Friday, July 31, 2009


We took Benjamin to St. Charles, Missouri for an educational trip about Lewis and Clark Expedition. Below is Benjamin all smiling in front of the momument of William Clark (left) and Meriwether Lewis (right) with their dog Seaman. (I just realized that I have been misspelling Mr. Lewis first name as Merriweather!

Benjamin at Frontier Park by the Missouri River. I was told that during the 1993 flood, the water got up to the sign and beyond but did not reach the Main Street area (photo below). Benjamin was not fond of the cobblestones but he enjoyed looking at items in the souvenirs/gift shops and specialty boutiques along with restaurants and snacks shops.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


After two months of lacking any progress report, I finally took a small step towards my goals of clutter-free and simple living. I started with the handbags by putting all the purses on the bed. Then for each of handbag I wish to keep, I forced myself to give up one. The same for shoes and jackets. I was able to gather three boxes that included 5 handbags, three pairs of shoes (I already gave away a few in April), and knick knacks that no longer carry significant meanings. I also gathered three bags full to the brim of clothing and also a bag of books. Yes, books that I decided I could live without! It is nice not to have to shove stuff into the closets since there is more space. Just hope I will keep my promise about not making any new purchases. I am working towards a goal that by the end of 2009, I will only have one closet and one dresser of clothing items for all seasons, of course, have to be age appropriate - a person does not need three closets full of clothes, yet constantly trying to find something nice to wear or most items I could no longer fit into!
Here is to a safe and enjoyable summer to all my faithful followers and adoring fans. Hope you enjoy these summery photos.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Well, not exactly about "the birds and the bees" or "facts of life" in the traditional sense, just a quick visit to the Busch Wildlife Center - Missouri Conversation Department, off I-40 in St. Charles. We were about to take a self-guided auto tour but with the temperature in the high 90, we thought driving around in the convertible would not be a smart choice. So we took a few photos, walked around the ground, used the restrooms and left - you could tell we were not much outdoor people!

Benjamin could almost blend in among these wild flowers - I should learn what they are instead of just saying "yellow flowers" or "purple flowers". Perhaps a smart reader would be so kind to educate me in this area.

Monday, July 27, 2009


No one likes a whiner. So stop whinning and start wining or should that be stop being a loser and start winning (being a winner)? Or in this case, starting drinking wine as suggested by the above garden flag.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


As part of our travel plan to have a Route 66 experience, we spent one night at the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri. The motel opened in 1934 and is named one of the best-preserved authentic Route 66 motels.
After the drive-in movie, (the first feature Harry Potter started at 9:15 p.m.) we got back into our unit around 11:30 p.m. and were ready for the night. We woke up at 2:30 a.m. when we heard and saw thru the window a group of five young men drinking and talking loudly outside our cabin. They looked like they were visiting the monthly residents in the nearby cabins. One young man leaned against the T-bird and another put his beer down on the car. You must know by now from reading my blog that my husband loves the T-bird. Leaning against the T-bird and putting drinks down on the painted area would be a "crime against humanity"! Then we saw another young man urinated near the T-bird and the group laughed when he pretended as if he was going to spray the car (thankfully he did not). My husband and I watched helplessly with our cell phones ready to call for help should these people started to do some damage to our vehicle. It was a tense and rather frightening moment for me. Keep in mind that the lobby or front desk was actually a living room of the motel owner or a ground-keeper. So we were pretty much on our own should something serious happened. In a regular hotel, we could at least alert the night clerk of the situation without direct involvement. Thank God these people decided that they had enough drinks, got on their motorcycles and pick-up trucks and left at around 3:45 a.m.
I was so exhausted from those terrifying moments, yet unable to sleep, we decided to check out of the unit at around 7:30 a.m. the next morning. From this experience, I would highly recommend that you should obtain a cabin with attached garage (especially if your vehicle is a convertible Thunderbird) or participate in a motor tour with an association (as a group) if you wish to have a traditional Route 66 overnight accomodation without possible unpleasant incident. Also, don't forget to bring a hair dryer and your own shampoo.
This is it - what you see is what you get - very primitive - photo above and below showed all the space (Unit #7) of the cabin. As you open the door, a twin bed to your right, a whobbling and sticky (trust me because I could feel and hear the sound created by the condition of the surface) small table right next to the bed (no king size, queen size or two double beds here), a decent size of closet (we did not use the closet as we were not sure when the last time it was cleaned). The chair with the blue cushion looked worn out and the carpet looked like it has not been cleaned in years. The bathroom was efficient and the water pressure was good, except a strong spray when the water was turned on. We did not even check whether the tiny television was working or what channels were available. That was it, no in-room telephone or wireless internet connection. Even with the unpleasant incident and an almost sleepless night at the Wagon Wheel Motel, we thought it was a pretty good traditional Route 66 experience.

