Video music nirvana + Happy Nature Day all days

Our Nature Day picnic turned out nicer than we expected. Our impromptu Nature Day picnic turned out nicer than we expected.

Did you know that April Fool’s Day is celebrated in Iran too? Thirteen days after Persian New Year (our 1st day of Spring, which you saw us celebrating here and here and here), Persians stay out all day and play games. It’s Sizdah Be-dar (literally 13 Outdoor), also called Nature Day. One must dispel any potential bad luck from the number thirteen. Some people like to play innocent pranks on that day too!

Often that 13th day falls around Easter, filling local parks to double their capacity. So many people gather that folks will run into childhood friends, ones from other countries.

Sheltering, quarantine, house arrest, what’s in a name? Yes, it’s grim, but it also bespeaks of a hopeful world, one where everyone is pulling together (not counting the every-present handful of conspiracy theorists). (Here and here and here and here and here and here are a few more posts to cheer you through the crisis.)

Nature Day was an at-home workday for us. Half-heartedly, my husband and I set a modest picnic under the dwarf kumquat tree in our little front yard. Our sweet doggie joined us for a quick round of cards over tea and Persian cookies. One thing led to another, and before we knew it, we were having fun. Then we ran back indoors to return to our at-home work. Dinner involved more Persian deliciousness – see in this post that reveals how Persian food has something for everyone!

Get in close to smell Khashayar's bubbling tomato-bean-potato stew. Get in close to smell Khashayar’s bubbling tomato-bean-potato stew.

No, I don’t have a right to complain — not when people have suffered far worse and continue to do so. We’re all well here. This far, California seems to have evaded the tsunami of illness that’s still predicted to swell, probably thanks largely to our horrid mass transit that scares folks off from piling together into busses and subways.

Family in Iran, thank the heavens, is fine if we don’t count how the country has been walloped by the epidemic, amid a grossly hobbled infrastructure.

I’m rambling. Forgive me. This is what one does when one is cooped up for weeks, relegated to video chats and to regarding anything to do with life outdoors as if its all of it is radioactive waste, from people to food to petting — hands off! — each other’s dogs, and why aren’t you wearing a mask? Well, I thought outdoors…

Thank goodness for the arts. I’ve got this video-post about my enchantment with those who pursue arts and hobbies for no other compensation than inner glee.

A gift to you from Iran! Here’s some of my extended family there sharing fine musicianship — enjoy their classical Persian music performance of “Tak Derakt: Single Tree”…

With that loveliness in mind, here are a few photos from my dear husband’s visit to Tehran several years ago. (Here and here are more about that same trip.)…

The whole of Tehran turns green in Spring. The whole of Tehran turns green in Spring.
Even at night this Tehran bridge is colorful. Even at night this Tehran bridge is colorful.
Flowers in Spring in Tehran. Flowers in Spring in Tehran.
Tehran's spring-time snowy mountains. Tehran’s spring-time snowy mountains.

If you want a better idea of how a real Sizdah Bedar is meant to be, look here and feel here.

How are you fairing indoors, dear reader? Healthy and happy, I hope…

Hope Amid Corona Virus (COVID19) Chaos + Video

2020 is taking a bit of a nosedive, no? So let’s celebrate the new year again! My husband was born in Iran, where it’s Nowrooz, a non-religious holiday. Here we are with our Persian New Year’s setting…

Here we are with our Persian New Year’s setting.

Spring and new years are laden with blossoms of promise. Regardless of what occurs outside ourselves, they’re opportunities to release our pasts and do what we can to foster good times ahead.

In addition to Iran, other countries participate in Persian New Year (aka Nowrooz, which is spelled many ways due to varying phonetic translations). The list includes Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Albania. Even Japan celebrates a version of Nowruz!

Here’s a speech about Persian New Year I performed as a member of Toastmasters…

My wish for you, dear reader, that the future brings only the best to you and your loved ones.

 

More on the current crisis here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

How do you cultivate hope and celebration during uncertain times?

3. Ever been told…?

Flamenco woman with text over that reads: Ever been told that 'all Middle Eastern women are sexy,' that they have 'hypnotic eyes,' & that 'you know what goes on under those burqas'?

Ever been told that ‘all Middle Eastern women are sexy,’ that they have ‘hypnotic eyes,’ and that ‘you know what goes on under those burqas’ as if they’re an exotic species?

2. Ever been told…?

Photo of da-AL in flower field with caption: Ever been told that your honey is 'nice for a Middle Eastern man'?

Ever been told that your honey is ‘nice for a Middle Eastern man’ as if they’re amazed that Middle Eastern men can be kind?

