Movin’ On

troll1This is a short but sweet Blog today. Life is starting to get back to normal, or as normal as my life is ever been. I’m finishing the final business of closing my mother’s estate. I still haven’t been able to pack up and distribute what remains of her life with me. I did send some clothes and DVDs to my brother and his girlfriend. I still need to send some figurines that were promised to her granddaughters. I can’t believe how fast time goes by when you know you’re supposed to do something and you just can’t get the gumption to do it. I’ve decided since I didn’t go to Florida this year, the next really bad weather day. I will tackle mom’s suite of rooms. Most everything else is done concerning taking Mom and Dad back to Idaho in May or June. I’ve been thinking May would be best because the threat of a major winter storm in the Pacific Northwest is unlikely, not impossible, but unlikely.

Orcrist has finally conquered his pneumonia and his back doing the things he loves best. I am doing great. We just celebrated my 3rd year of taking 2 oral medicines for my Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and I have not had a relapsing episode since I started taking them. (Time out while I do the “happy dance.”) As for my heart condition, since I got my Defibrillator, or my remote control as we call it, I won 1st Fight Ladies Club Champion in golf and several smaller tournaments. I play Mah Jongg once a week and look forward to getting out more as the weather breaks. My best friend in Florida thinks it’s winter if it gets below 72°. Because I am a little further north, my winter starts at 50°. I don’t do well in sub 50° weather. Unfortunately, I do even worse in temperatures above 90° or days that have a lot of humidity. So that being said, I think I’ll go to Idaho in May so I don’t miss the golf season.

For now, I am off to do more genealogy. I have cancelled my long-term membership in an online genealogy website, and am trying a new website that is up-and-coming. I’ve been unhappy with my original site for a while now. It’s not actually all the website’s fault, it’s that they allow the inputting of some of the most bogus information I’ve ever seen. In one case, there was a glitch (which was their fault) that listed a very small village in France as the birthplace of half of people’s ancestors. There was no way to fix it except manually retyping the correct information (In one of my trees I have 1,000 people.) The 2nd complaint I have is that people do not double check their typing. An example of that was the gentleman who was born in 1615 in England. He met a nice lady who was born in 1620 in Scotland. Now there’s nothing wrong with the information I just gave you. The problem was the information for their marriage being they were married in Detroit, Michigan in 1923. Now I believe in making sure that you are sure before you marry someone. But a 308-year-old engagement is a bit much for even me. Now it’s not to say that they couldn’t have been married in Detroit, Michigan, since it was founded in 1701, but again, the chances that in the 18th century, they lived to be 86 was not likely. Oh, did I mention that they had children who were all born in the 1600s? Shame on them, having children out of wedlock. LOL. It would be simple to add a flag that says “Are you sure this information is correct?” Most of the time people will hesitate to push the “OK” or “Yes” button before rereading the information. So I am trying a new website, if I don’t like it, I will go back to the old way and will keep my complaining to myself, NOT.

Have a great day, give the gift of a smile and you will get one in return.

(This Blog was not so short and not so sweet. My bad.)

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas!

Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas!

Let me start off with thanking everyone for their kind words and thoughts this last week when I lost my beloved Mother.  As we know, life goes on.

Now for Christmas,  there is nothing better than seeing your 2-year-old granddaughter (on Skype) running around from present to present…

She was overwhelmed and over stimulated.  Hey, she’s our only granddaughter.  What were we supposed to do, but buy her everything, including, and I have to tell you it was the cutest thing you have ever seen, a red dragon Stuffie!!! I put a note in telling them his name was Smaug….

Then there was my Christmas.  I will start with I got Legos!  I got Season 1, both volumes, of Outlander!  I got Aidan Turner in “Poldark”.  I got Dragon Speak, several genealogical books, a sandwich press, (can’t wait to make “Spaceburgers”), and last but certainly not least, a couple of books on how to sell your stuff on Ebay.  I will be the hit of the golf course, with neon blue golf balls and my new golf knickers and argyle socks.

I was terribly spoiled and am eternally grateful for every single gift.

Orcrist was a bit overwhelmed and over stimulated with all his gifts too, from jame2antique safety razors to vintage fountain pens.  The requisite boxers and socks were a given.

 

As always, my most desired gift is that you, my friend, (yes, I am talking to you) are healthy and happy, that the New Year brings you peace and goodwill.

Now, I must away to make a Lego Submarine.

Weary now, she’s gone to rest

ellie2014Eleanor Nordene Sturman Whitehead, 92, slipped quietly away from the arms of her loving family on December 17, 2015. She was born September 3, 1923, in Montpelier, Idaho to Earl Williams Sturman and Ada Eleanor Conway Sturman. She was the mother of Hacksneck resident Debra Whitehead Bergner and son-in-law Jon Clark Bergner. She moved from Idaho to the Eastern shore of Virginia in February 2006.

