Aunt A. made it to the party. Aunt L. brought her. Aunt A. said she'd lost sixteen pounds -- I suppose because of the radiation making her sick. I told her I'd lost thirty early on when I was taking a bunch of medicines which all made me sick to my stomach, but that I'd gained it all back and more. She said she'd rather keep the weight off, but it wouldn't be bad if she gained some back. She said she hadn't been able to do "stockings" -- bags with little food items, toys, pens and such in them. I've been thinking I'm too old for them for quite a few years now anyway, but my younger cousins enjoy it. I said I was just glad she was there. She gave us money -- honestly, I would have been quite happy just to see her and Aunt L., and not want anything else.
I told her I'd use the money towards my trip to New York (see soap opera entry). I explained a bit about this being a German soap opera, and one of my favorite characters being a figure-skater nicknamed Bunny. It's hard to explain it quickly. You really just have to see it to believe it.
J. and K. announced they were getting married in May. All the relatives assumed they were coming. I think if J. wanted it to be just immediate family, he should have prefaced it that way. I'd be happier to have everybody there, but it's certainly not up to me. It really didn't steal the thunder from the celebration like it did from Dad's birthday.
It was nice to see everyone, but it was a long drive. Mom drove on the way up, in the daylight. Dad drove part of the way back, through those wacky traffic circles -- I'd never be able to figure those out -- and I took over right after we got back into Pennsylvania, down the Turnpike. Mom didn't want to listen to my music on the way up. She kept turning down Nirvana until I couldn't even hear it. I had told her to bring CDs of folk music with her. There's only so many times I can listen to her singing show tunes. She knows all the words to the songs in "South Pacific," "West Side Story," and many others. So I listened to my iPod on the way up. Dad started whistling on the way home, so I put in the CD of the Beatles that Mom had grabbed on her way out. Mom and Dad were both singing along with the Beatles songs. I just didn't happen to be in the mood, so I cranked up the Rammstein on my iPod. By the time we switched drivers, I couldn't hear much at all. I put in an ABBA CD. I thought Mom would like the poppiness of it, but she doesn't seem to get into it. Next long car trip, I will insist that she gets her folk music CDs together well ahead of time, and puts them in the car. I can kind of deal with those, even if she sings along. Better that than show tunes. Dad was apparently getting cranky on the way home, as he said, "Sucks to be you," when I missed an exit. Mom guided me through a very confusing mess of an exit -- it's the Valley Forge exit, which had construction done on it for many years, and is considerably more confusing than it was to start with. It's easier to get onto 76 from there, but it's much harder to figure out how to get anywhere when you're getting off the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We got home. My hearing is gradually returning.