Saturday, January 31, 2009

Feeling Lucky!

AA Pic of the Week 125 w I read some terrible news in the Guardian today about a tragedy in California. A father of five, who had lost his job, had killed all five children, his wife and eventually himself. How can somebody get that desperate? It seems unfathomable. At the time I was sitting facing the mantelpiece where I had only yesterday put up a newly made frame with two photographs of my son's family. My eyes moved back and forth between the newspaper and the mantelpiece, and my heart was filled with both sadness and joy, and then my eyes started filling up. I think my tears were of joy, and here are the pictures that make me feel very lucky.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Word Verifications!

We all know about them, We all sometimes try to pronounce them and think of funny meanings in some lesser known language. They can sound funny, intriguing and also a bit rude. When you read them out loud they often take on a new meaning you had not thought of. If you are a speaker of more than one language you can have even more fun with them, but I won't demand any Swedish knowledge from my readers, not this time at least. But languages are fun!

I have collected these for some time and will now share some of them with you. You might need some imagination, like separating a word into two, skipping a sound or two and possibly mispronounce a word slightly.

Word Verifications

mentickl (and women don’t?)

handinis (Italian for little hands?)

comeal (when you actually eat together?)

ghstlamp (a spooky lamp without the O-factor?)

rimetr ( per rimetr fence?)

irandy ( sex-deprived Iranian man?)

witiose (how good/funny is he? a real witiose!)

esses (how many esses are there in esses?)

prictai (one of those naughty men who travel to the Far East for under-age sex?)

sockwuhl (is that some special wool for socks?)

tragism (the new word for tragedy?)

plizer (a really cool guy who plizzzes women?)

ainel (alternative spelling not to get unwanted blog visitors?)

comanest (a teenager's bed!)

amici (a proper Italian word!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Awards Galore!


Thank you Gutsy Writer, for sending me the Lemonade Award. That was a nice surprise.

"The Lemonade Award is passed to bloggers for showing great Attitude and/or Gratitude."

Gutsy Writer says about me: " ... I love the way you connect with your readers. It's almost as if I'm sitting in your living room having a coffee." I say it is rewarding to know that I am getting through to somebody! Great feeling.

The rules stipulate that a recipient pass it on to another ten bloggers, but I have to confess I will pass on that one, mainly because of the time aspect, but I also feel a little apprehensive about the possibility of not being fair to people. (Read that as being a tad cowardly!)

Then for good measure Gutsy Writer threw in another award, for being cool. Me cool? I saay!


BTW my old mother has recovered quite well from the trauma of being conned (see previous post). Her strongest feeling now is that of embarrassment. How could I believe him? she asks herself. She is now instead a great believer in putting the security chain on before opening her door!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Preying On Elderly People

I rang my mother yesterday to speak about Obama's inauguration, since I knew she would be watching it. Instead she told me what had happened on Sunday afternoon. When she got to the bit where she said "... and he had followed me into the bedroom and was standing behind me", that's when I stopped breathing and was sitting absolutely upright with my eyes in a fixed position on the wall in front of me.

She had fallen victim to one of the lowliest and most despicable of crimes. When the doorbell went she did not look through the "spy hole" or put the security chain on, she just opened the door. Outside stood a young man, whom she did not recognise, claiming to have locked himself out of his flat lower down in the building. Could he use her telephone to ring for an emergency locksmith? She let him in and sat down to read the newspaper while he seemingly made a phone call. The locksmith says he needs advance payment and I have no money on me, could you lend me some until Tuesday? I have very little money at home, but I'll check.

She walked slowly and unsteadily into her bedroom to get her purse, and he followed her in there! He even had the cool to ask her what she used to do for a living. Then he thanked her and added, as he left, that she would also get a cake on Tuesday. I work in a bakery.

He then proceeded to seek out new victims in the building. One lady, despite her husbands protests, handed over quite a large sum of money, but another one fended him off by saying she did not lend money to strangers.

How this fraudster / robber / thief / con man could pick out all the people between 75 and 93, I don't know, but the "rollator" (walking frame with wheels) inside the building entrance with my mother's name on it, might have been an obvious indicator.

My mother felt very embarrassed about the incident and made many excuses, some of them understandable. But it is a terrifying example of how vulnerable frail old people are. A brain that used to be quick and sharp is now slow and dull. We can only thank our lucky star that he was a cool and calm criminal and not a drugged up maniac. My mother is only a few bank notes and a couple of nights' sleep poorer, but a hard lesson richer.

Now it is up to the police to try and find this scumbag. My mother was in such a state that she could not give a description of him at all, only that he was young. Hopefully some of the other victims might. It all makes my blood boil!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Family Tree - Genealogy (Update)


A year ago I wrote a post about having discovered a new web site ( where you can build your family tree. After having gone through all available family documents, including deceased relatives' research, I have come as far back in time as possible without doing more extensive, genuine research in Sweden. I have selected a few interesting facts to blog about.


One of my great grandfathers married four times because three of the wives died prematurely. *My* great grandmother died of pneumonia shortly before her 25th birthday. She had by then given birth to my grandmother and her older brother, who himself died at the age of 18 in 1909. He was in the merchant navy and worked below deck as a stoker. He caught pneumonia in the winter from moving up and down between deck and the hot fire he was stoking in the belly of the ship. The four wives gave birth to a total of six children. Only three survived into adulthood; one of the wives lost her two infants in some epidemic.

