Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Packing Day

We are departing for THR tomorrow.  It is my grandma's passing anniversary on Friday, brought in a couple weeks earlier so we can attend too. It is packing day today and it feels uncomfortable as always. I resent this part of the trip even though I am grateful that we have been able to make this trip almost annually.  Still it is obvious how it has grown tougher on parents each year to watch us leave since my emigration for the first time eleven years ago.

Things have aged in the past decade, people have aged, relationships have aged, cities have aged. Life is passing so obviously before my eyes.  It is very easy to pause and look back at it all.  After all, this whole life is a passing experience.  I have experienced making many decisions, many mistakes, many moves...  It just worth to bring the attention back to the  inner being and refrain from anything that scatters the mind and heart...

Back to packing our things and the tiny souvenirs we bought and the gifts we received.  Packing to leave home for home...

I got a surprise tonight: unexpectedly had visits from old friends, especially S.F. who was visiting from the States herself but I had last met her a few years ago. Then I called yet another old friend who is visiting from Australia, M.B. I wished there were enough time to meet them all leisurely but the time is limited and the main commitment is toward families... Last dinner with M's family and goodbyes...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

A stayed at my mom's last night which was his first time away from both of us.  There was no buzzing door in the middle of the night or phone ringing to ask for him being picked up. He was very excited to stay.

My dear friends P.P. and N.T. Visited my mom's place last night. It was great, as always, to meet them and chat with them.  We can always pick up old discussions easily and cheerfully. It was a great night!

We visited Naghshe Jahaan and the old bazaar yesterday.  The rugs were still colorful and eye catching.  I so wished to buy a couple but we opted out of buying.

I walked the Jolfa neighborhoods with my brother today; there were many decorated Christmas trees at the windows of the shops and the Vang Church was fully decorated. It was a nice stroll... I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

One Week Mark

We already have been through our half-time here.  We are certain that next week will fly as quickly but more hectically because there are still visits to be paid and places to go to.

And things have turned to negative ... It started getting polluted again.  Sadly polluted and so bad that they announced closure of the schools for two days. The lawless traffic has not gotten on my nerves yet but no way that I would drive here.  M is doing a great job though driving within this chaos!!

On the positive note we got to meet with my sister-in-law and old friends from Paris and their families today and spent an afternoon playing bowling. It was more fun than I thought it would be.  We, M and I, drove the three kids each belong to each family for part of the drive. It was so cute how they made claims and spoke with different accents sitting in the back seat.

Getting ready to go to uncle's place tonight for dinner...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

First Fallen Tooth

Post from Tuesday Dec 20th:

A lost his first baby tooth today! Gosh it feels so ... sad? beater sweet? unexpected? soon?

He had just started having his breakfast when he complained about something being stuck in his teeth and when he touched his tooth I saw that it wiggled. Ah my heart swelled for him!  Finally, my dad the dentist examined it and the decision was to just snap it out so he could eat again otherwise knowing him he was not going to eat anymore and continue trying to "take the stuck thing out" until it was pulled out itself. It bled for a minute only. He asked about Tooth Ferry and we assured him that she would show up here too.  Then he wrapped the tiny little tooth in a napkin and stuck it under his pillow.  He was too excited to show his toothless mouth to my mom and asked to be taken there before M or I went there, so there he went by himself thanks to uncle MR picking him up.

He speaks with a bit of altered "S" sound now.  It is so cute.  He is fascinated and is examining his other teeth every few minutes making sure none other is loos yet.

He is growing up. Fast!  I am going to miss his set one teeth!...

So Far, Day 4

Post from Monday Dec 19th:

It has been nice so far. The air pollution seems less obvious compared to last year's nasty pollution. We can actually see the blue sky but last year it was always a hazy brown sky.  The traffic is somewhat less chaotic and moving, thanks to many constructions that have turned to real infra structure. And people, both among the family and outside are much calmer it seems compared to last year, despite everything political happening. It feels safer too.

I'm so happy and thankful to observe this all! I have had a few leisurely strolls around the city, watching people as if I'm a tourist. I observed that the younger generation, those in high school and college now, are much taller, still may have weird make up and hair due but seem more polite than last year, less aggressive. There are unsaid, unwritten communication rules amongst people here; how to walk to be respected, how to talk to get service in a shop, how to ask for service to receive it. It is actually fun playing by and reprogramming yourself. I got to go to the gym my sister goes to today, it was really fun.

We walked on Khajou Bridge last night, a very beautiful bridge from 360 years ago.  It was an hour past midnight and there was only me and my family and siblings walking on the bridge. It was really beautiful! As if I was seeing it for the first time. But I learned something new indeed: there are two lion statues carved out of rocks at each side of the bridge. Last night, I saw that the eyes of the lion at the north side of the bridge sparkle in the dark when you look at it from the south side of the bridge!! Really neat in the dark of the night!!

A is having a blast basking in the family-love, playing passionately with his younger cousin, staying at grandparents' houses playing with them or by himself for a few hours, and his Farsi has excelled already. He got so excited to read his own name in Farsi on a bank billboard the other day.  He tried "jigar" last night, barbecued lamb liver, and seemed to really enjoy it. Oh and he tried coke too, and said he liked it much... Not so thrilled about that!

I haven't been able to get on blogger since my arrival as the website is filtered. There are other ways to make it work but I haven't gotten around it yet.  I'll be taking notes for now and will post when I can resolve this issue by going around this filtering, like every one does here!

Trust (2010)

Post from last Thursday:

Life is all about choices, isn't it?

For me, to choose to watch this movie, it was enough to know that Clive Owen was starring in it. And it didn't disappoint me. The plays were awesome. The subject was exactly what frightens me in the world. Too many available choices to immature souls too soon.  And too much cunning present. Totally recommend it if you are a teenage, have a teenager, will have a teenager, or are planning to have a kid. It was interesting how an unpleasant scenario may occur to different people and each would choose a different way to deal with it. Like how it was observed so vividly in the "A Separation" too.  Perhaps it is not always choice, it may be autopilot reactions embedded in them by upbringing, society, education. How hard it is that we cannot always protect ourselves and our loved ones. How odd a teenagers mind can think, assuming all she thinks are correct, not trusting parents. How hard it is to make and maintain a solid and trusted relationship between all members of the family. It was a mind blowing idea when it could very well be true.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Entertainment On Board

I was using up my 3G up until the very last moment, promising my colleagues I was logging off for the year for two hours and still responding to emails.

Then riding the plane M wished that we had on demand entertainment TV and I just wished to watch Water For Elephants (2011). I had started listening to its audiobook while driving home but lately I've been on the phone (hands free) for most of my commutes, hence, hardly any time to listen to a book. But I had heard the movie was nice too and when it appeared on the screens of Los Gatos local cinema I wished to watch it but never happened.

Likewise I had wished to watch Larry Crowne (2011) and Midnight in Paris (2011). None happened. So riding the plane I wished for only one movie: Water for Elephants.

Granted, there was on demand entertainment on board, so M got happy right away :) Finally, in the sky, M started browsing the TV list.  Shortly after he announced that my wish had come true too. But he didn't stop: "and Midnight in Paris!" he announced, I clapped my hands, "and 'Larry Crowne'", I had a smile so wide people could see my whole row of teeth from two diagonal rows back. M though announced that he didn't like any of the offerings. Sorry for him!

And who knew, there was even "Ten (2002)" among the Classics.

Larry Crowne (2011) - Directed by Tom Hanks

Not only it stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, it is funny. Oh I had a good time watching it! I was thinking it was a nice chilling movie for a lousy holiday afternoon for those staying local or spending a few days away but not necessarily active all the time; like how we spent a few days of the holidays in Santa Barbara two Christmas ago. Icing on the cake: it was filmed in California, as if I had already missed that land! Oh there is too much there not to miss! My take away from it, besides a few fun loud chuckles: to cross the equator!

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Authentic streets that happen to be in Paris, under the rain.  Plush of sparkling greens glowing under the raindrops. Then, the tower clock bangs announcing the midnight. It gives you a bizarre feeling to travel back in time. A passionate love releives you from fear of death it says. Earrings. Magical? Refreshing was how in the depicted 2010 Paris, on the sidewalks or in the cafe, there was no body on laptop or mobile phone or iPad. At least I didn't spot any in this movie. For sure I could relate to the walks, all the walks at night or walks in the rain or walks at night in the rain.

