, both for my own research and other's. I was able to find information about an early emigrant for a colleague. I noticed that this database is also good for finding information about events in Sweden because these Swedish language newspapers quoted the Swedish press. We have very few or really no databases of this kind in Sweden, so this can be used for locating very local news from the 19th century. The actual text is interpreted with OCR software which makes it easy to text-search (even though it sometimes gets it wrong, it's a marvelous tool). I found several news items from my hometown, some were about house fires, auctions and the renovation of the church in 1948. Pretty amazing to find that in an American-based newspaper.

At work we waited for the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature. It turned out to be a rather surprising choice this year, Bob Dylan. Nevertheless, it took three minutes before the first book about Dylan was requested from the stacks. It's the same thing almost every year.

This weekend I made a visit to the nearest mall to get groceries, basically. There were high winds and I didn't dare to go on any longer trips. I have also spent a lot of time with the above mentioned research, because this new database has made me dig up several old cases.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Lots of shelving

The second work week was even more straining than the first. I had to do double desk duties, two storage rounds and on Friday afternoon I went with a colleague to the storage again to do some much needed shelving. We are constantly lagging behind with shelving. It is incredibly boring and we all hate it. The only good thing about this was the discovery of four missing books in the technology section. We have also had a service done to the electronic shelving system and now the shelves are much better to deal with. We had a lot of problems with it, the shelves got stuck and we often couldn't retrieve all the requested books.

At work many of the people on my floor had been ordered to move their offices. The exact reason for this has passed me by, but I heard the order came from the management and it was not negotiable. I am one of few people that didn't have to move. This past week it was pretty chaotic with lots of people carrying their desks(!), chairs, computers and work materials to other rooms. It will take a while to learn where everybody has their new offices.

This weekend I was pretty tired and didn't do much. I went to the local grocery store and then made my own pizza for dinner. I cheated and got a ready-made kit with dough and tomato sauce. I had tomatoes, feta cheese, chicken and bacon on it. In my opinion it turned out great. Over the weekend I have also done some reading. One of my friends has written a book about an old church near my hometown in northern Skåne. It was very interesting to read. He and the co-author had produced a very detailed account of the history of the church (which is believed to be from around 1200 AD).

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Back to work

I survived the first work week in quite a while. It wasn't a great shock to come back this Monday but it was still pretty tough. Lots of people came bringing tasks and questions for me and there were large amounts of emails to check. I had to drive the storage round twice during the week and also fill in for a colleague on vacation. One of the weirdest questions I got this week was if we could lend out 20 shelfmeters of nice-looking books for decorative purposes for a special event in late October. I think we can answer yes to that, but we have to discuss it a little bit more first.

This weekend I have mostly rested, but I spent a few hours of Saturday in Helsingborg. Had a nice lunch at a 1950's style cafe and then went to the mall. At home there is now heather in the flower box on the balcony. The tomato plant is still alive and I will probably be able to get another four tomatoes from it. We are preparing for the dark season here. It's about 15 degrees and the rain storms have started to come. I removed the balcony furniture and made some changes in my closets.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Trip to Amsterdam

I attended a meeting at work this Wednesday and while I was there I booked another trip. I went to Amsterdam Thursday. It's only an hour flying time but of course the waiting time is rather long. I arrived in late afternoon and took the train in to the city center. I walked down the main street and did some shopping pretty soon after getting there. I got a top at C&A, which is a rather cheap clothing store (it's also in Germany). The souvenir shops sell all kinds of things relating to typically Dutch items, for instance clogs, windmills and tulips. I walked to the hotel further south and checked in. The standard was acceptable and I got a good room facing the back of it, so it was quiet. I rested a short while and then went out for dinner. I ended up at Hard Rock Cafe, which turned out to be situated close by the hotel. The hickory ribs and chicken combo was very tasty, and it was the first time I had that at HRC. On the way back to the hotel I bought a waffle with chocolate. The bakeries seem to have many incredibly sweet goods to sell there.

Friday I got up early and walked to the Rijksmuseum. It opens at 9 and I got there a few minutes later. It's a newly renovated museum with some famous paintings. One of them is the Night Watch by Rembrandt. It's a very large painting, guarded by two people in uniform. I was particularly interested in the 17th century paintings and looked at some by Ruisdael, Vermeer and others. I also walked through the other galleries with 17th century dolls houses, Delft porcelain, old coins, furniture and many other paintings. It was a huge museum and I couldn't see all of it. What I did get to see was interesting, though. I walked further south to a market street and spent most of the afternoon looking at the goods for sale. It was everything from fresh fish, fruit and cheese to scarves, clothes, souvenirs and toys. There were three stalls where they had plus size clothes, and those stalls also had the stores behind, so you could try the clothes on. I bought some tops here, some of them at a very affordable price. On the way back to the hotel I had a meal at a pancake house, a large pancake with icecream and strawberries. Pretty good. At the hotel I rested for a while and then went back out again to look in some other stores. I found a shoe store with large sizes and was amazed by the 25 racks with my size, but sadly the shoes were not wide enough for me. My feet are both big and wide, which is a problem. In the evening I had a nice pizza with smoked salmon in a small and very noisy restaurant in the tourist area.

Saturday it was time to return home. I got up early and walked up the tourist streets to the train station. When I got there I saw signs saying the trains to the airport were cancelled due to construction work over the weekend. The instructions on how to get to the airport were not the best I have seen, but in essence I first had to take a train to another station and then go on replacement bus. So there was no bus service from the main station, which is remarkable considering the amount of tourists in Amsterdam. I'm glad that I'm used to travelling because I could figure this out. At the airport, getting through the security checkpoint was an ordeal, to put it mildly. The lines were very long and it was not a practical arrangement. I remember hating this airport already in the 1990s, when I had to change planes there to go to the US, and I'm sorry to say that it is still how I feel about it. It was not a pleasant experience. Of course the gate was as far away as it possibly could be also. I finally arrived back home in the evening, pretty tired. 

My visit to Amsterdam was rather nice but I was not impressed by much (Rijksmuseum excluded). I have been in a lot of cities and Amsterdam was not a surprise, since it resembled Copenhagen. The large number of canals made it difficult to cross over to the other side, if you saw a store you wanted to go to. The trams and the huge amounts of bikes made it a special place, and the night life seems to be very hectic. I can understand the appeal to some extent, but I think this was my first and only visit to Amsterdam.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Week at the summerhouse

The day after I returned from London I went to the summerhouse. My sister and niece also visited. We had great weather, 25 degrees and sunny. I jumped into the ocean a couple of times, mostly because my niece insisted on it. It was not warm in the water but it was acceptable. We made some excursions: fleamarket, harvest festival in apple country and nature preserve with a small waterfall. We also picked mushrooms, painted the outdoor plantboxes and did some garden work. My mother and I did some volunteering at Furuboda, helping out at a music event. I also drove some visitors home late that night. Apart from this, I relaxed a lot in the sun on the deck. It was the last warm days of summer. It is now cooler, 18 degrees and cloudy.

After a very nice week at the summerhouse I went back home. I spent last weekend doing research at work. I got a new request. The people asking didn't know what had happened to their grandfather and thought that he had left the family under suspicious circumstances but it turned out to be a very normal death by tb in his 30s. It was somewhat of a relief, as people who go absent without giving a destination are incredibly hard to find in any records.

