ezmy writes

A perfect ten

On June 9, 2006, my whole life changed. That night kicked off ten years of just plain awesome adventures. Ten years of waking up with a best friend, ten years of laughing our asses off, ten years of a whole-hearted love that is, at times, overwhelming in its awesomeness.

Not every day has been perfect. Indeed, that we are still enjoying a successful relationship is no small achievement. Foreign service life is hard on people, hard on friendships, and hardest on even the strongest marriages. Being a million miles away from support, having to navigate strange places and challenging new jobs, as well as that all to common directionless feeling that comes with the diplomatic spouse gig, all of it can kill a partnership. Throw in some difficult kids, some regular life events (death, money, etc), and you have the makings of a serious mess.

And of course it will get harder. Posts will be more challenging, kids will continue to find new ways to make things insane, and life will insist on being a mess. But ten years in, and I still know I picked the best person to spend this life with. No one makes me laugh harder, no one believes in me more, no one understands my nonsense better than A. He is my bestie, my soul mate, my other half, and the person who makes me want to slow things down so I can soak up every last second of life with him.

Happy First Date Anniversary, A. Ten years and counting of greatness. xx

 

book club

For the women of book club,

When I arrived in Israel, I mentally prepared myself for three years of superficial friendships. You know the ones – people you hang out with because meh, you get along and you might as well have friends as not when you’re stuck in a place for three years. I thought I’d join some groups, just to get to know folks so I wouldn’t be bored senseless. When a book club was suggested, I figured sure, why not?

I did not anticipate your awesomeness.

I did not know, for example, when I agreed to join book club, that I would be agreeing to meet a group of fantastically funny, crazy smart women every single month. I did not know that I would count the days to the next monthly meeting, that I would arrange my entire schedule just to get to said meeting, and that I would come home after each meeting feeling refreshed and ready for another month. I did not anticipate the relief, the powerful feeling of release that these meetings would provide, as I vented the frustrations/joys/ridiculousness of living in this maddening country with husbands who have maddening jobs. I did not know I would be gaining incredibly dear, lifelong friends.

I did not know how much I needed this group until I had it, and then had to say goodbye.

Thank you. Thank you for the friendship, the support, the laughter, the intense conversations about nothings, and the light conversations about somethings. Thank you for helping me navigate this post. Thank you for three years of joy.

So much love.

ezmy goes back to school

About a week ago, I received my acceptance letter for the University of Ottawa. That’s right, Ezmy is going back to school. Law school. The combined JD/USA program to be exact, a program that will see me studying in Ottawa for two years, then moving to Washington, DC for the last two years. Gah!

I am excited about this development for several reasons, the most obvious of which being that I get to switch gears. After six years of being at home with kids, and loving a lot about it, I am in need of a change. I need a new occupation, or rather an expanded one. So woot! This career shift also gives me something to look forward to post-Israel, which is a good thing because I will need the distraction. I’m desperately sad to be leaving my friends here, and am having a hard time imagining my days without some of them. School will help.

But on a more personal note, I am excited about this next step because I’ve wanted this for so long. I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 14 years old. For the next 20 some odd years, I would be continually discouraged from taking this path. I was told over and over again that I would make a great waitress/secretary/assistant/customer service representative, but that a legal career was more than I needed to shoot for. Why couldn’t I just settle for the assistant manager position at Starbucks? Why couldn’t I settle for the administrative position at Microsoft? Didn’t I know how much money and time I would waste going back to school? Why risk all of that when you have a perfectly good, entry-level forever job right in front of you?

And things got worse than this. A few particularly horrible, yet incredibly influential people told me that I just wasn’t smart enough. That I would never get in anyway. And I believed them, for awhile. It is shocking what low self-esteem can do to a person. So instead of staying focused on my goal, I did settle. I settled into bad jobs and bad relationships, and I made a bunch of bad choices. And the worse things got, the more it just confirmed what others were saying. They were right – I could barely manage my sad little life as it was, so how on Earth was I going to manage law school?

