Friday, January 31, 2014

WBUR ON TAP Opens with its First Event: Super Bowl Haiku

Bill Littlefield (left) and Charlie Pierce joshing yesterday evening at WBUR ON TAP.                       Photo by Marash Girl
A new free event series to be held monthly at Boston University's WBUR, WBUR On Tap invites the public to the studio to sip beer, nibble cheese and crackers, and meet and interact with the real people behind the radio voices. "Kicking" the series off  by  commemorating the 20th anniversary "Super Bowl Haiku,"  WBUR On Tap  opened with the "comedy team" of Bill Littlefield and Charlie Pierce who went at it yesterday evening, leaving the audience little time to breathe, they (the audience and Bill and Charlie) were laughing so hard. Opening with more haikus then you could shake a football at,  Bill and Charlie joshed about the Super Bowl both in Haiku and English prose! (They didn't have to call the Game the Superb Owl, they noted, as they weren't selling anything!)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dirty money

A very rich fellow who owns a very elegant hair salon is not so rich that he will not stoop to gather up a $5 bill that someone has inadvertently dropped to the sidewalk.  But it is filthy lucre -- the bill is encrusted with the mud of winter -- and so the very wealthy fellow, not to be discouraged, before he washes the next customer's hair, scrubs that $5 bill for all he (and the bill) is worth! Luckily the green doesn't fade; only the muck.

[This one really happened!]

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Armenian Bread Sticks (better known as Simit in Armenian Circles) from Wingaersheek Beach!

Marash Girl dutifully sat at her computer today to list her promised 10 books a day onto her website ( when she came upon a charitable cookbook, one of her favorite category of books!  Prepared in order to raise funds, usually by women, usually for charitable organizations, these cookbooks are important contributions to local history, important contributions to the history of women.  Typically the cookbooks are plastic spiral bound, printed on stenograph machines, and sold by the members of the local church, synagogue, YMCA, community service group . . . Typically each recipe has the printed name of its contributor, and often, when these books were gifted, they have the ink inscription and signature of one of the contributors.  It was just one of these books -- 

Wingaersheek Yacht Club; Cookbook Committee Judiei McManus, Maureen Donovan, Carol Harrington, Ruth Parsons, Rita Mawn; illus by Kip Penney; Historical preface by William L. Wilson, Wingaersheek's Cottage Cookery, compiled by the Wingaersheek Yacht Club, 1978

that Marash Girl flipped open  this morning when she was listing books onto her website. [Where's Wingaersheek, you might ask . . . it's a tiny beach community on the North Shore of Massachusetts, a part of Gloucester.]  The book opened, by chance or by purpose, Marash Girl always wonders, to page 144, where there in all its glory was the recipe for ARMENIAN BREAD STICKS.  Armenian Bread Sticks?  Marash Girl hasn't thought of those since her Auntie Beatrice (Chuck's mom) was making them at 325 (?)  Lowell Avenue on that fortunate day when Marash Girl arrived unannounced, a little girl then, on her way back from piano lessons.  Auntie Bea never did give her the recipe, though she gave her lots of bread sticks to munch on, but you can be sure that Marash girl is going to try the recipe from Wingaersheek's Cottage Cookery to see if it comes anywhere near Auntie Bea's!  Here it is!


1/2 C MILK
5 1/2 CUPS SIFTED FLOUR (Marash Girl would use King Arthur)
sesame seeds (about 1/2 c or more if desired)
1 egg, beaten (to brush on top)

In large bowl, beat eggs, add melted butter, sugar and milk. Pour into flour mixture in bowl. Knead lightly into medium dough. Make balls about 2 inches in diameter. Roll each ball with palm of hands on a board until it resembles a pencil.  Cut into 3-inch pieces.  Brush with egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place on cook sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
                                                                                                                           Verkin Selian

Several suggestions from Marash Girl
Roll out the dough, cut into strips. roll strips into pencil width and length (3 to 5 inches).  Continue as described above.
Marash Girl would caution you not to overcook these tasty morsels, as they tend to burn as the last minutes of baking approach!

