Sunday, March 23, 2008


A Blessed Easter to you and your family.
The photo above shows a bakset of various Easter eggs we have purchased over the years or were given to us from my husband parents. I think the one on the top right (with the painting of the Nativity) was from a Polish gift shop in Hamtramck, Michigan.
This year we decided to color and decorate the eggs. It was a tradition we used to do when we first got married. You could tell the Chinese character (Love) and the lousy drawing of the arch was done by me. My husband tried to draw a Polish eagle but gave up after 2 tries as the hot melting wax would not cooperate. My husband gave me the little sheep (below) to add to my beannies collection.
The snow started coming down around 8:30 a.m. as we were getting ready for 9:00 a.m. Mass. The church already full by the time we got there. The snow stopped when we came out of church. We saw the lines of people waiting to attend 10:30 a.m. Mass. My husband did a good job getting out of the parking lot with cars coming and leaving. The sun came out around 2:00 p.m. but the snow came down again around 3:30 p.m. You could tell from the photo below that the snowflakes were very large but there was no accumulation because the weather was in the upper 40s. What an interesting day with the snow falling and stopping every other hour!

Saturday, March 22, 2008


The flooding from the Meramec River has made national news this week. I drove to 141 and I-44 to take a few photos and to let my adoring fans know that I am ok. Our area was not affected by the flood even though we are only 15 minute drive from Valley Park and Fenton, the towns along the Meramec River. The above photo shows the road (141) being closed to traffic. This is the route my husband usually takes to work, staying on 141 all the way to Arnold, Missouri. On Friday, he had to turn around and took another route to get to I-44 instead. On the way home, traffic was so back-up on 44 that he had to take Highway 270, then tried to get around by going thru the outer roads.

Looking at the above photo, you could not tell where the road was supposed to be or where the soccer field was. The photo below showed how high the water was. Thankfully the levee held up and from the latest news, the water has started to recede. When we were getting to move to St. Louis in 1994, a co-worker questioned our move, "Why would you move to St. Louis? The town just got flooded last year (1993)", he commented.

From the photo below, you could see where part of the road was and the part where the road completely under water. My Mom called because she was concern for our safety. Even though she has visited us twice, she would not remember or understand the distance from our home to where the flooding takes place. Most of the time the media report events occurred in St. Louis, those who don't know the area well would assume that the entire area is affected.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


When you're at the Waldorf have a "smile" and charge it up to me;
Mention my name ev'ry place you go, as 'round the town you roam'
Wish you'd call on my gal, now remember, old pal, when you get back home ...

Last Christmas, my husband wanted to stay one night at the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel during our visit to New York City. In 1993, my former boss (RJS) in Michigan sent me on a business trip attending a conference sponsored by the New York Times on developing new ventures in Viet Nam. The company paid for an overnight accomodation at the Waldorf-Astoria where the conference was held. So this would be my second time and the first time for my husband staying at the Waldorf. We checked into the hotel in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, then walked over to Radio City for a wonderful performance of the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular and after the show, slowly moved thru the sea of people at Rockefeller Center to get back to the Waldorf. We enjoyed a nice dinner at Oscar's. The next morning we again had breakfast (a very expensive meal) at Oscar's. Good thing we had reservation as there was a long line of people willing to pay $20 for an omelet! After Mass at St. Patrick's Catheral, we went back to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn to celebrate Christmas with the family.
This is the Waldorf Towers, the other side where we would never be able to afford a suite, where most rooms are bigger than most New York City apartments (information from a book I read about New York City Landmarks). The Towers include butler service, kitchenette and your every needs would be fulfilled at a touch of a button. This is where kings and queens and presidents stay and where poor people like us could only dream of a taste of a very tiny drop of life of the wealthy class.
This is the view from hotel windows in our room. Actually the windows were very dirty that we could not take good clear photos. The above photo was taken after we were able to open one of the windows. The other window was stuck. We wondered how often the hotel clean these windows.
Guests of the Waldorf Astoria, beware! The cabinet (above) shows the television on the left side and a small refrigerator (below) on the right side. When checking in, guests are given a key to open the mini-bar. Above the refrigerator is a row of four packages of nuts and cookies. Unless you are starving or dying of thirst, you should not consume these items as the small packages are $15-20 each and the drinks (even a can of soda) would cost you $5-15. A 75 cents candy bar from a newspaper stand around the corner will be $3.00 on your bill. Of course, if you are the rich and famous people, please feel free to ignore the pricing as you have plenty of money to spend.
Here I was sleeping in this supposedly fancy comfortable linens and bed, even for just one night, thinking about the hut where my family lived in for a few months in the refugee camp. My brother, Qaptain Qwerty wrote about the bed in Berhala Hut where we did not even have pillows, just some luggage bags stuffed with clothes for use as pillows. There was only one bed, probablly the size of a twin bed. Actually the bed was made of pieces of plywood on sturdy tree logs, very primitive but practical. I remembered differently from what QQ wrote. I remembered Mom, my sister CH, QQ and I shared the bed. Dad, an Uncle and the other brother TL slept on some tarp on the hard dirt floor.
I also thought of the time when we arrived in Singapore by bus from the last refugee location in Indonesia. It was midnight when we finally found an unoccupied place, in front of someone's house. We were trying to arrange for sleeping space in such tight area. A person from the top floor got upset at us for making too much noise, he/she decided to throw a bucket of water down. The water hit the ground and made a splash at us. I never forgot the looks in my Dad's eyes. I saw the pains, I saw my own sorrow drowning in hopelessness. It was as if we began to doubt what we gave up and the horrid journey we encountered to be homeless and endured the humiliation. The ironic thing was it was New Year Eve when people were celebrating and there we were, people without country, without a home. All we had was a piece of paper telling us that we would be in America soon. We were too tired and knew that the best thing was to try to get some sleep. We dreamed of being in America where life would be so much better.

