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!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Antiquing with Raffi on a Hot Summer's Day

Some tips to remember when Christmas Shopping on Cape Cod next summer!

1.  Real brass won't attract a magnet, but then neither will white metal.

The weight, then; the weight!

2.  Can't see in the dim light of the shop?  Feel the edge of the dish or the glass for chips . . .

Ama -- didn't you feel the edge of this? It's chipped! You don't want it!  (Out of the mouths of babes!)

And remember . . . even if there is a slight chip, you can use emery paper or an emery board to smooth the chips that you missed!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Kicking a Bone from the Spring to Home

A block from the house in which Marash Girl lived for the first 20 years of her life there were woods -- only for a block, but none-the less, woods -- and at the corner of Hull Street and Lowell Avenue where the woods began, was a spring.  It was at that spring that very young Marash Girl found a fossil -- or so she thought -- an old bone that she knew must be a fossil; she feared carrying it with her hands, so she kicked the fossil up the hill, about a half a mile to her house.  When she arrived home, glad to be bearing this ancient museum piece, she was not praised for discovering the ancient fossil but rather chastised for scuffing up her brand new shoes, scuffing them for none other than a not so old bone, a bone not even worthy of a dog's interest!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Save Those Christmas Cards

We never did save them; we threw them all away after Christmas.  But one card we did save, and that card was a reminder, a sweet reminder, so  don't throw away those Christmas cards.  They will survive long after your days of yore, long after your friends of yore, long after your memories of yore -- and they will bring those days, those friends, and those memories rushing back!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Strolling the Aisles . . .

Since when was a trip to Costco a moment to treasure?  Since Marash Girl used to make those trips with her dad.  He would love to stop and chat with the fellow "guarding" the entrance, with the women "guarding" the free samples of tasty tidbits, with his old friends who would invariably be similarly strolling the aisles.  A great way to get exercise in the middle of the winter . . . a great way to socialize in the middle of the week!  And invariably he would hear folks chatting in Armenian -- always an excuse to interrupt them for a lively, three-way conversation.        

Costco had become a family event.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Some Don't Mind The Snow!

On Marash Girl's front lawn is the little boy who keeps guard over her garden, taking a rest 'til spring!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Laughing your way through a boring lecture . . .

Marash Girl's dad would love to laugh (rather than cry, rant or rave) when he was forced to sit through a boring lecture . . . He would always quote the old "stand"ard,  "I stand before you to sit behind you to tell you something I know nothing about . . . "

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Red Candles, Anyone?

Every year, during the daylight hours of December 24, Marash Girl would frantically send out a battalion of family members to search the local stores for tall red candles -- candles to light the living room, dining room, and hallway on Christmas Eve.  (We kept electric lights on in the kitchen, to make sure that we didn't use salt instead of sugar when making the syrup for the kadayif!)

This year (finally, after how many years?) Marash Girl decided to tackle the chore herself and clever girl that she was, she found a raft (literally) of tall red dripless candles at the $ store for . . . yes, a dollar for a package of two.  You guessed it!  She bought them all.  All she'll have to do now is remember to check the shelves in the basement rather than heading out to buy red candles for Christmas Eve next year . . .

Monday, December 11, 2017

Can't sleep?

Turn off the news!  That's what Marash Girl's father was told by his doctors many years ago; that's what Marash Girl would advise today.  A lot better than sleeping pills!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Real Live Christmas Story

Marash Girl heard --  what was it? Someone shoveling her sidewalk?  Why?  Who was it?  She went out to see who it was and found a young fellow shoveling all the way up the sidewalk along the side opposite her house on her little street, and all the way back.  Next thing she knew, he was shoveling along the sidewalk on her side of the street, as well as the apron and steps leading up to her house.  Who was this Christmas Elf?  She reached into her pocket, grabbed a $10 bill and headed out the front door . . . Who are you? she asked the young man.   Oh, I'm just the neighbor at the end of the street -- I needed to get some exercise, so I decided to shovel.  Really? asked Marash Girl, astounded.  Yes, he answered; I'm a teacher and I don't get much exercise, so this is great!  What do you teach? asked Marash Girl.  Oh, I teach fourth graders.  Well, here's for your efforts, said Marash Girl, handing him a $10 bill.  No, no, answered the young man.  I can't accept that!  Oh, yes you can, answered Marash Girl; accept it for your students; buy your students a Christmas treat with the money!  Okay, agreed! grinned the young teacher, pocketing the $10 bill, as he continued his mitzvah, shoveling along.

Saturday, December 9, 2017


Looks like the folks here are in for the first big snowstorm of the year, and none too happy about it!  But Marash Girl remembers when it was a joy to watch the snow coming down, a joy to clear the snow from the 35 steps leading to the sidewalk below, a joy to help her dad and uncle clear off the two cars, a joy to clear the sidewalk along the two lot length of stone wall!  Oh, for the joys of the old days!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Driveway Into The Past

Walking along Ethan Allen Avenue into the town center of Takoma Park, Maryland, Marash Girl spied a scene that took her straight back to her childhood.  The only difference was the downward slant of the driveway.  The driveway to the garage of her childhood went uphill!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A House on Commonwealth Avenue!

Mummy's dream, a dream that was never realized, was always to have a house on Commonwealth Avenue . . .  along the carriage lane, of course . . . or short of that, a brand new, single-family ranch house in Weston.   Just saying. . .

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

'Tis the Season!

