با ماهرخی اگر نشستی خوش باش
چون عاقبت کار جهان نیستی است
انگار که نیستی چو هستی خوش باش
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Shahriar Shahriari.
A Ghorabieh Bakeshop in Tabriz. This is probably one of my most favorite Iranian confections! I remember Haj Jalil Tavazo offering me Ghorabieh in his shop one time, telling me in his sweet Azari accent: "een shirini kheili ghashangeh!" Too bad it can't endure time and travel very well!
My friend sings a sweet folk melody of Lorestan in a circle of my other friends, March 14, 2008.
My Saturday was spent doing some satisfying publishing work and cleaning the house with my younger son. In preparation for Nowrooz, I have gorgeous tulips, hyacinths, and narcissi around my house and every corner I turned smelled so good today! My cell phone battery died intermittently today, and I had very few phone calls to distract me from my work, so I kept at it until it was finished. A clean house and dead tired bones--very satisfying indeed!I asked my younger son to change a toilette seat cover for me today. He mulled over the never-heard-before assignment and instead of telling me off, like he is prone to do, he took the car keys and the credit card and left for the hardware store! He came back 30 minutes later with the wrong toilette seat cover (too big) and had to go back and get another one and install it. He didn't complain, he didn't drag his feet, and in the end he did a very good job of it. You know, raising boys by myself has its pitfalls in that I can usually only teach them what I know. I don't know how to be a handyman around the house, so my kids haven't learned it, either. When things like this happen, even if the task is really simple, I become so grateful for the initiative. My kids have gone to the City to celebrate their youth. I hope they are safe and that they enjoy themselves. As for me, I'm spending a quiet evening by myself, celebrating my not-so-youthful life! Life is so beautiful, I thought to myself again today. I mustn't waste a moment of it on negative thoughts which drain my energies. I have to accept things I cannot change and move on, even if this means suffering through temporary losses, because with high energy and a positive outlook, gains are awaiting me right around the corner, and loads of them, I know! I might write some more about this later in the week. Have a happy Sunday you all.
Folk dance of Azerbaijan (Lezgi). These dancers might be from Georgia (Gorjestan).It's Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, spring has begun, and Nowrooz is here. It can't get any better than this. I sat out a Nowrooz celebration in San Francisco, as I recover from too much celebration this week! I decided instead to come home, cook for my family, write my Friday post, and tend to some activities I must finish before Sunday. The boys and their friends have just returned from a basketball game and work and will probably be getting ready to go out a little later. I hear them laughing and talking in the other room. There is something very soothing in hearing the young men have such a good time together in this house. Come September, my older son will probably move to another college town to attend university, and things won't be the same again in this house. I intend to enjoy every moment of the remaining months around them. Some day I might tell you the story of me and my children and houses, houses, and houses. Telling that story requires some courage which I have yet to find. Some day I might tell it. And so, of all times of the year, this is the easiest and hardest time to dispense advice to you all about relationships and love for those who are important in your lives. It is easy, because for most of you those you love are right next to you during the celebrations, or you would be visiting them. It is hard, because some of you don't have your loved ones near you. Holidays and traditional celebrations are really hard for those who live away from their families, and I say that from peronal experience. So, I think we should all reach out to those near us right now, whoever they are and however they are important and related to us. Friends, relatives, lovers, and neighbors, there are people around us who could really appreciate a hug, a handshake, a smile, a kiss, or a hug. Whatever you do, mean it. Do it from the bottom of your heart with optimism and peace in mind. Call those who are away and in addition to wishing them a happy Nowrooz, also tell them that you love them and mean it. Do it with the conviction of someone who has started a New Day, a Now Rooz. Have a good weekend y'all.
My very first Nowrooz card this year, received from a very dear, special, and gifted friend. It sits on my computer's desktop at home and at work, reminding me of the occasion and of how fortunate I have been in 1386 to have found good friends through my blogs and my writings. The way I see it, life can't get any better than this. I thank you all for being my friends. The only thing I have to offer in return is my reciprocal friendship. Come and get it in 1387! I'll be waiting for you.