Water for Elephants (2011)

Perhaps the book should have been more exciting and catchy. I was still taken by the excitements and anticipations. It was a fairytale ending with happily ever after hoax I'd think, although heart wants to believe. And a few lay over hours.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Favorite At The Time

I like the innocence in this song, the purity, the belief, the hope!

Here We Go

A few gifts, a few sets of clothing, a couple pair of shoes, a suitcase.
A asked several times if I were going to go to work today, to which I responded no. This morning, going to school he said he'd miss me. I assured him it was his last three hours of school in 2011 and then we will be away for two and a half weeks. He then said he would miss everyone here. I sighed. "my child! You will say the same when we are departing family at the end of this trip too". He didn't pause on this. But this is the truth about emigrants. Missing all the time.
M and I were talking that Iran may be the only country which doesn't have StarBucks. Good news though is that there are tons of local coffee places with marvelous coffee-based drinks. Oh can't wait to scroll the city again and pause here & there and sip a mocha in one of the nicer places.
My old childhood friend and his family who are living in France are also coming to Isfahan & I'm so looking forward to meeting them. And all other classmates and friends who kept in touch.
I'm looking forward to two nice weeks to just be with my mom and dad, even if to just sit with them and watch them sip a cup of tea. And to get away with my brothers and sister and spend a night in a desert resort.
I bought A's Christmas gift: a bike with hand breaks and gears complete with a helmet and a bell. We sneaked it inside after he left for school this morning and put it in front of the fireplace. I hope that we remember to film him when walking in the door, after coming back from a 24 hour travel time and feeling bruised from goodbyes again when we come back in a couple weeks or so.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Few Last Days

Plan is to leave to visit family by mid next week.  I will be in The States for another five days in 2011.
I looked at the 2011 wall calendar, the holes were slightly torn.  Then I looked at the 2012 wall calendar in my hand, fresh out of the package all neat and clean.  I smiled.  It wont last for a year either.
It is beater sweet to travel this time.  I am thrilled to meet my family again and I cannot wait for my sunny son to rejoin the loved ones and feel the love again.  Seems like his share of it all is only a couple weeks a year.
Yet I am not so happy about leaving the Christmas holidays behind, missing this whole section of the culture.  I like the decorations and I was thinking that I like to try cooking some holiday special pastries one day, there were a few recipes at the end of "Working Mom" magazine.  A is also looking forward to receiving gifts from Santa Claus.  We have a little bit of decoration above the fire place with a large Christmas Tree candle on the mantle and we are planning to put up some lighting hanging from the roof this weekend, although we wont be here we like to be part of the crowd and showing that we too are happy about the birth of this holy prophet of ours.
I wish for peace on the earth.  Alas we seem to be walking further and further away from it all.  The hostilities are never ending, color, race, religion, gender, nationality, age, wealth, and the list goes on.  But I still hope.  And wish everyone to have a nice and happy rest of 2011.  I will miss it here!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Can't Argue with the Truth :)

"If You Were Born Today, December 3
You are a fervent, loyal, and spirited person who is true to yourself whatever the cost!  You hold strong beliefs yet you are tolerant of others, even if you do enjoy a good debate and trying to "win" others to your perspective.  While at times you can be restless due to an inquisitive and interested nature, you are also capable of great loyalty and dependability, valuing stability and permanency.  You are generally good with money and not big on gambling it away foolishly.  You are truly unique and not afraid to be yourself."

If I were on FB my status would be: Thank God for all the loved ones and friends and family!  Love you all!  boos boos

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ending to Begin

This was the beginning of a new adventure.
She was sitting on the single chair behind the desk. All was packed. The desk was almost empty except for a few stationaries. Her laptop was already gone. There were piles of papers and folders with old rotten data and notes and reminders in the recycle bin. What mattered, a few folders, a couple souvenirs, some pictures, and a few books were put in two boxes. She erased her voice from the answering machine.
She looked around. Experience and memory. Smiled.
She grabbed the boxes, and stepped out more confidently than she had entered, and left the past.  She had matured for a new journey.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Suddenly Nostalgia

Humming the favorite from Deer Hunter (1978) "You're just too good to be true. Can't take my eyes off you. You'd be like Heaven to touch. I wanna hold you so much. At long last love has arrived And I thank God I'm alive. You're just too good to be true. Can't take my eyes off you. Pardon the way that I stare. There's nothing else to compare. The sight of you leaves me weak. There are no words left to speak, But if you feel like I feel, Please let me know that it's real. You're just too good to be true. Can't take my eyes off you. I love you, baby, And if it's quite alright, I need you, baby, To warm a lonely night. I love you, baby. Trust in me when I say: Oh, pretty baby, Don't bring me down, I pray. Oh, pretty baby, now that I found you, stay And let me love you, baby. Let me love you. You're just too good to be true. Can't take my eyes off you. You'd be like Heaven to touch. I wanna hold you so much. At long last love has arrived And I thank God I'm alive. You're just too good to be true. Can't take my eyes off you. I love you, baby, And if it's quite alright, I need you, baby, To warm a lonely night. I love you, baby. Trust in me when I say: Oh, pretty baby, Don't bring me down, I pray. Oh, pretty baby, now that I found you, stay.."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I absolutely love Thanksgiving holiday and the three more off-days that follow.  To me it is a leisurely morning to be spent at home with my family and a happy afternoon to be spent with distant family over a turkey feast.
I am thankful for the fire in the fireplace.
I am thankful for the two other kind hearts that beat with mine in this home.
I am thankful for the distant family in Walnut Creek.
I am thankful for the friends coming over tonight and staying for the rest of the weekend.
I am thankful for those reachable by phone and text and email even if I am not on FB.
And above all, this year, I am thankful for those hearts who are brave in love and believe in love.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ugly Duckling

A was singing bits and pieces of a kids' song.  I recognized the story being the "Ugly Duckling" classic.  He confirmed that they listened to the CD of the story in the Club House were he stays at after school.  I like this story.  So I told him that it was a classic and that we used to watch a cartoon called "jooje ordak-e zesht" in Persian which was the illustrations of this very story. I narrated the idea in a very brief version ... "and the ugly duckling grew up to become a swan.  Have you seen a swan?  They are very beautiful.  The duck are pretty but the swan are the most beautiful birds, at least I think like so" when he interrupter me "just like you mommy"... My heart was melting.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Voice of Love

M had bought us the tickets and I was skeptical if it were going to be a worthwhile night away from home.  I hadn't decided about what to wear until 30 minutes before departure; finally created a new outfit combination and the result was nice, at least M and I both liked it.  We got to the venue and got into our seats well before time.  As anticipated he didn't show up until 25 minutes past the advertised time.  The band started playing and there he entered the scene, singing as strong as he always sounds "you said don't wallow in nostalgia, oh how is it possible darling?  you never saw my misery, you never were around, just come by and see by yourself"
گفتی که دلتنگی نکن
آخ مگه میشه نازنین؟
حال پریشون منو
ندیدی و بیا ببین

And Ebi was singing right in front of us.  The whole audience was singing with him, word for word, but above all his voice was lovely!  Well above the sounds of any audience.  He is just magnificent!
Then he continued with another masterpiece:

برای باور بودن جایی شاید باشه شاید
برای لمس تن عشق کسی باید باشه باید
که سر خستگیهات و به روی سینه بگیره
برای دلواپسیهات واسه سادگیت بمیره

The words.  The voice.  I found myself whipping. These were the songs of my high school and university era.  These were the first meaningful love songs in our worlds.  I remember singing the songs with S.P. and SH.S. in the school yard at night once after the night prayer, sharing our first experiences with love, delving in the pain of growing up with our classmates.  Our little worlds had suddenly gotten so overwhelmingly big.  And our hearts had grown even bigger.

And this very first time I am at Ebi's concert neither of those friends are even reachable.  I am basking in his voice missing those classmates painfully.  I miss someone to confide in so dearly, to cry with, to sing with.  Damn the emigration!  And damn all that got us so far apart!

Ebi promised two and a half hours singing and he delivered.  He let us sing with him inviting us to fill the gaps he purposefully left blank in his songs.  And the whole audience was singing.  It was a nice evening filled with an amazing energy in the audience.  Ebi's voice equals the voice of love in my heart.

PS: I tried to translate the songs using google translate and doesn't deliver.
PPS: It was a worthwhile night away from home indeed!
PPS: A song from his most recent album; my imagination from the words differs deeply from the scenes of this clip but hope you enjoy the lyrics as much as I did!