'Tis the season, and if you want some interesting items for little ones (and big ones alike) at bargain prices, try the $ store!  Amazing what wonders you can find there that will fit comfortably into a Christmas stocking!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

No snow yet!

But snow is in the air, and Marash Girl knows that she's no longer a kid (though sometimes you'd wonder) because she no longer looks forward to the snow flakes falling from the sky.  How wonderful that was . . . watching the first snowstorm of the season, making angels in the snow (do you know how to do that . . . she can tell you), and, of course, building snowmen (we never thought of building snow-women because what woman would want a carrot for a nose, and two pieces of coal for eyes!)

Monday, December 4, 2017

An Armenian Nursery Rhyme

The posting below on Facebook reminded Marash Girl that eons ago, Kenar and Marash Girl recorded on paper Armenian nursery rhymes from Marash, nursery rhymes remembered by Kenar's mom.  Marash Girl will have to dig into her files to find them and start posting them on her website.  In the meantime, enjoy the one below from Aintab!

Armenian Nursery Rhyme/ Lullaby Aintab mothers said to their children. Remember Armenian language was spoken differently back then.

Djor, Djor, Djor Mama,
Djoring maman jam g'erta
Gorgod abour bish enna,
Yeghe vran khesh enna.
Kkachon oude, josh enna,
Lop, Lop Ashenna.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Trouble on Maple Avenue?

                                                                                              Photo by Kate Walker
A neighbor reported excitement at the end of our "dead end" street yesterday early evening; to wit: "Around 6:30 PM, heard cars, yelling, big drama.  Obviously, another 'Oops, it’s a dead end' move. Sounded like a domestic thing. Crazy blocked car, car hitting hydrant, people screaming in some really bad Bawstin accents!  Really crazy and unsettling. Better you were snoozing, it was ugly to hear."  Apparently even the police came by . . . unusual for our quiet corner of the city!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Christmas Crèche

The Christmas crèche -- there are many available, both new and antique -- a beautiful and tactile way to introduce Christmas to the little ones.  Ironically, or perhaps as it was meant to be, most antique crèche assemblies are missing the Baby Jesus. . . a perfect fit for baby's hand and baby's heart!  Marash Girl's Christmas crèche was handmade by Nancy, our dear neighbor on Beacon Hill, on the occasion of the birth of our first child, and as fitting, Marash Girl has gifted that hand built crèche to her first-born child (who prefers to remain anonymous on Marash Girl's blogs)!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Have You Done Your Christmas Shopping Yet?

Better get going!  Not too many days left!  And you don't want any disappointed faces peering up at you on the big day!  But don't you worry.  There really are 12 days of Christmas, and in the old days the young 'uns had 12 gifts to open (and if you were the older generation, 12 gifts to provide)!  Maybe you could get many dozens of donuts, and give each child a donut a day?  (Keep 'em fresh in the freezer?)  Whoops, methinks the season is really getting to Marash Girl!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Clearing the Decks

Sometimes gifts can be overwhelming, and when Marash Girl closed her warehouse, she no longer had space to keep the gift of a "storeful" of sheet music.  Marash Girl has spent the day moving cartons of brand new sheet music onto her porch, where the Vietnam Vets will pick up the music to resell.  If anyone reading this lives in the neighborhood, you're welcome to come by and take what you like.  There's plenty for everyone!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Backgammon (Tavlu) Has Finally Arrived!

Although there were no examples of backgammon boards from Damascus, Syria,
 always a work of art, the tavlu board has finally made its way into the rooms of the 
George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield, Massachusetts.  
Bravo, Springfield! Bravo Sidney Mobell!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

First Christmas Tree of the Season

                             Springfield, Massachusetts:  Quadrangle,  Dr. Seuss Museum

Monday, November 27, 2017

New Friends Greeting for the First Time on Thanksgiving Day

                                                    Dylan Marie greets her newest friend!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

How does one recognize the devil?

Reading Kim Warp's cartoon in the New York Times several days ago reminded Marash Girl of one of those unforgettable sermons she heard when she was probably no more than eight years old.  The evangelist warned his congregation, "The devil doesn't come dressed in red with horns, carrying a pitchfork with three tines.  The devil (or evil, as you would have it) comes dressed in a nice suit with a white shirt, clean and well-dressed."
N.B. Or did the devil come in an overabundance of delectable desserts on the Thanksgiving table?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Map of North Korea?

On Thanksgiving Day, Marash Girl received a greeting from her brother, the "Message" was simply the  map of North Korea . . . She wonders what he'll send her on Christmas Day. . .

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Two Little Ones

The two little ones returning from a foray on the day after Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving . . . But . . . .

This morning, opening her computer, expecting to be barged by greetings of the season, Marash Girl was faced with a  warning:  "Coyotes on the prowl in Newton!"  Make sure your chickens are safe, as well as your small pets.  Coyotes love them all!  The coyotes are looking forward to a "Happy Thanksgiving"!  They got the message!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Back in the day, a kiss was a kiss, but still, a kiss was a bigga deal, at least for Marash Girl.  The game of padiddle made life a lot easier for guys who wanted a kiss from their favorite gal without having to steal one.  Paddidle, you ask?  Well, yes.  This is how it went.  If a guy took a girl out on an evening date in his car (or they could be walking . . .) and the guy spotted a car with one headlight missing, the guy would call out, "Padiddle!"  That would signal his right to kiss the gal who was with him.  And in those days, kissing the gal you were with meant something!  So the guy would call out, "Padiddle", and it was understood that the gal would have to allow the guy to kiss her.  But that was a problem if the gal were out with a guy who she liked as a person, but not as a boyfriend, not as someone she would want to kiss.  So how did a girl deal with that in the day when she was alone in a car with a guy, he claimed his right to a kiss by shouting, "Padiddle" when he spotted a car with only one headlight?  She simply said, "No," and never accepted a date with that fellow again.  At least, that's how Marash Girl solved the problem!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Secure those air-conditioning units!

