Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Funnies


Cold nights and cooler days should be the forecast.  Then they’d be right all the time.  It’s beginning to feel like the cold season.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next.  This one comes from way back in 1954.  “__, __, well, it’s time to go.  __, __, well, it’s time to go.  I have to leave you but I really must say, __, __, __.  Well, it’s three o’clock in the morning.  Baby, I just can’t treat you right.  Well, I hate to leave you baby, don’t mean maybe, because I love you so.  __, __, well, it’s time to go……”  Hint:  At parties, this might be the last record played.  Some DJs used it as a sign off tune.  

This morning we had to leave the house dressed in layers.  By late morning I was still wearing a light jacket as we sat by the river at Chivit Tamma Da.  We met our friend Atom there for coffee and the place was very busy.  For some places, the High Season is busier than ever, and Chivit is expanding their facility to accommodate the crowds. One part of the expansion is a pub.  Joakim, the co-owner, participated in the auction of a British pub and now has authentic furniture for his new addition.  I’m sure that will mean something to someone.

We went to dinner with our friends who own the major art supply and stationary store downtown.  Supalak, the matriarch of the family, son Pete and his wife Jaeb and their son Charles made for an interesting dinner party.  The conversation was a mix of Thai and English and we did pretty good at keeping up.  Lisa and Supalak had a whole little visit in Thai.  Pete and Jaeb spent time in Manchester, England working on advanced degrees in economics so they are fluent in English.  Sometimes they would translate for Supalak, whose English is limited.  Every morning Lisa and Supalak exchange ‘Line’ messages that include photos of beautiful things from nature.  She also has three of Lisa’s works in her collection.  We all had a good time and plan to do it again when we return from the States.

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer before dinner.  The waterfall is finished and I think you can get the idea, even without the sound of the babbling water.

Tomorrow morning we’re going to a wedding at Le Meridien Resort.  The son of our friends Susan and Noy is getting married and it should be quite an event.  It will be our first ‘dress up’ occasion without wearing black.  

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


Thursday, December 8, 2016



Most of the day looked like rain might come any time.  There was that dark, cloudy feeling that said ‘run for cover’, but it never rained.  I guess ‘they’ were right.

A few of you were quick with the answer to the ‘Zany Day’ song.  For those still thinking about it, here’s the last verse of this song:  “When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.  And the White Knight is talking backwards, and the Red Queen’s ‘Off with her head’.  Remember what the door knob said, ‘Feed your head, feed your head.”  Hint: The title is a character from the classic story the song is based on, and the performers are taken with flying machines.

This morning we hung out at The Wanderer, sipping coffee and studying our Thai vocabulary.  The new indoor waterfall is almost complete.  The water is flowing down glass sheets, creating a very calming sound, but it doesn’t translate as a photo.  Khun Noot and Kwan went to buy ferns that will be placed vertically along side the two sheets of water.  When it’s done I’ll make a video clip for you to enjoy.  

During our Thai lesson today we learned some interesting things about northern Thailand.  In ancient times, all of the cities of any size had a king.  King Mengrai is credited with being the father of the north, having fought back invading armies of Monguls.  Chiang means city, so Chiang Rai is named after Mengrai.  Later, he also founded Chiang Mai, in this case, mai means new.  The word Chiang only applies to the north.  Now we know more than we did yesterday.  

After dinner, while Gong and Natcha were cleaning up the kitchen, Lisa and Neetchanon hung out on Daku’s bed.  This always creates a struggle for attention by Daku, but finally he gives in when he knows he can be close.  Today’s photo was one of those moments when the two ‘kids’ made calm eye contact.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“No matter how many mistakes you make
or how slow your progress, you’re still way 
ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”
~Tony Robbins

Wednesday, December 7, 2016



We woke up to a cold morning today.  All the weather reporters said it was 67, but we knew it wasn’t that warm.  By mid-day it was the normal comfortable level, but cooler.  You know it’s cooling off when you don’t run the air during nap time.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson.  So, here’s a ‘Zany Day’ tune that could easily be an ‘easy’ one as well.  “One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small.  And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all.  Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.”  Hint: The title is not sung in the song, but it’s two words.  

This was one of those stay at home days.  Lisa worked in her studio, I shopped for holiday gifts, the spray men did their thing, and Khun Naa cleaned the pool.  Just another, typical Wednesday at The Big Brown House.  We have been plagued with the smell of smoke for two days now.  It’s not the plant waste kind of smell, but something more sinister, like plastic and/or rubber.  This usually doesn’t happen until March, but nothing seems to be as it was these days.  In the middle of the night, when I was wide awake, I imagined a massive march of locals from our village, and children from around town, all converging on City Hall.  We were demanding clean air by way of fines for those who pollute.  I’m told that there are ordinances in place, but not enforced.  Hmm, I really couldn’t sleep after that.

