I realize it’s been awhile, and honestly I keep waiting to catch up on life before launching into something new, but let’s face it -that ship sailed a few years ago. I honestly don’t know that I will ever be fully caught up. But that’s ok. I think.

Let’s just jump in, shall we?

We just returned from a little jaunt across the pond (we won’t talk about what number of trips this has been for me last year, m’kay? Apparently some people have issues with me traveling so much).

We have been planning to spend Christmas together in England for the past nine years -but something has always come up. This year we decided to make it happen. We also decided to add a little side trip in, because why not? The location? Bruges.

But it wasn’t quite that simple, because really, nothing ever is. I mean it sounds like a fairy-tale, because Bruges is a fairy-tale kind of town…but let’s be real, this is our family we are talking about -nothing is ever simple with us!

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to hike Deer Mountain -an iconic mountain in Ketchikan. But for whatever reason, it has never happened. No one was brave enough to accompany me up there and I really didn’t want to hike it alone.

It went from something that would be neat to do -to something that would most likely never happen. You know how after something is so far out of reach -it tends to grow and become a bigger deal than it really is? Yea. That was me.

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A few months ago, mom went off the UK as she does periodically.

It isn’t until she leaves that I really start to take notice of all the things she does around here, things that often go unnoticed and taken for granted. Things like:

• The towels always being folded and placed nicely in their drawers…as opposed to rumpled and stuffed in.
• The toilet paper roll always being replaced and hardly ever being empty…as opposed to 3 or 4 empty rolls sitting by.
• The printer always having paper…as opposed to running out and wondering where the paper is.
• The paper towels always being fully stocked…as opposed to, you guessed it, it being empty and me standing by clueless as to what to do next.

So up until this point, apparently mom has had the duties of paper stocking all to herself…

But today, I realized something important that she does that I never really noticed before.

Making coffee.

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So far this trip I have been called A: “Jet-setter” and B: “Crazy.”

Personally, I would go with option B. Although A does have a nice ring to it. Let me explain.

When I returned from England a few weeks ago, I came with a stack of invitations to various events. Weddings, birthdays and the such. I had big plans to make them all happen, but then reality stepped in and I realized as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t make it all happen. I had to decide between a few of them. I hate deciding and put it off until the last minute, which basically meant that by the time I had decided to attend THIS event, that between work and money and other commitments, I could only be gone for the weekend.

Which is how I found myself in England for the weekend, flying for nearly 18 hours with approx 2 hours of sleep.

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Anyone who knows me will know that I have a long-standing love/hate relationship with hugging. I’ve written about it before, but me and hugs –we just do not get along. As I’ve gotten older and realized that hugging is just a fact of life that I will have to accept, I’ve done my best to overcome whatever issues I have with them.

I’ve come to accept that some people like to be hugged -and like it or not -they will hug you too. The only thing I can do is make it as less awkward as possible and since I am all about eliminating those awkward behaviors -I have given it my best shot. I now will hug someone without turning completely weird. It’s taken some time, but I have gotten there. I now will hug my friends, a random person in church, and as a recent event proved -I will even hug complete strangers.

Let me explain.

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