Monday, December 30, 2013

Naghsh-e Jahan Square through My iPhone

Beautiful handy crafts albeit skyrocketed prices.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

Jaame' Mosque

Jaame' Mosque

Jaame' Mosque

Jaame' Mosque

Jaame' Mosque

Jaame' Mosque

Jaame' Mosque

Jaame' Mosque - it still echoes 7 times under the dome.

Naghsh-e Jahan Square

Belated Merry Christmas

At last I could go around the filters tonight and get access to my blog. Gosh! This trip has flown by too fast! Many talks, many thoughts.  I feel exhausted in fact. My mind is totally scattered I need some peace and quiet to think and reflect.  About where to live, about family, about work, about life.
I'm grateful for the time with family and friends. My A has discovered his cousins! He seems to really enjoy being with them, laughing and playing, and now missing them.
I found my eyes welled with tears this morning thinking about him missing it all. He is going to share my pain and it has been the last thing I wanted for him.
Oh! Lots to say! No chance to write in detail for now. But only some memories to remember via pictures.
Merry Christmas!
Happy 2014!!!
PS: no water in Zayanderood I didn't feel like going to the riverside this time at all. Wish it were different!!!  Hope it gets better!!!

Many decorated Christmas trees a Santa Claus status around the city

I like Isfahan City Center and Hyper Star a lot! Lots to shop for in the same spot.

Diaries of a Wimpy kid is translated to Farsi; very funny translation!

Pepsi and Coke are not part of the sanction! A puzzle!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

First Week Back Home

This is exactly a week since I arrived in Isfahan and exactly 6 days that I have been bedridden due to an awful flu.  I am feeling much better now but still my body is working on gaining energy back.
Blogspot and Facebook are blocked here.  Therefore, I don't have access to my weblog or FB.  As soon as I can install a VPN on my iPhone I will post these notes enshala.
I have been mainly home these days, resting and nesting.  I stopped by at the emergency room one morning and decided not to stay due to the long wait time.  That was the depth of my outing.
One morning, when everyone had left for work, I was standing in my mom's 4th floor apartment and watching the narrow street below. There were cars parked on both sides leaving room for only one car to pass. It was an honor system with traffic from both ways. It was working fine from where I was standing.
Standing at the window I could see all the way to Sofeh mountains and Kolaah Ghazi. It was a bright morning indeed. Then, suddenly, my thoughts were brokn when Mrs E, the middle aged woman who helps my mom with house chores, asked me "is there any hope for Iran?"! I turned around and exclaimed why she asked that. She said "you can see yourself! Things are awful lately. The inflation and the sanction on medicin. I cannot find the meds for my ill son. And when I do, they are very expensive and the insurance refuses to pay the bills after making us wait for six months.".
I listened having nothing to say back.
She continued with a smirk "I tell my daughter that I think Iran is worse than Afghanistan these days". I said I didn't know because I had never been to that region of the world.  She continued with her scrubbing.
I looked through the window again. Cars making their way through the parked cars. People walking back home with bags full of purchased goods. Kids returning from schools. Life was flowing. Yet underneath people were suffering.  Suddenly I thought as if a dust of hopelessness had covered the city.
Damn this sanction!
But nothing will stay the same forever.
Now my M and A have joined us and we have a full house again. I'm feeling better little by little and hope to get out and explore some more.
My little m has her first tooth budding exactly at 24 weeks! Something to celebrate now!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Baby Kangaroo, The Dog, The Fish

There are several new guests arriving in the resort today.  Many speak Arabic and some English not sure where they are from.  I met only one other guy who spoke Farsi and was from Iraq.  I have heard some Hebrew and still the majority speaks Turkish. In fact, the company of these specific flags has fascinated me.

It seems like the Baby K is the only baby in the resort. She attracts lots of attention from men and women alike. People say maashaalaa to her and an older lady when held out her hands to receive her said besmellah. A lady pinned a Turkish dream catcher to her cloth.  All very kind and attentive to her.
In a very short stroll we had around the resort this afternoon a dog joined us in front of the hotel and walked with us all the way. He didn't have any leash or didn't seem owned by anyone but was very well behaved. He posed when I was taking a picture of the Baby K;

Finally, Baby K is really interested in the fish. In fact, the fish are my baby sitters. I leave her by the aquarium and sit down to have a Turkish coffee or some fennel tea.

We are leaving tomorrow. But we hope to come back next summer, all four of us, enshala!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Baby Tigger rather than Baby Kangaroo

Baby Kangaroo slept from 4AM till 1PM last night; i.e. this morning! I was trying for hours before that and no luck. Mama Kangaroo managed 5 hours of intermittent sleep for which she is still thankful.
We got to go to the city for a couple hours. Mama Kangaroo bought a few cloths. Fantastic design and relatively really inexpensive. I shouldn't have been shopped when in US really.

Mama Kangaroo bathed Baby Kangaroo single-pouched-ly! Only if she didn't get as slippery when wet and lathered!!
Mama Kangaroo had to devise an external pouch to feed her right on the bed.

And then Mama Kangaroo got herself a massage. She thought she well deserved it after the whole pregnancy and birth and all the tolls she had paid for this heaven-sent Baby Kangaroo.
Oh and the Baby Kangaroo loves to bounce now! If it was a Winnie the Pooh story she was Tigger rather than Roo.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Baby Kangaroo's 1st Passport Stamp

Baby Kangaroo got her first passport stamp: the Turkish custom.
We boarded in Frankfurt and it took us about three hours to get to Istanbul. The culture change was obvious as early as boarding the plane. People were really adoring my baby and were expressive about it in a different way. At the same time they were negligent about their surrounding. I had to make someone stop on his way for example when I was trying to put my backpack in the overhead bin otherwise everyone was passing right behind me in the narrow plane isle while I was holding the Baby Kangaroo too.
We landed in Istanbul last night around 5pm local time. I felt exhausted and yearned for a bed where I could allow my body to rest even if for an hour. But I knew I won't see a bed for another 6 hour or so.
When we were hopping in the as sway tunnel to the terminal I saw the form of a man waiting at the tunnel with the corridor light behind him. At the second glance I realized that it was my father.
Baby Kangaroo and grandpa met for the first time and Baby Kangaroo was completely content with this new acquaintance.

