Thursday, March 31, 2011


The St. Louis Cardinals' home opening game is Thursday, March 31st. Posting photos of this butterfly sculpture is fitting for the start of 2011 baseball season. Summer will be here soon along with the hot and humid temperature! The NHL playoffs will begin in less than 10 days, so I am not really ready for the baseball season (I was never into this slow-pace American pastime activity anyway).
Above - Cardinal's Experience by Artist Daniel McCarthy. From, "Painting has allowed Daniel to continue the creative path that he embarked on at a young age. His work is inspired by images from his life, subjects of his mind, love, death, and creation. Strong composition and complex color are his artistic foundation. Dan is a Senior Graphic Designer at CFX, Inc."

"This butterfly, “Cardinals Experience,” creates a visual interpretation of a Cardinals game. On the base of the butterfly, four different scenes reflect the experience of going to a game at Busch Stadium. As the viewer walks past the sculpture, the front of the butterfly conveys the excitement of Cardinals baseball. This creation is one of a kind because it has also been signed by players on the 2010 Cardinals major league roster."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This sculpture is named "Tree of Life" by artist Victoria Whiting. It is located inside the Jewel Box at Forest Park. If we were not looking for this sculpture, we would probably still not seeing the inside of the Jewel Box.
From, "Victoria enjoys working in a variety of media to create pieces that combine strong drawing bases with global influences infused with both ancient and modern symbols and designs."
"Trees have always been some of my favorite things in life and in artwork. I have always enjoyed seeing light filtered through the leaves of a tree during the day and especially at sunsets. I remember the feeling as a child of running home as the sun went down while the trees turned to silhouettes. The transformation of the trees at twilight and the colors of the sky made the experience almost mystical. That feeling inspired the colors of my butterfly. As an adult studying art, I learned the symbolic meaning of the Tree of Life, an important symbol in many cultures. These trees often have images of fruit, flowers and winged creatures and symbolize protection, growth and strength. It seemed natural to fill the butterfly with this Tree of Life, full of offerings, hope and strength."

Monday, March 28, 2011


One of the 56 butterfly sculptures, part of the Wings in the City exhibit, is on display at the Jewel Box in Forest Park. We have been living in St. Louis since 1995. We visited Forest Park on many occasions such as going to the annual hot air balloons race, to the museums or just driving around the park. Yet, last weekend was the first time we went inside the Jewel Box at Forest Park. From the outside, it has an appearance of a neglected greenhouse. Once inside, it is so beautiful and inviting. The place was set up ready for a wedding. We did not know that the Jewel Box was available for rental for special events.Ok, TOTA, what about the title "The little church mouse in the Jewel Box"? During the week of March 21 – 25, I went to Mass in the morning, then to work and then back to church with my husband for the Parish Mission. I just thought the title, “The little church mouse in the Jewel Box” was sort-of perfect for this post!My husband started calling me “a little church mouse” when I began going to 8:00 Mass on Wednesday and Friday mornings. Last week two Vincentian priests, twin brothers, visited our parish and presented a week long Parish Mission entitled “I Could Have Done More”. Starting Monday, March 21st thru Thursday, March 24th, at 7:00 p.m. each evening, the priests celebrated Mass with a homily focused on different theme for each night.The theme on Monday was our trust in God when we pray. The priest told a story about the people in a small town gathered to pray for rain during a drought. Almost all the town people came to the church, including a 10 years old boy named Billy. After an hour of praying, the Lord answered their prayers and the heavy rain began pouring. Little 10-year old Billy was the one person carried an umbrella. No one trusted in God like little Billy. They prayed but in their heart and mind, they were not true believers!On Tuesday, the theme was learning to rely on God’s wisdom and power. We are a “quick fix” people, always expecting instant relief. We need to remember that God acted in His own time, not according to our schedule. Forgiveness was the theme on Wednesday. Forgive those who offended us was sort-of easy, the hardest part was forgiving our own mistakes. We often are too harsh on ourselves to the point where we could not move on. The sacrament of reconciliation was offered after the Wednesday Mass. (On Wednesday evening, when the priest started reading the Gospel, I began to question whether he was reading the same Gospel from yesterday. Then I realized that I heard the same reading from the morning Mass. And I thought the priest was confused because of his old age. It was I that was confused!) Thursday was the last day of the Parish Mission. The theme was to have a peaceful mind and heart. To achieve a peaceful mind and heart, we must not only forgive those offended us but also pray for them. We also must not be vengeful (like saying, “I forgive you but I hope God will get you!”) This is the hardest part and I don’t know if I could ever achieve a peaceful mind and heart!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Saturday, March 26th – The flurries began around 8:15 when I got up in the morning. After breakfast, approximately 10:20 a.m., I decided to go out. I needed a new ink cartridge and also to Borders bookstore to see whether there are any good books left from their out-of-business sales. I stopped by the community center where a book fair (and home-made bakery goods) was being held. Proceeds from the fair benefits the Historical Society and also fund the renovation of the old school building. I looked around but realized that I had enough reading materials (especially those self-help books), I bought two banana nut muffins and a small jar of strawberry jam. This was what greeted me when I walked back to my car after the book fair! The heavy snow, strong wind and below 30 degrees temperature, almost blizzard condition, caught me (and others) by surprise. I decided to go home where it is warm and safe. After lunch, we took a long nap and spent the evening watching a documentary on Mark Twain. You could hardly tell the words on the banner (above photo), “Spring has arrived”, I say NOT!!!!!
It sure is ironic that the sign reads “Spring Break” while the snow is falling!