My father reported that the annual moose hunt in Jämtland went well. They got two moose.
Our Australian relative Brianna, who competed in the Paralympics in Rio, ended up just outside the medals. She came in fourth on the 100 meters and fifth in the 200 meters event. We couldn't see it live from here, unfortunately. But we are very impressed by her abilities and hope to see her in some competitions in the future, as she is only 18 years old. It's amazing that the infant girl I met in Australia back in 1998 is now competing in athletics at that level!

Friday, September 9, 2016

London trip

I have been in London for a few days. The number one purpose was to go shopping. I started from home Tuesday morning and went to the airport in Copenhagen. There were large amounts of commuters on that train. At the airport I happened to meet two colleagues; one was going to a conference in Zurich and the other one was going to Tuscany on vacation. I went to Gatwick, an hour and a half flying time. Then I continued on by their national train service to London Bridge, and changed to subway. I ended up at a mall in the outskirts of town. I got three tops at the plus size store there. Returned to the city center and walked along Oxford Street, the big shopping street. Didn't get much, only one tunic. I walked a great distance that day and was very tired when I got to the hotel. It turned out to be a slightly better hotel than I normally stay at in London. Everything functioned, to my surprise. The bed was a single bed and not what I'm used to but it worked. The breakfast was not worth mentioning. Even though it was included I didn't eat it.

Wednesday morning I took the subway quite far north. I ended up in a suburb that has seen it's glory days. But there is a plus size store there that I always find clothes in. Also this time, a long dress which was on sale. The only one left on the rack and it was my size. I couldn't believe it. I returned down to the city, near Liverpool Street. An area I haven't been in before. There was a handcraft market and vintage stores. Interesting but made no purchases. Had lunch at a diner, a chicken burger with mozzarella sticks. Very nice. Spent the afternoon at the British Museum. My first visit there. I saw the exhibits on Greek and Egyptian sculpture, Greek pottery, the Rosetta Stone and the built-up pieces of the Parthenon. The Rosetta Stone in particular was interesting, it's a large stone (similar to a runestone) which has three parts of text, Hieroglyphic, Demotic and Greek. This meant that it was possible to fully decipher the Hieroglyphic script in the early 19th century. The stone is from 196 B.C.

I went back to the hotel to rest as it was very hot and humid, and I had walked far. Later in the evening I changed to the dress and went to dinner at an Italian restaurant. I had a relatively spicy pizza with chicken. Thursday I got up late since I wanted to avoid the rush hour traffic. I checked out and took the subway one station, intending to change there. When I got to the platform it said the next train would arrive in 16 minutes. An eternity in this day and age. There had been an accident. I was given an alternate route by the staff (which was very concerned about the passengers having to wait for such a long time), but I said it didn't matter that much to me. I finally got to the western part of London, Shepherd's Bush. There is a very large shopping center there, Westfield. There are several hundred stores. I knew of two stores with plus sizes, New Look and Evans. Made some purchases in both of them. After this my backpack was absolutely full. I spent part of the afternoon at the shopping center and then took the subway and national train to Gatwick. I was early because there was a train strike but I didn't notice anything of it. I spent the evening at the airport, looking in stores and having dinner (a very tasty Cobb salad). The plane was late to start with and it didn't get any better when the airport was closed off after an incident on the runway. We finally arrived in Copenhagen at 23.30. I made it onboard the last possible train and came home at 01.15.

In total I bought a dress, a pair of short pants, a swimsuit, a scarf, a long jacket, six tops and some souvenirs. It was an ok visit. It was surprisingly hot weather and that made it an ordeal, since I have to try the garments on. It's not more expensive for me to buy clothes in London, the prices (at least in the stores I go to) are about the same as home. But the plus size collections are more interesting than here. There is simply more to choose from in London.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Two excursions

It has been yet another long weekend at work to do research. I'm beginning to see the end of it. It's two interesting cases. I have noticed that the 18th century Småland records are sometimes very hard to decipher. It is certainly challenging but I learn a lot. This research meant my first encounter with workers at iron mills in Småland.

I did two excursions last week. I was in Ängelholm, a picturesque town on the northwest coast of Skåne. Didn't do much there, just looked in the nice shops. Got some salt licorice, which was very tasty. I also went to Tomelilla, which is in the southeast corner of Skåne. It took over an hour and a half to get there by train. There is a store that sells plus size clothes in the center of the village. It turned out to be an expensive visit. I got two tops there. Also went to the large discount store  and was surprised to see some racks with large sized clothes. Got one more top there and some candy.The local pizza place was pretty ok, had a chicken pizza.

Monday, August 29, 2016


The most important thing that happened last week was the annual bus excursion Tuesday. It was arranged by the social club but I didn't do much since I was on vacation. That particular day I worked, however. This was because we have to leave already at noon and I wanted to make sure we had done all the tasks so that everybody who wanted to could join us. We visited a beer brewery in Helsingborg. Even though I am not into this kind of drink it was rather interesting to hear the lecture on the art of making beer. We got to peek into the house where the beer is made. It's a small brewery with a select production. My colleagues tasted several kinds in the bar on the premises. After this we continued on to Sofiero, which is a large park area. The castle in the middle of it used to be a royal castle. The park contained planted flowers of many kinds, apple and pear trees, a labyrinth, sculptures, art installations, greenhouses, plant sales, exhibits and a cafe. There was lots to see and the view over the ocean was great. We were very lucky with the weather also. Back in Lund we had dinner at a restaurant. The barbecue buffet was very tasty. The dessert table was incredible. We have been to this place before and it's worth the money.

Apart from this I have enjoyed the sunny weather. This year I was bold and bought a tomato plant for my balcony. It's small yellow tomatoes and to my great surprise I have been able to eat a handful of them. I made a trip to Helsingborg to have lunch at a 1950's inspired restaurant and then went out to the pier. There is a small section of sandy beach close by with palm trees. It looks very much out of place. The rest of the beach is very rocky. Anyway, I went there to get an icecream. I had been recommended this particular kind, locally made. It was indeed very good. You could tell there were actual pieces of raspberries in it. Not common in other brands.

Over the weekend I did research at work. I can't go on weekdays because then my colleagues think I am working. I got a rather interesting case with lots of hard-to-find clues. Some emigrants and some sailors that never returned home. Today I had to go to the archive center to use databases I don't normally have access to. Also there I had to explain that I was not on duty (the staff see me several times a week because that's where our storage is). The databases did shed some light on those clues I had struggled with. But there is still one sailor I can't track down.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weekend at the summerhouse

Last weekend (Fri-Sat) my mother and I hosted a visit from my second cousin and his wife. It's a tradition that we meet once a year. We did a fleamarket tour and went to see a classic car exhibit. It was a weekend full of nostalgia. On the Sunday we got other visitors, some people we have known for over 25 years came for coffee and waffles. My aunt also visited. The weather was varied but I was able to sit in the deck chair at least a few minutes. My mother had of course a project for me - she wanted the outdoor wooden furniture sanded and painted, so we did that. I returned to my place again the day after. It took three hours by one bus and two trains.