If you try the recipe, please let us all know how it comes out (in your comments below).

And finally, do any of you know (did any of you know) Verkin Selian?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Farewell, Pete Seeger, and God Bless!

Dear Pete Seeger,

You meant the world to us.  God blessed us with your presence, your music . . .  your music in the face of darkness.  You made this world a better place and now, for sure, you have gone to a far better place.  Աստուած հոգին լուսաւորէ:

Ahsin and Girol - - Do you remember when your Auntie Arppie took you to see Pete Seeger in concert at the University of Connecticut (Storrs) auditorium?  Whether you remember or not, his influence can be seen today in everything you do . . .

Monday, January 27, 2014

Phone Call from Cyberspace

Recently Marash Girl received a phone call from a woman who said that she had ordered a book from, but had received the wrong title.  Marash Girl asked her name, the title and the condition of the book which the woman had ordered.

After chatting for quite a while, the woman -- let us call her Miriam -- realized that she had found Marash Girl's invoice in the book, but that that invoice was dated 2007.  Apparently the fellow who had sold her the book had purchased the book from Marash Girl 7 years ago in new, very fine condition, that fellow had used the book (it was now very tattered) and sold it to Miriam without ever bothering to remove his original invoice.  This we learned after 15 minutes of attempting to unravel the mystery.

But the true mystery was this:  Why did the universe decide to bring these two folks together in a 15 minute conversation?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Your Money or Your Life -- Your Choice!

Friend from abroad: "Time is money:  that's America!"

Marash Girl:  "You can always get more money, but you can never get more time . . . "

This interchange brought to mind Jack Benny's famous comic interlude broadcast March 28, 1948:

Mugger:  Don't make a move, this is a stickup. Now, come on. Your money or your life.

Jack Benny: (silence)

Mugger: Look, bud -- I said your  money or your life!

Jack Benny:  (after a pause)  I'm thinking it over!  

(or as Peter, Marash Girl's father used to end the joke --  one of his favorite's, by the way -- "I'm thinking, I'm thinking!")

Saturday, January 25, 2014


At Karoun Yoga, men do yoga, too!

Karoun Yoga, located in the Mall at 235 Memorial Avenue in West Springfield, Massachusetts, celebrated its first anniversary this past weekend at the studio. A smashing success, Karoun Yoga, in celebration, ran free classes all evening with a party featuring refreshments, a DJ, and beer donated by the High and Mighty Beer company based out of Holyoke.

The amazing Karoun Yoga teaching team

Friday, January 24, 2014

Butterflies at Zero Degrees Fahrenheit?


Marash Girl's heart was put to flight when she entered the cavernous Salon de Paris and found butterflies cavorting on the recently muralled walls. . . a small piece of hope in the bitter cold of New England's zero degrees Fahrenheit.The mother of the owners was, of course, Marashtsi!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reminiscing . . . Lois Brown and her Gift of Books

Lois Brown?  Her name was written across the front free endpaper of the book,
FAMOUS LIGHTHOUSES of NEW ENGLAND, a book Marash Girl just found in a box of old books.  (Did Marash Girl's fascination with lighthouses exist way back then, when she first saw the book on her living room bookshelf?)

Lois Brown lived on a farm on the South Shore of Massachusetts, in  the town of Marshfield -- she was a good friend of Peter's, and when she moved out of her farmhouse (Marash Girl can still remember walking up the hill on their farm with Peter and Lois Brown's husband -- Harry Brown -- the name just came to Marash Girl -- and they had an adopted daughter, Polly Brown -- I wonder where she is today?) On the day Peter and Marash Girl were visiting, Lois Brown was working on hooking a rug -- she had a frame and sat behind the frame patiently weaving the rug by pulling the hook attached to colored yarn -- which color Marash Girl cannot remember --   through the course mesh that was soon to be a rug -- a work of art that would take a good year to complete!  Lois Brown even gave Marash Girl a hook in the hopes that Marash Girl, then perhaps only 8 years old, would begin the hobby herself.   

