Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bigotry

Hi,

Chiang Rai had another beautiful day today.  It did get a little hot, but that’s alright, it was sunny and dry. 

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Fame” by Irene Cara.  I just know some of you remember this ‘Zany Day’ tune:  “Here we come, walkin’ down the street.  We get the funniest looks from ev’ry one we meet.  Hey, hey, we’re __ __ and people say we monkey around, but we’re too busy singing to put anybody down.”  Clue:  OK, there’s a giant clue in there if you know how to spell, or maybe if you don’t.  

Today was the wedding of PoyPoy and KonKon.  We knew that the menu would probably be things we don’t eat so after getting all ‘dressed up’, we went out for a snack.  The Wanderer provided our pre-wedding nourishment.  After a warm greeting from Mercy and treats with our coffee, we took some photos with Kwan and Kern.  Since we were all dressed in a black and white theme, it seemed like a fun idea.  The mourning protocol is black or white, but no colorful garments.  I have kept to this for the entire year.  I can’t wait to see the explosion of color during November.


Through the years we have learned that the Chinese weddings we attend are actually receptions.  The formal marriage ceremony happens before all the guests, lights, and cameras.  There are traditional Thai ceremonies where you witness the actual marriage, but we haven’t been to one yet.  Today the families of the bride and groom hosted about 200 guests.  After much photo taking on the stage with various family groups and friends, the food started coming to the tables.  We sat at a table with artists friends and that was great.  Ceramic artist Somluck and his wife Tamiko along with our art friends Cornelis, Jan and her husband Terry.  Everyone spoke English, with different accents, but we could understand and the different references made it fun.  I managed to eat a few noodles and some fruit.  We were there for 2 hours, though the event went longer.  

At The Big Brown House Lisa mentioned to Natcha that I hadn’t eaten much and she quickly made me a really tasty lunch.  

Mid-afternoon we had to run an errand and discovered that the detour is gone.  The road is open and the reason it was closed is now perfectly clear.  A big portion of the hillside is gone.  There is a pile of branches and rubble at the bottom, and a view of the edge of a building at the top.  It looks like it’s going to take some real engineering skills to keep that structure from just sliding down on the road.  The road may be closed again if we get a big rain.  

Looks like a Wacky Wednesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Bigotry tries to keep truth 
safe in it’s hand with a grip
that kills it.”
~Rabindranath Tagore

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Act

Hi,

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  Mostly blue, sunny sky and what I would call ‘fairly hot’ was the weather for today.  

Well, only a couple of readers remembered the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Here is the whole chorus:  “__, I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly (__) I’m gonna make it to heaven.  Baby, remember my name!”  Hint:  What most young performers seek. 

This morning we had an interesting thing happen at the bank.  While standing at a table, I was about to fill out a deposit slip when one of the tellers came up to us and took over.  We have seen this young man behind the counter and he’s helped us in the past, but this was unusual.  He handled the whole transaction while we sat and waited.  We were done before our counter number was called.  That’s what I call service.

Today’s photo was taken at Central Plaza Mall on our way to get coffee.  Yellow was The King’s color because he was born on a Monday.  Each day of the week has a color, hence, the marigolds.  The mural is a copy of the one painted by members of ArtBridge Chiang Rai.  


The 26th, next Thursday, will be the day The King will be cremated.  Many businesses will either shorten their hours or close completely.  Some will also close on Friday.  The 7-11 chain and Makro stores will be closed for most of the day.  Thailand has not buried a King in 70 years, so this will be an interesting thing to experience.  

Tomorrow we will attend the wedding of an artist friend.  Poy has been the gallery manager at ArtBridge since the early days.  She has helped us with various things over the years since she speaks and reads English.  It will be a big gathering of the art community I’m sure.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“However many holy words
you may read, however many 
you may speak, what good will 
they do if you do not act on
upon them?”
~Buddha

Monday, October 16, 2017

Suffer

Hi,

We’ve been having off and on sprinkles with the occasional thunderstorm.  It hasn’t amounted to a lot of water here in Chiang Rai, but Chiang Mai got a lot, and Bangkok has experienced flooding.  

