Stepping Into the Clouds

Khorramshahr Cup Polo Games, Iran, May 30, 2008. This is for my friends, Sheida and Shireen and Assal. Assal's grandfather was a polo player. I have seen awesome pictures of him as a young man on a horse, playing polo in Iran. I remember him fondly, a strong and generous man who loved Iran, Esfahan, and his family. He was an extremely articulate man, intelligent and full of thought. This picture reminded me of him today. May he and his loving wife rest in peace.
It's Friday. To tell you the truth, last week was not so hot on the work front and left me depeleted of energy and joy. I won't go into it. It's the weekend and I want to concentrate on happier things in life. I heard from my friends this week and saw several of them. It was nice to talk and laugh and reminisce and confide. It was a good reminder of some of the things that really matter in life.
I participated in a test for a new medical procedure this week. My family's medical history puts me in a category that is of interest to a medical group in Canada who are developing a new blood test. I felt so important as I showed up to an appointment where they drew my blood, and had me sign a bunch of consent forms. That was it! My blood now travels to places unknown to hopefully help humanity somehow, someday. That feels really good!
My kids still aren't talking. But they have to do things together because they share a car. My younger son had to drop his older brother off at a "lunch date" before he left for work this afternoon. I had to watch them bicker and fight as they got ready and left together today. I so want them to make up and put all of us out of our miseries!
I want to wish all of you a happy and peaceful weekend. I will be celebrating life and friendship with my good friends tomorrow night. I will cook and clean my house for them, or am I doing it for me? One of the best joys in life is to have a home which can host friends. It's never clear to me which one has a better time when I have guests, them or me?! Well, I think I do. Gather your friends and hang out with them, talking and laughing and dancing. Surround yourselves in a cloud of trust and love which can best be provided by friends. Let them into your home and your heart and let them be the cause for a cleaner home and a happier heart! Be good you all!


To Us, Here and Now

Mina Kari workshop in Isfahan, May 28, 2008. More photos here.
Soon all those plates will be painted, looking the same, while in fact each of them is its own unique creation as is the case with all art. But right now, one of them is painted and the other ones are plain. Like most people, depending on the moment and environment and circumstances, I have come to know how it feels to be both, and neither one is better than the other. Life has its own rewards and challenges whether we are colorful or plain. Trying too hard to be colorful or plain keeps us from enjoying the moment and the opportunity of being that which we are. We are who and what we are, each of us a piece of art, which might be transformed through life's brush strokes, glaze, or heat. Later, we might get better with age, someday becoming a coveted "antique" piece. Then again, we may not. What is important and urgent to do, is to enjoy life just as and what and how and who and where we are in it now. This moment counts and nothing else. Here's to us, here and now.


Scattered Thoughts

Tea for one, today.
I spent a peaceful weekend with my family and doing things that needed to be done. My kids are on one of their rare "not speaking to each other" trips, and this makes me a bit sad. Soon enough they will resume their very close relationship, but it bothers me to no end when they go through these brotherly spats. I'd much rather see them ganging up on me than each of them being separately really nice to me and not talking to one another!
On a separate note, something happened this weekend and I was reminded of one of my biggest flaws! Heeh! Confession time! Here goes: I don't take too kindly to people who break their promises. I don't need signatures and documents or swearing on one's honor to accept a promise; a simple verbal promise will do. But when people break those promises I go completely berserk! That's a flaw, I think. I should be more forgiving, I suppose, but this is one of the few areas of human shortcoming which is just too hard for me to take. I think a promise is too important to break, especially where it is not a matter of life or death which moves people to break a promise, but some calculation the result of which makes them do it (chortkeh). I have walked out of long-standing professional and personal relationships because of this, and I have had to pay a high price for this simple and dangerous requirement of mine. It's just that it's really hard for me to trust someone after he/she breaks a promise, because a real relationship cannot survive without trust, I believe. What do you think?
I'll be taking a short trip to visit dear friends in London in late June. If you live near London and would like to get together for a couple of hours when I'm there, let me know and we can arrange something. Leave a comment or send me an email if you like.
Have a good Tuesday you all!