Hm m m .... wonder what ever happened to that hook . . .

Lois Brown, when she moved, sent two large cartons of books to the family home on Lowell Avenue, and Marash Girl does believe that that may have been the beginning of a life-long fascination with books . . . or perhaps the beginning of her fascination with books was the gift given to Marash Girl when she was taught to read (in English) by her Auntie Zabelle . . . well before Marash Girl had entered first grade, a fascination that continued, perhaps because the Newton Free Library children's branch was right across the street from Claflin, the very first school Marash Girl attended.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Can't open that little bottle of pills? Ask a little one . . .

Returning from a trip to Walgreen's today, carrying with her a childproof bottlette full of antibiotic tablets, Marash Girl was reminded of Medzmama, and how she would always ask her little grandchildren, the ones who had reached ages 3 and 5, for help in opening those little bottles of medications, as her aged hands, although they could still roll out paklava dough,  could not open a child-proofed bottle of pills!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

James Baldwin's Paris

Did you get to read "James Baldwin's Paris" in this past Sunday's New York Times Travel section?  A friend who traveled abroad with Marash Girl many years ago emailed that she remembered Marash Girl had once met James Baldwin in Paris.  Yes, in fact, Marash Girl wrote about that encounter on this very blogspot.  Should you be interested in Marash Girl's recounting of her meeting with James Baldwin in Paris,  just click this link: As an addendum to Marash Girl's blog post, her friend Gail writes: "Do I remember more or less correctly that during your conversation with him that he said sometimes people (white)  would come up to speak to him and say they thought he looked familiar...perhaps he was Louis  Armstrong?"

Yes, Marash Girl's friend Gail remembers correctly.  Do any of you, Marash Girl's faithful readers, have memories of interactions with James Baldwin?  If so, please comment below!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Alice Shepard Riggs - If you don't like what you're hearing, take out your hearing aid!

The incident recorded by Marash Girl yesterday (scroll down) brought to mind one day, many years ago, when Marash Girl went to  the Walker Missionary Home in Auburndale, Massachusetts,  to visit Alice Shepard Riggs in order to arrange an oral history interview with this missionary, daughter of Dr. Fred Douglas Shepard (a medical missionary who witnessed the genocide and ministered both physically and spiritually to the survivors).  
  Mrs. Riggs, the author of  Shepard of Aintab (, had worked with the Armenians in Aintab (today known as Gaziaintep) after the war and helped organize a lace making cottage industry amongst the women who had been left without hearth and home, a home based industry creating lace that would be sent to Wellesley College (Wellesley, Massachusetts) to sell there, the proceeds of which would be returned to Aintab and used to support life for the women who had survived the Genocide.

Alice Shepard Riggs was 94 at the time that Marash girl visited her, in full possession of her wits, but not her hearing.  Marash Girl's little daughters, Nisha and Lorig, were so excited to meet her that they couldn't stop chattering.  Mrs. Riggs admonished them:  "If you girls don't stop talking, I'll take out my hearing aids and then I won't be able to hear anything you say!"  Nisha, a second  (or third?) generation Armenian, remembers the incident as being the very first time she had ever met an "old lady" who spoke English without an Armenian accent!

The interview is available for researchers at the Armenian Museum of America in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hard of Hearing? Get a hearing aid . . .

Niece: How old are you now, Auntie?

Auntie: Hey?

Niece: (Louder) How old are you now, Auntie?

Auntie: 94!

Niece: You look great!

 Auntie: Hey?

Niece:  (Louder) You look great, Auntie!

Auntie: What?

Niece:  You should really get a hearing aid!

Auntie: Can't hear you!

