Hi Ho Hi Ho

30 11 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I wish I could say that it’s because I’ve been busy celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday and being thankful for everything in my life.  But that’s not true, unfortunately. I mean I have been thankful and thought a lot about what I am thankful for. And, I do plan on finishing the declarations of thanks I started last week. However, the point is that I spent the entire weekend working, with a little family time thrown in here and there, and I’m really unhappy about it. That is, with the working, not the family time.

In the current economy, I am certainly grateful to have a job that pays me a paycheck that pays my bills and allows me to buy my daughter some nice things here and there. Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful, and I am not whining. But allow me to whine just a little. I actually like what I do. For a long time, my career was the most important thing to me. In fact, my career was the most important thing to me next to my brand-spanking new marriage about 6 years ago when I first started my job at Blackboard. So, it shouldn’t surprise me that since my current boss was also my boss at Blackboard, he might expect the same undying devotion to my job.

Well, I can tell you that devotion no longer exists. I still love what I do, but I love Azita more. And, when I spend a four-day weekend that is supposed to be about thankfulness and family and friends working until 2am while my daughter cries for my attention, I start to get pretty damn annoyed with what I do. Heck, I start to get pretty angry. I’m angry that my boss expects me to ignore my daughter and work nearly 24 hours a day just to make a minute dent in my workload. I’m mostly angry that I just did it. I should have explained it wouldn’t be possible and that my family comes first.

But I didn’t. I didn’t because I’m afraid that I’ll lose my job if I don’t lose myself to it. It’s an irrational fear at first glance, but it really isn’t if you live in the D.C. area where nearly everyone is married to their jobs. It’s easy to look at the employment landscape and to fear that unless you also give your job everything you have, including a relationship with your daughter, that you won’t be able to continue earning.

I have to say that this is one reason it is becoming more and more tempting for me to get up and move somewhere where life is a little slower and family is a little more important. For now, I’m off to the mines every weekday morning, but I need a change. Azita needs me to change, and I’ve decided that I need to start taking the steps I need to take to make that change happen.


Being Thankful: Part 2 and WTF, TV

24 11 2009

Today I have a lot of little tidbits I want to share, but I’ve already committed to being thankful this week. So, I’m going to be thankful and then move on to some other more pressing topics. Topics like, WTF is wrong with television networks. Why do they play 5 episodes of a new show and get me hooked then tell me that I have to wait 4 WHOLE MONTHS for it to start back up again. Seriously? That’s how they want to play this. If I wasn’t already hooked on V, I’d tell ABC to go suck it. But now I have to wait until March 2010 for it to start back up again, and I’m not committed enough to my anger over the whole scenario to boycott the show. I have no self-control sometimes. I need to work on that.

Anyways, speaking of work and being thankful. Today I’m feeling a little thankful that I have work. As much as I whine about having to leave Azita 5 days a week to go work in an office, I am thankful that I have an office to go to. An office that will give me a paycheck. Having been unemployed for a whole year once, I can really feel for all of the unfortunate people who are part of the statistics quoted in the news every month. It is a horrible feeling to be unemployed, and it honestly puts the fear of unemployment in you. I am constantly fearful of losing a job at a time when I can’t afford to lose one. So, I am thankful. Thankful that I have a paycheck, because right now I really need it. Thankful that while I am in a position where I have to reside in an office for much of the week, at least my work is challenging and interesting enough to make the week fly by. Usually.

You know what else is interesting? How seriously bloated Roger’s head has become thanks to yesterday’s post. I am half tempted to delete that shizz and act like it never happened. But, I’ll admit that big head Roger is kind of more fun to banter with sometimes, so maybe I’ll leave it up.

