Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving Day

Marash Girl gives thanks on this Thanksgiving day for the Native Americans without whom no Pilgrim would have survived.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Day Before Thanksgiving

You don't really expect Marash Girl to be writing more than one sentence today, do you?  After all, it's the day before Thanksgiving, and she's busy preparing goodies for all you guys who are coming over!  (Well, there you are: two sentences!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Up On the Rooftop . . . Without Santa and his Reindeer!

The beginning of the holiday season sent fear through the hearts of the residents of Maple Avenue as "Santa's Helpers" worked their magic on the roof of a 150 year old Victorian home in Newton, Massachusetts. Photo by Marash Girl

Monday, November 23, 2015

Coarse Sanding Sugar

"The icing on the Cake"  -- Do you remember that expression?  It was used in both a positive manner and a negative manner in the 1950's.  Grandma Jennie always added the icing to the cake -- frosting that, as Marash Girl remembers, was made primarily of Crisco and sugar.   Not to hurt Grandma Jennie's feelings,Grandpa Peter always ate the cake after  he had carefully removed the icing.  Perhaps he knew, even then, that fat and sugar on top of Grandma Jennie's home-baked cake was not the healthiest comestible.  Perhaps that's why he almost reached 100 years of age.

The expression, "That's the icing on the cake!" -- popular in the 1940's and early 1950's --  (do folks still use the expression?) actually had a negative connotation -- something added that was not necessary, and that, in fact, made the situation a whole lot worse.

Funny how something sweet can become something sour.

All that as background to suggest that, in this more health conscious time, should we still choose to bake cakes, we can avoid "the icing on the cake" -- both the work of making it, and the "work" of eating it.  Simply sprinkle coarse sanding sugar (uncolored) over the top of cake batter before baking.  Remove that cake from the oven, and your cake will sparkle!  No fat or Crisco needed.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Marash Girl's Favorite: Banana Cake

Okay, so Marash Girl was planning to make Banana Cake for Thanksgiving.  But what to do?  No rotten (or more delicately put,  "overripe") bananas were available anywhere.  How would she make her famous Banana Cake without rotten bananas?  And where can one find rotten bananas?  Certainly not at any of the supermarkets.  Now what?

I suppose they could rewrite the song, "Yes, we have no bananas" (One of Grandpa Peter's favorite songs  . . .  a song sung by Eddie Cantor, a song which became a musical hit in 1923) to read, "Yes, we have no rotten bananas!"

But seriously . . . if you want to make a decent Banana Cake, you need rotten bananas!  Well, Marash Girl, you still have a few days left before Thanksgiving.  Maybe you'll find those special bananas you seek  . . . But where?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Grandma Jennie & Arlene Francis

Recently Marash Girl sold Arlene Francis's ARLENE FRANCIS, A MEMOIR. (You know that Marash Girl sells out-of-print books on the internet, right?)  Why should that sale call to mind her mother Jennie?  Because Arlene Francis was a household word when Marash Girl was growing up.

Marash Girl's mother Jennie (born Lucille Mae Vartanian) always spoke of Arlene Francis with great pride. Yes, Arlene Francis was a well-known actress and popular television personality in the 1940's and 1950's.  But that was not all.  Arlene Francis was born Arlene Francis Kazanjian on Oct. 20, 1907, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Her father, Aram Kazanjian, was studying art in Paris at the age of 16 when he learned that both his parents had been massacred  by the Turks   during the 1894-1896 Armenian massacres. The same massacre that murdered both of Marash Girl's  great grandparents --  her father's mother's parents -- and her mother's mother's fiancee!) Arlene Francis' dad Aram Kazanjian  became a painter and portrait photographer, an Armenian immigrant to the United States  who married Leah Davis (daughter of actor Alfred Davis).

Despite the fact that Arlene Francis had changed her last name, all Armenians in the United States knew and took pride in the fact that Arlene Francis was of Armenian descent.  Arlene Francis was Armenian (at least half) and was a world famous actress.  Jennie identified with Arlene.  Jennie loved to sing, play the piano by ear as she sang the popular songs of the day, dance (despite the fact that Grandpa Peter had promised his mother that he would never dance -- and always kept that promise). Jennie laughed and loved life and people.   Never a cross word; never a negative comment.  She was the happiest woman Marash Girl has ever known.  

Arlene Francis became known for her aphorism, "Life is the best party I've ever been  invited to."