She was predeceased by her best friend and loving husband, Claude Jacob Whitehead, who passed away January 24, 1986. Theirs was a fairy tale romance that started out with a young Marine writing to his best friend’s younger sister after seeing her picture during the Guadalcanal campaign. They first met face-to-face in August 1945 and were married 2 months later.

Eleanor worked for the Union Pacific Railroad during World War II, handed out donuts and coffee to soldiers, sailors and airmen traveling through Pocatello, Idaho, and helped her mother, Ada, and her Aunt Margaret host dinners and dances for them at Margaret’s famous Pocatello House Hotel. She had a variety of jobs during the years, owning a craft store, working at a Hallmark gift shop, working in the office and holding seminars for Weight Watchers as a traveling lecturer. Her most rewarding job, however, was as a volunteer for the national Red Cross Disaster Relief. She spent more than 30 years, Monday through Friday, 8 to 4 volunteering at the Pocatello Red Cross office. When she became Chairman of Volunteers for blood services, she was instrumental in calling and registering more than 700 blood donors every 6 weeks. Her “uniform” of blue slacks, white blouse, and red jacket was adopted as the normal attire for Red Cross office personnel throughout Idaho and Utah. She was awarded many honors as a volunteer, including the prestigious Clara Barton award, the highest award the American Red Cross bestows on volunteers. It recognizes meritorious service in volunteer leadership positions held over a period of years. Along with volunteering, Eleanor donated more than 9 gallons of blood during her lifetime.

Eleanor is survived by her 3 children, Claudia Jeanne McCoy (wife of the late Michael Patrick McCoy), and Stephen Conway Whitehead both of Pocatello, Idaho, and Debra Whitehead Bergner and her husband Jon of Hacksneck, Virginia. She will be sorely missed by 16 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, 19 nieces and nephews and their extended families.

She was the middle child of a family of 3 boys and 4 girls, 2 brothers, Rodrick Earl and Leonard Morris, and one sister, Wilma Arlene Sturman Munn, preceded her in death. Her sisters, Shirley Ann Sturman Brown and Muriel Faith Sturman Young reside in Pocatello, Idaho. Her youngest brother, Paul Michael Sturman resides in Twin Falls, Idaho, with his wife Linda.

A “Celebration of Life” will be held for both Eleanor and Claude in Pocatello, Idaho, in the spring. Their combined ashes will be spread over their beloved Rocky Mountains.

In lieu of flowers, Eleanor had asked for a memorial donation, at this sorrowful time, to the local SPCA. Their address is Eastern shore SPCA, PO Box 164, Onley, Virginia, 23418 – 0164.

I will miss you my best friend, who just happened to be my Mother.

Mah Jongg–A Game for the Ages

The 8 Immortals playing Mah Jongg

The 8 Immortals playing Mah Jongg

I received an old Japanese Mah-Jongg set the other day from Orcrist. After some initial investigation it appears that the set was made in the 1950s or earlier. It was missing a couple of tiles so I’ve sent out some feelers to see if I can replace them. I can replace them with stickers made on my computer from scanning the other like tiles but I would prefer not to if I don’t have to. There were a whole bunch of papers stuffed underneath the tiles. I initially removed the tiles to count them and match them into groups so I could see if any were missing. I came upon a page from what appears to be an old encyclopedia page. I’m going to try to read it to you. Although some of the words are missing, they have been cut off, I will do the best I can.

MAH JONGG, MAH ZHONG, also spelled mah-jong, is a game that is been played in China since around 500 BC. It is now played in many parts of the world. Mah-Jongg is similar to many card games. But small rectangular tiles engraved with Chinese drawings and symbols are used instead of playing cards. The “deck” consist of 136 standard tiles and several additional tiles. In the Orient, players use 8 additional tiles. In the United States, the number of additional tiles varies from year to year, as determined by the National Mah-Jongg League in New York City. 4 persons usually play Mah-Jongg, but 2, 3, 5, or 6 can also play. Players try to form winning combinations of tiles by drawing from a pile of tiles, exchanging tiles with other players, and by discarding tiles. A rule book list point values for the winning combinations. Usually, each player begins the game with chips equaling 5000 points. Losers give chips to the winner equal to the value of the winning hand. Play may continue for a set number of rounds, or until a player wins a certain number of points.

So there you have it.

I also found an article from the SYRACUSE POST – STANDARD written by Anita Altman for the August 21, 1975 edition.

“Four Dot,” “Two Bam,” “Crack,” “West,” the clicking of tiles and the “Woo” – the sound of Mah-Jongg (which sounds a little unusual for the person who is never played this version of a Chinese game).

But to many women, these sounds are characteristic of getting together with friends and engaging in an individual competition.

