Monday, February 28, 2011


I blinked and the month of February was gone!

February 2011 roared into the year with an ice storm that terrified St. Louisians and somewhat handcuffed the Midwest region. Some of us could tell the grandkids stories about how we survived the 2011 Monster Storm!
“OK, TOTA, are you going to tell exactly when your birthday is?” my adoring fans and faithfully readers probably are asking. I saw many blogs with hundred of followers, one with almost 1,000 followers. Yet, when the person posted that it was his/her birthday on a particular date, there were about 54 out of 596 followers that took the time to send comments wishing the person Happy Birthday. (What about the other hundred of followers?) Another blogger has 58 followers and only 5 sending birthday wishes. I must admit that the reason I don’t wish to share exactly the date when my birthday is because I was afraid that I would not receive even one comment on my special day. Is it silly for me, a 50 years old person, to be so insecure about such trivia matter? Well, if you must know, my birthday is on February 30th – haa haa.
February also brought many fun events such as the Lunar New Year (Tet) and of course, the Superbowl. I felt somewhat productive with my commitment to do more community services. I continued to help out at the monthly dance party for adults with mental challenges. I contacted three different hospice programs, two at local hospitals and one skilled care center. I already signed up for a refresher training scheduled in April. Until I am able to visit patients, I plan to start helping with special outreach projects. I am also involved with a local charity organization on a special project to send a shipment of 500 wheelchairs to Viet Nam. There are also plans to set up medical clinic in remote areas to provide much needed care to those in need of basic treatments.
My Dad passed away 10 years ago on February 13th. In all that I do, whether working or serving others thru volunteer activities, I do my best to honor my Dad. I know Dad is watching over me and our family. I hope he tells other angels, “That is my daughter (my sports buddy) and I am proud of her!”
The flowers with a balloon and the bear were from my sweet husband. My sister, CH, sent me these beautiful roses and calla lilies. I am thankful to be older and turning 50 was not too bad considering the other option – haa haa.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I am not against the Academy Awards. I did not watch the ceremony because I did not find the show interesting. When I see the headlines, "83rd Annual Academy Awards Winners", I wonder whether those who did not receive the awards considered themselves to be "Losers"!
These photos were taken in July 2010 when we spent a few hours driving around Los Angeles. Later, we cruised along the Pacific Coastal Highway (California State Route 1). My husband was in high heaven since it was on his bucket list to cruise along this famous highway in his cool car!
Just a few photos during our "drive-by shooting" because parking was at a premium and we had a long drive back to St. Louis.
I am sure those attended the Academy Awards would not be staying at this Hollywood Premier Motel. Maybe 20-30 years ago, some of them might have stayed there when they were struggling actors.
Sunday, February 27th - At around 11:15 p.m. we heard the siren went off. Tornado warning was issued for our area. From the basement, we could hear the heavy rain and strong wind. At around 11:45 p.m., the rain stopped and the wind subsided. We went back to bed when the warning was lifted.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Cabin fever finally got to me and I could not wait for Spring and Summer to arrive. I have been planning road trips in May when we will start driving the Lincoln Highway in Illinois and in September for a niece's wedding in Aspen, Colorado.
These photos were from our Westward Route 66 adventure in July 2010. For 9 days, we drove 4,437 miles from St. Louis to Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and reached the End of the Trail at Santa Monica Pier in California.
In September, we plan to drive the Lincoln Highway from Missouri to Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California. Visit to read about the first road across the United States of America. The Lincoln Highway is known as "The Main Street Across America".
I asked my husband whether we would take the T-bird or the Mustang for the trip in September. He said we should take the Mustang as it is more comfortable for long distance driving. I commented that if we really wanted to be comfortable, we should take "Luc". CP looked at me as if I just said something really insulting! "It is not a cool car", he said! Oh, I am so ready to be on the road again!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Around 7:30 p.m. last night (Thursday, February 24th), snow started to fall. There was no major accumulation and the roads were pretty clear the next day. I stopped by Central Park in Chesterfield to take a few photos of Luc at the Awakening. We had the place all for ourselves. No one was around, no kids climbing onto the hand, face and foot of the sculpture. It was nice :)The Awakening, a monumental, five-part sculpture by American sculptor J. Seward Johnson, Jr., was installed in October 2009. The sculpture is 70 feet in length, 17 feet tall, and 4,700 lbs cast aluminum.
For more information, visit or

Thursday, February 24, 2011


My husband would have loved to spend the whole day or more, at the Museum of Natural History.
Regretfully, we got of the train, took these photos and got on the next train as we were running out of time on the last day of our week long visit to NYC last November.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Here is another nice feature of my new automobile. Luc is a very polite vehicle. He "says" Hello when I "turned him on" - haa haa!
He "waves" Goodbye when I "shut him off"! Miss Manners would have given Luc her seal of approval for being a polite automobile.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TUESDAY TWO - 2-22-11

I could not let February 22, 2011 went by without posting a "Tuesday Two" theme entry. (Yes, I know I am more than a few days late. I am trying to post everyday during the month of February. I started this ritual in 2009 when I needed to motivate myself to continue with blogging. I chose February as the shortest month to post an entry each day.)
These top and above photos were taken last November (2010) when we were in NYC. We went into Saks Fifth Avenue store, across from Rockefeller Center, to use their restrooms. (I normally don't like to mention a speficic business, but special thanks to Saks Fifth Avenue for letting us use your facility.)
I randomly captured images that have number 2 or in pairs. I found the above sign interesting as it listed number 22 on the building on East 50th Street and also a 2nd address 444 Madison Avenue. Why is it interesting? Because half of 444 would be 222. Another weird thinking process in the mind of a hockey junkie named TOTA!

Monday, February 21, 2011


After Fete de Glace (January 29, 2011) in historic downtown St. Charles, on the way back to the parking lot, I was glad to discover this sculpture in front of St. Charles City Hall building.
I could not find the title nor the artist's name. However, I am sure the readers would agree that the title, "Reach for the Star", would be appropriate.
After being laughed right off the stage at Apollo Theater, I thought this sculpture gave me some hope that someday I might be a rich and famous singer/dancer!

What are your hopes and dreams? Where would you like to be in the next 10, 20, 30 years? How do you plan to make your dreams come true? What are you willing to risk to reach for the star?

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Congratulations to Todd Bertuzzi on his 1000th career game. Bertuzzi celebrated the milestone with a shootout winner (2-1) over the Minnesota Wild.Sunday, February 20th was Hockey Day in America, part of Hockey Weekend Across America in 2011. The day-long event, for nine hours (hockey fans were in high heaven) celebrated hockey with NHL games that included Philadelphia Flyers 4 over my American hometown New York Rangers 2, Washington Capitals 2 v. Buffalo Sabres 1, Pittsburgh Penguins loss to Chicago Blackhawks in shootout 2-3 and of course, my beloved Red Wings victory 2-1 over the Minnesota Wild.
It was not a good day for Habs fans as the Calgary Flames beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 in the 2011 Heritage Classic outdoors game in Calgary, Alberta.
Just to prove that my life was not revolved around hockey schedule, in between the games, we visited Ted and Karen at their new apartment. Ted and his son were my husband's golf partners. Last September, Ted and Karen were in a serious car accident. They were in rehab and later moved to a skilled care center. T&K, both in their late 70s, no longer are able to live in their home and had to move into the apartment building next to the center. We spent about an hour there, helping Karen moved her patio furniture and getting things organized so they could move around easier with the walkers. We promise to visit them regularly.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Last month I had my annual mammogram examination. Ten day later I got a phone call and then a letter informing me that the results was normal. This is one of those situations when the word "negative" being used means good news.
So this is my public service announcement - Ladies, remember to schedule your periodic mammogram, perform monthly self examination and annual examination by a physician. Gentlemen, remind the ladies in your family to practice these important examinations. Early detection saves lives.

