Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hye Cafe, Watertown

If you've never been to the Hye Cafe, you've missed a real treat. From about 6:15 to 8 PM on Fridays usually once a month, Hye Cafe (in the St. James Cultural Center on Mt. Auburn Street in Watertown, MA -- check with the church to make sure which Friday it's happening) offers Armenian fare freshly prepared by members of the church; (even the priest and his wife assist in the kitchen).  The menu offers much variety, from cheese boureg to lamb shish kebab & pilaf, from hommus & pita bread to chee kufte and imam bayeldi, even pizza for kids under 12 who may not go for the more exotic Armenian offerings.  All natural tahn (iran), a favorite of Marash Girl,  is offered at the soft drinks bar, and coffee and tea are complimentary.  For one person, or a group, the food and camaraderie are unequalled. Children and adults of all ages, families and individuals, strangers and friends, can come together the first Friday of every month for a wonderful Armenian meal.

Areka Der Kazarian, born in Marash in 1912, was accompanied by her son Ed Der Kazarian at this past Friday night's  Hye Cafe. Areka was a good friend of Marash Girl's father, Peter (who was also born in Marash in 1912), and said to Marash Girl upon meeting her last night, "Oh, you look just like your father Peter!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne, Massachusetts

And speaking of bridges, a very different bridge greeted Marash Girl the day after she visited Echo Bridge...

The Bridge of Flowers crosses the Deerfield River in Shelburne, Massachusetts.

Looking from the Bridge of Flowers across to the bridge
that cars use to cross  the Deerfield River, Route 2A
Looking across at the Bridge of Flowers from the
 bridge (Route 2A) that cars use to cross
 the Deerfield River

This bridge, The Bridge of Flowers, a bridge built in 1908 to accommodate the trolley that carried folks over the river to the mills in Colrain (a factory town in the Northwest corner of Massachusetts), was abandoned in 1927, and, in 1929 a then weed-covered bridge was planted with flowers and has been flowering ever since.

If you love books and you love flowers, if the existence of glacial potholes piques your curiosity, head out to Shelburn, a small town in Western Massachusetts, (often called Shelburn Falls, where you can visit but you can't live . . . Who can live on a  waterfall. . . Even salmon have to get beyond the falls!) The Bridge of Flowers goes right over the Deerfield RIver in Shelburne, and yes, you can live in Shelburne, Massachusetts.

Shelburn, a tiny jewel of a town just over the border from Vermont, and near the end of Massachusetts' scenic Route 2,  has (within walking distance of each other) 4 old-fashioned used book stores packed with used and antiquarian books that, yes, still exist today, and believe it or not, Shelburne has yet to become a town overrun by tourists.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Echo Bridge, Newton, Massachusetts

We wanted to do something special but we had only about 15 minutes -- Where could we go? Where could we go that would be inspirational, that would take us out of the hurly burly and into the past a bit.  Marash Girl's surprise was Echo Bridge.  Echo Bridge, where she had first gone when she was in third grade, Echo Bridge  where she had taken her children and had yet to take her grandchildren.  . . Did you know that Echo Bridge, 19th century three arches of concrete in Newton Upper Falls, is a bridge  under which you can stand,   a bridge where you can call out and it will call back to you. . .    
Standing under Echo Bridge, looking south.
Standing under Echo Bridge looking west as the sun is setting.
What she didn't know was that Echo Bridge echoes better the higher your voice is . . . like on a violin, where the higher the note, the greater the vibration.  Unfortunately, with laryngitis, Marash Girl found it impossible to hit those high notes.  Only once was she able to, and what a wonderful echo the bridge provided.   .    .  Echo Bridge . . . be sure to check it out!

From Wikipedia:  Echo Bridge was built to carry the Sudbury Aqueduct over the Charles River from Needham to Newton Upper FallsMassachusetts. The aqueduct was constructed to carry water from the Sudbury River to Boston. Construction of Echo Bridge began in 1875 and was completed in 1877 by Boston Water Works (BWW), predecessor to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. At the time, it was the second longest masonry arch in the country. The bridge was named an American Water Landmark in 1981. On April 9, 1980, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge is located in the Hemlock Gorge Reservation.
The aqueduct is no longer used for regular water delivery, but is maintained as a reserve backup.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Return Visit to Widener Library

Widener Reading Room
No photos were allowed to be taken inside of Widener Library.
 This Photo Credit: Harvard.Edu
Walking into Widener Library last week,  and up the stairs to the Reading Room, Marash Girl looked to her left for the 22 year old Marash Boy.  Would he be rushing along the wall, head bent in concentration, hurrying from his carrell along the shelves in the Reading Room to check out a question in the Encyclopedia of Islam edited by among others, his professor, Sir Hamilton Gibb?  No, he was nowhere to be seen.  She looked across the room to her place at the long library tables. Would she be reading there? Waiting? But she was not there.  Nor was anyone sleeping,  as they were wont to do back in the day, head bent over arms,   pillowed by the pages of an open book. There were some steadily working . . . on slim silver cases . . . and a few reading books. . .  Well, of course. It was the Reading Room, was it not?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waffles for Breakfast!

