Sunday, February 28, 2010


Congratulations to Team USA on a great game and a strong finish to earn the Silver Medal for America. Congratulations to Team Canada on a well-earned Gold Medal - we are proud of your performance. Goalie Ryan Miller was spectacular and definitely earned the respect and worthy of the MVP award. It was a treat to watch the game, down to last second (.24 to be exact) when Team USA tied the game. Congratulations to both Team USA and Team Canada - it was a world class game. For me, when it comes to hockey, Team Canada is always my favorite cousin!
I am so excited and also will be so nervous (Oh, the intensity, the emotion, the pressure, and all the joy) watching Team USA v. Team Canada face-off for the gold medal in men's ice hockey. Here we go again, a wresting match between my brother and my favorite cousin. Last Friday, after Stations of the Cross, a friend invited us to lunch on Sunday. I told her that we couldn't because "The Game" takes place at 2 pm. As we were driving home, my husband said that I should lie about having a commitment instead of hurting the friend's feelings. CP said no one likes to play second fiddle to a hockey game. I told CP that I would have to go to confession if I said what he suggested, telling a lie to a friend in church and during Lent! I don't wish to hurt anyone feelings and my friend would understand since she knew how much I love hockey. I am sure all the angels and all the saints, (even God) in heaven would be watching "The Game" too!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I called my Mom yesterday afternoon to see how everyone was doing. Mom told me that there was no school for my nephew and my brother was able to work from home. There would be no reason for being outside except to clean up the snow on the sidewalk. I am sure my sister, CH is so glad that she is so far from New York City. CH left on Monday to spend two weeks in the Carribean. I told Mom we have had nice weather here in St. Louis, sunny and the temperature in the 40s.
Here are a few nice photos I took from our trip to NYC in 2007. I never really explored Central Park during the years I was there. I had fond memories of being a volunteer for a few years helping out the runners at the end of the Marathon. The name Central Park seems to be a good name because I know three other parks that also named Central Park. Do you have a Central Park in your town?

Friday, February 26, 2010


Here are two more sculptures sitting (reading) in the snow. Above artwork of a boy and a girl sitting on a bench reading a book is installed in front of an elementary school near our subdivision. I hope you like the close-up photo below. The yellow sculpture in the bottom photo is from the office building on Olive Boulevard. A nice blog I visit regularly is New York in Photographs at, check it out and you might like it too.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010


My very own "treasure hunt" of public sculptures started last year when more than 20 life-size sculptures by the American artist J. Seward Johnson were on displayed throughout the City of Chesterfield in anticipation for the permanent installation of the Awakening. I also began to search for all other sculptures listed in the website of Chesterfield Arts. I enjoyed the outdoor Laumeier Sculpture Park but only saw half of the displays. I plan to go back to the park to see all the other pieces. Since then I look for sculptures wherever I happen to be. The sculpture below of five children crossing the creek on a tree log is on display at the entrance to the park in Manchester. We spotted the next two sculptures in front of an office building on Olive Boulevard, about 1.5 miles from I-270. What also makes the treasure hunt so much fun is being able to share what I found with my adoring fans. And that makes me very happy :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


After posting two "Deep Thoughts" entries, I thought I should lighten my blog with these photos. I enjoy seeing the "face" each morning on my way to work. Whoever painted the "smiling face" on this tree, thank you for creating a little humor to start my day. The close-up photo above with the icicle hanging on the left makes the face looks like it was drooling. If you enjoy this face, check out a really cute blog, "Faces in Place" is one of my daily must-see blogs.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I see the above sign on my way to work, "To be Anxious over Nothing, Pray over Everything". This is not my parish and I could not tell you what this Taiwanese Presbyterian Church of Greater St. Louis looks inside. I am sure it is beautiful and anyone is welcome to worship there. I am not sure if the service is entirely in Taiwanese or with some English.

Early last year, my husband was among the workforce reduction (a nicer term for unemployed people who were laid-off by the company) for about six months. I tried to be encouraging and told my husband that I understood how hard it would be for someone who has over 25 years of experience in design and pre-production engineering quality controlled to find suitable employment. Potential employers would say that CP was over-qualified and that he would not stay long even if he was willing to accept cut-back on salary. We discussed and agreed that we did not wish to move, so re-location was not part of the game plan.