Saturday, November 19, 2011


It was a quiet fall afternoon. "A quiet neighborhood" she recalled hearing from the realtor who was trying to sell the house. Looking out the window to the street she thought "brutally quiet indeed". It was a fall afternoon with grey sky & still colorful trees and still green grass. Despite the chill in the air she had turned off the fire and opened a couple windows to invite freshness in, even if the cold of it entered uninvited. She had cleaned everything around the house. Now made herself a spicy hot chocolate and sat down at last. She looked around the house. All clean and still. She dwelled in her thoughts; the love of living the inconventional in her; the outlook the future had. She sipped the hot cocoa looking out the window at the quiet street.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My World Traveller

I took A with me to the last business trip that turned into a vacation by the end of the week.  My sister S joined us from Edmonton and A got the opportunity to reunite with family. He was so excited. And I loved watching him know his way around in the airport; from the requirement to take his shoes off for security check to keeping a couple of his taffies for take off and landing to keep his ears on, to knowing that he couldn't play with his Lispter game until after we were in the air. I felt so proud of him as I always wanted him to be a world traveller. We had a meeting with his teacher today to rview his performance at first quarter of kindergarten. It was a proudful 20 minutes. Of course we have things to focus on with him to help him improve and he has his whole life for that.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sounds of An Empty House

Staying back at home alone; working from home for a few hours, meetings coming up, and a trip is awaiting me.
A is ecstatic; he has told me several times already that he couldn't wait for his upcoming trip with mommy.  It is a business trip but he is going with me for a change.  For him it is like a dream come true.
Somehow my heart is pounding in anticipation.  I tell myself what ever will be will be.  I recite how those who believe and take patience will be forsaken.  Yet I feel every beat of my restless heart and I cannot analyze it.  Is it the trip?  I am going to miss M I know.  But I have missed him before too...
The house is empty.  There are clicking sounds of my typing and the tic tic of the clock on the wall.
I log in to Pandora radio. "I'll be" is my first song.

I love the pain in his voice despite the hopeful words.

PS: Happy Eid!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Cup of Coffee

I needed a mocha this morning but I had vowed that I would buy myself one if I got out of the house before 7AM.  I left at 7:12AM.  No mocha for me.
It is a rainy day, dark and fresh in the early morning haze.  I decided to make myself a bitter drink.  Two heaping spoons of dark cocoa and a medium blend of office Starbucks would do.
I stood by the window stirring the wet and dry together using the porcelain spoon of my orange and white porcelain mug.  It reads Paris on it.  Standing by the window looking over the wet parking lot as the sun rays were trying to battle the thick clouds I was wondering how a cup of coffee would feel for a lady with a boyish short hair on a wet November morning in Paris.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Joy of Singing

My friend was a writer.  May be she still is, I am not sure.  What I know is that she is my friend and she is a physician and she is a world citizen.  Her name is Z.Sh.

One day, back in the high school days in Isfahan, when getting accepted to a high ranked university in a very reputable major was the dream of any high school kid, especially the ones attending NODET or competing with it, after finishing reading her most recent handwritten publication under the blanket using a flash light, I asked her why she wrote.  She responded that everyone had only one life to live, but by making characters in her stories she got the chance to live many different lives.

And oh yeah!  I wanted to live that girl's life in Z.Sh.'s last hand-written publication!  I think we all did.  That character was an aspiring dreaming unchained girl.  She was living in Tehran at a relative's place, she had this romantic boy friend but got to learn about the neighbor's older son/nephew, who got to tutor her, the one who seemed to be ignoring her all along. I remember a description in the novel that explained once he chose to eat a grape vine when she was at his place because it took a long time to finish it as a sign of being ignorant toward her; but indeed he was madly in love with her.  And if I recall it correctly she got accepted to a good school in the end which is the minor detail in the whole book.  Such sweet chick flick. I remember imagining a couple of the scenes in the book that I later sketched.  Nothing fancy but I enjoyed doing it.

Ah what would I give to live those nights again, despite all the confusions and all the unknowns and all the stress for not knowing if the desired future would ever be.

Driving home today I was listening to Ebi, The Story of Love (ghesseye eshgh), like I did this morning and yesterday and the night before that.  I basked in it all, in the tone, in the words, in the meanings, in the screaming desires: "... The story of your love is in my voice again
A drunken night is awaiting me again
There is no more than one breath between the two of us
What restlessness is in my nights again"

Indeed there is joy in singing when you relate to it; either by feeling it is being sung to you or by feeling that the song is your words.  It is as if you are living many different lives, as Z. joon might have said.


"Don't compare yourself with anyone in this world.
If you do so, you are insulting yourself."
from the game Alien Strike
Love it!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Scary Illusion

I still sound like myself.
Driving to work I got caught in traffic, again.  Hence, it was a long drive with lots of break and go and I was trapped in this quiet can called my car.  I turned on the radio but it sounded horrible to my ears.  So I turned it off and not bearing my thoughts I impulsively called my mom to regret my decision by the sound of the first ring, I was not in the mood.  Luckily, I got the vmail.
Sitting in the car I was thinking about all the floating thoughts and watch them get louder and louder.  They were deafening!
I finally got to work and slid into my cube and got busy.  Busy working, busy responding emails, busy composing some.
It is Halloween tonight and I was supposed to wear a costume to work but I found no appetite to put on all the make up required.  I bailed at the last minute.  Especially because I felt I already looked scary because of all the scary illusions in my head.
I felt I looked different already.
Ring.  The phone rang.  I hesitated, would I sound different?  Would I sound sad as I felt so?  Would they hear the tears that were blocking my throat?  I had to respond.
Hi Lady J.A. I said.  And paused.  Did she hear me?
Happy Halloween she responded!
Phew!  She didn't hear me!
I could keep up with this costume.  No make up needed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Sometimes it feels as if I am that Leila being dragged away into the depth of the desert night, unnoticed in the crowd of the caravan; but strangely it feels as if, at the same time, I am the lover of that Leila, left behind, forbidden to be with her, to meet her, to have her; hopelessly watching her go.

Sometimes it feels as if I have been observing my life being lived.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

5K Run

I never ran a 10K run, even though I had thought about it and aimed at it.  It was not indeed me.  It becomes too boring for me to run.  Although right now my only exercise is a 2.3Km walk/run every other night that takes me about 20 minutes to finish.  In addition to a healthy exercise, it is a mean to depressurize the day.
Yesterday, however, M ran a 5K in 25 minutes and 27 seconds and broke his own record of 27 minutes.  He just started running about two months ago.  I am proud of him!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Fog Mystery

It was a rainy afternoon.  The kind of rain that had weightless drops with no rush to fall on the wet ground.
She walked the single street in downtown toward south and hardly got wet except by a layer of moist on her cloth. The street was deserted with only a few pedestrians walking hastily to find a shelter, some even holding umbrellas.
She sat down by the curb under the cafe's canopy; she was the single patron on the balcony.  She positioned herself toward the southern hills.  The hills were still green with layers and layers of fog covering  them with different intensity at different elevation, alluring her with a tempting mystery.
Her mocha and panini arrived; the cup was steaming hot, bitter, foamy, creamy; just perfect.
She felt the moist of the rain on her fluffed hair, then sat back to breathe in all the freshness.
Suddenly, she heard a footstep behind her, contently walking toward her, not running like all else.  She had called him and now here he was coming to join her for the evening even though he had said he wouldn't.  She got her mocha to go and walked to the fog mystery with him; never more understood.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Business Smart Fashion for Fall

