Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Calm Before The Storm

We're waiting.  We're waiting.  The weather promises snow and the supermarkets are full.  The Boston area has been hit numerous times in the last several weeks with snow storms and the threat of same, and everyone seems surprised . . . snow?  Again?  Really? . . . but, hey, this is New England, and if you've lived here for any amount of time, you should be used to it (it being snow storms) by now!  Nevertheless, just a whisper of a pending snowstorm, and the supermarkets are full, the kids are joyful, (the possibility of no school and the chance to play in the snow), the electric company anxious! Those of us who live here in New England wonder what it must be like to live  in those areas of the USA where school is never called, folks never have to bundle up and stock up with supplies,  because there is not even the whisper of a chance for a snowstorm!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Raffi as Grimsby

 Takoma Park, Maryland:  Takoma Park Middle School's Drama Club Presented 
Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID on March 15, 16, and 17, 2018
Rafayel Charkoudian-Rogers playing Grimsby (second from left)

Friday, March 16, 2018

"Never Again!"

"This is What 'Never Again' Looks Like." Lorig Charkoudian (white hat) in upper left corner of photo.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lorig for Delegate in Maryland!

Finish all the food on your plate ...   So many supporters, so few yard signs!

There are so many people who want to show their support for Lorig's campaign with a yard sign, we're running out!

Come on, folks! Help us get a yard sign to all who want one by contributing to Lorig's Yard Sign Fund! We just need $2,000 to reach our goal of 400 more signs!

Click here to help!

Don't let these kids be the last to have a Lorig Charkoudian yard sign. (Seriously, they can't even vote.) Support the fund today!

Help us get a yard sign to every supporter! Thank you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Free Writing, Free Thinking!

Have you ever just let your mind wander?  It's amazing what you might come up with . . . a long buried memory, a beautiful poem, a new way to make paklava . . . you never know!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fall without ceasing!

Watching the snow fall without ceasing!  That is to say, watching the snow, winter without ceasing!

 Just saw a Cedar Waxwing on the top branch of the tree outside of the dining room window . . . looking around, confused.  Join the crowd, Mr. Cedar Waxwing!

Or have a seat on our front porch!

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Amah da fasulia!"

And speaking of Armenian exclamations as Marash Girl was in her blog post of  3/10/18, Marash Girl remembers Dr. Hrair Atikian, an Armenian man born in Kessab, Syria, then studying in Boston,  Massachusetts, often exclaiming, "Amah da fasulia!"  and laughing joyously.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Happy Birthday, Deron Djan!

May our Deron have the happiest of days today as he celebrates his birthday (won't tell which one)!  Happy Birthday to the anoushigest, sirounigest, aghvorigest son in the whole wide world!  Even his NNHS senior class got the message when they presented him with the Boy's Senior Cup, the highest high school honor that could be bestowed upon a student at NNHS!

Saturday, March 10, 2018


And thinking of "Oho!", how many of you grew up with the expression, "Ahmahn!"  (When you say "Ahmahn", the "Ah" is said on a lower note and the rest of the word ends on an much extended higher note as an exclamation!)  How many years has it been since you've heard anyone say, "Ahmahn!"  Marash Girl can't even count the years.

An expression of annoyed amazement, an expression used by the folks from Marash and Aintab (by the Marashtsis and the Aintepsis), and expression of that Marash Girl wishes she could still hear.


Friday, March 9, 2018

"Oh, ho!"

"Oh, ho!"  How in the world would you translate that?  Marash Girl exclaimed, "Oh, ho!" this morning when things seemed to be going awry (the napkins wouldn't fit in the napkin holder after numerous tries . . .) but this expression has music attached to it and situations in which the expression would fit or would not fit.  Do any of you remember the Armenian old folks saying, "Oh, ho!"?  Do old folks say, "Oh, ho!" in other cultures?  Help Marash Girl out here, folks!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

An introduction to a stranger . . .