The Istanbul airport was busier than I ever imagined with many duty free shops many of which were American.  I knew I was in Europe and at the same time I knew I was in middle east.  It was interesting actually how the two cultured were mixed in the airport.  Perhaps it was the combination of brands and lights a d Christmas trees alongside people looking Turkish and some with Islamic attire.
We had a few Turkish Delight that were awesome.  My dad also invited me to ice cream which was fantastic. The sweetness of both were just right and not overpowering the way American sweets are.
Finally we were boarded on a plane again, this time to Ercan in Cyprus.  We are at a sea view suit with the sight and sound of the Meditrenean sea. There is a mountain chain right behind the city strip so the city is between the sea and the mountain which reminds me of Nice. Beautiful!
It looks windy eve though I haven't been outside yet.
The hospitality and professionalism of the staff along with the taste and choices of the breakfast buffet reminds me of Budapest and Iran and South Africa. The service industry has gone south in America compared to all these other places.
Baby Kangaroo slept through the night with only two wakings. At the beginning though she would wake up every time I tried to leave her in bed in order to brush and change so I was chained to her for about two hours. Well. That's the reality of a Mama Kangaroo any way. She seems pretty content otherwise and smiles at all the people around her who seem to adore her much already.
PS: while the lobby pianist was playing Happy Birthday :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mama Kangaroo In the Air

Hi again! It's me. Mama Kangaroo. Baby Kangaroo is asleep, laying in a bassinet while wrapped in her blanket.

I'm glad daddy gave me the blanket in the last minute, I hadn't planned to take it from the car but its great that I have it. They gave me a United blanket which is fine to cover the not-so-clean bassinet but not nearly suitable for Baby Kangaroo.  I wiped the whole thing down with Clorox wipes. (Well my dear A.M., seems like even the easy going Mama Kangaroo can feel uneasy at times ;) ) Then I laid the thick big blanket on top of it. It covers then bottom and all the sides. Perfect thinking daddy!
I have a fantastic news to share: I have an isle seat and the seat beside me is unoccupied. Well, at least not occupied with a human. Here is a photo from earlier so you get a sense:

Baby Kangaroo has made friends with the old couple on the other side of the isle and ALL the flight attendants. She already bas a United pin. She has explored the economy plus and economy cabins peeking over her pouch, she has had one special baby meal and had several nursing sessions, and already p--ped three times.  They might all have been only one p--p but since Mama Kangaroo is worried about diaper rash and unexpected turbulences that would glue us buckled up in the seats, she has been changing the Baby Kangaroo at the first sign of anything.
OK. Enough of the P word stories.
I have stocked on chilled boiled water while airborne: As soon as Baby Kangaroo fell in a deep enough sleep to be transferred to the bassinet I headed to the galley and requested two cups of hot water. I kept them on the seat tray to chill for the possible future formula events. I'm out of the liquid kind. They were too heavy to pack more than two of. I have the pouched dry kind that again was provided by daddy. I have not been a baby formula expert. But I suspect I will become one after this trip ;) I aimed the air nozzles on the cups of hot water to help them chill faster and finally poured them in the baby bottle and an extra container I'm carrying with me.  So far no spill overs. Score!
Gosh I'm hungry. I managed having a little of my lunch with my left hand while nursing Baby Kangaroo. Oh! They turned the lights back on. Breakfast time. Uh oh! Baby Kangaroo is wiggling in her bassinet.  She shall be up soon.

Introducing Mama Kangaroo

I present to you Mama Kangaroo. That, in fact, is me.  I have boarded the plane carrying the little angel in a baby carrier and found myself living the rest of my life carrying her like a kangaroo. So I thought a name change on my birthday could be timely actually.  I had her buckled up in her carrier while I folded her stroller at the door, we boarded with a backpack, a blanket, and my jacket.  Managed to change our seat, carry and then store the stuff we brought on board in the overhead bin, rock her around the cabin while the plane finally decided to move away from the gate, and harness her during take off.  Mama Kangaroo even used the bathroom while baby Kangaroo was in her pouch, looking around the airplane washroom as if she had boarded a shuttle ship.
Frankly at times I felt more like a Mama Octopus.  For example when during take off Baby Kangaroo started acting like she was hungry, again.  It was not feasible to nurse her in that situation of Kangaroo-ness. So instead, I brought down my backpack from the bin with two hands, took out the ziplock of formula supplies I had packed for the occasion with one hand, opened the zipper with another hand, took out the baby bottle with another hand, unscrew the nipple with another hand, shook and then opened the seal of the baby formula with two other hands, poured the formula in the bottle with another hand and screwed the top with yet another hand all the while I was trying to keep the baby Kangaroo calm ... less noisy. It was in the middle of this mission that I felt like an octopus.  But then I thought Mama Kangaroo was more prestigious.
Mama Kangaroo! That's me.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The 1st Day of the Last Month 2013

At long last m's and my stuff are packed for a four-week trip.  We are headed to Istanbul and then Ercan in Cyprus for a few days of absolute vacation.  It was a last minute invite from my dad.  I'm excited and worried and melancholic about it. Excited because it will be my first time in Cyprus and I marvel in visiting new places. Worried because it is m's first plane ride and long distance trip and I am the only adult in charge. Melancholic because M and A won't be with us and I will miss them badly I'm sure.
We will then all travel to Isfahan to introduce my little angel to the rest of the family. I can't wait to be at my mom's!
Given my two segmented trip and traveling with an infant it took me a couple days to pack. I'm almost done thanks to M who came to the rescue in the last hours.
I will be traveling on my birthday. I had travelled on my birthday before, twice, but both times I was traveling home. This time I am leaving home which makes me feel lonely on my special day.  My new boss has asked for a breakfast meeting on the day too which adds to the anxieties of the eminent trip.
I am looking back at the year that was granted to me:
Last year at around this time I was awfully busy with work and awfully nauseous with pregnancy.
This year at around the same time I have launched two products globally, have hired a direct report to help with my busy works and help me grow in management, and have more launched and product developments to look forward too. I have a 23 week young baby girl. And I have a healthy family and loving friends.  I am thankful for it all!
This year I have new visions and aspirations for future. I'm praying for the best. I'm looking forward to it all!  May God have the future easy on us!
Happy December!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Welcome Home Mommy

