Tuesday, December 12, 2017



We’re back to summertime weather in Chiang Rai.  It’s supposed to be winter but it’s in the mid 80s.  Tomorrow in Bangkok it’s going into the 90s.  Hmm.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song should have been a snap.  The title is a bit like a greeting to the ball of fire.
“We take a walk, the sun is shining down, burns my feet as they touch the ground.  __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __. Then we’d lie beneath the shady tree.  I love her and she’s loving me.  She feels good, she knows she’s looking fine.  I’m so proud to know that she is mine.  __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __…..”  Clue: It’s by those pesky lads from across the pond, from an album that describes what records do, in a sense.

This morning we made an attempt to mail a package from the central post-office.  We took a number from the machine, but we could tell from the crowd seated in front of the counters, that it would be a long wait.  One look at the board showing who was being served made it clear that it was the wrong time.  We had our weekly call to Joe and we wanted to be in a quiet place.  We left and went to The Wanderer for coffee, roti, and the phone conversation.  It all worked out fine.  There are few things in our lives that are urgent, and that is how it should be.  

While we were out, our new washing machine was delivered.  Yesterday we got a diagnosis from the service boss at Sinthanee and he said our old one needed a new motor.  It’s over nine years old and has had a lot of use.  It has served us well.  The new one is a little bigger, and more modern in terms of what it can do and it’s ease of use.  When we arrived, it was already doing it’s first load of wash.  Natcha jumped into the manual, figured out all the buttons and put it to work.  

Yesterday evening, when we left the house, we discovered that a structure that was erected on the corner at the main road, is a restaurant.  We’ve only seen it from the rear side that faces our road.  Colored light strings give it a festive glow, and the outer walls are woven bamboo.  Welcome to the neighborhood.  

Today’s photo is an update.  Blue’s Tree is thriving.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The fact is that when you 
do something from your heart,
you leave a heart print.”
~Alice Walker

Monday, December 11, 2017



Most of our weekend was cloudy and warm.  The nights have warmed up so the mornings are easier (555).  

Well, the ‘Old School Friday’ song, that only a few remembered, was “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke.  I just know you know this one from ’66:  “I need to laugh, and when the sun is out, I’ve got something I can laugh about.  I feel good in a special way.  I’m in love and it’s a sunny day.  __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Hint: There are two references to the title in the first verse.  

Saturday was a day of surprises.  We had showers during the afternoon, and then a big rain later that night.  It rained hard and everyone was happy.  The air got washed, the plants were watered thoroughly, and it didn’t keep us from having a nice Sunday.  Neechanon discovered the joy of puddles, walking through a couple, and then jumping into one and watching the water splash.  

We went to ArtBridge for an exhibit opening that was wonderful.  We’ve known the artist for a few years and watched her work progress.  We got home just before the big storm hit.  Right on time for popcorn.

On Sunday we had our usual lunch at The Wanderer and dinner at Sawadee in the Night Bazaar.  The influx of visitors is really having an effect on all of the destination restaurants.  The Wanderer, Chivit Tamma Da, and the district near the Clock Tower are all seeing van loads of tourists, especially on the weekends.  In addition to the many Thais that have discovered Chiang Rai, there are busloads of Chinese travelers descending on our little town.  For some, business is great, and for others it’s life as usual.  It just struck me that tourists are looking for unusual items to take home.  Some merchants are stocking things you can buy anywhere in the region so there’s no incentive.  Hmm.  

Sunday afternoon Gong and Natcha took Neechanon to the mall.  There is a children’s play area on the top floor, near the theaters and the junk food (how convenient).  Apparently, she had a ball on the little rides, and the things they have to climb around on.  She loves to climb, so I’m not surprised.  Today, when they went to get her from her aunt’s house, she didn’t want to leave, she was having a good time at ‘school’.

We had a video call with our friends Stephen and Claire, who now live in Perth, Australia.  We’re planning to visit them while they have time off during the Easter weekend.  Stephen was recently participating in a Triatholon when things got a little strange.  They had to cancel the swimming part due to sharks in the water, and one of the cyclists got knocked off his bike by a kangaroo, and there was a brush fire - stuff I would never have imagined could happen.  They laughed about it, but I’m sure all eyes will be on the ocean and the bush during the next one.