Marash Girl, writing to a new acquaintance, introduced herself in the following way:  "I grew up in an extended family — My dad’s mom and dad on the third floor, my uncle and auntie and 3 cousins on the second floor, my mom and dad, sister and brother and me on the first floor.  We had a big back yard to run around in and my dad had a wonderful vegetable garden, my uncle had fruit trees — mostly apples and pears, and my mom cooked delicious Armenian food.  It was a wonderful childhood."

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Step on a crack . . .

Growing up (many years ago), walking to and from Claflin (elementary) school, the kids would chant, "Step on a crack, you'll break your mother's back!"  Stepping on a crack was, therefore, to be avoided at all costs.  But recently, Marash Girl forgot the warning, and a week ago, upon receiving an upsetting (anti-immigrant) email from a sibling, Marash Girl needed to walk off her "marakh" and walk it off she did . . . down the street, across the parking lot, tripping over the crack where the parking lot met the sidewalk.  Yes, she did.  She tripped on the crack, but instead of breaking her mother's back (thank goodness that could not happen), she fell and injured her left knee.  Now that's some excuse, is it not, for not writing blog posts, but sometimes pain can be distracting enough to distract one from what one must do.  And write she must.  So she's back to writing.  More tomorrow! Promise!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Fishy Welcome Sign

Photo by Marash Girl
The lighthouse featured in this "fishy" welcome sign (above) prompted Marash Girl to photograph the east wall of Steamers, 311 Watertown StNonantum (Newton), Massachusetts.  Steamers sells the freshest of fish, fish that can be purchased (fresh) and prepared at home, purchased freshly cooked and carried home to serve, or, even more fun, fish that can be selected onsite, prepared onsite, and served onsite (along with side dishes) at the few tables perched next to the shop's two large windows.  [Owner and fishmonger Domenic Vincenzino starts each day with an early morning trip to Boston's fish pier, acquiring daily only the freshest of fish for his loyal customers.] Whoops!  Did Marash Girl get carried away with the freshness of the fish and use the word "fresh"  just once too often in this paragraph?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

God welcome you into His Kingdom, Rev. Billy Graham

Billy Graham, a household word on Lowell Avenue, has gone to be with his Lord and Savior.  Our prayers are with his family and all of us who benefitted from his wisdom and message of salvation.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The First Day

Unlike the father cited in yesterday's blog, Marash Girl's father always encouraged his children with the following words:

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life!"

No matter what mistakes they had made, no matter what how discouraged they may have felt, those words encouraged his children to continue to strive, to continue to thrive!

How he had learned this lesson, where he had heard these words?  Were the  words a translation from the Armenian?  Were they words his Yankee teachers had taught him in Watertown?  Marash Girl will never know, but what she does know is the truth of the words.  Read them and feel encouraged:

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life!"

Monday, February 19, 2018


THE LAST INHABITANT.  Okay, so the title was depressing enough, but Marash Girl didn't believe her friend when her friend told Marash Girl that the film was going to be a real downer.  Marash Girl loves film, and couldn't accept the suggestion that the film would be over the top (or rather under the bottom) in the realm of depressing.  Well, it was!  And to make things worse, her friend -- the friend who invited Marash Girl to this depressing film -- admitted at the end of the film that her father had always advised her that "each day that you live, you are one day closer to your death."  Granted, Marash Girl's friend's father had survived the Armenian Genocide and that certainly could have colored his views on life and death. . . but still . . . to say that to his young daughter?  Really?

Sunday, February 18, 2018


"Djannum,"  Marash Girl's dad would say as he hugged her.  "Djannum," her grandmother would say as she put both arms around Marash Girl.

What does djannum mean?  The words mean, "My soul!"  What does that mean when one person says "Djannum" to another?  More than words can tell.  How can someone mean more to a person than his/her own soul.  And that's what all her dear departed (the ones who were born in Marash) would call Marash Girl as they hugged and kissed her.

No-one has called Marash Girl "Djannum" for decades . . . decades.  She misses them, she misses their hugs, she misses their words of love, she misses being called "Djannum".

