Monthly Archives: February 2015


From time to time I have asked you to send me photos of your Mah Jongg games, your Mahj group, your tournaments, etc. I hope you know how much I love hearing from all of you and seeing what is going on in your world of Mah Jongg.

The other day I received the following photo and blurb from Jill, a faithful friend of this blog. With her kind and generous permission, I now share this with you…


Hi Ann, today I got Mah Jongg with “Singles and Pairs” (Any 5 Consecutive Nos.).
I got it myself! First time since I started playing 3 1/2 years ago! It was so exciting!
Hope all is going well with you.

Congratulations to Jill – I know this was very exciting!

Keep those notes and photos coming –



All kinds of players – young and old, experienced and beginner, friends and strangers – can have fun playing Mah Jongg together. Today’s blog asks for your help on an issue that is not so very uncommon…

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Our friends, Donna and Boots, from out in sunny California (I almost don’t remember what a sunny day must be like) sent me the following message and are asking for advice. I sent them my answer quite a while ago but now let’s see what you have to say:

Dear Ann,

It’s been great fun to read about all of your travels for your book promotion. If we were closer we would surely attend one. Perhaps one of these days you will be on the West Coast!  I’m sure you have sold a lot of books!  Do you get asked some really interesting questions?

Now, we hope that perhaps you and your wonderful readers can help us with our dilemma and give us some ideas.  This regular group of mostly very experienced players meets twice a month. We are about 25 players.  I have been giving lessons on a regularly scheduled basis in another room at the same facility for the past 6 weeks, with 5 people in this beginning class. The goal is to move these new, but great players into the same main room as the larger group and to have people mix together. If you just continue to play with the same 5 beginning players you are never going to gain more experience. Also, they’re likely to continue some bad habits and without guidance, will never correct them. Realizing that everyone was a “beginner at some time in their life” we have asked the others for “patience and understanding”. These new players are not exceedingly slow, but may need some extra moments.  Some of the experienced players are “grumbling” about not wanting to play with “newer players”. We don’t want to discourage anyone from coming and participating and having a great afternoon, but we want everyone to be as comfortable as possible.

When we have 25 people in the room there is one “floater” who takes the place of East as soon as the table is finished. Where there is no “floater”, we just exchange “Easts” with another table when two tables have finished at about the same time. I have thought about designating one side of the room for “newer players” and for those experienced players willing to rotate through those tables but I’m afraid I won’t get enough people to want to do that.

Any suggestions you or your wonderful readers could offer would be very welcome as we want to keep old players happy, but want to be able to welcome new players. We play at a city Sr. Center and there is no cost to us and it is “open to the public”.

Any ideas?

Thank you so much for your wonderful blog that has such useful information.
Donna and Boots

Let me know your thoughts and I will show your responses in a future posting.


Linda is back and ready to dive into her new business. Here is what she wrote to me:

I love it!  Yes, I’m willing to jump in and I just set up an account:

and payment can be made through PayPal

Price:  $150.00 glitz name

     $175.00 bead name

Plus postage and handling – $3.00.

You can contact Linda directly at and discuss the colors you want and whether you want your name done in “glitz” or beads. Here they are again – these are very special, labor-intensive bags and you will be the talk of your Mah Jongg group when you show up with one of these!
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I have received so many comments and emails about Linda’s fabulous needlepointed bags and I have convinced her to start a business making these personalized Mah Jongg bags for any of you who might be interested in owning one. Linda has told me that they will hold the larger NMJL card but not the plastic protective sleeve that some of us use. The bag is the perfect size for both the small or the large card, all of the change that we carry around to our games, and anything else you might need to take with you.

Linda is out of town right now but has promised me that as soon as she returns she is going to open a PayPal account and will send me all the specifics on the bags. I suspect this will be very soon. In the meantime, while you are thinking about having Linda make one of these bags for you, take another look at the different colors you can choose and whether or not you want beads or glitz (as on the Peggy bag).


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I am getting excited about my trip to Las Vegas and doing a book signing at Gladys Grad’s big Mah Jongg tournament at Harrah’s Las Vegas. Over 400  people will be attending and I can’t wait to meet everyone!

Look what Gladys put in her latest email:


MARCH 6-8, 2015

Thanks, Gladys!

And I look forward to meeting all of you at the tournament starting on March 6th !


My last day in Florida was yet another fun-filled day. I started out early in the morning by heading over to the Boca JCC where I received a warm and wonderful welcome by Stephanie Owitz, the Assistant Director of Art, Culture & Learning for the Phyllis & Harvey Sandler Center at the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center. Stephanie is terrific and I hope to see her the next time I return to Boca (which I pray will be soon!).

The turnout at the Boca JCC was wonderful with lots of old and dear friends showing up to hear my talk. My dear friend, David Fink, showed up with his wonderful girlfriend, Pearl. Jodie Knofsky’s dear mother Joyce showed up with a group of her Mah Jongg-playing friends. Deborah Korash, another dear friend from Detroit (and Camp Walden!) days showed up with her Mah Jongg group. There were almost as many friends there to support me as there were people who were just interested in hearing my talk and buying my book. It was so very special for me to catch up with all of these friends from my past and to meet many new people as well.

David’s sister Linda, who I will get to see in November when I speak at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, is a genius at needlepointing beautiful Mah Jongg bags which are just the right size to hold a NMJL card and lots of coins. Pearl brought the bag that Linda had needlepointed for her:

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Linda mentioned that she has been thinking about selling these beautiful personalized bags. Let me know if anyone is interested and I will see if Linda is willing to do one for you (or for you to give as a fabulous gift for a Mah Jongg-playing friend!).

Here are a few more of the fabulous bags that Linda has made:

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After my talk and book signing, I headed over to meet my friends Lowell and Jay  Van Vechten for lunch at a fabulous French bistro, Casimir, at Royal Palm Place in Boca. We had a delicious lunch and a chance to catch up on old times. Then it was back to the apartment, pack up, and head to the Ft, Lauderdale airport where I sat for about 5 hours hoping that my flight might actually take off for the frozen tundra of New York. Part of me was definitely hoping that the flight would be cancelled and I could spend more time in sunny Florida but, in the final analysis, although it took seemingly forever, it was so good to be home and get a big kiss from Lizzie!