Oh Soldier

Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery. Photo from here.
Today is Memorial Day in the US. This is the day American soldiers who lost their lives in wars are remembered.
War is such a horrible thing. It is the single impediment to human civilization's growth and elevation to higher levels. Sadly, wars require soldiers to fight them, survive them with wounds to their souls and their bodies, or die for them. There is no such thing as a "just war." As far as I'm concerned, all wars can be avoided with forsight and negotiation, and if they aren't avoided, the shame of that failure rests with political leaders not the soldiers. My heart weeps for all the young soldiers who have lost their innocent lives in wars, as well as all those whose lives were taken by the very same soldiers' bullets and bombs. I am saddened thinking about those soldiers' mothers and family, who waited for their loved ones' return, only to receive their news and remains. A soldier doesn't start a war, greedy politicians and warmongers do. He only takes orders and shoots when told. We mustn't hate the soldiers. We must remember them with kindness and love, and we must do something to avoid and stop wars.


It's beautiful and it's full of small joys and surprises, if only we look for them. If only we develop the eye with which to look, we will see why life must be cherished and celebrated. Full of challenges and lasting triumphs and only passing failures, believe me, life is so precious, worthy of our endurance and patience; for at the end of each difficult cycle, a silver lining of satisfaction and reward and experience awaits us, if only we can see it. Life is good. I love how my passing pains have made me see sharper, feel deeper, and appreciate more. My life is so beautiful today. Yours is too, if only you would take the time to see it.

Video Information: Des'ree sings Life.


An Embrace With Words

My Friday gift to you: watch this happy and uplifting clip. Kuban Ensemble, formerly 40-Daf, perform in Tehran in January 2008. Group leader is Vandad Massah Zadeh, and lead singer is Nima Rahmati on Kamancheh. Enjoy!

It's Friday. We're back! It was a very good and tiring day. I will have to write a separate post, telling you about Santa Cruz through a few pictures I have taken. This is a short post just to wish you all a very good and relaxing weekend. Iden came by this week to take his finals and to leave our parts for Los Angeles, where he will be reuniting with his family. For the four months that he did stay with us, the young man grew immensely in my heart. When I was saying goodbye to him, I reached and gave him a big hug, telling him more with that embrace than I could in words, sending him off with love. I think through that embrace he heard me tell him that whenever he wants, he can come back and stay for as long as he wants. I think he also heard me say how much I will miss him. When he left, I thought to myself that I should hug people more, because I can tell things to them this way which I can't otherwise! So, this is my advice for you, too, this weekend. Go and hug people around you, conveying messages which are hard to tell otherwise. Now, here's the key to doing this as happened with Iden, too--when we hug people and tell them things this way, we must be prepared to hear some similar messages from them! I heard Iden's message yesterday. I hope you send and receive good messages through your embaces this weekend, too. Have a wonderful weekend y'all.


On The Road To Future

Gojeh Sabz, near a rice field in Gilan, May 19, 2008.
This was a hard, but short work week for me. It's over, as I have taken tomorrow off to drive with my son, my sister, and two of my nieces to University of California at Santa Cruz. After this visit, my son will accept UC Santa Cruz's offer of admission. There has been a horrible fire in the mountains of Santa Cruz, and we are a little worried about being able to drive down there. On the upside, I don't think I have seen my son this excited in a long time! The excitement is contageous, to the point of all those loving family members wanting to join in the exploration!
I am grateful for my son's achievement and for my family's support. I asked him tonight if he didn't mind going down there with all these women around him! He doesn't seem to mind. You know, my children do keep in touch with their father who lives in another state. But I can't help feeling sorry for him tonight. When we have children, we spend so much energy to raise them as best as we can, preparing them for life. Our rewards are incremental and mostly of an observation quality when they grow up. They become their own people, making their own decisions, and suffering their own mistakes or celebrating their own triumphs. We can only get close enough to watch, and step in only when invited. This is such an important day in my child's life, and his father will miss it, much like everything else about their lives he has been missing. Anyhow, this isn't the time to think about those things. I am going to bed to catch some zzz's and get ready for a very important day in our family's life. I am looking forward to the road trip with the "girls," too! The way I see it, life just can't get much better than this. Have a brilliant Friday everybody. I will write again when I return tomorrow night.


