smozz and I are back (almost a day early) from a relatively quick trip to Ithaca for my Grandmother's 98th birthday party. We left Chez Wood late Friday at 7 PM stopping at Rice Valley in Newtonville for dinner (it was pretty good, just some things like the chicken finger decorations on the dishes and tea only by the cup were weird for a Boston Chinese Restaurant). We finally got on the Mass Pike about 8:30 PM and arrived in Ithaca about 1:30 AM stopping only for a Chinese firedrill to change drivers (5:10 for 320 miles is pretty good). The birthday party yesterday was OK except my Grandmother slept thru most of it. She was also somewhat confused by all the people, but I guess that is to be expected. (She does not really suffer from Alzheimer's.) We should all be so lucky to be in as good a shape as she is at 98. She is in a very nice assisted living place. My brother was MIA (allegedly working at the Post Office) and my uncle (Grandma's youngest son) was also MIA (allegedly his daughter and our godchild, Maria, was home in NJ back from College in FL for Thanksgiving). On the other hand, my cousin Will drove for 7+ hours each way from south of DC with his wife and twin daughters. Anyway, as the party was breaking up about 4 PM yesterday smozz and I looked at each other and decided we could drive home yesterday, sleep in our own bed (the bed in the Marriott Courtyard suffered from being, well, too hard), see Cookie and Peanut last night, and have a full day at home today to get ready for next week. So we went back to the hotel, packed, and checked out. To their credit or the holiday season, the Marriott Courtyard apparently didn't charge us for the second night. We left Ithaca about 5:30 PM, stopped for an hour for dinner east of Albany and were home about 11:40 PM. Which again was about 5:10 of driving time for 320 miles.