Somewhere in the midst of this nonsense, however, one person stands out. A client I had when I was studying hair dressing at an incredibly pathetic beauty school in a shopping mall in Toronto. He was about 40, and he asked me a bunch of questions, based in part on the book I was reading (Silent Spring by Rachel Carson). He said I sounded smart. He asked me what I really wanted to do, and I said I wanted to be an environmental lawyer. And then he said these magic words: “So do it! Go to school, get a political science degree, and then go be a lawyer. You can do this.”

!!

I dropped out of beauty school (cue the song!) almost immediately after my conversation with this fellow. The owners of the school laughed out loud when I said I wanted to be a lawyer. I applied to Acadia University and completed my undergrad. I went to grad school. I continued to face obstacles – toxic relationships, incredible self-doubt – but I kept going anyway. I gained confidence and met other people who informed me that I actually was capable, that my goals were entirely realistic. Most importantly, I met A. and he seemed convinced I could do anything. And that was all I needed, apparently – someone in my life to say “you can do this” whenever I thought that I couldn’t. And so here we are.

I’m not sure why the words of one client at a beauty school mattered so much, but they did. He was just so enthusiastic, so sure of my ability to do whatever I wanted. Maybe he was just an enthusiastic person, and probably he was like that with everyone. Definitely he doesn’t remember who the hell I am. But he changed everything, and I am grateful for him.

Anyway, woot! I am nervous and excited. I’m nervousited, as Budsie would say. :P

happy is hard

Being depressed is easy.

I mean, it’s not easy, of course. It’s horrible. And soul-sucking. And never-ending. It destroys lives, both directly and indirectly. No, it’s fucking awful and not the least bit easy.

But what is easy, at least for me, is falling down the hole of sadness. Falling into what Anne of Green Gables referred to as the Depths of Despair. The fall comes seemingly out of nowhere, and the ground is comfy and sad. Wrapped in my depression, I can sleep for days at a time, eat very little and stare into space. Sure, in the past I would lose jobs/boyfriends/grade points while it was happening, but only Happy Ezmy cares about that crap. Depressed Ezmy cares not for such trivial things – she cares only about being sad, cozying up to the sad, embracing the sad.

Ever since my postpartum depression lifted, I have become much better at staying Not Sad, or at least Not Visibly Sad. I am, for example, better at recognizing the signals of sad. I can see a wave of depression coming, and I know how to tackle it [head on and with gusto]. And I’ve been doing pretty well, on the whole. But it’s HARD. It is an almost constant struggle, forcing oneself to run off the pain, to eat properly, to stop bringing bottles of wine to bed, to make time for oneself, to even shower for crying out loud. Seriously, every Sad day, I struggle to just brush my teeth. I do it, because I have kids, and a husband, and a continuous mantra in my head of It Could Be Worse/Life Is Too Short/You Can Do This. But I’ve come close to not doing it. I can’t brush my teeth today, I’ve thought, as I lay in bed. I just…I can’t.

What is particularly hard is knowing that there is no end. Coping strategies are helpful, certainly, as is plenty of support from friends and family. But this struggle will always be here. I will be re-motivating myself forever. I will be a person with mental health issues forever. And like I say, I’m better at it. Better at seeing it, faster at recovering from it, more comfortable owning the issue and making it part of me. Still, this is small comfort on days like today when I wake up with that familiar weight of sad on my stomach and have to force myself to get up and live. Annoyingly, I get no immediate satisfaction from having performed well today. I’ll be satisfied on the other side, certainly, but for now I’m just tired and annoyed at myself because I’d be less tired if I hadn’t insisted on all out living this day. Baking, exercise, playing games with the kids, reading, and running in the brisk evening air. All things that bring me joy when I’m in the right frame of mind, all things that I slog through when I’m not.

Anyway. Everything is perfectly fine, of course. Kids are great, albeit riddled with viruses, husband is awesomesauce, friends both near and far are the bestest. Life is amazing and beautiful. I can do this. Just having a moment of blerg.

 

 

 

2016: The Everything is Changing (Again) Year

Happy New Year!! Before launching into this year’s resolutions, let’s see how 2015 went….

Here are the 2015 resolutions. And I’m both happy and sad about them. I succeeded with numbers 3, 7, 9, and 10 (and arguably 10 was the most important). I half succeeded with 1 and 4, which is something. But 2, 5, 6 and 8 went horribly, with 8 being the most surprising failure and 2 the least. To be fair to myself, I kept injuring myself before races, so 5 is circumstantial. Still…annoying.

