Sunday, July 31, 2016


The police answered the call re. the black panther (see yesterday's post below).  When Newton's finest drove up to the fire station in response to the call, he commented, "Hmm. . . Not native . . "; Marash Girl:  "Not native? Yes, I am!  I'm a native of Newton -- born and brought up here!"  The officer grinned,  "Not you!  The black panther!"

Saturday, July 30, 2016


Black cat crossed your path recently? A big black cat?

Marash Girl was walking toward the YMCA on Church Street this very morning, round about 8 AM, when what should she see running from the "hills to the south" (Newtonville Avenue) across Church Street and behind the Fire Station -- what should she see?  A full-sized black panther loping towards the Massachusetts Turnpike. (Sorry!  No photo!)

After reporting the sighting to the fire station and the police (the police who were particularly concerned that the black panther would decide to travel along the Massachusetts Turnpike), Marash Girl was regaling her daughter Lorig with the tale -- (her daughter was driving North heading for Newton Corner) when a truck with BLACK PANTHER written across its side  passed Lorig's car traveling South between DC and Baltimore.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is no old cats' tale!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Look what's going on in Armenia!

When Marash Girl asked yesterday about the situation in Armenia, Marash Girl's Hayastantsi Armenian friend wrote the following:

"I don't know what to say.... The videos and posts are so disturbing... I can't believe a great nation like we Armenians who survived so many centuries fighting against various enemies, today in the 21-st century have a corrupt government that thinks only about collecting wealth, properties in other countries, creating an unacceptable living environment for their own people, making them migrate for a better life. What can I say.... My heart is aching for my people.... I am asking we Armenians overseas to get together and stand up against the government and everything that is going on in our Yerevan today, stand up for our brothers and sisters, for our mothers and grandmothers, for our kids that are on the streets of Yerevan and are being treated like animals.  This is more than unacceptable.. Please copy and paste the links below and watch . . . . "

The links will NOT connect; simply copy and paste the above links into your web browser . . . and cry.  You don't have to understand the language; your eyes will tell you all you need to know.

And it's getting worse!

Anti-government forces remain in control of a police station in Yerevan as 50 injured when authorities try to clear out protest camp.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Canadian Geese visit Cedar Pond in Sturbridge, Massachusetts

 Canadian Geese at Cedar Pond, Sturbridge: "We lost our room key."            Photo by Marash Girl

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

May God Rest Your Soul, Cousin Charlie

The Lord is our Shepherd. We shall not want . . .
Stained glass window - Newton Presbyterian Church.
This is a difficult piece to write.  There is so much to say that Marash Girl cannot put into words, but she will try her best, through a veil of tears.

Yesterday, Marash Girl's dear cousin Charlie Bilezikian (better known these days as Chuck, and to  outer members of his circle of friends, as the successful founder of the Christmas Tree Shops), Marash Girl's dear cousin Charlie passed away.

Marash Girl would like to tell you about the Charlie she knew way back when they were kids growing up together in Newton. 

Her earliest memories of Charlie begin when he lived downstairs (Auntie Bea, Uncle Kay, Charlie and his older sister Nancy) and Marash Girl and her family (Peter and Jennie and Martha [before James was born], Paul and Zabelle and Pauline [before Johnnie was born], and Grandma Yepros and Grandpa Moses] lived upstairs in the white clapboard house at 474/476 Lowell Avenue, Newtonville.  She remembers playing on those steep stairs with Charlie, going from the first floor to the second and back down to the first floor again -- a game that her parents would never allow her to play, but Charlie and Nancy and the Kasparian cousins loved to play and always included Marash Girl!

Marash Girl got a train set one Christmas that she didn't know how to work -- it was set up on the third floor  (where Grandma and Grandpa lived) in her father's former bedroom  -- she was too young -- but Charlie knew now to work the train; he loved to watch that Lionel streamliner travel in circles around it's little track, and she loved to watch Charlie watch the train . . .

Charlie attended Claflin (Elementary) School as did Marash Girl.
When Marash Girl entered first grade, Charlie was in fourth grade.  Marash Girl always felt confident in school . . . Why?  Because she knew that all she had to do was reach out to her cousin Charlie if she ever needed help and he would be there for her.  