This week I have enjoyed my freedom quite a lot. I haven't been that active. I had to do the laundry and some other chores, though. It was the last week for the Olympic Games, it's ending today. Sweden got a total of eleven medals, most of them were won by women athletes. Impressive. I have engaged in a research request that is quite challenging. I spent two days at work to do part of the research but got frustrated when the subscription database quit working. One woman I tried to trace in the records emigrated to the US in 1891. I was able to find out that she got married to a man named John Johnson... in New York City... Let's just say that it is more challenging than normal. I haven't given up yet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Freedom at last

After a long and tiring summer at work I finally got vacation. Last week was also rather strained with only two people in the stacks. Starting this week my colleagues will have to make it without me. I actually haven't decided how long my vacation will be. At least five weeks, probably longer. So far I have taken it rather easy. I have done a few excursions to places like Helsingborg (where my favorite mall is), Trelleborg (a port city on the south coast), the nearest mall (where there are two rather large second hand stores) and the largest mall in this province, Emporia (only to have lunch).

The Olympic Games in Rio started this past weekend. Because of the time difference we can't see all of it live. There were some hopes for Swedish medals and so far we have one gold (women's swimming - first ever) and two silver medals (women's swimming and women's cycling).  Later the Paralympics will take place. One of my Australian relatives (a descendant of August Nelson's nephew Nils Nilsson who emigrated to Australia 1909) will participate. Brianna Coop is a sprinter who will compete in the 100 and 200 m. I will certainly cheer from here!

Tomorrow I will go to the summerhouse. The weather is pretty awful with rain and chilly temperatures, so there will be no sun bathing. We will host some visits from relatives and friends.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Market fair

A little over a week ago I got treatment by the chiropractor but I'm still suffering. Last week we were only two people in the stacks. It was hot weather and we spent most of the time at the storage, where there is air conditioning. We got the most important things done. We were not at our best game, since my back was troubling me and my colleague had a cold.

Friday a week ago I went on an extra bus to a large event - Sjöbo market fair. There are a few of these around Skåne every summer. The biggest one is in Kivik. The one in Sjöbo was big enough for me. There were many things for sale at the various stalls; candy, clothes, toys, jewelry, kitchenware, cookies, fruit, donuts, spices, nuts and many handcrafted items like baskets and things of fabric. There were also several food trucks with just about anything to eat. I had a langos with shrimp and cheese. I was able to find a practical item there, teflon baking tray paper (for multiple use).

I went to Ystad again to pick up a pair of sandals I had ordered. I often buy a certain heavy duty sandals with memory foam to have at work. It's a Danish brand so I either have to go to Copenhagen or ask a store to import for me. I have recently tried two other kinds of shoes but there is no comparison. I have to buy those rather expensive ones.

Apart from this I have enjoyed several evenings on my balcony. The weather has been nice but now the rain and clouds have started coming again. I have also cleaned the walls of the balcony and washed the windows. Yesterday was the usual cooking Sunday - chicken with peanut sauce. Pretty tasty.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Shopping for jeans

The situation is the same at work. We haven't had many requests so things are slow. I have tried to do some of the projects I was supposed to do this summer. I have spent hours in front of the computer, changing the location marker for thousands of books in the database. They were marked as placed at the main library but they are in storage. I have also changed many books to non-circulating, as our loan rules have changed and the information in the database should reflect that. The only noteworthy thing that has happened this week was the cake we received from a visiting researcher. She was very grateful for the service (which my colleague said was really nothing worth mentioning). In any case, we got a tasty cake for the afternoon coffee today.

This Saturday I went to Ystad on the south coast. It's a nice town that I visit now and then. This time there was an international food market, the regular flea market and the other shops were open, of course. Lots to look at. There were sales everywhere. I bought three pairs of jeans in one store. It may seem excessive but there was an offer of taking three sales items and paying for two. Very affordable. I was lucky that they had three pairs left in my size. It's the kind of jeans I like very much so there was little hesitation from my side.

Apart from this, nothing much has happened. I went to Malmö yesterday evening but it wasn't possible to see the stand up show I had planned on as there were an incredible amount of people in the audience and the PA-system didn't reach that far. But I spent some time in the park and did a short round in a mall before I returned home again. At least the weather is better now, it's around 23 centigrades and sunny.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

More work issues

Last Friday my former boss came to visit. He hadn't seen the new office space so I brought him on a short tour of it. He was rather impressed. We also talked about all the book moves in the stacks and storages.

I got some back problems last week so I decided to take it easy this past weekend. I only did some minor chores like going to the recycle place with paper and plastic. There was also sport to watch on TV, it was the European championships in athletics. The night between Sunday and Monday there was a very impressive rainstorm with thunder and lightning. It kept me up for several hours. When I arrived at work in the morning I was met by a colleague saying there was water on the floor in the stacks. Because of the repairs to the lunchroom they had removed part of the concrete floor (which is the ceiling in the stacks). This rainstorm had produced so much water that it went through the covers and poured down the walls and even through the ceiling. There was water on two floors of the stacks and it had damaged eight shelf meters of books. All that is now frozen, in order to save it. Yesterday part of the ceiling fell down where the water had been so this will take a lot of work to repair, I think.

This week I have been to the storage four times in total and it's not good for my back problems. In addition to retrieving books we have done some much needed shelving. Part of the electrical shelving system has been down for two weeks and a few patrons are still waiting for their books. The shelves are stuck and we can't move them by hand, unfortunately. This morning my colleague who had arrived at the storage called me to say that the entire building (in fact the entire area) had no electricity. We can't retrieve any of the books there today. It seems to be a complicated problem as it happened several hours ago and it's still not fixed. And as if these problems weren't enough, one of the servers hosting several critical systems at the library is down. And all the technicians are on vacation. But we carry on as best we can.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Work issues

Friday evening I returned to the summerhouse to spend the weekend. My sister and her family were still there, although the guys went off to sports camp those days. On the Saturday I went to a fleamarket with my sister but we didn't get much. The weather was very varied with lots of clouds and pretty intense rain showers. (It still is). Sunday I had to ride one bus and three trains in order to get home again. It took most of the afternoon and evening.

Monday morning I was at work early because at 8 AM two students arrived in the stacks. We need to move some books again. It's folio format journals. Luckily it's all on the same floor so the distance is short. The students seemed to understand the job and started right away.

Apart from this I have spent much of the work week looking for books my colleagues couldn't find. There were some challenging cases. It took three attempts to find one of them. It had a call number I had never seen before (which is remarkable as I have worked there for almost 20 years). We have also  rearranged the pick-up system for the patrons. We used to place the requested books by patron name but we have now changed it to a number system instead. Needless to say it didn't function to 100% from the start but we are working on it. There are fewer staff members everywhere now so I get more storage rounds and more desk duties at this time of year. We also get more requests from hobby researchers in the summer. These tasks can be quite difficult since those researchers are not familiar with our catalogues and often they need several shelf meters of material at once.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Midsummer in Dalarna

Last week I worked two days and then it was time for some time off again. Thursday was a big travel day. I had my father's car and was supposed to drive it back to him. Before I got there in the morning my mother called to say her train had been cancelled. This caused a lot of trouble. I had to go and get her and drive back, only to get another phone call from my father saying he had to drive his girlfriend to town (in the other direction) because her train had also been cancelled. Total chaos. It is remarkable that my mother and I actually made it to Hässleholm to catch our long distance train. We had only a couple of minutes to spare. We had to change trains twice on the way but we finally arrived in Leksand, Dalarna at 5 PM. We started out by having a sandwich at a café and then we took a taxi to the hostel about 2 km south of the town. We got to stay in a small and very cute wooden cottage in traditional style.

