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I’m Back!

I have been “off air” for awhile. I had some health problems, I was down, and felt terrible for months, but I am back. It feels so good to feel good again. My first big outing  was to LA last weekend for the Ultimate Women’s Expo. What a great time I had at the expo in general and in LA in particular.My friend and super poker power Barbara Enright has been inviting me to LA for this expo for years. Finally, it was the right time. We crammed years worth of visiting, fun, eating, and laughing into 48 hours.

She also had told me about “Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown LA; where her grandmother took her when she was a little child. You don’t go to Clifton’s for the food these days, but for the ambiance. I sent my son a picture of a buffalo. He texted back, “I didn’t know you were going to a zoo!” I could have spent hours just walking around and looking at everything. The most impressive to me was a glass case with a silver teapot and a hand written letter beside it. Written in a beautiful calligraphy, it read, “Dear Glifton’s 48 years ago my husband and I spent a lovely evening at Clifton’s on our honeymoon, I so admired the silver teapot that when we got in the car, I realized that my husband had taken it by putting his navy hat over it. Ir has been the pride of my teapot collection for decades. My husband dies two years ago; can you forgive him?”

On Sunday morning, we visited the original Pantry. If a full parking lot is a sign that tells you that a restaurant, is good, a 3-block long waiting line is a definite sign of excellence. I always said I would never wait in a long line for anything or anyone. Barb assured me that it would be worth the wait and she was right! As we neared the front door, I read the message etched in the glass door,”Through this door that has no key, you will enter a cafe that has never closed since 1924. Our waiter, Jose had been working at the Pantry for 38 years and he worked like a machine, personable but friendly and efficient. The dessert of the entire trip was when my friends Tammy and Joy took me to an outlaying area , in an outdoor open-air shopping area. I don’t remember the name of the area, but the ice cream parlor was “Smitten”. I’ve never seen anything like it or even heard  about it.  Every order was freshly made with liquid nitrogen. Instant ice cream!  And to mention another interesting treat. How about Boxed Water! Water is water – NOT! It was the best tasting water I have ever had! We met Tammy’s folks, David and Tammy, Sr. and Joy’s hubby, Hal. We all teased Hal about his pink tennis shoes, He said they were “rose gold in color. Oh, how I wish I knew how to get my pictures from my phone to this blog!

I saw many famous speakers at the expo. My favorite was Sheryl Underwood (The Talk). I liked her before I heard her speak and now I like her more. On the subject of politics, she said, I don’t care if you like him or hate him, you better pray for him, he is our leader!” On the subject of men, she said, ” I have had many samples from the buffet of love, but haven’t yet found one I could not live without.” Her Daddy taught her,” You are not better than nobody but nobody is better than you!”

I was surprised and saddened by downtown LA. It is dirty, dangerous, and there are homeless everywhere, some even pitching tents on the sidewalks. Don’t get me started on the traffic or the very expensive parking.

At the Expo, I had a free massage and a free haircut.The massage was great, the haircut turned out fine, but why it took two hours, why,I’ll never know. Barb said he was cutting one hair at a time. Mark your calendars for the LA Women’s Expo. next year. It is well worth the time and effort to get there!

Until next time … and I promise it won’t be months and months … unless God slaps me down again.


Moving on Up, to the West Side

It’s official. I found the perfect little house and I am leaving my wonderful big house that I have enjoyed so much for eight years. I am moving from 4,000 sq. ft. to a house half that size. Of course, I must downsize, as previously mentioned. In doing so, I have lots of furniture to sell. NO! I will not be selling my poker table and WSOP chairs, as many of you have asked. What I will be selling, in brief: a queen-size bedroom set with almost new mattress, a corner desk, a small Drexler 3-drawer chest of drawers, two pull-out sofas (one regular size, one twin size,) a rocker with gliding footstool (matches pull-out sofa,) and a 7′ Horseshoe shape shelving piece with four shelves, 2 are glass. If you are interested in any prices, etc. give me a call or shoot me an email.