A word to the wise . . .  Apparently, the latest style of home break-ins comes via first floor air-conditioning units!  Either secure those air-conditioners or remove them!  As the holidays approach, folks with no money get desperate!  A word to the wise!!!!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The White Birch: A Lesson In Survival

Standing at the bay windows watching the white birch trees dancing with the hurricane force winds, Marash Girl was taught a lesson in life, a lesson which she remembers to this day:  the importance of the ability to sway with the winds. That lesson was brought back to her unexpectedly last week on a wind-free afternoon, as she wandered past the shops of Newton Centre and spied lengths of white birch, leaning against the windows of an elegant men's shop, white birch which in her day were considered "junk trees" when juxtaposed with the mighty oak, white birch which when battered by hurricane force winds, knew to dance and sway with the winds in order to save their lives.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Hymns Stay With You Forever!

The words, the tunes of those old-time hymns stay with you forever.  You may forget the sermons, but not the hymns!  When you most need them, they are there with you, a reminder of God's presence.  At least, that is the case for Marash Girl.  In case she hasn't mentioned it before, the hymnal she grew up with, Spiritual Hymns of Worship, compiled by E. E. Elmajian, was published in three languages -- English, Armenian in Armenian letters, and Turkish in Armenian letters.  And the hymns were sung in all three languages by folks who had sung those hymns in Turkish and Armenian and English throughout the time of untold atrocities, atrocities against the Armenian population, atrocities that occurred under the cover of World War One.  We are all so thankful to be safe, here in the United States of America.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

"There are two brothers who have not bowed their knees to Baal." A Missionary's Tale

"There are two brothers who have not bowed their knees to Baal."  These words were uttered by a missionary visiting the Congregational Church in West Newton in the 1930's.  What ever could he have meant?  Here is the story behind those words.

Many years ago, in Newtonville, Massachusetts, in the 1930's, a man walked into Newtonville Electrical Company, then at 84 Bowers Street in Newtonville, Massachusetts.  The man walked into the store, looked at a used refrigerator, asked the price, and when he heard the price (not very much, for that time), he thanked the proprietor and turned around to leave the shop.  The proprietor stopped him.
"Why are you leaving?" asked the proprietor, who had offered the used refrigerator (probably a Grunow) at a price far below the going price for such an appliance.  
"I can't afford the refrigerator," replied the customer, hanging his head in shame.  
"Don't worry," replied the proprietor.  "Where do you live?  If you can't afford the refrigerator, we'll deliver that refrigerator to you at no cost."  "The boys" (as they were known) who owned Newtonville Electric, knew what it was to have very little money, to have to do without . . . The customer was amazed at the beyond generous response, and accepted the kindness of the proprietors of that electrical shop in Newtonville in the 1930's.

Not a week passed before folks started calling the Newtonville Electrical Company, ordering electrical appliances, sight unseen, cost unquestioned, to be delivered to their homes on West Newton Hill (at the time, one of the wealthiest areas in Newton).  Peter and Paul could not understand what was happening . . . why folks would be ordering appliances without asking the price ahead of time . . . without seeing the appliance before ordering.  Finally, they asked one of the customers what had caused the sudden influx of orders from previously unknown customers from the West Newton Congregational Church, and below is the reply they received.

"The missionary to Africa that our church supports is here in the United States on a year's leave.  He needed to furnish his apartment on a very limited budget. Not knowing that he was a missionary, or that he was supported by the West Newton Congregational Church, you gifted him the refrigerator, essential to his family's well-being.  He told the story of your generosity at our evening service, beginning with the following words:  "There are two brothers in Newtonville who have not bowed their knees to Baal." (See 1 Kings 19:18 and Romans 11:4).

Those two brothers were Marash Girl's father Peter Bilezikian and her uncle Paul Bilezikian.  God rest their souls.

Friday, November 17, 2017

If You're Armenian, Thanksgiving Means More Than A Turkey and Trimmings

Daily, Marash Girl's father thanked God for his new life in the United States of America, life without fear of the Turkish gendarmes knocking at the door (fear that his mother and sister experienced as they hid, the gendarmes taking away their parents, Marash Girl's great grandparents who were never seen or heard from again . . .  for whatever reason, no-one today knows).  Marash Girl thanks God daily, as did her parents and grandparents, for welcoming the Armenians into the Country of the Free.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What would we do without our iPhones?

Today, Marash Girl thought she had lost her iPhone.  The emotional toll that that possibility took on her was indescribable.  There's something wrong with our having such dependence on any such mechanical device, no matter how helpful it is to our daily lives . . .
n.b.  She did finally find it.  She had left it on the front seat, passenger side, and in that it was the same color as the car's upholstery, she had not seen her trusty phone.  Thank goodness for "FIND YOUR PHONE!"

