Thursday, January 31, 2008

Her man

He tells her that he would like to go to Las Vegas in order to spend time with his cousin Amir. Amir is going to Vegas for his girlfriend's birthday with her and a group of her girlfriends. So since Amir is the only male at this event he needs some one to spend time with, and that is the reason why he plans to go to Vegas. Yes, he actually believes that that is a legitimate reason and that it is really ok for him to go to Vegas with Amir and a group of girls. Right!
He is standing by her side as he asks his brother for a chair. He sits down once the chair is delivered with out asking her if she would like a seat, leaving her on her feet. He has absolutely no clue why she is upset. After she informs him, he actually believes that she is upset about the actual chair, literally.
He tells her that he is not sure about what he would like to do for dinner as she calls him to inquire. Yes, he cannot make a decision about dinner until he is leaving work. She asks him to call her when he decides as she would like to plan her evening. She takes deep breaths. Two hours later he leaves her a message with a suggestion for dinner. As she gets out of the shower she calls him back to let him know that the suggestion will not work. The scent of that particular restaurant remains strongly on clothes and hair, a bad idea because they are attending an event after dinner. He is set on his suggestion and asks her why she took a shower before dinner and not wait until after? Yes, he actually asked her that! (so he wants her to go out to dinner after the gym with out taking a shower, come back home, take a shower and go back out again). She is speechless and does not bother to reply. When she declines his suggestion he informs her that he has already called another friend and has invited him out to dinner with them. She tells him to go to dinner with the friend and that they will unite for the party after. He sees nothing wrong with how the evening turned out!
When she sees that the porch light is out she grunts as she knows that it will take weeks for him to replace it. She can change it herself, however she has decided not to take over every single task in the household and leave him some responsibilites. When she notifies him of the light bulb situation, he tells her that he will take care of it over the weekend. Yes, changing one light bulb is a weekend job for him! After he actually does complete this task (after 7 or 8 reminders) he lists it as a chore (taking credit) and tells her that he is done with "chores" for the day. Yes, he actually believes that changing a light bulb completes his quota of chores for an entire day!
She had been asking him to organize the garage with new cabinets for two years. Finally he decided to take up the job and do it. So since this project was her idea and due to the fact that it is costing a high amount of money, he actually suggests that that could be her Valentine's Day present! She laughs at him, but deep down she knows that if she had said ok, he would have been serious!
She has to continue reminding herself that he is a man, they are of different species, this is how they really do think, this is honestly what they actually and truely believe, it is not personal, he does not mean harm... So this is what she continually recites to herself as she takes deep breaths: "Pick your battles, pick your battles, pick your battles, pick your battles...".

Sunday, January 27, 2008

From Simon to Obama

Anahita has been trying to raise up some political interests in me (refer to "comment" on blog dated 1/16/08). I think it is because she became excited when I programmed NPR in my car radio, wrote about Afghanistan and showed some interest in the world. Little does she know that the NPR radio button has yet to be used, and my slight interest in world news and current events was merely due to an entertaining book, an interesting movie, and possibly a laps in personality.
She tried to use the "charming and handsome brother" tactic on me to introduce me to the presidential race and to persuade me to vote, vote! She sent me a survey to complete which would inform me of the presidential candidates who I am mostly "compatible" with (I was unaware of the meaning of almost half of the words in the survey). She even tried to guide me to the voter registration website in order to make the process smoother for me.
Does she truly believe that this Glamour Magazine reading, Romantic Comedy watching, gossipy, American Idol fan could be transformed to a worldly, politically educated, fascinating conversationalist, news paper reading voter?
It has been raining in Southern California for almost a week straight now, any thing is possible!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Battle of the Eggs: Shabnam Vs. Maman