Watching the little bird seeking shelter, waiting for the storm to pass, reminded me that sometimes in life we have to take a step back and not react to whatever comes at us. We need to wait for the right opportunity and plan accordingly.
By the time we got home from noon Mass on Sunday, March 27th, the sun was out and most of the snow was gone. After lunch, we again spent the day taking a nap. Must be the cold weather that made me so sleepy or it could be old age!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Photos taken during our Westward adventure on Route 66 in July 2010. The structure, "the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ", built in 1995, south of I-40 Exit 112 on Highway 295 was the newest religious monument located in Groom, Texas. The complex also includes 14 statutes of the “Stations of the Cross”.
FIFTH STATION - Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry His cross (Mark 15:20-22)
SIXTH STATION - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus (Matthew 25:37-40)
SEVENTH STATION - Jesus falls the second time (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Above - Houska Doodle Wings by Charles Houska (who else?)
From, "Colorful, bold, intense art that commands attention and triggers a smile is the essence of Houska’s work. He has his own pop-art style, using a whimsical cast of characters and bright color. “I paint for light-hearted, happy people of all ages, he says.”
"Inspiration: I have done a lot of work in the past for St. Louis Children’s Hospital and nothing to me is more amazing than to see the bright smiles of children around art. I decided to fill every possible space on the butterfly with a collage of my characters painted in bright happy colors. My hope is to bring instant attention, fun and happy thoughts, if even briefly, to an uncertain world."

Hey Qaptain Qwerty, the sculpture below was probably made just for you! Read on and you will agree that the artist's inspiration is similar to one of your causes. Actually, in two weeks, you will be able to see these scupltures "up close and personal"! Can't wait :)
Above - 504fly by artist Rob Corley.
"While attending Tulane University Medical School and living in New Orleans, Rob began to ponder a use for the colorful beads remaining once the Mardi Gras festivities ended. When away from his work as Executive Director of St. Joseph Health Center Emergency Room, he is encrusting artwork and furniture with beads creating a more permanent way to enjoy the fun. "

Here is an excellent inspiration for Reuse, Reduce and Recycle.
"When I lived in New Orleans, I was always fascinated with the vibrant shimmering beads that were so prized during Mardis Gras, but lay discarded when the festivities were over. It seemed to me that there was no reason for the fun to stop, so I started developing my own art with these beads – a perfect reflection of the folk art soul of the New Orleans I loved.
For my butterfly, the brilliantly colored beads became my medium. The colors and details began to follow wherever my mind led them. Each day I’d add new colors and styles into the mix, and I was excited to see the design unfold on a large, three-dimensional scale. It was even more rewarding to roll it out at the end of the day to allow it to sparkle in the sun.

The name “504fly” is a nod to New Orleans using its area code…504."

Artist Joy Christensen created the above sculpture, Luminessa.
"Joy’s artistic works have been featured on QVC, HGTV, and KTVI, as well as in many national publications (including Victorian Home, Home Companion, and Romantic Homes to name a few.) She painted a 360 degree Art Deco Mural at her restaurant, The Fountain on Locust, and can be heard on the national comedic radio segment, “JOY GRDNIC IN THE STUDIO”.
"I named my butterfly “Luminessa,” because the paint I used absorbs sunlight in the day, and then glows in the dark at night. The process itself was illuminating for me too, as I recently discovered that luciferin, the chemical that produces light in fireflies and fish, was recently used by scientists to develop the first bioluminescent butterfly. And here I thought that I had beaten them to it! Now I’M glowing too!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The above sculpture is titled - IMAGINE. It is one of the four sculptures on display at Maryland Plaza in the Central West End. The young artist is Elizabeth J. Barenholtz.
According to the website,, "Elizabeth designed this butterfly for her Senior Project. She has showcased her artistic talent to create graphics and logos that were used in school publications. Elizabeth is a freshman at Lawrence University."
Elizabeth explained, "The inspiration for the butterfly evolved from the song “Imagine” by John Lennon. In order to capture the colorful time period when the song was released, I created a whimsical image for the wings. The butterfly sits on top of a John Lennon record that appears to be spinning, playing the song “Imagine”.
You may say that I'm a dreamer;
But I'm not the only one;
I hope someday you'll join us;
And the world will be as one."

