Monday, June 26, 2017

Gratitude

Hi,

We had a mild, rain-teasing weekend.  Sunday gave us a preview of things to come.  Today we had two storms.   It is definitely the rainy season.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “I Wish You Love” as sung by Gloria Lynne https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tgh5BOTCuM  Time for an ‘Easy Monday’ tune to start the week:  “Well, it’s not far down from paradise, at least it’s not for me.  And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility.  Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.  Believe me… __ takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be.  Just a dream and the wind to carry me, and soon I will be free.”  Hint: One word title that involves water, usually.  It’s from ’79/80.

We continued our weekend in the guest room.  It wasn’t so bad once we transferred everything we needed downstairs.  Daku quickly got the hang of it, although he missed ‘his’ room upstairs.  He would go in and check it out, but it was so hot he quickly came out.  Today our upstairs unit was reinstalled and so far it’s cooling the room.  It will take a really hot day to see if it’s up to the task.  What is cool is the fact that they didn’t charge us for any of the visits, or the coil repair and reinstall.

Sunday morning the early light in the front yard said ‘Take my Picture’, so I did.   On the right, in the distance, you can see ‘Blue’s Tree’.  It really likes the rain.


Our lunch at The Wanderer was without rain, which was great.  There is always something to be learned when we hang out with Cat.  At her university they do a form of hazing that, while less harmful, still has a demeaning effect on Freshmen.  She went through it last year and rebelled against some of the things they wanted her to do.  She was right and it was interesting to hear her stand up for what was right, even though she was trying hard to ‘belong’.  Now she is a ‘Second year’, which means she has to be a part of the team that whips the Freshies into shape.  She hasn’t been going to the meetings and is willing to pay a fine not to attend.  It’s going to be a very interesting time when school starts.  

Lisa is one of 26 women artists in Art Bridge who will be presenting an exhibit that will open on July 22.  The title is ‘In Her Eyes’ and a lot goes into planning something like this.  Sunday afternoon they had a meeting to work on various aspects of the exhibit.  Cat met us there and served as a translator for Lisa and a Dutch artist.  I sat on the sidelines, catching a few phrases and comments as they did their thing.  Progress was made and it’s an exciting thing for the art community in Northern Thailand.  Just as we left, it began to rain.  We had a quiet dinner at the Night Bazaar with no rain and an evening of art and Formula One.   

Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“It is through gratitude for
the present moment that the 
spiritual dimension of life opens up.”
~Eckhart Tolle

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The probability of rain falling was low, but the clouds said otherwise.  All day long it was dark, then sunny, then back again.  In the end, it didn’t rain.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley.  For this week’s ‘Old School Friday’ we’re going to look at a ballad that began life in 1942, in France.  The English version has had numerous covers.  I’m humming a 1964 version that became the signature song for a singer with a great voice.
“(Intro)  Goodbye, no use leading with our chins, this is where our story ends, never lovers, ever friends.  Goodbye, let our hearts call it a day, but before you walk away, I sincerely want to say:  I wish you bluebirds in the spring to give your heart a song to sing.  And then a kiss, but more than this, __ __ __ __…”  Hint:  A bittersweet love song.  

It’s looking like we’ll be camping in the guest room for the weekend.  Unless the unit got repaired and can be reinstalled tomorrow, we’ll have to wait until Monday.  We miss our bedroom, and so does Daku.  Today he went upstairs while Lisa was working in her studio.  He wanted to go to his favorite place and hang out but the heat was too much for him.  He came out pretty quick and hasn’t asked to return.  

This morning we went to the little cafe near the university for mid-morning coffee.  We sat in a different part of the place and got another view of the whole operation.  The staff was sitting at a table near the back, cutting the long string beans and other vegetables, preparing for the lunch menu I guess.  We like this place because they bring you a little tray with your coffee, some little crackers, and a cup of tea.  

A few minutes south of our coffee stop was Makro.  While cruising through the produce section I noticed an interesting looking plant part, but there was no sign of what it was.  I took today’s photo and later found out from Natcha, that it is bamboo root.  Yum.  