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics

Now featured at the MFA:  Takashi Murakami's "Lineage of Eccentrics".  Marash Girl was lucky enough to be invited to an illustrated lecture previewing this exhibit, followed by an elegant tea.  The only problem with the lecture was the deliberate (I have to assume) avoidance of any reference to the toll/influence/affect that World War Two must have had on the artist.  Nor was a likeness to Mickey Mouse mentioned, although the image included herewith certainly brings to mind the famous Disney rodent.  Herewith, a few photos from the illustrated lecture.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Panera and the Kitchen Sink!

Panera always offers a special treat -- a free desert to celebrate on your birthday-- that is, if you've signed up for the treat on their website!  True to their word, Marash Girl was offered a special treat, a treat called the Kitchen Sink.  I kid you not!  What was the Kitchen Sink?  It was the biggest, fattest chocolate chip cookie you ever did see -- a promised 800 calories if you ate the whole cookie!  Did Marash Girl eat the whole cookie?  She's not telling!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Happy Birthday, Nisha Djan!

Okay, so who in the world ever has a first child three weeks early?  Marash Girl did!  And what a surprise it was.  Marash Girl and Marash Boy were expecting a boy . . . who knows why?  The old country old wives' tales about how high or low the mom is carrying the baby . . . Marash Girl was sitting on the third floor of their Beacon Hill home, preparing the antique wicker rocker which Grandma Jennie had gifted them . . .  Marash Girl covering the rocker's cushions with brightly colored Marimeko fabric . . . when all of a sudden Marash Girl's water broke and off Marash Girl and Marash Boy went to Brigham and Women's Hospital.  They were all set with the rocking chair for nursing the baby and a name . . . Armenians always name their first son after the child's grandfather.  (Do they? Or did Marash Girl just make that up?)  In any case, Marash Boy and Marash Girl were all set with a name.  Nishan.  Beautiful name meaning "sign" . . . (all Armenians knew that meant "Sign of the Cross").  So off they trekked to the hospital, and guess what!  Not a first son, but a first daughter.  Name?  No problem.  They would still name the beautiful new baby after her father's father.  Nishanouhi?  ("ouhi" is the feminine ending for an Armenian name. . . No way was Marash Girl's daughter going to be an "ouhi"!)  Not Nishanouhi!  Nisha!  Yes, Nisha!  A beautiful name for a beautiful baby, a beautiful woman.  
Happy Birthday to our dear Nisha! Happy Birthday to you!

Friday, November 10, 2017 ask for your support!

Lorig Charkoudian (on left) running for Maryland's District 20 Delegate,
goes door to door as she begins her campaign.

Dear Marash Girl,
Over the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many 
of you in person while knocking on doors in your neighborhood. 
I learned a lot about your concerns: the educational opportunities 
for your children, the preservation of the environment, and economic 
justice for the everyone in our community.You also shared with me 
the things that you love most about living in District 20, and as the 
holiday season approaches, I’m thinking a lot about all we have to be 
thankful for. There’s a rich sense of inclusiveness in our communities--
cultural diversity is one of our District’s greatest strengths. We are so 
fortunate to have a community committed to building a better world. 
I am inspired by the social change agents who live in District 20 and 
spend every day of their lives working to make this world 
a better place. And we can’t forget about our beautiful parks 
and waterways, including the Sligo Creek and Northwest Branch, the 
Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park, and our neighborhood parks, 
that connect us to our beautiful planet and to each other. Finally, as 
Veterans Day draws closer, we are grateful for our veterans and their 
families for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make.
There’s so much to love about being a resident in District 20, and I’m 
committed to making sure that everyone who lives here has the 
opportunity to enjoy everything our district has to offer. I have a 
strong record of civic engagement in District 20, and I know that 
I can help this district even more as your representative in Annapolis.
It’s a huge task and I’m up for the challenge, but I need your help to 
get there!
Please volunteer to help spread the word about my campaign. You 
can join me for the Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade on November 18. 
Volunteer Here.
Our Yard Signs have arrived!  Let us know if you want a yard sign to show 
your support and let your neighbors know about my candidacy.  
E-mail to have one delivered to your house. 
Please make a contribution to my campaign so I can reach more voters. 
Contribute Here.
Please also join us for Star Wars Trivia Night.
Thank you for all of your support! I hope that you will join my campaign so that 
together we can enhance everything that we love about District 20 Maryland.

Paid for by Friends of Lorig Charkoudian, Jill Feasley, Treasurer, Tebabu Assefa, Chair
Friends of Lorig Charkoudian
P.O. Box 11281
Takoma Park MD 20913 United States

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Picking Up After the Fray

A sad day, yesterday, as Marash Girl accompanied her friend, a friend who ran for political office and lost, accompanying her around the city, gathering her campaign signs from the lawns of those who had supported her.  The good news?  The signs are being saved for the next time around.  Marash Girl's friend is not giving up yet!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Councilor at Large Alan Ciccone greets Marash Girl

                           Councilor at Large Ward 1 
Newton's Ward One Councilor at Large, Alan Ciccone, greets Marash Girl
on Election Day at the polls in Newton Corner

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Prayer for Joan Who Worked for Justice - May 6, 1942 - November 2, 2013

The following prayer was written on November 6, 2016, in memory of my dear friend Joan Scully Metz; the piece was written by Joan's sister.

