Monday, October 31, 2011


These photos were taken in 2009 during our Route 66 Adventure to Oklahoma.
This Halloween, we had about 15 kids came by. It was a comfortable night. I don't remember all the costumes, just a few like Batman, a princess, a flying monkey, three vampires, a nurse and a ladybug. The little kids were cute and no big kids that did not really dressed up, just making the round in baggy clothes to get the candies.

My husband was not feeling well. He is in pains trying to pass a kidney stone. I already bought the candies and did not want to disappoint the kids. So we turned on the front porch light, put out the dancing ghost and the pumpkin filled with goodies. Between the Chiefs vs. the Chargers game (Monday Night Football) and the NY Rangers v. San Jose Sharks hockey game, I had the candies ready so I could quickly give them out and get back to the games. But each time I got up from the sofa to give out the goodies, the Rangers scored a beautiful goal. The bell rang, I got up and Cassel would throw a 45 yard touchdown. At around 8:30, I decided to take everything in, shut the light and closed the door. Next year I plan to put the bucket of candies out and let the kids help themselves!

Friday, October 28, 2011


"A brave man is a man who dares to look the Devil in the face and tell him he is a Devil." Benjamin must have felt so brave (not a yellow belly) when he recited this quote by James A. Garfield while looking sort-of up at the Devils Tower. I thought these photos from our trip in September would be appropriate for this Friday before Halloween.

After Sturgis-South Dakota, we continued to follow I-90 and then US-14 to Devils Tower National Monument in Wyomong. This landmark in the Bear Lodge Mountain could be seen from far away. It rose approximately 1,300 feet above the Belle Fourche River and over 5,000 above sea level. The Tower was the result of a volcanic uplift that took place almost 40 millions years ago.

Pieces of broken columns, boulders, small and large rocks at the base of the Tower. Some of the erosion were clearly visible. I started to get a bit nervous when I saw a rather large crack on the side of the Tower as if ready to fall off. My husband said we just had to get ready to run as fast as our feet could carry us!
I never saw the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Now that we visited the Devils Tower, I plan to watch the movie to we could carry on the tradition of saying, "We were there!" whenever we saw the places we visited being featured.

See that boulder on the left, it used to be part of the Tower. We did not take the path to walk around the Tower. I could not image being there when this boulder broke off and fell down to where it landed.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Use your head but make sure while it is still attached to your body!

Or hold on to your head while your "Big Sista" tries out her new move at the bowling alley!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Since Qaptain Qwerty enjoyed my cheesy photos (haa haa), I tried to take as many as possible, especially when the photos fit so well like these two.

The top photo was one of the "creative artwork" around the townsquare in St. Genevieve. Walking a few blocks away, I saw this Bridal and Formalwear store. The owner must have a "dry" sense of humor to select the name "ever after" for his business. What "ever after", happy, miserable, regret, or I wish I knew then what I know now??? And the person who carved the pumpkin on top of the sign, might be warning anyone who is thinking of getting married! The pumpkin face with either a stunned or what-happened look sure did not represent "happy ever after".

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Last Sunday when we drove around historic downtown in Farmington, the first time I saw the address on the side of this church and I knew it would be perfect for the next Tuesday Two post.
Because it was one-way street, so I begged (well, requested nicely) that my husband circle around the block. CP dropped me off at the corner. I got out and took the photos. CP then had to drive around the block again, then came back to the corner, to pick me up.

Before you said that I was so lucky to have such a loving and sweet husband, and that he was a good man who was so accomodating to his wife's every little requests, you need to remember that the reason CP willingly drove around the block because he was driving the T-bird. He never missed any chance parading around town showing off his toy!

Monday, October 24, 2011


QQ, does this count for "spoonie"? How about "B-JALAY"? I came up with "B-JALAY" all by myself - haa haa.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


These photos were taken from the Saturday when we were at the zoo. There were a lot of activities for the kids and they were excited when they saw these sort-of giant pumpkins. The zoo had to put the fence around these scupltures to keep the kids from climbing onto the pumpkins. Or sticking their little heads/arms/legs into one of the holes, got stuck and could not get out!

I bet these pumpkin faces are not as nice as the ones carved by the world-renowed artists, Benjamin and his young brother (but equally talented) Noah :)

Sunday, October 23rd - After Mass, we went for a Sunday drive in the country (to Farmington, Missouri). We stopped by St. Genevieve for lunch at Big Field Cafe. It was nice to see that the cafe was busy with both the locals and visitors. You could tell who were the locals because the owners recognized them and the subject of their conversation. We saw the before when the place was a mess, all gutted and now the after, how nicely the cafe is clean, inviting, decorated with art works from local artists. There is a gallery on the 2nd floor.

We were disappointed that the fall colors were not the bright red/orange, just the dull yellow, brown and a few red spots. It was nice Sunday drive in the T-bird, and that is good enough for us (well, more for my husband anyway!)