Waffles for breakfast?  Oh, but that would take much too long . . . let's look around to find a place that we can buy yummy waffles for breakfast . . . but, as it turned out, that took even longer, as there was no such place.  Either the waffles were not on the menu, they were not crisp enough, or they were tasteless.  Fast forward to Sonoma, California, where Niece Marina prepared waffles for Marash Girl every day for breakfast.  "It's easy," she said.  "Just mix milk and eggs and flour and baking powder and a bit of butter, stir it up, and throw it on the waffle maker."  Remembering back to the time when  Marash Girl's mother used to take hours to make waffles for Sunday night supper had prevented Marash Girl from wanting to make the effort, as Jennie used to separate the eggs and beat the egg whites until they had peaked, carefully folding in the beaten egg whites to the waffle batter.  Even the recipe for classic waffles in VillaWare's UNO Gravity Waffler (which, by the way, is fantastic) for making round Belgian waffles called for separating the eggs and beating the egg whites, but Marina gave Marash Girl courage, and Marash Girl went ahead and made the waffles without beating the egg whites separately, remembering (as Jennie, Marash Girl's mom always warned) to leave the batter lumpy.  The waffles were delicious, but very high in calories.  Why?  Because for 2 cups of flour and 1 3/4 cups of milk, the recipe called for 1/2 cup of butter.  Yikes.  But then Marash Girl's sister solved the problem.  She said she simply substitutes the total amount of milk and butter with buttermilk, and the waffles come out absolutely wonderful.  No fuss, no muss, no fat (or very little)!  Marash Girl is going to try that next! 

If you have a favorite waffle recipe, please record it in the comments below, and thanks!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Charley, We Hardly Knew Ya': A Fond Farewell to Charley's on Newbury Street

Marash Girl was wandering down Newbury Street, with her house guest -- a young man from Sao Paulo -- brand new to Boston.

They were tired, they were thirsty, they weren't really hungry but they could do with a good bowl of  clam chowder. And there they saw it. Charley's!

Eyeing the tables out front, they wandered into the outdoor dining area,  sat around a small circular table bordering Newbury Street, ordered an iced cappuccino and (on the recommendation of the waiter) a bread bowl of Charley's prize-winning clam chowder.  It was, as promised,  the best clam chowder you could ever hope to have served by the nicest waiters you could ever hope for . . . but yesterday, on Boston. com, was a notice that Charley's on Newbury Street had closed permanently because of lease negotiations. . . hard to believe, and sad to believe.  Goodbye, Charley's, goodbye.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marash Cautionary Tale: The Duduk

And speaking of duduks (see yesterday's blog post), Marash Girl's dad used to love to tell this ancient cautionary tale from Marash.   Way back when, a fellow was planning a business trip from Marash to Istanbul -- "Bring me back a duduk," asks his friend.  The fellow returns with no duduk.  "The next time you go, bring me back a duduk," presses his friend.  The fellow goes to Istanbul and returns to Marash with no duduk.  The third time the fellow goes to Istanbul,  he returns with a duduk for another fellow.  ". . . (expletives) how is it that you brought back a duduk for that fellow, and although I've asked you many times, you've never brought back a duduk for me?"  Answers the business traveller,  "That fellow gave me money to buy the duduk.  You pay your money, you get your duduk."  That line became a refrain that would always bring laughter to the gathering, when quoted at the appropriate moment!  When Marash Girl asked Marash Boy (after yesterday's concert) if he remembered the story, Marash Boy said, "No, but I remember the line, "Pay the money, and you get the duduk!"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dudukner at the St. James Armenian Cultural Center

The Dudukner Ensemble, the American Flag to the left, the Armenian Flag to the right.

Program from last night's concert depicting
a musician playing the duduk,
 from an ancient Armenian manuscript.
From one or two duduk to many, from thin voice to opera, from village to stage -- that was Marash Girl's  response to last night's concert featuring the Dudukner Ensemble (direct from Armenia) at the St. James' Charles Mosesian Cultural and Youth Center on Mt. Auburn Street in Watertown, Massachusetts, a concert co-sponsored by the St. James Cultural Committee and the Amaras Art Alliance.  The duduk, a reed instrument of ancient origin (1500 to 3000 years old, according to the concert notes) is "exclusively made of wood, preferably from the wood of an aged apricot tree".  Depicted in Armenian manuscripts of the Middle Ages, the duduk can still be heard today, its notes haunting the listener, haunting, that is, when played alone, on stage in a large group perhaps a bit daunting.