Only sixteen days until we fly out of here for our Winter Trip to the States.  It always seems like there’s loads of time and then, Wham, the day arrives.  I always think every year will be different, more planning, earlier preparation, blah, blah.  We’re doing great, right on schedule if there was one (555).  But seriously folks, a few more lists and we’ll know for sure just how it’s going.  A lot of what we do is make sure things can run smoothly on this side of the ocean while we’re gone.  So very grateful that we have two adults and a dog looking after the place, taking care of business.

There are signs, and then there are signs.  Sometimes the spelling of the words doesn’t matter as much as the thought that gets conveyed.  The translation doesn’t say what was meant, but it works for me.  Here is such a sign:

It really is Wacky Wednesday.


“It is by going down into the abyss 
that we recover the treasures of life.  
Where you stumble, there lies your
~Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, December 6, 2016



Weather: same as it ever was.  Actually, we had some wind today and that was different.  

I’m happy that some of you remembered the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  “__ __ is not my lover.  She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one, but the kid is not my son.  She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son.”  Hint:  The title is a name.  It’s a song of possible seduction and denial.  I smell a soap opera.

Learning to speak a little Thai can be a tricky thing.  On one hand, you can communicate what you want or need to say.  On the other hand, some people assume that you will understand what they say to you.  Today, at the fruit market Lisa asked for two bottles of honey, in Thai.  Fruit lady was in a happy mood and started rambling something about what if she wasn’t there and Lisa forgot the words and had to describe what she needed.  Then she made this buzzing sound and waved her hand around, imitating a bee.  They both laughed, Lisa looked at me and shrugged her shoulders.  We think that’s what she was saying.  And so it goes.  You say something and hope they don’t give back too much too fast (555).

While having coffee and tea at Work@Home, Katai and Thowan brought up dinner plans that we’d talked about and suggested tonight at Boon Rawd Farm.  Being the loose, independent, live for the moment types that we are (555) we said yes.  We met them out at the farm, which is about a 30 minute drive in afternoon traffic.  On the long, winding road up the hill to the restaurant we saw fields of wild flowers, then long rows of tea plants pruned like hedges.  Once we arrived, the next thing for me was to see if there were dishes I could eat.  Northern Thai food is generally spicy.  The menu had a BBQ chicken that met my needs and I was set.  We also had a bowl of their deep fried tea leaves, a specialty of the house that is hard to stop eating.  Time flies when you’re with fun friends, good food and common experiences across cultural lines.  

Today’s photo was taken Sunday night near the Night Bazaar.  The new location of Cat ’n Cup gets more traffic and also seems to have more cats.  In this photo we counted 9 cats, but there were more running around.  Obviously, I took the pic from outside.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The time is always right
to do what is right.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, December 5, 2016



Warm days, cool nights, with no sign of rain.  That seems to be the story of Chiang Rai weather these days.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Two Lovers” by Mary Wells.  Time for ‘Easy Monday’.  “She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene.  I said don’t mind, but what do you mean I am the one who will dance on the floor in the round.  She said I am the one who will dance on the floor in the round.  She told me her name was __ __, as she caused a scene.  Then every head turned with eyes that dreamed of being the one.  Who will dance on the floor in the round.”  Hint: I think you know this one by ‘ The Gloved One’.  

December is turning out to be a very busy month for us.  We’re looking forward to all of it and things started with a party Saturday night.  We knew a few people there, and as is usually the case, met a whole bunch more.  There were people there that we met over 8 years ago, some we haven’t seen in months, and some we met on our Thai language road trip.  We had fun and sampled some delicious food.  

On our Sunday lunch at The Wanderer I spotted what looked like a big dog cage and took a peak.  Inside were 8 little goslings.  They are going to grow up to be the new ‘protectors’ in the woods.  Khun Noot told us that geese keep the snakes away.  We learned something new.  

Last week I ordered some contact lenses.  Trying to deal with progressive lenses was getting too frustrating.  Sunday I got a call that they had arrived.  I used to wear contacts years ago so it wasn’t too hard to put them in at the shop.  I felt very naked without my glasses as we strolled into the Night Bazaar for dinner.  So far they’re working out fine.  I still have to use reading glasses, but that's easy compared to the others.  