I find myself a bit behind this year, which I hope is not a bad sign. I usually get super stoked about January, the new year, and all of the possibilities. This year, however, I am facing a mountain of change and uncertainty, the thought of which makes me want to cling to my 2015 organizer, my 2015 holiday sleep schedule, and the last of the 2015 Christmas chocolate. Heck, I was still watching holiday movies up until a couple of days ago, as if pretending the new year hadn’t happened yet would somehow freeze time.

It didn’t. And so here we are. 2016 is the year I move back to Canada, which is insane/terribly sad/super exciting/terrifying/comforting. 2016 is the year I may or may not end up changing career paths from steady SAHM to, well I don’t know what yet. 2016 is the year my husband changes jobs, only we don’t know what job yet. 2016 is the year my kids start school in Canada, only we don’t know what school yet. 2016 is the year I was so desperately looking forward to back in 2013, but now that it’s here, I have no idea what to do with it, how to feel about it, how to manage it.

Eep.

In light of the madness, it’s going to be a keep it simple year with respect to resolutions. Here they are:

1) Stay organized. Make weekly and monthly plans to keep this whole move thing from being overwhelming, complete small tasks immediately, and get rid of any leftover clutter from last year (I’m looking at you, baby furniture).

2) Stay healthy. Keep running, cut back on the booze, talk to friends and family, ask for help, and for gods’ sake, get more sleep!

3) Stay unplugged. I’m going to turn off the computer and phone at night (starting tomorrow…). And I’ve deleted all social media apps off of my phone. Fingers crossed this also helps with the sleep…

4) Stay positive. This will be a hard year. But it’s still going to be awesomesauce!

 

 

five years of funny

If I could give just one piece of advice to a couple thinking about getting married, it would be this: Do not, DO NOT marry someone who doesn’t make you laugh.

Yes, they should have goals and yes, they should be caring. Yes, they should have similar ideas about kids and things that you do, and yes, the sex should be good. Yes, they should be honest and yes, you should be ok with the fact that one of you is going to end up looking after the other one during some very difficult times. But if the partner in question isn’t able to make you laugh, if you guys don’t share a sense of humour about the ridiculousness that is the world we live in, the marriage is going to be tough going indeed.

Kids. Take kids, for example. Listening to your five year old tell you that you are the worst mother EVER because you made him pick up his books sucks. But it’s totally tolerable if your spouse is making over-dramatized faces at you behind said five year old’s head. Watching a two year old turn into a puddle of screaming monster goo is stupid. But it quickly becomes hilarious if your spouse turns to you, and with a deadpan face says “But Ezmy, she wanted to eat the tin of tomato paste.”

Humour is the key to a successful marriage because it’s a sign you married your best friend. With this in mind, I draw your attention to how A. and I have been spending our evenings as of late. We’ve created this parent cave on the lower level of the house, you see, and it’s just the best. I’m knitting, and he’s playing video games. And video game playing always leads to certain small exchanges, which are hilarious to me. They may not be funny to you, but that doesn’t matter because you haven’t been married to the awesomest man for five years as of tomorrow. I have.

Scene: A. and I are living the high life in our parent cave. A. is playing ‘Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’. Ezmy has been making fun of the fact that this game includes the collection, nay, the chasing down of sea shanties. Little scraps of paper with shanties, SHANTIES, float around and A. chases them. Anyway…

A.: *picking up from previous evening conversations about sea shanties* “See, the thing about the shanty song is that it substitutes a soundtrack.”

Ezmy: “Huh.”

A.: “Otherwise it’s just boat sounds.”

Ezmy: “…”

A.: “Is that what you want? Boat sounds? Eh? Ooooh listen, it’s the sound of jibs…and ropes.”

Ezmy: “Those are all the boat words you know aren’t they.”

A.: “A keel. I think that’s a thing.”

Ezmy: *snicker*

Happy five years, A. I love you the mostest.

Thirty-five

In honour of my 35th birthday, here are 35 things you may or may not know about me.