I also told CP not to worry even if I lost my job because so many people that were (are) in worse situation. We are not the only one suffering. Almost everyone in the country has been negatively impacted. I feel sorry for family with small children and only one parent working. With a few dollars saved, we should be able to weather the storm. I thought if we both were unemployed, even with limited budget, it would be an opportunity to enjoy our lives by travelling around the country. I tried to remember that when something bad happened, it might be a blessing because we never knew what would be waiting for us at the end of the road. If the Communists did not take over Sai Gon, if we did not get on that boat to escape from Viet Nam, we would never find freedom and liberty. If we did not live in the refugee camp, we would not appreciate all the blessings being in America. Whatever happens, nothing could compare to the boat journey, the refugee camp, the barriers we overcame the first few years in America.

After six months, CP went back to work on temporary assignments. It was anxious time because he was only informed each Thursday whether he would be working the following week. The company finally asked CP to work full time starting in mid-November. Fortunately, he would also have all his vacation and benefits back.

Whether you are a non-believer or a person of strong faith, I wish you peace and strength and I hope you will find a way to get over this difficult time.

A very strong wind came up on the lake. The waves came over the sides and into the boat so that is was already full of water. Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind stopped and it became completely calm. Jesus said to his followers, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" Mark 4:37-40.

Monday, February 22, 2010


These photos were taken with Qaptain Qwerty in mind.
Here you see the Qaptain riding his bike in the snow.
Here you don't. Where did Qaptain Qwerty go? He must be back to New York, just in time for dinner at Pho Tay Ho ** Heh Heh **

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Congratulations to Team USA for a great game 4-3 over Team Canada. Brian Rafalski (Detroit Red Wings) scored twice. Watching the hockey game between team USA and team Canada made me feeling like watching a wrestling match between my brother and a favorite cousin. I was happy that team USA won but it would not be too bad if team Canada won. As long as it was a good game, may the better team win :)
Three of the St. Louis Blues players are on the Olympics rosters with Eric Johnson #6 and David Backes #42 representing USA and Roman Polak #46 is on team Czech Republic.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I saw the above sign, "40 Days of Purpose" with the question, "What on earth am I here for?", while walking around Cayman Islands. I was there in March 2006 and the question was posted as a call to real conversion and spiritual renewal during Lenten Season at Elmslie Memorial United Church (Presbyterian/ Congregational/Disciples), Established 1846. I found that it was ironic to see this sign here in Cayman Islands, a place well-known for offshore accounts, money laundering, tax havens for individuals who don't believe in paying taxes. I wonder how many people, mostly tourists who walked around the Islands seeking pleasure and sinful gratifications, would even notice the sign. Those who saw the sign, myself included, would anyone even take the time to reflect on the answer to such question? Days after days, we get up in the morning, going thru the routines to get ready getting to our workplaces. Do you look around at the people you work with and what's on your desk/computer, and ask "Is there something more?"? At the end of the day, when you leave the office, after wasted 8+ hours of your life, is there peace in your heart or a sense of fulfillment that your work has created some good? Is there a higher good or a calling to serve others? So many times when I sat in meetings, listening to the discussions, I wanted to ask the questions, "Is that all you people care about, making more money, how to get what you want and the hell with everyone else? How do you justify the company paying a few hundred dollars on a round of golf for a few directors and then taking away someone wages, who really needed the money to feed his family, just to save a few dollars? YOU LIED! Sure, you talk about CEOs who received big bonus and called them greedy, you yourself are as greedy when you gave yourself year-end bonus and then slashed the employee's salary by 25%. YOU LIED! Is the only way you feel better about yourself by degrading others and constantly making demeaning comments?"

I have been asking myself these questions, "Do you do work that is meaningful, work that has a purpose, work that bring comfort and care to others, work that bring greater good to society? Do you worry about your investment more than losing your soul to the devils? How big are your suitcases to pack all your earthly possessions when the time come?" I actually know the answers but I don't want to admit that I knew what I should do. Just like the rich man who heard what Jesus says, "If you want to be perfect, then go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor. If you do this, you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.", but the rich man could not give up his wealth. "Amen, I say to you that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God" Matthew 19:21-23.