Jennie could have written that line!  She actually may have!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Through the Supermarkets the Week Before Thanksgiving

Marash Girl never could figure out why Grandma Jennie felt she got plenty of exercise simply going  shopping at the supermarkets.  That is, not until today.  Marash Girl would avoid the crowds and shop today.  Starting at Whole Foods for organically grown cranberries and organically grown oranges  (so she could make her famous all natural pesticide-free cranberry relish for Thanksgiving --  for recipe, see Marash Girl's post for Wednesday, November 21, 2012, "Happy Thanksgiving with Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish -- Raw Foodies, Take Note!"), and  all natural, organic (there is such a thing) ice cream.  Great!  perfect for adding to the pies and cakes that would be served on Thanksgiving Day.  But she needed V-8 Juice for her special style of making boulghour pilaf, so she headed to the Star Market, but they were all out.  Oh, well, while she was there she would buy her favorite all natural gingerale (to make her cranberry gingerale punch) but there was no Polar Gingerale, either.  So off to Target for sundries . . . and who knew?  A whole section of groceries. They had V-8 Juice AND Polar Gingerale. . . And even more walking! And no crowds!

Grandma Jennie was right! Plenty of exercise.  It felt like a good two miles . . . without the fresh air and beautiful maple trees, of course.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jack Frost Has Arrived

Marash Girl was not in the mood to greet Jack Frost yesterday morning when she found that he had painted her automobile's windshield white with frozen stuff.  Yes, he's here, greet him or not; here to stay for a good five months.  Thank goodness we have the holidays to cheer us up because without them, whatever would we do?  My friend, Nurse Nancy, tells me the malady we all feel is called "seasonal depression".  Perhaps the season should be called the season of the depressed! Do folks in the southwest have seasonal depression as well?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wedding on the Mind

So here it is, one week before Thanksgiving, and instead of worrying about cooking and preparing for Thanksgiving, Marash Girl is heading for the Big Apple to help her first-born daughter select a wedding dress!  What could be more fun than that?  I ask you, ladies and gentlemen!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mayor Setti Warren appoints new Chief of Police

Congratulations to Captain David MacDonald, newly appointed Chief of Police, Newton, Massachusetts, and to the Police of Newton, Massachusetts, who have kept us safe all these years!

Monday, November 16, 2015

How can we forgive something that "never happened"?

Marash Girl has long been saying to those who would make peace with Turkey and forgive Turkey's atrocities -- atrocities such as the Armenian Genocide -- "How can we forgive something that never happened?" Please, my Armenian brothers and sisters who read these words, before you start screaming, understand the irony in the statement!  Has Turkey ever admitted to this 20th Century crime against humanity?
This past Saturday, the New York Times echoed Marash Girl's sentiments:
"The reverberations from Turkey’s troubled birth and the years preceding it persist. The 1915 Armenian genocide remains unacknowledged by Turkey even though Germany’s president, in this centennial year, spoke of German complicity. Joachim Gauck said: “We Germans collectively still have to come to terms with the past, namely when it comes to shared responsibility and perhaps even complicity in the genocide of the Armenians.”
It is for Turkey to answer how Germany could be complicit in a crime that did not exist."  New York Times, Nov. 12, 2015:  Turkey Haunted by its Ghosts

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

An Introvert?

While at Starbucks yesterday, Marash Girl overheard a stranger -- a woman -- talking to a friend,  describing herself in detail, loudly, nonstop.  After about 15 minutes of this, the woman announced, "I'm definitely an introvert!"  Marash Girl wanted to chime in, "Really?"  but she restrained herself.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Winter's on its way to Martha's Vineyard!

    You know winter is on its way when you see this sign at the 
     On-Time Ferry in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts!
(The famous Chappaquidick Island in the background.)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Happy Birthday to Marash Girl's First Born!

Her favorite doll was Bobby Shafto, and her favorite first foods were Hearts of Palm!  She looked just like the Gerber baby! She's Armenian all right, but everyone who saw her wanted to know if she was Irish!  Why?  She's 3/4 Marashtsi and 1/4 Ainteptsi and her great great grandmother on her grandmother's father's side was considered the most beautiful woman in Aintep.  She looks just like that grandmother!  and that makes for a beautiful, blue-eyed blonde Armenian baby (and woman).  Add to that the fact that she's one of the foremost cardio-vascular physiologists in the United States and one of the kindest and most giving persons that Marash Girl knows, and there you have it.  Oh, and humble, so she's made me promise not to mention her name.  If you know her, wish her a happy birthday! Gotta go now; Marash Girl is making choereg for the birthday celebration tonight.  Shhh . . . Don't tell!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Erricka Bridgeford's photo.

