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Beautiful professional model, Candice Boucher, photographed by Warwick Saint

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Photos courtesy of ROB



















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Shifting the Sun

by Diana Der-Hovanessian


When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses. May you inherit
his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn't.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.



















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March 25, 2014

My precious beloved Father, Megherditch Hatsakotziantz, passed away peacefully last night. God bless him for the good he did for many all his life, he had a good heart and was a generous warm soul...for being an outstanding father to me. Instilling in me a love for people, love of music of all genres, love of travel, love, respect and appreciation for my Armenian roots...keeping my languages alive by forbidding me to speak English at home, sending me to France every year to maintain my love and ties for family, heritage...and making me feel feel like his beloved little Princess even when I was a grown up married woman with my own child and beyond. A beloved grandfather to my son, for whom there was no one in this whole wide world more special. Merci de tout coeur, Papa. My sun has shifted. May I now walk in his light...















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Photo of Gayane Aslamazyan, popular model/actress in Armenia. Photographer unknown.















Love is not a thing to understand.
Love is not a thing to feel.
Love is not a thing to give and receive.
Love is a thing only to become
And eternally be.

~ Sri Chinmoy



























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Photo of Gayane Aslamazyan, popular model/actress in Armenia. Photographer unknown.





























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Isabel Bayrakdarian, Canadian Armenian opera singer gives an introduction to Sayat Nova whose songs are known to all Armenians, with usually at least one member of the family singing at least one of his songs at gatherings. In our family that was my paternal grandfather, raised in his the historical Armenian region of Van (currently Turkey. ) He was a warm, loving, funny (he loved to tell stories and they always brought a good laugh) hard working family man who never learned learned to read or write but farmed the family land and sold what they raised going by boat on Lake Van to various cities and villages in his youth. He loved to sing and dance and this was one of the more poignant songs he sang. This song always brought a tear to my father's eye when he heard it, even in front of others, it moved him so.
































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September 7, 2011


Back to Marseille...Pictured here is the Eglise Armenienne, au Prado, where my parents were married long ago, and I was baptized here a couple of years later. It is kind of small but has a lovely layout and courtyard. My father often brought me on Sundays, even on those rare occasions when my mother was home preparing for the family to come after the service. This was usually on visits from the Patriarch when all my grandparents wanted to be in attendance so it made more sense for everyone to come dine at our place which was closer than the country homes of my grandparents where we usually had our Sunday family dinners.





















Now my paternal grandfather was very indulgent and would at these occasions slip me a delicious piece of bubble gum when he could sense my stomach was growling during those longer services with the visiting dignitaries. He knew I wouldn't cause any trouble since I never got the hang of how to blow a bubble with it but adored the yummy taste. My grandmother took it all very seriously, and was known to sigh when she heard too much chattering, glancing up to give a deadly disapproving eye to the offender. You see, my grandmother was a strong personality not nearly as indulgent as the priests! Luckily for me, she adored and loved me to pieces and there was no bad side to her for me to get on; she thought I was perfect! Well, that's grandmas, even the tough ones! I was the first grandchild in thirteen years, so she was darn happy to see me and I gratefully reaped the benefits of her warm affection for me....and dearly loved her back.





















Armenian churches are a little bit different in that they don't proselytize and most of the clergy (99.9%) have a high tolerance for however the congregants behave and it is not at all unusual at certain times during the service to hear personal conversations, even critiques of the local priest or visiting clergy. They have their antenna and radar out for long winded sermons and you will know about it far in advance should such a rarity present itself. Most Armenian priests are very intelligent, have a "l'argesse d'esprit" and no false illusions that this unruly crowd will sit through the whole sermon, so they spare themselves the grief and keep it short and sweet. Every once in a while, you will get an archbishop close to retirement whose fuse with the frailties of his flock is short, so he may throw in a long one on purpose just to tick somebody off.





















All this came to my mind as I was thinking how kind and thoughtful it was of my father to along with my mom raise me in this tradition, with the option to make my own mind up later. In fact, sometimes in the U.S., I would go to church services with various friends in the neighborhood to see what their traditions were. It wasn't until my father was in his 70s that he mentioned he was an atheist but respected the tradition and fellowship that came with our church so wanted me to experience it and as an adult make up my own mind about my beliefs. Just another reason he remains my hero.






























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Yes, Thank you to Greece, Lithuania, France, Netherlands, Argentina, Venezuela, Canada, Lebanon, Russian Federation, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Uruguay, Chile, Germany, Sweden, Vatican City, Slovakia to name most of those who have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. There may be some new ones which haven't been listed here yet...moot point I know.



