I came home late from a long day at work to find my feeding my little m.  As soon as my little angel heard me she started laughing and pumping her fist and kicking her leg while laying in her rocker.  She obviously was very excited and happy even to have heard my voice. When I picked her up she started "talking" by making very sweet noises and sometimes squeaking excitedly.  She contently stayed with me while I carried her around and even as I ate my dinner.  I was telling M about my day and she made noises in response.  She was very sweet and even though I missed her and I felt bad knowing that she had missed me too it was one of the best mommy moments in my life!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Christmas Hanukkah Yalda

Since Christmas coincides nicely with the longest night of the year that we celebrate as Yalda we decided to give Yalda cards for the holidays this year and hopefully for the years to come.
I have realized that Hanukkah is being advertised and celebrated more publicly these days. I think it rhymes very nicely with the festivities of the Christmas Holidays. At around the same time we Iranians celebrate Yalda, the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. We celebrate the light conquering the darkness. We recognize that even though till then the length of night was increasing, from then on the length of the day increases and spring is in sight. We cherish how darkness, even though trying, can never prevail. We celebrate the hope and beauty of light.
It is as if we are keeping all these meanings and celebrations to ourselves. It is indeed a Persian celebration but how nicely it alludes into the spirit of Christmas and Hanukkah.  Yalda is more ancient than them both and  I think Yalda can very well be recognized more widely.  How about giving away Yalda cards for the holidays?
Imagine a card with the pictures of pomegranate and Hafez and Shahnameh poetry books and nuts in the middle of red and green cards of Santa Claus and blue and white cards with Menorah.  It will be festive, peaceful, united, and global. It will be understanding and accepting. It will expand horizons and exude friendship.
I wish you all happy holidays in advance!

Christmas tree Why decorate the Christmas Tree?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Missing Me when Missing You

I miss you and I miss me through you.  I miss how you look at me because I miss how I look to you.  I miss how you make me feel. I miss how you make me talk. I miss how you make me feel heard.
I miss being with you.  Perhaps I miss being me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

People are not Always Listened To

We were blessed with rain yesterday. It rained well into the night.  It was lively and refreshing. Particularly after the hazy grey day we had the day before as if dust had covered the horizon. I can imagine the fresh morning of tomorrow.
It amazes me how people of sunny California express dislike toward rain, even hate sometime. It amazes me how ignorant they can be toward the fact that we need the water if assuming that is the only benefit. People believe that they are entitled to have sunny days in California. They don't care about rain; they know somehow from somewhere water will flow from faucets even though we get drought warning almost every summer.
Thank God for the rain! Thank God for the compassionate sky which like it or not will send rain drops to the thirsty ground so humans can drink and refresh. Thank God that people are not always listened to.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mommy and Son Artwork on A Saturday

We had a nice mommy and sunny son time this evening: playing with doughs. A got a set of four clays in the birthday party he attended earlier today and made a plane and a car with them. The next things he made were some snails which were racing each other. At this point all the four clays were mixed into one giant ball. I remember we used to combine the play doughs too, making a huge mixed-color ball.  A invited me to make a snake with him and join the race but I made still life instead.  He was impressed.
He got inspired at this point and made a solar system! Such an artist I have as a son!

Now. Let's have some tea!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just Get up and Move

Perhaps the most important step toward any goal is to take a step.  Status quo may be safer, may be most familiar and most convenient; But it is status quo. If you are already at your destination then feel free to stay put. If not, shake it up. Get up and take a step or two. Staying is at odds with anticipation of new achievements.
There are risks to be taken. There are hurdles to be conquered.  There are muscles to be built. There are lessons to be learned. There are paths to be changed, modified.
Finally, there are goals to be achieved. Take the step now.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Life is Complete the Way It Is

My cousin who has just come back from Iran called today "while still smelling like Iran". He said he had a great time taking care of his aging parents and visiting family. Now that he was back he found things were too orderly here it was boring to him. In Tehran, he noted, the days were alive with people talking to, arguing with, and even shouting at each other because they were noticing things and each other. Never a dull moment while traveling in the huge city taking care of the daily chores he said. Of course being with family was all full of energy.
I know what he is talking about. Life is easy here. Thank God for a paying job. Things are indeed too orderly here, the walks, the drives, the shopping, the never talking people, it can be boring.
He joked that we were expelled to exile.
I told him I thought about this sometimes, about what was gained now that I was here and what was lost.
"Life is complete as is", my cousin claimed. One should believe in it. It is complete as is when driving in the traffics of Tehran or spending a lonely Sunday afternoon thinking about your scattered friends around the world in San Jose. Life is complete when at 9pm your son has not finished his homework after a long weekend. Life is complete when you spend the whole day on solving a problem and by the end of the day you are not even one step closer to the solution, or so it feels. Life is complete when you get to chat with a friend from Australia after more than a decade. Life is complete even when it feels lonely, boring, incomplete. Life is complete.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hiking in Castle Rock State Park

This was m's first mountainous hike.  She seemed to have a good time, looking around and humming with herself while being carried by daddy.
The hike was medium in difficulty. There were climbing boulders involved that were manageable for A but worrisome at times with M carrying m.
Apparently the park is famous for its rocks and there were quite a few rock climbers participating in the adventure.
We had the pleasure of friends' company. It was a great hike, slightly challenging at times in a fabulous fall weather.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Betraying Love

Difficult is the recognition
If someone believes in you or betraying you is their mission
Realize that there has never been a betrayal
But a mismatch of expectation
It might hurt to hear what was kept hidden
Yet, it leads to liberation
There is an inner most private place that allows reflection
The instinct for contemplation
In friendship, close your eyes
In love, caution

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I do not Belong Here

It is a Halloween night.  I am staying home with a headache and a bitter taste in my mouth. I cannot wash it with however many candies I eat.  I eat nothing. I decide to do nothing too. Perhaps tomorrow is a new day with a fresh taste. It is only 7PM and a long time till the next day.  I have to kill the time. I think of watching a movie instead.  A break. A time away from all the thoughts and all the feelings. I blindly follow the recommendation on Netflix: Safe Haven. I have read the book a couple years ago. One of those airport-bought books to read at the airport and to recycle at the airport too.  She flees away from her house; she stops at a small town and soon settles there. She falls in love and she finds what she was looking for. She finds what she deserves. She finds where she belongs. That's where the movie ends. That's where my next day begins.

