Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mah Jongg

Mah Jong every which way
family style
My daughter's stylish set

Porch style

Outdoor style

We've been playing all summer. I love the game, and my daughter is completely hooked.
You usually play with 4 people, but you can play with 3 or even 2. (Or 5 if you switch like in bridge). There are several ways to play it. The Chinese play it very much like gin rummy. The English have a whiole book of 'special hands', and my aunt, who taught us, learned the English way while she was living in China, lol.
The real difference is in the various 'hands'. They all have cool names, like 'Gerties Garters', and 'Heavenly Twins', or 'The Ruby hand', or 'Dragon's Breath'. There are three suits, (bams, cracks, and dots) and three dragons (red, white, and green) and the four winds (north, south, east, and west.)
The set-up is easy, once you get the hang of it. And playing is fun and for all ages.
We wanted to get a set, but they are hard to find. So this summer, I promised my daughter we'd take a trip to Chinatown in NYC and see if we could find one. We went down the last day of our visit, and stopped to see Sam, who offered to take us to Chinatown for lunch and help hunt down a set - so off we went. We had lunch in a Fabulous restaurant, I will definitely recommend it to anyone who loves Chinese food - it's called Shanghai Cuisine, and it's located at 89-91 Bayard street downtown Manhatten. (corner of Mulberry and Bayard). Everything we had was delicious - I can't say enough good things about that place.
Anyhow, after lunch we headed east, and hit a small street with some tiny shops, and Sam spotted a mahjongg set in the window! We went in, and the shop owner took down a box, opened it, and took out a huge wooden box with a dragon on it. She opened it, and my daughter gasped in delight. A lovely mah jongg set. My daughter asked the price, and her face crumpled It was expensive. I was just starting to tell the lady that we couldn't afford it, when Sam said, "Wrap it up! It's for her birthday!" My daughter was jumping with joy, and all I could think of was 'we are going to have to carry this 30 pound mah jongg set with us on the plane'. Actually, I was thrilled, and am planning on sending a care package to Sam, with some chocolate and some 'get skinny' tea - LOL!
My son managed to cram the box into our luggage, so all we had to do was wheel it around the airport. And now, every night, we play a few hands of mah jongg.
Last night I won with a hand called 5 odd honors.
Thank you Sam!!!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to me!

I'm 47 today - (I'll only admit to 35) and I mowed the lawn and lifted the old lady next door.


Yes, for the past few days I've been helping the nurse who takes care of the 104 yr old woman next door, because the nurse sprained her arm and can't lift her anymore. So I've been helping out. It's been an interesting experience. The woman in question (104 - that makes her 57 years older than I am) is deaf and cranky, and has slight dementia. Otherwise, she's in fine form. She can't walk, but she can complain - which according to the nurse, she does constantly. Today she complained I set her down too fast (I actually nearly rolled over with her onto the bed. She's heavy!) But she's strong, and she can usually hoist herself into her wheelchair, just not back into bed.

My son, who is a fireman, said that most of his missions are picking up elderly folk who have fallen down and can't get up. He told me to call him if the old woman got stuck. So far the nurse has managed on her own, until she sprained her arm.

The old woman saw me the first day and said, "Who's that?"

"La voisine!" (the neighbor) shouted the nurse. (she has to shout, as the old lady is deaf as my dachshund when he's decided he wants to stay in bed.)


"No, la voisine!"

"Oh. Bonjour Justine."

"No, pas Justine. Ta voisine! She's here to help!"

The old lady calls me Justine now, and complains that I don't lift her high enough to get her situated right in bed.

According to the nurse, she's being difficult because she refuses to let the nurse lift her with this handy contraption that would make life considerably easier for everyone. But the old lady refuses, and so the poor nurse has to come knocking at my door every morning and evening to get the old woman set up right.

Next week a new nurse is coming, and I'm leaving on vacation, but my son said he'd be standing by in case she needs lifting, so don't anyone worry.


Thursday, July 26, 2007



I love summer vacation. I love not having a schedule. I dont have to worry about forgetting appointments, getting days mixed up (they're all the same during summer!) and setting the alarm wrong. I feel free. I just took my daughter to the dentist today for her monthly checkup for her braces, and the dentist remarked at how relaxed and happy I looked. Thinking about schedules must put lines on my face. Oh well. I still have a month left. So what am I up to? I'm headed to the south of Spain, where I will try to catch up on my reading.
Books I've read so far this summer:
The Coal Black Horse (fabulous)
Killer Angels (even more fabulous)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (made my plane trip home so much more fun)
And a couple of decent books by good authors, but I've forgotten the titles, sorry.
Some photos of this summer:

At the military cemetery in Saratoga, where my father is buried.

Here is my daughter fishing at the lake at my uncle's camp.

This is a photo taken at the cemetery at Gettysburg.

Me holding my niece, and my mom, in her new house. We have to strip the wallpaper and paint this room, but the woodwork is done.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

New York

I just got back from the lake. A lovely vacation with no computers, TV, e-mail, or any loud noises except the truck that started up every morning at 6 am when the neighbor went to work. And that was fine because at five we were up, drinking gourmet coffee, and sitting on the porch (or sitting in the canoe) admiring the silvery lake.
My sister and her husband own a restaurant and they came laden with food - and so we had wonderful dinners every night. My cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents all came to see us, and we fished, played mah jongg, and walked around the lake. And that was it. And it was heaven.
Now I have sporadic internet use - I'm at my mom's house for a week. Next Monday I'm going to Pennsylvania for a few days. I've never visited Gettysburg, and that's where we're headed for some historical events. My daughter and I are watching the TV series 'Gettysburg' that we rented from the library in anticipation of our trip. We're going with my school chum Debbie, whom I haven't seen in over 15 years!! I hope she recognises me.
I haven't had time to work, and I'm falling woefully behind. But I do have two new books out - Hotline - over at total-e-bound books, and My Fair Pixie is now in print in an anthology called Lady Jaided's Virile Vampires.
If I had more time I'd add links and such, but I'm headed out the door to help my mom with her new house. We just got the dry wall up, it's alnost all taped, and we'll start priming soon.
Got to run!
I'll write more later!