Monday, November 30, 2009


I could not help but wonder what made this building, not much to look at and all the grafitti, at the corner of Utrecht Avenue & 48th Street, being such a "Rare Offering" as advertised. I wish whoever decides to open a business there will find success, thus proving that the American entrepreneurship is still alive and well in the good USA!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


The Praying Hands, a statue that stands 32 feet high and weighs over 100 tons, located in Webb City, Missouri, was one of "must see" attractions on my list during our eastbound adventure on Route 66 from Oklahoma.

"During the late 1800s and early 1900s Webb City was part of the "Tri-State Mining District" at the time the world's largest and most productive lead and zinc mining field. The area remains surrounded by chat piles that are used primarily in road-building." Wikipedia.

Friday, November 27, 2009


It has been a while since I write about Benjamin. You probably wonder how he is "blending" in St. Louis! Can you find Benjamin in the above photo? How about below? (Ernest Trova - Profile Canto VI 1974 - Painted steel).
Bottom sculpture - Abstract Variation No. 3 1976 - Painted steel.
Above and below sculptures are on display at Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis ( Make sure to include a visit to Laumeier when you are in St. Louis, it is a must see. These pieces are among the 40 sculptures donated by the late Ernest Trova, an American artist.
According to the Park's website, "In the mid-1970s, Ernest Trova, banker and arts patron Adam Aronson and County Parks Director Wayne Kennedy conceived the idea of an open-air art museum of contemporary sculpture. Trova donated 40 works to begin the collection in 1975, many of which can be seen within Laumeier Sculpture Park today. Without the foresight of our founders and the generosity of Ernest Trova, St. Louis would be without the unique experience that Laumeier provides."

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Things to Be Thankful For (by Helen Steiner Rice - Sunshine of Joy)
The good, green earth beneath our feet,
The air we breathe, the food we eat,
Some work to do, a goal to win,
A hidden longing deep within
That spurs us on to bigger things
And helps us meet what each day brings,
All these things and many more
Are things we should be thankful for . . .
And most of all our thankful prayers
Should rise to God because He cares!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Last April I spent a few days with my Mom when she had an operation at Maimonides Hospital. I walked around the neighborhood in the afternoon to get lunch, to explore while getting fresh air. I tried to get to the hospital by 9:30 a.m. and stayed until 4:30 in the evening. I saw this old-time beauty salon while walking along New Utrecht Avenue. (Hey Qaptain Qwerty, is it in Bay Ridge neighborhood?) There was no business name listed on the outside of the building so I was surprised to see that there were people inside. A nice lady came out as I stopped, looking in thru the window and asked me if I needed direction. I explained that I was visiting my Mom at the hospital. I commented that I always like to see businesses that have been around for a long time and stood the test of time. She invited me to come inside and allowed me to take as many photos as I would like. I thanked the nice lady for her fine hospitality. Actually I kind of expected Austin Power to come out from the back room, said to me "Yeah Baby Yeah!" and started to dance to the 60's music. It would be so groovy & smashing!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Walking around Wall Street area, I saw this sign "5 Barbers - No Waiting - You Tried the Rest Now Try The Best", I immediately thought of Floyd the Barber from the Andy Griffith Show. In the episode "The Bookie Barber", Floyd was excited that his barbershop would be known as a two-chair barbershop, no waiting. Turned out Floyd was tricked by the other barber using his shop as a front for an illegal booking (off track betting) operation.

I did not go into the barbershop (actually I think the people in the shop gave me the dirty look that said, "Damned tourists, taking pictures of everything. Leave us alone!"), so I could not tell whether this 5 Barbers shop got enough magazines to swing it! (For non-Mayberry fans, this is Floyd's all time classic line "Uh-huh - and I got enough magazines to swing it" when Andy talked about putting up a sign in the window "Two Chair Shop - No Waiting.")