‘Old School Friday’ was Chuck Berry singing “Roll Over Beethoven”.  Time for ‘Easy Monday’ and another song/movie combo that’s sure to bring back some memories:  “Baby, look at me, and tell me what you see.  You ain’t seen the best of me yet.  Give me time, I’ll make you forget the rest.  I got more in me, and you can set it free.  I can catch the moon in my hand don’t you know who I am?  Remember my name.  __!  I’m gonna live forever…."

The weekend was not as busy as some in the recent past.  We ended up at the mall twice, and managed to figure out how to work the detour without getting lost.  Last night we had a visit from Natcha and Neechanon that was lots of fun.  Within the occasional stream of chatter from Neechanon, we picked up on some words to let us know what she was thinking.  We heard the word ‘geko’ after she saw the carved geko on the wall.  When she first saw it, she laughed and walked towards it.  Then she remembered she used to be afraid of it and started fussing.  Then she started talking and that’s when we heard the word.  It’s so interesting to watch this language development.  Neechanon has been working on her jumping for weeks.  I think it started with a children’s video.  She can now jump with ease on the hard floor, and on the bed she jumps like she’s on a trampoline.  It always ends with a seated drop and a big laugh.  

Over the weekend Lisa got a text message from Tatt in Bangkok, saying that he could not get to his dorm because of flooded streets.  Eventually he got home.  Reports of water reaching the bottom of windshields and photos of stranded bikes told the story.  I have a friend in Mae Sai, north of us at the border with Burma, who said they had about 4 inches of water in their house.  We are very fortunate.  

Slowly, but surely Gong is covering the yard that is shaded by the trees with a type of grass that doesn’t require direct sun.  It will be nice to be rid of the muddy areas due to lack of plant life.  In other plant news, the oranges in the front yard will probably need another season before they are edible.  Lisa picked a few and tasted one this weekend and it was sour.  They are also very hard.  Patience will be necessary.  

Today’s photo was taken on our stairs.  Daku is greeting Lisa with his toy.  It’s a thing he does.


This morning’s workout had a few additional trainers.  Our friend Lisa has three dogs that joined us.  Diesel has come to the gym in the past, but today we were joined by Daisy Dukes and Black Betty.  They are tiny little dogs that are full of energy and spent a lot of their time outside investigating, the way dogs do.  It was a nice distraction.

This week is looking like another one full of adventure.  We have a wedding, an ASEAN Day event at Cat’s school, a jazz concert, and at least one coffee date.  

Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“When another person makes you suffer,
it is because he suffers deeply within himself,
and his suffering is spilling over.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

We had a repeat performance on the weather side.  Rain at night, bright sunny day.  There is a thunderstorm due tonight, and 60% chance of rain tomorrow.  Oh well, we have no outdoor plans.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Car Wash” by Rose Royce.  The movie is just as zany as the song.  We have reached another Friday and that means it’s ‘Old School Friday’ time.  Here is a classic, written at the dawn of the ‘new age’ (555) by one of the early masters:  “Well, I’m-a write a little letter, gonna mail it to my local D.J.  Yeah and it’s a jumpin’ little record I want my jockey to play.  __ __ __, I gotta hear it again today.  You know my temperature’s risin’, the jukebox’s blown a fuse.  My heart’s beatin’ rhythm and my soul keeps-a singin’ the blues.  __ __ __, and tell Tchaikovsky the news.  Hint:  The third word in the title is the name of a classical artist.  The writer is close with Johnny B. Goode and has no particular place to go.  

Today marks one year since the death of The King.  Many major businesses were closed today as Thais went to local temples to make merit.  Making merit can be anything from bringing food and/or supplies to the temple for the monks, to cleaning the temple, to feeding the hungry.  

This morning we went to 'Lisa's gym’ for another workout session.  I can tell when I’ve pushed on the last workout if things are stiff and sore the next time.  Today I was stiff and sore.  A good warm-up and a lighter group of  exercises was just what I needed.  We pulled a little ‘sled’ down a hill and then back up.  My second round called for me to go up backwards to put less stress on my knees.  Hmm, didn’t make much difference.  Maybe by Monday I will have recovered enough to do the full routine.