Black tall boots with comfortable short heels, a finely knitted black dress, and stockings (rather sheer).
This attire is compact to pack, it is easy to maintain, it matches any accessories, and above all, it looks smart.  I have proof for that.
I travelled to Oregon last night with a tiny bag that carried all my stuff.  I spent less than 6 hours in a hotel room.  I had enough time to sleep for four hours and 40 minutes, to take a quick shower, and to recharge my iPhone and iPad.
I met with our sales representative, J.R. around 7:34AM in the lobby.  We headed to the Starbucks on the other side of the street where we were served by a very pretty, blue-eyed blond-curly-haired girl; just my opposites in terms of features.  She looked innocent; I think it was her eyes; and I was happy to look at her for as long as I did as J.R. took some time to pick his pastry.
After a quick chat about the account we were going to visit with my colleague we walked back to his car and drove down to the acount.
The downtown area where my hotel was located at looked clean and un-crowded for an early morning rush.  Soon after getting out of the downtown district we reached a road on a hill toward the hospital.  There was a green forest at one side that was a refreshing surprise.
Our meeting was going to happen at the hospital.  The hospital was located on top of a hill with a nice view of the city.  It was in there that I concluded that the people of that city were friendly:
In Oregan it was clearly the beginning of falls as it was chilly and most people were in jackets and even scarves.  It was grey and cloudy.  One would anticipate grumpy people delved in their misery until next spring, especially in a university hospital to where people with problems would come. Not at all!  Inside the hospital, people were walking calmly, no haste, no grumpiness.  They appeared friendly, smiling at strangers (me).  They would excuse themselves for being even close to bump to you (not yet bumping you).  They would hold doors and take turn in getting in and out of elevators.
We got to the 11th floor where I got introduced to Dr B., the main person I wanted to meet in this trip.  We had never met before but I had sent him one email the day before to introduce myself and announce my intent for the visit. He was busy with cases and mending his interns so we had small talks here and there until finally we were summoned to his office.  As soon as we sat down he said: “so you are in marketing but you are an engineer”.  I was like “!!!! How do you know??!!”.–“well, you are smart and honest.” –“!!!”
So, when I stopped at lady’s room I took a good look at my image.  This was a smart and honest looking lady.  But what was fascinating was how he said I WAS smart and honest, not that I SEEMED smart and honest or I LOOKED smart and honest.  That was neat!  I suspect that it is the smart looking attire ;)

About Portland

The district close to downtown is called Pearl District and has a rather modern vibe to it.  It has old factories converted to lofts, condos, and little shops.  There were small boutiques with modern arts and furniture and quite a few book shops.
I asked J.R. about a local coffee chain to which he responded “stumptown”.  The mocha was just fantastic!  It was indeed bitter with no overwhelming sugary taste, it felt creamy and rich.  I miss its taste already.
Many people walking on foot and apparently the public transportation is well-programmed.
I liked Portland as far as I could explore it in a 14-hour business trip.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Suddenly Wishes

Suddenly I have this pressing urge to change a few things and to improve, both professionally and personally.  My mind is pretty scattered about the subject.  I am thinking about academic programs like masters degrees, or courses and seminars; I am reviewing books and I have borrowed a couple from the library browsing them in between chores and A's demands and sleepy times. I am thinking I need to talk to a few valued people and seek some guidance.

I am feeling restless at times thinking how pushed back I feel by the conduct of some individuals.  I think I need to work on my self image and redefine myself.

Then I get in argument with myself whether or not I need all this.  I keep comparing myself with who I was at school a decade ago.  How determined and self assured I was and how, in the course of time and distance, while life was happening, in between feedback and judgement, in comparing cultures and languages, I lots it.

I know it is very unlike me and it pains to even admit to this down time full of doubts.

I know I am tired.   I know I need a vacation, just some time away, afar.

But for now, here I am.  And what is funny is that I am conducting fine at work, A is happy and healthy and progressing with school, M is calm and content with me, home is well maintained, friends are in touch, family is doing well.

It is only me focusing on self defined failures.  I wish to change this.  I know it does not take books and courses and seminars.  It takes a second to change back.  To stop comparing myself and just be.  I am.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cherished Coffee

When I was living in Toronto, I had assigned coffee shops for each friend.  Therefore, it was not the coffee that brought me there but the fond memories.  Even the ambiance of each particular shop, even the chain ones, reminded me of the feelings and communicated thoughts in presence of the individual friend.
The trend continued with me in Bay Area, more or less.  Not as strongly I admit, since I do share coffee shops; still, the couple very special ones are reserved for the couple very special friends.
This afternoon, driving home, something really sweet happened.  I was on the phone with my darling RN.  She told me that it was the National Coffee Day today and wished we could have coffee together today.  And then, sipping coffee while on the phone with me, she brought up the point concluding that she was actually having coffee with me on such a day.  I smiled to myself, admiring my instinct for saving the one special coffee place for this real friend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Memphis, TN

My first trip to Tennessee.
First night in Memphis has left me with an interesting impression.
When I got here the sun had already set but I could get a glimpse of the Mississippi river.
After five and a half hours of combined air travels I was feeling tired and a bit stuffy; thought would enjoy some soup.  Alas at the BBQ place we had dinner at there was one choice of salad and no choice of soup.
Post dinner I walked to Beale street with two other colleagues.  The street was closed to traffic and there were bikes parked on both sides of the street at 10PM.  One could hear music, Blues, coming out of the overcrowded bars.
As soon as we turned away from Beale it was deserted and quite.
My hotel room is a large suit, too large for one person.  There is streetcar rumbling below.  It is 11:30 and I am expected at the breakfast bar at 6:30AM.
Good night Memphis!
PS: Working on new ideas...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A translation

"My heart is from the sea, the spring is my prison
The droplets of water are singing the song of death to me
In my veins, instead of blood
There flows the song of departure
I'm not giving in
My stay is my death"

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Movie

No Ones Knows About Persian Cats (2009)
Directed by Bahman Ghobadi

Almost no doubt it didn't have the permit to be published in Iran.
A bunch of kids, young adults, wanting to play, produce, and publish music... As simple as that. As hard as it is over there.

The way they look, their hair styles, their shirts even sometime didn't sit well with me. But that's their choice.
The words in their songs were so simply sad, sorrowful. The simple rights like being able to watch Grammys on TV. As simple as that which may sound funny. Makes me smile with a bleeding heart remembering the first time I watched Oscar on TV, live!...

Why? Why?

Friday, August 26, 2011

A sad sad day

I did it again.
I was thinking about him, a sick coworker who was always very kind to me; who was on sick leave and still called me a couple months ago saying how he had missed me and how miserable he felt with all the surgeries he had to go though.  I remember how he talked for more than 30 minutes when he called, I remember how lonely and bored and disappointed he sounded.  And how he mentioned that he hoped to see me again but didn't want me to visit him in that condition.
I was thinking just a couple days ago that I had not heard from him for a while, that I needed to find a way to contact him.
And now today I heard that he is passed away!
How stupid to take people's presence as granted and delaying the calls and visits to another day thinking they will wait and the whole universe will wait and all will be always available!  I had done this before too.  I wanted to talk to a colleague one day and I thought I'd do it tomorrow and he died that night. 
Another colleague has sent an email about his wife who needs to go through heart and double lung implant.
A friend's mom is terminally ill.
I suddenly feel so ungrateful for all I have.
He was a great man.  My God bless his soul!

Friday, August 19, 2011


All the great names...
All the explanations to try to define only aspects of the unexplainable...
Suddenly it is obvious how tiny I am; suddenly I feel the wholeness; suddenly it is doable to let go; suddenly there is nothing, absolutely nothing, but one thing...
It is suddenly so liberating, even if only for a moment!

"Sobhaanaka yaa laa elaaha ellaa ant"
Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! There is no god but You!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wawona A18

We arrived at the site just past 9PM. If it was not because of a couple minor accidents we might have gotten here right before dusk. Luckily we found the site easily and set up the tent under the moon light in no time. People around were still up so we were not too noisy for the crowd. We could hear the sound of a running water close by but couldn't see anything except for shadows of the trees behind the site.
A was asleep when we arrived at night so in the morning it was a surprise to find himself in the tent with mommy and daddy. He was bright and early and very hungry.
He ate two boiled eggs, one cup of fruit loop cereal, one box of milk, one bagel with cheese and cucumber, and half of his lunch sandwich!  Just very much like "the very hungry caterpillar". But thankfully with no stomach ache;)
We started the exploration by joining the Junior Ranger program. A did good actually and in the end said a pledge to take care of the wild and then got a neat badge.
We rode our car to the valley,  entered through the tunnel. The view right as the tunnel ends and the valley begins is just magnificent. There was the valley, the half dome, and a couple falls right in front of us.
We had our home-made sandwiches in the valley and took a slow hike towards the Yosemite Fall.
After an hour of doodling and bribing for treats, we finally finished walking the half twenty-minute walk and got to the base of the fall. It was funny how to the same number of rocks at the base you could count the number of people climbing and jumping and sitting on the rocks inside the water. And there goes my sunny water-loving son. Took out his hiking boots and socks, rolled up his pants, and in the water he went. He went back and forth climbing all the reachable rocks however many different ways possible.
The walk back was faster. And the ice creams in the Deli, hmm, not recommended.
We made hot dog on fire for dinner and then sat by the creek and watched A throw more rocks in the water. Finally, at dusk we joined another ranger talking about mountain lions. She claimed that they are the mamal with most names spreading from north to south. She was for sure fascinated by them.
The second night seemed short as I woke up only a couple times and could go right back to sleep.
We spent the day hiking in Mariposa Grove. There were times that it was the three of us walking. So we would start singing the songs the three of us could sing to keep the formidable mountain lion and rare black bear informed about our presence.
A was a good sport. He was truly tired after a couple hours though. As soon as we got in the car post a quick picnic lunch he fell asleep, a very deep kind I don't remember him in since his toddlerhood.
Now back to the city and all the hustle and bustle.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Nine-day Summer

It was the last day of summer camp for A. His first day of school is on Aug 22nd. We decided to make it a short "summer" for him. So, for starters, we are heading to Yosemite for two nights of camping.
I wonder how he is going to feel staying home for the whole week.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

So Long U.K.