Monday, October 28, 2013

An Inspiration from the Past

A haiku:

Rocks and mortar standing tall
Castle walls protecting all
Boundless imaginations

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When I Feel Defeated

"So many times it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive"

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I think I love to sit here by the fire; yet I love to put on a cozy jacket and head out to walk in the rising autumnal fog right now.
The high branches of the not so far trees suddenly look mysterious and majestic in the deep fog. Inviting for exploration, contemplation, meditation.
I put on a jacket on top of my robe and 

sit in the patio instead. It is rare for me to find such moment of peace at home. Everyone is still asleep. Surprisingly even my sunny son.  Perhaps because it is still hazy thanks to the fog.
Sipping on my (instant) coffee thinking. Deciding perhaps.
What I want to read first?
Chekhov or Maximum Influence?
Work on my short story or write in my blog?
I am just typing silently on my iPhone. The nature is ignoring me. I hear the hummingbird flapping, the robin's claws on the fence walking.  The blue jay pecking on mulch.  All these other birds I don't know chirping. Oh I just heard a rooster. And a dog barking. Gosh it is marvelous!

I feel compelled to make some decisions.
Whom do I want to be?
What do I want to do?
How do I define me?
What do I want to see when I look back in twenty years?
I need my diary.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sunglasses - A Short Story

She paused in her late morning hour to observe her day for a moment. She thought it was a busy day like most other busy days.  The main difference was that today she was going to meet him.  Noon hour was the agreed upon time.
She had originally proposed to meet a couple weeks ago but he declined and eventually rescheduled for today.  she had forgotten about what she wanted to tell him.  Whatever it was, it seemed unimportant now. But there was other things concerning her mind that she thought to share. But may be these would also deem unimportant in a few weeks.
While packing up her bag she received a text from him to meet in the patio of the cafe instead.  She sent a short response in agreement.  Then grabbed the sunblock and started applying it while walking to the door. At the exit door she realized she had forgotten to pack her sunglasses. She paused for a moment. She was already late. But he wanted to meet in the patio now and it was indeed a sunny day. She decided having a more comfortable lunch on the patio would perhaps increase the quality of their meeting, even if it was shortened by a few minutes.  Comfortable, however, was an ambitious wish for the meeting.
When she got there he was already sitting at a table. There was little patches if shade on the table provided by a neighboring tree.  He had hunched over his bowl of salad and some sort of meat. Healthy, she thought.
She approached the table from his left and casually apologized for her tardiness. He announced that it was a breezy day. It was indeed. She was enjoying feeling the wind in her hair now and thought why  he cared considering his short hair and long sleeve shirt.  She refrained from asking him.
She sat down with her dishes and started munching. She could hardly remember what possessed her to want to meet with him. To catch up yes. But that would take only a few minutes of sharing how she was and how her family was and how he was and how his family was.
He was finishing his salad. She was still playing around, finding small reasons to say something avoiding the eminent awkward silence awaiting their meeting.
She glanced at his wrist watch. Almost half an hour was remaining. She felt relieved knowing that she still had time yet anxious how to find the words to fill that time.
She couldn't read him. He looked calm, indifferent even.  The sun was on his face now and he made a shift in his sitting position. She was afraid to lose the moment. She was almost done with her meal.  Almost time to leave. May be it was best to leave now rather than starting the talk. What if she didn't tell him? Then he would find the meeting very boring perhaps. A waste of time. But what if she told him and later when she thought about it she realized that she exposed herself too much in her talk? She tend to do that.  After all the subject seemed utmost important now. How could she possibly prevent damage from this meeting?
Suddenly the moment arrived. It got triggered by his question. The question landed on her like an unexpected patch of shade. So she started telling him. All she could manage saying. She was not sure when to pause or if she should pause or if she wanted to pause. She wondered if she was crossing the line of confidence. At times she found her voice trembling ever so slightly. Her eyes welled with tears a couple times but she tried hard to sound professional and poised. But eyes. They can never betray.
She told him at last. Done.
He stood up to leave. She followed.  The meeting was officially over. Nothing more to say. Back to the usual life.
She started back trying to walk tall. Good that she was wearing her sunglasses.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Life Passing

Once upon a time there was a man who no longer is.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Change Oppotunity Growth

Once in a while I feel restless.  I feel unsettled in my skin.
Once in a while I find the "usual" boring, too little, even unacceptable.
Once in a while I need a little big change.
Some things are changing.  Some things have changed already. Now it is time for me to change too.
Perhaps I am just going through another growing pain.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Secret About Influence for An Immigrant

I have been reading a couple books on the subject of influence and unexpectedly I have made an amazing discovery: to be influential may be totally counterintuitive in different cultures. I see that particularly true for Persians living in the America.

Below are the specific examples I have found fascinating.
1) What may be considered being influential in the US, may be considered being nosy and even rude in Iran: asking people to tell you about their personal lives.
In The Art of Influence, there is a story about a bariesta that comes home with more tips in her pocket after a couple weeks of working at a cafe.  When inquired why, she claims that she had figured people out.  That people loved talking about themselves and one must just ask.  She explained that she asked the customers where they worked, how long their commute was, if they were married and had kids.
Well, ask the same string of questions in Iran and you either don't get any answer or get a question in response: why do you ask?
It is nosy and rude to ask people about their lives.  It is hard to trust one with that sort of information.
Amazing contrast!
2) What may be considered a commitment in the US, can be completely meaningless for an Iranian: asking people to provide a positive review on a product.
In the subject of dissonance and how it can be used to make commitment, I was thinking that it may not work in Iran. Iranians usually will tell people what they want to hear, not what is real in their hearts. They even offer it without you asking.  They complement you and your product even if they don't mean it.  It is called 'taarof'. Neither the customer nor the owner necessarily believe the complement.  It is just being "polite" and "nice".  So, I think endorsing a specific brand when asked by the owner doesn't necessarily generate commitment to support the brand in Iran, while it is more likely to do so in the US, especially when performed in written form.