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Remembering Our First Automatic Dishwasher

Remembering Our First Automatic Dishwasher  . . .  and no, I'm not remembering my grandma or my mommy.  I'm remembering the very first time my mother was gifted an automatic electric dishwasher by my father.  And smarty pants Marash Girl said, and I quote, "What do you need an automatic dishwasher for?  It's so much fun to wash dishes!"  Well, needless to say, Marash Girl is "eating her words" every day, and apologizing aloud to her mom who is in heaven . . .Who said dishwashing is fun?  Young Marash Girl? What a fool!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Birthday, Lorig!

My Valentine to the family was the gift of love from the Lord above when Lorig was born!

Monday, February 12, 2018

This Year's Gathering of the Union of Marash Armenians Honors President Nevart Kouyoumjian

Several hundred Marashtsi Armenians gathered yesterday in Belmont, Massachusetts, to honor Mrs. Nevart Kouyoumjian, longtime President of the Union of Marash Armenians, Watertown Chapter.
Nevart: "I wondered why there were so many people here today!"(FYI, it was a miserable, cold, rainy Sunday afternoon, and clearly, Nevart had no idea that she was being honored.)
The featured speaker, Sherriff Peter Koutoujian, began, "I'm the only Hye Sheriff there is!  How can I say, 'No!' to Nevart when she calls me and begins, "Hokis, goukas?"

The gathered further celebrated by singing Yerevan - Erepouni, the first several stanzas of which Marash Girl has taken the liberty of printing below:

Yerevan tarts adz, im Erepouni;
Tou mer nor Tevin,mer no Ani.
Mer pokrig high, you meds yerazank,
Mer tare guard, mer kare nazan.

Yerevan tars adz, im Erepouni,
tarer es antes, pays menatsel es badin.
Ko Massis horror, ko Arax morov.
Medians tarot, Yerevan!

Men aryan gantcher, ounenk mer serum.
Angular drencher, ounenk ter shad
Mer gantchn grants key, i your ge gortchi,
Grants kez, mer dak dentchn el ge sartchi.

Gyankoum amen ser linoume drapear,
Msg men colors enk kennov april.
Dak e sere mer, she karerit bes,
Hin e sere mer, tsk tarerit bes.

Lyrics: Paruyr Sevak; Music: Edgar Hovhannisyan

l. to r.  Sheriff of Middlesex County Peter Koutoujian honors Mrs. Nevart Kouyoumjian

Honored Guest, President Nevart Kouyoumjian
Honored guests congratulate Mrs. Nevart Kouyoumjian (center front). Photo by Marash Gir
Watertown Marashtsis gather to honor President Nevart Kouyoumjian

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Don't throw away those old address books!

What those old address books contain are irreplaceable memories!  Look at a name, a name from the past, and with that name comes the memory . . .  comes the memory of the wonderful aroma of choereg baking in the oven  . . .  Look at another name and start laughing at one of the many jokes that jokester would tell . . . So sorry we threw away my Mom's address book!

Friday, February 9, 2018

You will get used to it!

My cousin arrived from Italy when she was 18 years old.  Her father was very religious, and in those days, very religious meant no lipstick on women!  But my cousin was intent on becoming like her American cousins which meant wearing lipstick! And so she did.  When her father questioned her use of lipstick, she very sweetly answered him:"You will get used to it, Daddy!"

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Great Idea for a Party

Today Marash Girl attended a women's club luncheon where everyone was asked to bring something to add to the pot of soup that had been simmering on the back burner!  Folks brought canned black beans, fresh chopped onions, fresh chopped carrots, canned mushrooms, and much more.

What a great idea, she thought . . .  An idea that probably originated with the old folk tale, "Stone Soup", but certainly a wonderful idea for a hostess that's tired of cooking!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Going to see THE POST

Went to see the Post at the West Newton Cinema yesterday...Tickets were $10 for Seniors, $12 for Adults, $10 for Children.  Marash Girl asked for a Children's ticket.  She wasn't about to admit that she was a senior, but the idea of being a child rather appealed to her.  

