And now, the Sunday’s Funnies!!!

•January 31, 2010 • 2 Comments

Sooo Funny

Ariston Floral Boutique

•January 27, 2010 • 3 Comments

(Houry Photography)

Like yesterday, today I didn’t feel like much photographing!! Something real unusual for me, usually I can’t wait to get out camera in hand and take a snap.

While in the elevator, I remembered that one time I had walked in a nice floral boutique and the gentleman had let me take some shots of the beautiful flowers!! But how much of the same can I photograph?  and where was that boutique? I guess I was hoping for rejection and felt better that it wasn’t really my disposition of taking picture but the florist fault, smiled to myself on this crazy thought and went for looking the specific boutique.

Found it!!! Meet Alexandros, ha!!

He walks towards me and says with a smile: “How can I help you?”.  I said: ” Do you think I can take some shots of your beautiful flowers? I promise I won’t take any shots of the arrangements!!”  He asked me where I was from, I said I am Armenian, I guess my accent gave me away, hahaha, I found out he was Greek!! He said go ahead, sure, but just flowers no arrangements, please!!

While taking my shots, we chatted me shooting, he working!! He was very skilled and designing gorgeous arrangements with tulips, orchids, hydrangeas, luscious green leaves, gorgeous roses, the most beautiful Gerbera daisies and Cala Lilies!!!

Alexandros was born in Greece and from young age came to the US. Went to high school and didn’t want to pride by asking if he went to college or not.  He started this business 40 years ago.  Got married and has three children and he turned his business into family business.  This particular boutique, in Midtown Manhattan, is  his second location that he started three years ago; the first one is/was located in Downtown Manhattan.

His nephew, Theo, is working with him too.  In this store, three more employees and all working together in harmony.  You could sense that Alexandros is a good man, another gentleman was there too and I guess Alexandros younger brother.

Mostly the Ariston Floral Boutique does business with corporate accounts, hotels, banquets and weddings. They don’t mind walk-ins.

They helped me out with the name of some plants and branches full of buds and and few blooms.

(Houry Photography: Quince blooms)

I thanked them for their time, help, kindness and hospitality!! Tomorrow, I’ll surprise them with some coffee and donuts. They deserve that, don’t you think!!

Here is the site link if interested: Ariston Floral Boutique

(Photographs: Houry Photography)

Help to Haiti

•January 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The disaster of Haiti’s earthquake news shook the world. At least I got good news about a colleague of mine who was visiting his country, Haiti, with his wife and two children when the disaster happened. Today, we got the news that they are safe and sound!!!

How many people can give receive good news!!!

Help is needed. Please, make your donations through a trustworthy organization such as UNICEF and Red Cross, text HAITI to 90999 on your cell or call directly 1-800-RED-CROSS . Each one of us should take upon ourselves to give a helping hand.

Heartbreaking stories and scenes.  My prayers to the lost souls and to the survivors.

Or

100 Years - Armenian Relief Society of Western USA

ARS Issues Appeal to Help Earthquake Victims in Haiti
The Armenian Relief Society of Western U.S.A. (ARS), Regional Executive board issued an appeal to mobilize its members and the community at large to contribute to the ARS Haiti Relief Fund and lend a hand to ongoing disaster relief efforts.
“The ARS feels the suffering of the Haitian people, especially since we experienced similar devastation after the 1988 earthquake in Armenia,” said Sossie Poladian, Chairperson of the ARS Regional Executive. She added, “Many of us, still remember the pain and anguish that we felt and how comforting it was to know that the world came to help the people of Armenia. It is our duty to help the Haitians who fell victim to a similar disaster.”
Since the ARS was founded a century ago, disaster relief has been one of its humanitarian missions. Earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes from Greece to Mexico to our own backyard in Louisiana have flung the ARS into relief efforts.
Our community is urged to be generous with donations, knowing that every donation small or large can make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering in their devastated nation.
Tax-deductible donations can be securely made on-line at www.arswestusa.org/donate or checks  payable to the “ARS of Western USA” can be mailed to ARS of Western USA, Regional Executive at 517 W. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale, CA 91202-2812. The web donations default to “Haiti Relief Fund” and the checks need to indicate the same on the memo field.

Did you kow?

