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Location: Chicago, United States

I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I have just seen my internist last tuesday. I was given test as usual, two months. They need to see if my liver is okey because I am taking so much medication everyday. I was a very tiring thing for me everytime I see my internist. They have to withdrew blood around three vials for the test. I am beginning to hate the needles. At my age, I dont need to be undergoing so many test, but I don't have any choice.

Yesterday, Wednesday -- it was my Neurologist exams and test. It was also very tiring for me. I have a very rare illness that is affecting the trigeminal of the right side of my jawbone. It is a permanent illness and will be with me for the rest of my life.

Next week, it will be the day for my ENDO. He needs to check my thyroid. This thyroid created lots of complication. I now have Diabetes type II and blood pressure and cholesterol problem.

I always take these challenges, one step at a time. I take baby step to be able make myself strong and be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys and to be able to be with my wife, if not forever --- at least until such time we have come to the point of no return.

So Auntie Patti Koh, a lot of my friends is telling me I have aged a lot. Because of my medical problem. I told them, at least I am still alive.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

My department and my co-workers are all getting nervous. Because a vender from New Delhi is now answering also my departments in coming calls. I was telling my co-workers that "we have to read the writings on the wall". It will come any moment now that this department of mine will shut down and will all be handed over to India. They are so cheap. My supervisor is telling me that the salary that a hundred agents in my department is being paid, could pay and hire at least a thousand Indians.

Yes, they are cheap. But the question is -- a lot of callers that we get always complains that they cannot understand the Bombays when they talk plus they are clueles of the cultures and the things that is happening in the States and why the callers are ranting and whinning when they call.

I was telling my co-workers, that pay is cheap, so the callers calling my department to complain will only get the worth of how much the Bomaby is getting paid.

Definitely this year, I already have the prescribed number of years with this company and I am already past 55 years of age --- so I will be retiring this year. I cannot just sit down in my present job thinking nothing will happen. Lots of department in this company where I work is now in India.

And so, Auntie Patti Koh, I will not be surprised, if one of this days, the call center will be answered by the sisters of Mother Teresa.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I was on my way home from work at 2am and my usual route towards the toll is always the forest preserve outside the boundary of O'Hare airport.

There was not much light in the area, I was running the designated miles per hour drive and BANG!!! I hit a deer. It did not dent my car, because the front fender of my SUV is I think sturdy enough to withstand the impact of the hit from the deer.

I called immediately the police, so that it could be relayed to the forest preserve crew in the morning, in case the deer carcass is in the middle of the road. I did not step out of the car, I had my emergency blinker on, in case there are cars that is behind me. There's not much traffic on this road this time of the early morning.

The police came in an instant. I told him, I think I hit a deer and wanted to be sure that I hit a deer not a person or a THING! He told me to stay inside my car, and he used his powerful light to scan the area and the perimeter of the forest preserve. For fifteen minutes, the policeman is scanning the entire area, but we cannot find a deer. There is a sign that I did hit something, a fur is stuck in the fender of the car and it was a deer's fur.

Then the policeman said to me he will go further down the road, towards the small bridge and asked me if I am willing to help him. He was giving me a flashlight, I said I have one handy in my car, a flashlight for winter and it has a good beam. We search the side of the bridge and the grassy knoll, there is no deer.

Then a rustle from the marshes by the water bank -- and there was a group of deer moving around from the foot of the bushes at the side of the bridge along the west fork of the river that has its tributary to the Chiczgo river. There are three adult female deer and at least four does in tow. It looks like I hit the male deer and it was limping behind the herd. The policeman said it looks like the male deer will be okey but will advise the forest preserve ranger in the morning to go inside the preserve in case something happened with the male deer.

I felt so depressed about it. What if the head of the clan dies because of me. What if I paralyzed the male deer or maimed the deer. There was so many if's on my mind. I was really disturb. This is the 2nd time I have hit a deer and the first one died instantly. But this one, I hope I did not maimed the poor deer.

And then this morning -- on my day off, a good friend of ours called me and asked me if I want a deer burger. So I was asking myself if this friend of ours knew about what happened. So I related the story to him and he died laughing. My friend said he went to Wisconsin and came across a store that sells deer jerky meat and sausage and burger. I declined the offer --- I dont want to eat Bambi.

I am sure Auntie Patti Koh -- if this thing happened back home, it will be a feast. Roasted deer for the whole gang while I am singing....
"Doe --- a deer, a female deer...."


