Do you recognise the Lady in the painting? It's my Grandma, your Great-Grandma, Omeh. She was painted by my aunt Homa (Maman's sister), who is a very talented artist.
I like this painting not only because of its 'subject' but also because of the way Omeh was presented - just being herself, hard-working, humble but proud woman. In the painting she is making some sort of patch blanket and i am pretty sure that's exactly what she was doing when she was being painted :-) She always was busy with something and was constantly working one way or another. She was a great mother to all her children and a wonderful Grandma to me.
Various sources offer different recommendation, but I try not to exceed 4 eggs per week and if I have eggs it's usually for breakfast. I somehow feel that they give me lots of energy in the morning and keep me going till lunch. I often make my scrambled eggs with healthy fats e.g. smoked salmon or avocado and some vegetables e.g. sweetcorn, tomatoes, mushrooms.
I think everyone knows how to make scrambled eggs - whisk an egg(s) with a pinch of salt, pepper, herbs or whatever else you fancy, add smoked salmon and/or any other vegetables of your choice and stir fry until softly set.
Scrambled eggs anyone?
Yesterday at the California Zoroastian Centre we had a ceremony in memory of my Mum, MadarJan. It has been almost a year since she passed away and as Baba won't be able to attend her death anniversary service in Iran, we organised an additional one in Los Angeles. Family members, Baba's friends from the centre and many kind Zoroastian people attended and prayed for eternal happiness of Maman's soul. Her friends and family members will always remember her kindness, generosity, her giving and loving nature, her jolliness, her strong spirit that never gave up hope and her appetite and love of life. God bless her soul...
For memories and pictures of Mehry click here.
As well as at the Centre Baba also celebrated his Birthday with us in his apartment. Anna decorated the whole flat with many balloons, banners and ribbons. Baba unwrapped the rest of his presents and we all had ice-cream cake. We spent the whole afternoon at the Balboa Park riding a pedal boat and feeding birds. I am glad I was able to visit Baba for his Birthday and I hope we will celebrate many more times together; maybe you will join us too?
Baba said that it was one of the best birthdays he have ever had in his entire life. It was a real pleasure to see him so happy :-)
Wishing you, your family and friends a very happy, joyful, colourful Easter, spring celebration of life, new hopes and new beginnings.
Happy Easter my dear daughter,
Your dad Farshid
This is a photo book we made for Baba for his Birthday. Happy 88th Birthday to Baba!
Baba celebrated his 88th Birthday with his friends at the Centre. Happy Birthday to Baba :-)
We surprised him with an unexpected arrival with balloons, presents and favour boxes with sweets for all his friends at the centre. He was really happy and had a wonderful day.
Below there are some pictures from the event for everyone to see.
Dear Atria, we took the above picture at the San Diego ZOO Safari Park. It's a one happy rhino. Rhino is such a big creature (about 1.5 tons in weight), but somehow looks very gracefully to me. I remember some Disney cartoons with rhinos dancing like ballerinas - that's exactly how I see them - large but graceful.
Unfortunately they are endangered species and it's only our fault, humans fault.
Rhinos are hunted and killed for their horns. The major demand for rhino horn is in Asia, where it is used in ornamental carvings and traditional medicine. Rhino horn is touted as a cure for hangovers, cancer, and impotence. Their horns are not true horns; they are actually made of keratin—the same material that makes up our hair and nails. Truly, rhino horn is as effective at curing cancer as chewing on your fingernails.
Below I gathered for you (from various websites) some interesting facts about rhinos:
While visiting Baba in LA we made a day trip to Santa Catalina island. It's a really charming little island. It is one of the Channel Islands, a string of eight semi-submerged mountains off the Southern California coastline. We visited Avalon, a very clean, very laid back beach town. It had a wonderful, peaceful, joyful atmosphere with happy, kind, smiling people and stunning views.
Santa Catalina Island has been inhabited for at least 8000 years, first by Pimungans. In 1602, on November 24, the eve of St. Catherine's Day, the ship of the a Spanish explorer, Sebastian Viscaino, sighted the Island. Viscaino renamed it Santa Catalina in honour of Saint Catherine.In the years following Catalina was used by otter hunters, smugglers, and ranching, mining and military operations.
In more recent years, Catalina Island was once owned by William Wrigley, Jr. of Wrigley chewing gum fame. He developed Avalon as a resort island destination and brought the Chicago Cubs baseball team (which he owned) to the Island for spring training in the 1930-1950’s.
Over the past century, Catalina has served as Hollywood's exotic backlot more than 500 times, for filming of hundreds of movies and assorted TV shows, documentaries and commercials. In fact, one of the movies filmed in the 1920’s brought 14 buffalo to the Island and left them on the Island. Now a herd of about 150 buffalo roam the island’s interior.
Catalina Island has also been a playground for celebrities, presidents and statesmen. During the 1930s and 40s - the island's heyday - its close proximity to Los Angeles allowed stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, Johnny Weissmuller and John Wayne to sail or cruise their boats in the open ocean and reach Avalon harbour in only hours. The restaurants and bars were alive at night with music, which wafted through crowded streets, abundant with people drinking and dancing.
There are a lot of activities available on the island - you can lie on the beach, eat, shop, spot undersea life from a semi-submersible submarine, learn how to kayak or stand-up paddle. You can take a trip into the interior of the island. Venture into Catalina's interior allows hiking, mountain biking and camping. You may even see a shy island fox and spot some of Catalina's bisons. You can book various exploration tours, see the island from a zip line, you can play a miniature golf, tour the casino or look for ghosts on a spirited evening walking tour.