This morning we went to Starbuck’s at the mall for coffee.  The courtyard was set up like a nightclub, with tables for four, complete with white tablecloths and planters.  There was a small stage on one side and a little tent marked artists.  Today’s photo is the line-up for the concert.  Chang will no doubt sell a lot of beer at this one.  And just what does ‘Sensory Trails’ mean?

I’m going back to Bangkok on Wednesday for another treatment from Juan.  This time Lisa’s going with me.  Two crazy kids on a day trip to the big city.  

Have a Great Week.


“I shall allow no man to belittle 
my soul by making me hate him.”
~Booker T. Washington

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Funnies


We had another warmer day today.  It was cloudy and kept looking like it might shower, but it never happened.  Wishing rain would fall in Southern California and help put out the fires.  Powerless.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin.  That leaves us with the need for an ‘Old School Friday’ tune.  Here’s one from 1960 that you should know:  “Don’t know much about history, don’t know much biology.  Don’t know much about a science book, don’t know much about the French I took.  But I do know that I love you, and I know that if you love me too, what a __ __ this would be.”  Clue:  If you send me the right answer, that would be wonderful.

The Wanderer was the site of our morning coffee.  It was with great self-control and discipline that we resisted the new batch of dessert items in the front display case.  As we sat, sipping our coffee and munching on roti, it struck me that we were listening to Christmas music in a Thai Muslim restaurant.  And the world goes ‘round and ‘round.

At Healthy Market we got warm greetings from some of our friends we haven’t seen lately.  The bok choy lady and the fruit lady were in happy moods and there was a vibe in the air.  In a relatively small town like Chiang Rai, there are people we usually see at their place of business and no where else.  This week I saw ‘Watch Guy’ at the mall and at first I didn’t recognize him.  He didn’t see me, but I saw him.  I’ve also seen fruit guy and the same thing happened.  There is a moment of ‘who is that?’ and then it comes into focus.  

Two weeks from tonight we go to Chiang Rai International Airport for the first leg of our journey to America.  We actually leave Thailand on Saturday, 23 December in the very early hours of the day.  I think it’s fair to say that my mind is starting to think on two continents.  The lists have started, the plans are coming out of the fog, and the contemplation has begun.  

Today’s photo was taken at Big C.  They have a giant decoration display and I thought you’d like to see what is happening this year.  That middle tree knocks me out.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.  This time it’s an ‘Oldie but Goodie’.


Thursday, December 7, 2017



The weather is staying right on track.  It was warmer this morning and hotter this afternoon.  Can you say ‘heatwave coming’?

Well, a bunch of you were feeling the ‘Zany Day’ song.   Here’s a little more of this silly song:  “Bing bang, I saw the whole gang, dancing on my living room rug, yeah.  Flip flop, they was doing the bop, all the teens had the dancing bug.
There was Lollipop with-a Peggy Sue.  Good golly Miss Molly was-a even there too.  A-well-a, __ __, I forgot about the bath, I went and put my dancing shoes on, yeah…”  Hint:  You get the idea.

We visited the center of town this morning.  The Talat (main market) has many parts and some we haven’t seen in a long time.  Going there for a specific item always presents things you hadn’t thought about.  Today was no exception.  In our search today, we discovered that the concept of a bath robe did not compute in the Talat.  They have them at Robinson, so perhaps it’s a HiSo thing.  I did find a lightweight, warm jacket for our trip.  

Coffee this morning was provided by Work@Home, where we had a chance to visit with Katai.  She and her husband now have three tractor dealerships in three different towns, so it’s difficult to hang out with both of them at the same time.  They take turns working ‘in the field’ as it were.  We’re hoping to be able to get together soon.  Today we learned that they have settled on a name for their next puppy.  He will be known as Jaxson.  We still don’t know when they will make the move, but they have been in contact with a Retriever breeder in Bangkok.  We will have another new friend to visit when it finally happens.

