Sunday, October 31, 2010


These photos were also taken at the recent BBQ Bash. Next year, I will try to remember to ask the people at these booths their reason for the decoration. What do mummies and pirates have to do with BBQ? I must admit these photos are appropriate for this post about Halloween. We had about 30+ kids stopping by, most were with parents or an adult keeping an eye on the groups. This year, I noticed the kids did not even bother saying "Trick or Treat", they just walked up to our door, rang the bell and not saying a word, yet expected us to put the candy in their bag, already wide opened or the pumpkin container. One kid was so lazy that he did not lift up the container, yet gave me a look like, "You know where to put the candy, old lady." My biggest pet peeve was when the kids just walked away after getting the treat, without saying "Thank You". This is what this world has become, a sense of entitlement, expecting something without working for it, asking the government for handouts (bailouts) or blame every problems on someone else (i.e. the rich, the corporation, the parents)! Next year, I will make sure that to receive the treat, the kids will have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or list the years the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Fall has arrived as evident in these photos taken from a park near our house.
One of the parks has a nice pond and many residents enjoy finishing there. There are tennis courts, basketball hoops, playground and enclosed pavilion for picnics.
In the last 15 years since moving here, we could count on one hand the number of occasions we utilized all the amenities the surrounding parks have to offer. We often don’t appreciate what we have. We take it for granted that our subdivision is a short distance between two good size parks. Actually, we live only a few miles from a well-known Castlewood Park.
Every year we talked about walking and spending more time outdoor. Yet, I only visit the park once or twice to take photos. As they say, “You could only lead the horse to the water ….”

This weekend I hope to sort thru the closets, get ready for the winter and gather a bag of clothing to put in the donation box. The Historical Society also asks for donation of books, so it would be good to find a few books to give away.

How are you getting ready for winter? It is time to stock up soup and hot chocolate :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Each time (that is once a year for us) when we leave the comfort zone of the suburb to go to the Polish Falcon Hall for the Polish Heritage Festival located on St. Louis Avenue in downtown St. Louis, we passed by these abandoned buildings in neighborhood where once was full of promise and potential.
The City of St. Louis never regained its glory of the World Fair, no longer a bustling city of steamboats and trading, socio-economic changes, political activism and conspiracy, and hopes for a more peaceful and safer life led many St. Louis residents to flee the city, prompting "
white flight" by white residents who found integrated neighborhoods undesirable.
“The whites took their money with them when they left and the economic base for these neighborhoods collapsed. Poverty, crime, anger and a feeling of hopelessness settled into the once prosperous neighborhoods. This is the "White Flight" phenomenon that has turned East St. Louis into what it is today.”, these were words of deep resentment by those who were left behind.
I read an interesting fact that when Fred McFeely Rogers saw the television for the first time in the spring of 1951, he commented, “I just hated it.” For someone whose work was centered around this kind of medium, it is ironic that throughout his adult life, Mr. Rogers rarely watched TV.

There is no Mr. Rogers sitting on the front porch in a long sleeve cardigan sweater over a white shirt and a tie with a khaki pants and black sneakers, asking “Won’t you be my neighbors?”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


These photos were from a recent BBQ Bash. After taking photo of the two giant pumpkins, I thought the smaller pumpkins lining on the ground looked like they were "sincere" pumpkins. I also thought I could send the photo below of my shadow at the corner to Linus van Pelt (of the Peanuts gang) and tell him that the Great Pumpkin has visited. Perhaps Qaptain Qwerty knows where I could forward the photo to the young Linus.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Last weekend we made our 3rd trip to Oklahoma City. We missed a few attractions (downtown Tulsa, Totem Pole Park, etc.) the first time in October 2009. During our westward trip in July this year, we were trying to get to California so we kept on driving and on the returned trip we were so tired after driving more than 4,000 miles, we again could not make time to see the Golden Driller in downtown Tulsa.

This time, our trip started on Friday, October 15th, driving to Springfield, Missouri after we both got off work. We spent the night at a budget motel. The room was clean and comfortable, just what we needed for an overnight accommodation.
We got on the road around 7:00 a.m. and took I-44 into Galena, Kansas. This time we made time to stop by the famous Eisler Bros. Grocery and Deli in Riverton. Of course, CP has to take a few more photos of the T-bird at the Rainbow Bridge in Baxter Springs. We were hungry and decided that it would be a good time for lunch at Café on the Route.