Part I
When I was a little girl I did not like eggs, actually I despised them. I hated the smell and the texture. My mom on the other hand believed that eggs are one of the most nutritious foods in the universe, they have protein. That was the reason why she force fed me.
One of her force feeding techniques was to attain my full attention with a story, then feed me as I was engrossed in the fascinating tale (highly sneaky). Eventually I caught on to her motherly trick, and instead of rebelling against it I used it to my advantage. I developed and enforced a new rule: in order for me to eat an egg, you must provide me with a new and interesting story (note: one story per egg, multiple eggs cannot be consumed with a long story, story cannot be "made up"). My mom agreed, because she would commit to anything for me to consume eggs as it was her goal in life. To her this looked like an easy contract, little did she know that there will be a glitch: there is always an endless supply of eggs, but not stories.
And so one day my mom ran out of fascinating tales. She tried to sneak in a few repeat or "made up" stories here and there, but unfortunately (for her) it did not fly. Each time I reminded her about our deal and that the story must be fresh and original.
She ran out of stories, I stopped eating eggs. I won.
Part II
One morning before school when I came to the breakfast table I saw something interesting and exciting, a Chocolate Shake! My mom placed it on the table in front of me as she had a smile on her face. I was so happy, she was letting me drink only a Chocolate Shake for breakfast! I did not question her motives as to not risk the treat. As I was gulping down the shake I noticed that it did not quite taste like a typical Chocolate Shake. I did not ponder too much about it and left for school.
I continued to receive Chocolate Shakes for breakfast 2-3 times per week. One day as I questioned the taste of the shake my mom brushed it off and blamed my taste buds.
One of the lovely mornings as I was walking into the kitchen to sit at the breakfast table, it happened. I was traumatised as I caught her red handed. She was whipping a raw egg in the glass that would be filled with my "Chocolate Shake". As I stood there and looked at the glass with disbelief, she looked at me like a deer caught in head lights, my dad burst out laughing!
My mom had been feeding me RAW EGGS hidden inside a glass filled with milk, cocoa powder (which technically is not even Chocolate) and HONEY!!!!!! I had been drinking RAW EGGS and HONEY disguised as "Chocolate Shake" 2-3 times per week! The betrayal, by my own mother, and to use CHOCOLATE as her cover up! I was crushed.
I guess my mom believes that every little elementary school girl should follow the footsteps of Rocky!.
Now I know what that smile was about when she presented me with my first glass of "Chocolate Shake". It was not the smile of "here honey, enjoy a treat", it was the smile of "wooohahahha, you sucker"! She won.

Shabnam- 1
Maman- 1

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friendship Expired

I like to think of myself as a good friend; some one who is loyal, giving and kind. Overall, I like to think of myself as a nice person. But (yes, but), as I was thinking about myself the other day as I do often, it being my favorite subject, I came to a harsh realization which struck me as somewhat surprising. For a person who claims to be, and is told by others that she is, a "decent person"and a "good friend", I seem to have the ability to abruptly cast friends aside, completely cutting them off from my life. The more disturbing part is that I am able to do that with out remorse, regret or guilt. I have committed this act not just once, twice, or three times, but four times. So unfortunately I cannot claim temporary insanity and have to accept that this is part of my, dare I say, Personality. Lets look at how they unfolded.

The story of M.
M and I did not start out very close, actually I did not quite like her very much (as I often feel that way toward most new people I meet). But slowly our relationship grew into a very close and deep friendship. M became one of my best friends and I ended up loving her like a sister.
M was a few years older than me, she was the "cool" and hip girl who lived alone and had "cool" and hip friends. She took me to awesome parties thrown by the "cool" friends with her, she introduced me to a little thing called "pot" (although she never succeeded at teaching me how to inhale). I smoked cigarettes with her, experienced my first severe alcohol intoxication with her, I used her ID to get into bars and clubs, and I stayed out late at nigh with her. I was a free bird with M, able to do all that was forbidden. She was fun, funny, exciting and super "cool"!
One day as I was on my way to work in the mall I decided that I cannot be friends with M any longer (due to a certain incident). I simply took the long way to work in order to avoid seeing her through the window of the store she worked at. That was it, it was over.
Later I would see M around town, however I never felt sad and I did not miss her, as if she was not my M any more. My M had left with the end of our friendship and the new M was an entirely new and different person.

And the story of N.
N and I met in high school. We immediately clicked and became best friends. We were inseparable and spent every free minute with each other. We called one another upon arrival at home every day after school, even though we had spent the entire day together. We had so much to talk about and laugh about that all day every day was not enough!
N and I shared every thing with each other. We had a great amount of fun together and created many sweet memories with one another. We experienced many of our "firsts" together (first car, first job, first date, etc.) as we were young and new to life.
N and I continued to be friends in college until SHE cut ME off of her friendship (due to yet again another "incident"). I was hurt and angry, yet did not try to fix what was broken. We were never able to save our friendship and I was ok with that.
Years later when N came to me and asked for us to be friends again, I was not able to go back. That friendship had died to me and the N that was sitting across the table from me, talking to me after years of separation, was not my N any more. My N, the one I loved and trusted was gone and this was a stranger.

