Wednesday, November 21, 2018



The weather in Chiang Rai has been mild, compared to a few weeks ago.  It warms up, but not the crushing heat of the hot season.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Cupid” by Sam Cooke.  Here’s one you might remember: “__ __ __ __ __ __ __, protected by a silver spoon.  But now she sucks her thumb and wanders by the banks of her own lagoon.  Didn’t anybody tell her?  Didn’t anybody see?  Sunday’s on the phone to Monday.  Tuesday’s on the phone to me.”  Hint: The title makes reference to an unusual method of entry.  Another from the four lads from across the pond.

This morning I started a series of physical therapy (PT) at Overbrook Hospital.  I now know that I must instruct them to do all the work with me on my side, instead of on my stomach.  I left there feeling like they made things worse.  It was discouraging to say the least.  Maybe my new plan will bring a change.

We had lunch at The Wanderer with our friends Brenda and Eric.  It had been a long time since we had spent any time together so there were many stories to be told.  Eric is the person who donated the big tree in Blue’s memory. He is what I’d call an adventurer, traveling around Thailand on his motorbike, hiking, diving, etc.  Brenda has been traveling in other directions, like Europe and the States.  We share, we laugh, we learn and we find common ground. It was a good lunch.

This afternoon I went to the kitchen to make coffee and noticed the screen door was ajar.  My first thought was that Chopper was in the house.  I had a feeling, so I looked outside in the usual places he naps.  There was no Chopper to be seen.  Just as I was about to go upstairs, his favorite place, he was creeping down the stairs.  New rule in the house, close that door.  To his credit, he’s figured out how to open two doors and gain entry.

Before dinner we had a visit from Cat and her boyfriend, Noom.  It was a pleasant chat, with him catching a few English words here and there and Cat telling us about being accepted to go to Indonesia in January.  It’s the first time we’ve had a visit with him.  He works at the airport doing lots of jobs.  We encouraged Cat to start teaching him English, since that what she does.  More homework (555).  They were on their way to the Loy Krathong festival across the river from us. 

These photos from the opening of the games feature a banner by an artist we like.  Each team/province was introduced with a painting depicting an aspect of Thai life.  The second photo is a costume close-up.  Couldn’t resist showing the ingenuity.   

There is a bass moaning in the distance.  That means the party is about to get started.  Oh joy.  I hope the kids are having fun.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Time stays long enough
for anyone who will use it.”
~Leonardo da Vinci

Tuesday, November 20, 2018



This morning there was fog.  We haven’t seen that in awhile.  For most of the day it was cloudy as usual.  The temps are forecasted to drop this week, with a possibility of rain by the weekend.  I’m sure there are many who hope that is wrong.  There is so much going on outside, rain would not be welcome.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song seems to be a favorite with a lot of readers.  Here’s a continuation of the lyrics:  “I don’t mean to bother you but I’m in a mess.  There’s a danger of me losing all of my happiness for I love a girl who doesn’t know I exist.  And this you can fix, so, __ draw back your bow and let your arrow go straight to my lover’s heart for me…”  Hint:  The subject of the song is sometimes called a cherub, we see them a lot during Valentine season.  The singer/writer is known for his smooth voice.

Last night the two music stages at Loy Krathong were competing and it was hard to know what I was hearing.  Later, something happened and the dance music stopped and all that was left was the sound of a band playing a ballad and a beautiful voice traveling through the air.  What a treat.  Each night, when I take Daku outside, I can feel a new level of energy coming from across the river.  The crowds are getting bigger and the carnival atmosphere more animated.  It’s nice to hear so many happy voices.

This was a stay-at-home day.  Trying to be patient and let things heal can be a real drag.  When you know you can do something, but it is counterproductive to getting better, the answer is obvious.  So now I’m determined to give my back the rest it needs.  One advantage to this is less pain.  Yea.  

Today’s photos are from the opening event for The Games.  The first pic is a beautiful float.  The second shows the escorts for one of the sports teams.  It’s like the Olympics, Thai style.  A lot of the artwork was done by members of ArtBridge and art students.  More pics to come.

Before dinner, Nitchanan came to our room.  She was a bundle of 2+ energy.  She got out her favorite book about little monkeys jumping on the bed and acted it out; she loves to jump.  Then it was the bubble wrap, then the colors book.  She’s is very smart and can hear how to say words and repeat them.  At dinner she learned to say ‘please’ when wanting more chips.  The last I saw of her, she was going home eating yogurt, with Daku staring at her.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Experience teaches only
the teachable.”
~Aldous Huxley

Monday, November 19, 2018



We’ve been having warm, cloudy days; perfect weather for outdoor activities.  The forecast calls for highs in the mid to high 80s with no rain in sight.  The sports people (The Games) and the party people (Loy Krathong) will be very happy.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “In The Still Of The Night” by The Five Satins.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ for you:
“__, draw back your bow and let your arrows go, straight to my lover’s heart for me.  __, please hear my cry, and let your arrow fly, straight to my lover’s hers for me.”  Hint:  This one word title is about a mythical little angel being who has magic love arrows.  

Saturday morning my back was still bothering me so I went to Overbrook Hospital to see a doctor.  After an examination it was determined that I had a severe strain of my muscles and that my spine was still straight.  I was given two medications that will help reduce inflammation and relax the muscles.  He also told me to let it rest.