Duduks for sale before and after the concert.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Newton Mayor Setti Warren Greets Visitor from Sao Paulo, Brazil

Newton Mayor Setti Warren takes a moment out of his busy day
 to welcome a young visitor from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Newton, Massachusetts

Young visitor from Sao Paulo, Brazil, studies the diorama of the USS Constitution
("Old Ironsides"), 
 one of several installations in Newton's War Memorial, Newton City Hall, Newton, Massachusetts

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mark Twain's Advice (to New Englanders)

"If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes." . . . Mark Twain.  Well, Marash Girl is waiting (perhaps a few weeks) for a pleasant day when she can set up her yard sale without the surprise of a sudden downpour.  One more weekend to go . . . ?  Hopefully. . . .

Thursday, September 20, 2012

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

Our history lives with us every day, in every way; and if nothing else, our past survives in our genetic memory.  (Click here to see previous blog on Iffar, the lathe, and Plimoth Plantation.)  Although William Faulkner refers above to the history of slavery in the United States, Marash Girl, upon reading these lines, cannot help but feel compassion for the Armenians who daily hear denial by the descendants of the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Freedom is Beauty; Beauty is Freedom

Sometimes when we tamper with something beautiful, it becomes not beautiful.  Those were my thoughts this morning when I remember how beautiful the multicolored skein of ribbon was before I knit it into a scarf. . . but how can that be?  The freedom of the ribbon, the flow of the ribbon, the fall of the ribbon had been destroyed when it had been forced into the neat fat knots of, albeit, a beautiful scarf.  What lesson in life has that taught me?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Lathe - Past and Present

Pedal Powered Lathe, Craft Center, Plimoth Plantation. Photo Credit: Plimoth Plantation
Iffar gazes for hours.
There's an expression that the old folks always used when a child inexplicably began behaving, thinking or liking in the way of his ancestors.  In English, "An apple never falls far from the tree."  In one of the languages of Marash Girl's childhood, "Jinsu cheker."  (Spelled here as it sounds, not as it's spelled!)  the first word of the expression is the same in English.  Translation?  "The genes will come out!"  And so it was that Marash Girl was with her grandchildren at Plimoth Plantation (daily for almost two weeks) this past August. (See Marash Girl's photo above.) Among the children's favorite haunts was the Crafts Center, and at the Crafts Center, Iffar's favorite stop was the woodworker working the pedal powered lathe.  If only Iffar had known his great-grandfather longer, he would have known how many hours in the week his great grandfather (Peter) spent at the lathe in Peter's own workshop in the basement of the family home in Newtonville, creating beautiful furniture and repairing not-so-beautiful furniture . . . but perhaps Iffar did know, or Iffar's genes knew, and this was his way of connecting with his great-grandfather Peter . . . by watching, whenever he could and for as long as he could, the craftsman at Plimoth Plantation creating at the pedal powered lathe.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Charkoudian Cabin, Wilbraham Mountain, c. 1990

In his files last week, Marash Boy found this pencil drawing  of the cabin that once stood on the top of
Wilbraham Mountain.
Drawing by Karoun Charkoudian, age 10.
The cabin no longer stands, destroyed by the tornado of
June 1, 2011. [Click here to see posts on the tornado and the cabin.]

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Heirloom Tomatoes and Mr. Mancini

Organic Heirloom Tomatoes from Newton Community Farm at the Farmer's Market, California Street, Newton, MA
Heirloom tomatoes?  You mean the tomatoes that Marash Girl's dad grew in the backyard on Lowell Avenue?  Those tomatoes were always large and misshapen -- or at least not the perfect round tasteless globes that one could purchase at Star Market. . . No, not Star Market tomatoes, but misshapen tomatoes bursting with flavor and energy. . .  All of Peter's tomatoes were Heirloom Tomatoes as were  Mr. Mancini's  .  .  .  Mr. Mancini lived three houses to the south of their Lowell Avenue home -- Mr. Mancini (born in Italy and a generation older than Marash Girl's dad who was born in Marash) would regularly walk through the three back yards to invite Peter to look at his latest and largest tomato, certainly larger than any Peter had.  The competition never ended until Mr. Mancini did.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wild about Yard Sales

Up half the night trying to decide whether or not to try and stage a yard sale this morning, Marash Girl was awakened by thunder at 5 AM.  That was it.  Down must come the signs.  No time to set up a huge yard sale with the threat of a thunder storm, whether or not the rest of the day promised sunshine.   Thus, 6 AM found Murat and Marash Girl headed out to remove any and all of the yard sale signs.  On their way, they were distracted as they drove along Newtonville Avenue by would be yard sale shoppers, two wild turkeys (were they considering campaigning for Kay Kahn and Joe Kennedy?) literally a block away from the site of the would have been yard sale.