Would you like to share your answers to the question, "What on earth am I here for?"?

Friday, February 19, 2010


I passed by this sculpture on the way to work but finally remembered to take the above photo last Sunday. A handful of snow but not enough to make a snowman!
I know you don't want to see any more winter pictures and I promised I would not post another snowy photo. I could not resist taking these snapshots of the snow on the eagle in front of our house. The eagle was the first item my husband bought after he purchased his first home in Michigan. It was placed in front of our house in Grand Haven and now the eagle is guarding our home here in St. Louis. Well, except when its shoulders are covered with snow and it has a cold head!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


(Angels at St. Peter's Basilica.) Looking at the first photo, I thought it must be what the Gate to Heaven looks like with the angels ready to open the doors for those who were blessed to enter. Not sure what the angels in the bottom photo were doing, probably just playing and being happy (were there any sad angels?)I was in New York last April when my Mom had her operation. I came in the day before the surgery. The next morning, we (my sister, CH, brother, VL and I) went with Mom to the hospital. After all the paperwork and waiting for hours, Mom was taken into the operation room around 3:30 p.m. CH and I walked around the neighborhood of Memonnide Hospital to get a late lunch. Later, I suggested that CH and VL should go home and I would remain in the waiting area. Around 7:20 p.m. the surgeon came in and informed me that the operation went well and Mom was resting comfortably in her room. He suggested that I would see Mom in the morning. VL picked me up from the hospital and we got dinner from Tay Ho Vietnamese restaurant. It was almost 11:00 p.m. when I finally went to bed. I was exhausted but somehow could not fall asleep. As I was lying in bed, my eyes were wide open, the clock on the table showing 1:30 a.m., trying but unable to sleep, I became so frustrated and said outloud, "I need to get some rest so I could see Mom early tomorrow morning." Suddenly I felt a warm embrace as if I was being hugged. Then I saw my Dad, his face right next to me, smiling and I fell asleep instantly.
I woke up the next morning feeling rested as if I had a full night of sleep. Perhaps my mind played tricks on me since I was emotionally and physically tired being in the waiting room. Perhaps I was already sleeping and it was all a dream. Or it was because I wanted to believe that my Dad was still living and that he was always near. Just for that moment, I could feel my Dad's arms around me. It was so real, it really was real and my Dad was with me. Thanks for the hug, Dad, I love you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


PS: During the bus tour, the guide mentioned that one of the houses (above photo) belonged to Mick Jagger. I could not explain to others why I was laughing. I thought it would be funny if Mick saw me from his front porch and said, "Did I just see you in St. Louis and then at the Superbowl? And now three weeks later, here you are following me to Jamaica. What do you want from me?". After all, it is a small world.
I just remember that I should post sunny, warm photos from my trip to the Caribbean instead of the snow blanket covering my backyard. The readers must be tired of seeing the snow and the cold weather, who wants to see more winter photos on the blogs when we've already seen enough just looking out the window? Looking at the photo below, image the cool water (in Ocho Rios, Jamaica) rushing gently thru your toes and the sun shined warmly on your face while you put on a second pair of socks, hopefully the thoughts would keep your feet toasty warm while you walked in the snow!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


We did not go to Soulard last Saturday for the Mardi Gras parade, so I post these photos from my trip to the Caribbean in 2006 instead. In my young and foolish days, I was among these dancers dressed up in colorful outfits, wild and crazy, dancing and drinking all nights. (Ya right, everyone knows I am a stuffed-shirt and stiff like a hockey stick!) Happy Fat Tuesday everyone. Reminder - just because tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, don't eat too many punski (or paczki) ** heh heh **

We were embarked at Puerta Maya because the ship could not get into Cazumel due to major damage from a recent storm. My sister and I did not care to take the bus into town (we still remembered the incident at Atlantic City back in 1983 - I will tell that story in future post), so we just stayed around Puerta Maya. There were a lot of shops and of course, entertainment such as the parade and street performances.

PS: Instead of the regular delicious salad, since it is Fat Tuesday, we "fell off the wagon" and had grilled chicken for dinner and cheese cake for dessert.