Friday, October 21, 2011


After a sunny warm weekend, the temperature dropped into the mid-50s earlier in the week. In the evenings, when the Cardinals played game 1 and 2 of the World Series in St. Louis at Busch Stadium, you could tell the fans at the ballpark were cold! Later in the week when the Series moved to Texas, it was sunny and warm again. I don't understand why game 3, 4 and 5 would be at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. I thought game 5 would be in St. Louis, then game 6 in Texas and game 7 back to St. Louis. Well, what do I know about baseball anyway?

I could not resist and started buying candies for Halloween. Normally I would not get the candies until a few days before the 31st. I had to hide the goodies from my husband so he won't get into the bags before the kids show up. I also had to get rid of the candies quickly before I start eating them. The stores put out the candies with big signs of discounts. So I got a few bags this week, way too early, but I could not resist when it was a good sales.

This week I only went to 8am Mass on Tuesday and Thursday. I love seeing the school kids when they helped with the readings, singing and bringing up the gifts. I especially love listening to the 2nd graders. Their sweet voice always makes me smile. I need to get back to attending Mass everyday. When the cold winter comes with the snow falling, it would be hard to get out of the warm bed, early in the morning. I am sure the Sisters of Mercy would love to tell the story of how they had to walk in feet of snow, without snow boots, just to be at Mass!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


This is the 900th post of this little boring, ramblings blog of mine! It is a major milestone and a good reason for celebrations. Special thanks always go to Qaptain Qwerty for helping me taking the first step, back in August 2006, toward the blogging world. Along the journey, QQ encouraged me to add photos (that was a bad idea) and gently nudged me whenever I slacked off. He never made fun of my cheesy photos and silly ramblings (well, a few times he did make fun of my obsession with hockey/football).
I have the privilege of knowing so many interesting bloggers. There are a few "cyber friends" that I treasure. The blogs I follow are those I read regularly, almost daily. (I don't know how some people could follow hundred of blogs.) I enjoy and appreciate Alisa (Displaced American, Nonna (Tasty Tales for letting me in their "home/kitchen".
Nonna is so kind with her comments even though I don't leave comments regularly on her blog nor any other blogs (sorry). When I first started blogging, someone told me to leave comments like, "Nice post" or "Interesting story", to drive traffic to my own blog. Another "trick" was to follow a lot of blogs (without actually visiting or reading), to get more readers/followers. Then what? The readers probably will visit once and never came back to my boring blog anyway. I don't have advertisement (Adsense) nor getting any commission for promoting any products. I am blogging/reading other people writing, for my own enjoyment, not to make money. There is nothing wrong with making a few dollars from blogging, but it is not something I am interested in, yet!
Blogging has been a wonderful experience and at times uplifting. It has created a circle of friendship and we no longer are just strangers sharing our thoughts. I have been praying for Vicky at The Westra World and Leontien at as they are going thru cancer treatments. (Vicky and Leontien, look forward to reading that you are on your way to complete recovery.)
There are a few bloggers that did not post regularly and I think of them often. (Hint - the Lone Gunman, how have you been? Hope all is well with you and your family.)
To all the blogging friends, thank you for sharing. To all my adoring fans and faithful readers, thank you and let the celebrations begin!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Here are a few more photos from our recent visit to St. Louis Zoo. When I first saw the above "art work" I thought it was real. My husband explained that sometimes predators such as tigers or lions would carry their kills up high on the tree to avoid having to share with other lions/tigers that are freeloaders, too lazy to get their own food.

Then there was the above hyena that stood so still like as if he was posing. There were about five of us taking photos. Only after we started walking away that the hyena moved. I waited but he did not laugh or even grin to show off his teeth!

It must be after feeding time because these two big cats took a long nap and did not move the whole time we were there. I went back trying to take a good photo of them walking around but no luck.

I would like to visit the zoo during the winter, especially when there is a thin layer of snow. It would make an interesting photo of the above leopard with the snow on the ground as if it was laying on a white blanket. Maybe this winter I will finally go to the zoo instead of keep talking about it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I took the photo of the above license plate because I saw the number 2. Now I don't know it would be fitting for the Tuesday Two series because there is also number 4. Would any smart readers be able to tell me what "CLWN4-2" stands for? I have been trying to solve this mystery without any luck. (Sorry, no prizes for this contest, just bragging rights!)

Monday, October 17, 2011


These photos were taken at the Cardinals v. Brewers game on Wednesday, October 12th. A very kind person gave us two tickets and we had a great time even though I am not much of a baseball person. But it is different when it comes to the playoffs. Especially how the St. Louis Cardinals being a Wildcard, trailing behind 10 games, unexpectedly won a playoff spot against the heavily favored-to-win Phillies. The Cardinals kept going, although some might even thought the Cardinals would be lucky if they did not get swept in the Division Series.
The fans received white towels with the Rally Squirrel printed on it. It was "real pretty" when everyone waved the towels and chanted "Go Cards". Again, not being a baseball person, you would think I must be drunk jumping up and down, screaming during the game!