Even worse was the situation for another couple (he was born in 1827). They had nine children, and when the youngest one was still a baby all the other eight children died within a short period of time. Epidemics, which we today can prevent, swept the country regularly. Can you imagine losing eight children, more or less in one go? This is Thérèse, the only surviving child, as a young woman.


Then we have the the person at the top of the tree, as far as known birth date goes. He was a soldier called Elg, which means elk or moose, a typical name given to a soldier in those days. Since everybody was either "son of" or "daughter of" the father, they had names like Persson or Persdotter. This naming convention lasted into the late 19th century, and Icelandic women still have names ending with "-dottir". These short soldiers' names were intended to make it easier for the officers to shout and also differentiate between men with the same father's name. So when you joined the army you were simply given a name, and that was that! Many of these names live on in Sweden to this day, and are quite easy to recognise; they are often mono-syllabic and/or with a military connection.

So when was soldier Elg born? In 1688! He fought, I assume, with the famous (or infamous) Swedish warrior king Karl XII, whose soldiers were called Carolines, and did battle with the Russians, the Danes, the Norwegians and many more. Karl XII, just like Napoleon later, was stopped just outside Moscow and had to retreat in freezing winter conditions losing most of his men. He later died in Norway, possibly from "friendly fire", or not so friendly, because the debate still goes on whether the bullet that killed him was fired from the Norwegian side or from his own. Many were tired of all the fighting and had reason to get rid of the monarch. There have been conspiracy theories ever since.

Something else which has emerged from the documents, is spelling problems. In 1794 a priest misheard/misspelt Lönberg, and wrote Lundberg, which still today is the family name for some of my relatives. Oops, sorry, from now on you are Lundberg!

Also within the same family, the name was sometimes spelt differently. In 1907 my grandfather and his brother lost patience with the issue and registered a new name, which still is my surname. Their three sisters kept the original family name, which confused me as a child!

I take consolation from the fact that even the Great Bard, Shakespeare, spelt his name, and other words differently sometimes. If you have spotted any "alternative spelling" in this post, it is simply because I got into the spirit of my ancestors.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Childhood Summers

AA Pic of the Week 125 w In the middle of winter, with lots of snow and freezing temperatures, I thought it was appropriate to put up a picture from a sunny summer's day 28 years or so ago.

When my son was little we often took a week to go canoeing and camping in a province called Dalsland in Sweden. There you can find vast areas of nature for anyone to explore. There is a law in Sweden giving everyone legal right of access to private land (open country), as long as you don't cause any damage. So you just fill your canoe with tinned food, tent and sleeping bags, and off you go.

Dalsland offers a large area of inter-connecting lakes in a densely forested landscape, so you can go for a long hike without seeing too many houses. One excellent feature of the canoe is that it carries all the weight; you just have to paddle at your own chosen speed. It does not matter whether you are a strong athlete or a weakling, you'll get there in the end.

In those days the water in the lakes was so clean that we used it for cooking and even drinking. We always brought frozen (initially), tinned orange juice. Then, in the middle of the lake, we took a big plastic container with the concentrated juice already in it, and lowered that into the water. The air inside the container rose to the surface in the shape of bubbles, and lovely, cool water started filling the container; and hey presto, we had our drink.

Every evening, after having put up the tent, we had our dinner by the camp fire in the sunset. Doesn't that sound tempting?

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Last Winter Walk?

Today was most likely our last chance this winter to go for a proper winter walk at the weekend. The forecast is for slightly less cold weather, only freezing at night. So we just had to get our walking boots on! It was almost as beautiful as yesterday, and I cannot help myself, I have to show you two pictures from today's walk. On the frozen lake in the forest we spotted these two lost geese. They seemed confused, not understanding what had happened to *their* lake. Funny two-legged creatures were moving around them dangerously. Where to go?

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Then on the way back we came upon these deer. In the dying light I managed to get some decent pictures. What a sight it was. They did not expect any people around, so all five of them (one is obscured) ventured out into the open field to forage for food under the white cover. A memorable moment.



Saturday, January 10, 2009

Between the Sun and the Moon

Yesterday we went for a beautiful walk in the wintry landscape, down to a little lake in the forest where people took the opportunity to skate on the ice. To get there we went through the woods out into the open fields where we had the descending sun on one side and the ascending moon on the other, which created some fabulous colours, changing rapidly, minute by minute. The temperature was well below freezing, so we had wrapped up well. I was surprised to find that I had taken 90 photos, out of which I have chosen 20 for this slideshow. I hope I have been able to make the spectacular colours justice. Join us on this walk, you won’t feel any cold, I guarantee!

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Return of the Blogger

So, I'm back. It always takes a bit of time to settle back in again after a holiday. We had a lovely time in Sweden where we spent Christmas itself with most of my family. Father Christmas made his usual appearance and was rewarded with a "snaps", only for strictly medicinal purposes, of course.

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After Christmas we went up to Stockholm to my son's family so I could dandle my grandson.

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He was totally fascinated however by his big sister; everything she did got his full, admiring attention.

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We had a belated Christmas with lots of presents and play. The adult-to-child ratio was very high, so both children got their fair share of all four adults. We stayed over the New Year Holiday in rather cold weather, but very little snow.


When we got back home to Germany we were in for a snowy surprise, as were the birds in the garden.


And still today we had a bright, blue sky ...


... and about -10 degrees Celsius with a stunning winter landscape.


Soon I will see what all my fellow bloggers (bloglings) have been up to. I will have to skim through several hundred posts, my apologies in advance!