Loving God, As we gather today in love to remember Joan, we give you thanks for the years she was with us.  Guide us as you did her, to use the talents and skills you have so generously given us, to work in collaboration with others to bring change to those who suffer and are oppressed in this world.  Guide us to educate and advocate for other who are denied a voice.
Help us to be present to members of the global human family.
Help us to recognize the systems and structures that deny the dignity of the human person.  Help us to be engaged and fully focused so we may envision and develop effective strategies to further justice and to b your agents in this world.  Guide us to educate and advocate for others who are denied a voice.
Help us to be present to members of the global human family.  Help us to recognize the systems and structures that deny the dignity of the human person.  Help us to be engaged and fully focused so we may envision and develop effective strategies to further justice and to be your agents in this way.
Keep us aware of the bigger picture and move us beyond our own self-interest, who we may participate in solidarity with those who need our support.  
Help us to persist in the face of challenges.  Renew our hearts and remind us that your grace is working in us and through us, so we may play a small part in the building of your kingdom.  Help us to remember, with love, all that Joan has done for us, all that she taught us, all that she did for the least among us and for those who are suffering.  May the brightness of Joan's love and emil remain with us each day, and remind us all to put our love into action.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Remembering Joan Scully Metz

                                           Remembering my dear friend, Joan Scully Metz
                                                      May 6, 1942 - November 2, 2013

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Save Local Representation in Newton, Massachusetts! Vote No!

                Save Local Representation in Newton, Massachusetts!  Vote No on Charter Change!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Better Late Than Never! But Where Are The Bears?

Halloween Day, Bear's Neck, Rockport, Massachusetts 
             It seems that the bears had all turned into pumpkins in order to celebrate Halloween Day!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Her Favorite Color Is Black!

When Marash Girl's daughter LC was very little, she was in a play group at the YMCA.  Soon after joining this play group, her daughter alarmed the play group instructor, alarmed the instructor enough to prompt a phone call to Marash Girl.

"Hello," said Marash Girl.
"Hello," replied the play group instructor.  "I'm quite worried about your daughter."
"Really?" replied Marash Girl, unable to imagine the reason for the concern.
"Yes!  Do you know that your daughter's favorite color is black?" replied the play group instructor.
Marash Girl just laughed.  Her daughter was always alarming teachers with one comment or another!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Vote for Scott Lennon for Mayor of Newton, Massachusetts

Peter Koutoujian, Sherriff of Massachusetts Middlesex County, poses with Marash Girl (who is wearing her favorite color) at the Scott Lennon for Mayor headquarters in Newton Corner, Massachusetts

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What Happened on the Day Before the Feast of All Saints in 1517?

Did you know that Martin Luther (the original) chose to perform his courageous deed on Marash Girl's birthday (many centuries earlier, of course) and it took her this long (a lifetime) to find out?  "On October 31, 1517, the day before the Feast of All Saints, the 33-year-old Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, challenging the Roman Catholic Church."  A courageous deed in deed . . . a deed unequaled in its time or possibly since!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to all my friends, past and present!  Don't forget to stock up on candy for all those trick or treaters!

Remembering that Marash Girl's dad never allowed his children to go trick or treating, because, as he saw it, it was begging!  And his mom, even when they were starving during the first world war in Marash, would not allow them to stand in the line for the food that the missionaries were providing to the hungry.  She did not want her children to accept charity.  Grandma Yepros Kurtgusian Bilezikian worked at the missionary hospital for one loaf of bread a day.  That is what she and her children would eat.  God blessed them.  They survived to tell the tale!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Wakened in the Midst of the Storm

Marash Girl was wakened in the midst of the storm last night by her friends who were driving home from the Cape along the rain-tortured highways.  She stayed on the phone with one of them (not the driver!) until they arrived safely at home in Newton Corner.  What a hair-raising experience, even second-hand via the telephone!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Art in the Park

Art in the Park - Boston Public Gardens         Photo by Marash Girl

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Making Democracy Work in Newton Corner at Underwood Elementary School!

                          Let the kids learn about democracy from their neighbors in real time!
                                               End of school day, Friday, October 27, 2017.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Victoria and Abdul

Saw Victoria and Abdul at the West Newton Cinema and loved it!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Me, too!

Marash Girl finds it rather interesting that the only folks who are commenting with hashtag "Me, too" are women.  How many men she has known who have been the recipient of sexual harassment.  Are they speaking up?  Or does sexual harassment experienced by men not count?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

You're Right!

Whenever Grandpa Peter found himself in a roomful of folks who were vehemently disagreeing with each other, he would laughingly comment, "You're right, you're right, and you're right too!"  Marash Girl often wonders if Grandpa Peter was quoting an old Nasrettin Hodja tale, or if he was simply amused by the energy of the combatants!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Marash Girl Signs In!

  Reappointed to the City of Newton Parks and Recreation Commission, Marash Girl signs her acceptance at the Newton City Hall!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Wrong era!

Marash Girl was at a restaurant recently, and noticed the folks on the table in front of her with their heads bowed, praying (she thought) before eating.  On closer look, however, she realized they were studying the menu!  Wrong era!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Marash Boy at the Regatta!

Marash Boy at the Regatta, with the Charles River and the race going on behind him, 
studies the map, of course!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Memories of Our Childhood from Brother James on his birthday!

Happy Birthday to Brother James who on his birthday shares a letter he wrote 15 years ago to our Dad, Peter Bilezikian!

