Thursday, December 31, 2020


Glendale City Hall, June 7, 20

                         Artsakh Street, Glendale, CA October 10, 20

Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.  He is from Barcelona. October 11, 20

Armenian Consulate General, Glendale, California 
October 29, 20

What a year! We all agree it was an usual one filled with many challenges and sad events.  If I put the events in chronological order, the first one that shocked us was the pandemic.  Gradually we learned about COVID-19. But it was confirmed in March and we had to face the reality.

 As a teacher, I was not ready.  The spring break started and after two days we were told not to return to school and work from home.  Had we known about it a few days earlier we could have sent home the textbooks.  After a month we were told that we would not see our students that school year.  I cried.  I was adjusting to reality from day to day. 

Later, we watched a live murder in front of our eyes.  We watched how George Lloyd was killed on May 25.  I watched the funeral through live streaming on June 4. As I was listening to Reverend  Al Sharpton I was crying hard. It was touching. So on June 7, I attended the  demonstration for Black Lives Matter in Glendale, even though I was very careful not to catch or transmit the virus. I wore my mask and did not touch, hug, or shake hands with anybody. But there were many people close to each other.  It was inspiring to see many Armenians and Latinos united.  Fighting for justice was important. Many Glendale School District's administrators and school board members participated. We saw many riots and rallies all over the world.

 The new school year started with distance learning.  Both teachers, parents, and students were better prepared. Students got their textbooks and school supplies. Labor Day weekend was extremely hot. I was frustrated with the heat.  A few days later we had fires in different areas of Los Angeles. I was teaching via Zoom with all the windows closed.  Luckily, the smoke made the air cooler, but it was hard to breathe.  For the first time, after five months of staying home, I drove to San Diego to get away from the smoke.  A few days later we had a minor earthquake.  I screamed out of frustration.  Enough is enough.  Every day something new was happening.

 In September Azerbaijan attacked Artsakh.  Armenia was in a war.  Armenia was fighting high-tech drones and arms supplied by Israel and Turkey. Russia was watching and letting the killings continue.  Armenians organized all over the world.  There was an excitement to get active.  Many went to demonstrations.  Armenian youth organized civil disobedience by blocking traffic on major streets and freeways in Los Angeles. Many young men died protecting Artsakh and Armenia.  Finally, the war ended, but with a big loss. 

 Personally, I know people who died from the virus in different countries. I also know many who recovered.  The elections in the U.S. was another frustrating situation. The lack of civility, rude comments on social media, "I know everything" mentality was thought-provoking.  There were many wars in different places. But for me, the worst was the senseless war in Armenia.  A year ago, Armenia was growing and thriving. Many young people died.

 I have learned to be thankful for what I have. I have learned to take care of myself first and not feel guilty for my blessings.   I had to be strong, resilient, and positive for my second graders. I know it is fine to feel numb or angry.  We deal with distress in different ways. I have learned not to open my heart to everybody. Not many have good listening skills. I can still be friends with them but at a different level. I have realized that sharing knowledge is good. It was a crazy year. It was full of sadness. I am going to remember the lessons that I have learned.


Saturday, December 26, 2020


       My friends tell me that I am a good tour guide.  I am the one who introduces them to new places around Los Angeles. When I travel, I discover new places that the locals don't know.

      Thanks to the pandemic, I don't have any events or parties to attend.  So, my choices are limited.  I have discovered different neighborhoods of Glendale, California where I have been living since June of 1985.  Yesterday I took a walk in the Hollywood hills.  By coincidence, I ended up really close to the famous Hollywood sign.  After many years of living close to Los Angeles, I learned how to get there. 

     There have been many frustrating and sad things that took place in 2020. I really miss going to art galleries and concerts.  I listen to music and watch concerts on YouTube.  In April I decided to take daily walks in different areas of Glendale. Then I walked in neighboring cities. I enjoy walking in Old Pasadena. Architecture fascinates me, especially when homes are built on hills.

     It is refreshing to see where I live from a new perspective.  I teach my second graders "point of view" and how characters solve problems.  We can use a new point of view and solve the challenges caused by the pandemic. Walking, thinking, remembering places from my childhood and travels, and reflecting on relationships are calming for me.  Life is too short to be a pessimist.  As a teacher, I need to be a good role model for my students. I need to be happy during my Zoom classes. It's interesting how much more there is to discover in our backyards.  Los Angeles County is big with many interesting cities and neighborhoods.  I am still learning new things and I love sharing what I learn.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Budget Creativity

It has been a few weeks since we have to stay at home due to COVID 19. Yesterday I painted four outdoor chairs and created a mini garden near our common laundry room. Last week I visited a friend from a distance, I stood in their backyard for practice safety measures.  I really loved the way she had decorated it.   Under the covered area they had a large dining table and a Persian carpet.  It made it look homey.

