It’s two days after Christmas, and the family is all in Georgia visiting my mother in law. We’re in Northwest Georgia, basically we are about 10 miles south of the Tennessee border. We arrived via an 18-hour drive from New England. I believe that this is the single longest drive I’ve ever taken in a single, non-stop trip. Certainly, I have driven further over a multiple-day drive, but 18 hours in one day is very draining. The worse part was that I slept for only a few hours the night before leaving, then almost none in the car. I don’t sleep well (or at all) in cars or on planes. You’d think that I could find a way to get comfortable, but it doesn’t happen. So, we arrived exhausted, ready to collapse. We did, and after a solid night’s sleep, were refreshed and ready to start visiting.

It’s been cold here, as should be expected in late December in the mountains of Georgia — no snow, just a heavy frost on the car windows each morning. Sue got to see all three of her brothers this weekend, including David who lives in Florida and whom she hasn’t seen in many years. Late yesterday, my nephew showed up with his kids – peers of my own kids. They were instantly having fun. Today, after most got a good night’s sleep, they should have the opportunity to burn off some much needed energy. They haven’t see this family in several years, although the eldest (Alex) and my daughter have started chatting quite a bit via Facebook. It was an instant bond when they saw each other – and the hug was quite genuine!

We had quite a meal last night – 9 adults (ranging from 45 to 87) and 6 children, ranging from (3) 17-year olds to 12. I was glad to neither be the eldest nor the youngest! I had never eaten beef wellington before – it was very well prepared, but didn’t end up sitting with me well. I think the combination of very heavy foods and lack of salad-like substances, that my body is rejecting my holiday-eating patterns. We have eaten very well over the past year, so changing that pattern for more than a few meals in a row evoke havoc!

So far, the vacation has been a good bit of work, but all worth while getting in some visiting that has been long overdue, and never knowing when it will be the last time, is being embraced. At least my dog is getting spoiled with all of the attention!

Last night, we had dinner with my brother-in-law (wife’s brother or B-I-L) and his wife. That is always an experience. My B-I-L is fine. He’s fairly laid back, although he’s retired and opinionated at times. I guess when you get to be his age, you can be. His wife, on the other hand, is oblivious to her surroundings. She apparently needs to talk non-stop. We vacationed with them last year and planned a good bit of time apart – there is only so much I can stand and stay relaxed on vacation. My relaxed state changes completely when she enters a room. Therefore, my understanding wife keeps us apart as often as possible during the few and far between vacations.

What I really just don’t understand is that my B-I-L and his wife really don’t seem to get along that well. Okay, I understand that… However, they are going away in a 5th-wheel trailer for several months, including a few months working in a western national park. I personally think that they will drive each other nuts when they are spending that much time in such close quarters. In their current home, they each have their own areas where they can separate from the other one. In a 5th-wheel, they cannot do the same. I believe that the individual spaces that they have carved out in the in their home has allowed each to keep their sanity. It will be interesting to see how this extended vacation works out for them. My B-I-L will be taking lots of nature photographs and documenting their travel. I’m not sure what wifey will be doing during that time in such close quarters.

We are currently in northern Georgia, visiting my mother-in-law. We picked up our son just after 1 PM on Tuesday, after an 8+ hour trip earlier in the day. The camp he was at for the second time was SOAR ( This camp specializes in ADD and ADHD kids, and offers all sorts programs. The program he attended this year was the same as last year – North Carolina Expedition II. This is for a small group (7 campers plus two counselors. They hike, camp, white water raft, rock climb, cave, mountain bike, and a few additional things.

One of the things I really like about this camp is that our son always comes back a stronger, more confident person. He’s really growing up, and I feel better about this after sending him to camp in the woods for almost three weeks. His leaders were so impressed with him and his confidence and his skills. They have recommended that he attend the ILS (intensive leadership session). This would prep him for actually being a counselor during the summer sessions. He would love doing that – as he excels in the outdoors. His near-photographic memory comes in very handy with both skills and new activities that he has only read about. For example, he was “the” go-to person for this experience. One of his counselors indicated that at times, she needed to push the other campers to actually figure it out, rather than just ask our son. We received a call about a week before picking him up and the other counselor said the same thing – great kid, the strongest one in their session. There are times like this that I realize just what a great kid we have – and that maybe his mom and I haven’t completely failed!