On another subject. In going through all my old Chip Chatter (oh what a wonderful walk down Memory Lane), I came across some quotes I’d like to share with you: Puggy Pearson, from 1987, “Poker is not a woman’s game because it takes balls.” I think if he were alive today, he might agree that many female players today have very large balls! From my dear friend and Southern humorist, Bill “Bulldog” Sykes, To a man whining about a bad-beat, “Brother, you can’t unfry an egg!” To me on the subject of men, “How to train a man – you reward them if they do, you punish them of they don’t, and you get rid of them if they won’t!”  A quote from Jack Straus, circa, 1980, “Better a day as a lion than 100 days as a lamb.”  From my dear friend Joanie who left us for that great poker game in the sky,some years ago, circa 1988, after knocking a grumpy old man out of a tournament, he stood up and bellowed his displeasure at being eliminated from the tournament in general, and being eliminated by a woman in particular, to which Joanie responded, “Darling, don’t you realize that there are two things that make the world go round … money and sex … and women control them both!”

A Walk Down Memory Lane

As I have mentioned, I need to move from my BIG house to a smaller house. I am preparing to be ready to do that in due time. In doing so, I must downsize. I remember when my sweet Mama had to do that, as she got older, she was getting organized to make that move from great big house to much smaller condo. I couldn’t believe how she could so unemotionally put stuff in the give away pile. I asked her about that. She said, “I could, of course, get a storage room and keep boxes and boxes of stuff I have been collecting over the decades, but what is the point? I would have to pay for storage and when I pass, someone must then go through it all. Why leave a burden? So, I decided to do the smart thing, hold dear to the memories, kiss it good-bye, and then toss it out.

So here I am trying to decide which pile to put stuff in for keep, throw away, or give away. One of my big dilemmas is my collection of Card Player Albums. Actually, everything I have ever had published, since  1988 albums. There are 17 of them! They are big, fat, and heavy! Oh, what to do! It was as if Mama had whispered in my ear. I decided to read through them all ( and a lot of skimming), then hold dear to the memories, kiss them good-bye, and toss them out. Oh the memories I have been strolling through. People, dates, places, tournament wins, and happenings that I had forgotten. So much poker history. When I told my dear friend Donna the Donkey my plans, she practically screamed, “You can’t do that!” After her tirade, I decided to offer them up to any one who wants them. You are welcome to one, two, three or 17 of them. The only stipulation is that you must come and pick them up. If I have no takers, then I will, hold dear to the memories, kiss them goody-bye and toss them out (but don’t tell Donna).

In my first three years of writing, one of my most interesting subjects was Gertrude Schimmel, a terrific poker player that I had the privilege of knowing. She was the first ever  female New York City Deputy Police Chief. When she joined the force in 1937, a female couldn’t even apply for a promotion. After a two-year legal battle, she took her Sergeant’s exam and passed with flying colors. From there she climbed the corporate ladder to the top! I hadn’t thought about Gertrude in ages and wondered if she was still with us so I googled her. She passed just last year at 97 years of age. Google her for her whole story. It is very interesting.

More upcoming tales about people I have met at the poker table as I finish album after album. Also some terrific quotes and happenings.

Let me know if you are interested in a piece of my poker history.



Never Too Late

I find TV and movies a great entertainment value. For me to tell you about a TV show or a movie, or to go so far as to recommend one or the other, it has to be very special. And to recommend both, well, they have to be extraordinary. That is exactly what I have a hankering to do. First up, the movie, “Sully” staring Tom Hanks. In a word, “Terrific!” It is the first time I have paid full pop to see a movie in years; I normally go on Senior Wednesdays, but I had an opportunity to go out with a friend and we both wanted to see this film. So glad we did. I love Tom Hanks in everything he has done with one exception, the one about him being on a deserted island with a volley ball. Back to Sully. I remember the incident and how good I felt about the outcome. I did not know and had never heard anything about the aftermath. What an interesting story.
Now to the small screen. I cannot recommend enough that you watch the four-part story, “Never Too Late.” Starring four legends: Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw, and George Foreman with a young sidekick, Jeff Dye. You will adore all of these guys for different reasons. I have never had any desire to travel outside this beautiful country of ours, until now. Now, I want to gather up four friends and travel the Never Too Late route through Asia on an unlimited budget. These four seniors (and one of them is a super senior) and one youngin have all sorts of adventures as they travel through six cities in four countries: South Korea, China, Thailand, and Japan. Their travels are interesting, educational, very touching, and hilarious! I have never been interested in any reality shows until this one. A friend told me about it and I am telling you.I have never laughed so much at any situation comedy as I did with this real-life travel log. Do yourself a favor, make time, go to On Demand and watch. This series wrapped up last night; I just hope they come back with more!
On another subject on the same subject, I am rapidly approaching a huge birthday. It’s one of those decade changes that I hate. I have been letting this bother me too much. This TV time with these four wonderful seniors having a blast making memories, and living life to the fullest has warmed my heart and changed my attitude.