Friday, July 24, 2009


It just occurs to me that I should stop saying that I should have become passionate about the history of Route 66 earlier. I no longer wishing that we could have completed driving all 2,448 miles of the historic roadway from Chicago to California. It is not too late that after 14 years of living in St. Louis, that I just recently became a Route 66 enthusiast. I re-discovered the main road in my town, the road I travel daily is the historic Route 66, yet I never saw all the signs along the roads. Suddently, as if someone just put them up last night for me to embrace them and their stories as if a forgotten painting that was lost and now found.
We spent last weekend in Cuba, Missouri. We were there last month. All the years we did not know anything about the town, after our first visit, Cuba has become one of our favorite places to visit. We even stayed at Wagon Wheel Motel, an authentic Route 66 motel built in 1934. We saw the lastest Harry Potter movie at the "19 Drive In Theater". The next day after breakfast at Back in the Day Cafe, we attended 10:00 a.m. mass at Holy Cross Church. We continued our driving thru St. James, Rolla, Doolittle, Hooker Cut, Devils Elbow, St. Robert, Waynesville, got lost in Buckhorn and decided to turn back after Hazelgreen (taking a quick route on I-44 all the way home).
It is summer, it is traveling time to see America and for me, to embrace a new love affair, another passion, another obsession, just like hockey and football. Besides, hockey season does not start until October 1st, and now is the perfect time to get our kicks on Route 66. We are planning our next driving to Springfield, onto Carthage, Joplin, cross the state line into Kansas (only 13 miles of Route 66) and hopefully drive all the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
I continued to take photos of the road signs and other roadside attractions I have read from all the Route 66 books I was able to find at local libraries and a few I have purchased so I could make notes and don't have to worry about the due dates of returning the books. The photo below shows the well known Totem Pole Trading Post, at its current location on the west end of Rolla since 1977. The business was started in 1933 and has relocated a couple of times due to highway re-alignment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Giant Farmer & Son is a Roadside Attraction at Sappington Farmers Market in Webster Groves, Missouri. Farmer Fred stood approximately 20 feet tall and Son Clyde probably about 8 feet, are made of fiberglass.

Benjamin received a friendly welcome to St. Louis from Farmer Fred and his Son Clyde. Farmer Fred commented to me that he could tell Benjamin was not much of a farm hand - haa haa

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Collinsville, Illinois is famous for its 70 foot catsup bottle atop a 100 foot tower, a restored tribune to Brooks Catsup. The town had a Catsup Bottle Festival on July 12, 2009. For more information about the Catsup Bottle and other roadside attractions, visit or
Built in 1949, recently was re-painted and restored back to its glory, the Catsup Bottle proudly stood and greeted all visitors as soon as they drove into town.

I reminded Benjamin not to stand too close to the ketchup bottle as someone might mistaken his eight strings of yellow yarns (or worse, his chubby fingers) for french fries!
True story - One evening after dinner, we all sat around talking and I was about six years old (living in Cai Tau Ha, Viet Nam) eating some sweet rice paper sprinkled with sesame seeds. I was rolling the rice paper into a cigar pretended to be smoking, then I started sinking my teeth into the rolled up cigar. My one year old little sister, CH, was crawling around on the big table, let out a bloody scream. Only then I realized that I "accidently" picked up, took a bite of her tiny finger, instead of the rice paper cigar. Honestly, I don't remember how it happened. More than 40 years later, CH claimed that the incident still caused her nightmares!

Monday, July 20, 2009


The above Home Furniture store is located in downtown Collinsville, Illinois, the home of the world largest ketchup bottle. Don't believe me, come back later and I will provide proof.

Below are a few silly questions I found in The Book of Questions (Gregory Stock, Ph. D.) -

How many times during the day do you look at yourself in the mirror?
(Answer: Most likely after eating to make sure a piece of green lettuce was not hanging between my front teeth.)

For a $1,000,000 would you be willing to never again see or talk to your best friend?
(Answer: What best friend?)

Would you be willing to murder an innocent person if it would end hunger in the world?
(How do I even begin to form an answer for a silly question like this?)

Would you like your spouse to be both smarter and more attractive than you?
(This is a no-win answer - also I am too smart to answer this question.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009


These photos were taken in February 2006 when my sister and I went on a "Sistas Time" on a Caribbean Cruise. I am so proud of myself for being so clever and witty (ya, I am so full of it!) by posting photos from Hell, Cayman Islands, the New Jersey Devils and Devils Elbow, Missouri.

Not the real devils, only the New Jersey Devils hockey team - haa haa.
The original route into Devil's Elbow is now Teardrop Road. The name Devil's Elbow was given by the lumberjacks floating logs past a sharp bend in the Big Piney River. They cursed it as "a devil of an elbow".
The steel truss bridge was built in 1923 (photo below). The bridge still stands today allowing traffic to cross over the Big Piney River.
Photo below shows Benjamin at Hooker Cut (I assured him that I would not drop him again. And besides there was not even one vehicle passing by the entire time we were there. The road looked almost abandoned as it was featured in a twilight zone movie.) When it was opened in 1926, the 90-foot deep Hooker Cut was the largest rock cut in the United States. This section is now County Route Z.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


At first I gave this post the title "After the All Star Game" or "After the crowd was gone" but then I remembered the stadium did not look so clean at the end of the game whenever we were there. So the title "Before the next home game" would be more appropriate for these photos taken last year when we attended the Fans Appreciation Day when the fans were showered with complimentary food, beverage, locker room tours, kids run the bases and other fun activities. We got to the stadium early enough that I was able to take these photos, just in my strange mind, wanting to capture rows of empty seats before they were filled with sweaty human bodies, some were actually empty inside themselves!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Benjamin was pretty excited to be at Busch Stadium since he did not get a chance to see the new Yankee Stadium and the CitiField (Shea) Stadium before he left New York. I am not sure if I should (or could) try to find a St. Louis Cardinals shirt that would be a good size for Benjamin. Perhaps an extra-extra-very-extra small - haa haa

To all the visitors - we hope you have a nice and enjoyable time while you are in St. Louis. Come back and see us real soon, will ya!


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