Friday, December 28, 2012

Las Vegas

After 12 years I came back here on vacation even though work has brought me here a few times in between which does not count.  I think in A's eyes this should look like a Nickle City or Chuck-e-Cheeses but for grown ups.
I truly do not enjoy gambling.  Haven't stopped at one station yet.
Today we walked, and walked, and walked almost the whole day.  I hope I have shed some extra pounds (beyond what is needed for the baby) today.
What is really nice about this trip though is how family is with us.  It is great from all angles.  Many partners to chat with, many occasions to laugh, and several people to watch A at any time.  He seems really relax and happy.  I am so happy for him.
What is the nagging thought ruining my so called "vacation" is "work".  I woke up thinking about it and am going to bed after working several hours non stop on it.  Everyone tells me to relax and enjoy but I can do neither although I try to at least enjoy the memory of it all.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Change of Plans

I was hoping to make a short trip to Lake Tahoe to ski or hike or relax or work some, based on the moods. But most of the people preferred to go to Las Vegas instead. Longer drive now and less variety of activities. It's hard for me to imagine working there but I have to.
Now, if we were in Tahoe, I suppose most people would go skiing and a couple would go to a casino. I, however, cannot ski right now, both because of a stiff shoulder lately and, mmm, because I'm expecting :) So, I would take my book and laptop and would sit by a fireplace in a local coffee shop. I'd get me a cup of hot cocoa and work a few hours. Then I'd get a sandwich and a cup of tea and read my book until the family comes back. Perhaps even if I have time will take a stroll around the block and look at the local shops for a small souvenir. That's at least what I like to think about right now.
PS: for the few hours I slept so far I was dreaming about A and his presents. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve and A

This is a unique Christmas eve at our house. For the first time in A's life we are actually home. Add to that the fact that my dad and stepmom are here and my siste S and brother-inlay are arriving from Canada in an hour enshala.  On top of this all we have a Christmas tree and lots of presents.

I have tried imagining A a few times waking up to,or row and opening all the presents that are his.  He was worried that someone would stay up past midnight tonight and Santa doesnt show up. We assured him before putting him to bed that we will make sure all is quiet at home by midnight.

I am glad he can imagin all the magic. I think this will help him undesrtand later on that not all he sees is real and not all he cannot see is unreal. It's essentially a philosophical teaching in addition to developing his imagination.

Merry Christmas to all who believe and all that can imagine!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Story of Two Books

A chilly autumnal afternoon, a sweetened cup of tea, a pair of slippers, a blanket, and two books.  And such a contrast!
I am reading Shirin and Khosrow's story from Nezami's book of poems, of course in Farsi.  The story goes back centuries and this version is from about 800 years ago.  Nezami starts the book with praising God and thanking him for giving him the talent to write.  The he talks about love.  Oh!  Such an amazingly lovely depiction of love.  Finally after praising the prophet and the king and all he starts the story of Khosrow. Such mystery!  Such beauty!  Such elegance in his words!  What is the most apparent to me this time (every time I read a book I find a new appearance) is its simple purity and its pure simplicity.  How fortunate I feel to be able to read and comprehend Farsi for such treasures in our literature!
I am reading Picture if Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, from 1890.  I must say, I am enjoying the writing.  And I am most curious to know where it all ends.  The emphasis by Lord Henry Wotton on beauty and fulfillment of senses is interesting to me.  And the helplessness in Dorian admitting to impermanence of beauty.
In both books there are much depictions of the apparent beauties: faces, hair, bodies.
Both books refer to lust, a lot.
Yet, the former book has a sense of love in it the latter lacks.  Hence, it feels more moral, more humane even perhaps.
No conclusion yet though, as I am still in the middle of both books.  Perhaps, to be continued.

Old Old Songs

Old old songs are those that in my parent's collections were called "old songs".  Just for the sake of it!

Darvish, Golpa

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Am Duality

A grounded, vast, stable soul; the Sahara
A constantly moving, boundless, carefree open-hearted nomad; the midnight breeze
A chosen one able to hear God; the Saint
An explorer, delving in this alluring life; the Child
A calm, observing, kind, humble, giving person; the Heavens
A self centered, proud, ambitious type; the Mountain
A wise, enlightened soul, transforming fire to a flower garden; the Ebrahim
A desirous body, burning the frozen hearts; the Saba
A seeker of the unknown, a visionary by heart; the Soul
A seeker of the unknown, all the senses arouse; the Self

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Career Destiny

My dear R.N. says always that "your career has a destiny".  This is a phrase to pause on for me.  What she means is how the advancement in career does not need our struggle, it happens, after we put some energy and thought into it of course.
It is hard sometimes to think that things have their own destiny.  Life happens.  Death happens.  Love happens.  Separation happens.  And most likely, we had hardly anything to do with them..
Now, career happens too.  It has its own course, and it happens.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

To Accept The Hardships of This Era

"Verily, with every hardship comes ease!" 94:6

I have been contemplating on the nemesis of the time.  From the clashes of theories and beliefs to the lies in politics close to home to the straight bullets shot in the head of a fourteen year old to the monetary value of the currency back in the mother land, to the constant unhealthy interference in our food and our drinks and our land.  It feels depressing, pathetic, and hopeless at times.
Yet, it is not the only worst time. Is it?
They say there have been kings who killed all the men in a village.  They tell us about wars that swiped a whole civilization.  There have been dynasties coming and going.  And the men of the world have never been all just, never been all true, never been all man-loving.  There have been families burnt.  There has been drought.  There has been volcano erupting and destroying a whole city at once.
What makes this time any different?
I keep reciting this poem of Hafiz:
جهان و کار جهان جمله هیچ در هیچ است
هزار بار من این نکته کرده ام تحقیق

The world and what is in it are all unrully
A thousand times I have experienced it

Yet. Beauty is.

It is falls.  The weather is changing visibly.  Shorter daylight, stronger winds, dried leaves.  I was standing at the backyard walkout yesterday, listening to the birds chirping.  The grass is still green.
I stopped at the school, and "the queen of the class" came to me and said she remembered me from my last year's presentation in the class.
I talked to my mom and she was full of hope.
I picked up A and he gave me a big hug.
I talked to a dear friend about a work situation that made me feel vulnerable and he cared to listen.
We had a delicious dinner at friends' and enjoyed listening to their parents talking about samanu pazoon and noon berenji.

"Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune." Socrates

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pure Blessed Love

When you see the eyes you want to look at them. The shape of the eyelashes, the length, the color, the pattern. You look at the eyebrows and touch them, course or neat. Your fingers in the hair. The smell of the skull. You trace the nose with your watch wanting to touch. The lips, you want to be kissed; trace to the jawbone, then the soft skin below the ear, tracing down the neck. One kiss. The fragrance of the body. The touch on the shoulders to the back to the side to the thigh to the back of the knee to the toes... When you feel the vibes from the skies; it is then that you know that the love is real, pure,  blessed.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


If I had FB it read: Madonna.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Laying down sleepless for hours. Freed myself from the nightmare of repeated mistakes to wake up to the reality: repeated mistakes?
What is happening? Why? What went wrong? How to make it right? What is right?
I remember the calm. I remember the running water in the city's beautiful river. I remember the kindness in the eyes of the men and the women. I remember the compassionate people. I remember the support.
I cannot imagine what it is like today.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Welcome Home!

We arrived in San Francisco Airport and rushed to the passport check.  There are two separate lines: one for citizens and permanent residents, one for visitors.  We have bought a house here, our son goes to school here, we both work here and pay taxes and dues and social securities we will never see a penny of.  Yet, we are considered aliens because we are on visa.

Long long lines were moving forward and it is our turn at last.  I talked to the immigration officer:
- We came here because we live and work here
- Yes our son goes to school here
- Yes we have been to all over the places
- I have been working for the same division for more than five year now

- I work as a Global Product Manager for them

- Yes San Jose is our home address
- No we don't have any meat of fruit or alcohol with us
- ...
He stamped the passports, wrote on some papers, punched some keys on his keyboard and returned the passports to me: "Welcome home"!
Yes.  Home.
I graciously thanked him and smiled.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Paris Day: Two: Versailles

It took us about an hour in the Jardin and then one and a half hours in the château.  Point is to get the audio guide, which is free. Albeit not given to kids younger than 8 years old. So M gave his to A. It was one of the best, or the best, audio guides I had ever taken with me, with very short and precise narrative, dialogues, and short audio plays. It was fun and in formative indeed.  A also enjoyed the palace while looking for the numbers for each audio guide. The company of a our friend's son was also a delight keeping him go.

The Jardin de Versailles was really nice and majestic. We enjoyed strolling around but we made sure not to tire ourselves. The reason we started from the garden was because there was a fountain show we wanted to watch.  Nothing too fancy, just the fact that the fountains were working at all cause apparently out of that time span the fountains were not working.