When Marash Girl entered Newton High School, Charlie, of course, was there ahead of her.  He was the most popular boy in high school, and as such had been elected the President of his class.
Everyone loved Charlie; he had a kind word for anyone he spoke with; he always reached out to those around him. . . 

When he became a man, he married wonderful Doreen, and had two children of his own; he set up shop on Cape Cod (the very first Christmas Tree Shop) and became as popular on Cape Cod as he had been in high school.  But being Charlie, he always shared that success with family, and Charlie and Doreen soon began the tradition of sponsoring huge family gatherings every summer at his home in Yarmouth.

The Christmas Tree Shops became wildly popular, and soon Charlie and Doreen set up the Bilezikian Family Foundation, Inc., which reaches out to fund worthy causes on Cape Cod and in Armenia.

To this day, folks (often strangers she meets for the first time on the Cape and in Newton) will say to Marash Girl, "You're Charlie Bilezikian's cousin? What a wonderful guy!"

Now Charlie has gone ahead of us to join his mother Bea, his father Kay, Marash Girl's mother Jennie and father Peter, and Charlie will be there when we join them all one day.  Marash Girl is confident of that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Fossil that Marash Girl Kicked Home

Marash Girl was so excited. There she was, in the dell, at the spring on the corner of Lowell Avenue and Hull Streets, and she found . . . was it?  yes, it was1  A fossil!  Afraid to pick it up with her hands, for fear that it had ancient germs still attached, she kicked it all the way up from the mouth of the spring to the sidewalk, and then all the way up the sidewalk bordering Lowell Avenue to her home at the top of the hill.  Arriving breathless, she called to her father to show him her "find" (she had left the "fossil" at the bottom of their steep flight of stairs). Her father descended the stairs.   Upon spying the item, her father chortled, "That's not a fossil . . .that's just an old bone that an old dog forgot at the spring when he was getting a drink. . . but look at how you've destroyed your new shoes, kicking this bone all the way home!"

Needless to say, Marash Girl was crushed, so crushed that she remembers the incident to this day!

(For more on  the Spring on Lowell Avenue, see Marash Girl's blog for Monday, August 3, 2015: Grandpa Moses and the Spring on Lowell Avenue.)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Butternut Squash for 8

A while back, in late autumn, Marash Girl had friends over for dinner and served roast chicken with veggies (the veggies washed and peeled surrounding the chicken. (The easiest meal you'll ever make!)  Included in the oven in a separate pan was unpeeled butternut squash with an inch of water at the bottom of the pan.

"I love butternut squash but I never make it.  It takes forever to peel and cut up!" said one of my guests. . .  "Yours is absolutely delicious!"

In fact, Marash Girl remembers her mother struggling to hold and peel the butternut squash before she boiled it to serve to her family.

Doesn't everyone know that all you have to do is rinse off the butternut squash, throw it in the oven with whatever else you're roasting -- whether it be chicken or roast beef or anything else -- and once the butternut squash is soft to the touch, remove it from the oven, cut it in half lengthwise, remove and toss the innards (the dark stringy stuff holding the seeds . . . and the seeds, of course), spoon out the flesh of the squash, separating it from the skin, mash that lovely, orange, now softened squash with a fork or potato masher, add butter, salt, pepper, and, if you like, cinnamon or clove or nutmeg or all three -- but very sparingly -- and there you have it!  Easy and delicious!

So why is Marash Girl writing this on the hottest, most humid summer's day that we have had so far?  Wishful thinking, I guess.  Wishing for the cool days of autumn!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Looking for Yard Sale Signs?

If you're in Kittery, Maine, and it's a Saturday, try looking for Free Signs!  Apparently, most of the yard sales in Kittery, Maine, occur on Friday, so by Saturday, anything that hasn't sold is free. . . or was it just a fluke that weekend when we were there at the end of June?  Fluke or not, it was lots of fun for Marash Girl and lots of grief for Marash Boy . . . needless to say, he hates yard sales, and hates free stuff even more!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

WBUR On Tap: The 2016 Presidential Election

This past Thursday, a beautiful summer's evening, WBUR political enthusiasts gathered on  'BUR's outdoor deck to enjoy a light repast preceding a talk by Mark Singer, author of Trump and Me, and Ellen Fitzpatrick, author of The Highest Glass Ceiling: Women’s Quest for the American Presidencythe talks  moderated by WBUR Executive Director of News Content, Richard Chacón.  Although the festivities preceding the talks were upbeat, the talks themselves left the audience  asking the question, "What can we do?"
Game show on the deck!
Mark Singer offers his book, TRUMP AND ME, for sale.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Yard Sale, Boston Style!