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Congratulations to Qaptain Qwerty on reaching a milestone of 14,000 on your Counter. (Half of that probably from me checking for new posts every other hour - just kidding.)
7 more posts to your 500th - what are you waiting for? BTW, did you notice that I posted over 200 posts in 2009, the most since I started in 2006? Look who is the slow poke now - haa haa!
PS: Nice photos gallery of your first Mac.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


On Saturday, October 24th, we stopped by Cafe on the Route in historic downtown Baxter Springs in Kansas. We both enjoyed delicious homemade blackberry pie with ice cream. The building was the former Baxter Bank which was known as the place that was robbed by Jesse James in 1876. However, historians disputed that such bank heist actually happened as the notorious robber was somewhere else. It is one of the legends that is a good story for the locals to tell visitors but no need to try to prove whether it is true or not because it does not matter. Do visit Cafe on the Route when you are in Baxter Springs, Kansas but don't try to find any money that might have been dropped by Jesse James as he tried to get out of Dodge on his horse!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Continue with the food theme, this post features Mother In Law House Restaurant in St. Charles, Missouri. We live about 30 minutes driving time from St. Charles and we enjoy walking along the Riverfront Area, visiting the shops and a few restaurants on Historic Main Street. We passed by the Mother In Law House many times and the name sounds interesting but for some reasons we never ate there. Whether because the pricing was way off our limited budget or we were not hungry at that particularly time. Next time I will make sure we plan for a meal there and give a full report so my adoring fans could decide whether to visit Mother In Law House Restaurant on your next trip to St. Charles.
Here is what Wikipedia has on the famous visit to St. Charles by Lewis and Clark "William Clark arrived in St. Charles on May 16, 1804. With him were 40 men and three boats; there they made final preparations, as they waited for Meriwether Lewis to arrive from St. Louis. They attended dances, dinners, and a church service during this time, and the excited town was very hospitable to the explorers. Lewis arrived via St. Charles Rock Road on May 20, and the expedition launched the next day in a keelboat at 3:30 pm. St. Charles was the last established American town they would visit for more than two and a half years."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


After about 10 days of warm sunny weather, the rains and chilly temperature came back. The pouring started late Sunday evening, continued in the mornings on Monday and Tuesday, making driving to work much more painful, on & off in the afternoon, just enough to make my hair wet walking from the building to my car. We did not do food shopping last weekend as we tried to finish up all the lunch meat. Today we did not have bread to make sandwiches and we are also out of fruit. At lunch time, I did not feel like driving in the rain but I was hungry. Mind you, there are many restaurants and grocery stores where I live and work. However, typical suburban planning clearly defines residential and commercial zoning. You have to drive to get to the stores or restaurants and who wants to walk in the rain anyway. There is no such thing as food vendors at the street corner like the one above (photo taken around Wall Street area) or below photo of what seems to be a permanent spot in front of Hunter College. Actually, I just realized that all the years in NYC, I never made a purchase from these food carts. The reason was that I had to eat and study at the same time, so walking while eating a hot dog and reading or writing homework would not be possible. I wonder whether the street vendors are affected by the swine flu scare or the unemployment spilled over, especially around Wall Street area, not too many stock brokers and workers who were regular customers.
I tried to stay away from fast food or expensive lunch. I did not want to eat by myself, even if I brought a book with me, it is 2009, yet for a woman sitting in a restaurant by herself still subjected to a few stares!
So what was the solution? A Chinese take-out lunch menu with more than 20 different dishes that include fried rice, no extra charge for steamed rice, crab rangoon or egg-roll, or soup for only $4.45, all inclusive.

Monday, November 16, 2009


With all the neon signs such as Bud Light, Heineken, Guinness and the bright green Rolling Rock sign, there would not be any need for the large white paint "BAR" on the awning. I am sure no one would make the mistake of walking in this place and asking for a scoop of almond chocolate ice cream! Photo taken last May, somewhere near Wall Street area in New York City.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Above photo showing Benjamin "sitting" on the foot of a penguin sculpture on display at the Chrysler Dealer in Bristow, Oklahoma. We saw the colorful penguin in the photo below when we stopped by Visitors Center in Tulsa. We were told that there are over 100 of these sculptures all over Oklahoma. The Tulsa Zoo sold these penguins as fundraising to businesses and private collectors. Any readers have photos of other penguins on displayed in Oklahoma that you wish to share?

