Saturday, July 27, 2013

Arash the Archer by Bayzai - The Play Reading at Stanford

The story of Arash the Archer has been rewritten in the modern Persian by Bahram Bayzai about half a century ago.  It was performed at Stanford last night, directed by Bayzai himself for the first time.
The endearing mythology of Arash the Archer is about this hero, Arash, whose heroic act indicated the border of Iran when it was invaded by non Iranians of the time, called Touranians.  At the time, Touranians had taken over a vast land of Iran's, many killed and many lands destroyed.  To end the blood shed it was agreed that the war would end and the land would be depicted by Arash's landing of a single shot of an arrow. Arash hence climbed the Damavand, the tallest mountain in northern Iran, and shot a single arrow that was shot beyond any ordinary man could have shot.  There are different versions of how long the shot arrow was travelling in the air or how far it landed or whether it landed at all.
Bayzai's rendition of the story is written in the form of a screenplay and is somewhat different than the ones written in the ancient Shahnameh or the modern retelling of the story by Sivash Kasrai. In Bayzai's rendition, Arash was a simple man who was not a proper archer; he was betrayed by both Iranians and Aniranians. Yet, he honored the peace pledge, climbed the Damavand, and shot the arrow not by the strength of his elbow, but by the strength of his willpower.  The arrow has never landed and no one has seen him descending from Damavand since.
Bayzai's screenplay was directed by others and was screened a few times already.  However, it was directed by himself for the first time and played last night at Stanford.  It was not a real "play", but a "play reading" in fact. There were only two actors who literally narrated the actual screenplay, and they did a unique and fantastic job in my opinion.
Mojdeh Shamsaei and Mohsen Namjoo "played" the screenplay by reading it, seated at all time, depicting different scenes and characters using different ton of their voice.  It was really a different version of acting.  The fundamental difference of this version compared to a real "play" for me was how the play reading needed a good deal of attention to be comprehended.  There was hardly any visual clues, any motion, any change of color or light even.  It was all reading, demanding the audience to pay attention to the words and intonations.  It needed some getting used to.  But after a while, it was easier to follow and imagining the scenes.
The play reading is repeated tonight at Stanford.
Mojdeh Shamsaei, Mohsen Namjoo, Bahram Bayzai

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Notes from A Woman with A Bump: Sleeping for A New Mom

Broken nights. That's what I get. Usually a couple hours at the beginning of the night, which starts around 1 AM. And then just an hour or so here and there with waken hours in between.
I feel tired! I really hope to sleep for 5-6 hours straight once. Since the last months of pregnancy I haven't been able to sleep much.
I see two big black circles under my eyes now, the patches of motherhood I suppose.
A friend suggested to let my mom take care of the baby for a night with pumped milk. But I couldn't convince myself. Not to burden my mom, but more importantly not to lose the connection with my baby girl for a whole night. She just turned one month after all.
May be I'm not thinking clearly with all the sleeplessness. Point is, it won't last for ever. Soon I will forget all about all these.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Notes from A Woman With A Bump: Calming A Fussy Baby

Our little angle has started going through episodes of u settled cries every night. It starts around 9pm and lasts for 3 to 4 hours every night. The most calming yet temporary method thus far has been having her nursed. Then again she would start veiling and there is no calming down until next nursing when she would be kicking and screaming as if something is awfully wrong with her stomach.
Colic? May be.
Here are the methods we have tried thus far:
1) nursing - works but for a short period of time
2) walking her - hardly works
3) singing to her - hardly works - it works during the day though when she is up to listening
4) stomach drops - we have tried one: Remedies for Little Tummies - the active ingredient is Simeticone and available in other commercial brands. She seems to like the taste of it, and seems to be calmed but not enough
5) white noise - this has proven to be the most effective one - we have tried putting her close to a working dish washing machine or washer and drier; they all worked.  We also tried the white noises available on You Tube.  The static noise was the least effective, the noise of a moving fan worked some, but the noise of heavy rainfall was magic! It was effective as soon as it got started to the extend that I got worried! It lasts for about half hour and then she wanted to be nursed again but calmly and with no protest.
6) rocking/swinging - this woke before she becomes too fussy or when she is already drowsy for sleep.
So give these a try, of course # 4 after counseling with your pediatrician. And good luck with calming your crying baby! Let me know if you know of other effective remedies.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Opened my eyes this morning after yet another unsettled night to see the wooden box with a beautiful red rose on top of it on the bed side table; I was all smiles.
It was 13 years ago.  In the haze of those young days and nights you stepped into my life.  I felt something different, something I had not felt before. I knew I had fallen for those honest eyes and that sheepish smile.
I knew I was crossing an unknown territory. I loved the excitement of it.  I thought I was ready even though I had no idea, no imagination even.  I didn't imagine much beyond how I would decorate the kitchen table.
I took it all as it came.  An exciting ride indeed; a new scene behind each corner.  Not always a smooth ride, neither pleasant all the time, nor always lovely.  Yet, you were with me all the time.
I know I love you.
Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Midnight Review of Fear

What makes people to feel afraid?
What is fear?
I think one version of fear is when one cannot be honest to himself.  Then he cannot be honest to anyone. May be because he tries to avoid reprimand. May be he is afraid of being himself because his real self is different than the role he has always assumed. May be he is afraid of being judged. May be he is afraid of change.
I don't think there is anything more pitiful about a man than being afraid of another person to the extend of not being himself, permanently.
I believe in mistakes; it is just the very nature of man to make mistakes sometimes.  I believe in change.  the whole universe is constantly changing.  Then, there shall be no fear when one realizes his mistake. Or when one realizes how didferent he thinks, feels, comprehends.  It needs courage of course; to admit to a mistake and then to correct it. Being courageous is not easy but  admirable indeed!.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Never Found Out