Walking through the Boston Common with Lorig's friend, Erricka, headed to the African-American Historic Trail on Beacon Hill, we came across a protest, so we stopped and asked what it was all about. The strikers were food retail workers fighting for $15/hr minimum wage. It was the national day to strike. Workers all over America did not go to work yesterday; they were in the streets protesting:  #FightFor15
Walking through the Boston Common with Lorig's friend, Erricka, headed to the African-American Historic Trail on Beacon Hill, we came across a protest, so we stopped and asked what it was all about. The strikers were food retail workers fighting for $15/hr minimum wage. It was the national day to strike. Workers all over America did not go to work yesterday; they were in the streets protesting:  #FightFor15
Walking through the Boston Common with Lorig's friend, Walking through the Boston Common with Lorig's friend Erricka, headed to the African-American Historic Trail on Beacon Hill, Marash Girl came across a protest, so they stopped and asked what it was all about. The strikers were food retail workers fighting for $15/hr minimum wage. It was the national day to strike. Workers all over America did not go to work yesterday; they were in the streets protesting:  #FightFor15

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Armed Virgin; or, Virgin with a Rifle

Yesterday, at the end of a peaceful walk along the Charles River, Marash Girl was startled by the image below, spray painted on the side of the cement support of the Cpl. Joseph E. Thompson Footbridge in Watertown, Massachusetts.
                                                        The Armed Virgin; or, Virgin with a Rifle                 Photo by Marash Girl

Search as she might, Marash Girl could not find a meaning for the letters SATTA.  Do any of you know what SATTA means?  Or what this image signifies?  

Monday, November 9, 2015


Have you given up your knitting habit because your hands are cramping up with tendonitis, or worse yet, arthritis?  Don't give up hope!  Square knitting needles (yes, there are such things) are easy to hold and don't require the flexibility that traditional knitting needles require. Try them!  You'll like them! Or if you don't knit but know folks who do, please spread the word!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

"Göz ichinde kalir"

A memory of a conversation between Uncle Paul and Marash Girl's father Peter, both of whom were born in Marash in the early 20th Century, and escaped  death at the hands of the Ottomans during the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

Newtonville, Massachusetts, 1960

Paul:  I just put down a deposit on the house on Page Road but Nectar is insisting that I should remove that deposit -- that she saw the house first!  

Peter: Why would you remove the deposit?  She could have put a deposit on the house herself!

Paul:  I have to remove my deposit and let her have it.  Göz ichinde kalir! (Marash Turkish) (In Istanbul Turkish, Gözün üstünde kalmasın!)  

Peter:  Are you crazy?  Forget the göz!

But Paul could not forget the göz, the "eye" (evil eye?) which would always be upon the house, jealous, envious, and possibly evil, should he buy it, so he graciously backed out of the sale and allowed his cousin Nectar to buy the house, much to Peter's dismay.

And so, awareness of the  "evil" eye was alive and well, even in the late 20th Century, even in the United States of America, even in a Christian family!

Even with folks who never wore the blue bead!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Marash Armenian Shoemakers and Bakers c. 1900

1900 Maraşlı Kunduracı ve Fırınciler  =  c. !900 Marash Armenian Shoemakers and Bakers 
Photo  and caption above courtesy of Bir Zamanlar Marash
Script at base of postcard in German reads: 
"Schuhmacherwerkstatt u. Bäckerei des armenischen Knabenwaisenhauses in Marasch"
 The Turkish translation on Facebook (significantly) left out the word Armenischen (Armenian) which appears prominently in the lower left corner of this postcard!

Friday, November 6, 2015

On memory

Years ago, Marash Girl asked her friend Norman Krim, a man who at that time was well into his 90's, how it was that he had such a good memory.

With his left hand, he pulled out a small black book from his inside jacket pocket, with his right hand he reached for his pen, held both up and said, "I write everything down!"

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Grandma Jennie's Choereg (Choreg) Recipe

Today Marash Girl will prepare Grandma Jennie’s Cheoreg for an AIWA event, and as you will not be able to sample it, here's the recipe that she's using so that you can make it for yourself.