We started the day at a local château.  It was a short drive to château de la Madelaine because we are staying with our dear friends K.T. and Sh.Sh. in Gif sur Yvette, south of Paris.  A really had fun, especially while his friend A.T. was also with him discovering the château together.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Paris: Day One

We planned a perfect day with K.T. and Sh.Sh. to whose home we arrived last night and we are staying with.  The most important input was how they also are experienced I traveling with kids.  So, we left for Paris around noon after a relatively nice jet lagged sleep.

1) Luxembourg metro station - apparently most central part of the city.
To see Luxembourg Jardin, which was indeed beautiful.

2) Panthéon: one block on the east of the Lexembourg Jardin.
Panthéon is the burial of many famous French people but the building which was built by Jaques-Germaine Soufflot was initially a church.  The building is a huge monument with tall columns and a humongous door which is at least ten times my hight.  We didn't walk inside in the interest of time and energy. By the way, on the way there on the Souffle avenue we fed A subway sandwich.  This way, with A being full, we were sure M and I could be more adventurous with food and also get A the energy to walk some more.

3) Sorbonne: the university.

We walked north and west to Saint Michelle boulevard. On the west side of the street walking north suddenly the sidewalk opens up to a row of cafés and bookstores and a fountain that leads to the Sorbonne university monumental entrance.  It was good to take a few pictures and check out "I have been to Sorbonne".

4) Quartier Latin: the Latin neighborhood.

It was a favorite spot for sure, with narrow winding allies that are abundant with Mediterranean and middle eastern restaurants, cafés and tiny local eateries and souvenir shops.  There were a group is street musicians playing some local song and people had gathered to watch and dance.  K.T. had recommended a local eatery and had warned about the quality of the other shops. So we followed the lead to Maoz for a Falafel and salad bar sandwich. Mmmm was it yummy! And then to the famous Amorito creamery. A had a vanilla bean ice cream Ina cone that they decorated like a flower. Fantastic presentation and fantastic taste, indeed the best vanilla bean gelato I had ever had (and I am no vanilla).

5) Notre Damme: the cathedral.

We walked north some more and crossed the river to the cathedral.  The line to get inside was long but walking very quickly.  It was an easy visit getting A busy by showing him the candles and getting him to write in the guest book and show him the chandeliers. We all sat down for prayers and got to listen to a mass, very beautiful.
Note: A had a hot chocolate before the visit, so he got warm and energized.
Note: there is a public restroom by the cathedral. It is important, because there are not many, or in our walk until then any, public restrooms.
PS: we went back to the Anorino for a second round of ice-creams.

6) Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

Just south west of Notre Damme cathedral, there is this bookstore that has a character of its own. Indeed a treat. We were lucky where there was a writer who had a book reading reading from his book. Most of the books were English actually, but the whole building from top to bottom was filled with books.  Such a fun intellectual place. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mom Son Dad

I had put my hair up just to keep the bangs off my face; very casually how my mom used to adorn my hair if I wanted to go to a birthday party as a teenage girl.  I was busy packing.  A came over and lay on the bed and started: "mommy! no other mom has hair like yours.  No other mom is like you.  I love you!  You are the best mommy!"
My heart melting.
This morning I watched M and A leave for school.  Such a simple scene: A holding his backpack on his shoulders and carrying his lunch box.  Daddy walking by him.  Daddy and son walking away together.  I was watching through the door.  Thinking this is a scene worth captured still.

Monday, August 27, 2012

When to Change Something

"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: 'If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.' It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." Steve Jobs - 2005 - Stanford

I read and heard this quote three times in the past 48 hours.  Pondering.

Why do I write

I write because I like to write.  I try to write when I have something worthwhile to say.

I do not have something worthwhile to say all the time.  I cannot say all the worthwhile things I like to write.  So I do not write.

I have been thinking, after 12 years of blogging, after 12 years from my emigration out of the mother land, after 12 years of submerging in a language other than my mother tongue, why I have been writing.  What the meaning of my blogs has been.  And what the true subject of my blogs has been.

The conclusion was simple: I just write to feel connected to the world in a literal fashion.  The meaning associated with this blog is to capture a glimpse of my thoughts and feelings at a particular time.  I write about life, my life, some ups, some downs. And I keep quiet about many many write-worthy things.  There are some thoughts and feelings that are to be kept private; forever.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Love and Attention

Last week, I was listening to the podcast of Robert Abdul Hay Darr talk at the last Baraka retreat.  It was so coincidentally inline with my line of thoughts at the time.  Prior to that I was talking with my dear Sh.K. about love and the need for attention from the lover.  What was the reason for this need for attention?  Was it just or wining of a longing heart?

I was then thinking about what makes you feel drawn and affectionate toward another person, deeply affectionate I mean, not a fleeting crush.  It dawned at me that it was hidden in how that person realizes you.  You know you are unique with all your capacities and flaws.  But what makes you feel driven to the love of a person is how that person wants to know you more, all your capacities, all your flaws.  How he looks at you dearly, how he listens to you attentively, how he wants to know more about you and your day and your experiences and your thoughts and your feelings, how he cares about how you feel, why you chose a certain word, even what you wear.  He wants to know you in order to make you happy; in order to be able to claim part of your feelings.  This is love.  You have no choice but to be driven to this person deeply; this drive is really beyond the comprehension of logic, it is all heart.

God said, "I was a treasure, I oh so wanted to be known".  And so there were lovers of God.

Now, that is true love.  Yet, it is the experience of this earthly love that makes you realize that true love through example and experience.  So, may be being in love and feeling loved is actually equal to paying attention and being attended to.  May be it is actually very just to demand this attention of a real lover.

I was smiling listening to the podcast when this saying by God got recited and this theory got validated remotely.  I love it when the universe rhymes with your thoughts!  Now, the universe is paying attention, right?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The book I am reading at the time is The Spy of The Heart (Robert Abdul Hay Darr).  It is a fascinating story of an American truth-seeker and his frequent journeys to the war-ridden Afghanistan between 1985-1990.  I feel completely drawn to the book; all the adventures, are the yearning, all the unheard-of experiences.  You can read the few first chapters on-line actually which is a blessing.

I have met the author once, in one of Baraka retreats back in March.  He speaks a pleasant Farsi with a complete Afghan accent.  He has many Persian poems memorized.  He has a calm penetrating gaze.  All in all it felt nice dining with him at the first night of the retreat and get to listen to him the next day when he gave us a talk.

Now his book has gotten me deeply thinking, calmly perplexed with what he has found in Afghanistan.  I have never been to that region.  The most Afghans I have met have been in Bay Area and uniformly they have been very attentive to us, Iranian Persians, even though there were many Afghan refugees in Iran when I was growing up.  I understand that the very dry restrictive political Islamic doctrine is being practiced over there.  And I understand that many years of war have left many in poverty and the lack of knowledge and illiteracy doesn't help with more p[en understanding of this religion either.  Now I am thinking, what are the main differences between that part of the land of Persia, the way explained in this book, and the part I grew up in.  I am immersing in the appreciation he feels for the mystical path of Islam, the tolerance, the beauty, the kindness, he has found and felt through those people.  I feel that I understand what he means; I have experienced the simplistic sincerity in the old villagers I had met in our frequent travels around Iran in my childhood; I feel grateful for being part of that great culture.

It is also interesting to me how the book emphasizes on Mowlana Rumi being "an Afghan".  Fact of the matter is that Mowlana was born in the region of Balkh, at the time belonged of the land of Persia.  The language he has written his poems is Persian.  He was born in the 13th century, and at that point in time there was no Afghanistan or Tajikistan as countries.   He was Persian; even though where he was born is now a province in the country of today's Tajikistan.

Truth of the matter is that Mowlana is timeless and place-less.  He belongs to all the truth-seekers of all times and from any origin.  And I am grateful for being able to read his poems in original language, now comprehending his messages is another matter which will come with God's Grace.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


She looked around.  It was a crowded airport.  Many gates, many people, crammed in a tiny space.  She found herself wanting to run away; literally, run.  Stump stump.  Breaking away tethers.
She looked around some more and the only way out was the escalators to the baggage claim.  She felt suffocated.
She head to a gate further away from hers and sat down where there were a few seats empty on her either sides, a rare relief.
Wished to drink a mocha, wished not to be there.
She was alone...  So very lonely too.
There were many kids strolling around in t-shirts and shorts wiggling and waggling while walking with their tiny feet.  Would any be able to speak two languages?
This place was impossible.  The beach and sailing boats and ocean breeze in the palm trees right in front of her eyes. But unreachable.  Heartbreaking. Aggrieving.
Time to fly away. No looking back!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sitting in Traffic Logging