PS: here are the books I read:
1) The Art of Influence by Chris Widener
2) Maximum Influence by Kurt W Mortensen

My m at 3.5 Months

My little m ahs and coos.  When she starts "talking", I talk back and sometimes try to immitate her.  Lately, when I try to make the noises she makes, she laughs at me!  I think she thinks to herself, what a silly mom!
She is still very "pushy" with her legs.  Maashaalaa she has really strong legs, when she starts kicking, one better duck.  She rolls now, and she pulls herself up to her midback craining her neck.
She still adores A.  Follows him around the room, even quiets down if she is crying.
She has started waking up too frequently in the middle of the night again and not going back to sleep.  I am sleeping even less and amazingly I feel completely numb to it.
When A was this age I used to read to him.  But I have not starting doing so with m yet and I am not happy with it.  It needs to be fixed!
She doesn't like sitting in her stroller.  She much preferred being carried in a baby carrier, facing out and watching the world.  I take daily/nightly walks with her and as she is growing bigger and heavier, the weight on my back is becoming harder to bear.  I feel I am losing hight under the weight!...

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Fall

The golden leaves of A's favorit tree are falling.
There is this huge tree in the front yard; I am not sure how old it is, but it surely has been here before many of the houses in the neighborhood.  A could watch it every morning from the window of his first room.  He once told me lovingly that it was his favorit tree in the whole world.  I told him it was mine too.  I suppose it was.  I am not sure if I called any tree my favorit in the past.
Its leaves have turned golden now.  They easily fall these days with any breeze.  Some fall slowly, taking turns and swirl before their final descent.  Some turn around themselves.  Some drop straight down.  But one thing is similar in every one of them: today, it is sad to watch them fall.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Little Joys of Womanhood

She was sitting in front of the big mirror by the window in the bedroom and the morning light was shining directly at her hair. She was trimming her eyebrows; tweezers in one hand, small mirror in the other, and the big mirror standing in front of me.  She turned slightly more towards the sun holding her little mirror in front of her eyes. The rays of sun were on her eyebrows now. With infinitesimal movements, She would see a new strand of hair on her forehead and eyebrows in the small mirror, each slightly different in color.  Black, darker brown, lighter brown, colorless.  Some thicker, some thinner.  Some longer, some shorter.
Tweezers in hand, she started examining each hair and its location and its relative location in comparison to the rest.  She had grown more fearless about shaping her eyebrows now after thirteen years of "womanhood". She started trimming.
When she thought the job was done, she looked in the big mirror. She saw a woman, smiling at her, with not so perfect eyebrows, but grateful for little joys of womanhood.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Little Joys of Life

The little angel, whom I am going to refer to as "m" going forward, adores my sunny son. When he is around, she watches him and follows him around with her eyes. Of course he is minding his own games, playing with his trucks and planes and as such. It is amazing how her look toward him is totally different than her look toward grown ups. It is as if she recognizes that he is a kid.
Some things never get better; so enjoy them as they are today.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Image of the Path

A friend was talking about the book Life of Pi.  He was surprised to find a few chapters of the book dedicated to the main character's (Pi) encounters with the religion of Islam.  He had found it interesting how the man who was introducing the faith to Pi was telling him that God was everywhere and was resembeled in everything.  My friend thought I had a similar vision toward things around me to which I made no claim.  He also said that one wont find similar sentiment toward God in Christianity.
Since this discussion, I cannot stop but wonder, how is it that this is not the image of the path in the eyes of an ordinary person?
An ordinary person for whom the media is the main source of information wont see anything but savage and opression in Islam.  I was thinking how even in the movie Life of Pi, Pi's contemplation in Hinduism and his encounter with Christianity was vividly shown, but the story about his encounter with the muslem old man who eventually allured him to accept Islam was completely cut short to only a few seconds.  Perhaps the producer was concerned with the public reaction if he stayed true to the book and showed the beauty Pi had seen in the path.
"We Prayed together and we practiced dhikr, the recitation of the ninety-nine revealed names of God.  He was a hafiz, one who knows the Qur'an by heart, and he sang it in a slow, simple chant.  My Arabic was never very good, but I loved its sound.  The guttural eruptions and long flowing vowels rolled just beneath my comprehension like a beautiful book.  I gazed into this brook for long spells of time.  It was not wide, just one man's voice, but it was as deep as the universe."
There is beauty in the world.


Happy harvesting!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Magnificent Iran

This is amazing, the political events of these past few days in the world.  It is amazing, like a dream come true, that the Iranian president and foreign minister talk in the international media and I don't feel like I wish they never did. In fact for the first time in my life as a person who took her first breath during the curfew just before the Islamic Revolution of Iran, I look at the recently elected president and listen to his policies and feel unashamed, even feel proud. For the first time since I have developed some sense of politics and world policy I find the elected president actually representing the people of Iran.
I can just dream what this can mean to the people of Iran and the world, these fresh, powerful, sincere talks of invitation for negotiation.  Perhaps the blue sky will be seen again in the cities of that land. Perhaps medicine and medical devices will be provided to the sick grandmas (my maamaan joon included) and dying children. Perhaps the embargo will be released and airlines will resume the denied services to the people of the world again. Perhaps the notion of Tehran will be "magnificent" again.

How to Deal with Annoying People

I have been dwelling on the subject of how to deal with annoying people. Imagine having an annoying person in your life. Imagine her sticking her nose in everyone’s' business especially where it is not her business. She is demanding and bossy all the time even where she is not the boss. She provides unsolicited advice; worse, she criticizes people at her leisure and especially in public. Her comments and publicized judgments not only cause annoyance, they cause hurt and provide damage sometimes.

I hope you have a quite horrid image of her in your head by now.

Now I just reaized that the secret in managing an annoying person is: not to consider her annoying.

Simple? Not really. Because, in my opinion, it is embedded in one's philosophy to find another person annoying. But then for the same reason it is possible to not feel annoyed by another person's action: One should change her philosophy about annoyance. And to do so, is only a moment's decision.