The detour around the landslide hill is becoming a real thorn in my side.  When leaving our neighborhood, it’s not a problem getting around it and back to the main road.  Coming home is a real pain.  We got lost again today and discovered even more of the dense hillside population.  I had no idea there was so much humanity in that area.  Anyway, I know what to do from now on. (5).

In the afternoons, if the sun is shining, Daku likes to soak up some vitamin D.  He’s very serious about it and once he’s reclining, it’s hard to get him up.  Today’s photo is Mr. D himself, doing this thing.  Notice the smile on his face.


The western press is buzzing with the term ‘Pop-up Shop’ and I wondered what they meant so I looked it up.  It turns out pop-up businesses have been around in other parts of the world for a long time.  Consider the couple that sets up tables and chairs on the road to town every morning and serves breakfast.  Or Gong and Natcha, who unload their pick-up truck every evening and serve chicken dinners and papaya salad.  It’s probably harder than the Google definitions because there is no structure involved, and no place to store your products.  It’s the same with the Night Bazaar.  One whole section is created every night.  By day, it’s a street.  By night it’s a retail adventure.  

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

                   Peace,
                             Danny


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Timid

Hi,

We had one of those picture post card days today.  Warm but not too hot, blue sky and a light breeze.  

I’ve already heard from most of the usual suspects with regards to the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Maybe this verse will spark a memory for others.  “(Work and work) Well, those cars never seem to stop coming.  (Work and work) Keep those waxin’ machines humming.  (Work and work) My fingers to the bone.  (Work and work) Keep up, I can’t wait till it’s time to go home… Talkin’ ‘bout the __ __ yeah.  __ __ yeah…”  Clue:  The first word of the title is in this verse.

This morning, while shopping at Big C, I saw a shirt that read “Heavily Meditated” and it made me laugh.  

All around town there are temporary altars, displays and offerings being constructed in preparation for the cremation of The King.  Symbolic gestures showing the love and respect that the people of Thailand still have for King Bhumibol.  The King’s flower is the marigold and they are being planted and arranged all over town.  We see them in gardens, in pots and in shop windows.  

The soreness from my flu shot has been replaced with soreness from yesterday’s workout.  Getting up and taking the stairs have made me very aware of some previously unused muscles that got extra attention on Wednesday.  I’m not complaining, much.  It kinda feels good.  We go back tomorrow morning for another workout.  Can’t wait (555).

The big happening today was Cat’s 20th birthday.  It’s hard to believe that she’s been in our lives for 4 years.  This is the birthday for Thais that is the equivalent of turning 21 in most of the U.S.  She said it started out not feeling like a birthday because she had an exam in the morning and work in the afternoon.  She came over after work and we took her to Melt In Your Mouth for dinner.  What a fun time.  When we got home we took a selfie with Daku.  Today’s photo is the result of our efforts to sit on the floor with the dog who wants to lick everybody.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Don’t be too timid and
squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Deed

Hi,

It seems that rain is still the topic of conversation around here.  Yes, we had more, and more is on the way.  Fortunately, it hasn’t been a constant and there are windows of opportunity to move about town in the ‘dry’.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Windy” by The Association.  You should be familiar with this week’s ‘Zany Day’ song since it’s been the topic of conversation in the past.  “Ooooh, You might not ever get rich.  But let me tell you, it’s better than digging a ditch.  There ain’t no tellin’ who you might meet.  A movie star or maybe an Indian Chief.  Working at the __ __.  Working at the __ __, yeah….”  Hint:  The title is a place and it gets busy after the rain is gone.  Oh yes, there was a movie of the same name.  No more hints.

It was no surprise this morning when we woke up to sore arms from our flu shots.  We were surprised, however, to discover that it was raining (555).  It kept raining, right through Daku’s play time.  It had rained during the night and the yard was too marshy for running.  