By the way, that was some segue into the previous paragraph, huh? I say this because have I mentioned how idiotic I find the talking heads of News Channel 8? (That totally made sense, because I have heard the stupidest segues in the whole wide world on that news show) I don’t know why I watch that crap every morning. Oh wait, I remember. BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE THE EFFIN WEATHER. Yes, somehow I think it will be faster to hear them tell me whether or not I should pile on the warm clothes, wear a raincoat, or otherwise make weather-inspired adjustments to my daily attire, than to just look up the weather online. Instead the one guy who looks like Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle basically reads the entire contents of the entertainment section on Google News to the camera. And, he acts like 1) people care what he talks about and 2) he is enlightening us with something truly amazing, like proof of the Riemann hypothesis. He makes me crazy, and yet I watch this drivel every morning. Someone needs to motivate me to find the remote control and use it. STAT!

Being Thankful: Part 1

23 11 2009

Lately things kind of suck on the work front, and the malaise I feel as a result is spilling over into my life. I’d whine about it, but the truth is I hate whining, especially when done in the week of thanksgiving. I take Thanksgiving seriously. It’s not just a day for me. I try to be thankful all year. Even when suckiness abounds. Actually, especially when it does. There is no better time to remember that the good in your life outweighs the bad.

So this week I am going to do the thing everyone else with a blog is doing, and I’m going to detail the things I am most thankful for. I will force the thankful into me damn it, and maybe it will push some of the woe is me out.

Today since I’m doing the obvious thing post-wise, I will start with the least obvious thing that I am thankful for — my husband. I say that this is not so obvious, because I tease the poor guy mercilessly. I can really dish it out. You’d think I disliked him if you heard it. He of course can dish it right back.  I think our back and forth makes for an interesting marriage personally. We are certainly never bored.

I am thankful for his presence in my life. If you know me, you know that I am an anxiety-filled wreck. Take any good situation, and I will someone find something to feel anxious about. Anxiety keeps me up at night. It starts with me trying to workup my to do list for the next day and ends with me frantically putting together a spreadsheet with a year-long budget for our household or scouring websites about deadly diseases or trying to figure out how we’re going to buy a new car that we will surely need to buy because I think I heard a slight rattle when we turned left this morning. On those nights, Roger knows how to bring me back down to Earth, to help me be rational again. He doesn’t discount my feelings. He listens and helps me understand why everything really is all right or at least manageable. Then he helps me manage it. I’m fully aware that most people would call me a kook then roll over and go back to sleep. I’m really lucky, and I’m thankful for it.

But that’s not all. Roger is my biggest fan and my biggest ally. He is a loving father, not just to Azita but also to our dear little kitties — Buzz and Maggie. He contributes a great deal to running the household, and I don’t even need to ask him.  He tells me I’m pretty and looking thin, even when I know I’m looking chubby and rough around the edges. At the same time, he’s honest with me when I ask him how an outfit looks (that’s actually a good thing to me, just so we’re clear). He writes me lovely letters, and he has many times stayed up late with me so we could talk into the wee hours of the morning. He loads my iPod with my favorite music, and with new music that he knows will become some of my favorites. He lets me vent to him when I really need to vent and lets me know when I’m crossing over into whiny bore territory. He cooks me dinner when I have no time for cooking, and he stays out of the kitchen when I am indulging in some much-needed cooking therapy. He doesn’t whine about all of the crazy hobbies I decide to pick up, nor about all of the stuff I have laying around from said crazy hobbies after they don’t pan out. That includes an autoharp, by the way. I am not joking. An autoharp.

Clearly there are many reasons to be thankful for Roger. There are many more I haven’t mentioned, mostly because I can’t remember them now. But they do exist, and I’m sure they’ll come to me as soon as I hit the Publish button.

Don’t let him know it, but I like having him around. And I am really thankful that he loves me.

Crossing my Fingers and Knocking on Wood

19 11 2009

I believe in science and mathematics. If I have a question about why something is the way it is, I know science holds the answer. I’ll admit that I have a problem with faith in that I need a scientific explanation for everything, and I’ve just never been able to reconcile faith and science.  I’m definitely not the superstitious type.

So explain to me why motherhood has completely knocked the pragmatism out of me? Explain to me why I actually really believe that if Azita eats breakfast one morning when I happen to be wearing my blue pajamas with the red apples on them and I’m holding a squeaky toy with my left hand, then the way to get her to eat breakfast the next day is to wear the same pajamas and hold the same squeaky toy. With my left hand. At the same exact time as the day before.