Grandma Jennie's Armenian Cheoreg (Choereg)

Grandma Jennie’s Cheoreg

Dough preparation:
1 pkg dried yeast (place in 1/4 c. warm water with a bit of sugar)
1 c. milk
1 tsp. to 1 tbsp freshly ground mahlab (available at Armenian grocery stores) - Marash Girl uses 1 tbsp.
1/2 Tbsp black caraway seed optional - Sev Goondoug available at Armenian/Middle Eastern grocery stores.
1/3 c sugar or more
3 eggs, beaten
1 c butter, melted
5 c flour (Grandma Jennie used Gold Medal Flour; When Marash Girl tried it with King Arthur Flour, the product was not as soft.)
2 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten (to wipe on top of shaped cheoreg before dipping in sesame seed.)
Sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.  While oven is heating,
mix dough ingredients together with large heavy spoon. Dough should NOT be stiff, but rather fairly loose in order to achieve a soft choereg, the way Grandpa Peter liked it.  Set aside the dough to rise in a covered glass bowl, away from drafts.  When dough is doubled in size, punch down.  Take the equivalent of a half cup of dough, roll into 6 or 7 inch strip, circle strip around itself (snail-like) to make a circular roll.  
Place this roll in the palm of your hand, dip top of roll into egg mixture, then into flat dish in which you have placed sesame seeds. (This system gives a delicious thick layer of sesame seeds, not just sprinkles, and saves the trouble of brushing on the egg, then scattering on the sesame seeds.  It was Grandma Jennie's very own secret.) Place plain side of roll on greased baking tray, leaving room for choereg to rise (about 1 inch between rolls).  Dough will have risen enough by the time you finish shaping rolls to bake on greased tray in preheated oven for 15 minutes, but experience has taught that it is far better to let the dough rise overnight before shaping and baking!  ( NEXT TIME MARASH GIRL IS GOING TO TRY TO ADD MORE MILK TO MAKE A LOOSER DOUGH, WHICH SHOULD RESULT IN  A SOFTER CHEOREG. SHE'LL LET YOU KNOW HOW IT COMES OUT)

Whether or not Marash Girl has published recipe earlier, she is recording this recipe in memory of her mother, Jennie Vartanian Bilezikian who passed away the day before Thanksgiving many years ago, and remembering the family visits to her Uncle Joe (Grandma Yester's Brother Yusuf) & Auntie Mogie Bosnian (Ruthie and Didick's mom).  Auntie Mogie always welcomed us with choereg in her oven and baking when we arrived, ready to take out and serve us piping hot.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"Mourning Ahmad Chalabi"

Yesterday, November 3, 2015, brother James called Marash Girl's attention to an  article Michael Rubin published yesterday in Commentary, the article entitled "Mourning Ahmad Chalabi".

Rubin writes, "Ahmad Chalabi died of a heart attack this morning at his home in Baghdad. Many things are written about Chalabi, few of which are positive and many of which depict him as a cartoon villain. Chalabi was both brilliant and arrogant, but he was less villain than scapegoat. And he was first and foremost an Iraqi patriot."  "I first met Chalabi in the summer of 2001," writes Rubin, as he goes on to talk about the man as he knew him.

Marash Girl first met Ahmad Chalabi well before that, in the spring of 1960 (can you believe it?) when Chalabi was a freshman at MIT, a sweet and wonderful boy with whom she often had dinner at a place overlooking the Charles River. It was he who taught Marash Girl and her friend Judith Kirshner how to skip stones over water one spring afternoon at an MIT Arab Club picnic. That was well before life took its toll on all of them!  Marash Girl has missed the boy that she knew then, and now realizes that she will never see him again in this life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fish Chowder in Five Minutes

Don't keep that left over fish for too long; you'll end up having to throw it out!

Try making fish chowder with the cooked fish.

Chop up some onions  (after removing the onion's skin first) and celery (after washing, of course) and sauté them in butter/olive oil while you chop up some potatoes (Marash Girl does not peel the potatoes, but rather simply washes them in cool water before chopping.) 

Then chop up your leftover cooked fish (or fresh fish, if you have it, but it had better be very fresh or your house will stink of fish -- and this happened to Marash Girl once when she bought what was supposedly fresh white fish from Whole Foods!) Add fish to veggie mixture and saute.  Add thyme, if desired, salt and pepper.  Saute for a few minutes longer.  Add flour and stir if you want a thick chowder, or simply skip that step and add milk and/or cream and heat to complete the chowder.  "Delish," as Philip Craig's hero J.W. Jackson (of Martha's Vineyard Mysteries fame) would say!  Oh, and don't miss the book of Philip Craig's recipes, recipes gathered from his Martha's Vineyard Mysteries! (Delish! The J.W. Jackson Recipes; A Martha's Vineyard Cookbook published in paperback by Philip R. Craig and his wife Shirley Prada Craig).  And if you've never read Philip Craig's Martha's Vineyard mystery series (whether or not you have summered on the Vineyard), another treat awaits you!