Dear Dad: 
I am very pleased that you liked the short story, Blossoms and Baseballs. I am hoping to write several more dealing with my childhood and the world of Lowell Avenue, the world of the Armenians flowing through our house, of Van Topalian, and the one word, ‘remarkable’, to which he ascribed things approved by him, of Harry Mooseghian, his natural awkwardness in doing all things physical, but his willing spirit, his shattered hulk of a car, symbolic of the devastation wrought by the Turks on his family prospects, and all the other people, mysterious, and marvelous, that my parents’ hospitality and curiosity welcomed into our home. 
Our home was a fecund garden for a young boy intent on sailing the world and visiting the people of the ports, some backward, some gallant, some heroic and humble, others who were charlatans and savages with city clothes. In all this parade of the human throng there was never danger. A boy could be in the midst of all this and never be threatened by it, because the setting was our home, in which you and mother provided us, like in the original garden, with every good thing to eat for our body and our soul. All of that goodness, that trickery, that pridefulness that strutted, that humility that walked simply upright through our home, was to be tasted in morsels the understanding of which promised to be the fiber of manhood. 
The violin and the bow always lay close behind all of this, because in the midst of this sometime crush of the human spirit, you would call for music from the souls and bodies of your children. Whatever strange and dangerous, brittle and base, lofty and incontinent, that might be parading itself that day in our home of hospitality would be brought back to the cloud of heaven with the single note, and the many notes thereafter that would fall like rain on a spring morning. All would be made right, because the children, like cherubs heralding our August God, playing with heart and humor, steadfastness of purpose, and the zeal to please, would in an instant vanquish the memory of the Turks, the evil of the world, the disarray of the downcast. 
In our home not only flourished an extended family, but an extended garden, a garden that reached back through the generations. It was a garden of the spirit, and the spirit made flesh, of 400 olive trees planted by Grandpa Moses, of great grandfather Sarkis’s conversion to a living faith, of the desire by Uncle Vartan to share the Good News, whatever the cost, of the Bilezikian vineyard in the cool of the summer mountains, of the stones made into bread by the love and faith of 
Grandma Yepros, of the courage of Grandpa Moses whose shepherd status was challenged by the bandits from the hills, at the cost of their lives and their horses. All this was a tapestry, a magic one, for a boy growing up in a family of electricians, who transformed the wire and current of their livelihoods into a garden that filled every niche of their land and their home. 

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, October 20, 2017

Thursday, October 19, 2017

100th Anniversary of the Women's Club of Newton Highlands!

Yesterday, Marash Girl was invited to the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Women's Club of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts.  Unfortunately, New TV was not there to cover the occasion, but the Women of Newton Highlands, and Marash Girl were there!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Bad artist!

Growing up with books -- books everywhere, books always -- Marash Girl's children loved books.  When they loved the story, but objected to the way in which the artist had depicted the story, they simply slapped the image on the page and stated, "Bad artist!  Good story!"

Monday, October 9, 2017

Composting à la Adrien

Years ago, Adrien Parsekian of Troy, New York (I think . . . not sure of the spelling of his first name) showed me a new style of composting.  Beginning in one corner of his back yard, he would dig a hole slightly smaller than  the circumference of his original antique garbage pail cover.  In that hole he would throw vegetable and fruit peelings and leavings (his compost), throwing over the leavings a shovel full of dirt  and covering the hole with the antique garbage pail cover so that no animals could get at the would be compost.  He would add to the compost daily with vegetable and fruit peelings and soil (no meat or products containing meat).  As soon as the hole was nearly full, he would fill it to the brim with soil, cover it with a rock or two so that no animal could dine in, and then Adrien would dig another hole in his back yard and start the process all over again.  It was a brilliant method of composting.  Adrien . . . are you still composting in this manner? Do you have the most lush grass/garden in the neighborhood?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Whenever someone would make a stupid comment . . .

Whenever someone would made a stupid comment in the presence of Marash Girl's father, her father would comment, "Allah seni akul versin, banga para."  Translation?  "May God give you brains and me money!" ... a favorite expression of  those Marashtsi Armenians who had survived the early 20th century genocide of Armenians in Turkey . . . and survived to tell (or in most cases not tell) the tale!  How they still managed to keep their sense of humor after going through those horrors is difficult to fathom!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

As luck would have it . . .

Marash Girl and Marash Boy spent a lovely evening with old friends in the heart of Brookline Village -- completely last minute, completely unplanned . . . Are those not the loveliest of evenings?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Happy Birthday, Meghan!

                                      Happy Birthday, Dear Meghan, Happy Birthday to you!
l. to r.   Deron, Dylan Marie, and Meghan dining at Le Pain Quotidien 
 earlier this year in Battery Park City (NYC)!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Dead Space

While at Columbia Teachers College,  Marash Girl's professor gave her the phone number of the Yonkers Department of Education, encouraging her to call for an interview.  Every time Marash Girl dialed the number, she arrived in a "dead space" . . . a place where there was no sound, no sound except for other voices saying, "Hello?  Hello?"  Not one of the voices had reached the expected telephone destination --  in fact, it was almost as if the telephone company had created, unintentionally, of course, an old-fashioned party line, though none of the folks that reached that "dead space" had any idea how or why they had reached it.  But as things turned out, we all got to know each other, called into the dead space regularly, and became good telephone friends, good enough so that we decided we should meet at one of the inexpensive local restaurants.  We did.  And there was the "rub".  There is where Marash Girl met, and was romanced by the confused fellow that she wrote about in yesterday's blog.  Well, ya gotta meet guys somewhere, right?