And seeing the wonderful work of Ben Bagdigian  spread across the movie screen appealed to her even more!  It was not until she arrived home and shared her movie experience with Marash Boy that she learned that Ben Bagdigian had been born in Marash, had grown up in Springfield, Massachusetts, Ben's sister a good friend of Marash Boy's mother.  Small world!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"Spread Love! Not the Flu!"

"Spread Love! Not the Flu!"  announces a sign on the Metro in Washington, DC

Monday, February 5, 2018

What do Armenians from Marash say when someone sneezes?

What do Armenians (and probably Turks) from Marash say when someone sneezes? 

"Hepsini diyesin ki, bazisi olsun." 

"If he says all, let him have (at least) some!"

A  good, old-country sense of humor!!!!

Note:  According to Murat, the sound of the sneeze is similar to the word "hepsi" and thus the play on words!

Sunday, February 4, 2018


You have to be patient with my buyer; after all, he's a Greek octogenarian!

Hey!  YOU have to be patient with my SELLER!  After all, he's an ARMENIAN octogenarian!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Thanking God on a T-Shirt!

My sweet son-in-law:

                    "I asked God for Srength and Courage . . . He Sent Me My Armenian Wife!!!"

Friday, February 2, 2018

It's Only Pain

"It's only pain, " intoned Dr. Chernak as he corrected Marash Girl's broken bone without the aid of surgery, without anesthesia, as Lorig and Marash Girl sang, shouted John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt!

It was then that Marash Girl realized that pain was feared because it signaled serious medical problems  -  a break, an infection . . . but if the pain signaled correcting what was causing the pain, it's okay . . . we can sing (or scream) our way through it!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Trip to Martha's Vineyard in the Middle of a New England Winter

Bored with the long, cold winter days? Miss those summer's on Martha's Vineyard?  Grab a copy of any of Philip Craig's Martha's Vineyard Mysteries and have a ball!  Marash Girl had read all of those mysteries and therefore never thought of reading them again, but as luck would have it, she wandered into a supermarket in the south of Maine this past weekend and there on a shelf opposite the checkout counter was a first edition, signed, hardcover copy (with dust jacket) in perfect condition, a copy of Philips Craig's second mystery: The Woman Who Walked Into The Sea.  Marash Girl had purchased that book (though not that copy, of course,) many years ago during an idyllic week in Edgartown.  She had read the book, passed it on, and then read all the books that followed (as well as those that preceded).  (Philip Craig wrote over 20 novels.)  Marash Girl wishes that Philip Craig were still with us, and that there were more Martha's Vineyard Mysteries  to look forward to reading!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Up for a Treat?

Nothing around that seems to suit?  Try mixing fresh whole milk with all natural Polar Gingerale (half milk, half gingerale)!  The taste treat of an ice-cream soda without the ice cream and the calories that go with it!  Yes, even in the middle of the winter!

Thursday, January 25, 2018


With all the talk these days about the dating rules in the United States of America -- the dating rules for for men and women --  Padiddle comes to mind!  What does Padiddle mean?  Padiddle means someone owes someone a kiss! A kiss?  Yes!  In the late 1950's, if a guy was out for the evening on a date with a gal, and the guy spotted a car with a burned-out headlightt, if he called it (shouted "Padiddle"), it meant he could claim a kiss from the girl he was with . . .

A wonderful young man who was out with Marash Girl one evening did exactly that:  he spotted a car with one headlight out, shouted padiddle, and claimed a kiss, but no way was Marash Girl going to allow Jimmy H. to kiss her, nor would she kiss him, padiddle or not.  He was just a friend.  A good friend, but a friend nonetheless.  Marash Girl reproved Jimmy H., and, of course, never heard from him again.