Happy Ramazan! Fasting, I made us chicken and beef sandwiches and a cake on Friday while working from home.  It was great to be home on the first day of fasting as it was draining my energy especially in the afternoon.  After work we head to Lake Tahoe in the rush hour of the late afternoon. We had two other friends with us in the minivan we rented so we had lots of opportunities to make fun of everything happening around and making conversations. We got to our campsite in Meeks Bay on the east side of the lake just past 11pm, feeling cold and tired.  It was easy to appreciate the warmth of the sun in the morning.  Later, I got tanned even more, my face is still burning in fact. We used up the day to hike as much as we could keep A walking and spent the afternoon at the beach. Although the water was super inviting I spent the time laying down. My brain and body feel tired indeed and I couldn't be more grateful for a free afternoon to just lay down even if for 20 minutes.  The evening was a pleasant second night at the campsite. It was not as cold and we got A to bed on time so we ha time to chat a bit. It was out twelfth anniversary too.  We had the cake in the morning and after two days from its baking it wasn't too bad at all. We made the beautiful Rubicon hike from D. L. Bliss before leaving the lake. The water in that section is just magnificent. But that beautiful hike cost us the after noon rush hour to Bay Area. I'm just anxious to get down in time to return the car, unpack the camping stuff, and pack my conference bags for an early flight to San Diego tomorrow.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I watched a documentary on Netflix on the subject of stress: Stress: Portrait of a Killer.  It summarizes the research of a Stanford biologist, Robert Sapolsky who had studied the effect of stress on the body and longevity by observing a society of African baboons for decades. The study has targeted baboons because even though they are wild and aggressive, when it comes to stress they are very much like humans.   It notes how stress has been vital in our survival in the wild and helping us being driven.  Yet at this point in time we are under constant stress living the social life in this modern era and never able to turn it off.  His findings show that the higher one is rank in one's society the less the level of stress related chemicals in the blood.  This observation was validated by studying the high- and low-ranked workers in the British social works: how having higher control in what one is doing makes them less stressed and more productive.  Moreover, it showed that being socially bound makes you less susceptible to low immune system.  Then it summarizes another study on how chronic stress adversely affects one's longevity.

I then researched a bit on how to live a stress free life.  Now.
Here is my plan of action:

Doing one thing at a time - in progress
Physician activity - continue with my biking and elliptical but also got myself a gym membership with a pool
Creativity with my hands - I yearn to sketch again ... haven't done anything about this yearning yet...  I like to think of cooking as a creative activity
Be - with my family, with my life, with me

Yesterday I spent some time reading a new British novel with many new words and phrases for me like "bloke" while M and A were installing our new BBQ. I then went to my hairdresser and challenged her to give me a new haircut that is funky but easy to maintain.  She cut a full bang for me.  It is chick and I got lots of complimented afterward even though I myself am not too happy with the results.  Yet it was fun.  I planned my workouts for the week to come in my spare time waiting for my appointment and also chat with a friend.  On way home I sang out loud with Ebi and Dariush and got home preparing for the dinner party we were hosting.  It was lots of fun having friends over.  I always like having company and this group of friends are really nice to hang out.  M worked out a fantastic BBQ kabob for dinner and I took care of the rest.  Finally we all sat down for 6 hours of Settlers of Catan, we got to bed at 5AM.

Now it is a lazy Sunday.  I feel restless for a vacation.  For some reason I am not looking forward to my workday tomorrow.  It is so unlike me.  I am not a kind of person who goes to work just because.  Perhaps  is time for some sort of change.  I should really get on planning for a good week off work in the end of summer before A goes back to school.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I am grateful for a week coming to a conclusion with a lot of accomplishments and an episod of an awful headache coming to an end.  I do not want to experience this headache again.  It was not a pleasant experience; forced me to appreciate the healthier days.  And to appreciate life as is.  I realized I was not always emberasing life and that made me feel stressed.  Perhaps it is mainly the resistance I have against the course of the events that is making me feel the stress.  And the stress of not having stress is adding stress.

I miss A a lot lately during the day.  I am not sure why.  But I am thinking I need some time off work and with him.  I know we went to Canada mid last month and it was great being away but me working off-site prevented us from having a relaxing time.

I do not want to argue with life any more.  This is my life.  THIS IS my life!

I know it is hard.  I know that I want to manage my work and my home and my friendships and my health and my soul.  Then it becomes hard to manage them all.  I am contemplating why that is.  Isn't it all to make a better living?  I want to live a good life.  I want to be able to look back and feel proud, whenever the end of my life comes.

I was told once by a wise woman to enternalize achievements.  I know I am not.  I still seek a good deal of approval from outside and it is not the healthiest most effective source; I know.  I just need to worl on that.

I try to be.

I am.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


You left.  You just turned around and walked your drooping shoulders out of my sight.  I was watching you from the opening of the door, left wide open behind you.
I felt a pain in the middle of my chest watching you go.
I asked you to leave.  As simple as that.  And you left.  As simple as that.
I thought you would protest.  I thought you would be shocked.  I thought you would pick a fight.
But you just sighed, turned around, and walked out the door.
I thought you were in love.
The pain in my chest was blocking my throat.  I got up; and closed the door.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Time for Misunderstanding

On the phone he asked: "why didn't you send the file earlier?".
I had generated the file but just completed it.  "I didn't have the file earlier" I said.
"But you had the file number yesterday!".
"Because I generated the file yesterday but it had no content until today."
"Do you really think I had the file but I didn't send it to you?!"
"Yeah!" he replied.
Does it matter if I say "Well! You are wrong"?
Unrequited love
A time fore misunderstanding
I asked you to keep the word.
You did not.
A time for misunderstanding.
I wont ever ask you to keep a word again.
A time for understanding.
"We cannot meet next week but possibly in a few weeks; when are you available?"
"Are you punishing me?!?"
Would it matter if I said "NO!"?
A time for misunderstanding.
Don't tell me that you do
because I wont believe you.
A time for understanding.
Love the turn of circumstances!

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Inevitable Change

My grandparents had fruit trees in their backyard.  A persimmon tree, a pear, an apricot, a black cherry, a white cherry, and a couple berries.  It was a ritual every summer to go there with all the cousins and pick ripened fruit from the trees.  It was fun and at times it felt like a chore.
We were kids.  We thought things were permanent.
Today, it has been years since last I picked up cherries from that tree.  It has been years since my grandpa is gone; that placed is sold, demolished, rebuilt.
It makes me feel sad a bit lately.
C'est la vie!

PS: I got promoted to a Senior level, again.  First time it was more than two and a half years ago when I got granted Senior R&D Engineer title, then down graded when moved to marketing, then back up again.  Now as of yesterday I have the Senior Global Product Manager title.  Now this is the kind of change I appreciate ;)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lost ... Found ... Lost?

On Friday night, I woke up in the middle of the night in tears from a dream of loss.  I stayed awake in bed, praying for the well-being of the person I thought I had lost in my dreams, and lulled myself back to sleep.

Then last night we got the news that the shaikhs of the circle were exploring leaving California for Kentucky. I guess the "leaving" fact haunted me right away...

A few years ago I was lost.  I was looking for a reality so close I knew I was missing it and so far I could not comprehend it.  The more I looked, asked, searched, read, the less I found.  One day a friend advised me to continue asking, that if I kept believing it would for sure manifest. So I did.  So It did.

As peculiar as it felt at the time I felt a strong vibe pulling my attention towards the southern hills of Santa Cruz.

Miraculously I was found.  By a circle of friends, deep in the hills of Santa Cruz, all filled with love, all true in their hearts, enlightened by the lights of the Truth.  It was so easy being there, smiling there, loving there.  I felt belonging.  I felt anchored.  I thought that was the very reason I was brought to California.  I thought I was found.

Now the shaikhs are leaving; what will remain of a circle without the center?  I woke up feeling some sort of sorrow blocking my throat; like how I woke up in the middle of the night on Friday night feeling a sense of loss. What about all the Truthful vibes I felt from those hills? Will it be a hollowed memory of an anchor when they are gone?

I got home past midnight.  M got up and listened to me telling him the news.  "I guess we are going to Kentucky" he said.  That was exactly what I told D.D. and D.G. in our ride to the circle.  Not sure if we would.  But I appreciated the thought dearly.

"All the Divine asks of you is your attention" said Shaikh Kabir last night. I am sure this unknown will unfold in due time. A new chapter will begin...

Happy Birthday Shaikh Kabir!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


All that is needed to gain vision into a matter is to break from it sometimes.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lost in Translation (2003) - Genius!

They are lost.

She is a young beautiful sexy neglected wife of two years.
He is a middle aged successful bored rich husband of 25 years.

She thinks deep, her husband is shallow. She looks for meaning, her husband looks for fun.
He looks for company, his wife is content without him around. He wants to be heard, his wife is too busy with the kids and home renovation to listen.

She cannot sleep while her husband snores.
He cannot sleep but when calls home his wife is occupied with feeding the kids.

She feels lost.
He feels lost.

They meet.

They greet.

They talk.

They start being heard.
They start making jokes.
They start laughing at each other's humor.
They start feeling secured. They start sharing their insecurities.
They do not judge.
They keep each other company.

Then they have to part; the impossible feelings.

He leaves; she hides in the elavator.  He finds her in the crowds of Tokyo on his way to the airport.  Catches up with her.  She is crying.  He hugs her.  She hugs him.  He says something in her ears. She smiles and wipes her tears.