Monday, November 2, 2015

EPA Hassles Conch Fisherman in Edgartown

Edgartown Harbor, Martha's Vineyard, Saturday, October 31, 2015

Look -- that guy on the boat is carrying!  said Marash Boy.

Carrying what?  asked Marash Girl.

A gun!  said Marash Boy.

A gun on a fishing boat?  queried Marash Girl.  "Let's go see what's happening," she said, as Marash Boy distanced himself from the drama and Marash Girl approached the dock.
Marash Girl looks on as EPA hassles local fisherman.

"I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt," the EPA official intoned to the owner of the Sea Raven, as the EPA official went through every bag of conchs, using his stainless steel measuring gauge to check the size of every conch,  tossing aside 
those  that were an 1/8th of an inch or more under 3 inches,  the minimum width set by the Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF) for the 2015 season. 

A local boatman commented, "And this guy has been operating his boat for about 44 years! He's a straight - shooter.    There are so many who aren't.  Why is the EPA bothering a good guy?  I'm going out to warn my friend not to come in; not with the Feds here!"  said the local as he rowed out to his fishing boat, hopped on board, and motored out into the darkening ocean to find his friend.

With all the druggies out there, the Feds had to hassle an honest fisherman?

Perhaps it was just a prank.  After all, it was Halloween! r.  Good guy's boat, EPA boat, local onlooker's boat on its way to warn his friend
Good neighbor on his way to warn his friend.
For more on conch fishing, see "The Conch Conundrum" by Barry Stringfellow in the Martha's Vineyard Times, Dec. 4, 2013.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All Saints' Day

Are we all saints today, now that we've had the opportunity to be witchy?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Sorry.  Marash Girl is out in her witch's attire, celebrating Halloween and advising folks to "Laugh their way through life!"

Friday, October 30, 2015

Farming Mussels in Menemsha

Raking up baby mussels  from the ocean's floor, baby mussels
to  be transported
to the mussel farm for maturing and  future consumption!

Are the birds bidding farewell to the  baby mussels? Or are they grieving a lost opportunity?

Good bye to summer

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween Soup

While in Edgartown on the Vineyard, Marash Girl met a gentleman who was preparing soup for his family's supper.  He shared his recipe with her and she's sharing it with you!

1 butternut squash, cooked, peeled and seeded
1 apple, cooked, peeled, and seeded
1 onion, cooked and peeled
Chicken or Vegetable broth (to thin to desired consistency)
Combine above ingredients while still hot in blender until smooth.  Add cream (or milk, if you're on a diet!) Serve hot.

Addition of salt and pepper to taste, and thyme, if desired. Serve hot (with a dollop of sour cream on top

Let's call it Halloween Soup!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"You don't need a book!"

Marash Girl was in the dining room at the Harborside Inn, getting ready to leave, when a new acquaintance -- a little 8 year old boy -- asked her where she was going.

"I'm going to the library," she answered.

"Why are you going to the library?" he asked.

"To get a book to read," was the answer she gave the little boy.

"Why do you want to get a book to read?" he continued.

"When you have a book, you are never alone,"  she answered.

"When you have Jesus, you are never alone!" he replied.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Panoramic View of Zeitoun

Photo of Zeitoun (date unknown)  Courtesy of  Birzamanlar Marash
Source: Khatcherian

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Perfect Gift for a Bookseller

A button that shouts, "Reading may be hazardous to your ignorance!"

Thank you Elina and King Dude!  Should be a bumper sticker as well, right?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

On smoking

Whenever he saw a young man smoking, Peter would walk up to him and say, "How old do you think I am?"  The young man would try to guess, and invariably would guess a far younger age than Peter had actually achieved.  (Peter was 90 years old at the time.)   Peter would reply to the smoker, "Do you want to get to be my age?"  and the young man would always answer, "I know, I know!" And put out the cigarette.

Or Peter would try another tack.  "You know that smoking is bad for your health, right?"  And invariably the young man would answer, "Well, we all have to die some time."  "Yes," answered Peter.  "But it's how you die that matters!"

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Nature's Art in Underwood Park

                                                  A Child's View Of Autumn                      Photo by Marash Girl

Friday, October 23, 2015

Another photo of Marash from the Olden Days

Unidentified vintage photo from Marash -- One person thinks it's the former Governor's Mansion.  Date unknown.
Courtesy of Birzamanlar Marash

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How Do You Feel?

