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Posts Tagged ‘Stacey’

“Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day...”  and we’re not in Oklahoma!  Wednesday has dawned sunny and bright and we  joined  Stacey and Matt for a delightful le petit dejeuner  of delicious French toast and fruit and fromagee et jambon and we were introduced to Maple Butter.  A basket of bread and toasts and about 8 different jams, jellies, butters and honey were on the table. Maple butter is yummy on toast or on your spoon!

Breakfast Is Served

Breakfast Is Served

Animated Conversation Between Brother and Sister

Animated Conversation Between Brother and Sister

Marjorie gives us some ideas as to where to go and what to see on this lovely day.  We are going to go to the Lower City and explore the many boutiques on Rue Petit Champlain and then walk to the street where there are many antique shops.  Quebec City is a multi-level town.  I think our hotel is somewhere in the middle and it’s a long way down!  I say let’s take the Funicular, if not for the ease then at least for the experience.  Of course it WAS an experience.  The four of us are in this rather small green metal and glass box 193 feet up and on our way down the track WHEN all of a sudden it lurches to a stop 2/3 of the way down. Oh boy!

193 Feet Up!

193 Feet Up!

Uh, We've STOPPED

Uh, We’ve STOPPED

Eventually it began again and we don’t know why it did or why it stopped and when we got to the bottom and saw the ticket-taker at the other end, he apologized to us that our car was suspended for 3-4 minutes!

Stacey and I discovered a fantastic kitchen supply store and saw so many gadgets that we had never seen in the USA.  We each bought a pair of scissors that will chiffonade herbs – I can’t wait to use them on basil to make a fabulous Sunday sauce.    We meandered our way through the oldest part of Vieux Quebec admiring the architecture and reading the numerous plaques provided by the government informing us of the historical significance of the buildings and places.

This is the Place Royale, the original centre of Vieux  Quebec

This is the Place Royale, the original centre of Vieux Quebec

Our foursome spends considerable amount of time discussing when they’re going to eat and where they’re going to eat and here we are in a Vietnamese restaurant – with me slurping up a delicious soup.

The hostess instructs me in the art of eating this soup.

The hostess instructs me in the art of eating this soup.

No trip to another country or state would be complete for us if we didn’t find the antique section or at least a flea market.  Stacey dons a hat and strikes a pose.

Combien ca coute?

Combien ca coute?

More walking and eventually we are looping back towards home and that means what goes down must now go up but we’re not near the funicular and I groan as I look up at the stairs and the elevation we need to reach to get back.  We walked through the ramparts amidst more cannons than I have ever seen before.  As we climbed higher and higher the views were amazing, and one of the most surprising would be below!

The Port of Quebec is FROZEN still!!!

The Port of Quebec is FROZEN still!!!

It was good to get home and sit down and curl up in my overstuffed armchair.

All photos courtesy of Matthew Weinstein

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I LOVE to play Mah Jongg!  I always wanted to learn and I have no idea why.  Being the Martha junkie that I am, several years ago there was an article in her magazine, Martha Stewart Living about Mah Jongg sets and I fell in love with the tiles and the idea of owning a set.  Soooo being the true collector that I am, I bought one – PINK tiles of course!  I kept the set for years, sometimes opening it up to admire these mysterious tiles and wonder what they all meant because I surely had no clue.

About 5 or 6 years ago I was at work one day and heard one of the brokers talking about going to play Mah Jongg.  I couldn’t believe my ears and immediately I said to Haley, “oh you play? I want to learn” .  Haley invited me to join her group for an evening and they were kind enough to let a TOTAL novice play along with them, well actually Haley and I played together on one card.  That was my introduction and I was HOOKED!!  I played a few more times with them and brought along another friend, Bobbie who also worked with us and who had played when she was younger.  Talk about a CRAK addiction!  I wanted to form a group. I wanted to play every week.  Haley’s group was a little less formalized, they played when they could all get together.   It just so happens that shortly thereafter I was at my friend Gail’s mothers memorial service and somehow I must have uttered the word Mah Jongg – “Mah Jongg” up pipes Sarajane, one of Gail’s friends and soon to become one of mine – she knew how to play and wanted to play and was eager to form a group too.  Now we were three.  We got Haley to play with us a couple of times but her schedule didn’t allow her to join us on Monday nights.  I contacted my sister-in-law Stacey and asked her if she wanted to be in a weekly group and she did and she knew how to play too.  OH BOY – we had a group and we were ready to roll those dice and clack those tiles.

That was, as I said several years ago, and along the way our group has added and lost a member or two but we remain 5 determined committed women who LOVE to play this ancient game of chance and we play every Monday night which has led to our group’s name of Monday Night Mah Jongg Mavens. Corny but cute.  We had another name that I was partial to and not sure why it got dropped as time went on and that was “This is Not Your Mother’s Mah Jongg”.

And as time went on and my CRAK addiction took hold, it was only natural that I would want to collect some vintage Mah Jongg sets.  No new ones for me – I wanted the real thing, the aged smooth tiles worn by time and love to a smooth silky surface, the paint faded away on some but still retaining their original artistry.  OK, so truth be told I now own  a few, maybe several or some might say many sets. This is not an easy item to collect or display in terms of shelf space!  Nevertheless, I love my sets dearly.  Each one chosen because of its rarity, or the sheer beauty of the tiles themselves, particularly the depth of color of the vintage bakelite or style of the One Bams and the White Dragons (also known as Soaps).

Tonight I’m off to the Museum of Jewish Heritage to see a special Mah Jongg exhibition.  I know it will be more than a few sets on display, perhaps I’ll find out what drew so many American Jewish women to this game.  I’ve attached a link to an article that appeared in they New York Times in March about the game and the upcoming exhibition and a couple of photos of some of my vintage tiles.

Martha Stewart Living, pink mah jong mah jonng tiles

My first set - PINK of course!

mah jongg, mah jong tiles, Four Winds, Soap, one bam

Vintage Four Winds caramel backed Mah Jongg tiles- Soap and One Bam

mah jong, mah jongg tiles, bone and bamboo

Vintage Pung Chow Mah Jongg bone and bamboo tiles

Museums Special Section – Recalling the Craze for a Game of Chance – NYTimes.com.

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