Life, Simple And Beautiful

Children in Khorasan's Farizi Village, near Chenaran, May 21, 2008. Photo by Mohsen Bakhshandeh, IRNA.
Remember how afraid I have been of falling asleep in that dark, cool training room for the past couple of weeks? I have been choosing the corner station way at the back of the room, where a) if I fall asleep it would be noticed by a few and b) I can check my email, etc. without the entire class seeing me do it! My worst nightmare came true today--for someone else! Well, I watched a younger co-worker of mine succumb to sleep today, all the way in the front row! The funny thing was that it wasn't even 11:00 a.m. when it happened. Our chap must have had a wild night! Anyhow, even when it happens to someone else it feels uncomfortable and strange, wouldn't you say?
We live in a housing complex in the suburbs. Our homeowners' association has decided everyone must do some work on our townhomes before they come to paint the exterior next month. I didn't see the $1,600 bill that was coming my way until it was too late! Not that I had a choice. Anyhow, the contractor who came to do the work, a Czech man, called last night to arrange for payment. I said I would leave his check with my son. He asked what time I got home from work. I said "late," asking him why he needed to know. He said he wondered whether he could come visit and have dinner! Can you believe that?! Heeh! That was so bold and presumptuous of him. It reminded me of when I called to have our garbage disposal replaced last year. That evening the company sent a handyman, a nice Iranian man, to come take care of it. He stayed for a couple of hours, telling me and my niece and nephew some stories while he worked, leaving at 10:00 p.m. The next morning at 8:30 a.m., I received a call at work. It took me a few minutes to recognize the caller, the handyman. I asked what I could do for him, and he said he was calling to check to see whether my new garbage disposal was working properly! I said well, I was sure it was working just fine, but that really, I hadn't had time to test it between 10:00 p.m. last night and very early this morning! Anyhow, today I found myself hoping that the "bright star" that is supposed to be appearing in my sky, as prescribed by Masoud and Mojgan the other day, does not carry a hammer!
My older son finished his two-year college today. We will go to visit Santa Cruz this Friday. We are so excited.


Enjoy The Dance

Sahar of Afsaneh Ballet Company performs a Khorasani dance at Persian Pride Celebrations in Los Gatos, California, April 2008. Beautiful and uplifting. I am keeping quiet tonight, thinking about some things and going to bed early so that I can attend another day-long session sitting in a darkened room, listening to a monologue tomorrow. Yikes! Let's not think about awful things. Let's enjoy this music and this dance. Life is too short. Have a wonderful Wednesday everybody!


Tasting My Childhood

Local market in Jooybar village of Mazandaran, May 19, 2008. I can almost smell those cucumbers and taste them, crunchy and delicious, in my mouth! Aaahhh, nostalgia! See more photos of the Jooybar market here.
We grew up in the suburb of Tehran. Before my mother got ill with rheumatoid arthritis, she used to go shopping for our fruits and vegetables once a week, each time coming back with a truckload of delicious herbs and produce. Later, we bought our fresh fruits and vegetables from a travelling salesman named Ali Agha. He would come by the house in his small truck with his stock of fresh produce, complete with his scales and those big iron weights, and after my mother had finished her shopping, he would help carry the produce inside. This went on for years and Ali Agha became a familiar face to all of us in the household.
One day Ali Agha came and rang the bell. My mother who had painfully climbed all the way to the the top of the steps to second floor to take a shower, simply couldn't walk back down again to pick her produce herself. She yelled from the top of the second floor to Ali Agha, telling him to bring her fruits and vegetables inside, because there was no one else home. Ali Agha brought the things in. As he entered the house, the house phone rang. My mother asked him to please pick up the phone. He obliged. My father was on the other end of the line. He asked Ali Agha if he had reached the Kaviani residence. Ali Agha said "yes, baleh, befarmaeed!" My father asked him: "Where is Mrs. Kaviani?" Ali Agha said: "She is taking a shower, Khanoom tu hamoom-and." My father asked him: "And may I ask who you are?" Ali Agha said: "I am Ali Agha, the green grocer, man Ali Aghaye sabzi foroosham." Ali Agha then asked my father: "Who are you?" and my father said: "I am the lucky man whose wife is in the shower while the sabzi foroosh answers his call!"
My Mom and Dad told this story for years to come, laughing like lunatics, making the rest of us laugh, too. Those cucumbers reminded me of so much today.