Friday was Midsummer Eve. Leksand hosts the biggest celebration of this kind. That is why we wanted to go there. In the afternoon we rode our rented bikes to town and joined in the celebrations. Three long church boats arrived with people in folk costumes, bringing parts for the Midsummer pole. They walked in a parade along the bridge and through town to the outdoor arena. The pole was 23 meters tall and it took a lot of effort to raise it into position. Meanwhile there was musical entertainment and folk dancing. Very traditional Swedish music with violins. The national anthem was sung and the crowd of about 25 000 people did the wave a few times also. It was an incredible experience to be there. Later in the evening we attended a very nice concert in the church. When we returned to the hostel at 11 PM it was still light out. It was the kind of magic summer night you can only experience here.

Saturday we were a little tired but we went back to town to go on a lunch cruise on the M/S Gustaf Wasa. It was a tourist ship sailing on the river and lake Siljan for two hours. A very nice trip with great views of the lake and forest. After this we tasted the locally made icecream, which was pretty good. We rode on a trail in the forest and then went back to the hostel to rest. I had been slightly burned by the sun and it was rather hot outside.

Sunday we rode our bikes about 2 km south to the crisp bread factory. They had sales of all kinds of crisp bread and related items such as decorative boxes and souvenirs. We bought three boxes and drove back to the hostel with it. After a short rest we went to town and had a great brunch at a café. Lots of food: eggs, bacon, salmon, herring, cheeses, cold cuts, meatballs, smoothies, pancakes, pastry, cakes and lots of fruit and veggies. We then went on the bikes again and continued out east to Tibble. We visited the Alfvén House. Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960) was a Swedish composer, violinist and conductor who wrote music inspired by the traditional music of Dalarna. This music is still popular and well known, for instance Midsommarvaka. His home is now a museum and we saw an informational film and joined the guided tour. It was interesting to see the three pianos and the paintings he had made himself. The return trip to the hostel was long but we made it. It is more challenging to ride bicycles here than in Skåne, because it's definitely not flat.

Monday was again a long traveling day. We returned to the summerhouse by four different trains and one bus. My sister came to get us at the bus stop with a car. We were tired but happy to have made this trip to Dalarna. It was really a wonderful visit, and I strongly recommend it.

At the summerhouse it was a full house, with my sister and her family visiting also. Tuesday we assembled my mother's birthday gift - a metal structure to hold a hammock. Wednesday was the actual celebration, with some friends coming by for cake. Very early this morning I took the bus and train to work. Some people were surprised to see me, as I had said that I didn't know what day I would return. The weather is not so good anymore and I had used up all my overtime, so I chose to go back to work today. There were some tasks for me, books my colleagues hadn't been able to find. I could only solve one of those cases, unfortunately. I learned that two of my colleagues had also had visits from their North American cousins, and that was great to hear (I had helped out to locate some of them)!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

American relatives

The pace at the library is slower and that's very good because my personal life has been extremely hectic. I drove the storage round three days last week and attended one meeting. Thursday I left work early and took the train to my father's place. After the fika I borrowed his car and drove to Helsingborg, which is across the other side of the province. I went to Ikea to get some things for my mother. Also did some grocery shopping at the mall. I returned home and have to say I was lucky to have survived because they drive like crazy on the highway on the west coast. Saturday I went to the nearest mall, where I left several bags with items to the charity shop, looked for furniture and lamps for my mother but found nothing worth buying, and went grocery shopping one more time. In the evening I saw a performance by the local amateur theatre company. It was a farce with extravagant costumes and lots of singing. Pretty funny with several references to local places and names. I had been given the ticket by a friend who were supposed to go too but she unfortunately got sick.

Saturday night I packed. At 4.30 Sunday morning (yes, I mean it) I crawled out of bed and got ready to leave. At 5.15 I got into the car and drove to Ystad on the south coast of Skåne. My American relatives Mara, Philip and Alisa arrived on the morning ferry from Poland at about 6 AM. These kids (they are siblings and aged 18-22) belong to the Nelson side of the family. Their ancestor August Nelson left Sweden in 1869 and settled in Iowa and later Minnesota. I brought the visitors out east, to Ales Stenar, which is a megalithic monument high up on a hill just by the ocean. It's a large oval stone ship with 69 pieces of rock probably dating back to the Iron Age. It could have been used as a solar calendar and/or a burial site. The view is amazing from there. We had breakfast near there. Since it was so early the easiest way to get food was to bring it. I had made sandwiches and bought some apple juice. After this we went to Lund, an hour away. I showed them the library and some books on history and then we went to the Museum of History and saw all the exhibits (coins, church items, cathedral interiors, curiosities, stone axes, Nordic postglacial fauna, Greek/Roman statues and a few other things). We also saw the large cathedral, built in the 1100s. We had lunch at a mall and then drove across the province to the east coast. We had a pretty tasty ice-cream in Åhus and then went down south to the summerhouse. We spent much of the evening talking about family history.

Monday morning (sort of) we (plus my mother) went on a bicycle ride in the area. We rode through the forest and out to the beach. At noon we packed all the belongings in the car and said goodbye to my mother. It was time to visit the ancestral origin, Norra Strö parish. We went to the church where many of our ancestors worshipped, were baptised, married and buried. I explained why there is a wooden chair from 1665 at the front of the altar (it was made by a parishioner who was always late for service, so he brought his own chair to be sure to get a seat). The tour continued out in the cemetery, where many relatives were buried. Next we went to the place where August Nelson was born. There is no house anymore, only ruins. Nevertheless, I wanted to show it. We drove through a forest and managed to find the place. I hadn't been there in ages and there was a large amount of trees where the house used to be. The stone walls surrounding the fields were still there, but it wasn't much to see, really. After this we went for a late lunch at the golf club in the next town. Then we returned to the village. We stopped by my uncle's place to get the key to the Historical Society Museum. The museum contains several rooms with exhibits and the school room was decorated like in the old days. My mother went to school here and we could spot her on a few photos on display. We had a snack here and I got the history books out and pointed out the lists with emigrants related to the Nelson family. After stopping by at my uncle's place again to return the key (and we also had a chat of course) we drove to Hässleholm. The young Nelsons had booked tickets on the night train to Stockholm so we had to wait it out. We spent much of the evening in a pub, eating and talking. I made sure the train was scheduled to actually leave before I left to drive home. I came home at midnight and went straight to bed. Getting out of bed this morning to go to work was tough. But I am very happy that these young people took the trouble to go to Sweden to visit their relatives. It warms my heart to know that they are interested in their personal history and I hope they will spread information about all this when they come home again. We would be happy to host more visits from our American relatives!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Library visits

The shopping trip to Copenhagen last Monday was intense. I managed to visit three malls and the main shopping street downtown. During the day I did a total of nine train rides, mostly by metro. It's the easiest way to get around there. All those malls are conveniently located at metro stations. I bought some small things and a dress. It was a nice trip.