Preparing for Nowrooz, Tehran, March 15, 2008. Photo by Hadi Tabrizi, IRNA.With some small deviations, I am keeping to my promise of taking it easy this weekend. I went for a long solitary walk earlier this afternoon, but I was caught in an isolated rain and hail storm, the type that happens around this time of the year. Moosh-e-abkeshieh had to return home quickly, completely soaked! I walked through the trail that must be one of the most beautiful places I have ever walked, looking at fruit tree branches covered in gorgeous multi-colored blossoms, the new season green of the grass, the brimming creek running in twists and turns, and the flowerbeds covered in sweet daisies and California's famous mustard flowers. As I walked, though, I was thinking about somewhere else. I was thinking about Tajrish Bazaar, with its hustle and bustle of this time of the year. I was thinking of stacks of gorgeous miniature radishes and fresh basil and mint, its huge pots of wheat germ soup, samanoo, the rows after rows of goldfish in tiny jars, and the fish markets where an assortment of fish from Caspian to Persian Gulf are presented beautifully. I was thinking of all those crowds of people who make Tajrish even more crowded at this time of the year, each carrying an armload of Nowrooz necessities and niceties. I was thinking how much I miss Tehran and how I wished I had a short videoclip of all that activity to watch and to join in the contagious joy of the season. Emamzadeh Saleh must be so busy at this time, with all the people making their year-end visits, whispering their wishes and hopes in that quaint little building. I walked and walked and it was as though my body was not walking on this patch of earth, but on the crooked backstreets of Tajrish, smelling the scents of Nowrooz and drowning in the noise and air of my beloved city, Tehran. Coming back to reality, I issued my three house residents an ultimatum about their very last chance to clean their respective rooms and bathrooms, this being the last weekend before Nowrooz. I managed to get a commitment for tomorrow, which is pretty good, considering how little they think of sweeping, dusting, cleaning, and tidying up! Their girl friend (the space in between the words is intentional to signify her just being a friend) volunteered to oversee their progress, which is a great relief to me, as supervising lazy young men doing something they hate to do would not be consistent with my efforts to "take it easy," and will no doubt bring my colitis attack right back! Though my soaked plate of lentils, sabzeh, is showing potential, it doesn't seem enough to assure me that I will have it ready by Wednesday night. This happens to me every single year! I will have to wait until the last day and if I still have a sparse (kachal) sabzeh, I will have to run to my friend, Monir Zand for help! She runs a deli and Middle East market in Albany, and is usually doing good business this time of the year. I hope your Nowrooz preparations are coming along nicely. With or without a successful sabzeh, I am going to have my home ready for Nowrooz by the end of this weekend. I love a home that understands the seasons, occasions, and traditions and observes them. I try to run just such a house now in preparation for Nowrooz. I love my house, I love my house residents, I love my life. I love all those who will come through it to celebrate with me shortly. I really do. Have a good weekend everybody.
From Simin Behbahani's acceptance speech at Stanford's Bita Award Ceremony, March 11, 2008.
If I feel better tomorrow, I will go to see Mehrjui's Santuri in Berkeley and will tell you about it (Thursday, March 13th at 5, 7, & 9 p.m. at Oaks Theater, 1875 Solano Ave, Berkeley). Have a good Thursday you all.
My niece, Nikou, 14, plays the music of my heart, March 1, 2008.I let my family take me, drive me, feed me, hug and hold me today. You know, on a par with giving and generosity, receiving and accepting kindness can also be an art form. When people go out of their way to be nice to us, we need to know how to receive that attention and simply say "thank you," instead of resisting and voicing pleasantries, taarof. I am so grateful for my family's putting up with me! I show up occasionally, have a jolly good time with them, and then I disappear for long periods of time, where they don't hear much from me. I have so much going on in my life, it becomes really easy to ignore the one group of people who do love me the most and continually put up with me. On days like today, when I reach out to them and let them take care of me, I think to myself how crazy it has been to have let this time go by where there was such a wonderful source of energy and love waiting for me all along. I'll do better, I promise myself. My sweet niece, Yasi, drove me, bought me coffee, and let me talk nonstop about some things on my mind. She listened and her words helped me. A lot! My sister's home was all ready for Nowrooz. She had flowers, tulips and hyacinths everywhere, and had candles and sweets in every corner of her sweet little house in Sacramento. Her children were so good to me, I guess happy to see their missing Khaleh after a few weeks! I was surprised to see that my sister had two ducks in her swimming pool. She said this is the second year those two have shown up in her backyard! Last year they came and roosted and had 12 ducklings right in her backyard, which one of the neighbors adopted later. This year it was just the two of them and no others. I told her she should keep an eye on them, lest they are there to deliver another 12 ducklings to the world! She was telling me how the ducklings would automatically follow their mother into the swimming pool, but were unable to leave it after their swim, quacking and crying until she would go to their rescue and pull them out of the water! Having stepped out to have a smoke, I stood there watching them be so loving to each other for a long time. I even watched them go to sleep next to one another when it got dark! Amazing. I hope your Saturday was filled with as much tenderness as mine was. I am so peaceful tonight. I am so lucky.