The Woman In The Letters

Niosha Dance Company performs in their Mother's Day Celebration, May 12, 2008. Photo by Faranak Ravon, Iranian.com.
I saw a picture somewhere and I was sure I had seen it before in one of the "forwards" I routinely receive. I went to my hotmail account to search for it, and typed in a word I thought would bring up that email. I wasn't ready for the flood of memories which were displayed on the screen. For some reason, the search had resulted in a list of my old emails, dating as far back as 2001. They were mostly love letters, exchanged between me and a man I once loved. I guess they hadn't been detected during a "clean-up" project I had done a year ago.
I sat in my chair, transfixed, rolling up and down the list, page after page, looking at the subject lines of the notes, the only thing evident from the messages inside. I didn't want to look at those messages again, containing sentiments and feelings and thoughts a few years beyond their "best by" date. The mystery and the joy inside those notes had long disppeared, and now all the feelings expressed inside were represented by a simple "I love you," "I miss you," and "Thinking of you," and a whole lot of "no subject" notes, which had obviously been written and transmitted in haste, telling the other something which couldn't bear the extra seconds it would take to type a subject line.
My eyes welled up with tears, running down my face. Why was I crying? They weren't tears of regret or sadness, I thought. I didn't miss the man behind those notes, not anymore. Where were those tears coming from then? And then I understood the reason, all of a sudden. I was missing myself, the woman that I was in those letters, loved and in love. I longed for the simplicity of expressing love and desire for someone who had a real presence in my life, someone worth the trouble of writing to everyday. I missed the woman in the letters. I dried my eyes long enough to select those notes and click on "delete."



Shaghayegh Kamali performs Korashah (The Prince), a sweet Bakhtiari ballad, composed by Siavash Beizaee in Germany, March 2008.

It's Friday. I finish another week of intense activity and emotions. Reacting to some undesirable news and stimuli, I experienced stress, worry, anger, and fear, emotions I don't normally feel these days...well maybe the stress, but not the rest. It is always challenging to be a single mother, but sometimes those challenges become a little bigger and more difficult to handle. On the upside, I also experienced some unusual positive emotions. I spent time with my young friend, Maryam, who is expecting her second child any day now, and it was exciting to be in the company of the hope that surrounds an expectant mother. Now, by Friday evening, everything has settled down and I'm back on track of life as I like it and understand it. Relief.

Did I tell you Iden left us a couple of weeks ago? I miss the young man. Tonight my sons and Paul are watching basketball and eating the dinner I just made for them. As I let the stress of last week roll down my shoulders into my fingertips and from there trickling onto the floor and out of me, I hear them cheering and laughing. That's a really good sound. I will not worry about how quiet this same house will be in a couple of months when my older son, too, will go to live in another university town. I am done with my worrisome thoughts of this week.
I am going to embrace my loved ones this weekend. I'm going to pull up a chair next to my family and just sit there looking at them and listening to them. The cell phone is about to be turned off and the home phone unplugged--the computer, maybe! You should try it, too! Go sit and watch people who matter to you talk and interact and eat and move about. Listen and see what new things you hear. Be kind to yourselves and to others and if you feel compelled to do something, let it be to hug and kiss and coo. Enjoy your weekend and be good y'all.


In A University Town

Tea Harvest, Gilan, Iran, May 13, 2008. Flavorful, red, and a little bitter, Lahijan tea is the most delicious tea in the world. Too bad the Iranian tea industry is now an endangered species. I wrote of a memory about this last year.
Berkeley is going through the annual tradition of graduations this week. Everywhere I go, I run into happy young people, clad in their caps and gowns, courted by family and friends, with armloads of flowers and gifts. It is really a moving and energizing sight. All their hard work, their ambitions, and their hopes are evident in that scene. I am reminded yet again of why I love working for a university and spending most of my waking hours in a university town.
In our office we bid farewell to our three student employees this week. They have each worked for close to two years in our office, giving us the benefit of Berkeley students' intelligence, while costing our budget close to nothing. They are off to making real money now! By popular demand, I made a huge pot of Baghali Polo Ba Morgh for the potluck event very early yesterday morning and took it to work. My co-workers can't get enough of this dish, it seems, so they had kindly "volunteered" me for brining it! They ate most of it and took the rest home for dinner, each of them thanking me again today! Ha Ha, if only another Iranian was around, they would be told that my rice was overcooked, shefteh, and that the tahdig was missing, too! I had left the tahdig for my kids and myself at home--I think we deserved it infinitely more!
I love Berkeley.