•January 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Previously I had posted about couple Famous Armenians. But did you know about Famous Armenian Inventors? Here are few names and their inventions and you can read more about their inventions by clicking the link read more.

Michel Ter-Pogossian, Position Emission Tomography (PET) Scanner. read more

Stepan Stepanian, Truck Mounted Revolving concrete Drum Mixer, Revolutionized the Concrete Industry read more…
Agnes joaquim,  Singapore’s National Flower, Hybrid Orchid “Vanda Miss Joaquim”, read more…

Raymond Damadian, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Machine, inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame. read more…

Luther Simjian, 200 inventions including: ATM Machine, Self-Portrait Camera, Military Flight Simulator, Postage Meter, teleprompter, Medical Ultrasound, Golf simulator, Meat tenderizer, Color X-Ray Machines. read more

Peter Vosbikian, 1st Automatic, Self-Wringing Sponge Mop. read more…

Boris Babaian, Russia’s First Supercomputer.read more…

Albert Kapikian, Rotavirus Vaccine, Awarded Sabin Gold Medal.read more…

Mesrop Mashtots, Armenian Alphabet Inventor. read more…

Ed Iskenderian, First hydraulic Racing Camshaft. read more…

Varaztad Kazanjian, Father and Pioneer of Plastic Surgery. read more…

Alex Manoogian, Single handle Design Faucet (Delta Faucet). read more…

Ardashes Aykanian, Bendy Straw, Spoon Straw, First form of tupperware, strip on car windshields, Coca-Cola plastic bottle production machine, extracted Uranium. read more…

Roger Altounyan, Pressured inhaler and cromolyn sodium Therapy used for Asthma, allergies, Nasal sprays, eye drops. read more…

Artem Mikoyan, “MIG” Military Aircraft. read more…

Best inventor off all!!! Yours truly, (Fabulous me!!! LOL!!) Houry Sarkissian Najjarian, for having such fabulous friends and family members visiting my blog and flickr site.
Thank you all!!

Houry Photography enjoy your visit

One of many True Stories from the Armenian Genocide

•January 9, 2010 • 2 Comments

Thank you for your encouraging words!! Few Emails I received were about my point of view on genocide!!! I am not a historian, I am not a writer, lot has been written, said, in books, newspapers, on the internet and YouTube!!!

As you all know, the most gruesome history of the 20th Century started with the Armenian Genocide. The following is a true story that happened to my paternal grandma, Néné (é as in negative).

I, Houry,  never learned how to swim being afraid of water. My Néné used to tell us kids that it is very important for everybody to know how to. She used to say: “take me to the beach one day and I’ll teach you how”. We used to laugh and say, have your bikini ready Néné!!! Where did you learn how to swim, when in Armenian custom everything is NO specially for girls??!!

Here is the story of Genocide from my Néné to me to you:

My Grandparents (Néné and Dédé)