There was already a shower stall with door when Grandma Luck gave us the hut in Berhala Island. The water was stored in a metal drum inside the stall with a scooper to use for getting the water. I don't remember how the water was drained or where the water ran off to, probably a ditch in the back of the hut as QQ stated in his blog. I do remember the well which was very convenient. Later the people in the hut next to us became careless when washing clothes near the well that we had to have a discussion with them.
Below photo shows the spacious marble bathroom with all the normal amenities, soaps, hand lotions, shoe shine kit and some Q-tips! It sure was a long way from the little shower stall in Berhala!

Friday, March 14, 2008


Whenever I can't come up with a title or something to write about, I would follow what my brother wrote in his blog. I don't care much for features such as calendar alarm, text message alert on my cell phone and I don't have too many friends, so setting up the ringtones would be just for calls from family members. If I wish to identify the callers by the ringtones, I would organize the ringtones as follows:

Calls from my husband - Do Wah Diddy Diddy (performed by Manfred Mann) because it was the song my husband kept singing on our first date walking around NYC. He said the lyrics "There she was just a-walkin' down the street .... She looked good (looked good), she looked fine (looked fine). Whoa-oh, I knew we was falling in love. I'm hers, she's mine, wedding bells are gonna chime" - was perfect for the story of how we met as I walked into the cafeteria at the United Nations while he and his father were there on their way to Poland, and then how we fell in love and got married.

When we have a disagreement and don't talk to each other, the ringtone would be "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel!

We like most of Neil Diamond's songs such as Solitary Man, I'm a Believer, Red Red Wine. My husband likes Neil Diamond also because Diamond came from a Polish/Russian family from Brooklyn. My husband said he particularly likes the song America more after he met me because of how my family came to the country. When we went to the concert, a drunken woman in the row behind us kept singing all the songs. We had to politely tell her that we did not pay good money to hear her lousy, off-key singing.
Calls from home, most likely my husband too, would be Homeward Bound by Simon & Garfunkel. We went to their concert and had a great time. I particularly like the song The Sound of Silence. I read that Paul and Art grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, where I lived for about 7 months, renting a basement converted to living space with kitchen and bathroom, for $500 a month. All I had was a small fold-out bed, a desk and a chair to study, a bookcase and a small drawer. I kept most of my clothes in two suitcases the whole time I was living there.

Calls from work - She works hard for her money by Donna Summer or Take this Job and Shove It by Johnny Paycheck (Not his real name but appropriate for this song).

Calls from my brother VL - John Lennon's Beautiful Boys for now. I could switch over to my favorite nephew JL and then I would change to the Peanuts tune for my brother. Or when JL is old enough to have his own phone, the ringtone will be I Love You by Louis Armstrong.

Calls from my Mom would be Love me Tender or any songs from Elvis Presley because he was her heartthrob when she was a young lady in Viet Nam. Elvis was an international well known performer that language, race or cultures was not an issue stopping young women to fall in love with such a handsome and charming man.

For my late father, the song would be Hello from Leonard Richie. The same thing with Dad, although he did not understand much English but the songs by Richie were mellow and the melody was pleasing to the listeners. Also Dad commented that Richie was a well-dressed man and that was important. Dad did not care much for torn shirts, messy hair or colorful clothing on male performers. Dad shoke his head, laughing when my sister and I used to go crazy over Boy George.

