Thursday, August 17, 2017



Chiang Rai had another pleasant day.  There was a little light rain in the afternoon.  Rain is predicted for the rest of the week.  I really hope not - we need to dry out.

It seems that we have a very popular ‘Zany Day’ song this week.  Here’s the second verse:  “Commercial came on, so I got up to get myself a snack.  You should’ve seen what was goin’ on by the time that I got back.  Down in the old abandoned mine Sweet Sue was havin’ fits.  That villain said, ‘Give me the deed to your ranch or I’ll blow you all to bits!’  And then he grabbed her (and then), he tied her up (and then), he lit the fuse to the dynamite (and then, and then…!)  And then __ __ __……”  Hint:  It was recorded by a zany bunch.  The hero always comes along at the right/last moment. 

Today was ’coffee shop sample day’.  We’ve been rotating around a few spots we like and not knowing about a lot more.  This morning we went to one of the four coffee shops situated around the Clock Tower.  It’s part of a chain that features a Hill Tribe brand.  We chose it over another across the street because they had air/con and the morning was heating up.  The coffee was very strong, but with a little hot water (we always ask for that), it was quite good.  Sitting by the window, looking out at the traffic roundabout that circles the Clock Tower was a new experience.  It’s one thing to drive through an intersection, and yet another to sit and observe.  All I can say is: ‘Wow’.  The way the cars, bikes and trucks weave in between one another, the near misses, and the daredevils, the mind gets boggled. 

Not far from the Clock Tower is Teppawan Art Supply.  It’s a family business run by our friend Supalak, her husband, their son Pete and his wife Jeab.  Supalak is one of Lisa's good friends and also a patron.  They send each other a ‘Line’ message every morning.  In addition to getting some paints, Pete showed us a new line of notebooks they are producing.  They have a leather cover and quality paper inside.  He gave Lisa the model with unlined paper that can take watercolors. 

Living with the seasons gets ‘real’ when your favorite fruit goes away.  That’s the case of the mango.  There are mangos around, but they’re either over-ripe or sour.  The pineapple is still delicious so that’s my new dessert.

After our brief nap we went to Overbrook Hospital to get immunization for Dengae Fever.  It’s something not to be messed with.  Lisa and I had it a few years ago.  She had the full version and I had enough to know I got knocked down.  Nurse Pay, our friend in the Treatment Room, set up a doctor visit where it was explained that there are three rounds of the medicine, six months apart.  It doesn’t guarantee that one won’t get sick, but it lessens the odds and the degree of the impact.  The side affects of the injection can include a low-grade fever and muscle aches.  I will gladly go through that if it means not having the illness.  So far, we’re feeling fine. 

Coffee shop number two was not far from the hospital.  You may recall that we stopped at ‘Mellow’ months ago but they hadn’t opened for the day.  We finally got back there today and had coffee.  It’s actually a ‘Milk Shop’, like where Cat works, but with a bigger menu.  The coffee was good and the ambience had a ‘fun’ potential.  There is a cartoon theme throughout and it fits with what they serve.  One menu item that caught our eyes was ‘Jelly Smoothie’.  What?  Don’t know, and don’t really want to try one, but it looked cartoonish.  There are lots of antique car models in the window and fun wall paintings. 

Today’s photos are some of the photos I took today.  Pic 1 is the rear wall.  Pic 2 is a close-up of the window to the kitchen and the ‘counter car’.

The biggest event of the day was our afternoon swim.  With all the rain lately, we haven’t been near the water.  The last few days the water felt too cold for a comfortable swim.  Today it was very borderline so we went for it.  Once in the water, it was good for the exercise, but not for lounging.  More please.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“The only think worse than
being blind is having sight but
no vision.”
~Helen Keller

Wednesday, August 16, 2017



Last night it rain all night.  Today we had a soggy yard.  Our big drain pipe is doing it’s job, but now we need a solution for the swamp out back.  Why is it that dogs like to go to the places where they get the dirtiest?