They depart.

PS: I wish I knew what he said in her ears at the end of the movie ...  what made her smile?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


There is a thrill in secrecy; there is a joy in the thought of a hidden treasure; it feels empowering when there is a knowledge one owns and the rest do not.
There is a thrill in openness; there is a joy in the thought of a treasure showed off and boasted around; it feels empowering to present what one knows and the rest do not.
It takes courage and wisdom to choose between the two.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lodging in the Jasper National Park

Friday Jun 15th
Blue blue sky, ornamented with fluffy white clouds, boasting over magnificent Canadian Rockie mountains.
It is great being here!
We left Edmomton last night and got here around 11PM. My dear sister S and brother in-law AF had taken care of everything. Everything. From lodging to sightseeing spots to breakfasts and dinners.  We were treated like absolute guests and I got a lot of time to just contemplate, think, meditate, be.
We are staying at the Pine Bagalows. It is a great venue with a great view by the Athabasca river and yet minutes away from the town of Jasper.  It was serene yet alive with a trembling river.  Constantly renewing.
We went to the Colombia Mt Glacier today, first time walking on a glacier. The color of the glacier ice was a bluish green, very unique and pure, I could watch it forever. The mountains and pine groves were amazingly eye catching. And never repetitive after an hour of drive.
Back in the cottage the guys took care of the BBQ and my dear sister took care of the rest. So I got a few minutes by myself at the river to meditate some. Ah!  Magnificent!
HBD my M!
Saturday June 16th
We hiked the Maligne canyon. It was an amazing canyon, very deep and very alive. The water and the sand in constant battle of power; it was magnificent!
We saw two black bears, one really close, while driving to the Maligne lake. It was like prayers answered; the one up close was actually very cute.  Minding his own business munching on fresh grass.
M, A, and I canoed on the lake. My beautiful goodness! The picturesque mountains looking down at the lake! And A rowed nicely albeit like a pure armature. It was a lovely experience as if pumping energy in my veins.
Back at the lodge while eating supper we saw a herd of white tale deer feeding themselves in between the Bangalows; they were so much fun to watch. Especially a mom with three kids. All the neighbors had come out to take pictures of the herd.
After dinner at the cottage we strolled the town of Jasper for a while, it is a little town of its own character.  Finally, at 11PM, the sky was still light as if the sun had no plan to vanish so we walked to the river by our lodge for a short while just to get a different view of it all.
I really like the life observed in the river.
Sunday Jun 17th
Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there!  Particularly to my M!  He is a great father indeed!
...This life is a white slate provided to each of us. What are we drawing?...
Last meditating moments by the river, last coffee in the fresh air of the Canadian Rockie mountains, and finally, last quick hike with S. We had a leisurely drive back to the city.
We got to meet our dear friends from our past life in Toronto, dear NA and MRS, for dinner.  I cannot stop thinking about the visit.  It was lovely to meet them again after many  years and get to meet their lovely daughter. Such a nice little girlie.  She made me many dishes of food with her toy dishes, they were all yummy, pretend.  And our friends from good old days in Toronto had grown locals in Edmonton. They were both still as artistic or more so with their handcrafts and dishes of dinner and desert.  I feel so happy to have gotten the chance to spend some time at their place!  A great ending to a great trip indeed!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


She was sitting by the window in front of the entrance door; a book was open in front of her, her eyes were vaguely looking at something beyond the glass door.
She turned the ring on her finger and smiled gleefully.  He was looking down at her with a triumphant smile of a gentleman; bent forward and held her hand: "promise".
The door opened with a ding of a bell.  A guy walked in and headed straight to the "Order Here".  The wind from the door turned the pages of her book.  She was hazy.
It was a wonderfully pleasant day.  Barcelona. A bright green camisole under a white button-down shirt, a short yellow skirt with a pair of beige sandals.  He was watching her as she got ready, his eyes shining with a kind confident smile.  They head down to the Las Romblas street for a late morning breakfast.  She thought she would be more than content with a gelato to break her fast.
She looked down at her finger and traced it from the knuckle to the tip.  Under her fingers, she had held open the book to an unfamiliar page.  She browsed a few sentences on the page, then turned back to find where she had last stopped reading.  Or rather the part she remembered.
It was chili in the metro from the blow of the AC.  He put his hand on her bare arm.  His palm was cold.  Her arm was surprisingly but pleasantly warm.  He slid his hand up and down a few times.  She thought how she adored his touch.
Her coffee was cold beyond tasty.  She threw the cup away and sat down with a glass of water.  The cold skin of the glass was absolutely dry.
The moist in the air was just perfect on her hair and skin.  Her straight hair had a wave now without any effort and her skin looked as if wiped by fresh tomato juice, radiating with a faint bright orange shine.  Their glasses on the table were covered with moist.  She traced her finger on the foggy glass, a smiley face.
She bent her fingers, let go of the open book.  The pages flew open to a pre-marked page.  It was the beginning of a chapter. "Illusion".

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Done with Mocha

I am done with having mocha made with chocolate syrup.
I have been disappointed at Starbucks mocha for a while now.  Yesterday I tried the Second Cup Cafe Mocha in Edmonton after a few years.  Disappointed again!
So, I decided I need to craft my own drink.
I like the taste of coffee, I like to feel the taste and texture of chocolate.  I never was a fan of sugar.  Hence, what is needed is a well brewed coffee (french press has become so appealing lately), a nicely made cocoa powder, and a nice creamy milk.  None to be found at any of the franchise coffee shops (may be stumptown coffee is an exception).  Perhaps I better open my own coffee shop.  M seemed to like the idea.  I have a friend (A.P.) who is a genius with pastries and cookies.  Tempting.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Shoes: Stylish or Comfortable

I read it once in a shoe museum (in London was it?) that the high heel shoes were built for the royal women and the women of the elite families so that the rim of their long dresses and skirts were protected from puddles of water and dirt on the ground. It seems that after that we, the commoners, started liking the style too. And used it so thoughtlessly that never wondered about the origin of it all.  The difference however is how we do not even intend protecting the cloth; all we think about is the style now.  Today the high heels are as abundant as it seems they have been available since the beginning of time. And one thing they usually are not is comfortable.

I have been looking for a stylish yet comfortable pair of shoes that are not sneakers forever now. I stopped at the mall in the quest of a nice and  comfortable pair this past Friday night. After a few stops I found myself at Naturalizer, where my sister S shops a lot. I had found their collection mature-looking before but lately I find quite a variety of styles there. Given how my feet were agonizing in my shoes at the time, I found their shoes really comfortable and ended up buying two pairs of summery high heels. But wearing them for two days and in the airport today seems like the sandals are not that comfortable after all; even though more comfortable than the ones I had before.  They are stylish, the straps are pretty flexible, and I really like their versatile shiny nude color.

The quest for the stylish yet comfortable shoes, particularly for travels, is not over yet.  Although Naturalizer is strongly yet cautiously recommended.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Driving Dream

I always wanted to drive.  Being permitted to drive was a dream to me as a youngster.  Particularly the kind of driving that involved listening to music.
We were only teenagers that we got hold of an Ace of Base album cassette; my cousin H gave me a copy when we were departing Tehran to the North one spring vacation; during the most of the drive we were listening to the songs over and over. I think it was a miracle that we all got to enjoy the album in the car.  Then during the course of our stay there, H & I would lend my dad's shift gear Pathfinder after much cajoling and drove about just in  the gated area of our rented vacation houses. How liberating it felt!
Now a couple days ago in my car I got to listen to the album again. Such a pinnacle moment! In the spring of 1995 I would never even thought of 17 years ahead ... listening to the songs in 17 years driving on highway 880...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Light of My Eyes

I am looking at his picture from three years ago.  It is a perfect image of the left side of his face.  He is looking away, with a slight frown.  I can look at this picture for ever and ever.  I look at the curls in his hair at the back of his neck.  His perfect little nose and lips and a hanging under chin.  His perfectly black eye under a tilted eyebrow.
I look at his lips and I remember his tiny little voice.
I look at his cheek and I feel the soft touch on my lips kissing him.
I can brush his hair with my finger still.
I love this picture.
I adore this boy.
He is the light of my eyes.  He is indeed the light of my life.  God bless you my sunny son!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Chat