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I was awaken from my sleep from a surging pain in the area of knees. I cannot stretch it out, and the pain is too much. I stood up from bed and the more painful it was for me. I have severe attack of Gout problem. It was before in my right achilles heel, now it is in my right knee joint area.

I still went to work. It was so hard to drive, and getting off the car. My car is an SUV and so it is a little bit higher than the ordinary car. I was really limping from my car to the door of the office. We have a big parking lot, and it was an agony for me to walk. I did not use my walking cain, because it will be a burden for me. I was going to the second floor and decided I will just walk. And this was another agony for me.

It was a very stressful evening for me at work. I plugged into the computer at 5pm and has to endure an 8 hrs of work until 2am listening to all the whinings on the phone.

My co-worker who sits beside me in our cubicle is asking me if I need something, like ice or pop from the machine -- just to tell her so that she will be the one to get it for me. She can see the pain I was undergoing.

When I arrive home from work at 3am, I just eat some light meal and took my medicine. I dont want to get out of bed, but have to force myself because I have an apppointment today to see a Rhumatologist.

I tell you, Auntie Patti Koh --- it is so hard getting old. But I cannot figure out some people back home, when they get old -- it looks like they don't have the aches and pains that I am undergoing. Sometimes I was asking myself, maybe it is the food that we eat in America that is causing this.


Sunday, April 16, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I just arrived from work, it is now Easter Sunday here in my place and it is now 3:00Am. There is rain outside and the temperature is a little nippy. I cannot complain, 'cuz spring is always rain which is good for the plants.

Work is a little hectic today, but not as hectic as the past few days. Maybe people are trying to calm themselves from calling the telephone and filing a complaint about their bags and other problems that they have encountered when they boarded the airlines that I work for.

This particular man called and I got the call. Very rude on the phone, telling me that his wife's bag has been opened up and some of her wife's clothes are missing. The passenger is 62 years and I can hear her screaming in the background. While the woman is screaming to the husband in the background, the husband is taking it on me. I waited to get a gap in this man's outrage and when I was able to get a chance, I told him that if he will not practice proper decorum on the phone I will terminate the call. I even said to this passenger that it is the days of Lent and he should not be screaming like anything on the phone. Pax said he is not a Christian and it does not bother him to yell and scream if he wants to. Advise this assenine person, if he is not a Christian and does not want to stop yelling, I told him he will be talking to a dial tone. So -- I released the call. The pax is from another religion and I will not say from which part of another religion he came from. As far as I know, his religion is the reason we have this kind of Lent.

After five minutes, I got the same pax again, this time more loud and more beligerant on the phone. He was asking me if he is talking to India, and I told him I am in Chicago. Insults was lashed at me --- I will still take it. But when this mother *@#*@* told me to GO BACK WHERE I CAME FROM! I gave him what he wants to hear from me.

I told this mother *@#*@* that I am an American like him, and if he wants I will fax him my American passport. I told him that I don't care even if the call is being recorded, I will still gave him a piece of my mind. I was asking this man, how many members of his family died fighting the war for this country. I did not give him the chance to answer. I told him five male members of my family died for America fighting the war, I told him two in Vietnam, one in Korea and three in Manila and not to mention my father being incarcerated at Capaz, and was tortured by the Japanese because he did something wrong. I told this man, that my father is still alive at the age of 84, still carrying the wounds that he got from the Japanese.

I told this man, for lousy F-------ng bag he will tell me to go back where I came from. I told him you are telling the wrong person that kind of statement.

The he started again. I told him to go back where he came from too!

So, Auntie Patti Koh -- that is how I spent my daily routine at work and my Lent. I tell you, nobody ----- NOBODY can tell me to go back where I came from. This man on the phone, if he tells me to go back where I came from face to face --- I assure you, if said that to me face I will see to it that he sees the face of the earth on the wrong direction!

Happy Easter!!

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I am working the whole week listening to all the complaints of all people who have traveled with the airlines that I worked with.

I was working during Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Maunday Thursday, Good Friday including Satruday and of course Easter Sunday.

I miss those religious festivities back home. I like to see the different chruches open all its doors for those penitent called "Visita Iglesia". I miss the religious processions with the colorful "Carosas" some dating back during the spanish period made of silver and laden with "Santos" made of ivory and carved wood, with their antiquated outift. The early morning "Salubong" that is very much alive in the provinces. Not to mention the penitents who are whacking their whole body with their "Latigos" and those more mundane fanatics who will let themselves be crucified.

The business in Quiapo church is again in full swing on this Holy Days.