Then the story of P.
P and I met when we were both in high school through family. We kept in touch through out the years and I considered her a "friend". Although the rest of my friends were not fond of P due to her arrogance and somewhat rudeness, I digged her. She was fun to be around, she made me laugh. So I did not mind the picking her up, dropping her off, and going around her schedule.
Yes, you guessed it, an Incident! I never contacted P again, with out any confrontation, with out any explanation.
After one year P contacted me but was unable to reach me (since I never returned her call). I was offended and hurt, I was done.

And finally the story of sweet G.
G and I met in college and after a while became very close. G and I have been through a lot together, a lot of ups and downs, highs and lows, lefts and rights, I think you get the point. G and I got each other and were always on the same page. But most importantly, I could always count on G to be there for me no matter what. From picking me up at home early in the morning in order to drop me off at my Physiology Final because I was still too drunk from the night before to drive (I failed that test), to always being by my side to console me after yet another break up with the same guy.
After I felt hurt by G, that friendship ended as well. However, G is one of those people who never truly leave your life, because the bond was too strong to be broken, yet not strong enough to keep you tight. G is like family, you can never divorce them.
G and I are still in each other's lives, but the friendship and the closeness that we had is dead and will never become alive again.

So there it is, 4 stories of how I ended friendships on the spot, in my heart and with out feeling remorse or guilt. Maybe this is a coping mechanism for me to deal with loss, who knows.
But I cannot help but wonder, how stable are my relationships? If I am able to drop people from my life like 3rd period French, what does that say about me and my "good friend" status? Well my theory is that I make every effort, use all my energy, give all I have, forgive, forget, and love to the max until there is no more room for forgiveness or acceptance. It takes one final push and I am over the edge, I am done, finished and out, never to come back again.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Goodbye until September

It is over, done with, finished, we lost, we are out. After we were up 14 points, we managed to only score 3 more before the hideous green and yellow scored over 30 of them. Our heads are bowed down while we go back home and remain there for the rest of the season.

Every Sunday for 4 months I spent four hours watching Matt, Shaun, Dion, Walter, Bobby and many more Hawks. Big, handsome, strong, tall, muscular beings in the beautiful colors of Navy & White. I have spent numerous hours with these boys where I am now very familiar with things such as Dion's scar on his right arm, the dark tattoos covering Tatupu's large biceps, and Shaun's brace on his hand which protects his wrist. I know that Matt is fantastic with short passes, Mo Mo is not afraid to hit the hole hard, and Mike becomes as red as a tomato when he is angry and frustrated.
The way these boys performed each Sunday affected my mood and my attitude for the rest of the day. If they lost the game I was disappointed and sad, taking it out on the store clerk. If they were victorious I was a proud and happy fan, smiling at the barista.
I have become emotionally connected to the team and feel that they let me down personally if they do not "show up" to the game. So last Saturday when the game was win or lose in the ultimate meaning, obviously it was very important to me that they "show up". It was important to me that they play hard and beat the ugly and old QB who needed to have retired 5 years ago! I expected them to dominate, crush and kill the stupid little bitches!
Well, it did not quite work out that way. At first I blamed the heavy snow that was blocking their view and resulting in a very slippery turf, but then it became hurtful to watch. I could not turn away and I could not speak, my heart was breaking into tiny little pieces.
I gave them 4 hours of my life every Sunday for 4 months and this is how they repay me, I thought. I wondered how they could do this to the 12Th man after all of the commitment and love that I have given them. I thought about how we came so far as the Playoffs, victory was so close that I could taste the sweetness in my mouth. I wondered about how they could take that sweetness away from me. And finally I wondered about how they could crush all of my hopes and dreams.
After I came to my senses and remembered that this is only Football and that life goes on even if the Seahawks do not make it to the Super Bowl, I felt better. I guess there are other equally tragic things in the world such as hunger, poverty, and people still wearing washed out jeans. And now I will have to find another resource for my happiness or sadness on Sundays. Something meaningful perhaps, something that I am actually involved in maybe...or not!