Calls from my sister, CH, would be Back to the USA or any songs from the Beatles as CH is very fond of the group and she would pack her bags, move to England if an opportunity comes along at a moment of notice. We had fun at Sir McCartney concert when the tour included St. Louis in the 2002 World Tour. I particularly liked the guitar he used with the Red Wings logo on it. St. Louis Blues hockey fans shouted "boo" when the guitar was shown on the jumbotron.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I always feel that somebody's watchin' me
And I have no privacy
I always feel that somebody's watchin' me
Is it just a dream?
Have you ever noticed the cameras outside the building where you work, shop or a government office you just happen to be walking by? The next time you are at the post office, look up and find out how many cameras there are. A local post office I visit regularly has seven cameras and it was only about 1,000 square feet. The above photo shows the two cameras outside the building where I work. I don't know exactly the purpose for these cameras. If a worker from one of the offices in the building was attacked as the person was leaving work, the parking lot was almost empty and it was dark, what would these cameras be good for? Was there someone who monitored the cameras and came out to help stop the attack? Are these cameras real or only to serve as warnings to deter the would-be vandals? Do the workers feel safer or just a false sense of security?
I have shopped at this Wal-Mart many times but I never noticed the sign (above) with the warning "Security Camera In Use". I could see why there is a need for camera in the parking lot in addition to those inside the store to catch shoplifters. The photo below shows a cart (left) that was damaged compared to the one on the right. I asked a worker who was collecting the carts from the corrals but he did not know what caused the damage. It could be that a snow removal operator accidently piled the heavy snow on top of the cart during the snow storm a few weeks ago. Perhaps it was a careless driver that ran into the cart. Or the damage was caused by a woman I saw earlier when she was about two steps from the corral, instead of gently pushing the carts inside the corral, she pushed the cart so hard that it almost fell over, barely gotten inside the corral. Two more steps and the woman would not make the efforts to put the cart inside the corral as a civilized person would have done.

I am sure you have witnessed rage in different forms, road rage, shopping rage, and so many other displays of rage from people who seem to be angry at the whole world. Like the time when I left enough space for two vehicles to merge over to my lane as I saw the traffic lights already turned red. The woman behind me blew her horn to let me know that she did not approve my action. Later, she sped up after moving to the other lane, then slow down enough for me to see the display of her "finger" and with her angry contorted face mouthing the F word! I wish she saw the smile on my face and heard what I said, "Peace be with you".

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Give my regards to Broadway,
remember me to Herald Square,
Tell all the gang at Forty-Second Street,
that I will soon be there;

Over the years my husband and I have attended most of the well-known Boardway shows such as Phantom of the Opera, Cats, 42nd Street, Miss Saigon and many others. One side of the wall in our basement are displays of the playbills and ticket stubs from the shows we saw in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and London, England. The first time when my husband came to New York to visit me in 1988, we saw an off-Broadway show called "Nunsense". Either we did not have any money to pay for tickets to a Broadway show or we could not get tickets since we did not plan in advance. Subsequently we managed to see at least one show each time we came to New York. We remember fondly the time when we just walked up to the window at the Imperial Theatre and asked if there were any tickets for Les Miserables that afternoon. We were surprised that not only there were tickets available but at reasonable price. We were more surprised when we were shown to the box seats next to the stage. What a pleasant treat!

The same happened when we purchased tickets to see Miss Saigon at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. Again, it was a suprised treat when we were led by the usher to the second box seats to the right of the stage. It was extra special watching the scene when the helicopter landed on the roof of the U.S. Embassy to provide airlift to all the poor Vietnamese before the Fall of Saigon in April 1975. (Of course, there were no candy thrown down to the audience - hah - please see the entry "First Love" for this inside joke.) Miss Saigon was a typical love story of an European man and an Asian woman whose sole purpose in life was waiting to be rescued by the white knight and in the end willingly give up her life as proof of her undying love. After the show, as we were leaving the theater, my husband said something that was so funny causing me to laugh outloud. It was comical that I, an Asian woman laughing, unmoved by the sad love story while a couple of Caucasian women wiping away their tears.

Did you ever see two Yankees part upon a foreign shore
When the good ship is just about to start for Old New York once more?

We were the two Yankees on foreign shore when we attended the show "Whistle Down the Wind" at the Aldwych Theatre in London, England. It was interesting to listen to British actors trying to speak English with a southern accent since the characters were based on a story in Louisiana. The mask below (left corner) was purchased after we saw the Lion King at Fox Theatre in St. Louis. We also saw the show Chicago in St. Louis. I said to my husband that our next trip to Chicago in addition to a hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the other Original Six, we should also see the show Chicago as it is only fitting to see Chicago in Chicago!
Most of the shows we saw were at Fox Theatre in midtown St. Louis. It is a beautiful theater and a lot of efforts were put into the renovation. Somehow it does not create the same feeling for me compared to the theaters in New York City. We paid $75 per ticket for The Producers and our seats were second row from the back. I was so upset and my husband still teased me about my reaction and comment to the usher, "These are lousy seats for the amount of money we paid for the tickets". We almost got thrown out for disrupting the performance - just kidding!

Whisper of how I'm yearning to mingle with the old time throng;
Give my regards to old Broadway and say that I'll be there ere long.

Even though my husband questioned why I kept taking photos at every turn when we were in New York last December, I am glad I captured the snapshot of the Yellow M&M in a kind of dancing mode and the street sign "Broadway" as the photo is perfect for this entry. The photo below show the Winter Garden current performances of Mamma Mia! We saw the show "Cats" before the last curtain at Winter Garden. Taking photos and writing about what I saw have helped me be more aware of the world around me and give new meanings to the phrase "live each moment at its fullest".


Related Posts with Thumbnails