Wednesday, 28 April 2021

The Vaccination

Last week they opened up vaccine-booking for age group 65+ here.  I checked out the website the same morning I read about it in the local paper, but then there were no time slots open. I tried again in the evening, and then there were lots of times for Sunday afternoon, and I managed (2nd attempt) to book one. The next day I mentioned it on Facebook, and then a friend pm:d me and offered to drive me = transport solved.

So my friend picked me up on Sunday afternoon and drove me across town to the vaccination centre set up there. We arrived 25 min early, but there was no queue and I was allowed in straight away. Got my shot (the Astra vaccine), sat for 15 minutes in a waiting room afterwards (that's to make sure no one gets a severe allergic reaction) - and was out again before the original time I had booked. My friend was waiting in the car and drove me back home. The whole adventure took less than an hour. (Well - that part of it, anyway.)

On Monday, I did go through some side-effects, but I was prepared for that to happen. It started around 12 hrs after the injection (i.e. in the middle of the night) and involved slightly raised body temperature (with some initial shivering), tiredness, headache, and general muscle ache. As I have some chronic pain problems, primarily in my right shoulder/arm, I had asked to be given the shot in my left arm. Even so (but not really surprising to me), it was still primarily my right side that reacted with increased pain. (A rather odd feeling, hard to describe: knowing that there is a spot on your left arm that is 'rightfully' a bit sore, but it's still the right arm acting 'drama queen'...)

So I had a quiet Monday, just resting with audio books, radio and TV. (Heated up some soup for lunch.)  Towards evening I was feeling better, and on Tuesday morning my temperature was back to normal. I'm still kind of feeling a little bit 'off' in a hard-to-define way, though. The injection spot is also still red and sensitive to touch, so I guess my body is still working away at trying to figure out what on earth hit it, and how to best deal with it. 


I hope it will be done with the processing soon and then continue to quietly build up a good defense for possible future attacks; as my next shot won't be until the beginning of August. (Vaccine deliveries were delayed earlier in the spring, and it seems the current priority is to give as many people as possible their first shot.)


Photos: Playing in Picasa with photos from the recent "We Knit For Peace" exhibition.

No.3 is from the waiting room after I got the jab, though. That was a bit surreal, too. People came quietly one by one and took a seat, and every now and then someone quietly rose and left, as their 15 minutes had passed. No one spoke; it was like a ritual of a short silent meditation...)

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Sepia Saturday 567 - Men On Horseback (1925)

There are very few photos of horses in my old photo albums, and even fewer of people riding one. The only one that comes to mind is this photo from my grandfather's album, with the subtitle "On horseback. Kviberg 1925". Kviberg was a Swedish artillery regiment in Gothenburg. Obviously this is where my grandfather did his mandatory military service. In 1925, he was 21 years old - the common age for conscription back then.

Who among the men on horseback is my grandfather? I know he must be one of the four in the middle, because there is another photo of him in that kind of uniform (but no horse):

My grandfather to the right,
a friend of his to the left.

I'm hesitating whether my grandfather is the 2nd or the 4th man wearing that kind of hat in the "horseback" photo. Hard to tell as one face is rather blurry, and the other has his hat pulled down over his eyes. Both seem to have the kind of oblong face that my grandfather had.

Whether they had any choice as to what kind of military service to do, I don't know. But I know that my grandfather's grandfather (with whom my grandfather grew up) used to be an artillery soldier. Back in his day, military service was organized a bit differently, though.


 Sepia Saturday 567

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Sepia Saturday 566: Piano

The prompt picture for Sepia Saturday 566 is of a "living room with grand piano". This made me go looking for pianos in my own childhood photo albums. I can't recall any "grand" pianos from back then, but I know there was a piano in my maternal grandparents' living room. It was an upright black one, and I remember it well, but I don't seem to have any photo of it. In my other grandparents' living room (which was smaller), there was a small pump organ (harmonium). I have no photo evidence of that either - the images of it are only stored in my brain. And who used to play it (besides me, at a very young age) I don't know. I don't think I ever saw my grandmother or grandfather use it, and I can't recall ever seeing my father play either.