Finally I am at Heathrow to leave.  Ah I don't want to even think about my 11 hour flight I am just happy right now to be at the Star Alliance lounge, sitting actually in the same spot I did last November when I was hear.  It is a blessing to be able to relax a bit; although I slept well last night I am very tired.

One observation to share: Britons are not as much of a consumers as Americans are.  Over and over I saw very old appliances and stationery's and equipments and furniture in hospitals and hotels.  It seems that it is common practice to consider that as long as something is functional there is no need to renovate it.  Which is indeed "green".

A couple of the hospitals were really really old, I could imagine WWII victims laying down in the corridors.  door after door and underground pass ways although equipments were fairly modern  but the facility itself was indeed old... but they said they were building new facilities for both of them.

So long United Kingdom!  It was a pleasure like always!

From Thursday: Cheers Dublin

It has been a surprise that I got to go to Dublin in this trip.  An in-and-out journey.  Arrived at the passport check gate around 10AM and the lady asked about the duration of my stay.  “Six hours” I responded.  She was surprised and then invited me to go back for a longer stay.  Nice of her.

It has been a very busy journey indeed.   I got to go to Croydon from Oxford, then from London took a train to Hull, then rode back to Heathrow, then flew to Dublin, and tonight shall ride to Cardiff.  Staying in different hotels in different towns and cities every night.  I must say I think it has been a tiring but very fruitful visit.

I really like the British people.  They are so proper, and they can be very nice.  They seem actually pretty direct to me, albeit polite.

People in North are particularly well-know for being nice.  I was "love" and "my love" and "sweetheart" to whomever I asked a question of, like where I could grab some napkins at the hospital cafeteria.

I cannot wait to go back home and hug my A.  I got to talk to M before boarding the plane and his sleepy voice sounded so sweet to me.  But I doubt I can talk to A today, he was still asleep when M called, I am in a plane now with no reception, and by the time we land I suppose he will be at school.

At the same time I so wish I could go to Iran.  I am only 6 hours away.  It is Ramadan and I have not been with my family for this month for more than a decade now.  Also other reasons really entice me to go pay them all a visit.  Even for two days.  But I doubt possible.  The ticket price as I checked last night is horrendous.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"May Ramazan Be Generous"

I am grateful for this month. Please remember me in your prayers. I am going to quote from one of the most generous people I have ever been honored to meet; this one resonated well with me: "Ramadan is less something that we do - instead, it is a force field we enter and are transformed by".
And as he would pray "May Ramadan be Generous"!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oxford Mark

I was sitting on a bench in front of an old building (hardly remarkable here) and opposite to the Oxford Library minding my own business and watching people.  I was thinking about how much I have been thinking.  No one to talk to really except to myself in my own head.  Then I thought, to myself, that I wouldn't be a good talker right now any way with hardly any sleep last night.  Then I thought how it was that people came to Europe and met new people.
Right then here came a young man, probably my age, and sheepishly sat on the other side of the bench and murmured something.  I assumed he asked if he could sit there and I completely ignored I heard any thing, because I hardly did.  He had a cup of coffee in one hand and a wrap and a banana in the other.  I debated in my head, do I need coffee?
Soon after he sat down he started asking a couple questions, first or second of which was whether I was living in Oxford or I was there just for pleasure.  I responded that I was there for business and after that we didn't stop talking for the next three hours!!
His name was Mark, a hardware engineer working for a start up company near Oxford.  He liked outdoor activities like rock-climbing and rafting.  He had been to Colorado in 2005.  We talked about energy and food and society and politics and economy.  All the subject which needed a present mind which I didn't have.  But it seems I managed to carry on well because he invited me to a drink:
Early in the conversation I told him how crazily tired I was and how I was just waiting for my hotel to call me and anounce that my room was ready; I wished for a couple hours of nap.  Still after the quick chats, when he was almost done with his wrap, he suggested if I wanted to have a drink with him.  He said he was fairly new to Oxford and didn't know many people and would appreciate the company.  We walked to the other side of the street and to Malmaison the building of where was a renovated prison!
He mentioned in the middle of his talks that he would accompany me to dinner if I wanted to.  I had told him earlier that I wanted to attend a community call at 7PM, which is about the Fasting Month that begins tomorrow, yet he said may be I wanted to still dine out afterwards to which I didn't really comment.  I really didnt know if I wanted to have his compny while dinning, or even if I would have dinner at all.  I regret it slightly now as I do want to dine and I would appreciate his company.
He walked me to my hotel and then said "see you" as goodbye and I wonder what that means.  Is he really going to come back for dinner?  He just knows my first name and that's all.  Nah he wont come back.  And I wish we had arranged for some form of contact. ...  He will just be remembered through this post.

More Oxford

When you really need it fly by it drags. It's just 10 minutes past noon. I have already walks the covered market and peeked inside the open stores. I even stopped at MarksAndSpencer for a bottle of water where I also bought some fruit snack. I am tired and sleepy and bored!  No one to talk to.
I'm sitting on a bench and people-watching now. It's interesting that many different languages are being spoken. Granted the British English sounds foreign enough to me that I need to really focus to understand but I'm talking about really different languages.
May be I should head back to the hotel and sit in the tiny lobby. It's really a lodge, an old building indeed. But I spot a room on the ground level that could be considered a study room. I am reading a book called Last Night in Chateau Marmont, catchy enough for passing time. Wish I had it on me!


I arrived at Heathrow at 7AM this morning. It was arranged for me to be picked up and then dropped off at my hotel in Oxford. Got there around 8:30AM but they won't check me in until 3 PM. So I grabbed a jacket, it's a bit chilly, and left my carry-ons with them & headed to the Center which was less than 15 minutes away and all closed when I got there. There are lots of tourists around though. Mostly language exchange high school kids I think.  The shops started opening one by one as I wandered around trying to spend the time.
This is a really old town as far as I can see. Lots of very old building here; not happily old but stubbornly old, like anchored and prodded to keep them stay tall.
I walked most of the streets already and walked a few twice even. Yet it is only 10:30 now. I found myself a local patisserie with free wifi to post my thoughts.
I feel light headed. Need some sleep. I'm filling in with carbs and no caffeine as I really need to sleep tonight. No luck last night while flying.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bluest Blue

The nature around Rocky Mountains close to Colorado Springs is spectacular!  I had never seen such a scenery before in my life.  The blue of the sky in contrast with the white of the fluffy clouds and red of the rock standing tall on the ground is magnificent.
We hiked in The Garden of the Gods, and a well-deserved name.  The scenery was unique yet was as humble as red and white dirt and plush green.
We also climbed to the top of Seven Falls.  Such a beautiful nature!
I truly enjoyed what I saw and I was so happy to witness it all with my family.  Perhaps the fact that I had no expectation in my head about what I would see made it all ever more so pleasant.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Irish American in the Family

The American wedding was in the backyard of a French restaurant in the heart of Manhattan.  They already had their Iranian wedding conducted a few weeks ago in presence of the parents.  It was time to celebrate their love the American way.

It was a pleasantly warm evening. To reach the venue one had to go through an underground path and come back up a few flies of steps.  There were two rows of tables and chairs facing a small patio on top of a few steps where the Reverend was standing. All the guests were seated in their designated spot when the bride merged up from the stairs.  She was smiling sweetly.  She was so beautiful and elegant!