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “By the Time I Get To Phoenix” by Glen Campbell, written by Jimmy Webb.  Let’s see what ‘Zany Day’ song will baffle you this week (555).  “I plopped down in my easy chair and turned on Channel 2.  A bad gunslinger called Salty Sam was chasin’ poor Sweet Sue.  He trapped her in the old sawmill and said with an evil laugh, ‘If you don’t give me the deed to your ranch I’ll saw you all in half!’  And then he grabbed her (and then), he tied her up (and then) he turned on the buzz saw (and then, and then).  And then __ __ __, tall thin __.  Slow-walkin’ __, slow talkin’ __.  Along came long, lean, lanky __.”  Hint:  A song about a hero, goes by his last name.  Title is in three words.

The day began at 5:20am, after lying there for hours.  Sleep is still being elusive.  You’d think that after so many days without a full nights' sleep or afternoon naps, that it would finally return.  This evening at 7:30pm some outside force decided it would be a good time to fall asleep.  I’m awake and trying my best to hammer this out before collapsing.

The rain from last night was not completely gone, which meant that it was sprinkling when it was time to take Daku out to play.  He doesn’t like to play in the rain.  That’s fine with me.  The rain picked up and he went home (5)

The Shong Cafe was our coffee spot this morning.  While we were there, we had a video call with Cat, who was about to have homemade pizza for dinner.  She’s having a ball and meeting lots of people who are supporting the efforts of The Freedom Story (formerly The Sold Project).  The call was made using ‘Messenger’ and it was clear and free.  Who knew?

Busy would best describe the morning in the street.  After coffee we went to Makro for a quick shop, then the bank, and a stop at Sinthanee to check an air/con remote that stopped working.  It was not fixable, but we were told where we could get a new one.  We found the place and it turned out to be a very fascinating shop.  It’s on the Super Highway and we’ve passed it a thousand times.  Inside, it was like an electronic warehouse/wonderland.  All the little pieces that make things work were in there.  When we presented the remote, the clerk went to a two-sided rack that was about ten feet long and seven feet tall.  It was covered with remotes.  There were parts for fixing or making speakers, wire couplings, and things that go inside of other things.  The new remote works fine.
After a quick fruit run, we headed home. 

Today’s photo was taken when we stopped for light bulbs.  It makes things pretty clear.

There are a number of words that are the same in Thai and English.  When Lisa wanted to ask about ordering a new remote, she looked up the word in the phone translator.  The word for order is order, with the accent on the second syllable.  Now you know.

Our TV went out sometime while we were out of town.  When I called to ask about it, a recording said that if it was not storm related, stay on the line.  Otherwise, hang up and try at a later date.  When we were at Big C a few days ago, I spoke to a rep and put in an order.  Today two guys came and noticed a small branch of leaves hanging over the edge of the little dish.  They said that was the problem.  They cut the branch and the picture came back.  They left without any compensation.  Amazing.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Let us not pray to be sheltered
from dangers, but to be fearless
when facing them.”
~Rabindranath Tagore

Tuesday, August 15, 2017



It’s Tuesday night in Chiang Rai and we’re having a major storm.  Wind, rain, and big thunder very close by.  All day long it looked like this was coming.  It sprinkled for most of the day, and now this.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song has a few friends.  Maybe the next stop in the tune will ring a bell:  “By the time I make Albuquerque, she’ll be working.  She’ll probably stop at lunch and give me a call.  But she’ll just hear that phone keep on ringing, off the wall, that’s all.”  Clue:  So far he’s gone from a place in the title, to New Mexico, then on to Oklahoma.  It’s a sad ‘leaving’ song. 

This morning Mr. Lag decided to change the game.  After being awake for hours, we surrendered and got up at 5am.  Of course, this left Daku a little confused since we never let him disturb us this early.  It was still dark outside and that made things even stranger for him.  After breakfast it felt like nap time. 