The only piano photo I find in my album from my early years is from my father's uncle's living room, Christmas 1957. This is me, 16 months old, playing a duet together with my mum, and then a solo performance. (Be thankful that there is no sound!)

When I was around ten, we moved to a bigger house, and then my parents also bought their own piano. Mum did play a bit (as can be seen above). I took (was forced to take) piano lessons for a while (grade 4-6), but I never had any natural talent for it. My brother did inherit the musical gene, though. Below is a blurry photo of him at the family piano, about six years old at the time. Unlike me, he kept on playing; switching to electronic keyboards up in his teens, and combining that with various intricate computer programs to produce all kinds of sounds. (Put me at a piano now, and I'm no better than at age 1½ ...)

 Sepia Saturday 566

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Weekend Reflections: "We Knit For Peace"

The weather has turned a little more spring-like again, and today I found myself itching to "do something", as in finding some sort of goal for my daily walk besides just walking... I still don't want to take any unnecessary risks, though, as I'm still waiting for vaccine, and the virus is still in a "third wave" around here...

From the back of my mind, something popped up that I had read about earlier in the winter. When not able to welcome visitors as usual, our Textile Museum decided to put one of its exhibitions on display in the windows of some abandoned shops downtown. I never happened to pass by any of those during my sparse winter walks into town, though - usually just focused on a few necessary errands. But today I did not have any errands, I just wanted to be out for a while... So I made note of the addresses from the museum's website, and went in search of them. (I only found three out of five, but never mind.)

The exhibition is entitled "We knit for peace" and I think it was the result of a project where they asked people to contribute works on this theme. There is also a circus theme involved.

While today was a good day for a walk, it probably wasn't really the best day for taking photos of things in display windows. On the other hand - you know I'm fascinated by reflections as well... So never mind...

Not easy to keep myself out of the picture, either... ;)

Do you knit? I used to do it back in the mid 1970s into the early 1980s - it was really popular back then. I even had some male friends who used to knit back then. Whether they still do, I don't know! Myself, I have not kept it up. When I started getting problems with neck/shoulder/arm pain, it no longer felt like a "peaceful" hobby...


Linking to Weekend/Street Reflections #12

Weekend Reflections

Friday, 16 April 2021

Learn How

I've been getting this message on my Blogger dashboards. I don't really know what Feedburner does - I wasn't aware I was using it. I'm not sure I even really know what a "feed" is. (I asked Google but gave up trying to understand the full answer.) 

I do get that the message above involves the "Follow by Email" widget in my sidebar, though, and that this is going to stop working in July.

Whether anyone ever actually used this widget to follow my blog, I have no idea.   

So I clicked Learn how (in the message above), which took me to another message:

I don't know what a CSV is. Nor where I was meant to click Analyze. I tried FeedBurner Help (in a corner of that "how to" page). I found one Analyze there under Feed Services. But no Subscribers, Email Subscriptions, Subscriber List, Details, Export, or CSV.

Maybe no one ever used that widget to follow my blog by email. I have no idea, and I'm not going to spend any more time on trying to figure it out. This is just to inform anyone who might have been fed such emails, that they will soon stop coming... (Hopefully, that's the only change involved.)


Tuesday, 13 April 2021

April Weather

When in Sweden we talk of "April weather", this is what we mean. It's also what we've been having, since Easter; and why I haven't been out and about much with my camera lately. One moment, the sun may be shining; but by the time I've put my coat and shoes on and gone down the stairs, there's another sudden rain/snow/hail-storm going on outside... (Photo above taken through my window last Friday; but it's pretty much been like that ever since. Brr!)

A week earlier (Good Friday) there were some lovey crocuses to be seen in sunny places. This past weekend, they were wishing they'd stayed in hibernation for a while longer...