After few weeks of isolation I decided to make my garden colorful and homey where I meet with my neighbor.  As I was painting the chairs I realized that I have done this kind of project before.  Two years ago when I did not travel overseas I pained some of my furniture.  I planted flowers, bought colorful tablecloths added life with a low budget.  I believe it is possible to remodel without spending a lot of money.

Several years ago I realized that whatever I enjoy now I started loving them when I was in eighth grade.  That's the age when our base gets established.  I attended Mariamian Armenian High School.  On the first day of school I chased to the fourth floor and grabbed the seat near the middle window.  I wanted to have the best view with access to open and close the large windows.  The classrooms had high ceilings.  From there I could see the mountains in the southeast of Tehran.  Also, we used to buy Burda German magazine where I saw studio apartments decorated efficiently. Before sleeping I was daydreaming how I would decorate that classroom if it was my apartment.   It was a big room with lots of potential.

During my teenage years sometimes when my mom was not home I would rearrange the furniture.  I have moved heavy tables and sofas from one room to the other and switched the dining-room with the living-rooms. My parents praised my efforts instead of getting upset. Even my brothers didn't help me. It was a surprise for everybody.  One year my mom made sofa and chair covers with a colorful fabric, very 1970s style.  I painted the coffee table's top yellow and the legs black. 

Painting and remodeling with whatever we had become part of me.  I have done it several times in the U.S. too.  Let's be creative, especially during these challenging times.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Our Senses Making Connections

It has been seven weeks since we have to stay at home due to COVID 19.  I have been  taking daily walks in the evenings and truly enjoy them. 

Our brains make connections and buried memories come back by a sight of an object or a smell.  Few days ago as I was walking in Glendale I could hear the doves.  They make a special sound, it is not a pleasant one.  Yet it reminded me of my childhood in Tehran.  There was a big park in our neighborhood with lots of birds.  Every day my brother and the neighbor's son put seeds in our backyard and the neighbor's balcony so the doves would come.  The young boys could identify each dove and had a unique name for them. 

As I kept walking I saw different houses and some of them reminded me of a special memory.  Our brains make connections.  In teaching we call it text-to-self connections.  One balcony reminded me of my Aunt Lusik's house in Villa Avenue.  Her third floor huge apartment had a long balcony with a nice view of rooftops.  On another walk I saw a large tree with a swing hanging from one of its strong branches.  That scene took me back to Gorgan, a small town near Caspian Sea in northern Iran.  When I was very young we took a trip and stayed with an Armenian family there.  They had farms, tractors, big trees and a cabin.  Their house was very different from the buildings in Tehran. Even though I was very young I still remember that trip.

Yesterday I walked in a different neighborhood and noticed special plants that reminded me of another sweet memory.  We used to go Karaj for picnics.  Uncle Andik cut some of those plants and took them home.  After so many years one little thing brought back all that.

Last week when I wanted to make Armenian coffee the smell of it took me back to a famous coffee store next to Cafe Naderi called Rio. Every time we walked past Rio Coffee the smell was mesmerizing.

It is interesting how our brain and senses trigger lovely memories.  I am aware of this process and I truly enjoy it.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

                                   This photo was taken on March 26, 2011

                     Today is my mom's birthday. 
She was born on March 26, 1933.  
She left us way too soon.  
She passed away from cancer at the age of 56. 
It affected all of us deeply.

            It is spring, a cold and unusual spring.  The whole world is devastated with the pandemic of coronavirus. Most people are staying home as directed by officials.  We can only go out to buy food and essentials. I have been a teacher for many years and for the first time in my career I am having to work from home. Just like my friends and many others, we are adjusting to a new way of life.

            I wonder what my mom would have said about this situation.  She was always looking for the good in every stressful situation. When she lived in Los Angeles area for a year and half, she wrote articles in Farsi which were published at Fogholadeh Persian Weekly Magazine. She gave suggestions in her articles as to what was the best way for parents to raise and deal with their children.  She believed that we have two channels of thoughts in our minds, a negative and a positive one.  She promoted for people to be more in tuned with positive channels through self-awareness. She believed by switching to positive thoughts we could suppress the negative thoughts and worries. She had gone through many challenges in her life.  Her parents were survivors of the Armenian Genocide, so she had to witness and endure the pain and suffering of her parents. Later in her life, she had to endure the pain of  several unexpected deaths in her family. The revolution in Iran and the ensuing political situation, and the war with Iraq didn’t help matters. About this same time she also had to deal with the distance of her two children who were residing in the U.S. at the time. Yet she was able to see the beauty in everything by choosing her mental focus.