The Wanderer was our first stop in the outside world.  There was no one there but us, which always makes it feel very special.  Mercy, the resident Husky greeter, came over and talked to us.  Then her ‘mom’, Kwan came over and we had a nice visit. 

While we were away our vacuum motor died dramatically.  All we knew was that there was a shock and smoke came out. When we took it to Sinthanee for a check our service friend told us that it would not be worth it to fix the motor.  We now have a new vacuum.  We also have a new sales friend.  While he was writing up the order he tried to pronounce Lisa's name.  He did pretty good on ‘Lisa’ but struggled with Moses.  Lisa kept repeating the sounds until he got it.  He would repeat it at every appropriate moment and we’d all laugh.

I seem to be in a perpetual state of confusion when it comes to my phone bill.  The company I use sends text messages that are sometimes in Thai and sometimes English.  They called me this morning and then hung up, almost like a crank call.  When I went to pay the bill, I didn’t go into anything but just asked how much.  Some months, especially in a Jet Lag phase, it’s easier to just pay the $21 and be done with it.  Considering that I’m getting phone service and internet, it’s such a deal.  We just paid $40 each for 3 weeks of service in L.A.

Today’s photo was taken at Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK).  It’s a great graphic of the various traditional masks of the region.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“A destruction, an annihilation
that only man can provoke,
only man can prevent.”
~Elie Wiesel

Monday, August 14, 2017



While we were in the States, the weather here in Chiang Rai was very rainy.  Since Saturday night when we arrived, it hasn’t really rained yet, just sprinkles off and on.  It’s good to be back to hot and muggy sometimes rainy.  I did not just say that (555). 

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “16 Candles” by The Crests.
Here is your ‘Easy Monday’ song:  “__ __ __ __ __ __ __ she’ll be rising.  She’ll find the note I left hanging on her door.  She’ll laugh when she reads the part that says I’m leaving, cause I’ve left that girl so many times before.”  Hint:  There are two cities and one state mentioned in this ‘road song’.  The singer had a stellar career in Pop and Country music. 

The trip home was uneventful, as trips home go.  There was a feeling of deja vu in Taipei.  While sitting in the lounge, looking at email, I got a message that our Cousin Conley E. Broome had passed.  It was in Taipei last year that we learned of the passing of my mother.  Although we knew it was near, it’s never easy when it happens. 

In Bangkok we got to stand in a very long line to go through immigration.  It moved rather quickly though, considering the number of travelers trying to enter at the same time.  When a couple of major flights from foreign countries arrive at the same time it puts major pressure on the immigration officers.  That may explain why our guy had absolutely no personality.  Oh well, we made it into The Kingdom without any problems. 

We met up with our friends Jesper, Louise, and 4 1/2 year-old Rasmus in Bangkok and had lunch.  When Rasmus spotted Lisa he ran to her and gave her a big hug.  They told us about some of their adventures in the beach areas.  They left for Denmark the next day.

Today’s photo was taken on the long flight over the Pacific.  What you’re seeing is sunrise, except this scene stayed like this for hours as we flew away from the sun.  I don’t know when it changed, but it was a strange sensation imagining that the sun might not 'come up’ (I actually know that it doesn’t come up).

 Waking up on Sunday morning in our house was a wonderful thing.  It seemed like this trip took more energy from us.  It may also have been another trick of the famous Mr. Lag.  The most we could do in the outside world was
make the 3 minute drive to The Wanderer for lunch.  We were joined by Tatt, who arrived in Chiang Rai around 3am Sunday morning.  He took a nap at the bus station and the took a cab to our house.  He arrived as we were starting our morning at 6am.  Daku doesn’t care about how we feel after a long flight, he wants his breakfast. 