I am sure lots of people have already went up to Baguio City and the vendors and pickpoketers are having a grand time there. The beaches will be crowded I am sure and there will be lots of merriment on the beaches.

What I miss very much is the "Kakanin" that I can still remember my grandmother always cook for the Easter celebration. Likewise, I also remember when I was still a kid, my grandmother will invite her friends and they will start the "Pabasa" on the passion of Christ -- which instead of reading it, they are singing it in three notes tune on a five stanza coda. Contineuosly until the early hours of Saturday before the break of dawn for Easter Sunday.

Auntie Patti Koh, I miss those things. I don't know why I still cling to traditions back home when I have been living here in the states for more than 40 years.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

Spring time is here. I have already cleaned my front lawn and the backyard. The entire dried leaves from my oak tree at the front lawn has been gathered and cleaned, and the branches of the old oak tree has already been trim by a professional tree doctor.

The apple trees in my backyard, three of them, I have already cleared all the dry leaves and yes -- I have trim some of the branches also. I don't know why I always clean and trim my apple trees when I don't gather the fruits anyway. The birds and squirrel are the only one having a feast on the fruits of my apple trees.

Last year, I called the neighbors kids and told them to harvest all the fruits from the tree. I don't have a tall tree, it is enough to use a ladder to gather the fruits from the top part of the tree. I have two trees of Green delicious apple and one Red.At first I wanted to plant one tree only, but I was told that it will not bear fruit if there is no partner. So I ended up having three apple trees at the back of the house, and they are now severn years old. I did not know I will get tired of it, and so does my two boys. They are already grown and no longer interested in harvesting the apples, and they are no longer living with me and my wife. That is a different story. They prefer to be independent on their own.

I have cleared the patches for this seasons eggplant. I planted lots of eggplants last year and it was a good harvest. I did not get anything from the Jalapeno that I have planted last year, so I will not venture planting them this season. I will stick to eggplant. And besides, my in laws always comes to harvest the eggplants. I can only eat as much, that is bad for my Gout problem.

The flower box has been cleaned and hopefull, I will have lots of mums this year again, just like last season. My daffodils in yellow and white colors has already come out from the ground. My tulips are all out but there are no flowers yet. The new blades of grass has came out and surprisingly the magnolia tree has already started bringing out their flowers. I think this will be a good spring and summer.

There are lots of jack rabbit in the morning, when I come home. This is the reason why my dog always looks outside at the window, but never barks at these jack rabbit. I have killed one jack rabbit the other night. That is not my fault, the rabbit just ran when I was in the driveway. I am trying to avoid the skunk. That will be the end of everything if the skunk build the den in my yard. Hopefully not.

So, Auntie Patti Koh --- I cannot wait for the fullness of spring to come. I love all the flowers and the colors around me. The abundant yellow color is all over the place. I LOVE IT.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I was off for two days, and spent the day cleaning my backyard and the front lawn. There were plenty of dried leaves to rake and bagged. When I was done, I was able to fill up six tall, recycable lawn bags. My back was aching and really killing me. I am too old for this.

Then I took a shower and went on to pick up my wife at her friends house in Chicago. I was in hurry, because my two sons said they will come to the house and have dinner with us. We will be having a quite meal together and my eldest son said he will be coming directly from work. He manages two restaurant and goes to school at the same time during the day.

My youngest son, just arrived home from his school in Champaign, Illinois, a threehour drive from our place, not to mention the traffic on his path and was so tired and sleeping in his old room, down at the basement and left a note to wake him up if it is time to have dinner.

Driving along the long route, and avoiding the bumper to bumper traffic at the toll way, I took the long way, thru the residential area in the north shore. I was asking my wife, that there is not much traffic at this hour. She was asleep and snoring, while I was driving.

I went to pick up some clothes at the dry cleaner and left my wife and my dog inside the car. I asked the girl at the counter, that it seems so odd, there's not much people in our neigborhood and not much customer at the dry cleaners.Even the library is closed. The girl at the counter said to me that it was the Jewish Passover today.

Well, that was the time i realized that I leave in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and this is their enclave. Even the supermarket does not have much people. I was told by the cashier that the supermarket was busy earlier. The Jewish clients have to rush home before 6PM and prepare for the Passover Dinner.

While driving, I saw from the car, houses with big windows, have lighted candles in their dining table and were holding hands, men wearing their skull cap and all reverently praying for their Passover meal.

It reminded me of Fiedler on the Roof.