Warm sun. Cool breeze. Nice mannered crowd.  It is a wonderfully gorgeous day at the beach.
A dear friend showed us this place which is tucked away from the Santa Cruz crowd, yet close enough to allow for a stop at the Marianne's creamery on way back.
Late in the morning I ushered everyone out of the house after packing us a picnic bag. Then during our ride on Hwy17 I got on the phone with my dad and online with my siblings for our usual Sunday chat.
I really enjoy these Sunday chats.  It allows for lots of different discussions.  Discussions that may not come up on the phone.  Discussions that can be as lame/fun as what we are making for lunch/dinner or as serious as best practices/challenges in raising a resilient child.
Today, there started a discussion about the need to know the future. And why it is appealing. My sister S said that as long as you were told the positive in the future she didn't mind knowing.  We didn't stay on the topic for too long but while sitting on the beat I thought with myself some more and dug deeper in the idea in my head.
I think it is for sure appealing to get to know the future. One reason why can be because it is a knowledge bound in time and there is nothing one can do to gain it. So learning glimpses of it in advance provides you with a vision you lack, one might argue.
Thinking about it some more, I think I don't want to know the future anymore. When I was younger it could've been exciting to know, but now, I think I'm in a stage in life I don't want anything to change except toward the better. But change is inevitable, and I know that not all changes are exciting. Hence, I have no interest in knowing what's in store. Prefer to deal with any change as it comes I think.  And I pray that God prevent any burden on me beyond my capacity and what I can carry on with.  Anything positive, I am all for it.  But what is negative.  Isn't it all our expectations?  Isn't everything positive in the end?  I hope so!
So let's put it this way:  I do not want to anticipate the future.  I want to live now.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lost Materials

I feel bad if I loose something. I feel bad mostly because I think why this even happened. Was I not paying attention? How can I trust myself again if I'm not vigilant about my stuff? The casualties haven't had high values so far, thank God. But still bothers me. I forgot a book in a hotel in Germany two years ago. I forgot a travel size Lore'al shampoo that worked really nice on my hair in a hotel in Colorado, and yesterday, I think I dropped a really nice colored lipstick and lip shine Lancôme duo in South Carolina. But how? I looked in my cosmetic bag twice. It wasn't there and I thought I had forgotten to pack it in the last minute. Couldn't find it at home either. This really bothers more. I am not even sure where I lost it. Can I trust myself with my good stuff again? I'm being too tough on me I know but I just don't like forgetting things.
Happy weekend everyone!

Monday, May 28, 2012

African Themed Dinner Party

We were going to have friends over for the first time since we were back from South Africa to share some of the pictures and stories of the trip.  So I thought to cook some African dishes.  The gathering coincided with A's 6th birthday so we made it a celebratory African themed dinner party: I put the African table runner I had bought from a lady in the market in Cape Town and the matching napkins on the dinner table; Changed the covers of the pillows on the sofa to the covers I had bought from another lady in Cape Town; used my African teapot cover in making the tea; and served the nachos in the ebony bowl I had bought from a local lady at The Cape of Penguins.  It was fun!

It felt very exiting looking for different African recipes to make; there were ingredients I didn't have like Madras Curry Paste and there were some I didn't even know what they were like Cloves. From a week before I selected a few dishes; then a day prior spent four hours shopping for my parties (A had another birthday party on Sunday geared toward the kids) including from International Food Bazaar for the different ingredients needed.

On Saturday, the day of the party, I started working on my dishes. It was indeed fun to make all the dishes for the first time. All the new smells in the house and the new textures in my pots.  I thought to continue trying new themes for future gatherings too. Thankfully, based on the feedbacks all, the dishes turned out deliciously.

Below are the African Recipes I tried:
Avocado Peach Salad


Bobotie SA traditional dish

African Chicken

African Desert

Friday, May 25, 2012

Simply Significant

It was at the end of a long long day.  The day had started as early as 6:50 AM with work meetings starting at 7AM. Then meetings with unclear messaging, meetings with argumentative colleagues, meetings with inefficient managements, meetings with disturbing side discussions, delayed meetings, long distance conference calls with unclear voice qualities, promised phone meetings that never happened, and yet another meeting rehashing already decided upon subjects.  I felt exhausted at past 4:40PM; yet I knew that the actual works for the day was just going to begin, to execute my deliverables and respond to compiled emails and manage my work.
I started walking toward the farther break room to grab some water when a colleague raised his head from his work station and asked how my day was going. I just sighed with a tired smile.  He asked "busy?". "Busy cannot describe it!" I replied. He said "there is lots going on young lady! (what he always calls me, young lady) I know what's going on.". Still tiredly I said "yeah, I know, there is really a lot going on!".  At which point he said "and all good stuff, thanks to you, young lady!" and clapped his hands quietly a couple times.
It was a trigger for a big smile: yeah, you are right I said. "All good stuff! That's exactly what I needed to hear at this moment! Thank you!". He nodded with a smile and turned to work. I turned away toward water fountain, feeling appreciated. As simple as that!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Snail Story

At the last retreat, Cemalnur Sargut told us the story of Moses when he invited God to his place and God agreed.  He cleaned the house and prepared meals and waited but all that showed up at his door was nothing but only a dog.  At night he complained to God why he didn't show up.  God said He did, and asked if Moses met the dog!
So, after that, I tried to pay attention to what showed up at my door.  It was April time and the raining season.  So our front yard and the walk way leading to our door was filled with snails.  They usually left a mark of their path while crawling on the ground, so you could trace their path back.  I usually didn't like seeing them on the path, I wanted them in the yard and not on the path.   After this story I tried to like the snails even on the path.  Every morning I opened the door and there were at least a couple snails at the door.  I would say "hello snails" and smile and walk carefully around them.
One morning, after it had rained, I opened the door and voila, there was a snail at the door.  But this was no ordinary incident.  This time, he had traced an almost complete heart for me!  I smiled cheerfully and said "I love you too Snail! :)" and walked around him.
I wish I had a photo of the snail and his mark to share with you!
I met with D.D. today very briefly and our conversations reminded me of that day.
My exercise: to see God in people too.  I know it is a difficult practice.  But I like challenges!
Yaa Hu

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Secretly Happy

If feeling secretly happy is an accomplishment, I feel a great deal of accomplishment today.
Yesterday, while waiting for my flight in the San Jose airport, I bought the SUCCESS (June 2012) magazine for the first time.  Motivation why?  It had a picture of Scarlett Johansson on it.
I remember when I watched Lost in Translation (2003) back in the time I thought if I were an actress I wantedto be like her.  My impressions of her: she is the most confident and content young lady I have seen on TV and on the red carpet.  She doesn’t have this perfect cliché body or even face but she has this utmost sensual air about her; it seems as if she feels calm and sexy.  That is what I admire about her.
Now, her interview with SUCCESS magazine just validated my impression of her.  Her words resonated with me when she said “Doing something that feels impossible makes me feel incredibly happy.” I know what she means!  “I’ve never done a project where I wasn’t sure it would make me secretly happy.” Hah!  Love it.
I really enjoyed my spent on the magazine in the end.  Reading through different articles I kept highlighting here and there and scribbling my thoughts on the side of the pages.
It is amazing how when you really seek something, it seems as if the universe just unveils the means you need to achieve it in front of your eyes.
I feel determined to execute a successful tasks in the near future.  It will be my first project of the kind, but I know I want it to be successful. It is already “emotionally draining”, “exhausting” at times.  Because  it seems impossible.  But achieving it, when the time comes and God willing, is going to make me feel secretly but incredibly happy. Exactly how Scarlett worded it.

Today I had a field ride with our territory manager, M.K. in Peoria, IL.  He picked me up this morning seeming to know exactly what he wanted to accomplish with my presence.  And what was amazing about it, was that he seemed to be certain that I could carry on to his goal.  I felt confident in me too.
We ended up having a couple good meetings and I was very pleased with the feedback I received.  M.K. seemed to be pleased too.  I felt once again how much I liked what I was doing, how secretly scared I was in my first field rides and how confident I felt today. How impossible such day seemed once and how secretly happy I felt today.

And things got even more fascinating; we had a three hour ride to St Louis, MO. We chat, the whole ride.  And granted that is nothing unique because if I find ears who are interested to listen, talking is no trouble.  But this was not me talking the whole ride, this was a reciprocating conversation.  A real nice conversation and above that, fascinating.  We chat about business a ton but we also chat about movies, and books, and religion, and people, and thoughts, and achievements, and striving in being a better person, and meditation, and spirituality.  It was so refreshing and nice being in the field and have the opportunity to carry real conversations.

M.K. has been a former Marine, and he seems proud of it.  It was very easy to talk to him about it.  I had met former marines before but never talked to them about it.  I revealed my take from it, which has been mainly through books and movies and NPR programs.  He was open to listen and to discuss it.  I was impressed by his openness about it.

Today was one of those projects that made me feel accomplished, connected with the universe, grateful, and secretly happy.

