Well, I'm back. I found out late last friday (the day of the previous post) that Aunt Jo had passed away early thursday morning. Sweetie drove me down to Houston on monday and my mom and I made it to Nashville by tuesday with hours to spare waiting for TwinSister's late night flight to get in. I cast on for Mountain Ash in the car and did a few rows. I worked on Galveston Prime. I dicked around with graph paper, and may have an orenburg-inspired southwestern stole pattern some time soon. Mom tried to plan my wedding for the first seven hours or so of the drive tuesday morning. She criticized my weight, my style of dress, my lack of religion; I criticized her long-time boyfriend and his parenting skills, mostly by citing his children's behavior. They're trying to become foster parents, eventually to adopt an infant girl, and we killed a couple hours trying out various name combinations (I still like Alaura Day). We got a hotel room and some frozen dinners and watched comedy central for a few hours, then picked up TwinSister, had dessert, and went to bed.
Mom forgot about the one hour time change east of Knoxville, so we had to rush in the morning. There were around 50-100 people at Aunt Jo's service in Sevierville. It was very touching in that way that you can't really articulate, and as usual I had a hard time reminding myself that I was really there and this was really happening. This tends to happen for me at times like that. I recognized cousin Nick's family and cousin Terry's family, we spent good time with them at the post-service lunch and later hanging out at the hotel. If we have a wedding, both these families have said they want to attend.
Terry is the daughter Aunt Jo gave up for adoption to another of the aunts, who reconciled with her about thirty years later. She's also the other crafty person in the family, and we hit the Artist's Walk in Gatlinburg that afternoon. We saw some excellent woodworking and metalworking shops, barely resisted resisting temptation in homemade candy shops, and eventually found the incredibly fantastic Smoky Mountain Spinnery. I bought half a pound of absolutely exquisite merino/silk roving in her Sandstone colourway for $24, and had her put aside a few other things for when my next paycheck comes in. If this woman had a website, she would be a millionaire. She had buffalo and yak (I distinctly remember the yak, could be wrong about the buffalo, but I don't think that I am), at $19 for 4 oz. Order from this woman, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and she is wonderful. She even let us pet some vicuña - did you know something could be so soft that your hands literally don't register that they're touching it? It's one of those things that's so nice, I don't know if I'll ever buy it, because I don't think my current spinning skills can do it justice. It has inspired me to maybe pick up some guanaco this next month, though.
The drive back on thursday was much the same. I was able to sleep from Sevierville to Nashville, where we dropped TwinSister off again so she only missed one day of work. Then it was back, 15 more hours to Texas. Mom tried to plan more of my wedding, we discussed what superpowers we would want, what we would do if we won the lotto, and mom quizzed me for a solid four hours on why I don't sell my shawls, or only make things that I know I can sell, why I have hobbies that aren't centered around making money, how I could change those hobbies to BE centered around making money, and so on. It was a lot of "well mom, I do plan on selling patterns, but I have to get my name out there first, and free patterns do that really well" and a lot of "nobody's going to pay me what this shawl is worth, not even if I paid myself minimum wage" and a lot of "I do it because I enjoy it, and count my purchases as entertainment money, it's cheaper than getting cable and lasts longer". I specifically didn't compare my knitting to her child-raising, even though they're both something done for the love of doing it, doing it well is its own reward, and you're going to spend more money than you get in, even if somebody is paying you to do it. Some places you don't go with mom.
We got in at around 2 in the morning, and Sweetie picked me up around 3 the next day to head back home to College Station. It's hard being apart from him, even for just a few days. Our bathtub faucet broke, pouring scalding water by the gallon, so that the heat and steam made some kind of weird orange liquid seep from the walls, but the part to fix it won't be in until monday. I yelled at the apartment manager until she got someone in to at least tighten it up enough that we won't have hot bath water at all until then, which is much better in my opinion. I admit to being a little harsh, and I feel bad about it now, but it did do the trick.
So all in all that was my week. I'm still feeling antsy and odd, so I started spinning the roving I got from Smoky Mountain Spinnery. It's lovely, whites and pinks and beiges and grays, maybe the occasional light lichen white-green. It's spinning up very easily, so much so that I don't mind that it's not yarn yet, which is a problem I've had lately. I'm going to design a new shawl to knit with it, something simple, maybe faroese. It'll be nice to make a shawl for Jo.