We followed Route 66 into Oklahoma but did not make many stops since we already visited most of the attractions from Quapaw to Chelsea. Benjamin was really happy when we finally arrived at the Totem Pole Park in Foyil. (Photos will be in future posts.)

Sadly, the Admiral Twin Drive In Theatre was burned down to the ground early this month. There was a fundraising event that day but it did not look promising that it would be re-built.
At around 3:30 p.m., we finally drove into downtown Tulsa. We found the Golden Driller, a 76-foot tall sculpture tribune to Tulsa’s oil heritage at 21st Street west of Yale. (Photos in future posts).

We continued on to Red Fork where we stopped for dinner at Ollies’ Station Restaurant. I missed my nephew JL terribly when I saw inside the restaurant all decorated with collection of model trains that were moving around the dining room on tiny tracks suspended from the ceiling. Model trains are displayed on glass shelves around the restaurant. From Ollies’ website, “Ten running trains, from G-scale to Z-scale, run the length of the dining room and through scale model cities and towns. Our walls and shelves abound with railroad memorabilia.” (Hey Qaptain Qwerty, it would be a great road trip next April after the marathon?)

After Red Fork, we got lost for about an hour on a dark 2-lane country road trying to find the giant soda bottle in Arcadia. Just like a typical man, CP would not stop to ask for direction or let me read the EZ 66 guide. Only after I threatened to throw a bucket of yellow paint on his T-bird when we get home, CP agreed to turn around. I took many photos of the 66 foot tall pop bottle illuminated in beautiful colors.
We spent Saturday night in Bricktown, Oklahoma City. The next day, we attended Sunday Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Oklahoma City. The Cathedral is located across the street from the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum honoring the victims of the 1995 bombing.

A trip to Oklahoma City would not be completed without getting a few banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) from Banh Mi Ba Le at the famous Giant Milk Bottle on Classen. Later, we stopped in Chandler, sat down at a park in front of the courthouse, enjoyed delicious banh mi. It was one of the most wonderful moments of the road trip.
Continued on Route 66, we were glad to find that Seeba Station has been beautifully renovated and is now open as Motorcycles Museum. After a stop at the classic Steaks n’ Shake in Springfield, Missouri, we drove all the way to St. Louis and got home around 8:45 p.m. on Sunday night.

Long time no see, so here is Benjamin again saying “Hay Hay Hay Hay Hay Hay Hay Hay Hay Hay”!

Friday, October 22, 2010


It was a nice surprise during the Poker Run after the 2nd stop in Grafton, Illinois, I spotted the scuplture of a native American with an eagle at an entrance to a rather newly built subdivision. The houses are large and sit on decent lots with a great view of the river. I would love to spend the afternoon sitting on the patio, reading a book or just watching the river flowing by.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


If there was a category for "the most friendly goalie in the NHL", Ty Conklin (former Red Wings, current Blues) would win the award. I captured the above photo of Hannu Toivonen and Conklin during the warm up before the game (September 30th) when the Hawks came to St. Louis. Toivonen played 23 games as a Blues during 2007-2008 season.

I remembered seeing Conklin chatting with other goalies during warm up when we were at another game. Looks like Toivonen and Conklin were just saying hello and asking, "how are you doing, how is the family". Or could be just trash talk like, "Do you feel lucky, punk?", or "Don't let that puck get thru your 5th hole."

We got tickets to see the Penguins when they come into town on Saturday, October 23rd. We hope to say hello to Dan Bylsma and get his autograph. I hope Brent Johnson has forgiven me for being a "jinx" after I got his autograph when he was with the Blues in 2004, he was injured and traded to the Coyotes. I will be sure to take a photo of Conklin having a friendly chat with Johnson.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


The Missouri Knights of Columbus held the Annual “Tootsie Roll” Drive last week. The purpose of this fundraising effort is to provide assistance to people who are mentally challenged and those with physical limitations. On Saturday morning, October 9th, my husband was assigned to stand in front of one of the gadzillion Walgreen stores in the area. On Sunday morning, October 10th, we both were enlisted to be at a local Shop n’ Save supermarket. I was on the west entrance and CP was on the east. This was the first time I was asked to help. The last few years, only CP signed up to volunteer at a U-Gas near our house. I was more than happy to help since I wanted CP to move up to 4th Degree and eventually to be a Grand Knight. But my dear husband has no ambition and has remained a 3rd Degree Knight the last four years! People began to talk and I could not face the scandal (just kidding).