Voices for Peace

This is the first cut of the "no war on Iran" video clip Shcauleh Sahba has made. She is looking for 16 more volunteers to film in the clip and people to help her with music and Farsi captioning. Once it is completed, her goal is to create three broadcast quality versions of this public service announcement (one with out any subtitles, one with English subtitles and one with Persian subtitles) and get it on national TV as soon as possible. Here's Schauleh's blog about the project on Iranian.com today. A beautiful young Iranian with a beautiful idea. It is an honor and a pleasure for me to be included in this project.
Happy Thursday everybody and make this the day you will do something for peace.
P.S. Happy Happy Birthday to my wonderful reader-turned-friend, Farshad Salehi, a.k.a. Universal Farshad, a.k.a Uni-Far! Here's wishing you a fabulous year of love, friendship, and joy.


Tjeknavorian and Mehrtash

My interview with Maestro Loris Tjeknavorian was published in Persian Cultural Center of San Diego's Peyk this week. Here are images of the two-page feature. Click on the image to read it. If this is a problem, let me know and I'll post the text.
My friend, Mersedeh, who is a writer and the Editor of Peyk's English section, has been a very good friend to me over the past year. She is a special young woman, worldly, educated, talented, multi-lingual, artistic, and refined. Though she appears serious and intense most of the time, she is actually a very funny girl, full of subtle and intelligent humor and thought. Mersedeh celebrates a birthday tomorrow. I'd like to wish her a year full of pleasant surprises and achievements. In her new year of life, I hope she laughs more, dances more, shops more (if such a thing is even possible!), learns more, and reaches higher. She can do anything she wants, as far as I'm concerned, including but not limited to, walking on water! I also hope she worries less and sleeps more. These are my wishes for a dear friend on the eve of her birthday. Happy Birthday Mersedeh Jan.



Wild flowers of Damavand. Photo by Mahnaz Nazmi, Iranian.com, May 10, 2008.
I said "I work at the University." She said "I know." I didn't pay much attention and our conversation continued. I said: "I was in Southern California recently and the traffic was awful." She said "I know." I decided I didn't like this "I know" business. So I said "What's your hobby?" She said "I know what your hobby is. You are a blogger. I Googled you and I read your blogs. I loved that story about....." It felt so strange to be having a conversation with someone who knew so much more about me than I knew about her. I became quiet. For the first time I wished I didn't have a blog, so I could be on equal terms with people, safeguarding my privacy.
Later, I took my wish back. Though it has had its trying moments, blogging has been one of the best things I have done for myself in my life. I am not a famous blogger, and I don't have many readers, but I am grateful for the ones I have, because most of them come to read me not by accident, but by choice. This past weekend, the total number of visits to my blogs for the past year exceeded 50,000. I suppose that's an important milestone for the scribblings of a very ordinary Iranian woman who decidedly (and doggedly) writes in English to promote a message and to accomplish a goal. I may have lost some of my privacy in the process of owning a blog, but I have also experienced so much joy in being able to reach a group of intelligent and beautiful people. Thank you for 50,000 hits of friendship and joy.


Simple and Beautiful

Radif Ensemble performs Persian traditional music at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Amazing Daf solo by Ali Nourbakhsh.

On Friday night my friend and I participated in a political fundraiser for the re-election of Ross Mirkarimi to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He is a second generation Iranian who has been extremely active in the Iranian community in the San Francisco Bay Area, fostering promotion of Iranian culture, arts, and social issues in these parts. He is also a very nice guy. Friday's fundraiser was an exciting event, especially when I visited briefly with Ala Hazrat, Bayramali and Reza! Yesterday my friend took me to meet another fabulous second generation young Iranian, Schauleh Sahba, who is making a short film advocating "No War on Iran." What a delightful young woman and what a sweet project. I will share more details about her important project later.

After all that excitement, this was a quiet and beautiful Sunday, spent mostly in the company of my older son. He helped me tidy up and clean the house, while all the time we were having philosophical discussions! We talked about love, relationships and many different things. We fought a little, too, which is to be expected. Now my house is tidy and clean and my thoughts and soul are sorted out! The three of us had dinner together. That's my life tonight, simple and beautiful. Have a good week you all.