The happy ending to the story?  Marash Girl did finally find the correct phone number for the Yonkers Department of Education, arranged for an interview, and was hired as a guidance counselor!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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

"I've never felt this way about a woman before!"
So there she was, having heard those words after he had kissed her that evening . . . day after day, awaiting his call.  But he never called.  What had happened?  She remembered clearly what he had said to her.  Okay.  She'd have to call into the dead space again. (More on the dead space in the next blog post.)  His friend answered.

"Oh," his friend said. "Didn't you know?  He rooms with his professor."
"So?" queried Marash Girl.
"He shares a bedroom with his professor."
"So?" queried Marash Girl.
"He shares a bed with his professor, and his professor will kill him if he ever finds out what happened between you two!"
"Oh," whispered Marash Girl.

N.B.  Never saw this fellow again!  Hope his professor didn't kill him!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Advice from the Ocean, Main Street, Newburyport, Massachusetts

Trying desperately to hold onto the summer, Marash Girl shares advice from an August day in Newburyport . . .
"Adapt to changing tides.""Be shore of yourself."  "Don't be shellfish."  "Take time to coast."  "Sea life's beauty."  "Let your cares drift away."  "Don't get tide down." "Harbor strength and persevere."  "Bet on a shore thing."  Surf life's rough waves."  "Come out of your shell."  "Seas every opportunity."  "Avoid pier pressure."  "Make waves & love."

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Back to Daily Posting!

Sorry for the mini-vacation, but Marash Girl was off visiting her grandchildren in Takoma Park, Maryland, and has chosen to use that as an excuse for her lapse in writing.  But never fear, she's back again, hopefully with some well-chosen tidbits to share!  For today?  A few photos taken on her front porch this morning to show what she's been up to. And since it's Sunday, guess where it all went?You guessed it!  To the church for their upcoming flea market!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

At Least One Barn Left Standing . . .

                                                                                                                          Photo by Marash Girl
 At least one Newtonville barn has survived the 20th Century Barn Burning in Newton, Massachusetts

This barn still stands on a street north of Washington Street in Newtonville,
behind the spot where Grandpa Moses's pool room once stood.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."  MLK    
Photo credit: Lorig Charkoudian, Washington, DC

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Boy Scout Helps Little Old Lady Across The Street

One of Marash Girl's favorite stories is about the Boy Scout who was intent on helping a little old lady cross the street.  No matter how much the little old lady insisted that she needed no help crossing the street, the Boy Scout persisted, determined to help the little old lady cross the street.  Finally, having achieved his goal, the little old lady turned to the Boy Scout saying, "But I didn't want to cross the street!"

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Reposting from Facebook

Years ago, Kenar and Marash Girl collected Armenian Nursery Rhymes from Medzmama when the little ones were little.  Those rhymes are somewhere deep in the files, to be discovered one day (soon, Marash Girl hopes).  In the meantime, please accept this reposting from Facebook with thanks to Maro Nercessian Katalaris.  Can anyone out there provide a translation?

Maro Nercessian Katalaris
Maro Nercessian Katalaris2:54am Aug 4
Armenian Nursery Rhyme/ Lullaby Aintab mothers said to their children. Remember Armenian language was spoken differently back then.

Djor, Djor, Djor Mama,
Djorig maman jam g'erta
Gorgod abour bish enna,
Yeghe vran khesh enna.
Kkachon oude, josh enna,
Lop, Lop Ashenna.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Stopping by Water on a Sunny Sunday (With a nod to Robert Frost)

Years ago, folks (including Marash Girl's family) would go for a ride, driving west along the old Boston Road (now Route 20).  They would stop at springs along the way, springs along the roadside, to fill their gallon-sized jugs,  jugs folks always carried with them in their cars, thermos jugs with spouts from which clear, cool spring water would flow hours later at the picnic grounds.  There were no Howard Johnson's, no Macdonald's.  Just a big picnic basket and a big thermos jug, and a car full of happy people, three generations of happy people.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


Common Street, Belmont, Massachusetts:  "Shame on Nauset Construction"  
Why? What's going on?

Thursday, August 31, 2017


Originally posted Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Harvey: Police Cars, Police Boats, Police Helicopters

There's a hurricane coming, and the police are going through coastal neighborhoods to warn folks to leave their homes while they still can.

A police car approaches a house along the rising waters where a man is sitting and rocking on his porch.  Come with us, said the police.  The waters are rising and your life is in danger.  There's a hurricane coming.

Don't worry, answered the man.  God promises that He will take care of me.

Hours pass, the waters rise, and the man has moved to the second floor of his house where he is sitting in a rocking chair and looking out of the window.

A police boat approaches.  Come with us, said the police.  The waters are rising and your life is in danger.

Don't worry, answered the man.  I'm stayhing right here.  God promises that He will take care of me.

The waters continue rising, and the man is now sitting on his roof, waiting patiently.

A police helicopter hovers over the roof and drops a ladder down to the lonely man.   Come with us, said the police.  Your life is in danger.  The waters are rising and will soon cover your house.

Don't worry, answered the man.  God promises that He will take care of me.

Soon the waters cover the roof of the house, the man drowns and goes to Heaven.

St. Peter comes to the gates.  Yes, what can I do for you?

I want to speak with God, said the man, a bit annoyed.  One moment, said St. Peter.  Come with me.