When we arrived home, I hurriedly unloaded the groceries and the stuff from the car. I was also in a hurry to cook the dinner for my family. Not a Passover meal, but a decent meal, home cooking, for me, my wife, and my two boys -- who I rarely sit with dinner at home.

My eldest son said, his restaurant is so slow this evening and there's not much customer. It was -- just as I said, Jewish Passover.

So, Auntie Patti Koh -- I was also in a way doing a Passover meal for the boys and my wife. Everytime my boys comes home and sat down for dinner with me and my wife, for me it is always a PASSOVER DINNER.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I have attended an ordination, together with my wife, at the former congregation in the Philippines where I started my vocation -- that have ordained and gave a popular priest in the Phils, Fr. Agerico Orbos,SVD or Fr. Gerry to all. We were classmate together at the Collegiate Department of Christ the King Seminary and then eventually the Novitiate in Tagaytay. I then went further and entered the Diocesan seminary in Lucena City. My former bishop -- now a cardinal, and a member of the college of Cardinals to elect the Pope. I saw him when the good Pope John Paul II died. His face was the first one I saw on the front pages of so many newpapers doing pictorials on the death of the saintly Pope. He is now the present cardinal of the Diocese of Cebu, and I heard he wanted to retire.

The ceremony at the SVD provincialate in Techny, Illinois was simple and very culturally inspired and featured. One could see families in their native Vietnamese traditional dresses, the Chinese and of course the Barong Tagalog and Terno of our Kababayans.

The songs was rendered by the Vietnamese choir, singing in their native language. The offertory was done by women in traditional chinese silk dresses and of course our Pinoy outfit and Tie and Jacket for the Americans.

At the main altar, there were at least 10 candidates that will be ordained. Majority of the ordinandi are from Asia, one representing Poland. From this group comes three Pinoys, then Vietnamese and Chinese from Taiwan, and a Mexican. The entire church was crowded. Beautiful arrays of colored national costumes and the offerings was arrange in the traditional asian baskets, beautifully created.

My wife and I was seated besides two brothers from a French congregation from Africa. They still need two more years prior ordination.

Did I miss or got jealous to those who were ordained? No!
I have now my own vocation -- to be a father and a husband.

When the Litany of the Saints was chanted, and all are kneeling down and the those to be ordained are all lying face down, prostrated on the floor -- my mind went back when the church in the Philippines, especially the congregation that I have joined was run by the German fathers and Irish. Now as I look at the main altar where all the new candidates are prostrated and being offered to God, I have said to myself -- the faith of the asians have never been so altered, even with all the crisis and the hardships that all asian candidates have gone thru.

After the ordination and the religious ceremony, there was a reception. All of the guests mingled and shook hands to the newly ordained priest and hugs and kisses was given. One of the Pinoy newly ordained priests, knelt down and kissed his father's hands, who was in a wheel chair. It was a Kodak moment.

Today, I was watching a news report, showing the Catholic seminary in Sacramento, CA. is now predominantly Asian candidates for the priesthood. I had a small smile when I saw it. I said to myself -- God is truly Great to us!

Auntie Patti Koh -- can you blame me for being so proud, because I am a Filipino first, and Asian and then an American.


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I got this excerpt from the column of Ellen Tordesillas of Malaya newspaper, and I do believe that this is an account of what a true Pinoy is all about. In fact, I could relate with what some of the things are noted in here.

"You like the touchy-feely types?
Filipino create human chains with our perennial tangan,
tutok, etc. We are always seeking interconnection.

The Filipino is a linguist. It is no uncommon for Filipinos
to speak at least three. Many a lot more.
Then there's our Jose Rizal, the quintessential Filipino,
who fluently spoke at least a dozen languages.

Political correctness?
The Filipino evolved gender-neutral words like asawa,
anak, magulang,kapatid,biyenan,manugang,bayani,balae, etc.

The Filipino is a groupist. An average Filipino would have
and know at least 300 relatives. At work, we live bayanihan;
at play, we want a kalaro more than laruan. At socials,
our invitations are open and it is more common even for
guests to invite and bring in other friends.

In transit, we donot want to be separated from our group.
So what we do when there is no more space in a vehicle?
Kalong. No one would ever suggest splitting a group and
waiting for another vehicle with more space!

The Filipino is into weaving, a metaphor. We are social
weavers. We place a lot of premium on pakikisama and
pakikipagkapwa. We weave theirs into ours that we all become
part of them. Therefore, we call our friend's mother, nanay
or mommy; we call a friend's elder sibling ate or kuya.
We even call strangers tia (aunt) or tio (uncle)
tatang (grandfather) etc.