Photo by Marash Girl

A yard sale on Newtonville Avenue in Newtonville, just down the street from where her father had built Newtonville Electrical Co., Inc. --  This yard sale got Marash Girl to stop and actually buy something -- for two reasons -- the yard sale sign made her laugh -- the first time she had ever seen such a sign in all her years of yardsaling --  and the fact that a man was running the yard sale -- another first in all her years of yardsaling!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Leave It There!

Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there!  That hymn contained the message that Grandpa Moses conveyed to his granddaughter Marash Girl all those many years ago. . . It wasn't enough to pray.  It was a must to pray, but after praying, to leave it to the Lord, to leave the burden in the Lord's hands.  NOT continue to carry it around.

A cartoon that Marash Girl saw years later reminded her of her grandfather and this hymn -- a cartoon  that she remembers to this day . . . a cartoon that showed a fellow asking for help with his burden, but refusing to give that heavy pack over to the person who had offered to help; the burdened man continued with his burden on his back, although his friend was at his side, packless, burdenless, ready and willing to help.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Trouble With A Good Book

The trouble with reading a good book is that you can never drag yourself away from it!  All else falls by the wayside, even the book, after you fall asleep reading it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"But I Didn't Want To Cross The Street!"

A preacher friend and Marash Girl were chatting the other day about a sermon series she (the preacher, not Marash Girl) was planning.  The subject of the series was to be "The Good Samaritan".  Marash Girl began to laugh.  

"What are you laughing at?" asked the preacher.  

"The title of your sermon . . . it brought to mind a cartoon I saw many years ago -- a cartoon of a young Boy Scout tugging at the sleeves of an old woman, helping her across the street.  When the two arrived at the other side of the street, the old woman turned to the little Boy Scout and said, 'But I didn't want to cross the street!' "

Monday, July 18, 2016


It hadn't rained for weeks here in the eastern part of Massachusetts, and our gardens were desperate as were the gardeners.  So desperate that Marash Girl and her neighbor decided to do a rain dance late that afternoon; the two of them stood in the middle or the street (a short, no exit street, removing all fear of getting hit by passing motorists) and danced as they had never danced before, praying for rain.  It was not very long after, perhaps several hours, that the heavens opened, the rain came down in a fury, the thunder roared, the lightening blazed . . .  The lesson to be learned here?  Be careful what you dance for . . . .

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Attempted Coup: A Black Flag Operation

" Turkey's Erdogan Reasserts Control After Attempted Coup" - Wall Street Journal

Erdogan will now be able to restore the death penalty and all the other niceties of Sharia law, like beheading and stoning of women and the list is, well, you know, long. 
He will restore the caliphate and absorb Isis. There are already those who are calling him a God. This puts the end times calendar into overdrive, many will think, I guess. 
Absolute power, absolute dictatorship. And what do the ingenues at Fox call it? The rise of an autocrat. Now that's a nice word, and few in this country even know the meaning of it. But, it sure does sound better than dictator. Wasn't Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior's father, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., described as an autocrat at the breakfast table?  Ah yes, the good old days of huggy bears and plutocrat autocrats. . .  

Written by James Peterson the night of the event.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

"I never felt this way about a woman before!"