Cima and Krikor Sarkissian

  • “Hundreds of us, thousands of us, anyway lots of us, we were walking for days. Fortunately, my younger sister Acabie, my son (not your dad!!) and my baby daughter were together. Our husbands were at the front fighting against enemy or were they and who was the enemy? We still didn’t know why we were pulled from our homes to a safer haven. My dad was also somewhere, I think fighting or was he? My mom? I don’t know what happened since I lived with my husband, but we were told by the turkish soldiers that we all were going to the same place and soon we will all be reunited. By the time we realized we have been lied to, days and weeks and months had passed. I was the daughter of a rich silk merchant, I had and my sister too, gold bracelets covering my arms, rings covering my fingers, gold coins on chains on my forehead some precious stones on some pieces. In order to have some dried bread as food and dirty water to drink for my kids, for my sister and for myself; my sister and I gave them away one by one to the soldiers. To a point that one day I ran out of my jewelry besides few coins and couple bracelets.
  • While walking towards an unknown destiny and realizing the future was not bright and seeing and hearing things that would raise the hair on the back of your neck, my sister and I made a pact ( she was younger, no kids yet); I told her, just in case, only just in case we get separated take care of my son and I keep my daughter next to me since she is a baby.  If we survive this ordeal, we’ll find each other, I am sure.  We promised each other!! I had few coins left well hidden and she too.  During our walk of exile we would see rows of trees with black and green little fruits, we didn’t know what they were, we were so hungry we would pick as much as we could while the turkish soldiers/guards were busy (we would ask: doing what, Néné? she would look at us and say, “sleeping”, and her eyes will lose contact with ours as if seeing images that nobody should witness and afraid that they will project out in the open).  Inchvoré, (never mind that!!), we would devour those little bitter, o so bitter fruits as fast and as much as we could, afraid that if we’re caught we would be beaten (nice way to put it in words for us kids who wouldn’t know and understand the word rape!!!).  Later we found out those little black or green fruits were olives.   On our way we would see some women, children, men of different ages sleeping on the sides of the roads or in ditches; we were told to leave them alone if we wanted to continue walking.
  • One day, we were told that if we wanted we could cross the Euphrates River by boat, unless we were happy to continue the walk.  The number of boats that will take us to “safe haven house” was limited.  At least on the boats we could seat and relax and some other guards will row the boats to the other side of the river.
  • My sister and I we talked about this opportunity.  Acabie, my sister, said she didn’t trust them, let’s continue walking. I said, we are tired already, the baby is hungry and I guess my breastfeeding is not enough anymore!!! The boy is tired.  But, we were tired, didn’t want to argue and silently wishing the other or both with escape the ordeal, and, we had a pact.  When the day came, I hid my baby under my long skirt and headed for the boat group and Acabie, holding my son’s hand continued her exile on foot with the other group.  Hugs, kisses, tears, cries and embraces filled the air.  We were torn; no one knew who was right and who was wrong.  For the first time the turkish guards were happy and laughing and encouraging any decision, and leaving the women and children alone!!! Little we knew!! Acabie continued with on foot with my son and me with my baby girl hidden under my skirt on the boat promising each other once on the other side of the river we’ll make sure to find each other and not move from the promised safe haven without each other!!! We needed those words of encouragement to keep our sanity and something to look forward!!!
  • There were quite few of us on the boat, mostly women and children.  Let me tell you kids, Euphrates river is not like the river that your dad takes you on Sundays for Shish Kebob!!! Euphrates river is very dangerous, the currents very strong and treacherous.  Our crossing area wasn’t very safe but better than most other areas that we had seen on our way.

  • We were in the middle of the river, when suddenly the turkish guards stood up and started rocking the boat.  We were screaming, panicking, pleading but they were laughing louder and louder.  They threw us all overboard one by one.  To save myself and my baby I was swimming frantically, without looking around, without thinking, fighting the currents, was my knowledge of swimming good enough for this river? I guess my skirt, like a parachute kept me from drowning!!! Couple more laps and my hands caught the side rail of the boat. Laughingly the guards started beating my knuckles with their oars!!! Their laughs were vicious!! Their face was vicious!!! Their eyes darting venom!!! I fell back and this happened three times!!!! I was tired, drained and couldn’t feel any more if I had hands!!! Finally I made it to the shore didn’t want the turks get the best of me!!! I am strong, I made it!!! I swam!!! My baby??!! Where is my baby!!! She wasn’t even wrapped on me!!!! She wasn’t on the boat!! Nobody had seen her!! Euphrates River had taken her in its arms and given her to the angels!! When did it happen, I don’t know!!!
  • Few of us made the shore.  Others had bigger loss.  And the nightmare walk started back again.  Looked for my son and my sister.  No where around. Nobody knew about my husband.  On this side of the river things were little better.  Armenian soldiers were guarding their cities.  Where was I? I don’t know!!! None of us knew.
  • That’s when I met, Krikor (i=ee; translates to Gregory), your grandfather!!! A handsome Armenian young soldier on a white horse.  He helped a lot of us and fell in love with me!!! I told him, young man, I am married, just lost my baby girl and I don’t know where my son and my sister are.  He said where is your husband? I replied I don’t know we were taken away from home and they separated us.  Krikor concluded that he must be dead.  The bloodshed was bad in the north and we were way south.  He and his friends helped a big number of us exiled from different cities.

  • I told him the atrocities we had seen.  Houses burned, people killed. Women raped. Families destroyed. Daughter drowned. Son and sister somewhere, anywhere.  He promised me he would do his best to find my son and my sister.
  • I, Cima Keshishian from Amasya, marry you Krikor Sarkissian from Doert Yol.
  • He was from a prominent family your grandfather and so handsome.  They were very well respected by the community, the clergies and delegates from other countries.  Every time the city had the visit of a well know personality, political or religious they stayed in our guest room since we had the biggest and largest house of the corner of the city called Doert Yol (Cross Roads).