Niece:  (Louder) You should really get a hearing aid!

Auntie: I'm too old to get a hearing aid!

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Stalinesque? Hitleresque?  A country that wants to join the European Union dares to pass a law that denies medical assistance unless the doctor first seeks and receives approval from the Turkish government?  A warrant for torture or death . . . and this law passes . . .   Call it  the  հրաման (permission, or worse, command)  to murder any who would dare save a life in the moment, who would dare care for the ailing without a phone call (a phone call?  In the middle of chaos?  In the middle of the street?)  A doctor can now be arrested by the police for  saving lives!

And what country is this? The country is known as Turkey to those of us who speak English.  Want to read more? If you had the today's New York Times, you'd have to search long and hard, as the article is lost in the middle of page A 5, an article written by Rick Gladstone and placed below the center fold, under the heading EUROPE (Marash Girl is assuming that the New York Times already sees Turkey as a part of the European Union!) But since you don't have the paper, Marash Girl will make it even easier for you to read the article.  Just click this link and weep.

Friday, January 17, 2014

What Can I Bring? Part Two

Little did Marash Girl realize when she wrote her blog post  entitled "What Can I Bring?" 
(see that there was a cookbook by that very title for sale at (It's true -- check it out!)  Now all Marash Girl has to do when she invites folks to dinner and they ask her that age old question . . . all she has to do  is to tell them to check out Anne Byrn's cookbook and choose from over 200 delicious options.  They'd have to buy the book from first, of course, in order to make their selection . . . or they could always check the book out of the library, if that is their preference.  Why, this cookbook actually has a recipe for spanaklu boerek, (Armenian spinach turnover), a favorite of Marash Girl's family, though in Byrn's book the dish is called Spinach and Feta Pie.  So don't ask Marash Girl what you can bring next time you're coming to visit; just choose anything from this cookbook; it'll do fine.

[Of course Marash Girl's mother Jennie NEVER would ask such a question.  She would simply bring the whole meal -- that is, the whole meal if she had been invited to a non-Armenian home for dinner!]

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Honeymooning in Washington, DC: 1940: No Room in the Inn!

Matthew 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

And so Peter and Jennie, following their wedding ceremony, set out on their honeymoon driving, approaching Washington, DC, in a snowstorm.

As it turned out, because of the rumors of war,  look where they might, there was no room . . . not in the inns, the tourist homes, the hotels, . . .  Finally, in Silver Spring, Maryland, Peter pulled into a gas station, desperate, and asked the gas station attendant where he might find a room for that night.   The gas station attendant (owner?) suggested, with a sly grin, that Peter should try the house -- a pillared mansion, really -- across the way; that the woman who lived there took in guests.  So Peter dutifully drove across the street, pulled into the grand circular driveway of the mansion. Leaving Jennie in the car, he walked up to the door and knocked.  A stately and stern woman answered the door.  The woman appeared bewildered to see Peter there, and asked why it was that he was standing at her door, knocking . . . He explained that he had just driven down from Boston after his wedding with his bride, and search as he might, he could find no places to stay . . .
"The fellow running the gas station across the road suggested that you might have a spare room to rent," he offered in his slightly marked Boston accent.
"The very idea!" she intoned in her highly cultured English. "I have no such thing!"
 Peter, taken aback at her answer, explained again, and asked if she wouldn't reconsider.
 "Let me see your wife -- bring her here and let me look at her."
As Peter explained it, when Jennie arrived at her doorstep, the owner of the mansion said to Jennie, "Turn around in a full circle, please!"
Jennie turned around in a full circle.  Peter, to the day that he last told the story, did not know the reason that the owner of the mansion asked Jennie to twirl for her, but Jennie did as she was told, and that was the coup d'état.
The moment the woman met sweet Jennie, she invited the two young people into her home, set them up in her guest room, and the next morning, invited them to have breakfast with her.  Over breakfast, she gave them the keys to her house and told them that they were welcome to stay as long as their honeymoon lasted -- they could come and go as if it were their home . . . they should plan to breakfast with her every morning.