Peter Bilezikian, especially as he got older, was constantly asked the question, "How do you feel?"

He would delight in answering that question:

"With my hands!  How do you feel?"

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jamesy!

So there she was, five years old, awaiting the best birthday present she had ever (and ever would) receive -- a baby brother.  She waited and waited, and finally, on her birthday, with great fanfare, he arrived -- the sweetest, cutest darlingest little boy one could ever hope for.  Blonde, blue eyes, and as alert as could be.

Growing up, grown up, she could not stop bragging about her baby brother (even when he was all grown up) -- how cute he was, how smart he was, how wonderful he was.  He was the best looking, the brightest, the most alert little boy she had ever met -- and she had met many.

All his life, he loved to read, to discuss, to examine ideas and philosophies, to laugh, to befriend those around him.

Today, on his birthday, Marash Girl wishes Jamesy the happiest of birthdays -- hugs, kisses, 
wonderful memories, and a wonderful and happy future.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Drunken Tuna

Whenever she whips up tuna salad for lunch, Marash Martha adds One Tablespoon (maybe more?) of vodka.  She says it kills the fishy odor and, an added bonus?  kills the germs.  Who knew that canned tuna has germs!

"In fact," she says, "I add one tablespoon of vodka to everything I cook!"

Monday, October 19, 2015

Johnny Acorn in Newton, Massachusetts

Apparently there's a man in Newton, Massachusetts, who is going around planting trees on public land,  which (and who knew) is against public policy!  I wonder if his name is Johnny Acorn!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Got a head cold?

With this sudden change in weather from a hot and humid summer to a cool fall, how many of you have a sore throat? A cough? Congestion?

Interesting that a newly arrived Armenian man from Aleppo had the same answer that my dad and mom always had when such afflictions struck:  Boil lemon juice with the whole lemon rind in water.  Drink, drink, drink.  Gargle with salt.

My secret?  Drink non-stop -- gingerale and hot and sour soup. apple juice and water.  Any liquid that you like, but drink, so that you have to pee every half hour.  Yes.  Liquids, rest and exercise . . . exercise, that is, from your bed to the bathroom!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

St. James 68th Annual Bazaar Today in Watertown, Massachusetts. Don't miss it!

Bazaar and Cookbook Chairwoman Nancy Kassabian showcases St. James Armenian Church's new 2015 cookbook (St. James Family Table Hrametzek).

Haig Karakashian proudly sports his newly purchased (at the church bazaar)
winter hat and scarf knit in the colors of the Armenian flag.

Haig Karakashian checked the cookbook for his mother's recipes, and finding her cookie recipe, he commented, "My mother put whiskey in the cookies she baked for me?"

Friday, October 16, 2015

"My wife is Irish."


Armenian Man:  I do all the cooking in my house -- dolma, sarma, fasulia pilaf, kufte, cheoreg......

Armenian Woman: Why do you do all the cooking?

Armenian Man:  My wife is Irish.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

In Love With Books

Last night, and it was late enough so that it could have been a kind of nightmare, Marash Girl found herself awaiting a meeting of the Newtonville Area Council which was to be held in the basement of the Newton Senior Citizen Center. The place was barren, cut up into smallish rooms, a used plastic table in the center of the meeting room, a table around which stood metal folding chairs, abandoned art supplies on the surrounding shelves.  But this place was once the place of her dreams.  

It was a sad evening for Marash Girl, as she looked around at what once had been her haven, a huge haven, the entire lower level of the building, a room that was holy, a room with low wooden tables surrounded by small wooden chairs,  a room with shelves of books along every wall, the Newton Junior Library, the place Marash Girl first fell in love -- in love with books.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Vokh, Vokh, Vokhtoutioun

Returning one morning from a long walk along Ritchie Avenue, Marash Boy and Marash Girl were greeted by the neighbor's dog with short gruff barks:  "Vokh, Vokh!" to which Marash Boy responded, "Vokh, Vokh, Vokhtoutioun." (Ող, Ող, Ողջություն):  Good health!  Good health!  Good to be alive!

Marash Girl had been unaware that dogs could speak Armenian, or, put in another way, that Marash Boy could understand dogs!

Ողջություն- voghtoutioun- good health / good to be alive 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Salsa on Pasta?

Deciding on pasta for supper, Marash Girl searched the shelves for pasta and pasta sauce.  Yup.  There was the whole wheat pasta.  The kids will like that.  And there 's the all natural spaghetti sauce. Perfect.  And quick.

Fast forward to supper time.