Friday, November 13, 2009


I don't have an opinion about Friday the 13th or whether it is good or bad luck to do something on the 13th. In general, I am not a supertitious person. I don't walk under the ladder because I don't want something from the top of the ladder, such as a bucket of yellow paint like in the above sculpture by J. Seward Johnson, to fall on me. I don't believe that if you open an umbrella inside your house or indoor, it would be bad luck, I just don't want to break a nail opening an umbrella! I don't care to run into a black cat only because I am not a cat person and a black cat is not something pretty to look at. One time I pulled the number 13 waiting in line at the post office and then the shipping cost was $6.66 - both the postal clerk and I laughed about such coincidence and nothing bad happened to me that day, week, or month. So believe what you want to believe.
Here is what I found from Wikipedia "Friday the 13th occurs when the thirteenth day of a month falls on Friday, which superstition holds to be a day of good or bad luck. In the Gregorian calendar, this day occurs at least once, but at most three times a year. Any month's 13th day will fall on a Friday if the month starts on a Sunday. In 2009 this applies to the months of February, March, and November. The next year to have three Friday the 13th dates will be 2012."
This is kind of interesting since there has been so much talk about the year of 2012 that this will be the end of the world. I would not want to know whether this is true because hopefully by 2012, I should accomplish my lifetime goals of seeing all the NHL Original Six home games (I would not mind seeing a Canadian team, either Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup before the earth or the ice rinks crashing down) and perhaps going to a Superbowl game again to see my beloved New England Patriots win another championship. So if 2012 is the end of the world, so be it!
"The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia,[1][2] a word derived from the concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή) (meaning Friday), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς) (meaning thirteen), attached to phobía (φοβία) (meaning fear). The term triskaidekaphobia derives from the Greek words "tris", meaning 'three', "kai", meaning 'and', and "deka", meaning 'ten'. the whole word means three and ten. The word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953.[3]" these words of wisdom according to Wikipedia.

I did not take any photos of cats, so I post the above sculpture "Ricardo Cat" by Niki de Saint Phalle, a French artist. It is on display at Laumeier Sculpture Park.
Below is a photo of my shadow on a giant red ball in front of a store. I remember when I was a kid in Viet Nam, we were told by the adults that we should not play with our shadows like making gestures or making shadow animals with our fingers because we would have nightmares such as being chased by ghosts or monsters pulling us down into the abyss!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


A Salute to the Veterans - Let's remember to pay tribune, not only today, but everyday, with our grateful hearts, to the millions of men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. The freedom that we Americans enjoy today are fought for and maintained because of the dedication to duty and the willingness to sacrifice, past or present, in wartime or in peace, from the service of our veterans. We thank each and every veterans for their service to our country and to the world. May God bless you and keep you in His care.

Monday, November 09, 2009


Caution: Only NRA members would appreciate the humor of the above sign (we do because we too are proud NRA members)!
This 66 Drive In was closed when we got to Carthage, Missouri on Sunday, October 25th. We were still able to take a lot of nice photos, of course with the T-bird. I walked up as close to the gate as possible to have a look inside and saw the friendly warning sign.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Here are a few selected photos from the Hot Air Balloon Glow. The event was sponsored by Make A Wish Foundation with all proceeds ($5 per car donation) go towards the funding to help grant wishes to area children with life-threatening medical conditions. It was a bit cool but comfortable evening. There was a long line of cars at the entrance into the park and all the parking spaces were taken that we had to park deep inside the park, then took the shuttle bus to where the balloons were displayed. We brought a flashlight but it was safer not to walk in the dark from where the designated parking lot. There were live music and a few food vendors. Again, I thought of my nephew and wish I was able to share with JL this experience. I knew JL would enjoy the balloon glow, especially when the pilot reheated the balloon by firing the burner, thus making the balloon glow so beautifully. My favorite was the popcorn balloon, I am sure it would be JL's choice too.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


I decided to "suspend" the Route 66 Saturday Series this week to write about a wonderful sunny day we have today. The proof is in the photos with the thermometer showing the temperature almost reaches 80 degree as the sun shines brightly in our backyard. My husband was busy since early morning blowing and raking the leave to the curb, ready for the city's weekly curbside leaf collection. I complimented my husband for a good job with making the yard looking so nice without all the leave and also cutting the grass since it still is growing a bit after last week's heavy rain. Then of course, giving the T-bird a good wash. It has been "painful" for CP that he was unable to wash the T-bird right away after our trip to Oklahoma two weeks since he got a terrible cold plus the heavy rain last weekend; so he was very happy to finally got all the dirt off his "beloved" automobile. (CP is feeling much better, still has running nose and an occassional caughing.)
I spent the morning at various parks looking for more sculptures. I was at the library in the afternoon getting a few more books on Route 66 and on the history of the Dust Bowl. Later in the evening, we went to a Hot Air Balloon Glow at Route 66 State Park. It was a great experience and I had a good time taking photos.