Most of the people were nice but no generous amount, only $1 or a few coins were deposited into the donation can. Only one person put in a $10 and did not even take the Tootsie roll. I smiled and greeted everyone with a "good morning or have a good day", without being a pushy salesperson. One person had a Tootsie roll in his pocket and quickly pulled it out, as he approached me, saying that he already gave. I engaged people, mostly man, with comments such as, “Were you at the game yesterday? The Blues sure played a good game against the Flyers.” when I saw a person with a Blues shirt.
Another comment, “That Cutler really struggled last week against the Giants”, to a young man with a Chicago Bears cap. When I told my husband about my tactic of getting people’s attention, he said that it was a good thing that I did not get into a fight with someone who might find out that I was really a Red Wings and a Patriots fan. Or I used my sports knowledge just to “B.S.” Well, I am doing whatever it takes to get money/funding for the kids!

Friday, October 15, 2010


After collected the card from the 2nd stop of the Poker Run on Saturday, October 2nd, and then a quick lunch, we spent time watching the river flowing by. There were a lot of boaters on the river taking advantage of the beautiful weather on a sunny afternoon.
There was no activities at this sand dredging company since it was on Saturday.
We watched the barge pushing the heavy loads up the river at a pretty good speed.

A ferry moving slowly carries passengers and vehicles back and forth from Illinois side to the Show Me State - Missouri. Perhaps next time when we are not on a tight schedule, we plan to take the ferry across the Mighty Mississippi River.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


(I just realized that this is the 666th entry of this blog. It would have been "spooky" if it happened later on October 31st - Halloween. Or earlier on Friday, August 13th. So what is the significance, TOTA? Nothing! Now you believe me when I wrote that there is a lot of rambling in this silly boring blog of mine.)
While waiting for the Poker Run to start, I walked around the park and took the above photo of two rowing teams passing each other. They must be practicing for the 2011 Dragon Boat Race. Next year, the event is scheduled for Saturday, August 13th. I already signed up to be a volunteer that day.

The information below is from the official website,
"A dragon boat is a long, narrow canoe-style boat that is used in the team paddling sport of dragon boat racing, a tradition which originated in China over two thousand years ago. Dragon boat races are held as part of the annual Duanwu Festival in China, and the tradition has emerged in the past several decades as an international sport. Dragon boats are so-called because they are typically rigged at their ends with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails.

The best-known origin story of dragon boat racing is a folk legend about a Chinese statesman and poet by the name of Qu Yuan (c. 340-278 BC). Qu lived during a time in China's history characterized by a collection of warring states rather than a unified kingdom. A descendant of the royal house in the ancient state of Chu, Qu served as a government minister and, as a champion of political loyalty, was eager to preserve Chu autonomy in the shadow of the increasingly hegemonic Qin state. When the Chu king fell under the influence of other, corrupt ministers and decided to ally with Qin, Qu publicly criticized the alliance; for this, he was charged with treason and banished. During his exile, Qu travelled the countryside, collecting legends and writing poetry (producing some of the greatest poetry in Chinese literature, for which he is also remembered), expressing fervent love for his state and concern for its future. In the year 278 BC, Qu's fears were realized when Qin conquered the Chu capital of Ying. Upon learning of this, Qu is said to have waded into the Miluo River holding a great rock in order to commit ritual suicide as a form of protest against the corruption of the day. Folklore has it that the local people, who greatly admired Qu, rushed out on the water in their fishing boats and tried desperately to save him; they beat drums and splashed the water with their paddles in order to keep the fish and evil spirits from his body. Today, people still participate in dragon boat races during the Duanwu Festival to commemorate Qu Yuan."

Monday, October 11, 2010


Hey Qaptain Qwerty, this post is for you. I know these license plates are so easy and don't need to be de-coded. You have to admit they are clever and easy to remember.
At FastLane Classic Cars in St. Charles, there was a large display of approximately 100 license plates. I did not look at each of the plates so I don't know if they came from all 50 states. When I saw the California license plate that reads "935 NYC", I thought perhaps I should have gotten one with a Missouri plate that reads "180 NYC" for January 1980 when my family came to America. And everyone will know when they see my license plate that New York is always in my heart.
I still try to figure it out what the license plate "KPRSKILO" stands for. Do you know what "4QQ NJY" stands for?