"Ama, why is this spaghetti so hot? We can't eat it!"

"It's not hot, said Marash Girl; it's luke warm!"

"No, Ama, it's burning our tongues!"

"Whoops!" said Marash Girl, who had opened a bottle of salsa (rather than the bottle of spaghetti sauce that was sitting right next to it on the shelf) and poured hot salsa all over the pasta that she was serving to her little grandchildren for supper!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Walking Into Another World

So there they were in Enila's home town, looking for the finishing touches for Enila's Fortune Teller Halloween Costume.  Enila needed a scarf complete her costume for Halloween --  to tie around her "fortune teller" head on that auspicious occasion. Marash Girl and  Enila walked into The Magic Cauldron, and indeed it was full of the magic of the Middle East.  Enila was trying on scarves when the owner came up to her and said, Oh, no, that's not what fortune tellers wear.  This scarf (which, by the way was 75% less expensive than the one Enila had been trying on) is what fortune tellers wear.  Marash Girl was silently wondering how the owner of the shop knew what fortune tellers wear!  The owner started telling Marash Girl and Enila about a man who broke a lamp in her store and who walked out without even reporting the breakage to her.  She started wishing evil on him -- vociferously -- and Marash Girl warned her that she mustn't -- that the evil she wished on the man could be turned right back onto her.  She then started telling Marash Girl about her family in Turkey (she was Turkish) who had been cheated by a tenant;  the owner's sister had shouted at the man, "I hope you die in a car accident" and soon after, the man died a horrible death in, yes, you guessed it . . .  an automobile accident.  

Marash Girl should have left the store right then and there, but she felt obliged to convince the woman that she (the woman) should not be going around wishing evil on people.  Be that as it may, Marash Girl commented (only as an aside) that Enila's grandfather was from Marash.  The shop owner immediately started hugging and kissing Marash Girl and Enila saying, "You're Turkish, you're Turkish! You're family, you're family!"  Enila and Marash Girl didn't have the heart (or the courage?) to correct her.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Good Neighbor on Ritchie Avenue

Skip and the Good Neighbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Photo by Marash Girl
Marash Girl's best friend from high school decided to visit  Marash Girl while she was in Maryland visiting her  grandchildren.   The two became so embroiled in conversation -- recounting tales of J.C. Hall and their AP Chemistry Class, of Marilyn Drewes and their AP biology class, that Skip forgot that he had forgotten to turn his car lights off, and sure as tootin', when Skip finally rose up from the porch chair with the words, "I really have to leave -- I'm going to be late for my next appointment",  walked over to his car, opened the car door, sat on the driver's seat, took out his keys, put the car key into the ignition and turned the key, nothing happened.   Marash Girl knew that Triple A would never get there in time for Skip to make it to his next appointment.  When she looked up, though, she saw, right across the street, a neighbor sitting next to his white pick up truck.  "Need help?" he asked with a grin.  "Sure do," answered Marash Girl, silently praying thanks to God that Good Neighbors still exist on Ritchie Avenue.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bear on the Loose

From today's Newton Tab:

"A bear is on the loose in Newton, Massachusetts, according to reports."
"According to online alerts, police are searching for a bear in the town of Newton, Massachusetts. According to WHDH-TV Channel 7, environmental police found the bear but left it alone and let it wander."
The above report reminds Marash Girl of the time a neighbor in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, called the police to report a bear eating from the bird feeder in her back yard.  The response from the Wilbraham police?  "So what do you want US to do about it, lady?"

Friday, October 9, 2015

How about a sandwich for lunch?

But there was nothing in the house with which to make sandwiches!  Taking a peek into the freezer, Marash Girl spied the box of ice cream sandwiches she had bought for Enila and King Dude.  Ah, the perfect lunch for a hot September afternoon,  she thought to herself as she polished off all four ice cream sandwiches.

When Enila and King Dude returned from school, they ran to the freezer to look for the ice cream sandwiches, but the freezer was bare.  (Marash Girl writes writes with a nod to Mother Goose.)  What happened to those ice cream sandwiches, Ama, they asked.

Oh, I was hungry and it was lunchtime, so I was looking around for something to make into a sandwich.  I couldn't find anything, so I checked in the freezer and there was a box that said sandwiches".  So I ate them for lunch.  They were sandwiches, right?

That's so lame, Ama!  they groaned as they grimaced.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Frisbee That Failed

The Errant Frisbee or, How To Fix a Frisbee That Fails

So there they were on the Cape and Helène wanted to treat King Dude to lunch; she decided to take him to a restaurant that gave a free gift to any kid who ordered a kid's meal.