Tuesday we arranged a picnic in the city park where we also had a boules tournament. About 20 colleagues participated. It was a great evening with wonderful weather. Just the next day it started to get colder again. It is now around 16-18 degrees and cloudy/rainy.

I worked Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning I went to Linköping with seven colleagues. We all went by train and arrived at mid-day. We visited the university there. It's different from ours, as it has focus on medicine, technology and science subjects. It's a lot smaller but we still wanted to see the library. We asked about interlibrary loan strategies, staffing schedules, overdue fines, statistics, house rules, electronic services and much more. We talked most of the afternoon and also walked around in the building, taking photos of all sorts of things (barcodes, signs, carts, book cases etc). Later we continued on by train to Stockholm, where we spent the night at a hotel just across the street from the station. Rather nice place. We all went out for a meal at a restaurant and it was fun to meet the colleagues away from work. At the hotel, the breakfast buffet was worth mentioning. Very nice with i.e. herring, bacon, several kinds of eggs and cheeses.

Friday morning we walked across the street to catch a regional train to Uppsala. It took 30 minutes to get there. We walked up to the big university library called Carolina. It's a place more similar to ours, with an old building, the same compact shelves, the same database provider and the same problems. Here we asked a lot of the same questions as in Linköping. We covered many aspects of library work and it was interesting to see how they do it at other libraries. They treated us for lunch and the boss showed up and invited us to his stylish office with a view of the city. We got a guided tour of the oldest book collections and the fancy room with six 17th century globes. We don't have anything like this. After this informational visit (we took photos of just about everything) we returned to Stockholm, where we split up. Some were going back home and some were going on family-related visits over the weekend. I stayed in Stockholm to visit my relatives (my mother's cousin).

Saturday I was disappointed to notice that two of the plus size stores had gone out of business. Now there are only chain stores left. I went to a mall I had never been to before. It was rather nice there, I bought a pair of sandals. I returned to the city center by subway and went to the Hallwyl Museum. It's a unique museum in many ways. It's a palace-like building with 40 rooms built in the 1890s at a very expensive address. It was just for two people, a very rich couple named von Hallwyl. They had decided early on that their house would be handed over to the government and be opened to the public as a museum. The wife had catalogued everything in the house. Every single item. The catalogue consisted of about 80 bound volumes. They had collected a few things that were on display; china, 17th century Dutch paintings, old weapons and silver items. I joined a guided tour of a large part of the house. It was definitely an interesting place.

Sunday afternoon I went to visit my other relatives, who are related to my great grandfather (the one I wrote a book about). They had also invited their son, whom I had never met. We had a very good time sitting in the garden having coffee and cookies. We talked a lot about the ancestors, of course. Monday morning I did a very short shopping trip near the apartment and then walked to the train station. I arrived back home in the evening after a rather boring train ride.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hot weather

Yesterday it was 28 degrees and I had to leave the apartment to go someplace where it was airconditioned. It was a while ago I visited the large mall at Hyllie, so that's where I went. I didn't do much there, had lunch (a very nice chicken bacon burger) and browsed the shops. I sat down and rested in several places along the way. There are two large grocery stores in the basement and I picked one to get some veggies. When I left in the afternoon I had managed to spend most of the hottest part of the day indoors, which was the main goal.

The week at work almost killed us because it was incredibly hot inside. I tried to shelve some of the older books but gave up after two carts. It was unbearable to work in the stacks. We have just done the most important tasks. It was a relief to do the two storage rounds but it's not good to work in places which differ in temperature that much. In the actual storage it is 17 degrees, in the glass corridor next to it it is way above 35 and outside it is 26-28. I also had to drive to the grocery store to get some things for a social club event next week. When I had driven more than half way I realized that I had forgotten the credit card. I blame the heat for all the mistakes I made this week.

Tomorrow is our National Holiday and I intend on celebrating it by going abroad. The shops in Denmark are open so I will do a mall tour.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Visit to the Agricultural University

Last week I had to go to the storage five times. It's not my favorite place usually. In the summer it can be nice because it's always 18 degrees inside. The Friday wasn't a day I care to remember. Lots of things I tried to do went wrong. I cut myself slicing bread for the morning fika. I had to drive the storage round alone and it didn't go that well. It took longer than usual. We were three people trying to do six people's jobs and that was not an ideal situation.

Wednesday afternoon I went with about 80 colleagues to visit the University of Agricultural Sciences nearby. It's situated in a park area with trees and plants from all over the world. We attended a lecture where the librarians talked about their special communication systems and meeting techniques. It is a university with a difficult geography. It is located at 36 different places in Sweden, with libraries in three of them. It's a challenge to gather the staff so they have meetings via Skype and other systems. It was interesting to hear about their world. We also got to see the library. It was very small compared to ours and had its own call number system. Afterwards we got a light meal. The weather was wonderful and we sat out in the park under the trees. A very nice excursion.

This weekend I cleared out more clothes. It had reached the point where I had run out of hangers. It was definitely time to do something about it. I have accumulated two bags to give to charity so far. Sunday I went on a fleamarket round in Helsingborg. Only found a few things and then went on to the mall. No excessive shopping there either. It was a soccer game in the highest league  that afternoon and I have never seen so many police officers in that town before. They expected big trouble but I didn't hear of any. I was out of there before the game was over.

It's still warm and sunny here. There has already been quite a few complaints about the indoor climate. It's very difficult to concentrate in such hot and stuffy offices. It's the same in the stacks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bargain shopping in Malmö

It's warm weather here. 25 centigrades and partly cloudy. I am melting away. We are not used to this after that long winter. The fans are all turned on in the offices at the library. It's tough to work in the stacks because there is little or no air conditioning.

Last week there was a German Library Science student on a study visit at our library. He got to see all the departments. I showed him the stacks on Thursday morning. He even retrieved some books. I brought him to the shelf with books on German history and he was amazed by the fact that we had those.

Wednesday last week our lunch room on the fifth floor closed for renovations. We were slightly upset about this because that's also where the terrace is. We have all been forced to find other places to have lunch and by now I think most people have adjusted. I have eaten out often but also used the janitor's breakroom to have my salad lunch. We were also forced to move the Friday morning fika (sandwiches and coffee) that we have arranged for about 20-25 staff members for many years. I buy the butter, marmalade, cheese and cold cuts. Someone else buys the bread and buns. After some debate we ended up having this fika in the book bindery! It was the only place that had enough room for all of us and access to water.

Over the weekend the database was upgraded. It seems to have worked well. We have noticed one small detail that is causing trouble but we can handle it for now. I have reported it and the technicians are working on it.

This weekend the weather was rather nice and I decided to go to Malmö. I wanted to visit the large second hand stores in the outskirts of town. Meaning that I went to the suburbs. It was interesting, not only to see the stores but also to experience something else - the immigrant neighbourhoods. Where the shop signs are in Arabic and other languages and you as a white person is in definite minority on the bus. I made it to three large stores and one mall. At the mall I discovered that a clothing store had the kind of jeans I can wear half price off, so I bought two pairs (all they had in my size).