Too bad, because he was a really good kid.  Oh, and he was NOT Armenian!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Only God is Perfect

Recently, sitting on the sofa, gazing at the oriental rug covering the center of his living room floor, Raffi shouted, "Look, Ama!  There's a mistake in the rug!"  "A mistake?" Marash Girl queried.  "Yes, look!" Raffi insisted as he pointed to the  border of the rug, where there was one medallion that was different from all the others. "Look, they made a mistake," he insisted as he pointed to the one out of one hundred forty-seven medallions woven into the rug displayed on the center of his living room floor.  But Marash Girl was not alarmed.  Many years ago, Marash Girl had been forewarned by Arthur T. Gregorian that no oriental carpet could be perfect. . . by design, every hand-knotted oriental rug had to have in its pattern one deliberate error, for the rug-makers believed that "Only God is perfect!"

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cabbage Stuff

Cabbage Stuff?  This time with chick peas for protein!

Cabbage Stuff?  Sounds awful but the kids loved it, and that was the name they gave to this delicious dish which Medzmama created (don't know if it's a traditional Armenian dish, though she was Armenian from Marash, and traditional!)

Here's how you make it.

Peel one large yellow onion; toss the peels into the compost OR save for coloring Easter eggs;  (they wouldn't do too well in this dish . . )  and chop or slice the onion; fry up the onion in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  (Marash Girl likes to add a chopped clove of garlic, but Medzmama says that  Armenian cooks from Marash never cook with both onions and garlic but use either one or the other.  Marash Girl breaks that rule every time she cooks!  Marash Girl doesn't like rules, as you may have guessed by now!)

When the onions are wilted, and hopefully lightly browned, add the cabbage and stir.  When the cabbage is wilted, add a can of stewed tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes that have been skinned) and simmer for one half hour.

Serve over brown rice.

OR, if you are a meat eater, add ground meat after the onions are browned; brown the ground meat (usually lamb).  Then continue as directed above.

Monday, January 22, 2018

How to be Happy During the Depression

And speaking of being happy . . . Soon after Peter arrived in  the United States of America (he was born an American citizen and came to his homeland in the 1920's), the country had fallen into a deep economic depression. Living in Brighton, Massachusetts, in a three decker, one of 4 children, Peter saw happiness, but only one kind of happiness:  the happiness of the drunk.  Thus, when people asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would always answer, "I want to be a drunk!"

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Are You Happy In The Lord?

Mrs. Corlian would love to approach Peter on Sundays after the church service, asking him (as they both walked out of the church) in a loud, accented voice, 
"Pitirrrr . . . are you happy in the Lord?"

"Yes, Mrs. Corlian, I'm happy in the Lord."

"But Pitirr," continued Mrs. Corlian, "Are you happy in the Lord ALL THE TIME?"

"Mrs. Corlian, only crazy people are happy all the time!"

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Thank God He's Not A Protestant!

Born in Marash as Bedros, and grandson of the first Protestant minister in Marash (Sarkis Bilezikjian), Peter would love to tell the following story, a story that has particular significance when one is aware of the anger that was caused, the rift in families, when the Protestant movement reached Marash in the 19th Century (via missionaries from Boston, by the way)!

Neighbor Woman:  (snippily and sarcastically)  So, I hear your son has become a Poghokagan (Protestant)!

Marashtsi Mother:  No, thank God!  He got up this morning, late for work, drank a shot of whiskey, swore at me, and walked out of the house slamming the door.  Thank God he's not a Protestant!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Chamlian Armenian School on MLK Day