Today we went to Big C, a totally brave thing in our condition.  When we went to the mall for coffee at Starbuck’s, we noticed that people were going inside the mall and it was only 10:30am.  That’s because it was an official holiday.  The Queens birthday (Mother’s Day) was Saturday, so the following Monday is a holiday.  Having no energy for the mall, we moved on to the fruit market for pineapple and mango.  What a joy to have fresh mango after lunch and dinner.

There had been changes since we left.  Neetchanon is saying real words mixed in with her own language.  She’s saying some things in Thai and Akha, and Natcha said she tells Daku to sit and stand up. 

Well, the head wants to be on the pillow and it’s only 8pm.  At 7pm we realized we had crashed and forced ourselves to stay awake for a few hours.  It’s hard enough getting the time right without unscheduled naps (555).

Have a Great Week.


“In prayer it is better to have
a heart without words than words
without a heart.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Friday Funnies


Today was another postcard, picture perfect weather day.  Not too hot, as long as you weren’t in the sun (555).

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Just Dropped In to See What Condition My Condition Was In”, by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, 1967.  ‘Old School Friday is next.  I just know some of you remember this one:  “Happy birthday, happy birthday baby, oh, I love you so.  __ __ make a lovely light, but not as bright as your eyes tonight.  Blow out the candles, make your wish come true, for I’ll be wishing that you love me too.”  Hint:  Age is just a number and there is one in the title (a number). 

Not to confuse you or anything, but I’m writing this on Thursday, telling you about our day because on Friday I’ll be in the air.  The big adventure on our last day in America was a visit to Venice Beach.  We used to come here a lot, many years ago.  Arriving before the crowds was a good start, and gave us a chance to browse without interruptions in some of the shops.  After getting the gifts we wanted, we just played tourist.  It was our day, so we got ourselves presents too.  Lunch at the Sidewalk Cafe was good for watching the people strolling up and down the walkway.  Taking in the local color (characters) is always a plus.  It’s interesting to watch people entertaining the tourists by just being themselves.  Hmm.  We walked down to the skate park and joined the crowd that was watching ‘kids’ of all ages swoop in and out of the sculpted pools. 

Today’s photo was taken at the skateboard area at Venice Beach.

Our Godson, C-Bass, made us a dinner of shrimp Pad Thai.  It was delicious.  Some of the best we’ve had, and we’ve had a lot.  It was a wonderful way to end the trip.  He and his brother August, Lisa and I had a cool farewell meal.  Earlier, I went to the market with C-Bass and he said something that gave me a better perspective on what I’ve been feeling.  He doesn’t like all the changes that are taking over Culver City and he said, “This is not the town I grew up in.”  That is what I have been feeling.  It was so ‘to the point’.  Anyway, I’ll have to think of it as a new town I’m visiting next time.

Right now we’re hanging out in the EVA Lounge at LAX.  What a cool way to wait for a flight.  Food, beverages, football on TV and solid WiFi make it all OK.  The next time you hear from me it will be from Chiang Rai.  We arrive there on Saturday. 

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.         Now, the ‘Funnies’.


Thursday, August 10, 2017



The temps in Chiang Rai are about the same as Culver City.  The difference in weather is the fact that Chiang Rai is supposed to have high humidity and/or rain.  Oh my.

A few readers were quick to identify the ‘Zany Day’ song for this week.  Here’s more:  “I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then followed it in.  I watched myself crawling out as I was a-crawling in, I got up so tight I couldn’t unwind.  I saw so much I broke my mind.  I __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  The singer is checking up on himself in a psychedelic manner?

I’m finding it hard to concentrate as I write this message.  This is our last night (Wednesday) in the U.S. until December.  Tonight (Thursday) we will go to the airport, stand in a few lines while being scrutinized, and then board the plane for the long haul to Taipei.  Then, after a couple of hours on the ground we’ll take off for Bangkok.  In Bangkok we’ll have a 5 hour wait until we board the plane for Chiang Rai.  There will be a bit of sunshine in Bangkok because we will have a visit from Jesper, Louise and Rasmus.  They’re going to meet us and hang out at the airport. 