This evening Neetchanon discovered she could throw her ball if she threw it behind her, over her head.  She did this a bunch, with accuracy.  When Daku decided he wanted to play tug-o-war (with her ball) like we do upstairs, Neetchanon had a fit.  They both have identical balls, but Daku’s lives upstairs and her’s stays in the kitchen.  He had stolen her ball and it was not ok.  It didn’t take long to get the ball back to her.  Of course, she just threw it away.  It was the principle of the thing.  Kids.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.  Thank Alan for the laugh.  It’s a Formula One weekend in Azerbaijan.  Maybe you should watch, just so you can say you’ve seen F1 from Azerbaijan.

                  Peace,
                            Danny


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happiness

Hi,

It rained today.  We finally got to watch it fall from the sky.  It waited until we had finished our outside adventures, which was great.  Later in the afternoon the sky was clear and the swimming was good.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has a bit of science fiction comedy involved.  A lot of  you already responded to this:
“Well, he came down to earth and he lit in a tree.  I said, ‘Mr. __ __ __, don’t eat me’.  I heard him say in a voice so gruff, ‘I wouldn’t eat you ‘cause you’re so tough’.  It was a __-__, __-__, __ __ __ __….. Sure looks strange to me.”
Clue:  This tune is usually saved for Halloween ‘cause it’s so zany.  They don’t get sillier than this.  Oh, the monster did not live up to it’s name.

We drove out to the edge of town this morning, looking for the farms that sell their organic products by the road.  Since it had recently rained, there was no one out, but we did get to see a part of town we didn’t know about.  Part of our journey took us past what is known as ‘Chiang Rai Beach’.  It’s not really a beach per se.  It’s a collection of picnic areas and food stalls by the river.  During holidays the place is a real attraction.  One day I’ll take pictures of ‘The Beach’.  

Back in town, we stopped to check out an interesting looking new spot.  It’s called "The Mellow Cafe" and in today’s photo you’ll see why it caught my eye.  We tried to get more info but they weren’t open, even though the front door was inviting us in.  Next time we’ll go later in the day.  It might be fun.



Life in the guest room is cozy.  Daku is enjoying the cool tile floors and the fact that it’s where he stays when we’re out of town.  It was Cat’s room for 3 years and he hung out in here a lot.  While we’re in here it gives us a chance to think about little adjustments to make before it’s next occupants arrive.  In 3 weeks our friends Jesper, Louise and Rasmus will be coming from Denmark to stay for a week.  

Neetchanon continues to be the cutest kid ever.  Now she’s doing this thing where she walks over to Lisa and gives her a big, gentle hug.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“There is no way to happiness.
Happiness is the way.”
~Unknown

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Power

Hi,

As I write to you, we’re getting our evening rain.  It’s just starting so I don’t know whether it will be a sprinkle or a downpour.  I can tell you that there has been thunder and lightning, so it could also be a storm.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “My Girl” by The Temptations.  Congrats to all who got it.  ‘Zany Day’ is next, with this:
“Well I saw the thing coming out of the sky, it had one long horn, and one big eye.  I commenced to shakin’ and I said, ‘Ooh-wee’.  It looks like a __ __ __ to me.  It was a __-__, __-__, __ __ __ __ (repeat 2x). Sure looks strange to me.”  Hint:  Some kind of crazy monster. 

Our day began with a trip down the road to The Wanderer.  They supply us with Doi Chaang Coffee and it was time to refill the cupboard.  While we were there we had a cup of coffee (555) and a visit with Khun Kwan and Mercy.  With the current moderate rains, the woods are very green and lush.  

Down in town we went to the main market to look for bedspread material.  We didn’t see or feel anything special, but had a visit with our friendly fabric merchant.  The business district is a lot busier than it used to be.  So busy that the parking lady never collected her 4 Baht ($.12) from us.  There is a parking lot that provides space for a lot of cars, at 20 Baht per car.  We use it if the street is crowded.  

Today’s photo is the future home of the downtown Chiang Rai Bus Station.  It also looks like a major parking structure that will take a lot of pressure off of the streets in the area.  If an orderly flow of traffic can be achieved it will make life better for the long-time merchants in the area.  Right now, many businesses lose clients due to lack of parking, and the street gets congested from double parking.  Some shops put a chair or cone in front of their business to save a place for patrons.  