Why has parenthood made me so superstitious? I really think it’s the desperation of being so utterly out of control over just about everything in your life just about every day of your life. Especially when it comes to getting Azita to eat or sleep or do any of the other things that, you know, keep humans, specifically my little human, alive.  It’s not that I really believe that any of these superstitious rituals will work. It’s just that it’s 11:30 on a Monday night, and I really, really need Azita to fall asleep so I can go to bed because I have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning tomorrow damn it. Or maybe Azita has refused to eat anything for 3 days, and I just know that next time she goes to the doctor they’ll tell me she actually lost weight and somehow grew shorter. Or Azita will not let me buckle her in to her car seat and I’m late for work but I obviously can’t drive her to daycare until she is safely protected against all the crazy drivers out there. Or she’s doing any of the fifty other things she does that I fear will damage her for life, and there is nothing I can do to make her stop.

I read the books. Books based on science. I know all of these things are completely normal. I know how to handle most of them, and I know that sometimes just riding these situations out is the only way to handle them. Still, what I wouldn’t give for some kind of ritual that would actually get Azita to eat or sleep.

Goodnight Kittens and Goodnight Mittens

18 11 2009

Like my sister and me before him, my nephew Danyal has a tendency to be painfully shy. When we were children, my sister and I were so shy that it even took us a good half hour to an hour to warm up to our closest family members whenever we would see them. Even my aunt. My aunt who is basically a second mom to me. My aunt whom I saw several times a week, sometimes nearly every day. If that’s not shy, I don’t know what is. You wouldn’t know it if you met either of us today. We’ve managed to work on these issues in adulthood so that we are now passably sociable.

So, when my nephew reached an age where he could interact verbally with other people, I wasn’t exactly shocked that he was rather reticent to actually interact. Even with me, his aunt. I understood where he was coming from though and I didn’t push the issue even though I was dying to hug him and talk with him and play games.

I remember my first visit to North Carolina right after my sister and her family moved there. When I excitedly ran to my nephew for a hug after a long drive, he hid behind my sister’s leg. He stayed there for much of the day. The next day, as I sat on their couch looking through his favorite board book, Goodnight Moon, Danyal slowly crept over from the other side of the couch until he was sitting next to me. And when I asked him if he wanted me to read to him, he nodded his head up and down. If I had any doubt in my mind that I had made some headway, it was soon gone, right about when we got to “Goodnight kittens and goodnight mittens.”

When I flipped the page to say goodnight to the clocks and the socks, Danyal stopped me and pointed to the mittens. “Mittens,” I said. Then he pointed to the kittens, prompting me to say “kittens.” And again he stopped me as I tried to flip the page. We continued that way for some time, and spent many hours that weekend with him pointing to the page and me repeating, “Goodnight kittens and goodnight mittens.” And there you have it, the moment we bonded. To this day, Roger and I will without thinking say “Goodnight kittens and goodnight mittens” whenever we thinking of Danyal.

This past weekend we bought Azita her first copy of Goodnight Moon. Excitement was bursting up through my throat as we got through the first couple pages. Then “Goodnight light and the red balloon.” I’m really getting excited for the payoff now. I just know we’re going to have that moment. The “goodnight kittens, goodnight mittens” moment. Instead I had a little moment of truth. Azita is no Danyal. She’s a rambunctious 10 month old with the attention span of a flea. Instead of mittens and kittens I had baby laying on her belly across my lap, reaching for a dust bunny under the couch. So much for recreating a perfect moment.

One day, hopefully soon, Azita and I will get through the book in one sitting. And the lesson has been learned — when that day comes, it will be a perfect in its own way.

The Council of Legendary Creatures

17 11 2009

Now that Thanksgiving is just a week away, it’s clear that Christmas is nearly upon us. I’ve spent the past couple weeks furiously planning for our first Christmas with Azita. Growing up in a Muslim, Iranian household, Christmas wasn’t exactly a big event in my childhood. It’s unfortunate, because I had Christmas spirit to spare. I was one of those kids who really believed in Santa Clause. I mean I really, really believed. Until I was 9. Yes, I said 9. As in, I stayed up all night by the fireplace, even though we didn’t have a tree, and waited for Santa Clause to drop down the chimney. I was that sure that he existed.