Chamlian 8th grade students participate in a talk with civil rights activist Bethel Charkoudian
GLENDALE—The Chamlian Armenian school’s eighth- grade class on January 12 hosted a Skype session with Armenian activist, Bethel Charkoudian, who participated in a Civil Rights Movement march led by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965.
Charkoudian (left) shared her personal story on her role with the Armenian Genocide and her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. The 8th grade students had the opportunity to ask questions about what inspired her to participate in the movement and what emotions were provoked from the experience as the only Armenian-American present in the march.
The topics of conversation not only engaged the 8th grade students of Chamlian Armenian School, but also instilled in them the desire to continue on with the struggle for freedom and equality. Throughout the video-chat, the most noted appreciation that students expressed was Ms. Charkoudian’s impeccable ability to make important social issues seem relevant. She demonstrated that we, too, through awareness and sheer bravery, may be remembered throughout the pages of history as those who dedicated their time and effort in ensuring that we leave the world a little better than we found it for all of humanity.
Bethel Charkoudian (right) on Boston Common during the
1965 Civil Rights March on Washington
This educational Skype session was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Chamlian students to be exposed to someone directly involved in a pivotal and decisive historical event. Students especially appreciated the chance to not only ask their questions, but also to engage in conversation with Ms. Bethel. One of the most memorable moments was when Ms. Bethel urged the students not to be afraid by repeating the phrase, “Mi Vakhnak!” which translates to “Do not be afraid!”
This motto helped them understand that while taking a stand against injustice is not always the easy option, it will always remain our moral obligation. This truly was an educational experience for our students and sparked conversations regarding critical issues such as racism, sexism, and discrimination. As part of Chamlian’s school mission to embrace Armenian culture and heritage, we continue to be active participants in the Armenian community and gain greater awareness of the unique aspects of the Armenian culture and history while preserving the Armenian heritage.
Chamlian expressed gratitude to Charkoudian for what it called the “unforgettable opportunity and for sharing your inspirational story and encouraging us to fight for respect, dignity, and equality.” The school also thanked Verginie Touloumian, the Executive Director of the Armenian Relief Society Inc. for her support as well as efforts in organizing this memorable and unique experience.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"We Want You!" At the Airport in Washington DC several months ago

Marash Girl is so proud of her children and grandchildren who fight discrimination in whatever form.  

"No matter where you are from, we're glad you are our neighbors."
"IMMIGRANTS! We get the job done!"

Photos by Lorig Charkoudian taken yesterday evening at the airport in Washington, DC. 1/29/17

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Beware the Mighty Raisin

Yesterday, Marash Girl paid $400 to a dentist in Boston for an emergency visit.  What was the problem?  She knew not.

What was the problem?  The dentist found it and removed it!  A piece of a raisin had lodged itself between the gum and the inner edge of a a back molar.

The charge?  $400!!!! And no insurance!

Should Marash Girl ever eat a raisin again?  Will Marash Girl ever eat a raisin again?  Doubt it!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Keep the faith, Baby!"

DACA Participants Can Again Apply for Renewal, Immigration Agency Says

 DACA Participants Can Again Apply for Renewal, Immigration Agency Says, NY Times, 1/14/2018  
                         Note: Lorig Charkoudian in upper left corner of photo wearing white hat.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

"Armenians for Freedom for All" at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Rally, Boston Common, 1965

Deeown D. Shaverdian tagged you and Verginie Touloumian in a postDeeown wrote: "As soon as I saw the photo of Ms. Charkoudian participating in the Civil Rights movement with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965, I knew she would be an inspiration and source of bravery for my 8th graders. After many weeks of planning and emailing and phone calls to the East Coast (where Ms. Bethel lives) and with the help of Ms. Verginie Touloumian, the Executive Director of the Armenian Relief Society in Watertown Massachusetts, this dream became a reality. What an honor it was to interview Ms. Bethel via video chat and listen to her discuss important issues such as discrimination, activism, sexism, history, and equality with our students. Truly, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you so much for truly one of the most unique experiences we’ve ever experienced, Bethel!" 
"Keep the faith, Baby!"

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Free Advice

Whenever someone would say to Marash Girl's father, "Let me give you some advice. . ." he would smile and think to himself, "Free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it!"