It was a late afternoon. One of those winter evenings that gets dark early. It was chilly and a bit hazy. I had parked right in front of the department, by chance my car was just west to the main entrance. That meant anyone in the male section of the cafeteria could see my car.
How interesting! Our cafeteria was segregated!!
So, anyone from up there could see the car, I realized afterward.
I was coming back from a workshop which was in another building in another corner of the campus. I approached my car in that late afternoon from another building. I don't remember if I were alone or with a girl friend.
When I reached my car, I realized there was something beneath the windshield. Was I fined? In a second look I realized it was not a paper, but a red rose. A perfectly fresh red rose. I immediately looked around to find nobody; and then above toward the cafeteria. The glasses were mate!
I took the rose from the windshield. Rode the car and put it inside. Drove away.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Notes from A Woman with A Bump: Baby Species

I realized some people talk about babies as if they were a certain species other than humans.
"They" love it liked this.
"They" do that sometimes.
When "they" sleep ...
When "they burp" ...
I was watching my little angel and I thing she was anything but "they". She has her own being, her own personify, her own likings and dislikings; she takes her sweet time with her sleeping and nursing and burping.
Yet, frankly, it is a relief to know some of the stuff which she does are more "common" than not. For example, she might concentrate on swallowing so deeply that she might stop breathing in the middle of nursing; that scared me deeply. But then my mom said "they" did that sometimes and I must blow in her face and she would breathe again. And my mom was right. It's not "common" for humans do stop breathing in the middle of drinking. So it is indeed something "they" do.
Well. Perhaps.
But still, this is something my little angel does and that's all that matters in my mind.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Notes from A Woman with A Bump: Getting into the Groove

My little angel and I are getting pretty familiar with each other. Took us a few days, but we made it. Granted she is changing daily and the groove might change but I know I will learn it again.
She has a specific cry for most every need and I can recognize them. And then she has a very particular nursing cycle that lasts between 40 to 70 minutes, even at night; or shall I say particularly at night.
In any case, all is good, thank God!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Notes from A Woman with A Bump: Excercise Post Delivery

I think it is time to begin post natal excercises.
Nothing too vigorous of course. A simple walk around the block for 5 minutes to begin with.  Then increasing duration little by little and adding some simple stretches, may be even using the elliptical machine in due time.
One of the nurses at the hospital advised me to wait for six weeks and resume my excercise regym after I met with my ObGyn at that point. But I feel the urge to start.
I researched the web and read a few articles on the subject, including one from Mayo Clinic, which I trust the most.  I figured that it can be safe to resume physical activities as soon as the mom feels like it, it was even recommended.  Judged best especially post uncomplicated vaginal delivery.  Of course the recommendation is mainly walks and swimming lapses at this point. There were some simple ab routines recommended by some articles but I think that's a stretch, at least for my body at this point.
I know my body has not healed completely yet. Even the bruises from the IV pokes are still visible and slightly painful let alone all other invasions. But I feel my body is ready for walks, even some very simple weight training. Need it to be able to hold my baby to nurse and help her burp.
So, the excercises resume starting today, day 11:
a 5 minute walk around the block, follwed by bridge and pelvic  tilt, 10 each for 3 repetitions.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Beach Day

Feels like a great day to be spent by the ocean.
Since the birth if my daughter I haven't been out of the house. Now I like to make a trip to the beach with everything already packed. Even the sand toys for the kids.
Spending a day there, listening to the waves crashing at the sands and A laughing chasing the waves.
We would be chatting about the current events, about the newest apps, about the kids, about work, about democracy, and about our plans for next summer.
Just a day to relax.  Soon I hope!

Notes from A Woman with A Bump: 10 Day Young

My little angel is 10 day young.
She is sleeping better through the night; we put her in her bassinet and she seems pretty comfortable and safe in it.
Yesterday, suddenly my heart went for her as I felt how scary this world should be for her. I wanted to protect her from it all. I wanted to hug her and never let go. She is too tiny, too pure, too soft for this vast cruel harsh world.
We were browsing the BBC newscast with my mom yesterday as M prompted me about the unrest in Egypt. I had read the news from Flipboard.  Does the people know what they want? Do they know the meaning of democracy? Do they value their own vote? Do they know there is no perfect government? There is no perfect "them" for heaven's sake!
There was this news of killing of a 14 year old boy who had allegedly said something about prophet Mohammad in the streets of Aleppo.  There were four gunmen near by who heard him and killed him with two shots on the spot.  His mom just steps away and his brothers near by, witnessing his murder.
Who do you guys think you are? Whom do you think you are defending?  Do you know how many people mocked prophet Mohammad when he was alive? Did he raise his voice on one of them? Do you understand his kindness? Do you have a glipse if his heavenly heart? Whom do you think you are defending? Do you know anything about your prophet? Alas! He is not your prophet. Your guidance is your ferocious animalistic ego you carry within you. But I know.  There is God. And there is justice. And you will see!
I want to protect my kids from this all. How hard!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Notes from A Woman with a Bump: One Week Mark

My precious little angle was due to be born today. Instead, she has been with us for a week already. How grateful I am for her presence in my life!
I feel very content with her, perhaps more than I did with my A. I was not quite ready with A may be. I didn't know what it meant to give birth, to have a baby, to raise a baby. I didn't know how quickly they changed, how everything was so temporary. Even the seemingly countless sleepless nights under the veils of a crying baby.
With her, I know.
I smell her every opportunity I get. I look at every curve on her face, I touch her stick-like fingers. I know all this will change. This moment is my last chance with having her as a one-week-young.
I know the sleepless nights are very well counted.  I cherish it. More wake hours with my baby.
I adore her.
I feel very content with this peice of heaven that fell on my lap. I am forever thankful to The Divine Love!