SUMMER TIME

SUMMER TIME

Saturday, April 21, 2012

ATOT - MY WORLD HAS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN!

My world has turned upside down in more than one way, beginning with this silly boring blog.  I got a big surprise when I logged in a few days ago and found this new look.  Did I ask for this fancy layout?  Did I accidentally click the button where the message "Click here to update your blog to a new look" was?  There might have been another message about the new look in April.  I thought if I continued to ignore it, my blog would still maintain the classic look, the one I am used to and comfortable with the last 6 years.  Well, I did not have any choice.  Someone at Blogger would not let me stay behind.  Does anyone know how to switch back to the "good old look"?  
Yes, you heard it right, my beloved Detroit Red Wings were eliminated from the playoffs by the Nashville Predators in game #5 last night.  The Wings only won the 2nd game and had been struggling since.  I could not stand the pains and had to shut off the television at five minutes left in the third period.  The television has not been turned on today and I did not even look at the NHL website.  (Normally I would check for update at least three times a day, first thing in the morning, during lunch, after I get home and before going to bed.)  My mind could not comprehend that the Wings are the first team to be eliminated.  It is terribly wrong and unnatural.  What would I be spending my time and energy on after a hard day of work?  Perhaps I could start watching the Food Channel and learn how to be a good cook - NOT!!!!!! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

HERE WE GO! (IT IS THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!)

According to my book, this is the most wonderful time of the year - the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs started on Wednesday, April 11th. There are many great match-ups such as the Blues v. Sharks or the Caps v. Bruins. No home ice advantage for my beloved Red Wings being #5 seed, currently tied the series at 1-1 against the Predators #4. (It still does not sound right for Nashville to have a strong hockey team. Isn't the town supposed to be only about country music?) Already there are surprises with the Kings #8 leading the series 2-0 against the Canucks being #1 while the Flyers #5 won the first two games against the Pens #4 - that just goes to show that sometimes home ice does not guarantee winning.

These photos were taken at the April 4th game. Traffic was not too bad so we got to the arena early enough for me to take a few photos during warm-up. The last time the Wings were in town was at the November 2011 game. It was good seeing the "boys" again. Everyone is healthy, ready for the playoffs. The Wings played at the level expected but they still weak on power plays. No scoring the first 2 periods. In the third period, the Wings got a 2-man advantage but were sloppy and allowed a short-handed goal. I love short-handed goals but not when against my beloved Red Wings. When the Blues scored the 2nd goal three minutes later, I was furious and we walked out of the arena.

Well, three minutes after we left, Franzen scored, then tied the game with his 2nd goal of the night. Bertuzzi scored the winning goal at shootout. (My sincere apology to the "boys" for walking out on them and for not having faith that they would come back and win the game. My husband kept saying to me, "Oh ye lil faith!". We thought the Blues would win the President's Trophy for having the most points in the league. I even tried to get tickets for the last home game since it is Fans Appreciation Day and there would be many giveaways that included round trip airline tickets and iPad. We did not get the tickets because the game was scheduled on April 6th - Good Friday. When it comes to faith v. hockey, I know my priority!

Friday, April 13, 2012

FRIDAY SKY - FLAMING GORGE BRIDGE

I have not kept up with posting regularly, especially the weekly themes such as Tuesday Two and Friday Sky posts. Actually this post was originally dated March 2nd but it was never published.

For someone who knows "less than zero" about engineering of building bridges, terrible at math an science, very technical-challenge, I have always been fascinated with bridges. I enjoy watching documentary on History Channel and my favorite program is Modern Marvels. After we came back from our Westward trip in 2010, I could not stop talking/writing about Hoover Dam. I would watch the same documentary about the construction of Mackinaw Bridge every time it is on television. When we used to go camping in Michigan during Labor Day Weekend, we would walk across the Mackinaw Bridge on Monday morning. The bridge would be partially closed to traffic and the Governor would lead the way with 20,000+ "Michiganders" crossing the bridge.

I don't know the reasons for my fascination with bridges. Could it be because my Dad's birthplace in Viet Nam was Cau Ngang (QQ, does it mean crossing the bridge?). Or because bridges represent man's determination to overcome obstacles, to achieve what might be impossible and to make it easier for future generations. Just imagine what our world would be like without all the bridges you cross everyday.