Monday, March 21, 2011


These photos were taken from the lobby at a local hospital when I was there a few weeks ago for an interview to be a hospice volunteer. The renovation was sort-of extreme make-over because for a second there I did not recognize the entrance we usually came in when we visited parishioners staying at this hospital. All the “wings” are now connected and expanded lobby area is filled with comfortable furniture as well as trendy decorations.
Let’s recap and continued where I left off more than a week ago.
Thursday, March 17th – It was a work day and I could not go to my regular “Irish pub” to get a corn beef sandwich and green beer! In the evening, I also had to be at a Board of Adjustment meeting. Last year, I was appointed as official commissioner, moving up from serving as an alternate the previous years. I had to be present for the meeting to have a quorum (five commissioners needed) and the vote (4 out of the 5 needed to either deny or grant variances). I won’t go in the details about the case but it failed (2 Aye v. 3 Nay).

Friday, March 18th – I again attended 8:00 a.m. Mass. I told Fr. Chris on the way out that he inspired me with his homily that giving up chocolate or not watching television for Lent would be too easy, instead we must do more such as praying the Rosary and going to Mass daily. I was so glad Fr. Chris did not suggest that I give up hockey games or not cheering for the Red Wings! (Hint – Fr. Chris is a St. Louis Blues fan.)
Saturday, March 19th – The theme for this month’s evening dance (a monthly social activity for adults with mental challenge) was St. Louis Cardinals. Everyone was asked to wear red (but not Red Wings). I got there around 6:00 p.m. to help with the set up and managed the refreshment tables until around 8:15 p.m. This time I decided to take charge of the munchies (chips and pretzels) instead of the sodas. The last two times, I came home with too many broken nails and freezing hands! One of the guests kept asking me if he could tell me all the Cardinals games he went to. I was impressed with one guest who was on the dance floor with moves that would please Fred Astaire!
Sunday, March 20th – It was a comfortable day and we drove around looking for the “Wings in the City” butterfly sculptures. There are 56 sculptures on display throughout St. Louis. Visit for more information about this citywide public art project. Come back and visit TOTA often as I will post photos of all the sculptures in the coming days.

Happy Spring!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Photos taken during our Westward adventure on Route 66 in July 2010. The structure, "the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ", built in 1995, south of I-40 Exit 112 on Highway 295 was the newest religious monument located in Groom, Texas. The complex also includes 14 statutes of the “Stations of the Cross”. THIRD STATION - Jesus falls the first time (John 15:18-20)

FOURTH STATION: Jesus meets his afflicted mother (John 19:25-27)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


It has been hectic yet lot of fun and excitement and the followings were what happened in my boring life.

Saturday, March 12th – I waited for this day for so long and it finally arrived! What so special about this 12th day of March? If you guessed it had to do with hockey game and my beloved Detroit Red Wings, that would be correct. There is extra special treat with both Mike Modano and Pavel Datsyuk back from injury. (Modano did not play when the Wings were in St. Louis in December and January) Madano, a native son of Michigan (Livonia), finally came home after playing 18 seasons with the Dallas Stars, plus 6 seasons with Minnesota North Stars. Modano played a total of 1,487 games, tying Wayne Gretzky, 15th on the NHL career list.
On Sunday, we went to St. Patrick’s festival at our parish. We bid on a few items. It was nice to see people were still very generous with both donations and bidding. When I last checked, someone was willing to pay $3,300 for complete dental work, braces included. One person donated a week stay at a condo in Orlando, Florida. The bid went up to $1,450. I thought of LG and wish I was able to win the bid! We were the highest bidders on two items, a set of dinner silverware and a digital pictures show plus music and videos including clock and calendar in 8” aluminum and wooden finished frames.
The snow came on Sunday night, continued into Monday morning, just enough to mess up the roads during the morning rush traffic. The rain started in the afternoon into the evening. I was so glad I did not wash Luc on Saturday. I tried not to be so obsessed with Luc (it’s only earthly possession).
Monday evening I attended the City Council meeting. I thought I should get back to my civic duty.

On Tuesday, when we got home from work, we found water all over our basement. Part of the carpet in my husband’s home office was soaking wet. The storage room had water in one corner. Good thing all my Red Wings posters were ok. We got most of the water out using the steamer and have to re-arrange all the items. This is the first time it happened. CP said because we had a lot of snow following by the heavy rain which caused the water no where to go or the ground could not absorb quick enough.
Wednesday, March 16th – Da Wings snapped the Washington Capitals’ 9-game winning streak. It was a treat to watch these two great teams play. How could I not love the game of hockey?


It looks like the St. Louis Blues did not find the four-leaf clover and no Irish luck when it comes to playing against my beloved Detroit Red Wings.

I took the above photo at the March 14th game in 2009 and the Wings won 5-2. The photo below was taken at last Saturday game, March 12th and again the Wings won 5-3. Not only the Wings won the game, they dominated with penalty kills and puck possession.

Last night, the Wings broke the Washington Capitols' 9-game winning streak in a great game at the Joe. Henrik Zetterberg scored twice. It would have been so nice had he gotten the hat trick. Better luck next time, Zetty.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone. If you drink too many green beer, get a ride and absolutely don't drive!


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