  1. I love lists. Not shocking, in light of this exercise, but there you have it. I make lists for everything – daily to do lists, gift making lists, books to read lists, resolution lists, etc. I still write most of my lists on paper, in part because I get more satisfaction from crossing things off with a pen than deleting words on my phone, and in part because….
  2. I am technologically impaired. I have a spiffy computer and smart phone and I have no idea what they are capable of. I don’t know how to use Reddit. I only just discovered podcasts. And I’m not sure how to pronounce ‘GIF’ so when it comes up, I usually mumble “Gggierf” or simply spell out “G-I-F file” to make it seem like I know what I’m talking about. I do not.
  3. I identify as pansexual. Which matters very little in terms of my personal life, because I just so happen to be in a heterosexual marriage. But I keep this identification, largely because being open about such things tends to make life easier for others who do not feel able to be as open.
  4. Tulips are my favourite flower. Followed closely by gerbera daisies.
  5. <– This is my favourite number.
  6. I am terrified of talking on, answering, or making calls on the phone. Skype is even worse. I will always email or text message, and often avoid activities where telephoning is the only option. I was ridiculously proud of myself for calling the hair salon a couple of weeks ago – it had taken me a few months to work up the nerve.
  7. I do NOT like scary/dark/tragic movies, documentaries, or television shows. I happily admit that I watch things to escape, and the last thing I want to do is escape somewhere scary and/or horrific. Friends. I liked Friends. And The Office. And Parks and Recreation. And almost any comedy/romcom created.
  8. I miss my siblings something terrible. I have a younger sister and a younger brother and I hate that I live so far away from them. It is my least favourite thing.
  9. I wish I could have more kids. Financially, physically, psychologically it would be a bad idea. But I wish it wasn’t.
  10. I love baking cakes. I am not particularly good at it (although I do make a damn good white cake), but it’s one of my favourite things to do. Because cake ALWAYS makes people happy.
  11. I have a terrible need to please people. I’m better at managing it now, but this often used to translate into my doing things for others that I did not want to do, or taking on more responsibilities than I was actually able to handle. These days, I try to channel the energy into baking for others, knitting for others, and being a good shoulder to vent on.
  12. I like being a shoulder to vent on. I have always been this person, although I’m not entirely sure why. Whatever it is, I don’t mind.
  13. I do not like killing bugs for the following reasons: 1) I hate the ‘crunch’ sound and 2) it makes me sad. Yes, I feel bad about the death of the stupid spider that bit me. I feel bad when ants get crushed by my two year old’s stomping feet – they were just doing their job and BAM dead. I feel bad for, albeit grossed out by the poor cockroaches lying on their backs in our house and covered in a slow-killing poison from outside.
  14. I love experimenting with new hairstyles and different outfits. I always have.
  15. I do not love flying, or being a passenger in any moving vehicle that is not being driven by me.
  16. I have control issues.
  17. I used to have severe anxiety problems, which often resulted in horrible panic attacks. This started when I was 11, peaked around my mid-twenties, and then significantly decreased after I met A. Which is not to say that A. fixed my problems – rather that being happy with A. freed me up to be happy with myself, and comfortable enough to confront the triggers to my anxiety issues. It’s a work in progress, but having support is crucial.
  18. I love donuts. They are the best thing ever. Better than cookies or cupcakes or macaroons or cake or pie. Donuts are the superior pastry.
  19. Second to donuts: french fries. The perfect meal for my mouth (my stomach would have STRONG objections to this meal): buttery escargot appetizer, red wine with french fries and gravy for dipping for dinner, basic chocolate glazed donuts for dessert. I am a simple woman with simple needs.
  20. Sometimes I worry that I will outlive my children. Sometimes I worry that I will die before they are ready.
  21. Most nights, while I’m brushing my teeth, I get a little sad about the loss of that day. Not because I’m particularly concerned about getting old, but more because I’m happy and I don’t want it to end.
  22. <– This was my hardest year. Post-abortion, bad break-up, terrible customer service jobs, beauty school drop-out, bit of a drinking problem, difficult living arrangements. I felt like I was drowning in a mess.
  23. I love mornings. LOVE THEM. I am at my best between 5am and 9am.
  24. I love naps.
  25. I don’t mind that our youngest still wakes up in the night wanting to join us in bed. It’s annoying when it happens before I’m ready to go to sleep, but I like the cuddles, and I like making her laugh before she goes back to sleep.
  26. Sometimes I am completely taken aback by my children. They are so beautiful, funny, and clever.
  27. Every so often I wish they would go away. Not for a long time, just for a night so I could feel just married, not married with children.
  28. <–This was the year that I started to figure out who I was, what I wanted.
  29. <–This was the year I got pregnant with my first baby.
  30. <–This was the year I got married.
  31. I think I have been particularly lucky when it comes to the friends I’ve made, although admittedly that I only have wonderful friends, and no “ugh-I-guess-we’re-friends-but-you’re-not-very-nice-to-be-around”, is largely due to my conscious effort to only surround myself with fun, smart, kind, honest and friendly people. I can happily say that all of the people I count as friends are freaking wonderful individuals.
  32. <–This is the year I got pregnant with my second baby.
  33. <–This is the year we moved to Israel. It was…a tricky year.
  34. <–This was my most satisfying year, hands down.
  35. I love birthdays. I love cake, I love presents, I love birthday flowers, I love growing up. I will admit that this was the first year that I sort of hesitated in my excitement – thirty-five seems more grown-up than I’m ready to be, and the stark reality of grey hair and a couple of more permanent facial lines was…unsettling – but all in all, I’m super jazzed about being thirty-five. It’s going to be an amazing year.