Thanks for a good run boys, it was fun. I will see you in your tights in September.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


With sincere appologies to all the "real" poets out there...

Bia benshin goosh be gheseham ey doost
Beshno as man dastaneh in gerye ra

Har ghatreh az in ashk ra mibini?
Daneh daneh sharhy darand az khod be joda

Har hegh hegheh in gerye ra mishenavi?
Har navayash razy por az gham migooyand

Negah kon be dastaneh larzanam ey rafigh
Ke shooreh javani ra poshteh sar sepordand

Yek rooz ye roozegar yeki bood yeki nabood
Gheseh man aghazash bood roozhayeh door

Roozreh aval payash ra gozasht too donyam
Roozeh dovom negahash ra dookht be negaham

Roozeh sevom labkhandash larzand tanam ra
Roozeh charom salamash feshord ghalbam ra

Roozeh panjom goft doostam darad
Roozeh sheshom goft zendegi va janash hastam

Roozeh haftom ghalbam ra be oo hedieh kardam
Roozeh hashtom shenavar boodam dar eshgheh zeebayash

Roozeh nohom dasteh garmash navazesham nakard
Roozeh dahom boosehash ra hes nakardam

Eshgheh ghashangam ra gom kardam dar shab
ghalbam ra bakhtam dar ghomareh zendegi

Donyayam siah shod o tarik cho shab
Roozegaram tabah shod, khali o sard

Nagozar gheseham delat ra begirad ey doost
Faghat bedan dalileh sargardanyam ra

Een bood gheseh ashkam, dastaneh geryeham, va sharheh dastanam
Een ast javabeh cheshmam, razeh gham o rooyeh basteham.

Shabnam -Summer 2006-

Friday, January 11, 2008

An ordinary day

Alarm rings at 7:45. Get up at 8:10, wash my face, brush my teeth, chose an outfit to wear, put on make up and go downstairs. Feed the fish, pack lunch, clean up husband's mess from last night and grab something that could be carried out the door for breakfast. The car ride is relaxing, start by listening to "On Air with Ryan Seacrest", and eventually dozing off to day dreaming and wondering about "what ifs". Make it to work right at 9:00. Get settled in, log onto the computer, say a few good mornings, get the morning cup of coffee and check mail box. Check work e-mail, check personal e-mail, check orkut account, check yahoo home page, check who is online at MSN messenger. Eat whatever that was grabbed last minute from home with my warm cup of coffee.
Meeting with supervisor at 9:30. Talked about cases, staff on my team, who is not doing their work, how to replace the one that is leaving, etc.
Check mail box.
Go back to my office. Check e-mails, write e-mails, proof-read progress notes, approve funds, chat with coworkers. Check personal e-mail, check orkut account, check yahoo home page, check MSN messenger, etc.
Its noon and time for lunch. Get W & M away from what they are doing to have lunch with me. Warm up the slice of gourmet pizza from last night and spread Ranch dressing on salad. Sit in the lunch room with W, M, and others present and eat, chat and gossip. E brought carrot walnut cake. Eat a slice with tea and talk about books and movies.
Back to my office. Proof read Incident Report, read e-mails, respond to e-mails, draft CSPs, print Compliance Report and hi light my team. Chat with co-workers. Check personal e-mail, check orkut account, check yahoo home page, check MSN messenger, etc.
Check mail box. Refill coffee.
Worried boss comes into the office about a HIPPA violation by some one on my team. Shit. I have to write some one up. That sucks.
2:00 meeting with A who is on my team and is having trouble completing and turning in his Audits. I am helping him get them done. I tell A that he needs to Discharge his old cases and stop procrastinating. He sais that it will be done on Monday.
Get some more coffee.
Check my box and head back to my office. Read e-mails, respond to e-mails, proof read progress notes, approve and sign time sheets, approve and sign mileage reimbursements, map quest directions for Monday's Training in Santa Ana. Check personal e-mail, check orkut account, check yahoo home page, check MSN messenger, etc.
Chat with co-workers.
Set up "out of office" reply on e-mail for Monday, final check on all accounts, log off of computer, put dot on "out" on the board, say my "have a good weekend"s and leave the building. Another day passed with out a major crisis, a disaster or drama.
Use car ride home to make phone calls. Talk to mom about my passport picture and why I need an Iranian ID card? Talk to sister about my opinion of the "Kite Runner" movie.
Get home. Water the plants, have a snack, turn on the computer and check movies for tonight. Write in my blog until husband comes home so we can go out to dinner and movie.
All in all, pretty damn good day!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My View