So extensive is our social opennes and inter-relations that
we have specific title for extended relations like hipag,
balae, inaanak, ninong, ninang, kinakapatid, etc.

In addition, we have the profound KA. (co-equal) institution.
Kasama, kaisa, kapanalig, etc. In our social fiber, we treat
other people as co-equals.

Filipinos have (pakiramdam). We know how to feel what others feel,
sometimes even anticipate what they will feel. Being manhid,
teflon, is one of the worst labels anynone could get.
We know when a guest is hungry. We can tell if people are lovers
even if they are miles apart. We know if a person is offended
though he may smile. We get not only to wear another man's
moccasin, but also his heart.

The Filipino is very spiritual. We transcend the physical world,
see the unseen and hear the unheard. We have a deep sense
of kaba and kutob. A Filipino wife will instinctively feel
when her husband or child is going astray, whether or not
tell-tale signs present themselves. Filipino spirituality makes
him invoke divine presence or intervention at nearly every
bend of his journey.

The Filipino is timeless. Measure time not with hours and
minutes but with feeling. Our times is diffused, not framed.
Our appointments are defined by mamaya, sa umaga, bandang tanghali
(noon-ish), sa hapon, or sa gabi. People's tardiness and
extended stays annnoy others. But the Filipino, being governed
by timelessness, allows for more time to be nice, kind, and

Filipinos say good-bye to guests first i the living room,
then the head of the stairs, then down to the descamo (landing),
to the entresuelo (mezzanine), to the pintuan (doorway),
to the tarangkahan (gate). And if the departing persons are to
take public transportation, up to the bus stop or bus station.

So what makes the Filipino special? We are tan, spiritual,
timeless, spaceless, linguists, groupists, weavers, adventurers,
industrious. Seldom do all these profound qualities find
personification in a people. Filipinos should allow, and should
be allowed to contribute their special traits to the world-wide
community of men. But first we should know and like ourselves."

Auntie Patti Koh -- I was touched. It was a very nice article and I shared it with some of my Pinoy friends here in the states by sending it to their emails.

Monday, April 10, 2006


My two boys was so happy to have her in the house.

She was our princess. My two boys treat her with respect, plays with her and takes good care of her. When the boys are going to their friends house, she tags along with them. She is always the apple of the eyes of my son's friends. She watches the football games at the field, listen to the concert, watch with us, the July 4th fireworks.

My eldest son, always see to it that she has been given all the things that she needed. During Christmas time, she always gets presents from all of us. On winter time walk, she is bundled up properly and on summer time, her hair is properly placed on a bun and a chignon' looking type of hair do, created by my wife for her.

She watches all of the activities in the house, learning from it and when we tell her not to mess up the house -- she follows it to the letter.

My wife had surgery and I was at work, the boys was in school -- it was only the two of them who was left at the house. My wife told me, she has kept vigil over her and have watched all of her move, including going to the bathroom.

When I was ill, she was the one watching over me also. She shows respect and will not make noise when I was in pain. She knows how to give me privacy and knows my temperament. I have nothing to say nor complain about her.

She is now 11 years old and in the human life --- she is at least 60 years of age.

Her name is MISTY.... a pure bred BICHON FRISCHE, that came to our lives when she was only 6 days old.

I have taken her home with me, to the Philippines, when I was working for a Japanese shipping company, training Filipino seamen at their training center in Sucat, Paranaque, Metro Manila. When I signed a 6 years contract with this Japanese firm to overseas training in Manila -- my dog was with me. My family was left back in the states. I travelled a lot, visiting ships all over the world, where I was asked by the Japanese to visit.

After my contract, I came back home with Misty.
She was misrouted by the airline that I took from Manila and ended up in Salt Lake City, three days after. When she came home, my dog was so jetlag.

Auntie Patti Koh.... my dog is now in her prime. She is hard in hearing and the vet said to be careful in giving her food. The vet does not want her to have athritis. If anything happens to my dog, I will be devastated. She has been part of the family and our lives.



Twenty Seven years ago, my wife and I decided to buy a house in the northern suburbs of Chicago. We like the area, the school system and most of all the serene surroundings of the place, in an all white community and an environment that we said to ourselves will be loved by our children.

We bought an old house from an Italian couple. It was so nice, the floor is made of oak, the entire building is made of bricks, and most of all the kitchen is huge and I love the cabinets -- since I am the one doing the gourmet cooking in the house.
There is even an attic, and a wine cellar. The former owner makes their own wine, as of a truly Italian from the old home, where they came from.