This evening Natcha and Neechanon came to visit.  The little one went straight for the container with the blocks, then the letters, then the exercise bike.  She remembered that we had some tiny little crackers in the closet and pulled Natcha and Lisa in so she could find them.  We thought we had convinced her that they were gone but she persisted.  She ended up with a couple of crackers.  It took a major distraction to move her off the treats.  She was intrigued by the bath tub.  As I type, she’s taking a bath.  Yesterday, while she was following Natcha around, she decided that she wanted to take a bath in our house.  Natcha complied and she got her bath in the dowstairs bathroom.  Imagine, an almost 2-year-old wanting to take a bath.  

Neechanon giving me some letters to play with.  Taken with the new phone.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“There was never a good war,
or a bad peace.”
~Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, December 6, 2017



So, after exchanging weather reports with a few friends, I concede that our lows are not nearly as cold as other places, but it’s all relative.  Last night it was 58F and my body told me it was cold.  I’ll go with that.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ tune was “I Can’t Help Myself” by The Four Tops.  Time to get crazy with another ‘Zany Day’ song.  I think you’ll remember this ‘Oldie’:  “__ __ I was takin’ a bath, long about a Saturday night, yeah.  A-rub dub, just relaxing in the tub, thinking everything was alright.  Well, I stepped out the tub, put my feet on the floor, I wrapped a towel around me and I opened the door, and then a __ __, I jumped back in the bath.  Well, how was I to know there was a party going on?”  Hint:  There is the sound of water involved.

Today’s adventures began with a drive up the highway to the main post office for our zip code.  It’s weird that there is a P.O. much closer, but it’s a different code.  Anyway, we were responding to a notice that they had something for us but no one was home.  It didn’t take long to get the mail and we were on our way to the next stop.

Traveling south on the Super Highway to the southern end of the city, we arrived at Big C.  This was one of the few times we’ve gone there for one main thing, and only ended up with a couple of additions.  Our mission was to get a tiny little bicycle for Neechanon.  We saw them the last time we were there and they are so cute, with training wheels and everything.  At first we were going to get a green one, to avoid the ‘pink’ thing, but then I noticed a boy cartoon hero on the side and we ended up with the ‘Princess’ bike.  What can you do?  Right now, it’s hiding under wraps in my studio.

in the ‘Pub’ upstairs at Chivit Tamma Da there are many historical artifacts and antiques.  On one wall, the owner, Joakim who is from Sweden, has hung some photos of some his favorite artists from the past.  It’s a nice touch and gives one a glimpse into his past on many levels.

On the phone front, I’m making slow progress.  I have to wait until December 19 for the next steps in recovering my account.  This has to happen to get a new password so I can do what I need to do.  It’s madness, I tell you.  For the time being, I think I’ll just pop my SIM card into the new phone and pretend that it’s the real deal.  I’ll be able to get and make calls, get text messages and take photos.  The photos are very different with the new camera.  Someday you’ll see (555).

It’s a Wacky Wednesday.


“Service to others is the rent
you pay for your room here 
on earth.”
~Muhammad Ali

Tuesday, December 5, 2017



As the days get shorter, the mornings are darker and colder.  Winter what?  It’s still warmer than a lot of places in the world and it doesn’t last all day.  Grateful for the brisk air that inspires Daku to run.  Today he ran over half of the laps he did.  Power dog.

A few people knew the ‘Easy Monday’ song right away.  See if these lyrics near the end help you remember:  “When I call your name, girl, it starts a flame burning in my heart, tearing it all apart.  No matter how I try, my love I cannot hide, ‘cause sugar pie honey bunch, you know that I’m weak for you.  __ __ __ __, I love you and nobody else..”  Hint:  The singer finds himself powerless. 

