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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, June 29, 2006


Dear Auntie Pattie Koh,

I was ill for more than a week now. My neurologists is out of the country and I was not able to contact and communicate with him personallly. I have to wait until he returns back on Monday and then I could see him and pour all my medical and health problems to him.

I was having tremor and palpitation last week. Maybe it is because of stress and emotional problems at work and at home. I started to have problem in sleeping, and so my Trigeminal Neuralgia problem started again. The pain is unbearable, so I took another dosage of the present medication(s) that I am taking. After a few hours, I was feeling different and have to call the hospital and check with the ducty doctor what is happening and my symptoms that I am feeling. I was recommended to take a pill and the hospital called the 24 hour drug store to dispense the medication for me so that my wife could pick up the medicine at around 1:30am. I took the pill, and after a few minutes, I was sweating and I feel like shouting and so scared to close my eyes.

My wife got so scared, so we went to the emergency immediately. All medications that I was taking was halted. The medication that was just prescribed to me the hospital found out was a Hallucigenic medicine. That was the reason I was so nervous and wanted to scream and I am so scared to sleep and close my eyes.

Then a call from my Neurologists nurse as being directed by my doctor, that I have to take another medication and which I did -- and I felt okey immediately.

I stayed overnight at the hospital. The insurance and doctor recommended that I just convalesce at home. I am feeling alright now, and I have reported for work for the past three days now.

So, Auntie Pattie Koh, it is so hard to have too much meducation. At times it does not work well with each other. However, if i dont take my medication that is presently prescribed for me, I will have other complications and medical problems and impediment.

I am just lucky, I am in the states. What if I am sick in the Philippines, without all those pills and medication that I am taking right now.?

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I did not go to work today and for the past four days. I took some sick time because I don't feel well and my Neuralgia is really going berserck again. I am getting board inside the house, so this afternoon when the sun is not that hot, I went to the back yard and check my tomatoes and my apple trees and the rest of the plants at the back yard.

I have three apples trees -- the Golden delicious and the red delicious Washington apples. The entire trees has plenty of leaves and coming closer to the branches which is already stooping down, I noticed there is a lot of fruits in it again. I forgot, I fertilize it during spring time and so there are lots of fruits again.

Nobody eats the apples from my backyard, because my boys already left the house and they are in their own apartment and they told me that they got tired of the apples. Even the neighbor's kids does not want to come anymore and pick the apples. They told me that they have outgrown it. So now, I am stuck to it and there will be lots of fruits to deal with. Come fall, there will be lots of apple fruits on the ground and I will have a hard time gathering it and dumping it in the garbage.

I was sitting underneath the shade of the apple trees and I was thinking about the folks back home in Pinas. They are so excited to see an apple tree, much more so to have the ability to gather the fruits directly from the trees. But here I am, hating the abundance of the fruits from the trees.Something is wrong with me.

Therefore, Auntie Patti Koh -- I was thinking, if I can only ship these fruits back home on a refrigerated ship, I will do it. But the price of shipping it , is so expensive, I might as well let the fruits fall from the trees and I will just let the squirrel have feast on it.

I wish I could plant santol or lanzones or indian manggo at my back yard. But I cannot cuz it wont survive the harsh winter of Chicago.

Anybody ---- please, if you want apples.....please come to my house and pick up all the fruits this september. I will be happy if you can come and do the apple picking in my own backyard, I will even give you the basket to put it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I have a friend, who was an ex-seminarian just like me from the same congregation,back in Pinas. His name is J. He was sent by the seminary from the Philippines to study in the states at their seminary in Iowa. But, as you know --'many are called but few are chosen. J - left the seminary and also got married. He married his childhood sweetheart from their home province.

J. had a younger brother whom he wanted to meet a girl from the states. Here comes a girl from J.'s workplace. She was given pictures of the brother, stories about Pinas and the culture of the people. She then decided to come to the Philippines and see for herself what is really the people and the culture back home in Pinas.

Let us call her Tisay! She went to see the place and hometown of J. and she was really so elated with the warmth and the affection given to her back home. The first visit was followed by a second visit then third visit. During those visits, Tisay was introduced to J.'s young brother, we will call him JR. For some reason, JR and Tisay had an immediate chemistry between the two of them.

Then suddenly, we found out, that Tisay already petitioned JT ad fiance and arrived in the States a month and a half ago.It is then, that this time -- they were advised by the Immigration and Naturalization, that they have to get married at a certain period of time or else, JR will have to return back to the Philippines if by the stipulated time of the Immigration, that they get married will not happen.

And so, this Saturday, 24 June, Tisay and JR will be married.

Tisay belongs to another christian denomination and wants JR to convert. But the boy said -- he'd rather die or cancel the wedding if he will be forced to convert to his Fiance's religion. I will not mention Tisay's religion, but it is a Christian denomination.

For the rehearsal dinner this Thursday 22 JUne, myself and my wife is invited to attend the dinner rehearsal. I will be the one to cater and cook the food, together with my younger son who is taking Culinary Science. It will be a garden wedding and garden reception.

I wanted to help, Auntie -- so I accepted the responsibility of catering for this couple. They told me that the guests will be between 100 to 125 people. Okey with me, but they are only spending $1,000.00 for five 'entrees. My son can work around the budget and the menu. My wife is in disagreement on this, but I told her, I am doing this to help our kababayans. I don't cater nor do I accept any of this sorts of favors. These people knows that I have studied cooking at the Del Monte Kitchen back home in Pinas and my son is also at the Culinary School.

