Neptune squashes coronas as Tiger zeros in on Nazy’s tree

March drags on and on and on and on.. and on. People (including us) want to do something (anything?) different. Well, almost anything. California and Santa Barbara are beginning to open up in a smart way. (Hint: We did not start with massage and tattoo parlors). However, it will take a lot more days or weeks or months of downward momentum on new covid-19 cases before most people will feel safe in crowded areas. And, while people do wear masks in stores, they tend to shun them while walking outside.

Meanwhile, we continue to help with the (home) schooling of Tiger and Arrow. In his recent, Zoom-based, morning meeting class the teachers asked what the children wanted to do when they were older.

Ah ha,” I thought, “the classic: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up’?”

Tiger didn’t volunteer an answer on the Zoom call, but we did discuss the topic later.

“I want to be a Corona Virus squasher!” He exclaimed.

“That’s an interesting..”

“ … if the Corona virus is still around then,” Tiger interrupted.

“How will you squash the Corona Virus?” I asked. “Will you use a hammer?”

“No, Dan.” Tiger replied, exasperated by the ignorance of my suggestion. “I will bring a hose from Neptune and squash the virus with water from that hose.”


“It’s the farthest planet..”

“What about Pluto,”

“Pluto is not a planet, Dan. And Neptune is blue so it’s full of water.”

When no reasonable rejoinder came to mind and since we were in the middle of his school work, I adroitly switched from biology to mathematics.

“So if you have two apples and you take away three apples, how many are left.”

“You can’t do that, Dan.”

“How about if you do with numbers instead of apples?” I replied.

“Then you have to go negative.”

“Precisely,” I said. “
Just like donald trump,” I thought.
“How far do the numbers go on the negative side?” I asked.

“They go forever,” Tiger replied.
Tiger reading letter from Mitra Friday May 8 2020

“On both sides — positive and negative.”

“Wow! Who makes up all those new numbers?”

“And where is the middle?”

“The middle is at zero, Dan.”


“Because it’s the same on both sides.”

“What if I put the middle at 100? How many are there on both sides?”

“It’s the same, eh… “

“So you can put the middle
anywhere!” I claimed.

“Can I feed the fish now?” Tiger responded. “And then read the letter from Mitra?”
Arrow other portrail May 2020

Arrow likes to work with Tiger to create giant marble mazes. And, although not quite as interested in math as Tiger, he likes doing addition — or more specially, ‘counting’. He really enjoys playing in our ‘park’ — the unusually flat expanse in our backyard with the swing and the slide, a plethora of a pine cones. The path features lizards which Arrow pronounces as ‘wizards’.

Azelle likes the wizards, the swing and the slide as well. She ..

“… is going to be a circus performer when she grows up, Nazy,” I claimed.


“Right! High wire or trapeze.”

“How about escape artist, Dan?” Nazy asked. “She climbed out of her crib and figured out how to get out of her room, even though both doors were locked form the outside.”
AZELLE Portrait early May 2020

“Are we sure the doors were locked?” I asked. “Tiger must have let her out,” I thought. In err.

As regular readers know, Nazy has been painting a giant (Safavi) family tree. She wanted to update the versions that she had — one, painted 75 years ago — that hung in her parents house in Teheran and another, more recent one with, as you would expect, more recent updates…

people who weren’t born when the older one was painted are on the newer one,” I thought.

As Nazy, much to her regret, discovered this week there were also significant differences in the base of the tree. And this meant…

“…. there is not room for all of the ancestors.”

“I’m sure that there are some people that you’d like to kick out of the family.” I replied helpfully. (And ill-advisedly.)

“The names will not fit, Dan.” Nazy replied through clenched teeth.
Auriane trying food out May 2020

Aside: This family tree begins with Mohammad. There are a lot of names on the trunk of the tree. The old tree was constructed based on family memory, the newer one, with far more people, was constructed with the help of an ancestral search.

Nazy is energetically developing ways to fix the challenging situation which also caused creation of another, rather large, branch low on the trunk.

On the whole, Nazy and I have been very lucky during the covid-
19 situation. We’re healthy, there are few infections in the city and we can still enjoy walks along the beach. We’re close to Melika, Tom and the (local) grandchildren who are all healthy. We have fun playing and teaching Tiger, Arrow and Azelle. In fact…

“… I shudder to think how much more difficult it would have been if we were in Switzerland during the crisis,” I said.

“The rules were enforced more strictly in Zürich,” Nazy replied.
Azelle trying to get into the tub May 2020

“Do ya think so?” I replied, well aware of the multiple parking citations we received as a result of overly zealous blue zone parking police who were aided by binocular wielding nonagenarian ‘neighbors’.

The downside of the situation is our inability to visit and help Darius and Christiane. Although we share a time zone, they are still 1200 miles away. Normally, we would have seen them and spent time with Leandra and Auriane. Leandra, almost three, is reading — in multiple languages and Auriane, barely one is exploring mobility. It is very hard to not be able to visit and help.

For last week's letter, please click here

Nazy walking along the beach

nazy walk at low tide April 2020

blog comments powered by Disqus