Flashmob dance in Buenos Aires, Argentina dancing Armenian folk dance," kochari"...in a thank you gesture for Argentina's official recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey in 1915. A catastrophic crime against humanity which has affected every Armenian family that I've ever known on four continents. Turkey refuses to acknowledge it and that is their business but as the descendant of survivors (my grandparents on both sides, I'm one of he lucky ones) it will never go away and we will never forget. Let them never recognize it and it will only make the Armenians hold onto their ancient heritage all the more.






























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A deep beautiful soul who expresses it so well on her gorgeous blog...one of my favorites here at CAT.






















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s p r i n g !















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thanks I A N A I A R E











































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ray C H A R L E S















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diana K R A L L













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I love Diana Krall, and just about everything she does is sublime...her version of Tom Waits's Temptation is a favorite of mine and all the versions I've watched and heard have been good. This one is live from the Jazz Festival in Vienne, France...a few years back.
































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Dynamic and soulful, in a league all her own...a moving artist, and I don't know Portuguese but I get her music!



































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A lovely blogger who also used to stumble...whose pages are full of warmth and inspiration. Merci, Raymonde!





































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Photo by Tania Shcheglova




























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Photo: Paris by Elliott Erwin




























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YA


















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Some former stumblers may know YA, he popped in recently...as he mentioned, he mainly blogs at Diaspora but may expand his Cat one day. The photo above was taken several years ago at his friend, Renee's property in the Pyrenees Orientales, France. Storms have changed this a bit but had to post it anyway.

Good to see YA!







COOKING WITH ALFRED


























Don't let the photo of the chef scare you, he cooks a yummy "clean soup" and he is a lot of laughs while doing it too!!! In case you're in a mood for the best soup ever, I am posting Alfred's recipe for his yummy veggie soup...simple but delicious!!!

These are photos from his own kitchen...I think he would make a great addition to the Food Network, kind of like a male, Austrian Paula Dean, certainly just as funny and full of pizazz!! The food is just downright yummy and easy to make...so here ya go!
























Veggie Soup a la Alfred

Recipe serves 2

Ingredients:

6-8 medium sized potatoes
4 carrots
2 yellow carrots
1/2 celeriac (medium sized)
1 parsley root
1/2 leek
1/4 tsp.nutmeg
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/4tsp.cumin
2 - 4 laurel leaves
5-8 garlic cloves and/or 1-2 onions w/peel *optional

















All soup/kitchen photos: YA

















Directions:

1. Chop da potatoes in little cubes, add da garlic or onion/s (both *optional) and put them into the water in the basic pot, add some cumin 1/4 tsp.cumin and 2-4 laurel leaves.

2. Clean and slice da veggies any shape or size you want,(not too thick) and put them into the sieve above the water which has the potatoes, laurel leaves, cumin and optional onion and/or garlic.

3. Let it all simmer together for 45 minutes. Then blend the water with da potatoes and opt garlic or if it's an onion you take it out (you can also blend it with da potatoes after peeling the onion), be sure to remove all da laurel before blending.

4. Add as much nutmeg, salt and pepper as you want, I always add a cube of bouillon concentrate .

5. Add 5 to 8 oz. of creme fraiche (or sour cream), stir then top with fine cut parsley for garnish if you wish.

6. Add da veggies from the upper sieve, stir it together and serve it ... it's delicious!!!





















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iPhone pic of my father with my friend Diana.

















My father turned 95, in January. His health is fragile due to his age but he doesn't suffer from any of bigger diseases nor does he have chronic pain. He was hospitalized last week for a minor heart thing which is okay right now. He's frail from not eating, he doesn't like food not prepared at home...never has...so he is losing weight from not eating. He was transferred to a rehabilitation facility to get his strength back before returning home. He's still feisty; he has gotten dressed and tried to walk out twice now...which these places don't like (understandably.) on the other hand it shows he's feeling able to leave (but he's not really)...anyway, it's not close to my house so I do skip a day here and there. He enjoys simple things like sitting in the sun and reading a magazine. Hopefully he will be allowed to return home soon. The culture here really makes that hard. The whole medical and aging of America is big business and the laws help to make the state have more say so in how a person ages and dies. Quite disappointing, but I expect that there will be some resistance to this as folks start realizing how many of their rights are being trampled on and will eventually lead to overturning some of these trends. At least I hope so.
















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In what remains of my blog, are a couple of photos of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Marseille, France where my parents were married and I was baptized. Not because I am particularly "religious"...although I do believe in God.

St. Vartan in Oakland is where we came when first immigrating to the States...it is where my great aunt had her funeral...and the site of my beloved late Mother's funeral in 2004.

My great Aunt Rose belonged to the Ladies Society cooking up a storm with the other gals for weddings, funerals, baptisms along with the highlight of the year, the annual Church Bazaar. I was happy to come across this video... posting it here mostly for easy sharing.















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