Wednesday was another full day.  Our friends Sandy and Ady have a little dog that they will be taking with them when they move to South Africa.  They asked if we could look for a natural remedy for travel anxiety that they could give their dog.  We went to our regular ‘pet spot’ and they had exactly what we asked for.  Never knew there were such things.  

We had a fun dinner at the Overland Cafe with Mark and Erica.  I have known Mark for about 25 years.  We talked about travel, food, and Westside rents.  It was a great way to finalize our ‘eating out’ activities. 

We’ve just about exhausted all of our lists.  A few things keep working their way from one list to another, as we either can’t find them or just put it off.  This morning we’re going out to Venice Beach to get a few items to take home as gifts.  It will be good to smell the ocean, hear the waves, and see the sights of the ‘boardwalk’. 

Today’s photo is one that most of you have seen before.  Just wanted to remind you of why we’re feeling homesick.  This is home.  The Big Brown House.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"When deeds speak,
words are nothing.”
~Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Wednesday, August 9, 2017



I suppose you could call yesterday a perfect weather day.  Then again, it depends on where you’re standing.  From where I was, it was great. 

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “School Boy Crush” by Average White Band.  Congrats to those who remembered.  Now it’s time for a ‘Zany Day’ adventure.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song is from 1968 and was sung by a group that featured an artist who went on to have a huge solo career.  It also has one of the longest titles in popular music with 11 words.  “I woke up this mornin’ with the sundown shinin’ in, I found my mind in a brown paper bag within.  I tripped on a cloud and fell eight miles high, I tore my mind on a jagged sky.  I __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.” Hint:  The singer is paying a visit to himself, a reflection on a certain kind of experience.

Last night we had a great talk with Jeff, who recently returned from a trip to Japan.  Anna is still there, as hair stylist on the ‘Fuller House’ TV show.  Jeff plays the bass so he found the street where musical instruments are sold in Tokyo.  When he asked if he could play a bass in one of the stores, the clerk took the bass, wiped it off and tuned it before handing it to Jeff.  Sounds like a place to visit someday.

Tuesday was another full day.  There was a three hour block of visits with friends from the institute where Lisa worked before we left, and dinner by the ocean in Redondo Beach with Denny and Sheila. 

This Summer Visit has been filled with bittersweet memories.  As most of you know, we made two trips last summer.  The first time we came after my mother had a major stroke.  On the second trip we had her memorial.  A year later there are many reminders of her in the things we do and don’t do.  Having dinner with my brother and sister-in-law was comforting.  Things were easier than the last time we got together six months ago.  Time is a healer.

Today’s photo was taken last evening in Redondo Beach as the sunset.

We talked to Cat after we got home from dinner.  Last night was the event for the donors to the ‘Freedom Story’, the organization that sponsors education for Cat and the other young people from her village.  She was a special guest and was interviewed by Rachel Goble, the president and co-founder of the project.  Cat said she was a bit overwhelmed by the response she got from the audience after the talk.  Everyone wanted to talk to her.  This is being an amazing adventure for her.

I realized this visit, that I not only enjoy seeing all the exotic cars that populate the streets of the L.A. area, I’m enjoying the sounds as well.  Sometimes I see what’s making the sound, other times I just hear and wonder.  Tonight, while getting gas in our ‘quiet Hyundai’, I heard the throaty sound of what must have been a race-ready sports car.  All I saw was tail lights.  The sounds of the streets can be intoxicating.

Two more nights and we will begin our journey home.  We have one more dinner, and I think I’ve got one more coffee in me.  The Big Brown House is calling.  I’m actually looking forward to being stuck in the house, listening to the sound of the falling rain (I know, it’s a song).  Grateful for everything in my life. 

I think it’s gonna be a Wacky Wednesday.


“The most beautiful thing
in the world is, of course,
the world itself.”
~Wallace Stevens