I have found peace and comfort since I have decided to consider these kind of people non-annoying.

Her unsolicited advice is only due to her lack of interpersonal skills and tact. So is her seemingly bossiness, and critical manners. She might actually have no idea how to communicate. She might not even know that she has this problem. That makes a lost soul, I am afraid. We have a proverb in Farsi that if I do my best to translate it, it says: "One who doesn't know that he doesn't know, is destined to remain in his ignorance forever".

I hope that now you have a quite benign image of her in your head. Just remember; she is benign.

Reading the Past

I wanted to write a couple of recent events in the journal I keep for my A. I started writing for him in this journal before he was born. Then continued with the most prominent events in his life, first real smile, first tooth, first word, first step, and do on; but also how I observed him as a baby and a kid: what he seemed to like, how he seemed to react. Mostly though I write about my feelings for him.  I am planning to give it to him at some point in the future. May be when he has his own child enshala, if I'm still alive.
I opened the notebook tonight but instead of writing I started reading. Soon I found it so vividly clear in my heart how I felt toward him back then.  I missed his babyhood so dearly suddenly.  He is grown and independent now.  It was a very perplex feeling, a new experience even, reading the notebook.
I want him a baby again. I want him to grow up too. And I want him to live a long life.
God be with you my sunny son!
I hope to cherish every moment of these days that you are still with us, chatting away about your silly dreams and wanting to be read to at bed time.
I think letting go is one of the hardest part of motherhood.

Friday, September 27, 2013

One Hour Walk

Living in California with fantastic weather all year round and it is hard to find a path that would give me an hour worth of walk from home.
I had a long day with a sick nanny who cancelled on me yesterday and a bunch of meetings. Working from home with a not-so-well baby I managed all the meetings and conference calls and spontaneous calls pretty well actually. It was a successful day job-wise. However, I needed a break from it all. So when M came home late in the afternoon I tool the chance to flee the house.  Destination? Wherever that would give me one hour worth of walk. The furthest I could go before hitting the highway (well, that's what's good about where we live: strategic access to two main highways) was Starbucks but it only gave me 20 minutes of walk. Still I know if any of the neighbors decided to go there they would ride their cars. This is America.
Anyways, I ordered a 250 cal Chocolate Chai Latte and I regret it the moment I finished calling the name. Yet didn't withdraw. I wish i had. Sipping from it I was sure it didn't worth it.
I must say it is a boring Starbucks. At a glance, not that I am much in the mood to chat, no body interesting is sitting around. I'm going to just read my book a bit before taking the 20 minutes walk back.
I'm reading this book "The Art of Influence" by Chris Widener. So far so good. Like it. Both the narration and the tiny story behind and the "Golden Rules of Influence" suggested.  It's a tiny book I have been reading for almost 1.5 weeks given my very limited time to study lately.
So far I have read and implemented two of the golden rules:
1) living an undivided life of integrity
2) always demonstrate a positive attitude
The latter is a piece of cake for the Sagittarius that I am. That's what we are: positive.  At least for bigger part of life.
Wondering if I could find a one hour path around the house that's enjoyable.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ain't This Life?

"When destiny calls you
You must be strong"

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Fire Within

It burns but just the soul.
It has always been yet, except only for one or two people, no one cared to understand it. After all, it was burning, and it will burn. There apeared the risk.  It was intimidating.  Hence, keeping the distance, ignoring it, putting it off.  
As life happened it covered and faded its presence but never chilled.  It was just not to be revealed.  It silently exists.

Friday, September 20, 2013


She was sitting on a chair by the curbside after taking a long walk. She had her notebook open; a cup of tea that was almost chilled and a pen in her hand.   No word written.
The memories were faintly circulating in her head. She remembered how hard it was back in the time to think of those cheerful events and bright feelings as memories. She thought all would remain in her head as bright as the sunlight. But then the dust of time sat on her mind and she couldn't remember how she was feeling, thinking, comprehending.
All she had now was a notebook full of white papers and a head full of fainting memories.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Persian Awesomeness

Today at Los Gatos Farmers' Market :)

Persian cucumbers are gone

Friday, September 13, 2013

Goodbye Maternity Leave

This was the last week of my maternity leave. I am going to resume work after just 13.5 weeks outside the job on Monday, enshala. My little angel will be only 12 weeks young when I resume work.
It was a tough week:
First my mom left forcing me to adjust to managing my new life by myself, and then I heard that my supportive boss was resigning. It feels like a complex time for him to leave, exactly when I am coming back to work after several weeks.  My nanny started working this week which added the stress of managing and training her. It was really rough and frankly overwhelming at times.
But then, a God-sent gift: my cousin arrived from New York.
She is a lovely and smart person. She is a few years younger than me and has been in the US practically her whole life. I take pride in her, watching her grow from afar and becoming this successful independent young lady with a very kind soul.
I'm thankful for her visit, being here exactly when I needed her moral support. She listened to me and my dreams and my worries genuinely and then lift my spirit by all her kind words counting my strengths and boosting my confidence.  God bless you my dear cousin!
Now I am trying to resume my trust, in the universe and its intents. Stepping into the new unknown. Excited and I know I can do it, enshala. And I surely miss my 12 months of maternity leave in Canada.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lets Have Some Tea

It's getting milder and still feels warm and inviting for a stroll in the big park. The lake is still housing the geese. Or may be they are permanently settled. There is a Japanese garden with manicured plants and ponds filled with red fish. They say they bring luck and prosperity I think.  I would pack a little snack but I prefer to just sit down in the tea garden and sip some tea with you.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I Love That Land

A: "I want to go to Iran. Not because it is smelly [he means polluted thanks to awfully refined gas"; not because people talk a different language [i.e. his mother tongue!!]; not because it is on the other side of the world; but because my grandparents are there."
"Even if Iran is nothing but a damaged land
Still, I love that damaged land"
Or something like this:
اگر ايران بجز ويران سرا نيست
من آن ويران سرا را دوست دارم

Artichoke Heart

Yesterday my mom had an artichoke heart salad and seemed to really enjoy it. Great! Now every time I have artichoke heart I'm reminded of her too.
I wish she hasn't have to go. And I'm whining like a little girl. But I am her little girl who is a mother of two now.
I just wish ...