The rain stopped in time for us to go to our Cross Fit workout.  Our ‘coach’ is cool when it comes to making adjustments due to things like sore arms, etc.  Once we got warmed up, it wasn’t such an issue.  Today we did 5 routines for 45 seconds each, a one minute rest and then repeated the circuit.  At the end of the first round I was really feeling it.  We can both tell that it’s making a difference in our stamina and strength.  There is new muscle tone that is nice to see also.  We’ll be back at it on Friday.

On our way home from ‘Lisa’s gym’ we turned to take the detour, like we’ve done before.  Somehow, today I made the next turn too soon or too late and we ended up on a magical mystery tour of an area we’d never completely explored.  I’m not sure I could repeat the whole thing, but we did get close to the ‘Naval Pillar’ which had been a cause of wonder for some time.  It’s the place where King Mengrai declared the center of the new province.   This just in, the nature of the detour is the hillside across from the golf course.  The heavy rains caused slides.  Efforts were made last year to shore up the earth but apparently, it wasn’t done correctly.  At the top of the hill is a temple that sits right on the edge.  Hmm.

Today’s photo was taken a few mornings ago from our front yard.  I call it ‘Morning Moon’.  Notice the clear, blue sky.  


It could be a Wacky Wednesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“The smallest deed is better
than the greatest intention.”
~John Burroughs

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Education

Hi,

We got a break in the weather today.  Oh, there were sprinkles, but there was also enough sunshine to get things done outside without getting wet.  

A few of you wrote with the answer to the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  I think the second verse and the bridge should show you just how easy it is:  “Who’s tripping down the streets of the city, smiling at everybody she sees?  Who’s reaching out to capture the moment?  Everyone knows it’s __.  And __ has stormy eyes that flash at the sound of lies.  And __ has wings to fly above the clouds (above the clouds), above the clouds (above the clouds)…”

There is a mysterious detour on the other side of the river, by the golf course/military base.  There is a sign in Thai that may explain part of it, but since Sunday we’ve had to go a bit out of the way to get home.  My guess is that it has something to do with the cremation of The King later this month.  They could be decorating the entrance to the base, or preparing for some kind of ceremony.  The tiny neighborhood on the hill across from the base is seeing a lot of traffic for such a small, quiet place.

Neechanon and Natcha visited with us this morning.  That was a treat, since the ‘baby’ has been spending her days with her aunts.  Natcha told us that first thing every morning, Neechanon wants to get in the pool.  It’s her favorite thing to do.  She clearly doesn’t always get her way, but she likes the water.  She is still talking away in her own language, and sometimes it seems like she is really telling us something.  Other times she’s just talking to herself.  In today’s photo she is playing with the exercise bike.  


Our morning outing consisted of a trip to Tops Market in the mall.  It’s what one would call a ‘gourmet’ grocery store and the only place that has a consistent supply of organic eggs.  That was the mission, although you can never go into a place like that and leave with just one item (555)  We got there a little before 11am, so the mall was still closed.  There was a mass of people waiting for the opening, which is normal.  You can tell that the mall is still closed just by looking at the escalator.  The ‘up’ side is running down, which means, unless you were super fast, there’s no way to get into the mall.  When it changes direction the mall is open.

Natcha has a 14 year old nephew staying with them while his school is on a break.  Today he helped Gong mow the front lawn.  That is normally what Natcha does but with the new nighttime enterprise, I’m sure she was happy for the break.  

This afternoon we went to Overbrook Hospital for our flu shots.  First we met with Nurse Pay, who took our vitals and set us up with a doctor.  The doctor then sent the prescription to the cashier and then we got the medicine, which we then took to Nurse Pay for the injection.  Whew.  It seems complicated but it works.  The doctor was very nice and she told us all the facts about the current batch of vaccine.  It’s weird how some medicine hurts more going in, than others.  The shot hurt, but the pain was gone in about 30 seconds.  Five hours later the arm is getting sore.  Such is the price of prevention.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Don’t let schooling interfere
with your education.”
~Mark Twain