Since my American hometown team, the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers were eliminted, it was only right for me to cheer for the St. Louis Cardinals. We have been living in St. Louis since 1995. That is almost 17 years ago. In a few years, I will be living in St. Louis in as many years as I lived in Viet Nam.
After sending the Phillies packing, the Cardinals casually took on the Milwaukee Brewers. Who would have expected the wild ride the Cardinals took to get to the World Series. Game 1 against the Texas Rangers would be scheduled for Wednesday, October 19th. Game 2 would be Thursday, October 21st. Both games would be in St. Louis at Busch Stadium.

Update - The Cardinals won 3-2 in Game 1. The Rangers came back with a win 2-1 in Game 2. It is 1-1 in the Series. Game 3 (10/22), game 4 (10/23) and game 5 (10/24) will be at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. Hopefully, there will be game 6, back to Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Game 7 (if necessary) will also be in St. Louis. Go Cards!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Saturday, October 15th was a sunny and comfortable day. After breakfast, we decided to go to the zoo. It has been a long time since we were there. When we got to the parking lot, the entire town was there too because the lot was 99% full. Everyone wanted to be outdoor on a beautiful day.

There is no admission fee at St. Louis Zoo. The operating fund comes from annual property taxes paid by the good citizens of St. Louis County. There is however a charge of $12 to park in the lot directly across from the main entrance. There are plenty of street parking but you would have to either get there real early or willing to walk a few blocks which should be good for our "big fat belly" anyway.
When we were at Yellowstone National Park, we saw very little of wildlife. We saw many large herds of bisons, a dozen antelopes, a few deer and I thought I saw a coyote. I am not complaining because I would not wish to encounter a black or brown bear. I think seeing wildlife behind the cages at the zoo would be just fine for my education.

It was the first time I saw an okapi, a native of Republic of Congo. It looks almost like a zebra with a large brown blanket covering its upper body. It has a face between a dog and a mule. It might look like a zebra but its family tree is more related to the giraffes.

It was a good day to be at the zoo seeing the animals and watching the kids having fun from the OctoberFest activities that included face painting, making craft items and riding the train around the zoo.

Sunday, October 16th - The day began with NFL games countdown and all the intelligent discussions about the players, the coaches and current standing. The 49ers handed the Lions their first defeat of the season. The Packers are the only undefeated team. I can't wait for next Sunday when the Saints will be in town (hopefully the Rams will put up a good fight).

Friday, October 14, 2011


Tuesday, September 6th - We were in Crow Country where the Crow Reservation is located in south-central Montana, about 10 miles from Billings. The Reservation covers approximately 2.2 million acreas. There are about 10,000 of enrolled Crow tribe members that live on or near the Reservation.
Someone wrote an article about his experience moving to Montana and the Big Sky Country changed his lifestyle. The person wrote that he learned to appreciate living in the vast open space. There is some kind of magical about the land. He wrote, "You could not be a jerk when you live and fall in love with the Big Sky Country." I could not wait to visit Montana again. If I was given an opportunity, I would love to live there, except during hockey and football seasons!

We passed by many large herds of cattle. It looked like they were rounded up to be ready for the next train ride. We tried to tell them that they were not going to Disney Land. We wonder if the cattles knew what Texas Roadhouse was! It was a lot of fun running parellel with the train. It helped when we were the only few vehicles on the road and there was nothing to see but cattles and grassland!

One of our favorite activities during our roadtrips was taking a break with a stop for pies and coffee. I love peace/blackberry cobbler, coconut cream pie and blueberry pie. My husband usually selected chocolate cream pie or double chocolate cake. The Bozeman Trail Steakhouse was not yet open for dinner but the young lady was kind enough to let us in and served us pies and coffee. After a full day of driving with a few stops at Devils Tower (Wyoming) and the Little Bighorn Battlefield (Montana), we were ready for a good night of rest. We could not wait for tomorrow when we knew we would have a great time at Yellowstone National Park.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I woke up with a backache and a stiff neck. I felt lousy all day. I went to a business meeting and could not wait for the discussion to be over. The frustration continued to build up because there were other matters that did not go right. I am sorry I could not share the details with you here.
How could these people live with themselves for doing something so unethical and immoral? I did not start the war and it was not a fair fight. The worst thing is those who looked the other way because they were not the one that was mistreated. I am reminded of the words spoken by Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph over good is for good people to do nothing."

I started to feel sorry for myself. "It was not fair," I said. Then I realized what a whiner I was. I have so much blessings in my life. I have a strong support system from my family, friends, and even kindness from strangers. There is still so much good in this world. I should be thankful for what I have. I decided to visit a nearby rehab center. The residents gathered together for a prayer service on Friday afternoon. I helped the nurses bring the residents into the prayer room. After the service, I helped take the residents back to their rooms. Most of the residents were in wheelchairs and some have lost their mobility. I said to myself, "Well, TOTA, do you still feel sorry for yourself? You have so much to be thankful for. What is the matter with your self-pity, why me attitude? Just look around, there are people who are fighting illnesses and misfortune, what do you have to complain about?" So I kicked my "sorry a#@" and stopped being a whiner! I remember that God is great and Life is good.


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