Monday, February 15, 2010


On Saturday, February 13th, we went to a Boat Show at the America's Center, before the hockey game at Scottrade Center. I immediately thought of Qaptain Qwerty when I saw this Hydro Bike or Pontoon Bike or Inflatable Pontoon Water-Bike. To me, it looks more like a "Banana Bike-Boat". I wonder if the Qaptain could use this Pontoon Bike to get around NYC on the Hudson River - ** Heh Heh ** (Perhaps this is a good idea for a birthday present!)
PS: Hey Qap (and all the bikers) check out this nice blog by a blogger riding his bike in the Missouri Ozarks.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Here is a very late Happy Valentine's Day to my adoring fans. (I have always considered Valentine's Day a conspiracy among the greeting card companies, florists, chocolate candy shops and restaurants. I am not against the day as a celebration of love but I thought some people make such a big fuss over getting/sending flowers, expensive gifts/dinners and true love being measured by the words in the mass-produced greeting cards.) Well, my husband sent me the above Snoopy and Woodstock card. It is cute, so I post it here.
This year Lunar or Chinese New Year/Tet (Vietnamese New Year) is on the same day as Valentine's Day. Good thing red is the color for both holidays, so there is no need for Asian-Americans (women) to change their outfits in the middle of the dinner for the celebrations. My husband practiced all day so he could say Happy New Year in Mandarin to my family. We have been married for almost 21 years and CP only learned to say "How are you? Thank You. I Love You" in Mandarin Chinese and once a year "Happy New Year". I tried teaching CP Vietnamese but he gave up because he got confused between two languages. He definitely did not wish to learn the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese.
My beloved Detroit Red Wings were in town on Tuesday, Feb. 9th. It felt good wearing my Red Wings jersey even though the Wings lost 3-4 in shootout, again! (I don't feel like blogging since Friday. It must be the weather that got me down and I have been thinking about my Dad's passing nine years ago. Last night, I dreamed of my Dad and when I woke up, I felt as if we were never apart.)
On Saturday, Feb. 13th, Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals made their rare visit to St. Louis. There was a large crowd waiting to see #8 during the warm-up before the game. I don't care much for Ovechkin but he sure lives up to expection of being not only a skilled hockey player but also a flashy player who puts on a good show for the fans. The Blues won 4-3 in shootout, again! After the game, we waited in line for another hockey stick with autographs from Chris Mason and Ty Conklin. I even managed to put my chubby face between the two goalies for a nice 49th birthday pose!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Last Saturday my husband and I went to Red Lobster for our Lunch Date. As we followed the hostess to our table, we heard the phone ring and a young lady answered, "Hi! I am here with my mother. We are having lunch." From where we were seated, I had a direct view of the young lady (let's call her Rudy) and her mother. I also witnessed a sad picture of how technology when mis-used has destroyed the personal interactions and family communication. From the moment she answered that "important"phone call, Rudy spent the time talking to someone who must be more "important" than her mother because the next fifteen minutes the mother quietly ate her lunch, trying not to disturb her daughter cell phone conversation. Rudy was smiling while continuing her phone conversation and enjoying her lunch as if the mother was not even there. I was so tempted to walk over and ask if the mother would like to join us at our table since her daughter was so busy talking on the phone. When both finished their lunch, Rudy took care of the bill, she was still on the phone, talking and walking out of the restaurant, with her mother right next to her. In her mind, Rudy thought driving her mother to the restaurant and paying for her meal was good enough. Perhaps what I witnessed was a reminder that I should not allow technology to replace personal connection, not letting email replacing phone conversations, that I should shut off the iPod, the iPhone, the computer, the television, all the video games or any other electronic device and really be in the moment with my family, whether the person is next to me or 1,000 miles away.
These sculptures by J. Seward Johnson were on displayed throughout the City of Chesterfield from August to October 2009 as part of public arts development leading up to the unveiling of "The Awakening". I thought the sculptures would be fitting for this post about human interactions and family communication in the modern time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