Friday, February 18, 2011


During our recent visit to NYC last November (2010), my husband wanted to see the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. On Monday, November 29th, we took the D train from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn to 125th Street. If you look at the subway map, the long ride was from Brooklyn at the bottom (two stops from Coney Island) to almost the top of the map in the Bronx.
There it was, one of New York City’s great cultural landmarks where the music greats such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Nat “King” Cole performed.
I went back two nights later to try-out for the regular Wednesday night amateur performances. I did my 3-act routine. First, I told a few jokes to warm up the audience but the crowd did not even crack a smile. Then I started to dance and the audience broke out laughing so hard. Finally, when I started to sing, the people ran out of the ballroom as if there was a fire! “TOTA, don’t quit your day job!”, the stage manager told me, still laughing at my dancing.
It was time for lunch and I suggested that we had some soul food but my husband was a bit nervous of being “out of place” so we took the subway back to midtown.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


That is right - it was 70 degrees when I took the above photo on Wednesday, February 16th. I drove around during lunch break and at one point, it was up to 72! Not sure how long this warm sunny weather will last but I will enjoy one day at a time.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I saw this sign at a punky soup and salad place when walking around downtown St. Charles. This would be considered my Humor of the Week since we all need a little humor (no matter how cheesy it could be) dealing with the current chaos of the world. Everyone, be well, be safe and be happy (I am trying!).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Please join me in extending a warm welcome to “LUC”, a new family member. I brought Luc home from the car dealership on Saturday, January 22nd. He smells so good, the smell of a new baby! Luc already came with a moonroof. A rear spoiler was ordered and installed on Friday, January 28th.
Although I just wanted a vehicle to get around, it was nice that Luc came with many standard features such as Tilt & telescopic steering wheel; MP3 auxiliary jack, Bluetooth, and 8-way power driver’ seat so I don’t break any nails. These features are pretty much standard in most of the new models.

What I really like the most are safety features such as dual front air bags, side air bags (again probably standard in most models – I just hope we never had to find out if the bags worked!), anti-theft engine immobilizer (if someone tries to steal my car by hot wiring, the engine would not start – of course, this would not help if I was forced to hand over the key!).
One particularly safety feature that I really like is the Blind Spot Monitoring System. It is still the responsibility of the driver to check before changing lanes. But BSM System provides extra safety with warning lights on the left and right door mirrors. The System will warn the driver with a beep and warning light flash if a turn signal was on.

For some reasons I always felt as if I had a flat tire when driving my car. With the new vehicle, there is a Tire Pressure Monitoring System Warning Light which provides a comfort level that I would be warned when the tire pressure was low. I would then have the tire check in advance, avoiding any possible flat tire leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere!

Here comes the best part – the answer to why name the car “Luc”? I don’t know how it got started when I gave the name “Z” to the other vehicle, Mazda 626. I wanted to call it “Zach” but my husband did not like the name as it was a bit too close to “Jack” which was the name of one of my former boyfriends! This time, for this Mazda6, I selected the name “Luc” based on the pronunciation of number Six in Hakka and Cantonese Chinese dialects. There you have it, another weird thinking process in the mind of a hockey junkie named TOTA!

Monday, February 14, 2011


I am sure I am not the only woman who does not care for Valentine's Day. I am not against the occasion and everyone has the rights to celebrate what is important to them and their relationship. In my humble opinion Valentine's Day is marketing ploy invented by florists, restaurants and greeting cards companies. When I was single living in New York, I remembered on Valentine's Day, the women in the office would wait anxiously for their flowers be delivered, sent by their significant others. Those that did not get the flowers, except me, were disappointed, felt rejected and unloved.
I am posting these photos from our Route 66 road trip in June 2010 showing the murals around the town of Pontiac, Illinois. These photos would be sort-of a celebration so I won't be labeled "The Grinch" when it comes to Valentine's Day!
Top mural - Palace of Sweets by artist Cam Bortz.
Allen Candy Co. mural by Jay Allen (what a coincidence!)
Above mural - Scatterday Pop by Carole Bersin.
Pontiac on Route 66 (below mural) - Tom & Kathy Durham.
Just like any loving wife would do, I waited patiently while my husband took gazillion photos of his precious car in front of this mural - Route 66 by Diaz Sign Art.


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