Tag Archives: naples


Last week I received a very sad message from Joanne Cusumano, the daughter of Phyllis Cusumano. Phyllis, who was known and loved far and wide, had finally succumbed to brain cancer. 

Phyllis was my friend and, even though we had never met in person, we were frequently in contact by phone and email. Phyllis vowed that some day we would meet in person but that day never happened, which makes me very sad. 

Phyllis was a beloved Mah Jongg teacher living in Naples, Florida. I would often receive messages from people in and around the Naples area, inquiring about Mah Jongg lessons. I always responded to their inquiries with a message letting them know that they were in luck as the best teacher in their area was Phyllis Cusumano and they should contact her immediately. Phyllis always called or wrote with a thank you and, more telling, I would usually receive a message from the students thanking me for introducing them to Phyllis and letting me know what an amazing teacher she was. 

This world has lost a very special woman. I send my condolences to Joanne, her daughter, who now has Buddy, Phylis’s beloved dog. 

There will be a mass for Phyllis on Monday, August 14 at 11am at Most Blessed Sacrament in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey and there will also be a service for her on November 13 at 10am at St. Williams Church in Naples.

Rest in peace, Phyllis, and hopefully there will be many Mah Jongg games for you up in heaven.


Naples favorite Mah Jongg teacher has sent me an announcement about an upcoming Mah Jongg tournament that guarantees all attendees a wonderful time. Hope you can attend! Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.23.32 PM

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I have blogged before about the wonderful Phyllis C in Naples, Florida. She has turned out to be a dear friend to me, even though we have never met in person (but I know we will some day!). Phyllis has been teaching Mah Jongg for many, many years and her students always become her dear, dear friends. She saw I had posted my “Ann Israel Eyeglass Leash” (available from Gehazi Collections) and, before you could blink, she had made dear friends with Sandra from Gehazi Collections! No one can resist Phyllis!

Lola, Lisa, Diane and me

Here is an email – along with the above picture – that Phyllis sent to me and to Sandra at Gehazi Collections:

Here I am all decked out with my Mah Jongg eyeglass holder, along with my new gifts of my Mah Jongg bracelet (Mah Jongg Queen) and beautiful earrings given to me by my student and now dear friend, Diane M, in striped pink shirt.  Pictured are my previous students and now best friends, Lola and Lisa. Mah Jongg has given me so much. If the picture doesn’t show my precious Mah Jongg jewelry too well, I will have to try taking another one soon to truly show it off!!  Can hardly wait to show my class – plus my Mah Jongg friends – my treasures!!  So many wonderful friendships.  And I also have you two!!

Much love and hugs, Phyllis C. (Naples, FL.)  



The other day I received an email from Susan in Naples, Florida. So, to all you West Coast Floridians – how can we help out a future MJ player? If you are a Mah Jongg teacher in the Naples area – or if you know someone who teaches in that general area – send me an email or reply to this posting and I will pass the information on to Susan. Here is the message I received from her:

Hi Ann,

I found you through Google when I put in Mah Jongg Naples FL.

I am interested in learning Mah Jongg this fall.  I have never played but wish to join my friends who are just a few months ahead of me.

I am a full time Naples resident living in the Vineyards and am very flexible as far as the time goes. It does not matter to me if the lessons are private or if I join a beginner’s group.

Can you help me or, if not, can you point me in another direction?

Susan T

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Yesterday I reported on my talk and book signing at the Miromar Design Center in Estero, Florida. That was in the morning. Later that afternoon – around 3:30 – Charlotte had arranged a presentation and book signing at The Club at Mediterra in Naples. Little did I know that she had planned…

…an incredible cocktail party with the most fantastic Chinese theme including fantastic hors d’oeuvres. Wait until you see all these amazing photos!


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These darling little Chinese food take-out containers were filled with a wonderful Chinese salad.

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The tables were so lovely and Charlotte had found these little steamers filled with cookies for each person to receive as a favor. You can see the mini-steamers at each place setting. Note the postcards at each place with a photo of the book on the front. Leave it to Charlotte to think of everything!







I’ve been absent from blogging for a few days but I am back now and ready to tell you over the next few days all about my amazing trip to Florida.

Charlotte is incredible and my few days in Naples turned out to be quite an exciting adventure. Today I am going to tell you about my talk and book signing at the Miromar Design Center in Estero (near Naples).

There was a really nice crowd that turned out for my talk and the book signing afterward went very well. However, it was the decor that Charlotte had worked on that really knocked me out. She had tableaus and tablescapes that she had put together from various design houses such as Brunschwig et Fills and other famous designers.

Take a look at what you saw when you walked into the room:


I am absolutely over the moon for that ottoman and the fabulous pillows!

There were two large screens projecting my Power Point presentation


And on each seat there was a postcard with the information about the book that Charlotte had printed up for the events; here is Charlotte’s dear friend, Anna, who helped with the book sales after the talk:


And here is a photo of one of my favorite people, Charlotte’s wonderful mother, Lisa  (on the left). And how about that gorgeous tablescape?!


And speaking of tablescapes, here are a few more photos of what the very talented Charlotte had put together in the room:

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Tomorrow: my amazing experience at the Club at Mediterra (all thanks to Charlotte!)…