I am excited, of course. I will test again my expertise and my ability to cook and entertain the gastronomic travails of the many guests that will attend the wedding.

Of course, I am not cooking Dinendeng!

My menu includes:

Steam rice and or Java Rice
Pollo Gallantina
Chicken and Pork Adobo (requested by the Bride and Grrom)
Shrimp and Green Mussels in red pepper sauce
Mince Beef in Five Spice with French Cut Beans
Stir Fry mixed vegetables with Chinese Barbecue Pork
Chili Garlic Pepper Beef with Pea Pods
Shanghai fried egg roll and Pinsek
Fruit salad for dessert

Auntie Patti Koh, I have to chip in some money. I told the family of the boy this is my gift to them! (Please play the violin and applaud later)

Monday, June 19, 2006


Dear Auntie Pattii Koh,

My family celebrated Father's Day yesterday with me and my wife.

My eldest son tagged along his girlfriend to the lunch table and my youngest son joined us also. They did some grilling at the back of the house and my wife prepared the salad and the table. I was awaken when the table is set and the lunch are all prepared. I always sleep until 12noon since I work nights and arrive home at around 5am and by the time I could fall asleep it is already 6am.

We had fun at the lunch table, telling stories of our travels abroad and the two boys travels to Europe. They were telling their experiences to my eldest son's girlfriend, Asia.

The boys gave me the CD and DVD of Michael Buble'. They know I love this singer/artist very much and his renditions of standard songs and the songs of great singers/performers. He is also good in Jazz and R & B .

After lunch, the two boys and Asia left. They have their own agenda and places to go and things to do.

The house became quite and empty again. It is only me and my wife and my dog Misty, left at the house. I have a big old house and once the boys left, the silence is very intense.

And so, Auntie Pattie Koh, back to the same old routine. My wife went to do the laundry and I prepared to go to work that everning. This is the routine of our life. My wife and I is the only ones' left in this old house and my aging dog Misty. I went to my den and plugged in the CD of Michael Buble' and listen to all of his songs and started reminiscing the times when the boys are still young and fill this old house with their noise and running around. I miss those times, but there is nothing I can do about it --- the boys have grown up, and they have their own life to take care of.

I guess, I will have to wait for next year's Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

My wife and I just got home from a short trip from British Columbia. We stayed at my Uncle's house in Surrey for few days and it was very nice to have stayed with them.

The house has a big solarium overlooking the snow peak mountains of Whistler Mountain, and the Black Mountain. I love sitting at the lunge chair early in the morning when the sun is up and I can see the many activities down below. The shipping lane could be seen being loaded with cargoes. The main export of the place is wood chips to make papers. I can see Kimberly Clark, the makers of Scott Tissue papers, down from the solarium windows.

We never stayed in the house for a long period of time. After breakfast, we immediately head out and explore the areas. We went to the shore line to watch some people catching crabs. This are not the small varities of crabs. These crabs are big. They even have a sizer for the catch. If it does not conform with the size of more than 10 inches in the crabs back shell, it has to be returned bak to the water. No female crabs has to be caught, only male crabs. Then we explored the shoreline where the fishing vessels are docked and shrimp trawlers. I love buying those fresh shrimp and the fresh fish, especially flounder. I was so amazed with the prize of fresh shrimp -- six pounds for Can$10.00 and of course the flounder, still alive cost Can$6.00 for 10 pounds. Nobody could beat those prices.

What I love most is the visit to the Chinese stores. They are selling fresh Rambutant, Fresh Santol, Fresh Lychees and Durian and of course they also have Mangoes. All of these fruits are being flown from Bangkok. I was eating the Lanzones, day and night. I bought the whole case for Can$100.00 and it was so sweet. I cannot bring home to the states fresh fruits. Bags are being checked at the Customs and Agriculture side in Canada of the U.S. inspectors. They are giving stiff penalty if they cathes anybody.

Another great thing is the visit to this chinese restaurant and bakeshop. Owned by a Pinoy chinese that sells Siopao just like how they do it in Manila Chinatown. These, I took home with me, at least 6 dozens of it that was frozen by my aunt two days before our departure.

We visited the strawberry and the berry plantations and all the vegetables patches being taken cared of by Chinese, Vietnamese and East Indian. It was so nice to come during this season of the year. When we were here, it was spring time, frist week of March. Now it is the start of summer and all the plants and the vegetables are ready to be harvested.

Vancouver is very busy now, prepairing for the 2010 Winter Olympics. They are building sky trains directly from the airport connected to the existing sky train. In Richmond, a city of Vancouver, they are now doing the foundations of the the sky train that will be connected to the indoor skating rink, that they have started building also. I was surprised to know, that the volunteers for the Winter Olympics in 2010 is already filled up.

The entire Vancouver BC area are very busy with all the constructions and buildings that is going on to cope with the demands on the upcoming winter olympics. There are snow makers already built on top of the mountains, in case there wont be enough snow to cover some of the mountain events.

So, Dear Auntie Pattie Koh -- it was a short,but exhilirating vacation for me and my wife. We will be going back again this fall, September. I want to go to the berry farm and see the harvest. My wife and myself had a short respite and we are both glad we did it.