Although Murat shot them, he was unable to take them home and prepare them for Thanksgiving dinner, as the only weapon he had with him was his phone/camera.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wild Turkeys in the Mist

Slowing to try to remember the beautiful orchard that once graced the lot to the North of her family home on Lowell Avenue in Newtonville, Marash Girl saw 6 wild turkeys, preening themselves in the mist,  in the now narrow space between her once family home and the recently built house.  Were the turkeys reminiscing with Marash Girl, remembering the once lush orchard so carefully cared for by Peter and Paul?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Yard Sale This Saturday

Having forgotten that all of her "yard sale" tables were somewhere on the top of the mountain in Wilbraham, the access barred by fallen trees and fallen neighbors, Marash Girl planned a yard sale for this Saturday, much to Marash Boy's dismay.  Marash Girl's most fun times, Marash Boy's least fun times.  Thus all of yesterday was taken up with collecting borrowed tables from kindly friends to display Marash Girl's antiques and collectibles, books and vintage jewelry, items she has collected over the years, items she no longer needs to look at!  Bargains galore for the lover of beautiful things.  Wanna peek?  Come by 255 Newtonville Avenue, Newton Corner/Newtonville, this Saturday (that's in two days!) from 9 to 4, and browse and buy at 10 cents on the dollar.  Nothing can go back into the house.  That's the deal!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Newton 9-11 Memorial Officially Breaks Ground

Newton 9-11 Memorial Committee and Mayor Setti Warren officially broke ground yesterday evening at the Newton Fire Station in Newton Centre, where the city's September 11 Memorial will be built, honoring the victims of 9-11.  Eight people with ties to Newton were killed in the attacks on 9-11-01: Mark Bavis, Paige Farley-HackelNicholas HumberAaron JacobsStuart Meltzer,  Richard RossRahma SalieAmy Toyen.
Mayor Setti Warren speaks to the gathering at the Newton Centre Fire Station where the 9/11 Memorial will be built.
l.tor. Susan Huffman, Fire Chief Bruce Proia, Police Captain Mark Gromada, Joe Prestejohn (Cabot's Ice Cream), Commissioner of Parks & Recreation Bob DeRubeis, Sande Young, Ginny Gardner 

 l. to r. Jan Huffman - Treasurer of the Newton-911 Committee, Gloria Gavris, Aaron Goldman, Setti Warren, Phil Mastoianni - lead contractor on the Memorial Construction project, Mark Sangiolo - Architect, Debra Shapiro

Architect's model of  9-11 Memorial, soon to be constructed.
Mayor Setti Warren joins Newton residents in a moment of silence remembering the victims of 9-11.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sculpture in Springfield, Massachusetts

Gallery of Ancient Sculptures, Springfield Museums, Springfield, Massachusetts

Throughout the City of Springfield, Massachusetts, sculptures reign, both ancient and modern. From the sculpture galleries in the Springfield Museum,  to the outdoor sculptures in Springfield Museum's permanent Dr. Seuss installation, to Springfield's Basketball Hall of Fame to the contemporary sculptures throughout the city, Springfield, Massachusetts has sculptured surprises awaiting its residents and its visitors.  Below are pictured only a few of the many works of art that stand throughout the City of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Gallery of Ancient Sculptures
Sculpture of Dr. Seuss (hugged by Iffar & Elina in 2011) in the Dr Seuss Sculpture Garden, Springfield Museums,
Springfield, Massachusetts

Photo Credit: Karoun Charkoudian
This bust is named McKinley
The tower is an earlier Hampden County Courthouse designed by H.H. Richardson one of two of his eight commissions in Springfield still standing. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mattoon Street Arts Festival 2012, Springfield, Massachusetts

The Tin Man welcomes one and all to the Annual Mattoon Street Arts Festival 2012, Springfield, Massachusetts, which occurs every year in the heart of downtown Springfield on the weekend after Labor Day.  Join Marash Girl as she wanders down Mattoon Street, perusing the 100 artisans' tents which lined both sides of Mattoon Street.

The rain and threatened tornadoes, though dampening the signs, did not dampen the spirits of the artisans or the visitors at the festival.

Felted handmade handbags, a popular item at the festival!

 An ever popular item at the festival, several of these cutting boards made their way to New York City.

Handbags made of non-recyclable plastic!

Books written and signed by local authors who were on hand to chat with visitors.

Street musicians engage the young and old alike!