PS: Today was my 2nd anniversary in Marketing!  I survived! ;)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Love My Mom Because

A's school had a celebratory program for mom's yesterday.  All 25 kids and all 25 moms attended the one hour program.  The kids sang to us and performed for us and sang some more. Then, the kids one by one, showed us a drawing they had made of their mothers, and read a sentence: "I love my mom because ..." and the endings of the sentences were mostly in the line of "she takes me to places", "she watches TV with me", "she plays with me", ... all endearing and pure from their little hearts.  I found these all a reciprocating love: I love "her", because she "does" something specific "for me".
A was one of the last ones to read his sentence: "I love my mom because she is very cute". Ah!  All the moms aah-ed and ooh-ed and turned toward me.  I felt sheepish and yet my eyes welled with tears.
I realized later that there were three kids who loved their moms because of who they "were": "funny", "generous", "very cute".
This was the best mother's day present ever!  I really am thankful to Ms P, A's teacher, for all the work she had put in it.
I love my mom because she is very wise!  And, she is very cute too! ;)
Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Unreachable Memories

After dinner I suggested us to step into the backyard. The weather was pleasantly warm. The sprinklers were on which added a clean fresh moist to the early evening cool breeze.
Three hummingbirds dived toward the spraying water and two flew away at once. But one of them, which seemed both thirsty and brave, hung around flapping his wings. He just moved briskly between the drops of the water spray, bathing under the fading sun.
A was standing on the other side of the lawn. Staring at the water sprays, he suddenly darted into the lawn, laughing innocently at his getting wet, running his way across the lawn, making it to the other side soaked.
I told M how this very scene was the reason I wanted a backyard. For A to recall, one day, the adventures of  his warm weather nights...  Like many childhood memories of my summer nights growing up, the smell of the wet lawn, the fresh umbrellas of the trimmed black berries bushes, the cool breeze of the night. My parents and siblings and once in a while a visiting guest, a dish full of summer fruits, the very ripe nectarines, apricots, cherries; the offerings of the night on the high deck after dinner; Everything that was so ordinary at the time... Unreachable memories of the grown years.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chocolate Memory

Like a delicious after taste. You already had the smooth creamy velvety chocolate. It's gone.  Now licking your lips may bring back some faint memories; but the memory never equates the reality of what it was.
So is some of the experiences in life. At the time they were sweet, desired, happy, wanted. But the experience was time-bound despite your ignorance.
Now, all remained from it is the memories. Some make you smile. Some make you sigh. Some make you shiver.
There is no such thing as everlasting chocolate.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Returning Contemplations

Driving to work this morning, I realized how real this return is.  I am back.  And the whole week last week feels surreal already.

Both M and I really enjoyed our time, both at Cape Town and in Sabi Sabi.  Terrific trip!

I wish I could have granted myself an hour with the nature while in Safari. I suppose I could've taken advantage of the terrace at our lodge.  It was just difficult to go there, sit down and relax with all the possibilities of lizards and hyenas and all.  Otherwise, sitting at my desk at work, I miss the sound of the wild.  It was as if the noises were coming from different depth of the nature, very many different varieties almost all new to my ears.

I miss breathing the cleanest most perfectly moist air I had ever breathe.

I was also thinking how proud of A I was.  He managed this whole experience of time away from both of his parents so graciously.  We talked to him briefly just before his bedtime during our lay over at Frankfurt. He was in our bed, apparently he had done the same last night too.  M hypothesized that this was his way to quench his feeling of missing us, I totally agree with him.  He knows how to sooth himself and he has been real good with all his care givers.  I am proud of him.

In the airport while waiting for our flight and a 50 minute delay gave me an amazing opportunity to have a lengthy chat with M.P., our president, and his wife, who were sharing this leg of the flight with us.  We started with talking about the first leg of our flights, and then recapping the trip and the experience, and then immediate work on Monday, and continued with many inspirational directives and advice he had to share; I was thrilled with the opportunity and the good words he had to say about me.  He gave me hints about many different ways of learning, and the many different ways to achieve a career goal, and not to achieve high ranks too quickly which may lead to lack of respect.  I thought it was also very wise when he said that sometimes there was a lag between people's growth and vision and the corporation growth and vision, so one must be patient until the corporation caught up.  I am looking forward to a lengthy chat with my direct manager about it all.

In the airplane to San Francisco I read a few pages of the Times magazine about the 100 most influential people in the world.  There was a column on Jeremy Lin, the Knicks player, by Arne Duncan.  In the article, Duncan praises Lin for his determination in success, and how he is both a successful athlete and a great student. "He worked hard and stayed humble. He lives the right way; he plays the right way." Neat!

Then I watched a couple movies.  The Iron Lady and The Artist.  Both OK. I just wanted to have watched them and now I have.

I could't wait to see A and hug him and kiss him and hear him talk at length possibly about the funny scenes in the Disney DVDs he had to watch and count down the nights away from us.  He received us happily and came back several times to give us a hug or a kiss here and there.  He was thrilled about the stuffed Elephant we got him from the Johannesburg airport.  He named him Eli right away.

Now, back to the corporate life with all the new plans, visions, and motivations going forward.

Thank God for everything!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sixth Night - In the Air

Awesome. Amazing. Relaxing. Adventurous. Foreign. Metropolitan. Wild. Luxurious. All at the same time, this trip of a life time. The day began with our last game ride. It was hard to believe the last ride had already approached us.  M.O., M, Mike our ranger, and Patrick our tracker, and I headed out toward the sunrise.  It was magnificent, the pinkish orange sun rising over the safari trees and bushed. We saw a few more animals in the wild including another family of elephants and buffalos.  Buffalo- Check. Done with the big five.   Back to the  lodge, goodbyes to the rangers and lodge manager, and then ride to the airport. M.P. , S.P.'s wife, was sitting by me again and we chat a lot recapping the amazing past two days.  I miss her actually! We flew from Kruger National Park to Johannesburg, said goodbyes to most all of our group.  Like always everything was arranged in the most gracious way, from pick up at the gate, to leading us to our stored bags, to check in counters.  Johannesburg airport had a good collection of African goods and the price was not inflated, we got to shop for A. We explored if we could claim the tax of the goods we had bought in Cape Town but they needed to see the goods in addition to the receipts while the goods were already in the checked in languages. We should have showed them before security and got the Copts stamped. This was a lesson learned; reminds me of Sa'di's poem every time I learn a new thing while traveling.  I did not want to leave this morning. But now that we are in our way back I wish to get home sooner. And actually look forward to work on Monday. There is a lot I need to do.  I wish to win the trip again, yet I wish this trip for all of my colleagues. Either way it will be a win.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fifth Night - Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge

Elephant - check Leopard - check Lion - check Rhino - chec... (just it's back) Remains the African buffalo that I do not have much desire for, I rather see giraffe and zebra at this point. It is amazing here is Sabi Sabi Game Reserve. The brush, the tree, the weather, the smells, the sounds.  It is indeed a very close experience of the wild. We arrived at Nuespirit airport yesterday and took a two-hour shuttle ride to the gate of the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve. From there we got into 10-passenger jeeps and got transferred to the lodge itself.  The entrance to the lodge is through a channel going down to the ground that leads to the main gates.  Then as you pass the entrance Gates the field opens up in front of you with a pond with rocks and waterfalls which is the lobby.   There are dining rooms and tea rooms and bar at the left and right sides.  To get to your lodge you need to go past the main lobby and gathering areas. Then the buildings end and you need to walk a while to get to the first lodge.  The lodges are detached.  From outside they look like a dome.  The you step in and submerge into an all natural habitant for human.  The walls are made of clay, the chandeliers made of branches, many of the decorations are made of wood or weeds.  There is a small pool in front of the lodge with chairs that resembles the silhouette of an animal.  There is a sketch pad and a set of pastels and coloring oil in one of the drawers.  It feels very serene.  Albeit there is the concern of all the spiders and scorpions and insects all the time.  You have to inspect every corner it feels and check the bed before claiming under the blankets. We had a game ride this morning after a 5:30AM wake up call.  It was really neat watching an elephant turning over trees to feed from the roots; I wished for a lion and we got to see a coalition of two males and a probe of six cubs.  We saw kudus, dwarf mongoose, hammerhead bird, thermite net, and many different kinds of birds and butterflies.  We returned after three hours and after breakfast took a game walk around the lodge. I was most concerned with the tics. We walked by a pond very close to the lodge that houses a crocodile and a hippo; we examined different plants and watched butterflies and got lectures on feces. It was a very unique hike of a life time. I skipped lunch since I couldn't sleep much at all last night and chose to take a nap instead.  So far in every ride I made a wish and it got granted: last night I wished to see a leopard, we saw one with a kill, this morning i wished for a lion, we saw two with a pride, this afternoon I wished for a giraffe, and boom, the first animal we spotted was a beautiful male giraffe posing for us while munching on trees.  Oh and we saw a dozen rhinos, at one spot there were two rhinos and an elephant came to toy with them, fanning his ears at them to show his majesty. Rhino - CHECK At night we had a tour of the stars, the sky of the nights is magnificent.  Dinner venues was very cool too with African music and a dance performance by an all male team, may be a hunting story. M described it accurately: overwhelming! This whole trip seems surreal, so amazing, unique, and luxurious.  I am grateful.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day Four - Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge

The most amazing experience I have ever had with nature. As soon as we got in the lodge we off loaded and headed for our first game ride. We got to see many animals but the most impressive one was a leopard that was eating a steenbuck prey on a branch and three hyenas were waiting down the tree for drops. It was unbelievable how close we were to the whole scene. It is magnificent, this nature of the God! The whole experience is amazing but the lack of social mingling for such a social person like me is getting into my nerves.  The group is really nice, but I wish my marketing colleagues were here too, we would have a blast. I am too tired to type tonight.  Slepts only two hours last night and have been on the road and in the air and on the road again and on a game ride from 8AM to 8PM almost.  Otherwise the lodge itself deserves a description; albeit the are vy unusual creatures around.  M claimed to leave the lights on and is now fast asleep himself. Good bright night from Sabi Sabi!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Third Night - Cape Town

It is midnight again in Cape Town.   My last midnight here, possibly in my life, who knows. We are packed and ready to depart to Kruger Park tomorrow.  I do not want to leave; I know what is ahead is fantastic but after that it is the turn around point. We had a fabulous day today.  First off, we well better rested, we got woke up with A's call like all the nights so far but still got to sleep some more and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Albeit not hearty in anticipation of the ride. I opt out of having anti nausea medication which was recommended for the helicopter ride. And I did not regret it. We got transferred to the chopper station ad after a brief safety talk we were airborne. There were three of us in each chopper and a pilot. The take off was fantastic; the view of the cape town, Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles, the Atlantic Ocean, the beaches, and finally the South Point was amazing from 25,000 feet; and we had a rather smooth landing as well.  South Point is the most southern point in the continent, and it is rather a narrow land extended into the ocean; one could see the easter, wester, and southern boarders of the continent at the same time from up there.  M got a brief flying lesson sitting by the pilot. He was a great pilot since despite the wind on the ground he made it a great experience for us without any unexpected fall or turn. So I am sure M has learned a thing or two. We boarded on three shuttles and we had the privilege of company of our president M.P., his wife J.P., and our vice president of sales M.O.  We had a stop at Cape of Good Hope which was the most south western point in the continent.  We all climbed a rock to the top and got a different view of the Atlantic Ocean. The wind was so strong up there it would throw me off balance every time I lifted one foot to walk. The water was just beautiful from up there.  There was a ship sank close by in 1911, apparently there is a rock coming off the water very close to the beach, you could see the swirling waves around it but you couldn't see the rock itself. It called for a need for a good light house.  So there we went, to the light house vista point.  After that we got transferred to our lunch venue: a secluded beach, a tent, built for just us, and wonderful food.  We shared the table with M.O. And got to listen to his fabulous story.  It was indeed aspiring listening to his career adventured from Boston to France to Bay Area.  The lunch venue was so relaxing nobody seemed to care to leave.  We ventured beach combing for a short while and then head down to the Penguins Colony.  Indeed there are penguins in South Africa, which was unexpected for us.  They were small, cute, and wobbly of course. There were local people selling their handcrafted goods by the beach.  I got to by a Ebony Wood Bowl with carved animals around it for 200 Rands, I think it was a great bargain and more importantly, it is nice and resembles good quality. I am excited about it. We went through Simon Town and head back toward the cape town passing by the Hout Bay.  It was another great vista point of the ocean, the bay, and the mountains. The rides with our companions was very nice and we chat about many different things which made it a very good experience.  I really enjoy educated intellectual talks and conversations and this was indeed satisfactory. Back in the hotel we rested for a short while and then walked down to the Victoria Wharf; I got to pick and buy a few other souvenirs and I am again very excited about a hand painted table runner I bought with matching napkins. I am loving it all.  They also carve or paint ostrich eggs which I thought was a great gift as it is really unique and African we thought.  I am also excited about an African gemstone bracelet I bought.  And of corse a few things for my sunny son, including the ostrich egg; I hope it makes him excited. I really enjoyed every minute of the day and night; it was a great great day. I am really thankful for the experience and wouldn't have traded it for anything even the shark diving!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Second Night - Cape Town

It was a great day today! We had a very short sleep last night due to insomnia and jet lag. Got to have a quick breakfast and then a car ride to the Paarl wine land. There were two other couples joining us. We all got on horses and rode through the vineyards inStellenbosch. It was magnificent. My horse back riding experience was much better this time compared to my last more than a decade ago. We planned on a quick lunch but it lasted us 1.5 hours. It was hard to rush to eat where we were, in the middle of the vineyards surrounded by mountains and a cool breeze and a great food and nice company. The other couple stayed for wine tasting but we head back in the hope to go to Table Mountain. Alas it got shut down again. So we made a quick visit to the waterfront market, got A a post card for 5 Rands, found the post office, and mailed it. Rushed back to the hotel to change and down we got for a bus ride to the mdinner venue: the Gold of Africa Museum. We got greeted with drinks with floating gold flakes on the top. Then a drum call similar to what we had at Global Sale Meeting earlier this year and it was still lots of fun. A quick tour of the museum with many gold. And finally African dinner and dance and music by performers. Amazing culture!! A salt bath and sleeping time. It is right past midnight in cape town. Goeienag! (good night in Afrikaans)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

First Night

I think I can sleep tonight. M and I both took a nap in the afternoon and when we got up I felt much much better, thank God. We just missed the whole afternoon while it was still light outside but I am grateful for the rest and hopeful all will be fine tomorrow. We had a reception with the whole president club winners and their spouses. It was a nice gathering and everyone was warm and friendly. Every body else, except the president, are from sales and some have been to trips and other year president club trips before; I am the only person from marketing; yet we had a rather good evening. The shark cage excursion has for sure canceled for tomorrow. We are exploring other options. We got to chat with A tonight thanks to the house alarm going off! He came home this afternoon after two night of sleep over and will be cared for by a stay at home nanny and a baby sitter. He was shaken and wanted to talk to daddy about the very loud alarm and the reason why it went off despite him pressing the right key. Then he walked away from the camera to watch a cartoon. He was fine though. Knowing him, he will be fine just to be at home where everything is under his control. All the rest of the group have also left kids behind. Most of them with their parents. Some have younger kids even; all are concerned but content. I think I am over analyzing stuff in my head any way. I pray for him to be safe and well. Thankfully our friends with whom he stayed had all good things to say about him. That is prideful and I thank God for that. Good night!

Arrived - Cape Town

I got to cross the equator for the first time and here we are, for the first time in the continent of Africa. The airport is on the east of the famous Table Mountain, a mountain with 3km of flat plateau on the top. We had a car service from the airport to the hotel where we shared the shuttle with our president of the company and his wife. They are both very warm and friendly and it was a pleasure to share the ride together. We arrived at Queen Victoria Hotel. The nice M.E., our event manager, was at the lobby to greet us. We got checked in and guided to our room. The staff are very polite and attending again. What has not become ordinary to my eyes is the patterns. The giraffe pattern of the carpet, the zigzag pattern on the chair. The big five on the currency notes which is really cute, like the lion on the 100 Rand. I could sleep in the plane for about 3 hours and got up stuffed and sneezing. And now I feel sick in my stomach. But hopefully it will go away soon. We were thinking to go for a tour of the Table Mountain, even got tickets, but then g to informed that because of the strong wind they had shut it down for the afternoon. It is likely that due to very high waves we won't be able to go to shark cage either. We shall wait and see. We got to talk to our friends whom A is staying with. Our friend E.S. had kindly sent us a couple pictures of A, all happy and content. It was a very thoughtful gesture and we really appreciated it. He is not talking on the phone though which is nothing new; he never was good with phone communications. He just talked very briefly yesterday when we called him from London. Yet it makes me feel insecure with his thoughts and feelings. I want to think that he will appreciate a conversation in a while.

Air - London to Cape Town

It is in the middle of the night. M is asleep, thanks to the sleeping pill. And our president and his wife who are sitting in the row in front of us seem also quite. I feel tired but can't sleep yet. The dinner in the plane was unexpectedly great! Granted I was hungry. Yet it was unmistakably good!! A tasty mushroom and apple soup artisticly seasoned and a very fresh salad. The flight attendant is really attending and polite. It seems like he doesn't feel that he is doing you a service, he seems to like to serve and satisfy. It is a refreshing experience actually, especially after flying United. I watched Carnage and The Descendent and The Muppets. Liked The Descendent very much. Made my eyes tearful at times. Thankfully we got to go to London for a couple hours and we had the honor of meeting my dear Sh.K. And her family, and particularly got acquainted with their lovely 1.5 year old son. It was too short but too sweet a visit.

Friday, April 20, 2012

On Board to London

It feels like I have left part of my heart behind. A is probably at the kids concert right now with our friends and their kids; yet I cannot stop but wonder: is he happy? What is he thinking about this trip of both of his parents with him left behind? I know it is strange, this feeling inside, as I have gone through this exact leg of trip to London in the past summer for a week of business travel. And I was fine. I did miss him but I was looking forward to the experience, even to being away for a few days. This is a proof to me of how much I am relying on M while I am gone. Now, because of all of his past support he gets to go to this trip of a life time with me and I am thrilled, yet I cannot ease my head about A. I shall let go and let God, as Wayne Dyer might say. I pray for his well being and his heart to have a great experience with himself... I am thinking about him none stop though. I know I will want to buy anything I see if I find it interesting to him. But I won't. M and I will meet my dear Sh.K. In London Ina few hours. And of course her husband and now 1.5 year old son. So looking forward to this visit.