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Shelving at the storage

Last week at work was not that bad. I had to drive one extra storage round due to a colleague's absence. I also brought the newest colleague there one afternoon to do some shelving. We are constantly lagging behind with this. There has for many years been some shelves in the stacks with old material left by a former colleague. It was primarily small pamphlets he had written himself and various books he had been given. I decided it was time to clear that out and I got time to do that last week. It ended up being a large cart with materials we didn't need. I offered it to the staff but very few items have been taken.

This Friday we had the first social club board meeting of the year. There were four new members. The tasks as economist and secretary were unchanged. Also my task as chairwoman continues.

Thursday the Folk Life Archives had a Diary Day. Occasionally they ask people to write down what they do during a specific day and send it in to the Archives. The material will be used in future reasearch. This time I participated. It was fairly easy, it was an online form to fill in. Not that I think my diary would be incredibly interesting but the entire project aimed at getting material about people's ordinary lives. My day was very ordinary; I worked and then went to the grocery store on my way home.

The weekend was very slow. I did very little, apart from solving crossword puzzles and watching TV. It was the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday but I didn't see all of it. I found out who won (the Ukraine) the morning after. The weather has been quite good, especially last week was sunny and warm. So warm that I had to turn on the extra fan in my office. A little colder now, about 14 centigrades and cloudy. There has been a lot of pollen in the air, even I noticed it.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Long weekend at the summerhouse

It was a short and intense work week. I crammed in two storage rounds, one meeting and one desk duty in three days. Thursday was a holiday and I managed to avoid working on the Friday. Wednesday evening I went by train and bus to the summerhouse in the evening. My mother and sister plus kids arrived later that same evening. We spent this extended weekend doing lots of things. The weather was very good with temperatures around 18-20 centigrades and a clear blue sky. My sister and I went to a fleamarket and got a few things (books, egg cup, oven tin). One day we went to a nature preserve fairly close by to have a picnic. We spotted some sand lizards and birds of prey there. Very nice to visit. Later we had ice-cream at Kivik further south. One day we visited my mother's friends, who treated us to a marvelous rhubarb pie.

At the summerhouse we also did some work. My mother wants to paint the guest cottage this summer and as a preparation for that we had to scrub it clean. It was an ordeal. My nephew sweeped the roof and the rest of us scrubbed with (very cold) water and brushes. My nephew also mowed the lawn. So it was sort of a working holiday. We did get the chance to relax in the sun and play with the kids too. I returned home around noon today by a different way than normal. It required three train rides to get home because the main train line was closed due to track repairs.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


The week at work contained three meetings and two storage rounds. In addition to this, my department has a new boss. It's a guy who had the same job a few years ago, so we don't think it will be a revolution of any kind. We were also visited by a woman from the university who is in ergonomics. She wanted to know what our job is like from a physical point of view. She checked how we moved our bodies when we retrieve books and what equipment (carts, ladders, boxes) we have to assist us in the work. She went with us to the storage also. We already know what the challenges are but she wanted to get it down on paper. We get whatever equipment we ask for but we still have to lift the heavy boxes with books from the cart to the car and vice versa.

Over the weekend it was the number one drinking day among the students in Lund. They party in the city park on the last day of April and attendance is usually around 25 000. It takes some efforts from the police and city offices to keep everything and everybody safe. This year it was on a Saturday but the chilly weather meant that it was like a normal event (according to the police) and everybody survived. I made the wise decision to stay as far away from Lund this weekend as possible. I went in the opposite direction, to Helsingborg. I went to my favorite mall, Väla. I had lunch at Ikea and bought some house plants there. At the mall I did some clothes shopping, two tunics and a summer dress.

Today is May 1st (Labor Day) and it's the day for political speeches and demonstrations. I stayed indoors, because this doesn't interest me. I attended to my flowers and spent some time solving crossword puzzles. Up until about now it has been rather cold here. So cold that I had to get my winter coat out again. It was pretty wild weather last week with hail storms and high winds. It has become milder now, it was about 15 centigrades today and rather sunny.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dutch books

The week at work contained some events worth mentioning. We were visited by a Dutch researcher who asked for all the books we have printed in the Netherlands pre-1800. It turned out to be about 130 books (and I didn't have to retrieve any of them, thankfully). These books will be described in the Dutch national catalog. The researcher gave a speech where he described the project. He had been in several other countries to ask for Dutch books and he was going to spend three months here to go to other libraries also.

Wednesday we had the annual social club meeting. We managed to finish the actual meeting in 15 minutes. A new record. We exchanged four of the board members but I'm still the chairwoman. We invited one of the old (93!) university headmasters to give a speech. He talked about what it was like to be a student at this university during the 1940s. His studies were interrupted by the war a few times. It was very interesting to hear. He brought his wife along, as she had worked at our library in the 1950s and 1960s. She talked about the old times when you addressed the professors by full title. Also very interesting. Both of them continued to talk at the dinner table afterwards. It was one of the most successful annual meetings ever, and many people (including the two elderly visitors) expressed gratitude.

This past week I have visited two malls and accumulated some flowers. The flowers are now decorating both my apartment and the box on the balcony. It's rather cold here, about 6-8 centigrades and sometimes rain/snowstorms. It might be a little early to put flowers outside but we'll see if they survive.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


There is very little to report from here. I have been sick with a fairly bad cold and have taken it very slowly. I worked exactly half of the week and went home Wednesday at lunchtime. I felt already Monday that my throat was sore. It wasn't so bad then so I could work a few days. Normally, I am very busy the first three days of the week when I have to drive the storage rounds. After that it's easier to take leave. It seems like my colleagues have done well without me.

There have been some activities here, but nothing interesting. I was able to get to the grocery store and I cooked for ten lunch boxes. The rest of the time I have watched TV and tried to solve crossword puzzles. I ran out of those, so I had to buy a magazine with new crosswords. That's how bored I have been. Things are almost back to normal now so I will work tomorrow.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Birthday dinner

Last Saturday I went to Ystad on the south coast. It's a very old town with nice shops. There is a shop that sells plus size clothes. I got two tops there. I also walked out to the industrial area, where there are two second hand stores. It was interesting to see but I only got an egg cup for my collection.

Sunday I spent mostly cleaning my apartment. This was because my father and his (new) girlfriend was coming to visit later. They arrived Tuesday evening to celebrate my birthday. I was treated to dinner at a local restaurant and then I did some extensive grocery shopping since my father had a car. I got some yellow tulips for myself. Apart from that, there were no presents but a few people sent greetings.

One of my father's sisters has written her autobiography. It's over 150 pages long (folio format) and one of the most impressive books in that genre I have read. She has included her entire life story, her parents, grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren - everything. I'ts great to have, not only for us, but also for future generations.

At work there has been three meetings and two storage rounds. This past week I sent out a question to all the libraries in the network to ask if they had some specific block book ends they didn't use anymore. We need to make our shelf marking system at the storage better and when I checked what it would cost to buy new markers of this type I was shocked. There is only one supplier and of course they can charge anything. It turned out that asking my colleagues instead was the right thing to do. I have already picked up two boxes and more will come next week.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter weekend

The weeks around Easter have been a little slower at work and I have been able to take some hours off. One day I went to Helsingborg just to have lunch and today I went to Ikea near Malmö to get some things for my mother. It went well, apart from the fact that the train service went down and it took an hour and a half to get back to Lund by two different buses. The buses to my town are all packed with people and I'm not even going to try. I went back to work instead to do some catching up.