So here's a NYC story for you . . . Yes, in the day, Marash Girl lived and studied and worked in New York City.  While she was attending Columiba University Graduate School, it was recommended that she apply for the position of guidance counselor in Yonkers, New York.  Calling in to Yonkers from New York City, she experienced a "dead space" where she heard folks chatting, but no ring tone.  She hung up and tried again the next day.  Again, the same thing happened.  On her third try, she decided to ask the folks on the line what was going on.  They explained that this was indeed a "dead zone", an empty "meeting place" which they had encountered while trying to dial into Yonkers from New York City.  We decided to meet daily, which we did, in this dead telephone space, and after several weeks of getting to know each other, we decided to meet in person at a local coffee shop.  Meet we did, and we all liked each other, so much so that one of the fellows invited Marash Girl out on a date.  The date was lovely, and at the end of the evening, the fellow (can't remember his name at the moment) kissed her good night.  Following the kiss, he whispered, "I've never felt this way about a woman before," as he bid Marash Girl (who was not known as Marash Girl at that time) farewell.     No-one had ever uttered those words to Marash Girl before.  Marash Girl was elated.  But wait as she might, the fellow never called her back for a second date.  Confused, she picked up the telephone and called into the "dead space" and found one of the fellow's friends in the "chat room".  Confessing to him her confusion, he replied, "Well, what do you expect? He rooms with his professor."  "So what?" replied Marash Girl.  "But they share the same bedroom," her friend replied.  "So?" Marash girl queried.  "But they share the same bed.  His professor would kill him if he ever found out!" 

And that, dear reader, was the end of that . . .

Friday, July 15, 2016

Has anyone out there ever heard of Mangosteen?

                                             Absolutely delicious, but even one bite costs!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

What do you guys in Marash have to say about this?

Marash Boy says, "Niiçin bir Marash Girl var?  Bes bir ish bilir, maraştan olsun,
 isteyorsin  . . .  "

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Make Way For Whales!

                                                     Barnstable, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

If Robert McCloskey wrote the world-famous children's book, "Make Way For Ducklings", who will write the book, "Make Way For Whales"?  It would make for "A Whale of a Tale", although that tale's already been written.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What defines art?

One day, Haig, the fellow Marash Girl wrote about yesterday, visited Andrea and Marash Girl in their rental apartment in the upper West Side of New York City. (Actually, the apartment overlooked the river and was sublet from a man who was a painter, an artist, as it were.)  Haig, on his first visit  to the apartment, was horrified by the "traditional" canvases that were on the wall, and went around the apartment,  removing all the paintings from the wall and hiding them in a closet. "These are not art!" he exclaimed;"they belong in a closet, not on a wall."

Monday, July 11, 2016

Good for me, Not for you!

Living in New York City many years ago, Marash Girl met many an interesting character, one of whom became a good friend. His name was Haig, and yes, he was Armenian and an artist who painted on canvas.  (Actually, she first met him at Camp Haiastan. . . she was dancing the Armenian line dance, he broke into the line on one side of her, his friend on the other, and that was the beginning of a long friendship. . . ) She dated him at first, but soon the relationship got old and she and he moved on to greener pastures, as it were.  One day, when Marash Girl returned to NYC for a visit, she called Haig to see how he was doing.  He said that he couldn't talk at the moment, because he was with his girlfriend.  

"That's good," said Marash Girl, pleased that he had found someone else.

"Good for me, not for you!" was his answer, an answer that makes Marash Girl grin, even to this day!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

What a difference a ribbon makes!

"She always wears a ribbon in her hair."  Grandpa Moses, so pleased, said referring to Mummy (Jennie Vartanian) when she first joined the family in 1940!

"She always wears a ribbon in her hair."  said Ama, smiling at her new granddaughter Dylan Marie, and her very own Megan!

What difference does a ribbon make? It makes everyone who sees it smile! Pony tails do, too!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Appears the Dishwasher

An interesting phenomenon in contemporary life is the dishwasher and the lonely job of filling it . . . Marash Girl remembers the old days when washing and wiping dishes was a social affair . . .  perhaps you, dear reader, are too young to remember that . . .  Today, everyone has his/her own style of filling a dishwasher . . . granted . . . but most irksome is when the one who refuses to fill the dishwasher chooses to rearrange the arrangement of dishes placed in the dishwasher by the dish washer! Your take on this, dear reader?

N.B.  Did you know that washing dishes in a dishwasher is not only more sanitary, but saves water?  It's true!

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Heart of the Matter

Who doesn't love the heart (the center) of the watermelon?  Don't all shout at once!

When Marash Girl was little, she used to tell her father that when she grew up and earned her own money, she would only eat the centers of the watermelon.

He doubted her promise.