When the man sees God, he asks, God, what happened?  You promised you would take care of me, and here I am, dead.

God answers, I sent you a police car, a police boat and a police helicopter! What more did you want?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

At WBUR's Fundraiser 2016

WBUR's Tom Ashbrook in center of photo
Thanks to Martha McCool for finding the above photo on WBUR's website.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Are you a NIMBY?

Marash Girl had never heard the expression NIMBY before Wednesday night!  In case you haven't heard, the letters mean, NOT IN MY BACK YARD, referring to folks who support subsidized, mixed income housing in the suburbs, but not in their corner of the woods!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Don't Forget the Baking Powder!

What a difference a teaspoon of baking powder makes!  In her rush to make banana bread for Arax's birthday party, Marash Girl forgot to add the baking powder!  The banana bread tasted great, but its texture was more like chewy cardboard.  Sorry, Arax!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Arax!

                                                        Pears from the pear trees in Wilbraham.

Friday, August 25, 2017

If you're going shopping with your husband . . .

If you're going shopping with your husband, make sure you stay together.  Marash Boy and Marash Girl made the mistake of splitting up to speed the process up, and guess what happened?  We bought two of everything, of course!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Did you know?

Did you know that if a pedestrian is standing on the corner on the sidewalk, waiting to cross the street at a crosswalk, an automobile may not drive across that cross walk?  Marash Girl was kindly reminded of the fact as she attempted to make her way up Highland Avenue, yesterday, from Walnut Street.  It took her longer than she thought to arrive at the Bablouzian household to offer her condolences for Barkev's passing.  In fact, it was probably Barkev from on high who whispered in the ear of the "arresting officer", the arresting officer who finally agreed to allow Marash Girl to proceed to Barkev's home with only a warning in hand.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls . . . "

This morning, Marash Boy asked Marash Girl, "What time is your funeral?"

She shouted back, "I don't know what time MY funeral is, but Barkev's funeral services are at 11 o'clock this morning."

Barkev, may God rest your soul.

Cousins at Barkev's Hokjiash, basement of Armenian Memorial Church, Watertown, Massachusetts r. Rosemary Gabonlyan Koch, Armen Barooshian, Pauline Bilezikian  Barooshian
Standing In Background: Salpi Bablouzian holding her great grandchild.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Kenar Braving the Total Eclipse of the Sun Yesterday!

Though all of us here in New England were warned not to look directly at the eclipse of the sun without adequate eye protection, few of us bothered to acquire said protection, but Kenar in Oregon sure did!

Monday, August 21, 2017

High Finance!

Marash Girl stopped at the end of a yard sale yesterday and found a jigsaw puzzle which had not yet been attempted, although the box was open and pieces in the box were loose, so she would have been taking a yard sale chance purchasing that particular puzzle, but chance it she would.  Speaking to the woman who was selling the puzzle, she asked if the woman would accept $1 rather than $3 for the puzzle -- after all, it was the end of the day, the puzzle was still sitting there, and the puzzle pieces were loose inside of the opened box.  Incensed, the owner of the puzzle answered, "Forget it.  I'll put the puzzle together myself next time I'm on the Cape!"  which is exactly when Marash Girl was planning to put that puzzle together. . .  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

May God welcome you into His kingdom, Cousin Barkev

                                                                                                                                                              Photo by Marash Girl
May the Lord bless you and keep you,  may the Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace, dear cousin Barkev Bablouzian.

Photo by Marash Girl taken at a Marashtsi event many years ago.  (Possibly the 100th year commemoration of the Union of Marash Armenians.)  Barkev Bablouzian (his wife Salpi to his right)  pointing to a Marash embroidery that his mother Armenouhi Bilezikjian Bablouzian made.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Steaming Open an Envelope, Nancy Drew Style

While on vacation in Chatham, Marash Girl taught her grandson Raffi how Nancy Drew would have steamed open an envelope that had been sealed and needed to be secretly opened.  Here you see Raffi practicing what Marash Girl preached!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Tell it to the priest!

At a recent yard sale, a woman asked Marash Girl if she could have the candlesticks in question for 50 cents rather than $5.00 because the woman was buying it for her church.  Marash Girl replied, "If it's for the church, you can have it for free."  The woman insisted that she should be 50 cents for the candlesticks.  Marash Girl insisted that if the candlesticks were for the church, she should take them for free.  The woman, looking chagrined, walked away without the candlesticks.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Clearing Out . . .

Today, Marash Girl called the church to find out what they would like to have for donations for their "Attic Treasures" table at their upcoming bazaar.  She was told, "No books. No dish sets."  What's going on?  Would this suggest that folks are no longer reading books (at least not buying them, even at 50 cents each), or that folks are no longer eating out of china/glass dishes (only takeout)?  Or even worse, never entertaining at home?  Yikes. Have times changed!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Hatred Has No Home Here" - Yesterday at the corner of Walnut and Beacon Streets, Newton, Massachusetts

Photo by unknown sister protestor
Counselor Scott Lennon, candidate for Mayor of Newton, Massachusetts, holds sign with Marash Girl proclaiming that "Hate Has No Home Here!" 
                                                                    "Love, Not Hate, Makes America Great!"               Photo by Marash Girl                             
                                                                                                               "Grandmothers for Peace!"                                   Photo by Marash Girl                                                                    

"No Room For Hate Anywhere!"