well, we’re doing something right

Raising children is a never-ending, soul-sucking plague on your capacity to remain patient. Babies test you by screaming whenever they please, and by refusing to eat or poop, and then suddenly needing to eat or poop or both when you’re trying to go to the bathroom, or board an international flight. One year olds test you by trying to kill themselves in the most ridiculous and creative ways possible All. Day. Long. Two year olds play the Contradiction Game (eg: “Gingerbean, would you like a cookie?” “NOOOO I ‘ate cookies.” “Ok then.” [two seconds later] “BUT I WOULD YIKE COOKIE PEEEEEESE”) and three year olds play the same game, but with the skill of a professional athlete. Four year olds remember everything, every promise (especially the broken ones), every forgotten dessert, every perceived infraction, every word, everything. And five year olds take all of this nonsense, and they add bad lying to the mix.

It’s such a beautiful time.

Needless to say, with all of this madness serving as the backdrop to one’s day, it’s hard not to question your skills as a parent. Maybe I made my kid into a total psychopath who can, in one breath, tell me that she “yoves” princesses but HATES ALL OF THE PRINCESSES. Did I eat something during my pregnancy that has resulted in a child who only seems to remember the times when I promised a popsicle forgetting I hadn’t made new ones (ONCE, THIS HAPPENED ONE TIME), but who can’t remember to put on his underwear? And perhaps it’s my fault that our two year old still can’t sleep through the night and wakes us up with a cheery “MMMMMMMUUUUUMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY I NEEEEEEEEEEEED YOU RIGH’ NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW” every night at 2am. Maybe it’s me.

But then there are days like today. Oh don’t get me wrong – today was still a mess. Gingerbean had so many meltdowns this morning that Budsie turned to me and said “I think Gingerbean might be crazy, Mummy.” You see, we’ve entered a glorious new phase in our life entitled “No One Naps Anymore” and I, for one, think it’s the absolute worst. But I digress. Today, I got to witness my son doing something spectacular and heart warming. And, since I’ve had few of these moments over the course of this summer “vacation”, I’m going to go ahead and brag about it:

We had to pick up A. from the train today, and we arrived at the station a bit early (I have NO IDEA HOW THIS HAPPENED). I parked on the side of the road near the bus stop, and noticed a girl, about 20, talking on the phone and crying. Really, really crying. Budsie noticed her too.

Budsie: “Mummy, what’s wrong with that girl?”

Me: “I’m not sure, Budsie.”

Budsie: “Why would she be crying?”

Me: “Oh there are a few reasons, I guess.”

Budsie: “Can you give me some examples?”

Me: “Well, likely she’s been dumped. Or lost her job. Possibly someone close to her has died.”

Budsie: “Can we help her? I want to help her. We could go to her and ask her what’s wrong and we could help her.”