And Marash Girl is here as evidence that, in fact, they did stay at her home for the full two weeks of their honeymoon!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happy Anniversary, Mommy and Daddy - We Miss You!

On this day in 1940, Peter Bilezikian and Jennie (Lucille Mae Vartanian) were married in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bedros and Boghos: On the rooftop in Kumbet, Marash, Ottoman Empire

Peter would often chuckle when he regaled us with his memory of how he and his brother Paul would ascertain which wife their Muslim neighbor was going to sleep with on any particular night: the young boys would climb up onto their rooftop (the roofs were all flat) in Kumbet and scan the next door neighbor's roof to ascertain which wife was arranging the bedding -- the "yorghans" -- for that night.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Moska and Grandma Yepros

Back to Marash . . . Marash Girl remembers her father Peter telling her of their Muslim neighbors in Marash, (the family lived in Kumbet) and of how the Muslim women would come to Grandma Yepros and beg her to ask her uncle (her uncle was a priest in the Armenian Apostolic Church in Marash) to prepare a moska for them so that they could bear a male child. . . a cloth amulet with (Armenian) Christian prayers written on slips of paper and sewn inside of the cloth, a cloth amulet attached to a cord that the Muslim women would wear around their necks. 

The Muslim women were ever grateful to Grandma Yepros (born Kurtgusian) as they would, without fail, after wearing the "moska", conceive and bear a male child.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sleeping through breakfast . . .

Breakfasting in Springfield, Massachusetts, having wended her way down to the corner breakfast place through yesterday morning's sleet and snow and fog and cold, Marash Girl noticed that there was a fellow sleeping in the corner of the coffee shop.  Feeling a bit uncomfortable about having breakfast while a stranger was sleeping directly across from her, she thought she'd  better report the occurrence to the management.  The management immediately walked over to the corner, took a look at the sleeping man, and reported, "Oh, he's a regular," returning to his managing with no concern whatsoever.

A regular what? Marash Girl wondered, as she turned to take a sip of her coffee.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