The reverend was the father of the groom. He seemed like a very kindhearted father.  His ceremony was heart filling; he touched our soles with his quotes from the holy Bible, the holy Qur'an and poems of Hafez.

It was truly a pleasure to meet the groom's family that night and feel how affectionate they were toward the new bride. Such a kind and warm family!  This is what I call the beauty in an American wedding when the families already knew each other and particularly the bride and groom.  It was obvious how close they all were, and how welcoming and loving they all were toward my cousin. After the ceremony when I introduced myself to new relative whom I learned was his cousin, I introduced myself as the cousin of the bride; he cheerfully corrected me "we are all cousins now".

My cousin H married Mr J last night; she is an architect, he is an Irish Literature prof; and they look heavenly together.  I know she is loved.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


This America is an amazing country!
We are in Midtown New York, New York.
Today we visited Ellis Island again after a decade. It has been a major entry point for emigrants between 1892 and 1924. They have made a museum out of the emigration office of a century ago.
It was very touching for me watching the pictures and reading the highlights of that process in that era. At the entrance level a big poster caught my eyes:
"Each of their [emigrants] stories is unique and bears witness to their courage and determination that enables men and women to leave their homes and seek new opportunities in an unknown land." I could relate to that remotely. Then all the pictures hunt me; the fear and hope in the eyes in those pictures, their costume, their baggages, the narrated stories ... it all touched me deeply.
I've been thinking, they came by boats, I came by a plane; they carried all their worthly and portable belongings in a few suitcase, so did I; they possibly never went back home, I did several time; they got through medical exams and emigration documents at the port, I went through medical exams and background checking while still at home... I was amazed how similar the stories are after a century. I'm not sure how they felt when they arrived; and it is undescribeable but I feel more alienated eventhough I'm more educated and more affluent compared to most of that wave of emigrants. I cannot stop but wonder, is this only a matter of race?...
I have have lots of respect for the earlier emigrants because I think their unknown was more unknown than mine so their courage is highlighted more strongly.
I like this land!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Forbidden Line

SDS: "... may be you are starting to realize that the only forbidden lines that exist are those you create yourself.  The lines impressed on us by other people, societies, or cultures are inaccurate. You are crossing YOUR boundaries and it is challenging your previous conception of who you are!  Isn't it exhilarating?"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A :)

A: "mom! you are the bestest mom in the whole world!"

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Lake

At sunset she arrived at the silent lake. It was all sound and color just a few hours before when the tourists had spread along the shore. Now there was no body around, nothing except the geese, the sand, the water, and the still snow capped mountains surrounding the water. In the sky there was the evidence of a previously present sun with the purple colors on the east and bright orange clouds on the west.
Looking at the orange sky, suddenly the reality of "presence" dawned at her. Then a strong longing surfaced in her heart. She was all alone in the presence of the reality. She started to pray.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


For a real smile, sometimes all you need is a memory.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quotes Just Because

My body was feeling sick in the past couple of days.  So I took it easy and stayed in bed, a lot.  While in bed I read a book, StrengthsFinder 2.0 (what a funny name for a book!) and also watched a movie, again, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons.  It has a great fictitious story; what a curious mind should this Eric Roth have who wrote the screen play!

Any way, as bizarre as it may sound, the book I read finds your strengths.  One of the strengths found for me was Communication, it described that people with Communication strength wanted to talk and write.  Hmm?  Suspicious no?  And one of the recommendations for me to strengthen this strength even further, was to collect quotations. I already was doing that!  This book was really creepy! In fact, on the iPhone I carry I have a Note section with quotations!!

Now, this movie has a lot of quotations to note.  I started writing the quotes at the point when Benjamin is in Russia and residing in a hotel where at a sleepless night he meets this woman, Elizabeth Abbott; and finally in a conversation about how they feel younger being with each other she says she wished she was younger: "So many things I'd change.  I'd undo all my mistakes"
Benjamin: "What mistakes?"
- " I kept waiting, you know? Thinking that I'd do something to change my circumstances.
Do something.
Such an awful waste.  You never get it back.  Wasted time."

And more quotes:
"Our lives are defined by opportunities.  Even the ones we miss."  Love it!

"None of us is perfect forever"  In case you were wondering ;)

"For whatever it is worth it is never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be" ... well, I don't think it was too early for him either.  His body was getting younger but he was growing old any way.  The point however, is to be whoever you want to be.

"I hope you live a life you are proud of.  And if you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."

Cheers to a non-stuffed nose ... and to whomever we are ... and to our strengths ... and to our weaknesses too ... And to life, which "can only be understood backward.  It must be lived forward."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Whale Allergy

A: Daddy, I am allergic to whales
M: !!  Really?  How do you know?
A: Once I was swimming, and there was a whale, and the whale started spouting, and its water entered my mouth, and I started coughing...
M: Was it in your dream?
A: Oh yeah! It was in my dream!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The 5th

Well, if I say I hardly believe he is 5 it not only sounds too cliche but also is not true.  I know he is 5, and I love it.  And he seems to enjoy his days too!  He had a family and friend party last weekend and then a school party.
We picked him up early from school today and I told him he could ask for any thing he liked and we would make that happen.  He wished for Cold Stone ice cream first, so we headed to Down Town Los Gatos; then he requested Main Street Burger, then he wanted to feed the pigeons in the park, and right then he wished to go home!  I was thinking if it was my day, I wanted to walk the down town, possibly go to Sur le Table and buy some fun kitchen stuff, then sit in a coffee shop and watch people come and go and possibly chat with a couple chatty ones, and finally, I would like to have a delicious steak in a great restaurant at a table filled with laughing friends and family.  But my sunny son wanted to go home.  So home it was.
On the way back he asked to go through a car wash.  I thought that was a fun birthday wish, so car wash it was.
At home he wanted to play Monopoly; then to read a book, and finally made a shuttle with his Lego's with daddy.  Watching a couple kids programs were the last wish.
I have a lot to wish for him, I summarize it in wishing him a Happy Healthy Birthday and Many Many More!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dying Happy

"It's a new world
It's a new start
It's alive with the beating of young hearts
It's a new day
It's a new plan
I've been waiting for you
Here I am"

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Take Me Away"

I open the door to leave.  A bird flies away frantically, small wood sticks drop in front of my foot.  A bird nest is broken.
I walk to the car and turn back, look at the white and blue house, the old-fashioned carpenteries atop the window.  I like this old-fashion house.
I get in the car and close the door.  Sitting in, I look into the rear view mirror; the whole street behind me is stationary; in front of me the sun is rising from behind the buildings.  All is still quite.  And I am leaving the house.
I picture my A, my sunny son, breathing sweetly in his dream, calm, his face is all wide, his long black eyelashes protecting his eyes so nurturingly.
And I am leaving the house.
I think about calling my brother. I propose to me calling Sh.K.  She had been thinking about calling me yesterday but thought I was at work, she emailed me instead.  Pass.  Radio on.  Radio off.  Take the iPad out, leave it there.
I find that I have been driving for a long time, more than half of my usual morning rides, and I don't remember it all.  Auto pilot.
Radio on:
"Take me away, a secret place
A sweet escape, take me away
Take me away to better days
Take me away, a hiding place

There's a place that I go that nobody knows
Where the rivers flow and I call it home
And there's no more lies in the darkness there's light
And nobody cries, there's only butterflies"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Montana de Oro

After more than three hours of driving with an almost 5-year-old A and a thousand questions of "are we there yet?" we got to the camp ground 3E in Montana de Oro, a few miles south of Los Osos.  In the camp side instruction which was given to us upon check in it read that the car stop was down a hill at top of which was the camping location which made M sigh. It read that it was a few hundred yards of steep walk to the site. So we parked as instructed, each grabbed a piece of camping equipments, and headed up hills.

A few feet on the steep walkway we got greeted by a huge and grumpy lizard. "Hey Mr Lizard" we said, but he didn't say any thing back. So we continued walking when we bumped into a half a dozen college kids walking down with a dog. They said it had a nice view up there; that was encouraging.

Walking up hills usually makes me look down, don't exactly know why but it's more difficult to keep my head high. Suddenly, I sensed a familiar sent. Eucalyptus. I looked up and yes, it was a short but dense eucalyptus grove we were walking through. I love that smell; reminds me of my mother, so I smiled cheerfully. A kept complaining about the long and steep walk but he tried to be a good player. Closer to the top we got when we spotted a small hut, our very private pit toilet equipped with an all wind-powered ventilation system.