By the time we left the house for Ban Du and the Shong Cafe, the day was warming up.  It began as a cold morning,  but not as cold as the day before, and this seems to be the current state of things.  It will probably warm up to heatwave status and then drop down to ‘where’s my coat’ weather.  Anyway, Cat met us at Shong and she ate while we had coffee.  She told us about her test yesterday.  It was an English test that consisted of cultural multiple choice questions, about America.  She’s going to be teaching two days a week, to Jr. and Sr. high school kids.  A lot of it is in Thai, but at some point they will have to learn to speak the words they are learning.  Don’t get me started.

We also got early presents from Cat.  It was a really sweet gesture.  What was touching was the way she described it as a small thing compared to all that we had given her.  

Makro is usually an early stop when we shop for food.  Today we got there at 11am and the place was packed.  We only went for a few things and there was a perfect line, so it wasn’t so bad, just a lot of people and their carts.  I must remember that it should always be first on the list.  

The struggle continues with finding a solution to setting a new password on my ‘old’ phone.  Today I had another phone consult with tech support in New Zealand.  Every time we got close to solving the problem, another obstacle appeared.  The clincher this afternoon was when the invisible seer of all things told me I had tried too many times and it was going to block me for one hour.  Well!  After over an hour I tried again and got another politely rude message saying that I should try another way.  There is this urge to climb into the phone and, well, grab somebody.  Breathe.

Today’s photo was taken at Chivit Tamma Da last week.  I love this cluster of bamboo.  

Today was the late King’s (Rama 9) birthday and some people celebrated quietly in their own way.  At Big C they were selling yellow shirts saying ‘We Love the King’.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“In every walk with nature 
one receives far more than 
he seeks.”
~John Muir

Monday, December 4, 2017



Cold nights and hot afternoons are what one can expect when traveling to Chiang Rai.  The hardest part is getting up in the cold mornings.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song seems to have stumped everyone.  It was The Royalettes singing “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7Mxtdg752Q&index=17&list=RDmqBoNcQXH14   ‘Easy Monday’ should lift your spirits:  “Sugar pie, honey bunch, you know that I love you.  __ __ __ __, I love you and nobody else.  In and out my life, you come and you go, leaving just your picture behind, and I kissed it a thousand times…”  Hint:  This one’s by four lads from Detroit who were at the top of their game for a long time.  They just couldn’t help it.

Saturday morning we set out for Wat Rong Khun.  Our intention was to see the ‘Art Fair’ that some of our friends at ArtBridge told us about.  When we got there the grounds were getting crowded.  We couldn’t find the artists so we strolled around.  It’s the first time the two of us had been there without a guest.  We had coffee, did a little shopping, went through the Masterpiece Gallery and took a few photos.  

Today’s photo was snapped by Lisa at Wat Rong Khun.  

The rest of our Saturday was about studio time, popcorn, and hanging out.  While looking at Facebook, Lisa noticed that someone mentioned going to Chiang Mai to get an iPhone X.  This sparked some curiosity and salivating.  We had discussed getting one in the future, since Thailand is not at the top of the list of countries to receive new Apple products.  We decided to go to the mall on Sunday and see about getting on a list.

After our lunch at The Wanderer we went to the mall.  There is a guy at the Apple store who speaks English and has taken good care of us in the past.  I asked him if they had the new phone and he replied, ‘Have’.  After establishing that they had it in black with the same storage as my 6+ model, we headed for the ATM machine.  The drama was yet to come.  Somehow, what I thought was my password to allow me to do all the things necessary in Appleworld had disappeared.  So there I was, this beautiful phone in my hand, unable to do much except make a phone call and take pictures.  Actually, that’s not bad when I think about it.  Still, the ‘old’ phone is going to Lisa and I can’t give it to her until my ‘stuff’ is cleared off.  Another visit to the store, a long call to tech support in New Zealand and I’m still no closer to the goal.  There is a solution and I’ll get there.  Just another quality problem.

About two and a half weeks until we leave for the Winter Visit.  This is the time when we start watching the weather in the Culver City area, just to see if we have the right clothes and attitude (555).  This time we’re taking a lot less, because it seems that we never wear all the clothes we take.  Personally, I’m hoping for warm sunshine (555).

Have a Great Week.


“Not all those who wander
are lost.”
~J.R.R. Tolkien