Friday, October 31, 2008


Sunday, October 26, 2008


We went to Kimmwick for the Annual Apple Butter Festival. It was crowded with hundreds of art and craft booths, homemade items, the good old times funnel cakes, curly taters and corn dogs. We walked around looking but did not make any purchase as we are trying to de-cluster our home. It was a beautiful Fall day.

Here was what I wrote about Small Towns USA (November 25, 2006). "Kimmwick, Missouri, is a historic riverfront town, just 22 miles south of St. Louis. In 1859, Theodore Kimms, a German dry goods merchant, purchased the land of 160 acres and named the town after himself, Kimmswick. Wealthy German merchants and stonecutters were among early settlers as the town prospered due to easy access to railroad and river transportation. The coming of automobiles sealed the fate of Kimmswick at the turn of the century. Today, the town is known for its unique antiques shops, historic buildings and landmarks, gift shops, annual Apple Butter Festivals in October, Strawberry Festivals in June, and The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery well known for its 40 different selections of pies and the Levee High Apple Pie (I measured the pie at 7 inches high!)" For more information, please visit

Thursday, October 23, 2008


My beloved Red Wings came to St. Louis on Wednesday night (October 22nd). It was the first time I saw my favorite Team since the Red Wings won the 2008 Stanley Cup on June 4th. It is always so exciting seeing all my favorite players during warm up before the game. Half of my photos are taken at hockey games and half of these photos are of my beloved Red Wings. The players probably recognize me, a little old Asian lady, pushing and fighting with little kids, trying to get close to the glass. There, photo above, Darren McCarty "Big Mac" trying to put one in the net and of course, the ever so-good Chris Osgood "Ozzie" would not let that happen!
The Captain, Nicklas Lidstrom #5 (above), stretching and getting ready for the game.

I love the photo below, Lidstrom (left), stretching some more while Osgood (right) just taking it easy. Osgood got a night off as Babcock put the rookie goalie Conklin to the test and he proved that he could be a pretty good netminder.
It was a good game but typical match-up as the Wings dominated the 1st and 2nd periods, scoring three goals before the Blues came back with two power play goals at the end of 2nd period. Trying to beat traffic leaving the parking lot, we left early when the Wings put one more in the net making it 4-2. We missed the excitement in the last 5 minutes of the 3rd period when the Blues were on power play and also pulled their goalie (Manny Legace who was a former Red Wings) and that made it 2-man advantage. The Blues scored a goal but could not tie the game. Wings won 4-3, back on top in the Division Standings. Franzenly, it was zetty osgood game!

My top ten favorite Red Wings, Pavel Datsyuk (above photo). What a beautiful sight seeing the line up of Henrik Zetterberg "Zetty", Johan Franzen "The Mule", Tomas Holstrom, always setting up the screen in front of the net. Hossa #81 (photo below) decided that if you can't beat them, join them. His previous team was the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that was defeated. Hossa signed a one-year contract with the Wings in hope to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

I finally got close enough to take a photo of the Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock. Babcock was also head coach of the Anaheim Ducks when they reached the Final but loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It must be all the broccoli I have eaten the last few business meetings that prompted the philosophical thoughts in my head. I started to request veggie meal when making reservations for luncheon or dinner meetings. I still enjoy a delicious filet mignon now and then, but I thought cutting down on meat consumption would be good for my health. Earlier this month, my dinner plate came with sea shell pasta, carrots, cauliflowers and lot of broccoli which is my favorite steamed vegetable.
I like to think that the above photo symbolizes the current crisis in financial markets, the downturn in the global economy, the plunging in housing prices, the deeper job losses and the state of despairs in our country. That thought gives me hope, just like when the gloomy weather is over and the winter snow storm is gone, the green grass will once again covers the ground, the trees will blossom with flowers, then producing fruits to nourish the people and we will again enjoy peace and prosperity. I want to believe that there are a lot of smart people out there who know exactly how to calm the markets and how to stop the global economy from plunging into the worst downturn since perhaps the Great Depression. Some analysts talk about a painful recession might be the only way for the markets to correct itself and to work the problems out of the system. In the meantime, Mr. Financial Expert, what should we the average working Americans do?