 by Daphne Abeel,  Armenian Mirror Spectator, May 10, 2003

Newton, Mass. -- For Marash Girl, a lifelong fascination with and love of books has led to a business, which she conducts from her large, rambling house in Newton.  The ceiling-high shelves, which run the length of the hallways on the second and third floor house well over 30,000 volumes which provide the basis for the free global book search she offers to her customers.  Said Marash Girl, :I think I got interested in books because of my father, Peter Bilezikian.  He is a Genocide survivor from Marash.  He had no early schooling but he did attend public schools in Brighton and Watertown.  He didn't go to college.  He always worked with his hands as a refrigerator repairman or electrician, but when he came home, he would sit down and start to read."
Her mother, whose family came from Aintab, also encouraged Marash Girl to read.  "Whenever she saw me reading, she told me it was the most important thing."
Marash Girl remembers that one of her father's Yankee customers gave her family a library of books when she moved from Newton to Marshfield.
And she remembers vividly the first time she ever bought a book of her own.  "I went with my father to a church book sale in Weston. We pored over the titles, and they couldn't have cost very much.  We each chose a book and went home with our little treasures."
Marash Girl's interest in reading and education took her through Newton High School and to Radcliffe College, and later to Yale and Columbia Universities where she received two masters degrees -- in teaching and guidance counseling.  It was at Radcliffe that she learned to speak and write Armenian.  "My parents really didn't speak Armenian as they had both grown up in Turkey.  My father learned Armenian when I brought my books home. He taught himself at the age of 47.
     While at Yale, she embarked upon a second book-buying spree.  Yale University sold off a number of illustrated books that had been published in the 18th and 19th centuries.  "I wasn't interested in collecting at the time, but I bought a number of those beautifully bound and illustrated books," Marash Girl recalled.
     Marash Girl embarked upon a teaching career at Lexington High School, moving later to the Boston Publich Schools.  She also worked as a guidance counselor at Newton High School, but gave up her teaching career to raise four children with her husband whom she met at Harvard.
"Of course, I read to my children all the time . . . every gook in the library.  Then, when my children enrolled at the AGBU Armenian School in Watertown, the principal, Gloria Hagopian, encouraged me to put together a children's library there."
     Marash Girl gathered thousands of books, by going to book sales, yard sales and to the New England Mobile Book Fair, which sold children's books for a dollar apiece.  She and other mothers at the school catalogued the books according to the Dewey decimal system.
     Her first real business enterprise was Vintage and Classic Cookbooks, which she started in 1986. "I had always collected cookbooks, but I actually bought a huge collection, and I was even mentioned in the New York Times.  I advertised in the Antiquarian Bookmabn's Weekly."
     Marash Girl says she barely broke even, almost never selling a book for over $10.  "I really did it for the fun.  What charged for the books just covered the mailing, the postage and the printing of the catalogue."
     Eventually, she gave the cookbook collection to the Bryn Mawr Bookstore in Cambridge, but a few years later, with the advent of the internet, Marash Girl found some of her old customers coming back to her.
     Michael & Helen Selzer, friends, who owned several bookstores in western Massachusets had started an internet book service called Bibliofind.  They urged Marash Girl to get back into the book business.  "They told me, - you can be in the game with the big boys - and so I joined Bibliofind, which allowed me to upload to a generic book site."
     Marash Girl does far more than simply sell a book to a customer.  "It probably takes 20 minutes to a half an hour to actually do a listing.  When you're buying on the internet, you don't always know what you're going to get.  When I sell a book, I clean it up, I flip through the pages, put mylar on the jacket.  If a book needs repair, I let people know."
     The pricing of a book depends totally on supply and demand, said Marash Girl.  She gives as an example a title, THE PRINCIPLES OF KNITTING which had a single printing in 1986.  "This is a niche book.  It's the bible for knitters and copy will now go for $250 to $300."
     Marash Girl emphasizes that her search for hard-to-find, out-of-print books is free.  "A lot of places like Waldenbooks will charge $10 to do a search, so what we are offering is valuable service."
     One of the most unusual finds she has made was turning up a copy of SON OF THE WOLF, a novel by Jack London. Published by Houghton Mifflin in 1900, the book had no spine and was virtually falling apart.  Not certain that it was a first edition, she listed the book for $50.  It was bought by a Harvard graduate student.  The book, in a sense, has changed his life.  Recently, Charkoudian received an email from him telling her that the book was probably imperfect sheets and may have been used to train a binder's apprentice.  He will be the featured speaker at the Jack London Foundation next year and will lecture on the relationship between Jack London and Houghton Mifflin.
     "He'd been looking for this book for 10 years, and I was able to find it for him in one day.  That's what makes me happy in this business.  There's the thrill of just buying and selling books, but it's not the money you make.  It's making people happy, finding a book that someone hasn't seen since they were 5.  I mostly sell to ordinary people, not to collectors.  I think of myself as a friend to my customers, who shares their love of books."
     Marash Girl is available to give free lectures on out-of-print books.  Her website is

And that's the story, as Daphne Abeel told it 20 years ago!  The story continues, as Marash Girl continues to serve the booklovers of the world through her website,

Be sure to take the time to visit one day soon . . . the book you love may be just around the corner!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Looking for a book? Old? New? Out of Print? Check out OLDCORNERBOOKS.COM!