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Sorrows of An Immigrant

The most hurtful fact of immigration.
It literally pains thinking about my mom's departure in a couple days, to leave her at the airport, to come back to a house with an empty guest room.
It all started with the departure.
I left Iran for the first time in the fall of 2000.  I packed all the things I really liked and left them in a storage, let my parents drive me to the airport and then left them behind the glass doors to the departure gates.  My grandma also came to the airport, sighing every once in a while. She has grown much older now, has suffered a stroke since, and looks more wrinkled.
I have lost many great moments since. Many births, many marriages, some losses.
It is a long time thirteen years. My brothers, then twins and teens, have grown to be young men now.  My parents have matured.  My sisters have married.
I have missed a lot. And it feels really sad thinking about it. Worse, I am missing more and more everyday.
I don't want my mother to leave. But she doesn't want to miss things. So she is going to go back.  I am going to come back to an empty guest room and continue missing, dwelling in the sorrows of the immigrant that I am.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Feeling Like A Couple Again After the Kids

M and I got to spend a solid four hours together today. It feels good!
At Monterey today, my dear mom took A to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a few hours. M and I passed lest with the little angel our time would be spent attending to her. Instead, we walked the Cannery Row for a few times.
We started the walk chatting about a couple hurts, acknowledging them and clearing our minds for only 5 minutes or so.  Then we strolled around; window shopped a bit, tried some sea salt taffies, had a marvelous Cappuccino at the Happy Girl's Kitchen, and bought a couple souvenirs.  After a few hours I realized we had not talked about A, had attended to the baby only a couple times, and mostly had spent our time being together; we were simply a couple again.  It felt as if we hadn't had such time for a long long time and suddenly it felt really refreshing.
Funnily as soon as we united with my dear mom and A all the cajoling and A talking resumed. That made the past few hours as a couple even bolder, more precious.  I feel charged up for a while now. Feels great actually!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Best in Town

He did it, starting a business I mean, from scratch and with very little monitory investment albeit huge stamina.
I feel proud of my brother.
He was always full of ideas. Many people are perhaps. But his ideas were big yet achievable. As I watched him grow and the years passed, I witnessed how he was getting closer: in the end 1) he knew what he wanted to do and could explain it 2) he seemed to know how to do it 3) he seemed to know he could do it.
Now he started a new business despite all the hurdles. He showed flexibility when hardship surfaced. He showed perseverance when things failed. And he showed leadership by guiding the village to raise his baby business. I am sure it is the best in town.
Now, he is looking at the next business and I know he can do it. So very proud of him!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Real Taste or the Taste of Real

Suddenly I had both kids kind of sick. The little angel had her two-month-check-up and had to take a slew of vaccines which made her completely drowsy for about 6 hours. Then when I picked up A from school I realized he was not his usual self either. He said he had not eaten nor did he play at lunch, because he missed us he said. But I knew there was something wrong with his well being.
At home I monitored both kids for a few hours regularly and thank God neither developed fever. They just remained drowsy and energy less.
While laying lazily on the couch, A asked for the same soup I had made him last time he was sick. And so I did. Then I decided to bring down the big bulky juicer and make him some "fresh" apple juice. The kind that always reminded me of my childhood when my mom made us fresh juice. The kind with a natural froth that made mustaches for us. I felt delighted to make fresh juice for A actually.
After he took a sip he put the apple juice aside. He claimed that it didn't taste like the ones from store! So he didn't like it!!
Ah! My broken heart.
I said "yes honey. It doesn't taste like the store-bought juice. It's "fresh"!"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to be a Perfect Mother

"I know she loves me because she kisses me every time she leaves the house". This is what A wrote in the card he made for me at school for the Mother's Day this past May.  Interestingly, despite the nagging feeling of guilt, "leaving the house" wasn't of any guilt-worthy thought in him.  More interestingly, I know I kiss him every time I leave him because of me, not because of him really.
Talking to A today about simple subjects of the day, I realized, despite the imperfect nature I naturally possess, what radiates the perfect love to my kids is being "present" with my loving them. To simply love them for me, in my own way. To really see them, hear them, feel them, and cherish it all in my heart. To really watch A when he tells me that he swam in the 8 feet section of the pool today, to see my little angel when she eagerly suckles the milk, to simply listen to A when he tells me about his day dreams, to eagerly memorize the cooing noise the little princess makes.  To be with them when I am with them.  They feel it!
Moreover, it is the quality of life I live and they witness that is keenly obvious  to them, that they will remember when they think of their childhood later in life. As Alison Tate wrote in Huffington Post blog, "What our children will remember about us is how we lived our lives, how we worked, what we loved, and how we shared that love".
I hope to, and pray to God to help me, be present in my life and in my loving my kids. I strive to really give them my full attention every moment I spend with them. I endeavor to "be".  I think this is the main and simple and most innate way to prove my love to my kids. I hope they attest to my love for them when they think of me for all the Mother's Days to come, whether or not I am with them.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Happy Wet Feet

By The Pacific Ocean
November 2007

By The Pacific Ocean
August 2013
He is growing too fast.

"Rome, Tehran, Tokyo"

In an ad campaign for Hilton Hotels, "Magnificent cities" was the description used by Don Draper for Rome, Tehran, and Tokyo in the same sequence in Mad Men, Season 3, Episode 9. 1963.
2013. Exactly 40 years later, and there is no more any Hilton Hotel in Tehran.  In fact, who would think about vacationing in Tehran except for Iranians and some very rare tourists?  Who would put magnificent and Tehran in the same sentence? How often would one think of Rome and Tehran at the same time?
Alas! I can't stop but wonder how the world could be if there still was a Hilton Hotel in Tehran. Perhaps I was still living there, just blocks away from  my beloved mom and sister. Perhaps the sky of the cities in the land of Persia was still blue and not hazy with dust. Perhaps Iran was listed in the drop down menu of Expedia. Perhaps my kids could read and comprehend Ferdowsi's poem yet I was not reciting it in my head dozens of times every day:
دريغ است ايران كه ويران شود
كنام پلنگان و شيران شود
Alas if Iran is destroyed
Alas if Iran is housed by leopards and lions