There again, he stood at the corner, on the main street, this time with his light jacket as the weather was getting chilly. Probably the same person who was there during the summer heat while the motorists driving by in their air-conditioned vehicles. I feel terrible, almost guilty that he was there when it was drizzling. I thought of how much his life would change on November 5th. Would he still be there holding the sign, "Liquidate - Everything Must Go - 60-70% Off", earning minimum wage, and planning for the next temporary job? Does he have a family to support? Should I tell him about the websites I saw that would help him make $5-7K a week working from home? How about the ad "Make Money Doing Nothing"? Or perhaps he is pursuing a college degree and this job fits into his class schedule. So there is no need for me to feel sorry for him. How do we as a society help people who no matter what kind of assistance programs available would always remain in poverty?

When my family first came to America, my Dad worked as a dishwasher. I also got a job as a stock clerk and together we took care of our family. Along the way, we became self-sufficient, earned college education, become homeowners and have always been proud to be Americans. That is what America is built on, individuals taking responsibilities, work hard, do your best and not waiting for distribution from the government. I would like to have all the money Mr. Bill Gates has, but I would not want the government to take his money and give to me. (Note: Please no political comments. I don't care for my blog to be bombarded with heated exchange from discussions between two campaigns. ALL political comments will be rejected.)

I knew the cold weather was coming when I witnessed the squirrel storing the apple up high on the beam of our patio. I looked out the kitchen window and watched the squirrel busy gathering food for the winter. Below is one of the last apples still hanging on the tree, bare branches with most of the leave already fell on the ground. I guess it is time for me to get out the heavy blankets, the sweaters and the snow boots.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I passed by a car dealership (photo above) whenever I take the main road to get to work or on the way home. A few months ago, as I was sitting in traffic, I saw one of the balloons broke away, flew off but then caught on the wires. As I watched the balloon swaying in the wind, I thought how sometimes in our lives we feel as if we were the balloons stuck on the power lines. No matter what you try to do, you could not break free. Just like the balloons, you were up high but going nowhere, flapping around in the wind, slowly losing the air inside, then the emptiness took over, still hanging on the wires but nothing left of what was once a pretty balloon full of air.
There, in the middle of the dealership lot was the giant red balloon, high above all other little balloons. The colorful flags attached to the string provided eye-catching to passers-by. There it was, the red balloon and the big sky above, wide open. I thought of the time when I was not willing to take an extra step to see what is beyond the horizon. I missed the chance to reach for higher platform, instead settled in the familiar comfort zone, afraid of failure and accepting less, holding back by my own invisible string with colorful flags.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


These photos (above) were taken at Game 1 of the 2008 Stanley Cup on Saturday, May 24th at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
It was my beloved Detroit Red Wings home opener game (Thursday, October 9th). How I wish I could be there at the Joe, among the sold-out crowd, watching the 11th Stanley Cup Championships banner being hoisted to the rafters. Instead I had to watch the celebration on my laptop because I could not find the coverage on any major sports channels. Of course the local TV stations would not cover the celebration considering the local hockey team, St. Louis Blues did not make it to the playoffs the last two years and never got to the final round of the championships. These are the photos I took from the Detroit Red Wings website, (below) showing Nicklas Lidstrom with the Stanley Cup along with the President's Trophy for the best records and most points and other trophies the team won last season. It was still great watching Gordie Howe passed the banner to Lidstrom on the ice.

To ease the sadness, I looked over photos from all the games at the Joe, especially game 1 of the Stanley Cup when the Red Wings blank the Penguins 4-0. It was such a memorable moment in my life-time of being a hockey fanatic. That and being at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Here is to another great NHL season and lot of best wishes to my beloved Red Wings!