Saturday, October 09, 2010


(Above photo was taken in Arizona during our Route 66 Westward trip in July.)
It was the first time we participated in a Poker Run. The Run started at 10 on Saturday morning (October 2nd) from Creve Coeur Lake in Maryland Heights, Missouri. The event was a fundraising organized by someone who works with my husband. It was in memorial of his son, MV, who was a junior at Maryville University. MV was given full scholarship by the university. He was a promising baseball player and had a passion for cars, especially Mustangs (thus, we took the Mustang, instead of the T-bird, on the Poker Run). MV died last year during a hiking adventure. The proceed from the Run went to a scholarship fund in memorial of MV.
It was a clear but cold morning. There were a lot of people at the park, running, walking and a few rowing teams. We were assigned to Group #3. Each Group has 7 cars and everyone played 5-Card Stud. The first card is handed out during registration and one more card at each of the next four stops. The winner with the best hand would win 50% of the pot collected for each group.

The 2nd stop was the Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton, Illinois. After getting the 2nd card, we stopped for lunch at a BBQ place in Alton, Illinois.

After lunch, we drove to FastLane Classic Car in St. Charles. This was the 3rd stop and we got one more card. After drooling over the cars, we took off to the 4th stop at Bentley St. Louis. We were “allowed” to walk around the showroom. There were signed that read "Please enjoy, but don't touch"! I never felt so poor in my life. The showroom was filled with Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and a $350,000 Maserati! A nice salesman told us that someone came in last week and bought three (3) of these fancy automobiles, must be someone from the Busch family!

The 5th and final stop was at Maryville University. The total run was approximately 6 hours to complete 125 miles but we had so much fun so it did not seem to be that long. To our surprise, we won the prize in our group for having the best hand - 3 of a kind. We decided to donate part of the prize to the fund. It was our first Poker Run but we enjoyed it so much that I said to my husband that not only we should participate again next year but I am also open to take part in other Poker Runs as well.

My husband said that just because we won our first Poke Run, I now have turned into a gambler. Well, “You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em".

Friday, October 08, 2010


Here are a few more photos from the recent Hot Air Balloon Race at Forest Park. The Fall weather has been so pleasant in the high 70s to upper 80s. We are planning a road trip to see the fall foliage. Got to enjoy every minute of the clear blue sky and warm weather before the winter arrives.
Well, I think the photo below was captured when the balloon landed, so it actually is not above the ground!

Thursday, October 07, 2010


The counter on this boring blog reached 10,000 on October 1, 2010. Actually, I would have loved to be able to capture an image when the count was at 9,999. To all my adoring fans, faithful readers and all the visitors, thank you very much. To my followers – a deep appreciation from the bottom of my heart :)
I started this blog on August 4, 2006 and it has been fun. Over the years, TOTA has changed from essay writing style without any photos to the current format filled with cheesy photos, silly stories and a lot of rambling. I no longer try to impress the readers with latest world news, deep thoughts or intelligent comments. TOTA has become more of a diary/journal/scrapbook.
I envy bloggers whose counters are in the six-digits and also have followers in the hundreds, some in the thousands. One of the blogs that was featured in the Blog of Notes has 4,321 followers. Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, has over a million hits. (BTW, Qaptain Qwerty, you should reach 20,000 hits pretty soon!)

I am always delighted when someone left a comment. It has been awhile since I receive any comments, not even from Qaptain Qwerty ( I know the content of my blog don’t generate much discussion and since I enable “comment moderation”, some people consider a turn-off. However, I truly appreciate those rare comments because they were special when someone took the time and the trouble to leave the comments. I feel it is worth the extra step when I leave comments on others' blogs that also have comment moderation.
So, what will be next, TOTA? Well, I hope to reach 700th post by December 31, 2010. Also, in 2009, I posted a total of 230 entries for the year. For 2010, I will try to set a new record, maybe 250 entries. The goals are meaningless, but they keep me motivated to keep publishing.

Thank you again, to all the regular readers, occasion readers and first time visitors. Please join me in the celebration of this milestone of 10,000th in TOTA’s Counters. Here is to the next 10,000 and Happy Blogging, everyone!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


This is a perfect photo to use for my weekly Tuesday Two theme. Say hello to Forward Troy Brouwer, #22, from Vancouver, Canada (where else would hockey players come from?) Three more days and my beloved Red Wings will play the first game of the season against the Ducks. It is the most wonderful time of the year. Life is good :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails