Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Breen Family -unplugged

I've been thinking about Christmas much over the last couple of days. I've been putting it off in my mind for a while you see. I've been out of sorts and my Seasonal mind has been put on some sort of jet lag/time delay. I know, you are all rolling your eyes while I tell tales of being out of sorts in sunny places and the wreath looking strange with the palm tree background but there I am at any rate, not feeling overly the usual anticipation of the holiday and all it holds. Here's the thing, Christmas is a time for reflection among other things for me. Go past the parties, cookies, and presents and there I am thinking of how far removed I am from the events that unfold back home right now. It's hard not to think of the people in your life that gave you this ornament or that. Looking at the tree as I decorate, I am reminded of Christmas's past and the history of each item I hang.

Life on the island has taught me much in the short time that we have been here. The Man and I agree that it seems so much longer that we have been transplanted. We concur that maybe it's because we have done so much with the time that we have had, our weeks seem to fly by. Trying to find our niche, work, school and the endless renovation projects at hand there is always things to busy our hands but what about our minds? Where are we at these days?

I know that without a doubt I miss my life back home. I know now how much family and your friendships mean to me. I miss you all, truly I do. But I think with the holiday and Christmas tradition of giving and receiving of presents, this is the one present that I have received that I treasure most. I feel that missing the people in your life is really a gift It has shown me now how much of my life has been connected to yours even in the smallest of ways, you all are there. Time apart and such has made me understand how important these relationships are and the history that we share.

The Breen's are down to the bare bones of what makes a house a home and the people in your life a family... it is a another gift I find under my tree this year. I guess you could look at it this way; People that are financially comfortable in their lives are the first to tell you that money isn't everything and that you can always make more when you spend it on the materialistic. This is true. There are others out there who are far less secure financially and will tell you otherwise. They are the ones that are looking for the material and some even looking to just pay the rent. They will tell you money does make a difference and again, for those trying to heat their houses this winter that is a very true statement. I think though, with all that we strive to attain in our lives of the material longings we sometimes miss the true, bigger picture of what we should be about. I have far less material things in my life and I can't say that I miss them. I treat all that I have now as a gift and I take far less for granted. My focus has changed too then you could say. We are a small family with tighter bonds than ever before. Our lives are being shaped and molded now by life experiences and not the next gadget or trip or shopping spree. It has been a bit of a revelation really. My life has always been blessed but now I know really how much that means to me.

I wish you all so much happiness in your lives. I wish you peace of mind and a full heart. I hope for you all to be able to spend time with your loved ones and hopefully make many wonderful memories this holiday season that you can look back on in the years to come and smile with fondness, love and laughter. These are the best gifts of all.
Know that you are all on my mind and in my heart and I treasure you all.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chris "Light" only half the calories

Ok, it's somewhat of a daunting task to write about someone that is going to be reading your blog. Especially since the whole blog is about, well, himself. Like most CEO's of a cooperation i am really not anything more than a figurehead that gains funds from the hardworking efforts of the Management team. So most of the credit of our lifestyle and location are largely due to The Mister's efforts. Do i sound like i am sucking up enough? Very well, let's begin.

As you go with your life you discover that there are a few talents that you possess that maybe the masses do not. Some of us even end up on David Letterman for the Stupid Human Tricks portion of that show. Some others go and raise that bar a wee bit higher and turn into, say, Bill Gates and redefine a worlds technological revolution. By and large though the rest of us are left to figure out what we do best and go about happy in the knowledge that we can recite the alphabet backwards, run and chew gum, or beat the top score on a video game. WE know we're special in our own way. Chris too has many talents as well. At least he thought he had until he met his staff.

The first order of being the new kid in school is almost always to find out where you stand with your mates. You do this by asking questions and trying to find common ground to bond with. With men, in the big kid school of business, it's no different and so here goes our fearless leader to assess the troops. Meet Chris's counterpart. (Name withheld), like Himself, plays the horn. Imagine that, we haven't met too many people who do this. The conversation goes on and suddenly Chris finds that (name withheld) *may* be a bit more accomplished with this horn playing business. In fact,(name withheld) is in a band and He competes and He has won awards. In other words (name withheld) is accomplished at this horn playing business, perhaps Chris would like to duet sometime? Pass and Thank you.

The Mister also prides himself on being somewhat of computer whiz. From where i stand he is a God in the way he is able to connect the TV/Satellite/Mac and make them do all the things that i want. Please let me introduce (another name withheld) from the office. I admit, this guy is good... very good in fact. I have seen movies a week before they premiere in North American cinemas. Good friend to have when the latest to hit the screen here is "UP". I look forward to my next weekly bootleg of prime time American TV. HE could easily make David's list of performers as well as it has been told to me that he has no intestines having them removed some years back due to Cancer. To my knowledge Chris has retained his innards so far.

This brings me to (final name withheld). Superman is sharing office space at the moment with Himself. Clark Kent just happens to be a runner, like Himself. Wellll, ok, maybe not *just* like Himself as Clark appears to like to bike as well. He peddles 137km on a Saturday just for fun. As an effort to "bond" with Clark on a recent roadtrip, Chris joined him for his morning run. Down the beach they went, up a mountain, Clark looked at the view while Chris had his head between his legs trying not to faint. Back down the mountain they go and over the sandy beaches to the hotel. It was a terse email that i received later that morning claiming that this guy was a cyborg and Chris was having issues climbing a flight of stairs. Alex Trebek is also the worlds foremost authority on everything. I say this again with awe since He is not one of those who likes to "one up" you. No, he just retains every bit of information he has ever ingested right from emerging from his mother i believe. Whenever i have a question about local life here or my period i urge Chris to talk to Alex about these things to see if he has an answer. So far if there were a giant whiteboard posted the score would be 1 000 000 for Alex and 2 for Chris.

There is one thing that i know that Chris has managed to claim supremacy on. For some reason no one at the office knows how to play Poker. Himself is rooting thru boxes trying to find his chips and giggling with glee now. As for me i a bit more generous with what i see in Himself's accomplishments and maybe he just needs to be reminded of them. I see Chris as fearless and strong and his enthusiasm and vision has lead us all here quite willingly... a feat to be sure to convince the masses to pick up their pleasant little lives and challenge themselves by moving so far away from home. He dreams big and i have never doubted for a minute that he will do what he set out for himself here. He's never proven me wrong and in this case we can both agree that it's good that i am right.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hormonal Struggles and Tween Angst

Shayla, our oldest spawn has turned into a walking talking hormone. Oh sure she still has her "Littlest Petshop" critters laying about her room but what has begone to take over is her Twilight posters, books, and other such memorabilia. She is on Team Jacob if you wanted to know. Also the Jonas Brothers are on most of the walls and i catch Ronin singing "Love Bug" under his breath as he passes by me. We are heading to the Twilight Premier tonight - the boys are being dragged along to drown out the wistful sighs from the girl by their gagging. I don't believe my rolling of the eyes makes any noise but trust me it's there. I probably look full on like i am in the throws of Mad Cow disease every time that girl starts to talk about her keen interest in boys. Oh! There is a boy to be sure.

Max. What kind of name is that i wonder? What kind of boy is my girl toting the virtues of that i swallow vomit in my mouth every time this name is mentioned in her breathy sighs. I have seen "Max" from a safe distance in my car at school one day. We drove ever so slooowly by so she could wave frantically at him at he loaded onto the bus after school. He totally didn't see her even though i was close to getting a black eye from all her waving efforts. Perhaps it's because she is such a tiny thing that he has not yet looked down to see her? It's strange because i failed to notice the halo/golden aura about him that he reported to have as well about his person. I know more about Max and the way he breathes/eats/stands than his own mother does i am sure.

I don't know though, as much as Shayla would die to defend him, that Max has had as much of an impact as the recent camping trip she went on with her class. It was with much trepidation that Shayla packed her bags and cookies and loaded herself onto a tour bus with 250 other year 7 students to a 3 hour drive away from home. Sure, she's been on sleepovers and with her Grands for a few days but never has she felt so scared as she was waving a tentative goodbye from the bus portal. We, as parents, did the best we could with keeping a cheerful air and tucking in the contraband stuffed animal into her pillow case but in the back of our minds we really did wonder if she was ready to be on her own away from us for 4 days/ 3 nights.

I came to pick her up after a blissful 4 day reprieve from Max stories and i have got to tell you that i did enjoy the quiet to a point. Strangely enough, the boy elected to keep quiet on not take up the empty space of his sisters constant stream of yammering. This is rather unusual for us as it seems that once she leaves he just takes up the quiet with his talk of the whatever. Anyways, it was a gong show of events with i am guessing close to 300 parents outside the school entrance and 4 tour buses of tweens making a mass exodus -2 1/2 hours late! I wore heels to the event... not to be stylish but to have the edge of spotting her. Er, well that was the plan but it didn't go as well as that. Chaos was the leader here and i began to panic making my way from bus to bus trying not to step on too many toddlers to find my girl. I finally gave up and ended up in the gym hoping to see her bags and confirmation that she made it back alive. The tension left me when from around a corner she appeared and i was *almost* a puddle of emotion seeing her in front of me. How could she have changed so much? Is it possible to grow 2" in that short of time? Her face? Why did it look so different? She was so composed and, well, sure of herself. It was spooky.

I was so anxious that she was going to be a hot mess when i saw her and well, the clothes probably needed to be burned but there she was, standing in front of me telling me tales of her many adventures with a big grin plastered from ear to ear. "Mom! I have changed! (no shit...oh God please tell me she didn't get her period!) "I have done sooo many things and challenged myself and surprised myself with all that i can do! It was AMAZING!" So, she told me tales of rafting and swimming out with the boats and facing her fears while crying through them. She talked about ropes and climbing and sleeping out under the stars. She ate bugs (and not by accident like i tend to do!) She trekked thru the mountains, peed in the woods and all sorts of nasty things that i can only see on Survivor, my daughter - the ultimate survivor! I stood, slack jawed as my girl, my wee, little baby all dirty faced and smelly proudly showed me her dozens of bug bites and scratches. What do i do now? Is my job done? Do i just hand her the car keys and fade quietly into the background as she goes and picks up Max and heads to the bar? Maybe they have planned a back pack trip to Europe by now? No. Max is still unaware of her existence - for now. She came out of the shower newly scrubbed faced and in her flannels holding onto her beloved Stuffie Spot and climbed into our laps for a cuddle and snuggle. She's still there, my little girl and as tightly as i wish to hold onto her i can only cherish the here and now.