For the next few days we will be camping out in the downstairs guest room.  The air/con crew was back again and determined that the coil needed to be taken to the shop to see if it is the problem.  If it can’t be corrected, we’ll have to get a new unit.  We’ve been here before, but not for this long.  Gong helped us move most of the things we’ll need for a few days.  That will help with running up and down the stairs.  Hmm, Adventures in Thailand.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Mastering others is strength.
Mastering yourself is true power.”
Lao Tzu

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tears

Hi,

We seem to be going through a weather pattern that likes to tease us all day, and then rain late at night.  There are signs, some mornings, that this has happened.  Today we got dark clouds, the tell-tale breeze, and then bluish skies.  Someplace is getting the rain.

It’s nice to have an ‘Easy Monday’ tune that almost everyone knows.  Here is the second verse of this favorite:
“I’ve got so much honey, the bees envy me.  I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees.  Well, I guess you’d say, what can make me feel this way?  __ __ (__ __, __ __), talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  Hint:  What?  You still need a hint?  Well, it’s by 5 guys from the motor city.  Just trying to avoid the simple 2 word title (555).

I can always tell when another holiday is coming by the displays at Big C.  This morning there was a table with very large, carved candles and an assortment of gift sets for monks.  After a quick check, there will be an observance of Asahna Bucha Day on July 10.  It marks the day when Buddha delivered his first sermon in India over 2500 years ago.  

After Big C, we made the U-turn on the highway and went to Starbuck’s at the mall.  I discovered a little parking section with a sign saying ‘reserved for Starbuck’s patrons’, so we parked.  Someone read my mind (555).  

This afternoon we had a second visit from the air/con crew from Sinthanee.  The unit seemed to be struggling to get cold enough during this heat.  It’s almost 10 years old and we wanted to make sure it was done before we got a new one.  Yesterday they did a few things and told us they’d be back to work on the compressor today.  They did a deep cleaning and removed almost everything that makes it an air/con unit.  There were parts all over the place.  Fortunately, all that took place outside.  There was a big build-up of dog hair that may have been stressing things.  After all that they did, it’s still not feeling as cold as it should be.  Hmm, it just may be time to say goodbye.  

Today’s photos are from the exhibit at Art Bridge.  The pieces are by different artists and show some of the diversity in the show.  



Have a Happy Tuesday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“Tears come from the heart and not 
from the brain.”
~Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wisdom

Hi,

The weather in Chiang Rai is still hot.  It’s trying to be rainy, but it’s only managed ‘rainy a little bit’ as they say here.  I’m not missing the monsoons at all.  Overnight downpours are fine with me.

‘Old School Friday’ was “Born Too Late” by The Poni Tails.  Now it’s time for an ‘Easy Monday’ sing-a-long:
“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.  When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.  I guess you’d say, what can make me feel this way?  __ __ (__ __, __ __) talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  Hint:  Too easy.  Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday we changed our plans and went to the exhibit opening at Art Bridge instead of the comedy show.  We gave our tickets to our Thai teacher and her boyfriend and they had a good time.  The exhibit was amazing.  It was a multi-artist affair focused on sculptures that ranged from ceramic bowls and vases to dragons, and traditional to experimental.  Most of the Chiang Rai art community turned out and it was a great chance to connect and catch up with friends.  

We’ve been swimming every day and it’s been a wonderful break from the heat.  The rain has been mostly at night while we’re sleeping.  During the day it looks all threatening, but never delivers.  Even with the frequent cloud cover, the pool has stayed at a very nice temperature.  Occasionally, I’ll wonder why I sometimes feel a little stiff and then I remember the water workouts.

Sunday evening we ended up at the mall for dinner.  Imagine our surprise as we walked along and saw a little BMW dealer, right there on the main floor.  I guess this means Chiang Rai is ‘coming up’ in the eyes of the ‘Bangkokians’. We’ve had a specialty dealer that sells custom imports, but this is the first time a branch of a major dealership has come to town.  There is a growing middle and upper-middle income population here and it’s beginning to show in the form of things you can spend your money on (555).  In contrast, in the morning I saw a early 50s Chevy pick-up that had been lowered and customized, including a surfboard on the roof.  What?  Felt like Venice, CA.  I only wish I could have snapped a pic for you.

