edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
A while back Dad sent me a link to the real estate listing for Ardis's old house -- the people who bought it after she died are now moving and therefore it's on the market again. It's weird to click through the photos, both because there's been extensive remodeling and because I know kinesthetically exactly how big the space isn't so the angles used to make the rooms feel bigger are VERY obvious.

The major changes are to the overall color scheme (a general shift from dark brown to light tan), removal of carpeting in favor of wood floors, and some landscaping alterations. The big tree in the front yard that made it impossible to keep a lawn seems to be gone, and there are little brick patios both beside the front door and in the back yard, complete with lawn furniture and a wooden trellis.

That last change led to the odd realization that I had never been into Grandpa and Ardis's back yard. I visited that house for over twenty-five years! And I never set so much as a toe out there. Not once. I couldn't even tell you what they did or didn't do by way of landscaping on that side of the house. All our visits were centered indoors.

Habit is a funny thing.
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
The funeral service was scheduled for 11am, at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church in St. Paul.

The format of a Lutheran funeral service is fairly standard... )

I got thoroughly choked up halfway through "Abide with Me," but managed to recover (and also to sing harmony; the song has a very simple alto/second soprano line, mostly just E, with occasional Ds and Fs by way of variety). I also sniffled through bits of "Beautiful Savior," Konrad M's eulogy, and bits of Rev. Berg-Moberg's homily. But I got through my own reading clearly, which is a small grace.

---------------

Here are links to a couple obituaries:

an article from the Pioneer Press

an obituary from the Pioneer Press

I am now going to copy out the text from the back of the memorial order of service. (Names have been redacted or changed to nicknames to preserve minimal privacy.)

Ardis Hovland was born on September 21, 1921, in Bemidji... )

---------------

And that is that. The weather was horrible -- freezing rain on top of icy roads -- but attendance was decent. Before and after the service, people offered condolences to the family, and everyone said, as my dad pointed out, some variation on, "Ardis showed people how to live right" -- how to care for people without losing yourself, how to find good humor and faith in the face of trouble and trial, how to be a friend and create families-by-choice wherever you go.

I think that is the best legacy anyone can ever hope to leave.
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
My Friday flights went smoothly, and I arrived in Minnesota about twenty minutes early.

I will report on the funeral tomorrow, when I have to time to write it up without crying.

There was a reception at the church immediately afterward. The food was scalloped potatoes with ham, green beans, cranberry applesauce, rolls, and various desert bars and/or brownies -- simple but nice. Each table had coffee and water, and there was a little table off to the side with two pots of Lipton tea, which Vicky and I were grateful for. (Random note: one nice change I have witnessed during my life is the increasing acceptance and availability of tea in America. When I was little, I thought I would have to teach myself to drink coffee at some point, but by the time I was in high school, you could get tea pretty much anywhere and nobody would blink.)

Then the family and some of Ardis's closest friends came back to her house, where we had snacks and conversation. Vicky and I left the reception early so we could set up at the house, and also so the house would not be empty for too long. We realized as we were leaving for the church at 10am that we had forgotten to get a house-sitter, and apparently people often rob houses during funerals... but the weather was so appalling that I don't think we needed to worry about that today. In any case, the house was untouched.

When everyone but immediate family left, my parents and sister went out to drive around the Twin Cities looking at four UU churches my parents might attend when they move back here in a few years. I stayed to clean up the house, put away the food, and wash some of the dishes.

We used up some stuff from Ardis's freezer and refrigerator for dinner (we all decided not to ask about the expiration dates on the tortellinis) and then did some preliminary divvying up of tools (my grandfather was quite a handyman, and Ardis never organized or disposed of his stuff in the basement), and also went through her Christmas ornaments and jewelry, figuring that since most of it was not especially expensive, we could just divide it more or less equally and leave the rest (and the expensive stuff) to be appraised and then sold as part of her estate. So I have some new necklaces and earrings to bring home.

Now I am heading off to bed. Vicky and Mom are flying out at 10:05 and 10:15, respectively, so even though my flight is not until 11:05, I will be accompanying them to the airport, and they want to leave at 8am so as to be at the airport by 8:30am. Fair enough, I suppose, though I am going to have a fair bit of time to kill.

And that is all for now.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I leave my apartment in one hour, walking into town to catch a 2:15 bus, which will get me to the airport at 3:00pm, whereupon I will check in and then wait until they call my flight through security screening (Ithaca is a very dinky airport; there is only one gate), and then hopefully my flight will leave on time, at 4:30pm.

I transfer and eat dinner in Detroit, and then arrive in the Twin Cities shortly before 9:00pm, if everything goes smoothly. Ardis's funeral is Saturday. I will fly back on Sunday, via Philadelphia, arriving in Ithaca around 6:00pm, after which I will have to call a taxi to get home because even after their recent route reorganization, TCAT does not run busses to the airport on weekends. :-(

And that is what I will be doing this weekend.