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Chopping of Onions - Another Test for the Worthy Dandigin

If you can't chop onions, you can't marry an Armenian man. . . at least that was the lesson Marash Girl learned when she was getting to know the family into which she was soon to marry.  So she learned to chop onions, carefully and finely, but soon the Cuisinart came along and the skill was all for naught!  Just throw the onion in the Cuisinart and you can pass any onion chopping test a future Armenian mother-in-law could put you to! (And anyway, what's the difference, once the food arrives in your stomach!)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

How to Alienate a Non-Armenian Boyfriend

So here we go into Marash Girl's deep, dark past.   Today she's remembering how she shocked a then boyfriend (who was not Armenian), shocked him to the point of complete alienation.  Here's what happened.

Marash Girl was visiting a boyfriend in Washington, DC, on a day when he was expecting guests.  Expecting guests?  What does any self-respecting Armenian woman do when she is expecting guests? She does what her mother, her grandmother, her great-grandmother, her great-great-grandmother would do!  She empties the closest refrigerator onto whatever table she can find to welcome the guests in from the cold (or the heat, or the rain, or the snow)!  And what happened when Marash Girl's "hippie" boyfriend's refrigerator was emptied?  Nothing!  Nothing!  Nothing!  (i.e.,That was the end of that relationship!)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cabbage Stuff!

Cabbage Stuff?  Sounds awful?  Wrong!  The easiest and most delicious winter meal you could prepare on a cold winter's day . . . that is, if you have green cabbage!  And here's how you do it.  (All credits go to Medzmama, Digin Azniv, of Springfield, Massachusetts.)

You'll have to have on hand a head of green cabbage, a large yellow onion, a clove of garlic (Medzmama says you can only use the onion or the garlic, never both, but Marash Girl breaks the rules and uses both), and a large can of stewed tomatoes.

Begin by peeling the large onion, slicing it or chopping it finely (your preference), and browning the onion slices on low heat in a good olive oil.  While the onion slices are browning, peel and chop one or two cloves of garlic, chop finely, and, adding to the onion slices, stir 'til lightly browned.  (If you or your guests eat meat, it is at this point that you would add ground lamb, and stir until well browned.)  Turn off the heat under the pot.
Back to the chopping block.  Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage and rinsing off the cabbage under cold fresh water. Slice the cabbage into thin strips (spaghetti sized).  Add the chopped cabbage to the already browned onion mixture, turn on the heat under the pot, and stir until the cabbage is slightly wilted.  Add fresh very ripe tomatoes, or a the can of stewed tomatoes, stir and simmer for one half hour.

"Cabbage Stuff", my kids' favorite epithet for this meal, will be even better the next day and the next, especially when served over rice pilaf or bulghour pilaf.  (For recipes, see this blog, Marash Girl - bulgur pilaf for Thanksgiving - Nov. 27, 2013.)

Happy eating!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Uncle Manoog and Marash Girl's Leather Sandals

Years ago, when Marash Girl was living in New York City, she loved to visit her Uncle Manoog, first cousin to her Grandpa Moses, both born in Marash in the mid to later 1800's.  In those days, Marash Girl wore leather sandals . . . that is, hand made leather soles with a few leather straps to hold the soles onto her feet, very expensive sandals that had been hand-made in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and gifted to Marash Girl by her then artist friend.  That was the style, and very stylish it was (both the sandals and the friend).  But Uncle Manoog was unaware of the styles of the day, in that he was, at that time, in his late nineties, and rarely went out for walks along the Brooklyn boulevards.

As Stephanie reports the story, Uncle Manoog approached her with some money, and asked that she buy Marash Girl some proper shoes; he hadn't realized that his cousin's family was so hard up that their daughter couldn't afford a proper pair of shoes to cover her feet!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Separation problems?

Baking during these frigid snowy days?  What could be better?  Staying warm, staying productive, and hopefully sharing the product with your neighbors.  But . . . oh, oh!  Can't get that cake you just baked out of the baking pan?  If the pan is made of metal (NOT GLASS) and you've greased it well before pouring in the cake batter, no problem.  Simply do as Marash Girl's mother did.  After letting the cake cool slightly, using a knife, separate the cake from then edge of the pan; then turn the pan over and, using a metal tablespoon, or the handle of a metal butter knife, gently tap the back of the cake pan . . . if you tap evenly around the base of the metal pan, the cake should loosen up and fall out onto the table, so make sure the pan with the cake is only inches from the table when you are trying to separate the cake from the pan!!!! Otherwise . . .