Our World Tuesday


Saturday, 10 April 2021

Detective Work & A Team of Women (Sepia Saturday 565)



Since Easter, I have continued to work away at playing detective with the old postcards collected by my great-uncle Gustaf and his sister Gerda (many of those addressed to Gustaf also written by Gerda), during the years when the two of them both lived in America, c. 1902-1910. While Gustaf went to Pennsylvania to find work at sawmills and lumber yards (and ended up living most of the years in Galeton), Gerda went to Chicago, seeking employment as a maid. She changed addresses in Chicago a few times before she ended up working for the same family from some time in the autumn of 1906, and through at least 1910. This I know from addresses written on postcards, plus that (back in 2012) I managed to find both Gustaf and Gerda in the US Population Census of 1910.

The two photographs above, showing Gerda with a rather large team of other maids in what seems to be a countryside environment, have long puzzled me, though, as they don't seem to fit the Chicago city addresses. 

This past week, I think I may have stumbled upon an answer, while deciphering two postcards sent by her to her brother in the summer of 1906.

To give you an idea of what I mean by "deciphering", here are the postcards:

Cave Hill, Belfast (Ireland)

Yes. Gerda has this rather unfortunate tendency to write her messages (often in pencil) all over, around and upside-down on the front of the cards... (The back in those days often reserved for the address only.) She also often used cards with images nothing to do with where she sent them from; and most of the time she starts off with standard phrases (I wonder how you are / I am having a good time / I am waiting to hear from you / I will write a letter soon, etc.) - but then, just when she's running out of space, she remembers something more important she wanted to add, and squeezes that in right at the end, along the edge, upside-down, or in really minuscule writing - and 115 years later, it has faded into obscurity... (To be fair, I don't suppose she ever considered the possibility that her baby half-sister's granddaughter might want to read the cards in 2021...) Moreover, somewhere along the years, some eager stamp collector removed the stamps from all these postcards, which often makes the postmarks/dates unreadable as well!

Add to that a few old photographs with no notes or dates attached.

However, most of the postcards seem to have been sorted by year into Gustaf's postcard album. So on my blog Greetings from the Past, I am trying (periodically, now and then, since 2012) to go through them in order, one card at a time, drawing my conclusions the best I can from what I know so far - but prepared to change my theories along the way, when new pieces of information turn up.  

The card with the view of Cave Hill, Belfast, Ireland, was sent by Gerda from Chicago on June 12, 1906. Upside-down over the hill, the most important piece of information on the card is: I am leaving my place here in 2 weeks. ... However, she does not reveal what her plans for the future are, only says she'll write again to give him her new address. (If she did, that was probably in a letter. And I have none of those, only postcards.)

The next card from her is the one with a view from Minneapolis, Minnesota. That was sent from New London, Minnesota, on Aug 16, 1906, and reads: Just sending you a view from Minnesota to tell you that I am here and having a rather good time. I wish you were here. I'll be going back to Chicago on the 31st. / This view is not very beautiful but there are some, I'll send you another one later.

I looked up New London, and found that nowadays they call themselves "The City on the Pond" and "Gateway to the Glacial Lakes". This led my thoughts to that photo of Gerda with a team of other girls dressed in some kind of maids' uniform, by a lake. (G. is the one sitting on a tree stump on the right in that photo. And on the other, more formal group photo, she is in the middle of the back row.) Judging by the way they are dressed, with the long skirts etc, I'd also say 1906 feels just about right.

Now knowing that Gerda left one employment at the end of June, 1906, and probably did not start her next one until a bit later in the autumn - I'm thinking that this gives her a couple of summer months in 1906 to travel up to Minnesota to work for a while at some kind of summer hotel or lodging-house there. A sort of "working holiday", away from the big city of Chicago.

No brooms to be seen in the hands of the ladies in my photos; but I'm linking to another "team of women" at Sepia Saturday 565

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Squirrel Nutkin

Seeing a squirrel probably does not count as a sign of spring, but I don't think I've seen any during the winter, so it made me happy to notice one again yesterday (in the old cemetery where I often walk, and which is also where I usually - sometimes - come across squirrels). I think he's still in his winter fur, with the large ear-tufts. (I'm still in winter coat and hat myself!)