We did not take an advantage of any special tours and attractions - the island was so beautiful that just walking around, sitting on the beach and enjoying the stunning views was a treat.
Below there are some photographs we took on the island.
Anna filmed this beautiful big cat at the San Diego ZOO Safari Park. The female lion was licking her paws and looked very content. Well... Anna said the big cat reminded her of Whiskey. I think this is a bit of an overstatement :-)
Amara was chasing a mechanical lure attached to her favourite toy, a toy monkey. As a reward the cheetah got a treat - a steak meat.
After a cooling down period the zookeepers assessed Amara checking if she is not over-heated and if she is willing to give it another go (the high speed run is exhausting for a cheetah and requires a massive boost of energy). We were fortunate to get in two runs; the day was not overly hot, and the cheetah was happy to be there.
Before her run Amara arrived at the track with her best friend Hopper. Hopper is a dog. Before Amara set her paws on the track Hopper did the first run. Amara watched him running and she could observe that it's a safe environment. This was very interesting.
We learned that at San Diego Safari Park cheetah are being paired with 'companion dogs' who serve as playmates and sometime-guides for the big cats. The dogs, usually from animal shelters, and cheetah pups generally are introduced when they are about 3 months old. That was the case with Hopper and Amara.
Now they are best friends. The dog always looks after the cat, but it's never the other way around. Hooper worries about his cat, he protects her. When Hooper and Amara are traveling in unfamiliar territory, the dog will often go first. If he seems comfortable, Amara will understand that she has nothing to worry about, That's why Hooper ran first on the track so Amara could see that the environment is safe and she doesn't have anything to be afraid of.
Below there are some pictures we took during the run and a short movie (the run was so fast, it lasted just few seconds), I hope you will enjoy watching.
Yesterday Anna gave me two boxes of her favourite carrot and coriander soup. I am not a big soup eater, but I learned to like this particular soup. Probably because I am 'forced' to eat it quite often. I asked Anna for her recipe as I want to share it with you. This soup is apparently very healthy and really easy to make. Anna usually makes 4 or 8 portions, gives couple to me, eats herself and freezes the rest.
This a picture of a squirrel we took last month in LA. It is a slightly different creature from an ordinary British grey squirrel I described for you here some time ago and certainly different from a red squirrel we encountered in Poland couple of years ago.
Californian squirrels are called Western grey (Americans would say 'gray') squirrels. As you can see in my picture they exhibit a form of coloration known as counter shading. The dorsal fur is a silver gunmetal gray, with pure white on the underside; there may be black flecks in the tail. Ears are large but without tufts. The ears turn reddish-brown at the back in the winter. The tail is long and typically very bushy. Tree squirrels undergo a complete head-to-tail molt in the spring and a rump-to-head molt in the fall. Tail hair is replaced only in the spring.
They are apparently far more shy than the other two types of squirrels. Well... I was personally feeding red squirrels in Poland and they were not afraid to come close to me and have their nuts. And squirrels at Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa were literally eating nuts straight from my hand. In contrast Western grey squirrels will generally run up a tree and give a hoarse chirping call when disturbed. Well... that's what a squirrel in LA did when I was trying to approach her :-)
Last month we visited with Baba San Diego ZOO and San Diego Safari Park. Both places are spectacular not only because of an exceptional selection of animals, but most importantly the environment created for the animals - massive enclosures with plenty of space to run, rest, bath/swim & play and a very rich flora - trees, bushes, various plants and flowers - as close as possible to the animals' natural habitats. I was very impressed with both parks and I will certainly share with you various photographs we took over there.
Today is about tigers. We had a chance to see them and photograph pretty close. They are magnificent cats, aren't they? The beautiful, striped coat and that powerful, mesmerizing gaze make the tiger one of the world’s most revered animals. In the same time the tiger is like a big pussycat, I could see a lot of resemblance to Anna's cat Whiskey when one of the tigers was sleeping fully stretched on his back with curled paws (very cute and innocent pose), the other one was licking his paws exactly like Whiskey when he does his daily toilet. Then the two tigers were playing with a big block of wood in the water and were pushing it around just like a domestic cat playing with his toys.
A tiger in a wild can weigh exceptionally up to 388.7 kg - that's 59.8 times more than Whiskey (he is a very large and overweight cat by the way) and can reach a total body length of up to 3.38 m. I felt privileged to be able to watch these powerful and in the same time cute animals carrying on their usual activities. They look very fluffy and cuddly, but I don't think it would be a good idea trying to cuddle a tiger. Let's stick to our domestic cats for now :-)
I know however that women like receiving flowers (and chocolate as well), so I was very pleased with my discovery - a chocolate flower, a flower that can be eaten by a woman whenever she decides to :-) What do you think about it dear Atria? Would you like to receive chocolate flowers or do you prefer the standard ones?
Apparently avocados are very good for you. They are relatively high in fat and calories, so many people don't eat them as they think they have too much fat. It is a good fat however, the fat that makes your skin glow, keeps your hair shiny, supports your brain and fuels your organs; and it is a fat easy to burn with exercise and daily activities.
Avocados are packed with nutrients and heart-healthy compounds - antioxidants, carotenoids, fiber, minerals, vitamins. They help stabilise sugar level in your blood, lower the risk of heart disease and can help decrease a cholesterol level.
All in all avocado is super good for you, so make sure you include it in your daily diet even if you are not that found of its taste. Anna sneaks in avocados (as I said, I don't really like them) to my diet by adding them to scrambled eggs, smoothies, pancakes, muffins, pies, salads, risotto, cottage cheese etc. - you can find many ways to add this super-food to your meals even if you don't like the taste - only your creativity sets the limits.
I am your dad Atria.