I’m happy to report that the family camping trip was not a bit exciting! We were on a lake shore near Tahoe, where Dr. G and I marvelled at how benign the outdoors were. The biggest threat I faced was getting tree sap on me, although Dr. G did sustain a pine-cone related injury in the last hour we were there. The trees were shaggy and shady, the ground soft with dirt and pine needles, the water plentiful. We fished, hiked, swam, explored a creek, built forts, and hung out around the campfire playing non-competitive games. (Question: If you could control anyone’s mind in addition to your own, whose would it be? Answer from an inlaw: Steve (my dad)HMMMMM…)

We wore T-shirts during the day and sweatshirts in the evenings. We were peppered with hard-to-answer questions from my practically-four-year-old-nephew (“Why doesn’t the fish want to die?” “Why do some people deserve bad things?”) and helped maintain a constant perimeter around dangerous areas to screen out my troublingly mobile one-year-old nephew. We were nine adults to one baby and he still broke through occasionally. Maybe he has a future as an affectionate, talkative smuggler. “YumYUMyumYUMyum!” he will say to his clients about the black market caviar hidden on his person. “Bubbles! Coooool!”

Hanging out with my family is like being part of the in crowd. We’re a noticeable bunch, partly because there are so many of us (11) and partly because the members convey an image of tallness and stylishness (I’m among the shortest) and a knack for telling stories. When we go somewhere as a group, strangers sneak up to the fringes to hear a joke or figure out the rules to the complicated rock-throwing contest we have devised. It’s fun to be an insider for a few days. I usually don’t get to be one. And, oh, we saw a golden eagle swooping up from the lake with fish in its claws. That was nice, too.