Recently a friend asked Marash Girl why Marash Girl never wrote about her online bookstore,, her 35,000 out of print books, her books housed both in her Victorian home as well as in her warehouse which was once a train depot in Newton Corner!  Marash Girl has not mentioned her bookstore because she did not want this blog to become commercial -- these posts were a break from commercial for her --  but since her friend asked, here it is: a link to her online bookstore of over 35,000 books, just waiting for a new home . . . curious?  Just click

And tomorrow Marash Girl will reprint a copy of an article published in the Armenian Mirror Spectator about how her bookstore came into being, an article written by a Radcliffe classmate, now deceased, an article that will give all of her readers another peek into the past!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

More Holy Water, please!

Soon after Marash Girl arrived home on Armenian Christmas, she called a friend with whom she had not spoken since the new year. Marash Girl learned that her friend was soon to have a serious operation. Marash Girl immediately (scroll down to read yesterday's blog) offered her the last container of holy water, the water blessed on Armenian Christmas.  Her friend immediately accepted (although she too had been brought up protestant); the sense of relief that her friend felt was palpable, even over the telephone. 

Next year Marash Girl must remember to bring her own large bottle to fill with that unending supply of water, water which will be blessed on January 6, 2015, water which Marash Girl will share with those around her that are in need of blessing and healing. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Holy Water to Share on January 6, the Day of Jesus' Birth, the Day of Jesus' Baptism

Having been brought up poghokagan (Protestant), Marash Girl was not sure what to do when she, along with the rest of the congregation at St. James Armenian Church in Watertown, Massachusetts, was offered Holy Water on Armenian Christmas (which, it turns out, is the same day that the Baptism of Jesus is celebrated -- not sure if that's always the case on the Armenian church calendar, or just this year . . . pardon her ignorance)

And so dutifully, Marash Girl went up to the altar to accept her little plastic cup of holy water.

Her friend (Mr. A.) had told her to bring her own big bottle so that throughout the year, she could pass the blessed water around to the ailing, but  not having been brought up in the tradition, and not wanting to appear greedy, she had neglected to bring her own bottle.  Mr. A   insisted that Marash Girl take at least two of the small containers.  Marash Girl wondered why, and was not sure, but she did so, somewhat guiltily, as she didn't want to be selfish.  Immediately upon carrying her two small containers out of the church, Marash Girl met a long time friend, a friend whose husband has been ailing for years.  Marash Girl immediately handed her friend a container of holy water.  Her friend's eyes filled with tears.  "I didn't have time to stand in line with the hundreds of people . . . I have to get to work . . . You don't know how much this means to me. . ."

Now Marash Girl understands: she will know in the future to gather holy water to share; that rather than taking more than her share, her share is to share!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The best and the worst of it . . .

Our New Year's Eve party hostess encouraged us to share, and share we did, old and young alike!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sunday, January 5, 2014

355 Newtonville Avenue, Newtonville, Massachusetts Destroyed by Fire

355 Newtonville Avenue, Newtonville, Massachusetts    Photo by Marash Girl
This 3-story Victorian single-family home at 355 Newtonville Avenue, Newtonville, Massachusetts, corner of Newtonville Avenue and Harvard Street,  life-long home of the Haroutunians who, in 1915, escaped the Armenian genocide and came to Newtonville to start a new life,  home to life-long friends of Marash Girl's family, two blocks from 439 Newtonville Avenue (the building which was built by Marash Girl's father and housed his business Newtonville Electrical Co., Inc.),  this historic Newton house was destroyed by fire on January 4, 2014.  According to Massachusetts State Police, smoke from the fire  caused Mass Pike traffic to slow down to 40 mph in the area. The fire was thought to have started at the dishwasher on the first floor. Marash Girl visited Newton Presbyterian Church this morning, hoping to find their organist, John Haroutunian, whose home it was that was destroyed. John was there, playing hymns on the organ as he has been doing for years; John expressed his gratitude that all had escaped the fire unharmed. 

Continuing the New Year . . .

Walking into the New Year's Eve party, we couldn't miss the decorated wall on which were posted blank sheets of paper ready to accept our promises for the New Year.  