Short walk after that the hill got flat exposing our penthouse campsite, complete with three eucalyptus trees, a picnic bench, and a small cabinet attached to the bench. For sure there was no bear in Los Osos otherwise food cabinets were not practical.

We set up the tent and made another round to the car and back. On the way back we got greeted by a black beetle. "Hello Mr Beetle" we said, "hello humans" he responded.

M and A prepared the bedroom while I organized the kitchen.
Then we head off for a hilly oceanic hike.  A had a blast at the beach, playing with the waves running away from the cheerfully.

An hour before sunset we made it back to our ocean view site, set up the camping stove, made dinner, and had it all while watching the ocean.  Then at sun set we sat down watching the Sun going down the horizon.  M had already built up too fires on which we BBQ-ed hot dogs and marshmallows.

It was a breezy night, complete with the sound of ocean and spooky sound of eucalyptus trees shedding skins.  I was practically awake for the majority of the night time checking on M and A makign sure they were not cold.  In the morning, I had a mild cold.

It was too early to say goodbye to such a beautiful campsite but alas we had to head back.  We stopped at the Spooner beach again and relaxed for a couple hours.  It was just awesome being in the SLO vicinity, brought back so many good memories of our first visit to Northern California.

And the campsite, totally recommended.  Especially the 3E spot!

Monday, April 25, 2011


All at once it seems all is getting fussy.  May be it has been always fussy and what is happening is actually clarifying the fussiness.

I am trying to be less ego driven, I am trying to be aware of my ego and people's ego and societies' ego and religious group's ego and nation's ego.  But in the end, I am responding to them all.  I am living their rights and wrongs.  I feel buried, unrealized, unsatisfied, untrue.

I am told I write vaguely, that I have lots to say but I do not say it after all.  Now I am trying to write.  Just saying.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Toronto Trip

It is Monday morning and we are all flying back to San Francisco. This time I made it here with both M and A; it was such a positively different trip. It was calming to get to the hotel from a full day of work in a different city and rejoin my family.

The trip was initiated in the business mode. We worked both on Wednesday and Thursday meeting our valued customers in the familiar city of Toronto and also in London, ON. It was nice to travel on 401 again all the way west and get to go to London. It was actually noticeable how there were many white and blond people in Toronto, relatively more so of California we thought.

I was working with my colleague B.O. who is our territory manager in Ontario. I liked her very much actually. She had a very interesting perspective of life and herself, very intriguing personality to me actually.

We got to a mellower mode on Friday and totally on vacation mode over the weekend visiting a few old friends. It was really nice and happy to be with them again. Most of the couples now had young kids. They all seemed to me more mature, calmer may be, more settled even, possibly more focused. I saw them all as they were years before, not much changed, more or less the same vibes as they used to have except with modified and moderated intensity. Just a quick observation.

Meeting their new kids was endearing and thought provoking to me. I knew their parents but not them. In the very short time I had with them they seemed different from their parents yet resembled them.

It snowed at the very last night. We were particularly excited because A got to see snow as he was eagerly anticipating that. It was too late at night for him to make a snow man but he got to write his name on the fresh snow with his finger. He showed his frozen finger to me post carrying a tiny ball of snow melting on his finger tip.

All in all it was wonderful to be back, meet our old friends in the new year, and this time with my family too!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It was getting light outside, she could tell by the sliver of light sneaking into the room from between the narrow opening of shut curtains.  Another day had begun.
She thought about her dreams. None to remember.
What a calming gift is sleeping! All she needed was to feel safe again, to feel wanted, to feel warm, to feel trusted. Sleeping was granting all that...
There were birds flying low in the backyard, chirping merely despite the rain. It is spring.
Suddenly it was not raining any more. A new birth was awaiting the Earth!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Haft Seen at Pepper Tree School of Los Gatos

That's what we did this morning, M and I.  We took our haft seen to A's school today and got the kids introduced to the items on the table.  Then gave them each a colored paper with "Happy Nowruz" on it and asked them to choose an item on the table and draw it.  Most of the chose t draw the goldfish or the apple.  A was acting more like a presenter and didn't want to participate in the activity.  He did not seem as excited as he did last year when we took a haft seen to his school.  I think he is growing up...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just Because I am Missing A Much Lately

I guess I am missing me too....

She was staring out that window, of that SUV
Complaining, saying I can't wait to turn 18
She said I'll make my own money, and I'll make my own rules
Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school
Then she kissed her head and said I was just like you

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Before she knows it she's a brand new bride
In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her It's a nice place
She says It'll do for now
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says Baby just slow down

'Cause You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Five years later there's a plumber workin' on the water heater
Dog's barkin', phone's ringin'
One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin'
She keeps apologizin'
He says they don't bother me
I've got 2 babies of my own
One's 36, one's 23
Huh, it's hard to believe

But you're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this
You're gonna miss this
Yeah, you're gonna miss this

Monday, March 21, 2011


Here comes the first day of Spring, the first day of Farvardin, the first day of Nowrouz of 1390 or 2559 or any other calender you want to go with .
I wish I could wish for love and peace and health and prosperity for the world.  Is it too awful not to be able to wish so on the very first day of the Nowrouz knowing every thing that is going on around you and in the world?
Yes!  It is too awful!
So, I wish you and your family and your loved ones and every one who loves you to have a wonderful Spring and New Year!  I wish for love and peace and health and prosperity in the world!
Happy Nowrouz!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Reality Denied

It was a busy day albeit relatively relaxing. In the morning the three of us were working in the backyard, M was planting flowers, I was planting herbs, and A was trying to help us both. He had his play practice for which both M and I stayed with him which made him feel very happy and supported, hugged us both in the intermission sweetly. At home we played different games and I enjoyed playing tag with him the most; also tuned the guitar and got him play with me, which was not really playing but making harsh strums on the strings. Eventually daddy gave him a quick bath and I was summoned to put him to bed. Three books we decided to read, the third one I picked up. The book is originally in German, then translated to Persian, translated name of which to English is "the tales of me and my dad". Laying by his side we read the first two books which were short. We decided to read a chapter of the third book each night.  In the first chapter, two pages long with a couple small pictures, "me" explains how his mom passed away when he was very young and his mom used to tell him stories and after her passing his dad, to make him happy again, started to tell him stories pictures of which he drew and the book was the collection of those pictures and the stories. Then I turned the page when A protested that it was chapter two. I concluded he was done with the book so I suggested I would sing his lullaby. He suddenly said "you and daddy will never go to the sky" which is the metaphor for dying in his language. He was obviously disturbed by the explanation "me" had at the beginning of the chapter. I said without hesitation "I will never leave you" and started singing his lullaby. He turned his back to me and soon his breathing got deeper so I knew he was asleep. I found my tears dropping down the side of my face on his pillow. I hope to stay with him for a long time but truth is that that "never" was like denying the reality of life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


"I am a mechanical engineer with a master degree from University of Toronto and a graduate certificate from Stanford University. I was wondering if indeed you have not listed Iran as a country people can graduate from with a degree as I couldn't find it listed and your search could not find my undergraduate university. My undergraduate degree is from Isfahan University of Technology in Iran. Please let me know how you can fix the pull-down menu so I can choose my school and continue with my registration. For your information I am already pursuing my MBA at Golden Gate University but preferred to transfer to San Jose State University which is closer to my work place and home. Please advise!"

This is what I posted on last night when I wanted to register for an official GMAT exam.  I knew there was a way to go around this.  After all so many of my friends and acquaintances have taken this exam around the world.  I was just looking for an answer on why Iran was not even listed.

The brief response just indicates that I can leave the undergrad school blank.

What if I didn't have a graduate degree?  I wonder, is this a punishment is imposing the Iranians?  I wonder if people can be so resentful that they cannot comprehend the individuality of people, the brains, the souls.  After all, don't you guys see there is a huge gap between people and governments particularly in that part of the world?  Can't you realize the individuality of people beyond the location of birth?  What do you know about Iran?  What is the meaning of a country to you?  Any one else born in any other country is assumed more worthy so their country will be listed?

I wonder, do I want to take the GMAT exam anymore?  Can I talk to SJSU business school to provide me with an alternative?  I can even stay in GGU where they elected to wave the requirement for GMAT score from me because of my strong technical background.