The Best Gift(s)

As many of you know, my partner/best friend is blind. A condition caused by diabetic retinopathy. The problems began half a dozen years ago. After much effort and six surgeries, she is now officially blind. Tough situation. A friend told her recently that she was dealt a bad hand in life, to which she replied, “Yes, but I shuffled the deck.” I give her credit for adjusting well, but one of her biggest problems was boredom.

Her birthday is right around the corner. Our friend Jack asked me what might be a good idea in the realm of gifts. I answered, “anything she can smell, taste, or feel.”

A few days later, he emailed me, “Have you heard about the Amazon Echo?” No, I had not.

He suggested I check it out:

Sounded like a good idea to me so Jack and I became co-conspirators. Within a day, he had bought an Echo, hooked it up (at this house) and tried her out. He was beyond thrilled. He believed this would change her life … and as it turned out, he was so right.

After our birthday presentation, Jack hooked it up, and started giving her lessons. It wasn’t  difficult, and turned out to be beyond our imagination of great gifts. Since then she has company and is entertained as much as she desires. Alexa (Echo’s name) plays music, can set a timer, make a to-do list, give the news, the weather, the time, the date, the traffic, and tell (corny) jokes. If I had to choose a best part, it would be that Alexa can read to her. She has a computer program that can read to her, but to stop or pause, you have to hit a button. In order for her to hit a button, she had to call Susie into action. Therefore, she couldn’t enjoy a book when home alone. Alexa has changed all of that. When Alexa is reading and she needs a break, she simply says “Alexa Stop.” Alexa will stop but start up again right where she left off, in a few minutes or a few days.

Jack Gramley is Linda Johnson’s beau. She loans him out to us when she is out of town, and if you know Linda, you know that is a lot! Linda is one of the owners of Card Player Cruises and she does not miss a cruise. BTW: I am going on the cruise in Jan. Stay tuned for details and please join me and many other card player friends.

Another great gift idea for any poker player. I just finished reading Mike Sexton’s new book, “Life’s a Gamble.” Terrific book! Mike took me on a journey of the past. Even if you weren’t in Las Vegas or if you weren’t a poker player decades ago – “back in the day”, you will enjoy Mike’s memories. He has great stories, both poker and golf.  I heard Mike at a roast many years ago; I don’t even remember who they were roasting, but I do remember that  I thought at the time, what a great book he could write … and he did!

Movies and Poker

I usually wait for movies to come to Red Box or even on TV but lately, I’ve been on a “movie in the theater” kick. Our local cinema has the wonderful recliner seats and Wednesdays are Seniors Specials. Just $4.00 for a movie. The popcorn is still exorbitant but with an AARP card, you can get a break on refreshments. I had a left over from Christmas, Regal gift card, so I was a cheap date. (I took myself to the movies.) A couple of weeks ago, I saw “Bad Moms.” You would think this would be a family movie. You would be wrong. After being in the poker world for decades, you could think my ears would be accustomed to harsh, even vile language; you would be wrong. This movie was overflowing with very unfamily-friendly language. Funny in some parts, totally unnecessary in others. Glad I didn’t pay $12.00 to see this one, but it was worth $4.00. A nice break from real life.