Can't read them? Scroll down!
Easy Ones
Bring on the Challenge

Be nice to my mister.
Frame all my pictures.
Live in the moment!
Me, too!
Exercise more!!!
Organize the house and de-clutter
Lose Weight
Make a Baby
No video games for a month.
Start running again
More Yoga

Please add your own New Year's Resolutions  by clicking the word "Comments" below!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Share and share alike!

Overheard at a New Year's Eve party:

"They sent my 2 year old granddaughter home from daycare today just because she had a 101.5 temp.  Can you believe it?  Look at her!  She's fine!"  (Marash Girl looked at the little girl whose nose was dripping, eyes red, hyperactive, running about sharing her flu with all the other children and adults in the room . . .   the child's grandfather and father both doctors, both present at the party!)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Flowering in celebration of the New Year

This plant had the temerity to flower on the first day of the first snowstorm of the  New Year!
Would that we all could follow its example!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Burning Away the Old, Making Way for the New: New Year's Day on Wilbraham Mountain

Instructions to the Revelers on New Year's Eve
Burning away the unwanted . . .
 On Wilbraham Mountain . . . Their backs to the past, facing into the New Year on New Year's Day 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Best of 2013 Brings Happiness to 2014!

The best of 2013 from Marash Girl's kitchen was . . . . trumpets please . . . .
chocolate chip cookies made from the recipe on the back of the Kirkland (that's Costco's brand) all natural Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips package, and made with, of course, the contents of that package:  Kirkland all natural Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips which are made from cocoa beans grown in a socially & environmentally responsible manner (read more on the back of the package).

The chocolate chip cookie compliments came from a child as young as 2 years old to a man as old as 70 years old, from a man born of Armenian parents in Syria all the way over to a man born in California of Irish and German descent . . . all in agreement . . . the best chocolate chip cookies ever, hands down.  (Marash Girl really does not want to be the cause of marital discord, but she thinks this batch of cookies did it!)

Want the recipe?  It won't work without the chocolate chips from Costco, so don't blame Marash Girl if you don't follow the recipe exactly as it is written . . . no substitutions . . . and for goodness sake (the goodness of the cookie), use only all natural vanilla and remove the cookies from oven while they are still soft to the touch, or to put it in the negative, DO NOT USE ARTIFICIAL VANILLA and DO NOT OVERBAKE!

Here's the recipe from the back of the package . . .


3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed down in the cup when measuring
1 tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract (also available at Costco for a pittance of the price in other stores)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (Marash Girl uses King Arthur but this recipe also works with gluten free flour)
2 cups Kirkland Signature Chocolate Chips (Marash Girl prefers to use only        1 cup)

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine butter (at room temperature), sugar and brown sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Blend with mixer until smooth.  Add fresh eggs and pure vanilla extract.  Mix thoroughly with an electric mixer on medium speed.  Sift baking soda and salt with a little flour into the flour. Stir slightly to make sure baking soda is blended with flour.  Then slowly add this flour mixture to the bowl of sugar/eggs mixture until thoroughly blended.  Fold in Kirkland Signature Chocolate Chips (and nuts, if desired) with a spatula.  Drop by spoonfuls (Marash Girl uses a small ice cream scoop -- much easier) onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes or desired doneness.  

Cookies should be soft to the touch when removed from oven; (yes, you can touch them lightly and quickly with you finger without burning your finger . . .) Be careful not to OVERBAKE those cookies, for if you do, there'll be no compliments coming your way!  Recipe yields about 45 cookies.

Hint:  For easy clean up, use parchment paper to line your baking sheet -- also available at Costco -- though Marash Girl has never baked with parchment paper.

If  you follow the recipe exactly (no substitutions), if you don't overcook the cookies, and if you don't finish all the cookies yourself . . . if you promise Marash Girl that you will share these chocolate chip cookies, Marash Girl promises you that the compliments will never stop coming your way!

Happy 2014!