At this point, A. arrives. Budsie is quite adamant that we will be helping this woman, and just as A. gets in the car, she gets off her phone.

Budsie: “Look, Mummy! She’s off of the phone! We can talk to her now! I want to help her.”

So A. got out of the car, walked Budsie over to this girl, and Budsie told her that he saw her crying and hoped she would feel better soon. A. offered to give her a lift if she needed it. Turns out she had been dumped (called it). And I sat in the car, listening to Evelyn scream about wanting to drop Purple Bunny but wanting to also hold Purple Bunny, and I cried. Because my little boy wants to help people. Total strangers even. And A. and I made that. We made the crazy too, but we made that.

Go us.

time for a break

I love beer and wine. Love them. I’m an enormous fan of drinking a beer while cooking dinner on a Friday night. I love sitting on our patio in this ridiculous Israel heat with a glass of ice cold white wine. I also love sitting in bed with a glass of red and a good knitting project. All of this is freaking awesome.

The problem? Well, I love doing all of these things in the same night. And it used to just be Friday night, but lately I’ve been doing the whole “but it’s the only Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Sunday in the week so why not enjoy it” type thing. Which has led to an expensive and probably not so great for my health type of habit.

I’ve been here before. When A. was in K-town back in 2008/2009, my alcohol consumption skyrocketed to a ridiculous daily level. Drinking is how I manage depression and stress, see, and I had high levels of both during that time. Then, in 2012, I encountered similar stress and depression related to not really fitting in with the whole stay-at-home-mum gig. So I upped my consumption again, often hiding said consumption by drinking alone, before A. came home from work. Good (bad) times.

In both of the previous instances, I coincidentally got pregnant, which put an easy (ok not easy) end to the problem. Drinking while pregnant wasn’t possible what with the vomiting, and the obvious issue of potentially ruining my child’s brain. Mischief managed.

But I have no plans to get pregnant right now (or ever again) so I’m going to have to just…well, just stop. Stop using booze as a way to manage my end of day, the-children-are-driving-me-crazy, want-to-pull-my-hair-out stress. Stop requiring alcohol whenever I’m knitting (I don’t even know how this became a thing, honestly). Just stop. Which sounds like it should be easy….but….well….it’s not. Super really not easy. Quitting smoking was hard. Quitting an addiction to self-destructive behaviour and relationships was harder still. But alcohol? Yikes.

Still, it must be done. I’ve been test driving the idea a bit – for example, I went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago and managed to only have two beverages, which is a super big deal for me. Before that, I went to a party with A. and drank Sprite the whole time. It was unbelievably nerve-wracking, having to socialize without lubricant, but my gods that’s saying something isn’t it? I need to conquer this.

Now, I’m not stopping forever. But I think a two week goal is realistic at present, with the potential for extension. I need to reset my relationship with this particular pleasure. And in my head, I suspect I’ll adopt the same attitude I have with other vices I’ve quit/cut back on. Which is this: every day, wake up and say “Today I’m not going to drink. I might tomorrow, but just for this one day, I’m not going to.” I found this attitude to be most helpful when I quit smoking, for example. It places as little pressure as possible on me, and is a more realistic approach because let’s face it, I might smoke again. Who’s to say? I can tell you that I won’t smoke today though. Which is awesome all by itself.

Right, so here we go. Sober Ezmy will hopefully be just as awesome as Tipsy Ezmy…

Nine

Four moves, one unaccompanied post, one accompanied post, two kids, two cats, heaps of weddings, a thankfully small number of funerals, several adventures to far off places, countless evenings spent drinking beer and talking about everything, very few real arguments, a billion gajillion (<–totally a real number) laughs, and here we are.

Nine years of Ezmy and A. To celebrate, here are links to some of our greatest hits:

https://ezmywrites.com/2012/07/02/post-west-wing-conversation-2/

https://ezmywrites.com/2012/04/14/pre-bedtime-conversation-1/

https://ezmywrites.com/2012/01/14/post-west-wing-conversation-1/

https://ezmywrites.com/2012/06/10/day-and-year-six/

https://ezmywrites.com/2006/07/02/ezmy-meet-a/

I love you, A. Best nine years ever. xx

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