The formal living room was very big and always immaculate. The green couch had it's back to a series of very wide and bright windows. Between the couch and the window was the heater, or the "shoofaj". The lace white and yellow curtains were always open wide.
I would sit on top of the couch's back facing away from the room, and toward the window. I would put my little feet on top the hot heater "shoofaj" and some times squeeze them in between the slots. Then I would look out the window at the most magnificent view: the Alborz mountains overlooking the city of Tehran. There were no high rises blocking my view of the city and I could see each and every home all the way to the bottom of the very strong mountain. The honorable mountain which was always covered in snow. I knew every single home by heart to the point of what was stored in their balconies and on their roofs. I would sit there for hours and look out the window. Some times I would take a plate of dried sour cherries, sit up there and snack on them while watching the city and the mountain and the birds. I always kept the fat and juicy cherries for last since they were my favorite. It felt so good to have my feet warmed by the hot heater "shoofaj" while watching the cool air outside. Some times people would come out of their homes and into their balconies or on their rooftops to pick up or drop off things or to clean, and I would watch them. I watched cars come in and out of the garages in our street. I watched the birds hop from one roof top to another. And I watched the mountain. Oh yes the mountain, he was ever so strong and proud, with such beautiful colors of white and blue. He looked over the entire city as a guardian. He made my view perfect and familiar.
My parents always wondered how I can sit in one place and stare out at nothing. But it was not nothing to me, it was my city. I was facinated by that enchanting view. It was my solitude, my peace, and my spot. warm feet, four stories high looking down at my world, and snacking on my favorite treats.
I heard later that the owners of the house across the street from our home decided to build a high rise in place of the two story home. I believe my view is gone now. Whoever that now lives in "our" house does not get to sit by the window and watch the city and the mountain while warming up their feet and snacking on dried sour cherries. That living room must be so dark now. Maybe that special place was mine only. I am comforted that I am not there now to be faced with a wall instead of my view. And to be reminded each day that my beautiful view of the familiar homes and the proud mountain is sitting behind a brick wall.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Monday, January 7, 2008


Who do you think the closest people to you are? Your family? Your friends? Your spouse? You will be surprised by my answer: My coworkers! Think about it, they are the ones who I see and spend time with 5 days a week 8 hours a day. They are the ones who know when I am having a bad day or a good day. They are the ones who notice my haircut, my new outfit and my bad mood. They are the first ones to hear about a new event in my life. They are the ones who are in my day to day life, in the details of it, in the little things such as a new painting that I am working on or a new book that I am reading.
I spend the bigger portion of my waking hours at the office. I talk to my coworkers more than I talk to any one els. They are the ones who I talk to about my work out session last night or the movie I saw yesterday or the latest episode of Gray's Anatomy. More than any one els, they know my routine, my life, and my thoughts.
Sure I talk to my friends, my family and my husband, however the extent of our conversations are limited. They were not part of my day. My coworkers are the people who I see day in and day out. They are the ones who know what I like to eat for lunch, how I take my coffee and what kind of cake I like. These are the people who are there for me when I need comforting. They are who I talk to when I had a fight with my husband. They are the ones who listen to my stories. These are the people who make my day or break my day.
I know about M's boyfriend problems and I try to help her with it. I am the one W talks to about her husband and little girl. I know where V is in the process of her home remodeling. I eat lunch with these people daily and sometimes dinners and drinks. We give each other Christmas gifts and birthday cards. We know each other's short comings and strengths. The office is our second home and we are like family.
But when one of us leaves, it is over, that is the story of work. We are as close as family, yet when our paths take different turns we do not look back and we move on. Because if it was not for circumstances we would not have been friends. We were from different worlds that some how collided with each other. We will not miss each other or even think about each other ever again. It was only a job, we were only coworkers. But at some point in time we were the closest people to each other in our lives.