*rushes off to finish packing and getting ready*
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
One thing I find interesting about the world of Yu-Gi-Oh!, but which rarely seems to come up in fic, is that games are treated like professional sports. Card games, board games, dice games, tabletop RPGs... You name it, there is probably at least one professional tournament for it, and that tournament will probably be broadcast on television and reported on in the newspapers. The only game that comes even vaguely close to that in our world is poker, and even that is a stretch. (ETA: Okay, chess and Go too, in some ways and some places. But they are all very niche activities compared to sports.)

Somewhere along the line, Yugi's world took a radically different turn from ours. And I think I know why. *grin*

(I had this idea floating around my hard drive for several years, but I finally tidied it up and gave it an ending. So. "Game Theory," in 375 words.)

Game Theory )

---------------------------------------------

Friday afternoon I fly to Minnesota, via Detroit. Ardis's funeral is Saturday morning, followed by a reception at her church and then a more private lunch and gathering at her house for relatives and close friends. Sunday morning I fly back to Ithaca, via Philadelphia.

Dad and Aunt Jan decided on five speakers (plus the minister), so neither Vicky nor I will be giving public remininscences or eulogies. That is just as well in my case; I think I would break down halfway through.

...

Ardis left bequests to both me and Vicky, which will eventually process through various bits of legal machinery into our possession. The money will, I am sure, be useful, and I am planning to give some to various charities that I have had to shortchange these past two years on account of my health insurance eating all my raises. What I would most like to have to remember her by, though, are the nice copies of a couple poems I wrote for her over the years, which she kept on the wall in her computer room.

I must remember to ask Dad about them.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I am back in Ithaca. My mom and I drove up yesterday morning/afternoon, having left slightly earlier than we otherwise might have for fear of freezing rain and icy roads. But it turned out that other than a 6-10 mile stretch right where I-380 splits off from I-80 (where all the trees were coated in a quarter inch of ice, and bowed down under the weight), there was no ice at all, and even in the part with scary trees, the road itself was fine.

So I arrived safely and then went to work and closed the store.

-----

Yuletide Madness (the < 1000 word stories part of Yuletide) is now open, so all six of my stories are anonymously public. Yay! I have been browsing idly through the archive and doing my best to comment on most of the stories I've been reading, but it is mentally exhausting to come up with a comment longer than "This is cool; I enjoyed reading it." I may end up just leaving variations of that comment in a lot of places, though I am trying to add at least one further sentence saying something more specifically related to each story in question.

I will probably do a recs post in a few days.

-----

In work-related news, we usually do the first semi-annual inventory on the first Monday of January (assuming that is not New Year's Day itself), but this year our owner wants everything counter a little sooner, so we seem to be scheduled to do inventory tomorrow, on December 28th. Nobody is thrilled about this.

I have made up little gifts for my coworkers, which are basically a card-with-note, four cookies, and two rolls of Smarties. It is not much, but it is the thought that counts, right? And the cookies are tasty; I know this because my family does not reuse bad cookie recipes. *grin*

-----

We had champagne cocktails (of the Maharajah's Burra-Peg variety) in Ardis's honor on Christmas Eve. Also, on the way down Dad told me more details about what had happened as the angiogram went wrong, what the autopsy had revealed, and what the doctors speculated might have caused the problem. I am not a doctor, so my details are fuzzy at best, but this is what I understand of the situation.

What happened, it seems, is that they went in and found an arterial blockage... )

So. At least Ardis was not conscious through this; she was under anesthesia for the angiogram, and then in a coma because they had her on a respirator, so she was not in pain and just never woke up. And she never had to leave her house, or give up her car, or anything like that. So for her, it was probably a decent way to die, as these things go. It's just the rest of us who are finding it hard to process.

...

When I got home yesterday, I found my Christmas gift from Ardis waiting on the porch; it had arrived in my absence. She gave me a gift basket of instant soups, plus two very nice bowls to eat the soup in. (And, of course, the nice basket to hold the soup and the bowls.)

The auto-printed card from the retailer said, "Form Ardis," instead of "From Ardis."

She would have laughed about that.

She'll never know, now.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
Have received Yuletide story back from beta -- yay! *hugs wonderful, helpful comments* Will edit tonight after work, and post tonight or Monday morning.

I kept forgetting the posting deadline is 9pm on Monday. For some reason, my brain always edits that to midnight on Monday. Those three hours may not make much difference to most people in the USA, but I don't get off work until 9:15pm at the earliest (well, okay, 9:10pm if I rush a few steps and skip some courtesy set-up for the openers), and then I have a twenty minute walk, so I am usually not home until about quarter of ten. Therefore, I must post before work.