Starting the 1st Thursday of September. There will be a Mah-Jongg Tournament, sponsored by the Syracuse section of National Council of Jewish Women. Groups of 4 women will play 10 games once each month throughout the year. All the players will rotate with each other as well is the home where the game is played, says Mrs. Gerald Reback, Chairman. Winners of each game receive a set number of points, depending on the value of the hand played (as determined by the National Mah-Jongg League), whether the player picture winning tile or whether the winning tile was thrown by another player, and whether the hand was concealed or exposed. The scores for all players are tallied for each month and these are published in the Council’s monthly bulletin. The top players will be recognized in June. Monies raised through this project help fund NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education at Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Annual Schools for Community Action; and other group activities. The Mah-Jongg Tournament is open to all intermediate players and interested women who may contact Sheila Reback Manlius for more information.

THE GAME

The game of Mah-Jongg is played with 136 or 144 tiles (or P’ AIS) that resembled dominoes but are instead engraved with Chinese symbols and characters which are divided into suits and honors.

A fad in this country in the mid-1920s, the game was revived after 1935, but never regained its initial popularity. The Chinese origin dates back to the 19th century, but it was an American resident of Shanghai, who introduced Mah-Jongg to the west after World War I. Joseph P Babcock wrote a modified set of rules, gave English names to the tiles and added index letters and numerals familiar to Western card players. The pieces are named and numbered as follows:

– Bamboo (Bam), numbered 1 to 9, with 4 of each number, resulting in 36 tiles.

– Circle (Dot), numbered 1 to 9, with 4 of each number, adding up to 36 tiles.

– Character (Crak), numbered 1 to 9, with 4 of each number, hence 36 tiles.

– Honors, 4 Red Dragons, 4 Green Dragons, 4 White Dragons – 12 tiles.

– Winds, 4 East, 4 South, 4 North, 4 West, which equals 16 tiles.

These add up to 136 tiles.

– In addition: Flowers and Seasons, 4 of each, or 8 of either and when added to the others equal 144 tiles.

The game, played with 4 people, is done so without partners the object of play, similar to Rummy, card games, is to obtain sets of tiles.

There are 3 kinds of sets: “Chow,” a run or sequence of 3 tiles in the same suit in numerical order; “Pung,” a sequence of 3 like tiles of the same suit and number, 3 Dragons of the same color or 3 identical Winds; “Kong,” a Pung plus the 4th matching tile.

To begin a game, the tiles are divided evenly and placed face down in double rows or walls in front of each of the 4 players. The stacks tiles represent the Great Wall of China and the player who leads “breaks” the wall by selecting 4 tiles. Each player, in turn, takes 4 tiles until East (who leads) has 14 and the others 13. Next is the Charleston, a series of passes. Each player passes 3 tiles to the person on her right, 3 to the person a crossed, then 3 to the person on the left. This is followed by a 2nd Charleston – left, across then right.

The actual play, then begins. The 2nd “wall” is broken (? I think this might be an error by the reporter) and East begins the play by discarding one tile reducing her hand to 13. Then each player, in counterclockwise rotation, picks a tile (either from the wall or the last one discarded) and then discards one. Any player, regardless of whether it is her turn, may claim the previous discard. If it completes part of her hand. The play continues until a player completes a “Woo” or winning hand, or until all wall tiles have been used. It is a game of luck and skill and even now, after explaining it as simply as possible and sitting in on an afternoon Mah-Jongg game, I believe that I could play – very slowly, though.

I found another article from 2007 basically saying the same thing. It did mention there were places on the Internet where you could go to find out if there were players in your area. Just for fun, I checked to see if any of these websites were still up and running.

http://msoworld.com/mindzine/news/orient/mah_jong/history no longer exists, however,

http://msoworld.com does. It is called Mind Sports Olympiad. It is very cool, go ahead and check it out.

http://mahjongtime.com is a website called “Mah-Jongg Time”. It is a place where you can play Mah-Jongg. It appears to have free sign-up to play. When I get done with my blog, I will check it out further.

http://amja.net is the official website for the American Mah-Jongg Association. It is up and running, and another place. I will check out.

There are a couple of other websites that I suggest you check out if you are at all interested in learning about the game of Mah-Jongg.

http://www.mahjongtreasures.com is a wonderful site with an area where you can go to read about the history and see some of the vintage Mah-Jongg sets. The owner is also working on a history of Mah-Jongg.

https://www.nationalmahjonggleague.org/ is the official website for the National Mah-Jongg League. They are the folks who make the official rules and hands card that so many players use.

In case you are wondering, I know how to play by Chinese rules, Japanese rules, National Mah-Jongg League rules, and Wright-Patterson “military” rules. I have, obviously a Japanese set, 2 Chinese sets, and 4 American sets of tiles. 2 of the American sets are new. The other 5 sets are all vintage, which in American terms can means whatever you want it to mean in terms of age or era. In terms of age, they are all from the last century. I might be classified as retro, while Orcrist is definitely vintage.