Book Review: Najmieh Batmanglij’s Persian Cookbook

It’s the start of Spring and with it Persian New Year, the time of year that is among the happiest everywhere in the world. A time brilliant with hope, promise, and gratitude for overcoming the year behind us. Yeah! We have survived! All people can peacefully celebrate!

“New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies,” by Najmieh Batmanglij


“New Food of Life,” by Najimieh Batmanglij
celebrates the past that brought about her marvelous food. Her book promises to keep Iran’s most sensual art alive. She packs in love in all of its forms. Within these pages lie poetry, tapestry, childhood memories, and practical advice on how to make these recipes your own.

Persian 'tadig,' crunchy rice.
Persian ‘tadig,’ crunchy rice.
Persian 'miniature' style painting of picnickers.
Persian ‘miniature’ style painting of picnickers.

Colorful ‘miniature’ style paintings and lyrical poetry are interspersed among photos vivid enough to make me feel the aromatic steam on my nostrils as I experience crunchy rice (tadig), mountains of grains, pots of stews, platters of desserts, with all manner of drinks, staples including pickle and yogurt making instructions, and mixes for seasonings.

Platter of fresh herbs, feta, and nuts.
Platter of fresh herbs, feta, and nuts.

Without my husband, I might never have tasted simple elegance at its most sublime. Here Batmanglij features a splendid heap of fresh herbs that can include mint, fennel, parsley, watercress, and sweet basil. Alongside it, real feta cheese (not the miserly crumbled sort), and nuts soaked in brine.

Persian 'Lubia Polo' green bean stew with rice.
Persian ‘Lubia Polo’ green bean stew with rice.

Tea gets its own chapter — marvelous Persian tea that’s best appreciated by eyes and nose from clear glasses that highlight color and scent.

Persian sweet fritters.
Persian sweet fritters.

Batmanglij accomplishes much in this singular book! There’s illustrated explanations of holidays and traditions.

Persian poetry and painting.
Persian poetry and painting.

Even a list of her mother’s interpretation of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ foods — hot and cold, not to be confused with the dictionary definition of these words. In this case, they’re more akin to Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine interpretations of how they affect the body, not merely the taste buds.

This book is for anyone who loves globetrotting via food and anyone who loves a Persian.

Batmanglij has other cookbooks for all ages.

I’m a Proud Iranian-American, but Not Proud of America at this Moment by Rose

Given the social climate that President Trump is creating here in the U.S., particularly his decisions regarding immigrants, blogger Rose’s no-holds-barred opinions are just the sort of voice we all need to hear…

Rose overlooking the beautiful city of Shiraz after a morning hike with her family.
Rose overlooking the beautiful city of Shiraz after a morning hike with her family.

Hello lovely readers, my name is Rose. I’m a college student studying business entrepreneurship and I’m hoping to gain some sort of platform to help people in any way I can. I’m creative and passionate and blogging is a wonderful outlet for me. I blog about makeup, fashion, sex, and anything on my mind really! I have been invited to make a guest post for da-AL, and I am so appreciative of the opportunity, I’m a baby to this blog world and I’m grateful for all it has brought me so far. The original post that inspired this one can be found here, please check that out.

I am just going to talk a bit more on how I feel as a United States citizen but proud Iranian citizen as well. It’s beyond devastating that the world is simply falling apart around us. I am surrounded by hope, my family member’s voices’ saying “don’t worry, this will all pass” but will it? The problem is quite deeper and more complicated than most people assume. There is racism deeply enrooted in some that cannot be erased. The solution, ironically, is simple. If we could all love and accept each other and take each other in as allies, this earth would be a much better place. History has proven the tragedy that is war, but for some reason people just aren’t learning. Why are we so prone to hatred? As humans we must realize the value of loving each other and spread positivity instead of anything negative. We must research, open our eyes, and put ourselves in other’s shoes with as little personal bias as possible. Subconsciously, you are always going to be biased in some ways, the key is to understand yourself and then try to understand another person’s situation as well as you can.

Rose and friends at a shopping mall in Shiraz, Iran. She addes, "Note the personal fashion, makeup, and hair being out."
Rose and friends at a shopping mall in Shiraz, Iran. She addes, “Note the personal fashion, makeup, and hair being out.”

I was supposed to go to Iran this summer and I was beyond thrilled to take pictures and make amazing blogs about it, but now I am afraid of leaving. As a citizen, I deserve the right to safely visit another country I am a citizen in, who is allowed to take that away from me? But as a college student, I am afraid that even if I am able to go, I may not be able to come back.

Please pray for our broken world.

If you would like to know more about me, here, and here, and here are some posts to get you started! I absolutely love interacting with you and hearing your opinion.