Friday, November 06, 2009


I know some of my adoring fans might expect to see more public sculptures in the regular feature of St. Louis Friday Series. Just to be a little different this week, I am posting photos of statue of Marlin Perkins in Central Park in Carthage, Missouri. The sculpture was created by Bob Tommey & Bill Snow honoring the most famous Carthaginian who was a well-known zoologist and television personality.
Here is Perkins' bio as listed in the Wild Kingdom website, "Perkins began his zoo career in 1926, literally working from the ground up with the St. Louis Zoological Gardens. He was put to work on the Zoo's laborer crew, where he helped maintain the Zoo grounds. Perkins quickly rose through the Zoo's ranks, becoming curator of reptiles in 1928. In 1944, following seven years as curator of the New York Zoo in Buffalo, N.Y., Perkins was appointed director of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Under Perkins' direction, the Zoo became internationally known, in part from the Zoo Parade television series, which ran on NBC from 1949-1957.
Perkins' career came full circle in 1962, when he returned to the St. Louis Zoo as its director. He became director emeritus of the Zoo in 1970. It was during Perkins' tenure with the St. Louis Zoo that he, along with producer Don Meier, began work on an idea for a new television program. Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom" debuted on January 6, 1963, and was in original production for 27 years."
What an interesting life Mr. Perkins had - I sure will think of him whenever I visit St. Louis Zoo.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Since this morning, whenever someone asks me how I am, I have been giving the same response, "I am in 27th Heaven" - haa haa. Congratulations to my American hometown team, the New York Yankees on winning the 27th World Series Championship. A few "losers" at my office bitterly commented that the championship was bought, to them I say, "Get over it. Other teams would do the same if they have the money to sign players that would bring victory. And players want to go where there is opportunity to win the championship." I don't have feather or macaroni on my hat, but I have been driving around town with a NY Yankees cap on my dashboard. Here is to my New York Yankees for a great season and a job well done!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Here are a few more photos from our recent driving down memory lane eastbound on Route 66. On Sunday, October 25th, we passed thru Spencer, Missouri where there were still a few roadside remnants of an old gas station and abandonned cabins. The road was completely empty, allowing us plenty of time at this 1926 thru-truss bridge over Johnson Creek. It was a cloudy day and the grayish looking sky began to sprinkle a few drops of gentle rain. It was one of the most memorable moments as I watched the water flowing slowly in the shallow creek, the bared trees getting ready for winter and the eerie feeling of complete peaceful isolation of the road while my husband was busy taking photos of the picturesque bridge and his T-bird.
Soon it will be summer again when travelers from near and far, around the world will come back to seek the romance, to re-create the culture of freedom driving on America's Mother Road and to experience the glory of what once was Americana.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


These photos were taken on the ground of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Shrine "Den Thanh Khiet Tam Me" a Vietnamese Catholics Congregation in Carthage, Missouri. The Fall colors were so vibrant with a mixture of bright red, gentle yellow, soft orange, fading green and many strangely beautiful yet unidentifiable colors. We drove around town and took many more photos on St. Louis Avenue (how appropriate). My husband kept saying that we picked the right weekend to take time off from work to see the Fall Colors. I thought it was a 50-50 chance, just like everything else in life, you could have a perfect plan and how the outcome turns out might depend half on the luck of the draw!
Photo below shows the trees displayed their Fall colors along St. Louis Avenue.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


I am trying to be timely by posting about Mickey Mantle since the Yankees are in the World Series. I am not much of a baseball fan but I am a New Yorker, therefore "Go Yankees"! (The weekly feature Humor of the Week will return next Monday, I promise!)

On Thursday, October 22nd we drove west on I-44 from St. Louis to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The trip took about 9 hours including stops at rest areas and a quick lunch. After checking into a hotel in Bricktown District, downtown of OKC, we walked to Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse for dinner. The entrees were pricey and not much to write about. The next morning, we walked around the District, took a photo below of Mantle statue in front of AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. I am impressed with the development of Bricktown, many fine restaurants, a ballpark, Ford Center, home of the Oklahoma City Thunder- NBA team, a mile-long canal, variety of shops, all within walking distance from many well-established hotels.

Above is the boyhood home of the legendary Yankee center fielder/first baseman #7 Mickey Mantle. Mantle grew up and lived in this home at 319 South Quincy Street in Commerce, Oklahoma, for many years. Below photo shows the yard and the barn where Mantle and his Dad practiced batting. Signed right after high school, spent 2 years in the minors, Mantle played 18 seasons with the New York Yankees winning 7 (how appropriate for #7) World Series Championships and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.


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