A Visit

My younger son asked me to iron a shirt for him to wear to work. As I was ironing the shirt, I was keeping an eye on him. He had taken a shower and his long beautiful black hair was pulled into a neat ponytail, his beard had been shaved, and he looked even thinner and taller as his "babyfat" keeps disappearing these days. I know better than to gush over him, so I just admired him in my head. I was trying hard to remember whether I had done things to make my parents hesitate to pay me a compliment when I was his age. Then I thought, well, when I was his age I got married and left their house. As they pointed out to me on many occasions, I didn't give them a chance to do much for me, including gushing over me. I missed them all of a sudden. They were the best parents anyone could have, loving, wise, and generous. As I handed my son his shirt, he said: "Do you remember where I got this shirt? Bababozorg gave it to me." I stopped in my tracks. Did he know what I had been thinking? Or had I known what he was thinking? How come all of a sudden both he and I were thinking about my father?
I think my parents were in my house today, binding my son and me together through our hearts and our memories, bridging that which is difficult to communicate, to say and to hear. I decided to brave it and said to my son: "I think if only my Mom and Dad could see you now, they would be very proud. You look so handsome today and that shirt is so becoming on you." He didn't tell me off or look embarrassed as he normally would. He simply said: "Thank you." I missed my beautiful, radiant, and generous mother and my extraordinary father today, but I am also glad that in some strange way, they visited us today, giving my family a gift of joy.
Happy Mother's Day to you and the mothers in your lives.



Lunch with blog reader-turned-friend, Nasim, and friend-turned-blog reader, Hadi, Tuesday, April 30, 2008. You remember Hadi was in the car accident with me, right? His arm is now out of the cast and in a brace, poor thing.
I almost fell asleep in a meeting this afternoon. Nothing I could do was stopping me from nodding off in that chair in a darkened room, looking at the projector screen, listening to the conference call in progress among geeks! Then I willed myself to remember how not too long ago, I went to a meeting where this poor woman first sat motionless, then her eyes started to close, then her head started bobbing from side to side, and eventually she fell into a deep sleep in her chair, to wake up startled and confused to the sound of her own snoring! It was really embarrassing and impossible to ignore! Remembering that, all of a sudden I was sober and awake and paying attention to the conference call in progress in the room! Phew, spared one more day!
I'll go to an event after work tomorrow. I'll write my Friday post after I return. Have a glorious Friday you all!



A young woman looks at an Iran Darroudi painting at the opening of Iranian Artists Exposition in Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, May 7, 2008. Photo by Raoof Mohseni, Mehr News Agency.
My older son has been working on a presentation for his Speech class for the past couple of weeks. I have had to help him zero in on his subject, gather his research material, and practice his presentation. He presented it in class today and will have a chance to compete in a speech tournament on Friday. Seldom have I seen him so excited about a school project. He has been alternatively excited and nervous and it has been interesting to be a part of his passion. His speech is about persuading his audience to help avoid a war on Iran. As I listened to him practice one more time last night, filled with the pride I felt at his subject choice and his emotion, but unauthorized to display too much (really, any) of that pride, I was thinking how much I would love to be able to hear his presentation. Alas, mothers are not welcome guests at young people's college projects, and I had to sit this one out! I asked him about it tonight and he said his presentation in class was "good," whatever that means.
I have had a very exhausting week at work and with my projects. I will show you some of my scribblings over the coming posts. I will also start to reply to all the kind messages, something I have had to give up in the interest of competing priorities, something I really miss. Have a sparkling Thursday and be good you all!


Haleh's Story

A handicrafts shop in Masouleh, Gilan, May 4, 2008.
For the past several months, I have been writing some pieces about relationships. I have been talking to people around me, each with a unique and different story about the joys and pains of love. The result is a series of stories, not all told in my usual story-telling style. I'm not sure how this happened, but when I sat down to do the stories, they each took a different shape, pouring out of me in any which way they chose, it seemed. I'll be showing them to you over the coming weeks. Here's my friend, Haleh's story, the way my heart heard it through her tears:
You love someone else, you say
I am confused and anguished for having put my guard down
Long enough to let you into my heart
I so want to be done thinking about you, so I try but
It is her I can’t get out of my mind
It is not about her looks
It is not about her youth
It is not about her figure, what has me thinking about
For what difference would any of that make for me
It is her I can’t get out of my mind, because
She can touch the curls in your hair
She can swim in the warm brown sea of your eyes
She can hold your strong, kind hands in hers
She can smell your scent on her pillow, and
Look affectionately at your short strands of salt and pepper hair
Left behind
She won’t have to look at those strands of hair long,
or worry about their getting lost as I did
Because you, yourself, will be back in her arms soon enough
You will let yourself in with a gait to your walk
As you go to be with the woman you love
And I hope she is good to you, kind and generous
As I would have been, could you have given me a chance
Had I been lucky enough to have been her.


