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!

 

 

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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

Summer reboot

I’ve made a real effort in the last few months to put myself out there, go to new places, meet new people, and spend heaps of quality time with friends and family. Lots of play dates, coffee dates, crazy art projects with the kids, random drives around to find random shops, evenings out with friends, and family explorations to the north and south of Israel. And it’s really paid off – we’re all super busy, but in a good way, and everyone seems happy and settled in. The end of the school year is upon us, and I can feel Budsie’s excitement about the end of year events, and the coming summer awesomeness. I’m kind of excited about it myself – a family vacation, some museum trips, activity books, countless movies, and a whole book of science experiments to get us through the wretched hot months of June, July and August. Should be good times.

In spite of all this effort and excitement, however, I feel a little out of date, in mind, body and spirit. I need a reboot if I’m going to maintain the same energy and enthusiasm from the first half of 2015 through my least favourite time of the year: summer. (Ugh, I cannot STAND summer. Hot and sunny and hot and uuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrgh. Most people I know hibernate in the winter, but I want to hibernate in the summer, when it is much less socially acceptable to do so. But the beach! you say. TOO HOT, I say. But the beautiful sun! you say. NO JUST NO, I say.)

Right, so yes, a reboot is in order. I am in desperate need of a hair cut – something wild and fun – and I could do with a wardrobe switch. Any and all advice on these fronts is welcome (I did buy shorts the other day. I hate shorts, but they are just plain necessary here. This particular pair is flowery and drawstring like pajamas, which makes this pair mildly more tolerable than your average pair of shorts. Also a tad uglier. Anyway.). I also really need to make the switch to summer time workouts and eating (low key and light). I’ll get to all of it, I will, but I just haven’t yet, and this is annoying because I can feel myself being held back by myself. I can feel myself holding on to the last shreds of spring air that blow about for 30 seconds in the morning here. I want to cling to my boots, my jeans, long runs, and the warm meals and baked goods of cooler times, all of which I love, and none of which are possible in the unforgiving Israel heat. Sigh.

Ah well. In order to make the most of this terrible heat, I think I’ll start by making some iced coffee for tomorrow morning’s bus drop off. And then maybe peruse the mags for some new hair ideas…

fast friends

Honestly, I don’t want to get into the nonsense that’s happening with Budsie. Some general notes:
-He’s having a tricky time making friends. He’s being pushed around a bit, and has decided to respond by pushing back.  Needless to say, this hasn’t resulted in any strong ties.
-He is annoyed with everybody – “no one responds properly, Mummy. The other kids don’t make any sense. No one     understands me.” Sigh.
-He’s facing challenges with his gross and fine motor skills, which leads to kids picking on him, which leads to more tears at home.
-And he’s four, so he’s kind of a jerk. I mean he’s the kindest little boy – compassionate, sensitive, loving. But you know what I’m talking about – everything is a power struggle, from what he’ll consume (no brown things right now) to what order he puts his pajamas on (or whether he puts them on at all).

All in all, Budsie is in a bit of a rough patch. He has a terrible case of The Fours.

Now, had this rough patch happened last year, we would almost certainly be in crisis mode right now. Because trying to navigate the trials and tribulations of a sensitive, intelligent, anxious, and physical little boy by yourself (with A. of course) would be…wretched. And I do still feel overwhelmed at times by what’s happening with Budsie, by the steps we have to take over the next few months/years to help him, by the knowledge that I’m going to have to up my parenting game if he is going to make it through the next 14 years relatively emotionally intact. But my DEAR GODS this would be so much harder if I didn’t have the women I currently have in my life. I am completely surrounded by intelligent, thoughtful, honest women, some of whom live in Canada, but a growing number of whom are fast friends made here in Herzliya. When you consider the fact that most of us have only known each other for a year, it’s shocking how much support there is. I debriefed with a dear Belgian last night and felt a bit better. I woke up this morning feeling dreadful – how was Budsie going to get through this, can I even manage his needs, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING – but within a couple of hours, I had talked to three women, one Aussie in particular, who managed to wash away all of the ick and inner turmoil with good coffee and straightforward conversation. By lunchtime, I had a plan, I had some tools I hadn’t thought of, and I felt good about what was coming. I felt emotionally relieved.