The Easter weekend was very nice. I spent it at the summerhouse with my mother and two of her friends. There was lots of food, for example boiled eggs, salmon of various styles, pickled herring and Janson's Temptation (a potato gratin with anchovy). I tried a novelty dish - pickled herring with blueberry flavor. Kind of sweet and sour at the same time but pretty good taste. We kept busy with several chores my mother had prepared. After the remodelling last year she got new pieces of furniture from Ikea that we now had to assemble. It was a pretty big job. We didn't get the bed finished because there was a part missing - that's why I went to Ikea today. But we assembled the bedside table and a book case. My mother was also taking care of a small dog but I was the one walking it mostly. My mother has some problems with her hip so she couldn't walk that easily. We did two excursions; one to the local town to get groceries and one to do some bird watching. Every spring there are large amounts of cranes visiting an area close by to rest before heading further north. There were more than 5000 cranes in that field. Quite impressive.

After four days of eating, solving crosswords and (mostly) relaxing I returned home by train Monday. That too was problematic and took almost three hours. The reason was one we hadn't heard before - a kite got stuck in the electrical lines and to get it off they had to shut all the power.

This week at work only two things worth mentioning have happened. Tuesday we celebrated three people who have retired with two enormous cakes that lasted also the next day. I will miss especially one of them, a very experienced librarian who knows just about everything. Yesterday I took part in a very hands-on workshop regarding how to save water-damaged books. The teacher was a colleague and she gave us soaked books to save. It was all fake because in real life it's very difficult to save books which have been that water-damaged. But we leafed in some dry tissue paper between the pages and it worked to some degree. Normally, we buy a new book instead. It's only if that's not possible we try to dry it out. If you can't start leafing in dry paper right away you have to freeze the book, otherwise it will get mouldy. We definitely learned a few things there.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Lots of shelving

These past two weeks have been rather busy although the number of requests have decreased. We have done many other things than retrieving books. Last week I brought one of the recent employees to the remote storage for the first time. I gave her the guided tour of our two storage facilities. We also did some much needed shelving. All of us in the stacks have taken turns going there to shelve, as the situation was very strained. We piled books on carts and tables because there was no room anywhere else. I also brought the most recent employee to the storage today. It was not my favorite place to spend a Friday afternoon but it was necessary. We were three people and we got a fair amount done.

At the main library I have come to the end of my part of the reference collection weeding project. I went through the bibliographies. It was challenging, as my knowledge about those books isn't that great. But I asked the others for a second opinion when I was in doubt. This project is supposed to end soon, but we have only reviewed perhaps 10% of the entire collection. We were not expected to do more right now, because it's a huge undertaking that will take years. The project of weeding the journals on open shelves is basically also over. I moved about 150 meters to stacks and made all the changes in our database. I have one thing left to do and that's a list (mostly for the staff) of the titles that remain on the open shelves.

The weather indicates that spring is on the way. There are many flowers blooming in the park in front of the library already. It's still rather cold, around 3-5 centigrades. It has been sunny the past few days, which is very nice after that long and dark winter.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

More research

I spent the weekend at work again. It was so interesting to review the family history research I couldn't stop. I have now gone through my mother's side of the family. Back in the 1990s when I did most of that research I never wrote down causes of death for my ancestors. It doesn't always say what they died of in the records but in most cases you can find out. I spent the weekend looking this up and it turned out to be sad statistics. Many of them actually reached old age but those who didn't died of tuberculosis or something similar. Often they didn't know the proper name for the illness (there were no doctors available until the 19th century) so they wrote the symptoms instead. Some women died giving birth and often the child didn't make it either. It was a harsh reality for many of my ancestors.

At work I lag behind with most things but particularly with the project of weeding the reference collection. I have done a lot of that the past few days. It is sometimes difficult to decide whether the book should stay on the shelf or be put in the stacks. But in some cases it is easy. I have found guides for internet searching printed 20 years ago. They were moved without any hesitation from my side.

This past Friday we attended a lecture on material handling. One would think that I would know how to handle a book by now but I was told to attend it. I failed the promise I made to myself to keep my mouth shut at this lecture. The lecturer suggested that we should spend one more hour on retrieving so that the books wouldn't risk being damaged. I asked where we would get that extra hour from. It amazed me that someone would actually say something like that. It's not like we have too little to do.

This Saturday I went to a grocery store outside Lund just to shop somewhere else than normal. I got some ground beef and made taco-style lunch boxes with it. One more success.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Busy Tuesday

Last week was like usual, mostly work and not much to report. The storage round car broke down but we were not affected as the janitor got a rental car for us immediately. They tried to explain what was wrong but I didn't really listen. They fixed it in a few days. Apart from work, the only significant event was the much needed hair cut I got last Wednesday. Afterwards I treated myself to a chicken pizza at the local establishment.

I spent the weekend at work. No surprise there. I actually devoted some time on my own ancestors for a change. Normally it's mostly research for others. The information I had on my ancestors until about the year 1800 was gathered many (20+) years ago. At that time you did research by going to the archive and using microfiche. Today it's easier with access on the computer screen. Also, by now many people have posted their research online and I found several clues from those sites posted by distant relatives. I reviewed my grandmother's side of the family and found more details to enter on the charts. Her ancestors lived in Småland, Blekinge and Skåne provinces.

This week some noteworthy things have happened at work. Especially on the Tuesday. The statistics were handed in that day - on the very last day. We are wondering every year if any one would actually read it. The same day a new employee started working in the stacks. I had no chance showing him anything as I was incredibly busy. He was introduced later and began retrieving books on the fourth floor (where all new employees start). Also on Tuesday the project group dealing with the reference collection had invited librarians from the faculties to discuss the project. In the beginning everything went wrong. The computer wouldn't work properly so the technician had to come. The coffee and cookies didn't show up as expected and that made people nervous. (If you invite people to a meeting it's more likely they will attend if you offer coffee - a well known fact here). But the meeting went really well, the discussion we hoped for was interesting and the input we got was positive. And I had desk duty that day too. I don't know how I survived it. Today was a little easier; one storage round and one meeting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bowling event

Last week wasn't as mad as most others. Only one meeting, three visits to the storage and one day at the internal desk (on which all the unsolved issues end up). The most memorable event was the fire alarm drill on the Tuesday. I was on the fifth floor and it took a while to get down from there. I could tell it was a drill and not for real within about ten seconds. There were too many staff members from the building manager's office and also the security supervisor was present. We stood outside in the cold weather for about 15 minutes and then were allowed back in.

Thursday evening it was time again for a social club event. We normally book a bowling event every fall but last year we didn't have money enough for both that and the Christmas party. This time it was more popular than ever to get free food and spend an hour bowling with colleagues. We had a very nice Italian style buffet. The bowling competition was won by a colleague working in the manuscript department. I ended up in the middle of the result list, like usual. It was a fun evening, and very easy to organize.

The weekend was spent doing very little. The weather was bad so I didn't go anywhere. Only a walk to get groceries. I sometimes cook on Sundays to have for lunch boxes and I decided on chicken tikka masala. If I may say so myself, it turned out great.