This morning it was dark when we got up.  The days are really getting shorter.  I looked outside and saw Gong sweeping the deck, wearing his ‘head light’.  He had explained to Lisa that he had to leave early and go to Mae Sai to help the family with the rebuilding of the home there.  All of his sisters went also, which meant Natcha was at home alone with Neetchanon.  Lisa helped with the little one at lunch, and I spent some time with her before dinner.  She had a great time crawling around in the living room.  She can stand up by herself when she thinks about it.  It’s time to start baby-proofing the house.  She’s moving faster on her knees, and when she gets the walking thing together, well, you can imagine.  
On our return from shopping this morning we couldn’t help but notice that the oncoming traffic had stopped.  The lead truck was almost in the middle of the road so I stopped too.  Then we saw the reason.  A big snake that looked to be about 4 feet long moved across the road and into the cornfield.  We learned about the respect for animals on our 2001 visit to Thailand.  Our van driver slammed on his brakes while driving in the hills.  A moment later he turned around and just said, ‘Snake’, and we continued on our way.  

Have a Great Week.


“Wisdom begins in wonder.”

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Funnies


I know that some places in the world are having storms, or droughts, or normal winter weather, but here in Chiang Rai is was in 80 degrees today with a slight breeze.  Just reporting what it was like for us.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Lola” by The Kinks.  That brings us to the part where we guess the ‘Old School Friday’ song.  This one is from 1962, and it’s by a woman with many R&B hits.  “Well, I’ve got __ __, and I ain’t ‘shamed.  __ __ and I love them both the same.  Let me tell you ‘bout my first lover.  He’s sweet and kind and he’s mine all mine, treats me good like a lover should and makes me love him, I really, really love him, oh, I love him so and I’ll do ev’rything I can to let him know…”  Hint:  The other guy was the opposite, but that’s not the end of the story.

The song I was reminded of yesterday was ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ by Joni Mitchell:  “They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot."

We didn’t leave the house all day.  It was a stay-at-home, productive kind of day.  Lisa worked on a large tribute painting/collage to The King and I started working on recording one of my old tunes.  Deep breaths, read the manual, fight the fear.

This evening we were invited to Rai MaeFarluang for the opening of a photo exhibition.  We didn’t know a lot about it, but the park is a beautiful place to go for no reason at all.  We saw a few people we knew and made some new friends.  The exhibit consisted of photos taken between 1926 and the early 70s, of archeological digs and restorations mostly in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.  The black and white photos added to the mystic of the events pictured.  The host of the exhibit was a member of the French institute that was documenting the temples and art of ‘Indo-China’.  When he finished his work, rather than returning to France, he stayed in Thailand.  His introduction to the evening was given in Thai, English and French.  We’re pretty sure it was not the same in each language.  

During the exhibit we met a couple who have been in Chiang Rai for eight years.  He’s a American and she is Thai.  We found ourselves deep in conversation and decided to get together in the near future.  

Today’s photo was taken at Rai MaeFarluang.  In the corner of the big courtyard you can see a metal relief sculpture of the ‘Princess Mother’, the late King’s mother.  MaeFarluang means ‘Mother from the Sky’, which was given to her when she arrived by helicopter on Doi Tung to meet the Hill Tribe workers.

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


Thursday, December 1, 2016



The weather is doing that thing where it’s cold at night and hot during the day.  This morning the sky looked like rain was coming, by 9:30 is was another beautiful day.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song came from across the pond by a rather kinky group.  See if you remember this:
“Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls.  It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, except for __, _ _ _ _ __.  Well I left home just a week before, and I’ve never ever kissed a woman before, but __ smiled and took me by the hand and said, ‘Little boy, gonna make you a man.”  Clue: the name in the title has four letters.

We took to the streets this morning with an easy task.  We got some fruit from one of our favorite vendors and then went to Work@Home for coffee and study.  We decided to take our Thai vocabulary work and use the time wisely (555).  We did some work and then Katai came back to the shop and we had one of our wonderful conversations.  She and her husband, Thowan, had been talking about Blue and how they missed him.  We had been in the same space so we discussed various aspects of grieving and how sometimes it’s harder than others. 

The corner where Doi Chaang Coffee and the carwash once lived is a ghost town.  Today we learned that the owner of the land will make it a parking lot for the next year or two.  This is not a good time for investments in big projects.  Reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song (write me if you remember the line).  

This afternoon, during our Thai lesson we heard about a small restaurant near us that has animals inside.  Khun Awe told us about seeing baby pigs, puppies and a lamb the last time she was there.  I’m not sure if I’d like to eat there, but it might be fun to see the animals.  I knew there was a goat farm in Chiang Rai, but didn’t know about sheep.  It seems like every week we learn more about this place we call home.

Last Sunday, at Central Festival Mall in Chiang Mai, we passed an interesting eating spot.  It appears to be desserts piled on top of bread or toast.  It’s hard to describe so I’ll give you a photo of the sign out front.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“One of the hardest decisions
you’ll ever face in life is 
choosing whether to walk away
or try harder.”