Prior to that year, we did have a tree and had our own version of a Christmas celebration. The year I turned 9, however, my mom broke the news that we would not be celebrating Christmas that year because we were old enough to understand that we were not Christian nor American and therefore did not celebrate Anglo, Christian holidays. Still, I believed Santa would know that I was waiting for him and would reward my faith. Santa Clause of course never came.

Later on due to some comments from some of my classmates I realized I had fallen victim to a sham. The lie was illuminated as it is for every child at some point or another.

I refuse to see any of these events as a tragedy, however. I see them for what they are. Magic. Santa Clause is magic. The Easter Bunny is magic. The Tooth Fairy is magic. I believed in all of them, and in a childhood that was fraught with a lot of things that were not so magical, I needed all of them. It was a wonderful thing to believe in things that were so good and sweet and special. They gave me something to look forward to, even if they didn’t always come through. They were a small piece of the richly imaginative world where I spent a good deal of my time — a world populated not only with these mythical creatures, but with characters from storybooks and whimsical landscapes created by yours truly.

I still believe in Santa Clause. I believe in what he can do for children, no matter what their station in life. My youngest sister is a very different person from me. She not only doesn’t believe in Santa Clause; she believes that it is practically criminal to allow one’s child to believe in him. My nephew was the kid who walked into his first grade classroom and broke the news to his classmates. That makes me so incredibly sad, because he really needs Santa Clause for many of the same reasons I did. My sister’s point of view is that a mother is lying to her children if she tells them Santa exists. My point of view is that a mother is imagining with her children.

Azita will never experience some of the not-so-happy possibilities that were very real for my childhood. I am determined that this will be the case. Even so, I am certain that Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy and even the Easter Bunny will play an important part in her early years and will spark her imagination as they did for me.

So, there wasn’t any doubt in my mind that this year would be the first of many years when Azita would visit the mall for a photo with the jolly guy in the red fuzzy suit. And, I have to say, from the expression on her face it’s pretty clear that she’s going to love him as much as I did and still do.

Azita visits Santa, Christmas 2009

P.S. Bonus points, and maybe a little prize, for the first person to figure out the little bit of Christmas movie trivia in the title of this post. What movie(s) does the post come from? Anyone? Anyone?

P.P.S. Full disclosure that the movie(s) are likely very, very cheesy, but I will watch any Christmas movie. ANY. I’ve even watched some on such channels as Hallmark or Lifetime. Yes. I have surely been taken down many notches in your esteem, and if not now, I am sure I will at some point in the near future. Amen.

There’s Something About Saeedis

14 11 2009

I love my family. They are crazy and joyful and beautiful and wise and kooky and all sorts of other things. Every human characteristic can be found in nearly every family member, and for every characteristic they each exhibit they have an equal but opposite one that balances it out. We are all individuals. Our get-togethers are seriously insane and can make even the most adventurous person feel a little bit uncomfortable, but they are also full of warmth and love. You may feel a little awkward in our presence, but you will also be well-fed and embraced as family. My family is a giant paradox and a very extreme one at that. Like many Iranians, we are a passionate bunch and our moods can be extreme. A small disagreement can turn into a month or even year long falling out, but when we get back together our affection for each other is equally extreme. We really will go to the ends of the earth for each other, and I am very aware of how special this is. Believe me when I say that I am so very grateful to have had and continue to have these people in my life.

Azita’s birth has made me even closer to my family. I want her to love them as much as I do and to feel as safe as I do when I am around them. I already know she is there.

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Can’t you see the love in her eyes as she looks at my dear daee Mahmoud? He is my favorite uncle. I hope she learns from him how to enjoy life and really live it. Kind of like my uncle’s children have.

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My cousin Bardia snuggles with Azita

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My cousin Taimoor, the artist. He is a brilliant musician.

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My cousins Maryam and her husband, Mersad

I love them, and I know Azita will, too.