Ah! Healing Love.  That's what we need.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Simply Living

It was a sunny but cold Sunday morning.

Despite the empty parking spots I parked far away from the store and walked for a while under the sun to warm up a bit.  I grabbed a shopping basket and headed right to the isle I knew I could find what I was looking for.  I noticed older couples shopping together.  There were noticeably more bouquets of flowers.  Roses were the norm for valentine; hence, I would buy daises I thought.

I imagined my dish.  Looked good.  I was certain I had gotten what I needed.

Walked toward the cashiers when I got invited to the just emptied one right at the very end.  There was a blond guy there greeting me.  I didn't notice his eyes.  What color were they I thought later but didn't remember.  He asked if I needed a flower bag for my flowers.  Took me a few seconds to say "yes please; I just had my car washed".  He laughed while obediently putting the flowers in the bag explaining he had also washed his car when he took his dog for a walk by a brook and only remembered it after the dog had jumped on the back sit after the walk.  I said "too late" sarcastically.  He asked "do you speak Farsi?" to which I responded positively.  He said "I thought so".  Oh!  How?  Interesting!  He handed me my bag and said "rooz bekheir" with a nicely pronounced "kh" I was impressed.  But I said "same to you, have a nice day" and left the store thinking why I didn't say it back in Farsi.  Or why I hardly looked into his eyes to remember what color they were.  I concluded I didn't feel like so, I rather just vanished away.

Remembered A.Z. and her description of complimenting strangers post a Starbucks stop we had a couple weeks ago. I smiled to myself.

Walking back to my far away parked car I thought I needed an antique flower pot with miniature roses for the window sill above my kitchen sink.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Earthly Love

It can be a browny. A rich chocolaty munch that leaves sticky residue on your fingers, even on your teeth.

It can be a mocha made for the love of it. Carefully melted chocolate in perfectly brewed coffee.

It can be a strangely delicious ice-cream. Bought in a local creamery, made with the passion of being other than ordinary.

It can be a dish of Pra Ram Thai cooked artistically in the kitchen of a small Thai place in the middle of nowhere.

It can be a home made pizza with added love of artichoke hearts, the fruit of love.

Or a traditionally made fessenjoon cooked in aunt Sh.'s kitchen with just the right amount of sour and right amount of sweet and the prefect burgundy color shining beneath the sparkling walnut oil.

It can be a green salad made with local organic greens and fresh figs from the backyard of the house of a beloved friend to be shared at a pot luck early evening dinner party.


There indeed is joy in earthly loves!

School Overwhelmed

We got to visit the school today for an hour accompanied by the school principle. She seemed like a very nice lady principle. Th school facilities looked appealing. The library and all-apple pc lab really fascinated us. And the fact that kids of same ages only shared playgrounds. There were essentially three playgrounds. There seemed lots of emphasis on writing and reading. A browsed a couple writings in grade three class and got really fascinated by the level of imaginations. Finally, visiting grade five class was totally s shock! Kids were studying Latin. Gosh I don't know any thing about Latin vocabo! I felt totally overwhelmed by that. M thinks we can and will study with A when the time comes. I like the idea but I wish I already knew what he will study! Grade fours were taking a test. God knows I don't want to be them again. Yes i know I am studying still but grad school is totally different than elementary. Ah!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wishing For the Cliff

It was a gloomy and chilli winter afternoon. It was going to get dark soon. She looked at herself in the mirror as she zipped her jacket up slowly toward her neck. Her eyes had dark shadows around them, her cheek bones more pronounced. She didn't smile at the picture in the mirror. Just looked at her blankly. The zipper was all the way up. She just turned away from the picture, opened the door, and stepped out to the gray late afternoon.
It was the most boring drive to the coast. She couldn't listen to music, nothing fancy her desires. News and talk shows sounded even more boring. She just concentrated on her drive, and the pinkish gray sky. The sun was setting behind the hills.
The waves were crashing to the cliffs. The sun was kissing the ocean goodnight. She thought the sun always looked sad leaving, as if it was not sure it will be dawning again the next morning. As if it was the last sunset.
She sat on a cliff and hugged her elbows hunching down sniffing her running nose up. She wished for a shawl or a blanket. He would never forget one.
She brought her knees up to her chest and hugged them now, just watched the setting sun and the sky with varying colors. It was a melancholy moment. She wished for God.
She felt a tightness in her chest and tried to inhale more forcefully but it didn't help.
The sound of the crashing waves appeared louder and louder as it got darker and darker. She bent her head on her knees and cried. No force to let them out of her tightened chest, no force to keep them up. She just cried.
It was completely dark now. Only the light of the nearby street was faintly reflecting on the border between the land and the waves.
She wished for a cup of steaming hot tea.
He threw a blanket on her shoulders, hugging her from behind helping to warm her up with the heat of his manly body. "I knew I could find you here" he whispered in her ear.
The crashing sound of the waves continued through the cold winter night.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A little too womanly

The color NUDE

That's what I fancy in make up lately. Got myself a nude lipstick late last year.  I was shopping for a few other ladies picking burgundy and pink and red for them. Until I spot this "perfectly nude" one.  I always wanted to try nude on me. As I would never try lipstick in the drugstores and department stores I had to buy it.  I brought it home and carefully opened the seal and then the cap.  Looks good.  I tried it on ... hmmm ... too pale?   too different?  too unlike my other make up colors? ... I thought I wont use it again; it was too colorless.  It was too daring.  You always want more color on your lips and it is totally out of ordinary to make your lips less colorful than they are!

Some how though as I tried it here and there again and mixed it with other make ups it appeared very harmonious with my complexion I thought. So I  kept it and kept using it.  I realized the other day that it's being consumed way faster than all other colors I had, even my orange one! I must say though I love the orange so much I don't want to run out of it. So I'm being frugal with its consumption.

Last week I bought a cinnamon nude nail polish. Ah love its color!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Scattered Political Thoughts

Once upon a time in a far far away land there was a king who had become a king after his father.  It was a monarchy.  He was governing the nation but  people realized they didn't want that leader, may be because he was too arrogant and yet too ignorant? He also was overlooking all the guns and that was deemed as too much power.  So they decided to overthrow him by any means what so ever.  And they did.  By protesting and finally making allies with the military.

Now the king was gone.  They had gotten rid of what they didn't want.  But, what now?

Oh, they knew what they didn't want but did they know what they wanted instead?

The joy of the achieved victory kept the nation together, satisfied, united.  They assumed they all wanted this.  After all, they had prepared the land for planting, planting a new government, a kind that was not monarchy... But somehow it did not stay like that.  There came the time for the differences to surface.  The differences in what they really wanted.  It was not the same thing any more!  At that moment whomever got to tether the military got to win the country.  It provided the power of demolishing the oppositions, those that their wanting were not in line with the newly appointed government's wantings; with the power of gun...

Now, in that far far away land, there is still the gun that rules.  The nature of the ruling power had not changed much actually:  Arrogance and ignorance plus power.

George Orwell has been a genius.  His 'Animal Farm' to me is indeed the psychology of a revolution, although he wrote it as a critic to Stalin's politics in Soviet Union.  I attest to it because I experienced it; in fact, I am experiencing it still.  All are "equal" at first, they all want that but then over the years some become  "more equal"!  I see the Napoleon and his 10 puppies who grew to defend him by all means when the need came up.  And Snowball, one of the first leaders who stayed committed to the nation, the one who wanted good for all at the beginning, was completely repressed.

Another note: I wont assume democracy will happen to a nation when there is no woman to be found in their vocalized demonstrations.  Not any time soon at least even if the current leader/president leaves.

Democracy is not transportable; it is not to be taught, it is not to be ruled.  Democracy blooms from the democrats.  As long as there are people who are "more equal" to the rest because of their gender I don't think it will happen.  As long as there are fathers who choose for their children, there are husbands who repress their wives, there are teachers who say and act as if the boys are always smarter and more successful than the girls, there are men who always blame the woman in any wrong done relationship, democracy is no where to be found!

Don't get me wrong.  I don't think democracy is the best way to govern a nation, not in all times at least.  But once I was told about Socrates believes about the philosophy behind different governing options in a society and based on that it was explained how in this time and era democracy is the best of the worst governing options.  I totally believe in it now.

I am sorry to repeat the famous quotation my dear readers but those who forget the past are damned to repeat it.
And the history repeats...

Once upon a time ...