This bridge reminds me of the Marsh Rainbow Bridge in Baxter Springs on Route 66 in Kansas. All these photos were taken of the same bridge, just from different angels.


Let's give this silly-ramblings-boring blog of mine a little educational posting with a listing of a few expressions or America's popular sayings that include the word "bridge". For example, your response to your kids "If your friends jump off the bridge, will you jump off the bridge too?" when they tell you that their friends are allowed to stay out until 2 in the morning. I never understood the following expressions, "There is no sense in crossing that bridge before you come to it", how do you cross the bridge before you actuall there? Or "You can cross that bridge when you come to it" what if I don't want to cross that bridge and decide to turn around instead? When someone says, "That's water under the bridge", do you really believe that they would no longer hold grudges against you? I know "you should never burn bridges" but the recent "situation" I was forced into, I did not burn the bridge, I was thrown off the bridge. When I asked for a lifesaver, most of the people were cowardly walked on by. My favorite expression would have to be "He would try to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge", I am sure you met a few of these dishonest characters. My personal motto is the phrase, "Always try to build bridges before you need to cross or because you never know when you need to cross the river." What is your favorite expression?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

THURSDAY RAMBLINGS - UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL AT THE ORCHID SHOW


"I submitted my resignation to the Board of Directors last night", Becky informed me when we met for lunch a few months ago.  "I could not take it anymore", she continued.  I responded, "Congratulations" and we both laughed.  To understand my congratulatory when someone just sort-of becoming unemployed, you would have to know the "stuff" Becky had put up with the last 10+ years.  Her official title is Executive Director at an association.  But there was no support staff and Becky wore all the hats.

Becky worked from a home office which was the only great thing about the job.  The official mailing address for correspondence went to a post office mailbox.  The office phone was set up only to receive messages and then being forwarded to Becky's cell phone.  However, frequent callers would call Becky directly, day and night as well as weekend, on her mobile number.  The Board set a tight budget so Becky could not get temporary help or outsource even when she needed to get the work done since there would be no "extra" money to pay for the service.  Very often, Becky would be stuffing envelopes, running the postage and dropping off the mailing at the post office.

As "executive director" Becky would be required to be present at all the membership events (who else would be there since there was no other staff).  The functions were in the evenings from 6:30 to 10 and required long distance driving.  Being a salary employee, Becky would not receive overtime pay.  Her compensation had been the same the last 2 years because of the "freeze" in the budget.

Last week, when we met again for lunch, I noticed Becky's hands no longer shaking.  The dark circles under her eyes have gotten lighter.  When she smiles, there was light in her eyes, as if the spirits in her soul have returned.  I listened as Becky excitedly telling me about all the things she has been able to do with her son, Aaron.  They would go to the park after she helped him with his homework.  Physically, her health has improved and the sharp pains no longer there after each meal.

Update - Becky called yesterday to tell me that she has gotten a job near her house.  "Just a 30+ hours part time receptionist, office work job", Becky explained, "the pay is good and the best part is I still able to pick up Aaron after school and helping him with his homework".  I offered my congratulatory and best wishes to Becky.  My wishes were more than just for the job, it was for the health, the happiness, the sanity and most of all, her peaceful soul.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

THE FLORA OF CHINA (2012 ORCHID SHOW)


These photos were taken when we went to the Missouri Botanical Garden last month.  Actually we took a friend who recently lost her husband and we thought it would be nice to treat her to the Orchid Show and a dinner afterward for her birthday.  I don't know much about gardening, so I will just type whatever is printed in the brochure about the show.

The above is called the Moon Gate and the layout was infused with Chinese-theme accents.  The Garden celebrates its 25th year of work on the Flora of China project, featuring an architecturally inspired Chinese landscape.


Here are a few fun facts about orchids:  There are approximately 30,000 to 35,000 species of orchids; they come in all sizes, from pinhead to football; Antarctica is the only place on earth that orchids could not grow (how about in greenhouses?).

There are two things that suprised me about orchids - (1) there are many different shapes and colors and (2) vanilla came from an orchid.  Have you been to a botanical garden in your town lately?    

Sunday, April 08, 2012

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