---------------

I feel weird these past few days. It's like, I am not shocked and sad and depressed all the time. I can be happy and cheerful, or annoyed, or amused, or all sorts of other normal emotional states. But while those emotions are real, I keep feeling like they are sort of gliding over the glassy surface of this giant reservoir of... of blankness. Like I am just not processing Ardis's death and its implications and consequences, and a noticeable portion of my brain is on hold trying to work through it.

It probably does not help that the air is freezing cold, the skies are solid gray, and we are one day away from winter solstice.

...

I am sorry I keep talking about this. I just... I am trying to work through what the hell happened, and what I feel about it, and what is going to happen with my family, and it helps to talk to people or write it down; putting my thoughts and feelings in order so they are communicable is a way to figure out what those thoughts and feelings are.
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
about going through her house, sorting things and shutting it down )

---------------

She's right; that would feel horribly uncomfortable and intrusive. I mean, there are some rooms in Ardis's house that I am quite familiar with, because they were the public rooms -- the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the den, the guest bedroom -- but even in those places, I did not go poking around her closets and boxes and cabinets. And I never went into her bedroom, and hardly ever down to her basement.

And now somebody has to go through all those places and open all her cabinets and boxes and figure out what to do with all her possessions. We are not sure what all Ardis owned, let alone what she wanted done with all of it.

I wonder if this is one source of the idea of haunted houses. Ardis is gone, but her home is not just suddenly open and empty; it is still hers, in a very real, emotional way. I am sure poking through it would feel like a violation, and that is the sort of thing that could lead people to think of vengeful spirits.
edenfalling: colored line-art drawing of a three-scoop ice cream sundae (ice cream sundae)
Stuff I did today:

1. Wrapped, boxed, and mailed gifts to Aunt Jan, Aunt Cara, and [livejournal.com profile] snaegl

2. Deposited paycheck

3. Picked up winter coat from the tailor -- yay! *snuggles into lovely warm coat*

4. Bought second half of two-part gift for Vicky

5. Wrote holiday cards and clothespinned to mailbox for pickup tomorrow morning

6. Wrapped gifts for hand-delivery to Mom, Dad, Vicky, and Susan

7. Finished initial round of edits on Yuletide story

8. Wrote complaint to AO3 about lack of spaces in usernames

-----

Stuff I did NOT do today:

1. Laundry

2. Grocery shopping

3. Work on other fanfiction or original fiction

-----

I find holiday cards something of a nuisance to put together, but I confess I do like choosing appropriate ones for various people out of the free cards various charities usually send me during the fall.

I am also very fond of wrapping gifts. This is partly because I like being productive with my hands, and I really like making tidy edges and so on, but I think mostly it is because I adore wrapping paper. I am better about managing that obsession these days -- I have more or less vowed not to buy any new paper until I have used up the ten or so rolls of paper I already have in my closet -- but just as charities will send holiday cards in an attempt to guilt people into contributing, other charities will send little wrapping paper samples.

This year, I am attempting to get rid of all those collected samples. So far, I have killed four or five sheets. \o/

-----

Update on Ardis:

The service will probably be after the 18th. All first class mail will be forwarded to Ardis's lawyer, so financial things will be taken care of. Dad and Aunt Jan will have to get the house and estate evaluated for doing her taxes in the spring, but will not put the house on sale until spring at least. We are not sure what will be done with her car.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
Got a call from the tailor (well, his assistant, technically) at 4pm saying my coat was ready. So I will pick it up Friday afternoon when I go into town to mail packages.

Talked to PM on the phone this evening. I mentioned that Ardis's funeral would be in January, exact dates currently unknown. PM said of course I could have time off to go. So that is a tiny bit of weight off my mind.

---------------

In other news, I have fixed part A of Problem 2 in my Yuletide story, and am about halfway through fixing Problem 1 and part B of Problem 2. The story has grown a bit longer in the process, which does not surprise me. I do chop extraneous stuff out when revising, but I tend more toward the 'oops, I forgot to put in the chain of thought that explains character X's choice here, and also character Y should probably say something in reaction to what just happened' school of writing, which means my second drafts are usually first draft + 10% rather than the other way around. Basically, what I do when I revise is switch from 'but it makes perfect sense in my head!' which is useful for getting some words -- any words! -- on the page, to 'oh right, readers cannot read my mind,' and elaborate accordingly.

...

Also, I think I have figured out where the whole seriously, Liz, WTF??? plot development came from. It is only partly organic to the story; mostly it is related to something in real life that has been on the periphery of my consciousness for a couple months. It would not have appeared in this story if it were not at least partly organic to the situation, but without this bleed-over from my real life, I don't think the possibility would ever have occurred to me as a potential explanation for a particular thing I needed to happen.

...And wow, is that vague and convoluted. I will explain after New Year's, I promise.

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edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Elizabeth Culmer

July 2017

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