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Midnight Mocha

A late night hot dark chocolate added to an earthy South African coffee with extra foam, listening to the sound of waves crashing on the beach.
It feels safe and serene; kids tucked in their beds in the rooms not far from the porch. He is not too far either, just fast asleep drifting in his lala land.  His skin is hot and smooth covering his manly limbs.
She doesn't mind staying up the whole night, watching the midnight sky, listening to the ocean, and writing in her notebook.
Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to travel far and explore wide. She started from Barcelona.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Notes from A Woman with A Bump: Loving the Emptied Bump

I just realized how hard I was to and how thankful I am for this empty bump. And I owe it to Grace.
I attended a Yoga for Moms class the other night. I invited my mother to go with me.  After a long time I got to leave home sans bebe for two full hours and frankly, it was a blessing by itself.  I missed my babies dearly by the time I was driving back home while I left anxiously yet happily the second my car was off the driveway.
I hadn't practiced yoga for a good 9 weeks.  The last time I went to a prenatal yoga class I was so big I couldn't see my toes and my chest didn't have much room to breathe.  It was good to be allowed to do some moves laying on my belly after a long while.
It was particularly great that everyone there were moms: tired, worried, grateful, overwhelmed, open, and needing the company of others, and needing to focus on their body for an hour or so.
It was a blessing to have Grace as our instructor. It was the first time I met her but I could tell she was a genuinely graceful person from the way she welcomed me and my mother to her class.  She was considerate and focused.  It was indeed a nice yoga practice through her guidance.
Then something unexpected happened: during the savasana, the end meditation session, she asked all to put one hand on their heart and one on their belly and feel the breath laying down on their back. So far the routin. Then after a few moments she asked the moms who recently had given birth to put both hands on their belly and give thanks to the empty space housing our babies for 9 months. She brought our attention to this void, noted how we carried our babies in this space the same way our mothers carried us and how their mothers carried them. How this lineage went back in time.
Feeling the empty bump, I found tears coming down my cheeks; I felt like really crying. I was oblivious to this seemingly obvious fact let alone being thankful for it.
Now, I am thankful to this emptied bump!

Monday, August 12, 2013

All She Left

She ordered a cup of coffee and sat down.  It was a calm afternoon.  No calls, no texts, no posts.  She didn't check her emails all day.
The coffee was bitter, exactly how she liked it.  She added just a couple drops of milk and stirred, watching the dark brown turning into milky brown swirls of coffee and milk.
She was looking forward to her afternoon drink at the local cafe, yearning the smell of coffee most of the day that day.  Now she earned it; waiting.
Soaking in the aroma, she sipped her drink savoring the taste.  It was a dense drink.  Full of colors even though looking like just a bland cup of coffee to the naked eyes.
She closed her eyes briefly taking a deep breath.  Then, she opened her smart phone and paused a few moments.  There was a forbidden world out there.  The forbidden heart.  Back to reality.  She locked it again.
She got up and walked out the door, leaving the finished cup of coffee and all that was left on the table.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mothering Two - And the Reality Hits

I am the mother of two.
I suddenly feel very grounded.  Tethered even?
Interestingly M has a similar feeling.
In fact it hit me the other day, watching M holding the little angle in his arms and cajoling with A on a matter. Arms full. Mouth full of words. Attention too focused.  It was intense to watch.
I suddenly find hardly any time for me, any time for the house, any time to think or concern about others I so dearly care for.  Any time to read.
It took me forty some days to get to this conclusion. May be it was not as intense earlier. May be I was most focused on one thing: the little angel, and not A as much, let alone the house and other matters. But now, with the new school year approaching, all the programming for his extra curricular activities and shopping for school and wondering about his new teacher and classmates suddenly hit hard, in addition to all things baby and the untidy house and missed calls.
For any simple outing I have to pack two bags now and I have to remember everything yet I will forget something.  The last thing I think about is me.
Knowing me, it will become a routine soon, I have no doubt, to pack two bags and not forget anything I mean. Yet, I wonder if I will ever be able to think about me again, all my dreams, all the new and old  places I like to visit, all the people I wish to be with.
Frankly, I can't think about it too hard right now. I better get ready for this Saturday's outing while the little one is taking a nap lest I will miss the short window of opportunity.  As Scarlet O'Hara would say, I will think about it tomorrow (so unlike me)...

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Employee Appreciation Unified

Today we got invited to M's employees and families appreciation BBQ party.
His company, a high-tech company in the silicon valley, does this every year. Inviting the immediate family of the employees to enjoy an afternoon of foods and fun for kids with clowns and water slides and face paintings and balloons and all.  This year was the first time that I got to attend with M, thanks to maternity leave.  Soon after my arrival I saw one of his colleagues who was happy to have seen their CEO. He described how when he was in the line of food he saw him at the booth serving the employees. He said he didn't recognize him at first but soon he did. Also, he said he was happy to see him conducting such service.
It appeared like a "trend" to me; the executive managers serving the employees I mean.  The reason why is because our company does the similar thing.
In our company, a medical device company, a few times a year we have employee appreciation BBQ, albeit to a way lesser degree but may be more frequently. After conquering major milestones, our company throws an employee BBQ in which, as of late, the executive management serves the employees for the first half an hour or so.  The recency of such conduct makes me think this is a new trend of the business.
Another interesting observation is how our divisional president is so available and so accessible that no one would exclaim to get to meet him. But of course our division is a fraction of the mother company. May be to compare with the evidence experienced by M's colleague today we must have our CEO serving the troop. Still, I'm glad for the leanness of our division and grateful for the presence of our president.

Walking the Past

She knew she had to leave.
It hurt to stay. It hurt to watch the unfolding of every moment. Every second was inspired by what went. To stay was to relive it every day.
She started walking away. Hoping for a fresh start somewhere, anywhere but not here.
But anywhere she looked was a reminder. A sweet reminder with bitter thoughts. It was hopeless.
She took a deep breath with her eyes closed. Made a few prayers pleading for a clean start accepting the past. Even cherishing it. And walked into the future.