Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Jan. 27, 2005

Roman god sidetracked in Sweden

January gets its name from the Roman God Janus, who was often depicted with two faces because he could look backward and forward at the same time. It's a good way to picture how we humans operate, too. We can look at the past year's accomplishments, shortcomings, joys and sorrows and face this new year with the goal of making it "the best one ever," to quote a favorite phrase of my mother-in-law.

The top 10 most common resolutions, according to are to: lose weight, stop smoking, stick to a budget, save or earn more money, find a better job, become more organized, exercise more, be more patient at work/with others, eat better, and become a better person.

My own personal resolutions include exercising more, getting organized and doing family history work at least once a week. So far, I've been moderately successful at staying on track.

Every morning before work, I do a few stretching exercises, leg lifts and knee bends. Nothing too strenuous, mind you. After all, I'm working with a middle-aged body and I'm not going to overdo it.

Part of my routine includes walking on campus two or three times a week. I haven't actually started that part of the regimen yet - the sidewalks have been too icy and dangerous, you know. But with temperatures in the 40s and 50s this week, I'll have to get off my duff and just do it.

Getting organized is a bit more slippery. I've always had the ability to get projects done by deadline, pay bills on time, have the oil changed in the cars when they need it, clean the house when the dust gets too thick and get the family to hair cut, medical, dental and school appointments. But the nagging feeling that there is too much "stuff" in my life makes me feel less organized than I'd like to be. So, I've resolved to take time each week to cut the clutter in at least one part of the house.

The project last weekend was to create some semblance of order in the "work room." It houses the washer and dryer, Art's work bench filled with tools for household repairs, bookshelves, boxes and file cabinets stuffed with photos, family history data and maps.

I was able to delay beginning by telling myself I needed a plan on how to handle it. But, in the end, there was no other way than to just dig in.

The first job was to clear the top of the work bench. Wires, screws, tools and things I couldn't readily identify were scattered everywhere. Into a box they went. Art agreed he'd go through them later. Next was to find a home for extra folders and printer paper in the file cabinet. Then it was time to go through some of the boxes.

It was then I found I was looking right over the edge of a slippery slope. There were letters, photos and family group sheets from as far back as 1904. One letter in Swedish - postmarked from Nyliden, Sweden in 1932 - was addressed to Grandpa. Just this past week, I received an e-mail from a Swedish relative I didn't know I had. She has done research on the Mostrom family in Sweden and wants to share her information with me. In return, she would like me to tell her more about the Mostroms who moved to the United States.

Before I knew it, two hours had whizzed by as I sifted through papers belonging to generations of ancestors. Organizing was put on hold.

Next week I'll crawl up that slippery slope again. But for now, poor Janus is lost somewhere in Sweden.

2005 Index