Today’s photos give you the vehicular contrast that lives in Chiang Rai.  The first photo is the front of a new restaurant.  The two old trucks sit there looking like the equivalent of Nagas or dragons, protecting the place.  The second photo is the BMW shop in the mall.  



This morning, Natcha’s brother Gee (pronounced with a hard G as in good) came over to discuss some work on the yard.  We have a couple of areas where there is no grass and this time of year it gets muddy when it rains.  We had pondered what to do about it and this morning the consensus was to put grass over all of it.  By the time we got back from our morning in town, Gee and Gong had almost finished putting in the sod.  If it takes root in the rain, we may have a new side yard.  We like dealing with Gee because he has a lot of experience and his English is quite good.  

Neethchanon is still the charmer.  Today she was working on her laugh.  She’s got the idea, she’s just not always sure why we laugh.  Hmm, are we sure we know?  She still heads for the stairs whenever possible, even knowing that she’ll probably get picked up or turned around.  

Have a Great Week.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul;
wisdom is better than silver or gold.”
~Bob Marley

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Well, the storm predicted for today did not happen.  We had a beautiful day with blue skies this afternoon.  More rain due on Sunday, or so they say.  Meanwhile, it’s hot.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was that old favorite, “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” by The Beatles.  This week’s ‘Old School Friday’ tune is an old ‘Pop’ song you may remember:  “__ __ __ for you to notice me, to you, I’m just a kid that you won’t date.  Why was I __ __ __?…. __ __ __ for you to care, now my heart cries because your heart just couldn’t wait.  Why was I __ __ __?”  Hint:  By a ‘Girl Group’ named for a hair style, it’s an age-old lament.

We can’t seem to stay away from the gold shop.  Actually, we went back for an upgrade on my ring. The shops in the business district have open fronts and you just walk up and look at the glass cases.  Most have some sort of guard lurking nearby, but you don’t feel intimidated at all.  The whole thing is still curious to me.  There must be 6 or 7 shops within a 1 block radius.  At Big C there are 3 shops right together and they still seem to coexist just fine.  Amazing.

Since we didn’t have any short trips to make today, we went to Starbuck’s at the mall, took our coffee to the van, and had a Harry Potter listening party.  The men who handle the parking lot security have this weird task.  Every evening, at closing, they block off all the lanes within the parking lot with 3 inch wide cloth that looks like striped caution tape.  They loop it through metal gates and make it impossible to park until they take it all down.  In the morning they have to undo it all.  Meanwhile, cars are permitted on the lot at 10am, but with only a few stalls open, until 11:00 when the mall opens.  Most frustrating when all you want to do is get some coffee and listen to a book.  Next trip inside the mall I’m searching for the suggestion box (555).

I had a little bowl of mango with my dinner, which is my usual ‘dessert’.  What I didn’t know was, it was from the tree in the yard.  The one mango that survived (See Below).  Some of it was a little tart, but it was mostly very sweet.  Now I have to wait a long time before there’s another one.  It's good to know that the tree has potential.


Last evening Lisa went into the kitchen and Natcha and Neetchanon were each eating a piece of ice.  When Lisa arrived Natcha was just giving Daku a piece.  So there they were, the three of them chomping on ice, having a grand old time.  Neetchanon is saying Daku’s name very clearly now.  This evening, while they were upstairs, she said, ‘Daku ball’ as she handed it to me.  She picked up his bone to try and get another game of chase, but he was too relaxed to care.  

Tomorrow (Saturday) will be a busy one for us.  In the morning we’re going to the monthly meeting of the Expat Club to hear our friend Joakim talk about the early days of Chivit Tamma Da, that he created with his wife.  It has turned into a major success as a coffee shop/restaurant and a 'destination attraction' for tourists.  In the evening we’re going to The Factory to see a comedian who is on a tour of Southeast Asia.  We watched him on YouTube and he’s funny.  It’s the first time an event like this has happened up here, as far as we know.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     Time for the ‘Funnies’.

                Peace,
                          Danny