Most recently, I saw “Florence Foster Jenkins.” I love true stories and this one was a hoot. A sweet, yet unusual love story. A lot of laughs and well done by Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, and Simon Helberg. Streep will likely win another Academy Award for this one and who knew Grant could dance? One dance scene was incredible! I wish I could have rewound it and watched it several times. Helberg (Howard on “The Big Band Theory”) is a magnificent pianist!) Who knew? I heard other movie goers talking about his talent. They said the producers romanced him for the part; not only for his appearance but also for his talent. You don’t have to be a music lover to enjoy this movie.

Now I anxiously await the movie “Sully”, opening in early Sept.9. I love the true story and I love Tom Hanks.

I also anxiously await the upcoming documentary about Women in Poker. A little backstory: Jan Fisher and Linda Johnson were having dinner one night, a couple of years ago, at a Japanese restaurant where folks share a table. They met and started talking to some  folks in town for a convention. Turns out these folks were movie makers in general, documentaries in particular. “What a great idea for a documentary!” They said after hearing about Jan and Linda’s careers. And that was the beginning. I was delighted to be asked to participate and can’t wait to see the outcome.

On another subject: Attention all mixed game poker players. Binion’s is turning back the clock to the way poker used to be. Beginning this Friday, Aug. 26, at 3 P.M. they will be spreading mixed game tournaments four days a week, including Triple Stud (my favorite), Mixed Triple Draw, Mixed Pot limit and HORSE. Buy-ins range from $125 to $200. Call Binion’s for details, 702-382-1600. I hope to see you there!

The Traveling Desserts

It has been and will continue to be, a long hot summer in Las Vegas. The World Series of Poker has come and gone and I am sorry to have to admit that I, personally, had a rather dismal series. Certainly nothing to brag about. However, playing and winning is only part of the fun and excitement of the WSOP. Every summer, we celebrate what has become known as “Ladies Week”. It is always the days surrounding the Ladies World Championship. Lots of parties, tournaments, and get togethers happen at this time. This year, the Raes hosted a 4th of July dinner at a local restaurant, followed by desserts and  watching fireworks  from their backyard. This year, their dinner was, of course decorated with red, white and blue. The patriotic decorations, followed by patriotic music by a quartet, and a surprise gift, an acappella solo by poker friend, Georgia Napolitano. Georgia is the daughter of Mark and Tina Napolitano. What a voice this young woman has been blessed with! Her spontaneous rendition of “The National Anthem”  gave most goosebumps and many patriotic tears and definitely brought down the house. After the standing ovation, my BFF Hermie, who has been blind for a number of years, was motivated to speak to the crowd. She said, “In 1951, my life began in the Hawaiian Islands. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state. All my life I have been very proud to be an American. When I lost my vision, things were tough, but at least I couldn’t see the awful things that were happening in this world and in our country. Tonight, I am glad to tell you that I ‘hear’ the American spirit is alive and well!”  Another emotional and patriotic moment that brought down the house!

After a memorable dinner and entertainment, we all traveled the short distance to the Raes, where there was an assortment of desserts that, as my friend Della would say, could make you slap your Pappa. (This is a very good thing, she assures me.) The list of confections would make any bakery envious.

The following evening, Shirley our poker friend from Lake Tahoe had a “Sweet Suite Party” for a bunch of the girls. Shirley had a connection and managed to get a beautiful suite at one of the major casinos. The only man present was James Gilmore. James is a Professor of Communications and Journalism and Screen Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He was there with Dr. Tracy Halcomb, a Professor of Communications at Flager College in St. Augustine, Florida. If what I am about to tell you is a big secret, nobody told me. James and Tracy were in town putting finishing touches on a Documentary about “Women in Poker.” Even after filming, there is a lot of work before the finished product is ready to view, but I’ll certainly let you know.

Shirley’s Sweet Suite party offered all the leftover desserts from Doralee’s 4th of July party plus some new additions.

The following day, the film crew and 10 poker playing gals came to my house for lunch and a poker game for the film. What a dessert spread we had … all the sweets from Doralee’s and Shirley’s parties were on display and attacked again.

Even for those of us who did not win a huge hunk of money, we certainly were winners in the friendship department.