So I guess I just want to say thank you, Israel post, for the chance to meet these fantastic females. I’m not sure what I would have done without them.

conversations before parks and rec part 1

Scene: A. is looking at the ‘Tie Bar’. It’s a website…for ties. He’s been looking at it for awhile…

E: “When you’re done oogling ties, let’s watch some parks and rec.”

A: *apparently ignoring E.* “I’m going to get a couple of these ties, eh? They’re only 15 dollars!”

E: “Yeah, that’s pretty cheap.”

A: “So I went on the message board.”

E: “…”

A: “It was mostly tie-centric.”

E: “…”

A: “I didn’t post anything.”

E: “…”

A: “But apparently *snicker, snicker* they’re really good quality *snicker, snicker* for such a cheap price.”

E: “…”

A: “SHUT UP!”

E: “Ok, we aren’t watching parks and rec now. Imma need a minute. To, uh, write something unrelated to this tie business.”

(E. begins writing this post. A. discovers a new feature on the Tie website…)

A: “You can search by ‘orange’. Like, for just orange ties. Is that really necessary? ‘Oh I haven’t got a ton of time for tie shopping, but I really want to look like a pumpkin, so here we go.’ I mean, is it necessary to be colour specific?”

E: “….”

(a few minutes passes)

A: “Ok, no, yeah I can see how this feature is handy.”

E: *barely containing laughter*

A: “And Bison plaid? What the fuck is ‘bison plaid’? “Oh that’s so bison.” Seriously? Is there another meaning for ‘bison’ of which I was not aware? And why does ‘Hunter Green’ need to be part of someone’s wardrobe? Huh, actually it does look kind of good with brown, hmmm. They have an enormous blue section. Unsurprising, I guess….”

E: *laughing so hard with tears in eyes*

(a few minutes passes)

A: “I’m not yet the kind of person who clicks on the tie of the month club.”

E: *dying*

resolutions

I make resolutions. Some people think they are lame. I find them motivating and helpful on days when I’m losing track of myself. Which is to say often. Here they are, in no particular order:

1) Knit more, and not just presents for others. I’d like to knit myself a ridiculous hat, a dramatic cape/shawl for around the house, and arm length fingerless gloves. The gloves WILL happen.

2) Communicate. Always my trickiest one. Some people have weight loss as their yearly thing, my thing is communication. I will write more letters, return more emails, actually phone people.

3) Get another tattoo (or four). I’m planning on one post next race, but there are others. I always want more, but can never justify the money. But you know what? I don’t get manicures, I don’t colour my hair anymore…this, this can be my personal thing.

4) Clean out the office and reorganize it. Annihilate all paper piles, random bags of donation chunk, etc. Create a workspace.

5) Run two races. I was hoping for a half marathon in February, but because I’ve been sick, I’m behind on training. So perhaps 10k in February, half at some other point in the year? I’ll figure it out.

6) Try a new outdoor activity. I’m thinking surfing or rock-climbing.

7) Drive to Jerusalem. People who know me here know that I have a ridiculous fear of driving on the highway, but you know what? I’ve driven to Tel Aviv, I’ve driven to Netanya. I’m getting there. Jerusalem is next.

8) Eat more greens. I’ve been slipping for some reason, and there’s really no excuse because I force feed the kids vegetables every day. And overall, I’m eating pretty well. But I’m going to shoot for 7 servings of veg each day.

9) Apply to law schools, including a couple of dream schools just to see.

10) Live positively with perspective. I’m a billion times better at this than I was, but vigilance is key. Everything is Awesome!! And even when it’s not, it’s ok. Get out there, do the best you can, and relax. Go 2015!!