  • Your granddaddy was a smart man, he knew from day one you kids will be our grand children, so he decided to move to Beirut Lebanon with me.

  • The Genocide made the Euphrates bleed with Armenian blood.  He was scared for me and for his future family.  He was right.  He kept his promise, we found my sister, she was leaving in Paris France, had 3 sons and a daughter and grand kids too.  My son, raised by my sister, as one of her own, was married and lived in Toulon with his children.  I did visit them. Your daddy arranged for me to take the big white ship that took me to France.  This ride was a happy one.  But I wanted to come back missed you kids!!”

And that’s how she learned how to swim!!

This was my grandma (Néné) Cima heartbreaking story of the Genocide.  Thousands of similar stories and worse, us Armenians, we have.  The older we got the better we understood her hidden words such as sleeping instead of rape or beating instead of killing or laying down instead of dead.

My Dad, Bedros Peter Sarkissian

We celebrate Armenian Martyrs Day on April 24.

Menk hayenk, gank yev meeshd bidi menank!!

Shnorhavor Nor Dari Yev Soorp Dznoont

•January 6, 2010 • 1 Comment

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas (title).

Soprano: The Mother of the Lord

Since Armenian Christmas is celebrated on January 6, we greet each other by saying Happy New Year first and than Merry Christmas.

The preparations for Armenian Christmas begin weeks ahead.  The cleaning of homes are done inside out. The parish priest visit families to bless them and their home with salt, bread and water. Weeks in advance, on wet cotton balls in saucers, lentils seeds, wheat and chickpeas seeds are placed and allowed to sprout as symbols of new life and prosperity.

As Christians we don’t eat any animal foods during the week that leads up to Christmas. Traditional home made food are prepared such as   braided bread, rice pilaf, fresh vegetables, rice pudding, figs, baklava, and an00shab00r, (a pudding/porridge made from wheat), nuts, berries and apricots, anooshaboor has become a traditional dessert for the holiday season.

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?  For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.’  And lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.  Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:1-11, RSV)

As a tradition, in Armenian circles gifts are exchanged on January 1, which is not a day of religious significance. Replacing that tradition with a gift exchange on December 25 is not a major deviation, since the January 1 is only a few hundred years old and is taken from the West.

Merry Christmas!!

Photos: Houry Photography

Armenian Christmas

•January 5, 2010 • 1 Comment

Isabel Bayrakdarian, Soprano: We Celebrate

For the overwhelming majority of Christian denominations, the Christmas holiday culminates with celebrations Dec. 24 and 25. But Armenian churches wait until Jan. 6.

The observance of what has come to be called Armenian Christmas underscores an almost 1,700-year divide between the Armenian church and most other churches over when to mark the birth of Jesus. That stance reflects the reality of a distinct ethnic church ministering in a religiously and culturally diverse region and nation. By contrast, in Armenia, there was little alternative to the Armenian church and its Jan. 6 observance of Christ’s birth.

In fact, no one knows exactly when Jesus was born. Nor is his birth believed to have been celebrated in the earliest days of the church. According to the Armenian church, all Christian churches used to celebrate Christ’s birth on Jan. 6. But in the year 325, the Roman emperor Constantine decreed that it would be celebrated in his empire on Dec. 25.

There are various reasons given for Constantine’s edict. But one oft-repeated account suggests that it was a move by the church in Rome to usurp a popular pagan holiday celebrating “the invincible or unconquered sun god” with a Christian observance of the birth of the son of God.

By the end of the 4th century, the Greek-speaking Christian world had also adopted Dec. 25, including what is today’s Greek Orthodox Church. But the Armenian church held its ground. Jan. 6 endured as a date to mark both the birth and baptism of Jesus. For some orthodox churches, including the Russian Orthodox Church, Christmas is celebrated Jan. 7.

The Western church adopted Jan. 6 as the Epiphany, the time when Jesus was adored by the wise men. In the Armenian church, however, several themes are woven into the Jan. 6 observance, including Jesus’ birth, baptism and the “manifestation,” or epiphany, of Jesus as the son of God.

(Excerpt from http://www.armeniapedia.org)