On Way to "Trip of a Life Time"

Bitter ... Sweet ...
Bitter missing A.
Sweet being with M.
Bitter missing A.
Sweet experiencing a far far away land.
Bitter missing A.
Sweet submerging in a land of unknown with totally foreign languages.
Bitter missing A.
Sweet being in the south hemisphere for the first time.
Bitter missing A.
Sweet getting to see the sunrise in the safari.
Bitter missing A.
Sweet getting to see all these majestic animals up close.
Bitter missing A.
Sweet getting the time to contemplate on the beautiful land of God.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Midnight Working Mom

A's backpack - check
A's carry-on - check
Mommy's backpack - check
Mommy's luggage - check
A's booster seat - check
A - check
Mommy - check

This is how I started and concluded my most recent business trip.

I had to go to San Diego to visit a customer.  The order had come from above from the Director of Sales.  Of course, I always jump at any excuse to go to where my dear R.N. is anyway; right now it happens to be San Diego.
The meeting was set for a Monday afternoon at the beginning of A's Spring Break.  Add to all these another fact: The Legoland is just north of San Diego and A and I had never been there.

So, a mommy and sunny son weekend getaway was engineered to be followed by a business meeting.

A and I left Bay Area in Saturday afternoon and headed straight to R.N.'s house in San Diego where I got greeted by a cup of artfully made chai, mmm mmm.  R.N. and one other friends of hers had crafted a surprise birthday party for yet another dear friend.  Soon after our arrival we started getting ready for this Hawaii themed surprise birthday party.  At one point me, R.N., and the birthday girl, who thought we were just heading out to dinner for her birthday, were standing in front of a mirror making the last alterations to our make ups and hair dues.  We make recommendations on colors and liners once in a while; we learned new tricks and tested new trends; we all looked sharp and nice; such fun time it is to be spent with all the girls!

The joyful Hawaiian-themed birthday party had Persian food, Indian music and dance, and all sorts of people from around the globe.  This is California!

The next day R.N. made me yet another cup of artfully made chai and A and I headed to the Legoland.  We got there just a few minutes past the opening time and spent more than 7 straight hours hopping from one ride to another.  A particularly enjoyed the Build and Test time where he made several different kinds of cars and raced them and won the race 90% of the time.  He learned the concept of symmetry and the magic it imposes in guiding the car to slide down straight rather than biased to one side or the other.  He got to ride a junior car all by himself which was such fun he rode it twice.  We rode the dinasour ride and the dragon ride and the free-fall ride.  I realized that I am not as fearless as a few years ago about the rides.  Yet, after overcoming my anxiety in the first ride, I like to have more and more adrenalin pumps.  Still, I doubt if I would appreciate many of the Six Flag rides in a few years when he prefers to go there. A played a game and won a stuffed animal, a green turtle.

The next day I worked for most of the day while A made himself busy with different activities and many episodes of Wallace and Gromit on Netflix.  We enjoyed an ocean view lunch in The Goldfish Point Cafe.  A got to see his favorite sea animal, the seals.  My business trip meeting got conducted successfully and finally R.N.A, and I had dinner in a local diner by the ocean.

Tuesday morning we headed back to the Bay Area.

A's backpack - check
A's carry-on - check
Mommy's backpack - check
Mommy's luggage - check
A's booster seat - check
A - check
Mommy - check
Turtle - check

I hope my A reads these one day; just to know how I marvel in being with him, and how I am filled with happiness when I see joy in his eyes.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Hunger Games (2012)

Ingeniously guile; Vainly hopeful!
Oh the man's vanity; timeless! endless!

The Hunger Games depicts a future nation, where hovercrafts and hovering spaceships seem to be the main means of transportation, where people still seem to live in families with parents and children, where there is still a Mr President to choose the destiny of the people, where there is this antidote ointment that cures a third degree burn in the matter of hours.
Then in this world the eyelashes are "beautified" with make up to pink and purple and green and blue, and attached pair of crafted leaves, or tiny butterflies.
Well, eyelashes are supposed to be black I think.  They are more beautiful in my eyes when they are more black than not, and in the words of many poets that I know.
Unnatural Hair-dues and hair colors are already not too foreign even in our time; the unnatural hair colors are already natural.
That all makes me ponder on the sense of art and beauty.  Does it change as human evolves?
Then there seems to be backwardly kept places in this future time where people actually look like people but they are bred to play in an annual game for the amusement of the butterflied-eye-lash-ed people of the Capitol.  A game where the contestants get chosen to use their survival skills to win a life of hunger, with only one to win, with all the rest to die or to get killed.  Mr President and the director of the game choose how to manipulate the scenes, of course, how to create creatures with the tap of a finger, they choose to act like God.

I fear this future.  I get it.  IF.  If the world gets to this point.  If the life becomes a game (isn't it?) and then if that game becomes a matter of survival(wasn't it for ever?).  If the looks of the children of man become so unnatural.  If the colors get used so mixed up.
But why should one think like this; genius!  One should sit down and create such an ugly world and engineer such a cleverly cunning game. Then many read that created book and then many manufacture a movie based on it and then many want to pay to spend a few hours of their precious lives watching it.  That makes me wonder actually. "Hope is stronger than fear"!  Indeed.  Yet why should one breed anymore to have a blue-eye-lashed child or a child to battle a hunger game?

Indeed, this is nothing new.  Human being seems to always have felt some sort of satisfaction by observing distress of others; especially when they can choose, with the turn of a finger, the destiny of another man:
The combats of gladiators with another man or a beast;
fast forward to hockey where head and face injury is the norm in the life of the players and is marveled by the heart of many observers,
fast forward to future, where "The World is Watching" The Hunger Games.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Hope in Secretly Wishing

There is hope; as long as you desire, as long as you long.  There is the hope for your wishes to come true, one day, somehow.
There is hope while keeping these desires and longing a secret.
However, once the secret is revealed, when the exposed secret wishes are granted, they are accompanied with ingenuity.
Then, there remains no hope that one day, somehow, the wishes will come true.  The hope is replaced with resentment.

Friday, April 6, 2012

My Recent School Activities

A Farm Field Trip
I volunteered and then got picked to be one of the five chaperons to take the class to a farm to watch the newly born farm animals last week.  I had five kids to watch, A included of course.  Mind you, it was a draining and humbling experience to watch a chaotic group; got me to appreciate teachers even more!!  There were no naughty kid in my group, no teasing, no messing around, there were just five kids; and are unpredictable.  It was a rather cold day too but it was an awesome experience.  A was thrilled.  Not only because the school started later that day but also because his mom was going to be with him at school and through the day trip.  He had a blast for sure.  Thank God we had no accident in our group.  At one point though C ran away and me and the Farm Lady had to run after him and bring him back.  I like C very much!  He is a shorter boy in the class, he talks with a little bit of a stutter and a bit of face twitch, and he is very bright and sensitive.  All in all, glad I could make the trip; not sure if I will do it again.

Art Vistas
I volunteered for the Art Vistas session in April; I am done with it today and it was a very easy day.  First off it was on the Good Friday when our company has it as a holiday.  So I leisurely went to school not worrying about all the unattended emails and phone calls from the offive.  Then, I hardly had any responsibility except to prepare the desks with art papers and then walk around and observe and comment on the drawings. The subject was Houses.  And the kids came up with very imaginative house ideas.  A's was The Rainbow House.  There were a bunch of Boat Houses.  There was a shapeless black mass in the middle of a blue background drawn by T, he said it was a Wobbly House and he thought you could FEEL that it wobbled! T is the scientist in the class, I can tell; and he is going to win the Physics Olympiad one day, we shall wait and see.  My favorite though was drawn by N, it was a green house with a purple window and a brown chimney and no door.  He said proudly "it has no door because you need to put up a ladder and climb down the chimney".  Loved the idea!!
Later during recess my C boy had an accident in the sandbox where sand got into his eyes.  His tears broke my heart.  He is such an innocently lovely boy!  He went to the nurses office and came back happily of course.  That is what being 5-6 year old mean.
The other news of the day was how F's mom, who was also volunteering, told me that F had a crush on A!!  That she thought he was very cute.  That at first she had said that she liked A very much and later had said that she loved A!!  Oh my!  But you know?  F is the cutest most precious girl in the class if you ask me.  She always dresses very nicely and cares about her appearance.  She knows she is cute.  I think her mom is originally from far east and his dad is Caucasian white so she has very big black eyes and the cutest face.  So, as the mother of the boy, I am actually giddy about this!!  Gosh I can imagine F's mom is not as happy being the mother of the girl.  Especially since A is such an indifferent boy in the class!!
I think I am done with my school assignments this year.  Next will be the end of school art exhibition or something that I am planning to go in June.