Saturday, October 04, 2008


"The Store" is what we call non-perishable food and household items we keep on our storage shelves in the basement. One time my sister in law AN visited us and I asked my husband to get a container of coffee from The Store. "It is already 10:30 p.m., could you wait until tomorrow to go to the store?", AN said. We had to explain to AN that The Store was actually just our food supply in the basement. I used to laugh at my mother for her constant shopping to make sure we had enough toilet papers and other essential cooking ingredients. Now I am turning into my mother! I shopped once a week for bread, lunch meat, fruit and vegetable for salad. I keep an eye for items that are on sale such as crackers, canned soups and cereal. A local supermarket also has special discount of $10 for every $50 purchase on the last Thursday of the month.

Here are a few things I learned from the training with CERT - Community Emergency Respond Team. Also adding to what the Lone Gunman wrote about items to have in case of natural disaster.

Canned foods - Remember to also buy those that don't need can opener or have can opener that does not need electricity.

Water supply - Keep a minimum of three gallons of water for each person - one gallon per person per day - two weeks' worth of drinking water if you have storage space.

First aid kits, clean clothes, towels, whistle to signal for help, heavy duty large trash bags (to keep things dry), and flashlights with extra batteries, keep all these items in a sturdy backpack.

Develop an emergency plan for your family, where to meet and the best way to connect in the event you got separated, unable to come home or roads were impassable.

Up to this point, I donated almost 60 books to the local library and all of the music cassette tapes. The library even accepted old records, but not used text books! The photos above showed the stack of text books from my graduate school at Saint Louis University. You could tell one of my study habits was marking the pages with colorful mini post-it notes (photo below). From these titles, Power of the Press, The Four Theories of the Press, Ethics in Communication etc., you could also tell that I majored in communication (journalism & public relations). The price tags were somewhere between $60-100 for each of these textbooks and of course they didn't hold value after each semester because the professors assigned different books or required the latest edition. The school bookstores would pay less than $15 for these books. I was too lazy to participate in the exchange with other students.

To this day my husband still complained about the time when he carried two heavy suitcases back to Michigan after a visit to NYC. That was during Thanksgiving in 1988 when CP came to NYC to ask my parents for my hand in marriage. In preparation for the move to Grand Haven, CP asked me to fill up the suitcases with my earthly possessions. I did not have much then since I lived in a small rented room in Woodhaven. CP claimed that he almost dislocated his shoulders carrying the suitcases full of textbooks from Hunter College. I could not recall exactly what those textbooks were or how long I kept them after I moved to Grand Haven. For now I am keeping the textbooks from SLU and will get rid of them when we are ready to move to a retirement home :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Here are a few photos taken around town showing the Fall colors. October is here along with all the Fall festivals before the snow covering the ground. The festivals represent the charm of Midwest America and simple living of small towns USA. The first week of October featured Apple Butter Days Fall Festival, the Annual Pecan Festival, following by the Oktoberfest (in Hermann, a German American town), Pumpkin Festival and the Lions Club Annual White Bass Tournament. The last week, of course, Haunting in the Hills and Annual Chestnut Roast complete a full month of Fall festivals.
According to a brochure published by the Missouri Department of Conservation, explaining why leaves change color - in good seasons, the fall color may change slowly from mid-September to a peak in mid-October. Aside from contrasting temperatures, other factors also affect fall color. In the fall, shorter days and cooler nights mean there is less energy (the sun) for food-making for the whole tree. When trees don't have enough food, the green disappears and yellow, red, orange, purple appear. The more sunshine during the day, the more red and vivid bright colors are created.
Taken advantage of the warm sunny days the last two weekends, first we moved the furniture into the living room to steam clean carpet in the family room, the bathrooms and the kitchen. The following weekend, it was the living room and the dining room gotten their annual deep cleaning fun. We had all the windows open and the ceiling fans on full motor. It took only a day for the carpet to dry but we tip toe around to avoid leaving foot prints. It feels so good walking on clean carpet. We cleaned the bedrooms in the summer when we slept on the futon in the basement because it was too hot upstairs and we were too frugal to turn the air-condition on full blast to battle the heat.


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