Monthly Archives: June 2015


Up until recently I had a weekend home up in Columbia County in the small town of Old Chatham. This is a particularly beautiful area in upstate New York, nestled in the foothills of the Berkshires. Although I have given some Mah Jongg lessons in the area, I recently learned that some of my dear friends up there have been playing Mah Jongg for many years – who knew?!

I have had several speaking engagements in Chatham and Hudson, talking about the the art and history of the game along with selling my book, but had no idea that Mah Jongg was becoming the thing to do up there. Last week I received the following email from my dear friend Maynard – I must say that I am thrilled to see the sweet little town of Chatham has caught on to our addiction!

Maynard wrote, “See what you have inspired in Chatham? Mah Jongg at the Chatham Public Library!” 

Tiffany Window Chatham Public Library        
Chatham Public Library
Week of June 1st–June 7th  
Programs for Adults
Memoir Writing   
Tuesday, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.;
Thursday, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Peer led writing groups gather to provide comment and review one another’s memoir writing. New writers are welcome!  If interested, contact Al Stumph at 392-2618, or 

Monday and Wednesday, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Mah Jongg players meet downstairs in the Teen Room. Beginners are welcome. Join the Mah Jongg renaissance! 


First Sunday Book Group
Sunday, June 7th, 2:00 pm
The Group will be reading Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival, by Velma Wallis. The selection for this meeting is “Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival” by Velma Wallis. Based on an Athabascan Indian legend passed along for many generations from mothers of the upper Yukon River Valley in Alaska, this is the suspenseful, shocking, ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine. Books are available for loan at the library. Meetings will be held at the Middle School Library, adjacent to the Chatham Public Library.  



Everyone knows how much I love Lynn and her website,…here’s a chance – just for the next few days – to pick up anything you might need for your Mah Jongg game and, at the same time,  receive a 10% discount on everything you buy from Lynn’s online store. So don’t hesitate and check out all the wonderful gifts, special Mah Jongg sets, accessories, and books (even my book is on sale!)

(They’re expanding!)

Everything in the store is 10% off!
Online orders only


You can see their new website!
Feedback on your ordering experience is welcome 

*Expires June 25, 2015


$_57I received an email from Babs, a good friend of this blog. Babs is working on a very interesting and novel project. As she wrote,  “I am looking for older Mah Jongg cards. I am trying to make a complete image collection of all cards from the first year the NMJL made the card to the present. A big task, I know….do you or your “friends” have any  images of cards from the following years: 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1993,  1992, 1979, 1978, 1977, 1975, 1974, 1972, 1971, 1970, 1969, 1967, 1966, 1962, and all earlier years. Hope you can help or point me to a friend that can…

I am not aware of anyone else who has tried to put this together. I think it would be fascinating to see all the different hand combinations since the early days of Mah Jongg. Yes, I did get a number of images off eBay, but they are not complete. Most are missing the rules page which tell you the number of Flowers/Jokers for the years, or the images are too blurry to see all the hands. I have googled umpteen hundred searches for every year from 1938 and on (searching: nmjl, mah jongg card, mah jongg rule, mah jongg hands) so far to try and complete this, but there are not enough images online to make complete renderings of all the years. I have managed to buy a lot of cards when they are reasonable in price…but some people are charging $40.00 or more dollars for a single card…ridiculous! Considering I have 78 years to find, that’s quite expensive. Any help is appreciated. I don’t care if they have 6 separate images for each card’s panel or have 2 images , one for each side. I am stitching together what I can….and if anyone wants to donate their cards in the years I noted, I am happy to provide an address to send it to….:)  My oldest card, that I own is 1944.  Let me tell you, there have been some crazy hands……….Thanks! Babs”

So, if anyone has cards from the years that Babs has cited, please let me know and I will put you in touch with her.

It would be such fun to see the finished product so let’s try to help her, even if we are just loaning her cards to use for the images.



Lisa has been an amazing student in one of my Mah Jongg classes. She seemed to understand the game from day one. And ever since then, all she has wanted is a vintage Bakelite Mah Jongg set.

Lisa is a very philanthropic woman and for twenty plus years she has been involved with an organization called “Learning to Look.”  In order to show their thanks for her undying commitment and the hard work she has given all these years to this organization, the other members of the group decided to give Lisa a beautiful vintage Bakelite set as a surprise gift.

Please enjoy the face of happiness – these photos say it all:IMG_2677 IMG_2681


Congratulations to Lisa – you deserve this beautiful set; you are a very special person, indeed.


One of my star Mah Jongg students is gone for the summer but I just received the following message from her. All I can say is, thank goodness her husband and son are safe…and the Mah Jongg set is intact. Hey – we know our priorities, right?!!

“Ann, my house in Pennsylvania burned down on Thursday night. My son and husband (and two of three dogs) made it out safely. We are going through to salvage what we can. Guess what?  That heavy wood case protected my Mah Jongg tiles! One must keep a sense of humor!”

And a beautiful enrobed set it is…IMG_0227I must add a sorrowful note to this story which I have spun with a bit of a frivolous air – sadly, the third dog did die. He was 13 years old, blind, deaf, and an incredibly dear soul. He couldn’t hear anyone yelling to get out of the house. He was sound asleep on the bed he loved. Hopefully he has now made it across the Rainbow Bridge where he happily frolics in the sunshine every day, sight and hearing fully restored.

I’m hugging Lizzie right now as I think of this dear old pup who didn’t make it out of the house…


If you are a reader of this blog then you know I always say that Mah Jongg people are the nicest people. Well, get ready to read on and learn that Mah Jongg people are also the most talented and creative people. 

From the beautiful state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest, our friend Katie planned an amazing party for the June birthday celebrants in her Mah Jongg group.  

KATIE: “It’s still a secret until tomorrow, but I couldn’t help myself, but sharing. I cannot take credit for the cake, but I did the tiles and the dice. I didn’t have a mold for all the tiles, so I just made a special hand. I’m hosting tomorrow and, since the weather is gorgeous, I’m planning to set up the table on our back porch and have lunch there too. We had many June birthdays, including my own coming up (last one before the big 4-0!), so I wanted to have something special.

   The cake is a simple chocolate layered with chocolate in between. I first asked her to make it vanilla or similar, but I guess she forgot. It was still very delicious and decadent. The green is fondant. I made the tiles out of gum paste, because it hardens much faster than fondant.” 

And now, get ready to feast your eyes on this incredible, amazing, phenomenal cake –

Katie, you rock!Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 10.26.24 PMKatie went on to say, “I had such a lovely day playing with a few of my great friends today, kicking off what I hope is my week-long celebration. The cake was a fantastic creation of one of the moms in S.’s class, and I made the tiles and dice.”2 1 3 4