While re-organizing the CDs, I came across this photo of the Holland Museum, taken last year on our trip to Grand Haven-Holland, Michigan. It brought back fond memories when I was a docent for about a year, probably in 1992-3. I became interested in volunteering after learning that the museum needed extra docents during Tulip Time Festival, especially with a special exhibit of an original painting by Vincent van Gogh. You probably are thinking, "So why the title of this post, A Funny Story?". Well, it just happened that after the Festival was over, I stayed on because I really enjoyed being a docent. One Saturday afternoon, I was the only docent there and a group of European (probably Dutch) Americans walked in. They looked at me, an Asian American chubby woman, as I greeted them, "Welcome to the Holland Museum", then hesitated whether they were in the right place. Then they looked at "Eddie" standing in front of the gift shop. Here is why it is a funny story, Eddie was a student at Hope College but was born and raised in Laos and came to America when he was about five years old. I could tell that these visitors were confused since they did not expect to see two Asian faces in a museum that was supposed to be about Dutch culture. I introduced myself as their docent and began leading the tour. After the tour, the group spent time in the gift shop, talking to Eddie and purchasing souvenirs. I received compliments for being a knowledgeable docent and providing an interesting tour. (I received one hour of hand-on training and written materials of historical facts for each item in the exhibit. I did not let the compliments went to my head because I knew any dummy with good scripts/speech writers and a teleprompter could give an impressive speech filled with fancy words and empty analysis.)
Would you like to share a similar funny story that happened to you?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


To ensure that all Saturday home games would be sold-out, the St. Louis Blues made great offers (that hockey fanatics like me could not refuse) such as the Meet and Greet packages which include Club Seats, autographed hockey sticks and a chance to meet Blues players after the game. The Club Seats are located just below the Club Suites, between the goal lines with all-inclusive food (chicken strips, brats, hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, and ice cream) and beverage (soda, water and beer). I purchased tickets for November 28th and February 13th games. I thought since we were going to see my beloved Red Wings on November 28th, we might well receive other incentives such as all-inclusive food and an autographed hockey stick. Big mistake! You decide which version you wish to believe that actually happened on Nov. 28th. Version #1 - After the game, we stood in line for about 30 minutes waiting for the players, Brad Boyes & Carlo Colaiacovo, to come out from the lockers room. When it was my turn, Boyes looked up and saw that I was wearing the Red Wings jersey, he refused to sign my stick. He said I should take off the jersey. I responded, "You are a sore loser. I don't need your stinky autograph anyway." I picked up the stick, started to walk away, Colaiacovo leaned toward to say something but the stick hit him in the nose and it started bleeding. He fell backward and yelled, "I am hit!". Boyes threw a punch toward me but he missed and hit the security guard instead. I decided that it was best that I should start running, with my husband following behind, down the escalator, out of the building and to our truck. We could not stop laughing all the way home!
Version #2 (or the real version of what really happened) - When we got to the game, CP "advised" me to purchase a 50% off Manny Legace jersey (I agreed if I was going to buy a Blues jersey, it might well be Legace). He said I should take off my Pavel Datsyuk jersey and put the Blues jersey on. During the game, I felt as if I had committed adultery by wearing a Blues jersey while my beloved Red Wings playing against the Blues. It was unnatural, it was painful and it tore my heart into a million pieces! I could not believe that I wore a Blues jersey and of all the games, it had to be when my beloved Red Wings were playing. The game went overtime and then shootout with the Wings won 4-3. After the game, we waited patiently, almost 45 minutes, for Brad Boyes and Carlo Calaiacovo, to be at the signing table. It was a long night and I made a promise to think twice before jumping at any offers, no matter how good they might appear to be, definitely not when it is against my beloved Red Wings!

Monday, February 08, 2010


I took the first photo while walking along the pathway leading up to the Church of San Giorgio. From where I stood, the back of a stone sculpture looked like the shape of a football. I planned to take photo of the front of "it" so I could see what this sculpture was about. By the time we were back down to the village square, I saw the other stone sculpture of the three figures (second photo) and forgot about "it". I don't know if we would ever have an opportunity to visit Promontorio di Portofino (Italy) again. So if any readers happened to travel there or someone from Portofino, would you please tell me "what's dat" stone sculpture in the shape of a football was about? Grazie :)


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