This week started out with a storage round, two meetings and sharing the desk duty (because those two meetings were on that same day). It's time to hand in the annual statistics to the Royal Library and it's always a lot of work and requires a few meetings before we get everything in order.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Reference books

The first two workdays last week there had to be extra staff on the fifth floor because the sprinkler system was shut off. They placed a security guard there with an extra fire extinguisher next to him. We felt very sorry for him. He was bored out of his mind. Absolutely nothing happened. The sprinklers are supposed to be functioning again now.

I started on the physical weeding of the reference collection this past week. It was difficult to decide what books should stay on the shelf and not. There were several other problems; all the books didn't have barcodes, some were misplaced and then we are not sure there will be space for the old (pre-20th c.) books we want to move to the stacks.

Last year I was given the task of producing a process chart of my department. It's a list of all the tasks that are carried out on a daily basis. In order to get this done I have interviewed my colleagues. I had the last interview today and then I guess I have to ask myself a few questions also. The list is incredibly long already. It will be a challenge to get it into readable form.

Since I have an impressive amount of overtime I left work at 3 PM to go to the chiropractor and didn't return afterwards. Instead I got some groceries and then went home to rest.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Leaking sprinkler system again

It has been an eventful week at work. If people hadn't become sick and meetings were cancelled, I would have attended seven meetings. Now I only had to attend five. That's a lot for someone who works in the stacks. I have now finished packing the donated books. I was able to weed the collection a little but it still ended up being 46 boxes.

Thursday two people from Stockholm University Library came to visit. They had asked about an article service we have because they want to start something similar. We showed them our routines from beginning to end, including the database work and scanning. They said it was useful and I hope they learned something.

Friday there were yet again problems with the sprinkler system. There were minor leaks but no books were damaged. The sprinklers had to be shut off, which meant that we were not allowed to work on the fifth floor for security reasons. It got complicated for several people as many computer programmes are locked to certain pc:s. Some of my colleagues moved to other desks on lower floors and used laptops instead. I could check my e-mail at another computer but for the most part I worked in the stacks that day.

Since I wasn't allowed to spend the weekend at work because of the sprinkler issues, I had to find something else to do. Yesterday I went by train to Trelleborg on the south coast. I have been thinking about this ever since they opened the rail line for passenger trains this past December. There have been cargo trains running for many years since Trelleborg is a large sea port served by enormous cargo and passenger ferries. The train station is right by the sea and it was the first time I have seen it. I spent the day in town shopping. One of the department stores had everything 50 % off and I wondered about this until someone explained that it was going to close down. I found a hanging wardrobe made of fabric, to hang in the attic space. The one I had was damaged so I needed to get a new one. It got to be very cheaply as I also had a gift certificate. Trelleborg is a small town but it's nice with second hand stores (I found three), interior design shops and several cozy places to eat. I had a chicken sandwich and a rocky road cookie at a bakery.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Book donation

It took about a week to get the hot water back in my apartment. It was ok to shower at work but I'm glad not to have to anymore.

It has been a full week, like usual. I have spent almost every afternoon in the basement of a hospital institution to pack books. We have been given a donation of about 68 shelf meters of books on psychiatry. Unfortunately, the books were not placed in a good order so I had to rearrange them first. There is a card catalogue and we really need the books to be placed in catalogue order, otherwise we will never locate them if requested. I was surprised to find three of our books there, but they had previously had a separate book deposition and all those books had apparently not been returned to us. The packing continues next week, as I didn't even get half of it done.

The weather is more boring now, with rain and high winds. It's not much of a winter so far. But admittedly, the train service works better in these conditions than freezing cold and lots of snow.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hectic start of the year

It's Sunday and I am at work today for two reasons: to do some research and to take a shower. I understand if that last thing sounds odd, but there is no hot water at home. I should really be happy about having cold water, but I don't want to shower in it. There hasn't been any hot water in the entire block for a week due to a faulty pump. They couldn't fix it immediately so we will have to endure this a few more days.

The first few weeks of the year have been very hectic at the library. A few thousand new students wanted library cards and also identity cards, both of which are issued here. The students also have a gigantic interest in our books, so we have retrieved material for them in huge amounts. In addition to this, I have attended a lecture on what to do with water-damaged books. We have some experience from this, unfortunately. If you can't dry them right away, you have to freeze them. I have also moved a set of folio format books to storage. We used our small truck and had to drive three times to move 45 shelf meters. One nice thing was a moving-in-party last week for the acquisitions department. They had their staff members spread out over the library before, but have now gathered all of them (and the work) in one place. They offered very nice food and homebaked cookies at this party.

At home the Christmas ornaments are now back in the attic. I also had to vacuum the apartment, which I really don't do that often. Apart from the usual chores, I haven't done much. Yesterday I was at my favorite mall and got some small things. A green top and a handbag in a yellow pattern, for instance.

The climate has been cold recently. Below zero temperatures most days and some snow. Occasionally it has been very slippery. It is getting milder again, it's just above freezing now.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

First real work week of the year

This is the first full working week of the year and we have been very busy. There was a large backlog because several libraries in the network had been closed over the holidays. The extended loan-period ended Monday and many people handed back the books that day. Now everybody seems to gear up for the new year. The students are already borrowing books for their classes starting in a few weeks and my colleagues send me invitations to meetings scheduled on several dates all the way until June. I have already attended the first one.

Yesterday we got a new employee in the stacks. She will only work there in the mornings but it's still a good thing. We have been struggling with many tasks lately and really needed an extra staff member. I gave the introductory speech and showed her how to retrieve books. She will have a hard time because she will work in the ephemera department in the afternoons. Work in both departments is based on knowledge and experience - learning all that at once will be a challenge.

The pedometer I got as a Christmas present at work is already broken. The quality wasn't that great, apparently.

Apart from work, there hasn't been that much done. The weather was rather bad over the weekend so I didn't go anywhere. There are sports on TV that I sometimes watch, like biathlon and other ski-sports. I engage in the research requests also, of course.

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year

Last week I worked Tuesday-Wednesday. There wasn't much to do apart from sorting the returned books. New Year's Eve is usually quiet here and there was nothing out of the ordinary. I made a chicken casserole with cauliflower, and had pecan pie with whipped cream for dessert. Very tasty, all of it. I had a very nice view of the fireworks from my balcony. The four days of leave were spent doing several things. Mostly chores. I went to the grocery stores (there are three in my little town) a few times to stock up on food. It meant that I have also cooked a fair amount for future lunches at work. The freezer is now very full. I also did some handwashing, cleaning and went to the recycling place with plastic etc. There have been a few crosswords solved also. I got a new research request and started on it this weekend. It was the first time I have ever researched the Swedish church records for St Petersburg, Russia. There was a Swedish congregation there in the 19th century. It was interesting, you could tell from people's names that many of them came from the Baltic states and Finland. The ones I was looking for only spent four years there and then went back to Sweden.

The library will be closed to visitors until Thursday. It's unusually long. The staff could work though. I worked today and it was obvious that our patrons had missed the information about the closure. Today and tomorrow most people consider to be normal days. The other large libraries are open. The only day which is a holiday is Wednesday (Twelfth Day). I had hoped we didn't have to drive the storage round today but there were too many requests. We were three staff members and we were busy all day.

It's now below zero temperature outside and a bitterly cold wind. No snow yet. I used my new down coat today and it was definitely worth the money (about 20 USD - a marvelous bargain).