Sunday, January 7, 2018

What Better Armenian Christmas?

Yesterday, our wonderful daughter-in-law sent this photo along with an invitation to dinner; unfortunately, the weather and the distance prevented our flying to NYC to partake in the feast, but what better way to celebrate Armenian Christmas than to share in all the wonderful taste treats, the recipes and methods of preparations handed down to us from our ancestors?  Thank you, Meghan!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Remembering Our Past on Armenian Christmas

Illumination of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Hand-copied in AD 1711 by Yeghia Marsvantsi Elijah of Marsvan.
Donated to the Armenian Museum of America (Watertown, Massachusetts) by Adele and Haig Der Manuelian.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Go West, Young Man!

It was on snowy, icy winter days like today that Grandma Yester Vartanian would call us from sunny southern California, begging us to move to LA.  She would not only laud the climate (weather), but the she would proclaim the thriving climate (business), both to be enjoyed, both to be had for the taking!  All one needed to do was to convert from the old New England mentality (suffer, suffer), to the mentality of the new LA (enjoy, enjoy)!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Snow? No problem!

Maple Avenue on the day of the first snowstorm of 2018. Photo Credit: Kate Walker 
Marash Girl used to love winter, but that was when she didn't have to worry about heating her house and keeping the pipes from freezing.  Her dad was a specialist in that field, and, in fact, was out and about many a winter night, helping folks whose oil burners had suddenly failed, more often than not, in the midst of a raging snow storm! And the next morning, Uncle Paul would head out and clear the snow off the car with his bare hands!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Cardinal Brightens The Way

In the midst of a snowstorm, Marash Girl spied a cardinal sitting on the snow laden branches of the evergreen tree, the tree outside of her kitchen window.  That cardinal, if not the snow it was perching upon, put a smile on Marash Girl's face!  Sorry, but Marash Girl couldn't get to her camera fast enough!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

California Beach Sign in the Midst of Snowy New England

Recently, Marash Girl accompanied her granddaughter to a local department store and there at the entrance to the dressing room was the above sign.  Talk about rubbing salt into the streets, or rather, rubbing salt into the wound!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Rachel Kadish reads from her recent novel, THE WEIGHT OF INK, at the Woman's Club of Newton Highlands. Photo by Marash Girl

Author Rachel Kadish spoke to the Woman's Club of Newton Highlands this week about her experience writing THE WEIGHT OF INK, a novel set in 17th Century London (based on maps made by Queen Elizabeth's cartographer) and Amsterdam, where the Jewish people sought refuge (although the author admits that she herself never made it to Amsterdam -- only to the Houghton Library in Harvard Square!)  The question for the Jewish people was, according to Kadish, "Though we have found safety, are we really safe?"  The novel centers around a 17th Century woman, poor and Jewish, who has taken seriously Verse 5 from Psalm 137
ה  אִם-אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלִָם--    תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי."If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning."
and the central theme, according to the author?  "Writing can be a life or death act!"

When asked about her approach to writing, Kadish says that, as she gets ideas, she places post-it notes on her wall, reorganizing as she goes, but she does NOT recommend that others necessarily do so!

Set in the present,  and in the 1660's,  the main character in THE WEIGHT OF INK is a woman who has been allowed to be the scribe for a Jewish Rabbi.  A fascinating look at history, the place of women in history, the courage to write, the secrets that our houses hold, and the history of the Jewish people.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Man of La Mancha for Christmas . . . Really?

Looking for an uplifting evening at the theatre?  Avoid going to MAN OF LAMANCHA.  So well done by the New Rep that it leaves you wondering why they would ever perform this piece during the  Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Stressing for the Holidays?

Counterproductive!  Don't fall for the trap!  Rather, celebrate Armenian Christmas . . . you'll have an extra 12 days!