Today, she starts with the heart, but doesn't "have the heart" to toss out the rest!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Chew 100 Times Before Swallowing

It's funny what you remember about folks . . . Marash Girl still remembers being told by her Cousin Ruthie, now long since passed away, that whenever she takes a mouthful of food, she should chew that mouthful one hundred times before swallowing.

If Marash Girl had followed her cousin's advice, Marash Girl would be the sveltest (is there such a word?) woman in town!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

More on P

Spending time with her 9 year old grandson brought back memories of her own elementary school days and the jokes that the boys used to tell.  She wondered if the jokes were still alive and well in Maryland all these many years later, so she decided to ask her grandson . . . 

"Have you heard the joke that Marash Girl heard from David Seeley in 3rd grade at Claflin School? . . . it went like this.  

Teacher:  David, please recite the alphabet.
Teacher:  What happened the the 'P'?
David:  The 'P' went down the toilet.
And of course, all the boys howled with delight, while the girls were embarrassed and the teacher's face turned a bright red."

Iffar answered, "Oh, that joke!  We still tell it.  It goes like this . . .

David, waving his hand in class frantically in class, is ignored by the teacher.

Finally the teacher calls on David, and asks him to recite the alphabet.  David asks if he may be excused to go to the boys' room first.  The teacher replies, "After you recite the alphabet . . . "

So David dutifully recites the alphabet.


"What happened to the 'P'?" asks the teacher.

David replies, chagrined, "It's running down my pants leg."

N.B.  In her day, the "pee" joke was considered a "dirty joke" and Marash Girl never retold it until all these many years later . . . although she remembered it (obviously)!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Jimmy Hovagimian, Super Glue and the Golden Crown!

Now, after many thousands of dollars spent, and her incalcitrant crown (not the one on her head, but the one in her mouth) popping off once again, Marash Girl has come to appreciate family friend Jimmy Hovagimian's efforts at retaining his own crown . . . it was many years ago when her mom and dad were laughing uncontrollably over Farmer Jimmy's efforts to recement the crown on a back molar in his mouth with Super Glue. . .  

Who's laughing now?  Not Marash Girl!  Where's that Super Glue?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Pausing Over a Cube of Cheese . . .

Marash Girl was at Whole Foods yesterday, stocking up on treats for the Fourth of July.  Pausing at a display for the featured cheddar cheese of the day, she accepted the small tooth-picked cube offered her, tasted it . . . delicious!  How much was this cheese?  $39.95/lb.?  Yikes!  In that case, how much was the cube she had just tasted valued at?  You do the math, while she samples another cube of cheddar cheese!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Daniel Benayun's POSTORICAL at Newton Free Library Through July 28th, 2016

Marash Girl just happened by the library yesterday to grab some books by Sherman Alexei, and guess what she ran into?  Daniel Benayun (above) greeting folks at the opening of his art exhibit, standing before Marash Girl's favorite of his works of art.  His paintings, he says, "explore and reconstruct the magical idealism of mid-20th Century advertising."  He sees himself as the "creator of an anti-capitalistic zeitgeist that resurrects the wonder and intrigue of print advertising."  On view at the Newton Free Library, Newton, MA, through July 28th, 2016.
Photo of postcard advertising Benayun's art exhibit at the Newton Free Library.
Blurriness is Marash Girl's fuzzy photography!

MASS MoCA on a Beautiful Summer's Day

Karoun Charkoudian, experienced Yoga practitioner and instructor, holds up the supports of the Sprague Family Bridge at Mass Moca (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams, Massachusetts.                                                                               Photo by Marash Girl

The visit to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art left Karoun and Marash Girl in awe; whether or not the trip was worth getting lost on a narrow curvy mountain road at sunset in North Western Massachusetts is the question.
Photo taken by Marash Girl from a "factory" window at Mass Moca.  As Karoun commented, "Unlike the factory workers of today -- i.e., the folks who work in office cubicles -- the factory workers of yesteryear had only to look out of the window (if they were given that opportunity) to find  beauty all around them.        Photo by Marash Girl

Friday, July 1, 2016

Pray with Marash Girl, Cont'd

Cousin Charlie has been released from Mass. General and has returned home with hospice.

We are all loving you and praying for you, my dear cousin!