"The red squirrel sheds its coat twice a year, switching from a thinner summer coat to a thicker, darker winter coat with noticeably larger ear-tufts (a prominent distinguishing feature of this species) between August and November." [Wikipedia]

Searching my own blog for previous squirrel posts, I find that I seem to have named all of them "Squirrel Nutkin" (after Beatrice Potter's story, first published in 1903). Ah, well. Might as well stick with the tradition! ;)

Our World Tuesday

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Easter Greetings from the Past (Sepia Saturday)

For Easter, I decided to go hunting for Easter cards in my great-aunt Gerda's postcard album from her years in America (c. 1903-1910). (All the cards in that album are Christmas, New Year, Easter and Birthday cards etc.)

Left: At Easter 1902, Gerda was still living with one of her sisters in Sweden.
Right: At Easter 1903, she had emigrated to Chicago. (Probably in late autumn 1902.)

Left: Although obviously an Easter card, this card was sent  in October 1907 (to Gerda in Chicago, from a Swedish friend living in Rockford, also in Illinois).
Right: Easter Greetings 1908, from the same friend.

Left: Easter Greetings 1908 from Gerda's brother Gustaf, living in Galeton, Pennsylvania.
Right: Easter Greetings 1908 from a friend in Chicago.

Easter Greetings 1910 to Gerda in Chicago, from a niece in Sweden.

In my "Swenglish" family history blog Greetings from the Past (recently revived again after a rather long slumber) I explore these and other old postcards in more detail, as part of the family history puzzle - especially the lives of my paternal grandmother's older half-siblings, as they are the main recipients and senders of the early postcards. 


Linking to Sepia Saturday 564
(even if my "link" to the prompt picture this time is rather weak)

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Stairway to Heaven

 Continued from Good Friday (yesterday)

Turning back home again from my walk to the lake yesterday, I decided to take a "shortcut" which is at the same time also a little bit of a challenge. 

I used to climb this footbridge over the railway a bit more often in the past, when it was a convenient shortcut for me to a garden centre on the other side of the tracks, where I used to buy plants for my balcony in spring. But that garden centre closed (moved) a few years ago, and now it's been a while since I last went that way. But back when I did, the first time in early spring also used to feel like kind a "fitness test" after winter...

It's quite a sturdy construction, though, and I appreciate that it has "closed" steps. (Not fond of heights, I hate the "open" kind of stairs that you can see through...)

This time, I manged to walk up the 40+ steps in a flow without stopping, which in my book (with asthma and allergy etc) means passing the test. ;)

Views from the top, looking north-east (towards the city centre):

View looking south-west, and with the stairs leading down again on the other side:

Safely back on the ground again. By now my knee was muttering a little; but on the other hand (I told it), not all that much further to walk before being home again. The alternative would have been the "long route" in either direction to a road crossing - on flat ground, but a longer walk.

Friday, 2 April 2021

Good Friday


Good Friday came with Good Weather - blue sky, and "spring in the air". 

I decided I wanted to go for walk somewhere a little bit different from where I usually go, so at the railway station (above) I crossed the road bridge over the tracks, and on the other side turned left, to get to the little lake near our museum park. (The museum buildings are  up on the hill across the lake - hidden by trees in the photo below).

Originally, I had in mind to perhaps walk around the lake - but when I got there, I decided against it, because of.. 

... the incredible amount of spring tree pollen in the air right now... (I'm allergic...)

So, I decided that just continuing along the side of the lake where I already was, would probably give me more than enough of that stuff to inhale...

.... but would still provide an opportunity to snap some views with the camera...


Zooming in the playground on the other side of the lake, and the seagulls swimming in the water. Flocks of gulls always come here (inland), from the coast, along the river, this time of year. They can be a nuisance sometimes; but to me, they're also a sure sign of spring.

 I've reached the southern end of the lake now.

Instead of rounding the lake, I took another way back home. More photos in another post.

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