            She was spiritual. She was never a judgmental person.  She talked and associated with people from all walks of life, with different backgrounds and means.  She truly loved people, especially children.  She really enjoyed helping people. She always felt it was her calling, her purpose of life.

            When my mother was sick I was far away from her.  Her death was unexpected and shocking to me and my brothers.  It took me many years to deal with it.  Finally, after 15 years I decided to publish her published articles in a magazine in a book.  But it was not an easy task, I cried a lot every time I opened the magazines. Twenty years after her passing I was able to translate the articles into English and publish them as a bilingual English/Farsi book. 

            Today I want to celebrate her kindness, wisdom, and generosity.  Let's look at the blessings in our lives. Let's listen to the birds singing and see the blossoms in the trees.  Let's celebrate life!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

photo taken on 9.8.15

Walking and thinking.  It's time for self-reflection and evaluation of my beliefs and values. 

I have traveled the world extensively during the past 20 years.  Several times I have returned to the same country and have noticed many changes.  Some of the modernizations were not pleasant for me.  For example, I enjoyed the old movie theatres in Madrid.  In 1998 I watched Titanic in Spanish.  There were ushers to direct people to their seats.  These old theatres have been converted to concert halls.  The modern halls  are smaller than they used to be, like the ones in the United States.

One thought provoking observation I had, was most shops in different countries carried the same items, especially household goods that we can find at budget stores.  Everything looked the same and it was hard to find something unique to buy as souvenir. Even the Murano glass earnings and necklaces that are originally made in Venice, Italy are made in China or Turkey. Several years ago I bought many "Murano Glass" necklaces in Venice, but later I found them at a dollar store in Los Angeles.  Somehow it is good to have affordable items at different countries, but the world’s markets are flooded with these items.  We have over production.

In the last few years we heard a lot about keeping our earth safe.  But not many leaders and people are taking this issue seriously.  More than 30 years ago when I was suggesting  recycling to my friends and relatives, many of them would not show much interest to do so. Today, finally, the coronavirus is shaking us and making us to rethink our old ways. It is a worldwide wake up call. 

We do not need to go shopping and wasting our limited and precious time in the malls.  One bright side of this virus is that people are devoting more time to deep thinking, reading, and playing and spending time with their children.  We miss and now have much more appreciation for real socialization instead of texting and phone calls. It’s true what they say, you don’t appreciate and value what you have until you lose it.  I hope this crisis will end soon, but the lessons learned during the crisis will last a life time. Wake up and do something. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Today I took a walk in Old Pasadena.  It brought back many sweet memories. 

It has just been a few weeks since we have been learning about the coronaviurs.  Everyday something new changes and affects our lives.  It is my school spring break.  The Glendale Unified School District decided to extend the break for another week to prevent the spread of this novel and unpredictable virus.  I have been spending a lot of time at home but I have gone out to buy food.  Today was sunny after a few days of rain so I wanted to take a walk.

First, seeing the famous Twin Palms Restaurants in ruins made me sad.  I have very nice memories of going there in the 1990s.  It was the hang out place for many singles.  It looked really run down.  Nobody wants to do business there.  It has gone through several different ownerships.  In a flash back moment I had some images from those fun days run through my mind.  The bands, the crowds, the friends...

Then I walked on the deserted streets.  Cheesecake Factory was completely empty during lunch time.  Mi Piace was closed.  My friends and I went to Mi Piace regularly.  Old Pasadena was the happening place in the late 90s. 

An overwhelming feeling of sadness took me over as a result of so many changes in the world today. It felt like everybody is being punished.  Rich and poor have to pay a price.  But at the same time I also felt happy and contented that I was able to walk.  I felt grateful to have had those fun and unforgettable memories.  I will always cherish the good days.

I hope my simple walk experience of today would help many people engage in some self-reflection, be appreciative of and value their good health, and all of the people around them.  I will not take the blessings of my life for granted.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Coronavirus and self-discipline

It has been few weeks that we hear about coronavirus.  During the last two weeks there has been a lot of time about self-isolation.

I like to call it self-discipline.  For one day I enjoyed staying in my PJ, but after that I decided to be dressed and ready to work at home.  Work includes reading, cleaning, exercising, watching the news, and social media. I realized that taking a shower, getting dressed, and even wearing perfume is good for me.  I am the one to needs to take care of me.  I call this Me Time.  Well-groomed Me Time is essential for us. Being clean and presentable is not for just others, it's for me.

My spiritual and mental well being is as important as my physical health.

Let's have self-discipline during the times of crisis.  We can not just survive but thrive.

This photo was taken on Feb. 25, 20.