Predictably,  King Dude ordered Mac 'n' Cheese.   Delicious, he reported.

But where was his gift?  Here it comes!  A red frisbee!

Yay!  Let's take it home and play!

King Dude, throw me the frisbee, said Marash Girl, as soon as they returned to Indian Hill Road.

King Dude threw the frisbee with all his young energy but the frisbee went awry -- in fact, it arched to the right, not up and over to Marash Girl.  Marash Girl figured (wrongly) that King Dude had deliberately thrown the frisbee into the bushes.  She rescued the frisbee, carefully aimed, and threw the frisbee -- you guessed it -- right into the bushes.  Wait a minute . . . she didn't aim the frisbee towards the bushes. . . what was going on here . . .

King Dude said, I'll get it and make a special effort to throw it straight, right to you, Ama.  As hard as he tried, the frisbee had a mind of its own . . . it went right into the bushes.

Now what!  King Dude said, "I'll get it right this time."  He threw the frisbee as hard as he could and this time, although the frisbee went far to the right of Marash Girl, it hit the tar and a hole broke into its side.  Oh, dear, said Marash Girl.   A piece just broke off of the side of your brand new frisbee.  Well, never mind.  Let 's try to keep playing.

And guess what happened next!  The frisbee worked perfectly!  It went straight as an arrow, directly to its destination; Marash Girl and King Dude were able to play frisbee for the rest of the week.

Who can tell us why the frisbee, after a hole broke into its side, worked perfectly?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Another View of Marash from the Olden Days

Another view of Marash - Is that the Fort in the right hand corner?  Courtesy of Bir Zamanlar Marash

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Page from the Past: All Is Vanity

Several years ago, while helping out at a local church fair, Marash Girl had the opportunity to view a framed image entitled, "All Is Vanity".  Framed over 100 years ago, the image is a reminder to all of us.   Do you see the two ladies or the skull?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Overheard on Sunday

Question:  What do folks call the Episcopal Church?

Answer:  Junior Varsity Catholic.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Enila and Iffar proudly hold photo of Enila posing in front of  the Eddie Clarence Murray 
(Steady Eddie) statue at the Orioles Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland.           Photo by Marash Girl


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Marash 1910 - Dimly

Berit Dağı -Maraş 1910 yıllarında Alman araştırmacılar tarafından Göksun yönünden çekilmiş bir resim...(İlk kez yayınlanıyor)  From Facebook's Bir Zamanlar Marash

Friday, October 2, 2015

Reading a Boring Book?

Reading a boring book? Read on!  As Grandpa Peter used to say, if you get one new idea from a book, it was worth the time it took to read it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Newton Parks & Recreation Gives Away Parkland For Parking

After hours of listening to arguments both pro and con, the Newton Parks & Recreation Commission voted 4/3 to give away (to tar over) a piece of parkland for a school parking lot, despite the fact that the Parks & Recreation Commissioners have taken an oath to preserve parkland.  Marash Girl believes the move was illegal.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Tree Surgeon and the Fallen Limb

What? A limb is hanging loose from our 60 year old Norwegian Maple Tree?  A loose limb hanging over our neighbor's yard?  Yikes.

Get rid of it!

She complained.

We obeyed.

But a week later, another huge limb fell into our neighbor's yard from that very same tree.  (Luckily, at the time, no one was standing under the tree for its protective shade or gazing up into its leafy boughs!) What the heck?  The expert tree folks had just checked the tree!

Calling the tree surgeon that next week (the week after he had checked the tree), he explained that he had realized that the limb was on the edge, but that he hadn't wanted to remove that second limb because it "protected" us from the neighbors having full view of our back yard activities. In what activities did the tree surgeon think that we engaged?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Painting at Three and a Half Months

After only three and a half months of observing the world around her (albeit New York City),
Dylan Marie depicts that world on paper.  զարմանալի է! Zarmanali!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Nothing to say

What do you write when you can't think of anything to write?  You keep writing.  That's what free writing is all about.  (See Peter Elbow's work on the subject.)  Thinking back to when Marash Girl first started teaching writing, she can't believe how staid she was in her approach.  Now, freed up from the manner in which she was taught to write  -- outline, introductory paragraph, main body of essay, concluding paragraph -- she now can write about nothing when she has nothing to say. (Too much to say, and no time in which to say it . . . or write it, as the case may be.) Like today. Except she must note her regret that she never got to see the eclipse of the moon last night. Did you?