The location of the house is perfect, so we said. It was only a block away from the train station, right across from the Catholic church where we got married, and the next lot is the playground and the public park, not to mention the schools. We have come to love the house, at first sight.

My wife said:


I told my wife, we will fill the house with children that will give the house joys and lots of noise of running children and their laughter. The four bedrooms will be filled with noise from our children that we plan to have.

The first baby came, during the peak of winter and we are so ecstatic about it. The room at the back, that overlook the apple trees and the garden patch we have designated it for our first born son. He was a lively little bundle of joy. We named him MELCHIZEDECK, the first teacher of King Solomon, the high priest of old. When my son was growing up, I explained to him why I gave him such a name. Told stories how this mighty teacher of Solomon became the courage and the brain of the King on all his undertakings as a ruler. My first born son was so engrossed about it.

It was time for him to go to school. He was then four years old, and he needs to see the beauty of early education. We sent him to a nearby nursery school. He was having fun and lots of stories to tell about what he learned in school and the many stories of his teacher.

Then its time for my son to attend the first grader in the local school district, which is only three blocks from our house. My first born son is now five years old. By the time he was six, another baby is on the way.

Born also on the peak of winter, we named him ANGELO FRANCIS. He was born on the feast day of St. Francis. The west room was given to him. And now the house is filled with the noise of two active boys, running back and forth, up and down the stairs, jumping up and down their bedrooms.

We did not tell them, that there won't be any sister or any brother forthcoming. My wife cannot bear kids anymore.

Then it was time for my eldest son to go to college. He has chosen a university that is five hours drive from home, on the south of Illinois, near the boundary of St. Louis in Missouri. He wans to study International Business and Trade.It was a lonely farewell, when we left my eldest son at this dorm. We have to take care of it first. My wife prepared the bed, I did the study corner and arrange the cabinets and check the light fixture. We have to say goodbye to my firstborn. He has grown up. His younger brother was asking him so many things, only the two of them can understand. It was the silent brother's talk.

During the time my eldest son is in college, I often visit his bedroom. Looking at all his posters, his baby pictures and all his momentos on his shelves and often times my wife will see me lying on the bed of my son, until I have fallen asleep.

Then -- it is time for my second son to graduate in high school and attend college. We have asked him not to go further, so that he could be closer to us. He attended the city college, but after two years, when he will take his major -- he then moved out closer to his chosen school and next year he will be studying in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu. He is studying culinary science.

The two boys are gone -- my eldest son is now finishing his masteral degree and they are both living together. I am so happy the two of them are very close to each other. They come for a visit, they call or we call them.

That is the life of parenthood in America. You cannot hold on to your children. They will go swiftly.

Now it is only my wife and myself and my dog Misty, a Bichon Friese.



When I am taking my 30 minutes lunch break everyday, I normally walk around the big parking lot that we have at work. My office is at the north end of the runway of one of the biggest and busiest airport in the world.

The parking lot is surrounded by small shrubs and bushes. When the airport did not expand their runway, we could always find lots of deer in the parking lot, running and getting startled by people starting their engines and then the herd will run away. One time, a doe went inside the airport and went under the desk of the clerk inside O'hare airport. They cannot undertand how on earth this deer was able to get inside the secured area of O'Hare airport.

Well that is another story. Going back again on my lunch break, I often walk with some of my co-workers around the parking lot, around 930Pm. This is to break the monotonous work that we have, always sitting down, listening to all the complaints of the passengers.

We were on the sidewalk, trying to have some fun, talking and still talking about how this passenger and how this passenger was. There was a full moon and although it was cold, all four of us (two guys and two femme) we are contended to walk around.

There was this lady who overtook us, and I yelled at her not to be close to the bushes because I saw two skunks out there, frolicking. I don't know it she heard me or she just ignored me. The poor lady startled the frolicking skunk and she got sprayed. There goes the entire neighborhood.

We went inside immediately. Our building is a secured building and we have to use our ID magnetic card to get in the building. This lady that was sprayed by the Skunk forgot her ID and have to ring the buzzer and ask to be admitted and said that she got sprayed by the Skunk. She was not given entry into the building-- was advised to just go home because the smell of the Skunk spray in her body and clothes will be inside the entire building. We are in an enclosed building, and that will be enough to succumb all of us.

Did you know. in order to remove the smell of the Skunk, one has to practically has to shower with tomato juice ---- lots lotsa of tomato juice.

Auntie Patti Koh --- I don't know who to pity.... the startled Skunk, or the lady who startled the skunk.