Farewell San Diego!

San Diego skyline just past sunset, looking towards Tijuana on the Mexican border, Sunday, May 4, 2008.
And so, my trip is over and I am returning home this morning, going directly to work after my plane lands. It's been a great weekend, thanks to Mersedeh's hospitality. Talking the night away with friends, I didn't get any sleep last night, much like the night before! I'll come back and write a proper post tonight if I can keep awake!
Those of you who live in these parts should know about an event which will take place tomorrow night. Reese Erlich and Norman Solomon, two reputable American journalists and authors, will be speaking at Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 at 7:00 p.m. The topic will be "The Elections, Iraq and Iran: How the Major Media Distort the News and What You Can Do About It." (For more information, call Mary Alice O'Connor (925) 933-7850).
If you still have your calendars handy, please also note that Ostad Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Ava Ensemble will perform at Cupertino's Flint Center next Saturday, May 10th, 2008. Tickets at ticketmaster.com, Flint Center Information: (510)885-8200.
Have a good Monday you all!


A House With A Cat

Samantha, Mersedeh's cat, San Diego, California, Sunday, May 4, 2008.
My friend, Mersedeh, is looking after me. It is a lazy Sunday, with the two of us still in our pajamas, talking lots and doing little. I am so happy I decided to stay longer and to visit with her. A little later we will go out , looking around some. A Sunday without commitments and a house with a good friend and a gorgeous cat in it--life can't get much better than this! I hope you all are enjoying your Sunday, too!


A Good Saturday

Giveh workshop, Arak, Iran, April 8, 2008.
I attended the writers' workshop today. It was a really interesting event. I will write more about that when I return. I met several very interesting people today, authors whose works have been published in the US. I also saw my sweet nephew tonight. All in all, it was a great day, spent in the company of really intelligent and wonderful people, people whose hearts and minds are with Iran and Iranians and issues of concern and importance to them. I am exhausted! I will write more tomorrow.


Catching a Train to Joy

Beshkan Dance Academy Performs "Vision of Persia" at Celebration of Dance 2007.

It's Friday. It is a special Friday for me, because I'm taking my second trip to Southern California this week in a few minutes. This trip is not for business, but for the pleasure of meeting friends and my nieces and nephew and attending the inaugural meeting of a writers' association, a cause near and dear to my heart. I am really excited!

My younger son gave me a ride into Berkeley this morning. That was pretty cool, my very first ride from him! He and I talked about different subjects on the way, laughing a little, too. Maybe it was my imagination, but I thought he was pleased to be giving me a ride.

In a few minutes I will have to catch a train to the airport. Before I go, I would like to wish you all a happy weekend, filled with relaxation and joy of proximity to those you love and causes you pursue. Embrace things you love and care about with gusto and high energy. Considering the various adversities of life, when we face positive things around us we really should jump in and make a big deal out of them while they last! I am going to be doing that this weekend in San Diego. I will try and not worry about my sons, who will probably be celebrating their own joys in a house empty of their ever-present mother! I will write again from San Diego. Have a good weekend y'all!


The Things I Say

German Vogel Ruiz, a Chilean man, observing the threats of war on Iran, decided to go and discover Iran for himself in 2007. He has put his findings into this video clip, advocating "No War on Iran." Interesting and moving.

I had dinner with my friend Enayat. We had an interesting talk about writing (what's good and interesting to write) and reading (what's good and interesting to read). We talked about self-censorship among bloggers, about what they choose to write and what they choose to leave out. It was an interesting discussion, very thought provoking. Though I know I don't write about some things by choice, I doubt that I'm overly obsessed with self-censorship in my blogs. It would be very boring if I had to watch everything I say, taking all the joy out of the activity. I know to some people it might appear as though I am "too positive," or "too happy." I can't help that, because for the most part, I am what I write about. I do have sadder posts or more reflective ones, but when at the end of a day I sit down to write, I mostly remember and celebrate the good things I did and saw and felt that day. What can I say? Especially when some things don't go right, I feel moved to see and appreciate the things that do! That is the way I cope with life. My life is beautiful, not because there isn't ugliness in this world or that I don't see it, but precisely because I do. Am I making any sense?