The Loy Krathong festival is in full swing across the river, although Thursday of this week is the actual designated day.  The atmosphere can be felt when we step outside at night.  Tonight Cat explained the reason for the muddy, clashing sounds.  There is a dance music stage and a concert stage.  The relentless droning bass comes from the dance stage.  The sometimes musical stuff is from the concert stage.  There is a point each evening when we’re sure there will be some nice listening, but then the throbbing bass jumps up, right in the way.  

The Games have opened and the traffic has begun.  Lots of busses and vans carrying participants and fans are converging on Chiang Rai.  The games are held every year with a different province hosting.  We have come to the conclusion that Loy Krathong was extended this year because so many visitors will be here, and they will have something more to do.  I saw a preview of the games and they showed some of the sports that are based here in Asia.  One that caught my eye was ‘Volley Futsal’, where they play beach volleyball using only the head and feet.  Let the games begin.

These Krathongs are made from dough.  After they are placed in the river, they become biodegradable.  Much better for the river than styrofoam. 

Sunday lunch was at our house.  Our friend Lisa brought bags of food from The Wanderer and we had a little feast.  She recently returned from Bangkok, where she and her business partner exhibited their new line of shoes and handbags at several shopping centers.  Lisa designs shoes using unique materials and features.  We always have a good time hanging out, discussing Thai culture and our love of dogs.  

This morning we went to The Wanderer for coffee and roti.  This was Lisa’s first trip out of the house since last Monday.  That was when I hurt my back, which meant there was no one to handle the wheelchair if we went out.  Last night we made arrangements for someone to meet us and take the chair out of the van, and put it back when we were done.  The plan worked perfectly.  Now we have a couple of other ‘dates’ where we will get help.

Tonight we had dinner with Cat and our friend Rachel, who was co-founder of The Freedom Story (formerly The Sold Project).  We got an update on the Freedom Story and learned that they received a Thai grant aimed helping the Rohingya refugees in the northern area.  It’s nice to hear that help will be available for some of the people who were forced to leave their homes in Burma.  Cat told us about a program she just got into that will involve teaching in Indonesia for one month.  She will be teaching English classes.  It’s a great opportunity to practice what she’s been learning and see another country.  There is a host family that will act as her chaperone.

Have a Great Week.


“Wise sayings often fall on
barren ground, but a kind
word is never thrown away.”
~Arthur Helps

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Funnies


Today was dry, sunny and the air was clear.  There are forecasts calling for more rain late tonight.  I hope it doesn’t rain, for the sake of all the folks who are camping out to celebrate Loy Krathong.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Lovely Rita” by The Beatles.  Time for a trip back in time with an ‘Old School Friday’ tune.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ I held you, held you tight.  ‘Cause I love, love you so, promise I’ll never let you go __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  This song was originally written by Hoagy Carmichael and Jo Trent, a long time ago.  This R&B remake begins with background vocals singing: ’Shoo doob shoo be doo’ several times.  That should help (555).  

This morning Natcha and I went to Makro.  We thought we’d be getting there early at a little after 9am.  Not so, the place was jumping and crowded with shoppers.  Natcha knew where everything was and we made fairly short work of our list.  Most big stores have an aisle that is used for product promotions.  This morning at Makro they were promoting various house brands of sweets and desserts.  They had tables set up with samples, and special outfits for those serving and selling.  It was quite festive and I’m sure it created a traffic jam once they got started.  The timing couldn’t have been better, considering the holiday weekend.

We are gradually adapting to our new life downstairs.  It’s gone beyond ‘camping’ in our house and has now been shifted to ‘living’ downstairs.  I think Daku misses hanging out on the balcony and surveying the yard, but he also likes the cool tile of the guest room so it’s a toss up.  Nitchanan likes it because she can visit us without the stairs.  Lisa can move about the house and that is a lot better than being stuck upstairs.  There is still the issue of where Daku decides to sleep.  Sometimes he’s right in the path of the wheelchair and has to be stirred from his sleep.  Other times, if he’s just dozing, a little kibble is bribe enough to move.  I think my back is doing a tiny bit better, although my range of motion is limited.  Sometimes I have to remember that it takes time to heal.  

Since Monday, when I hurt my back, Lisa has been housebound.  Today I went to The Wanderer to meet a friend.  I saw Khun Kwan and told her of our situation.  She said they could have someone take the chair out of the van and then reload it later.  That means we can go out for coffee or a meal and not have to deal with the lifting.  This was a bright spot in the day.

We can hear the thumping bass from across the river.  When the bedroom door is closed, it's barely there, but walk into the hall and it’s very clear that there’s music out there.  

Today’s photo was taken at Wat Pra Kaew.  This is a copy of the Emerald Buddha that was found buried in a wall of the temple.  In the days of conflicts, invasions and such, many artifacts were hidden in case a temple was overrun.  The legend is that the Emerald Buddha was buried for safe keeping and then forgotten.  It was revealed after an earthquake.  The original is now at Wat Poh in Bangkok.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.         The ‘Funnies’ are coming. 


Thursday, November 15, 2018



The first part of today was sunny with partly cloudy skies.  This afternoon a storm showed up and really gave us a drenching.  It was that hard rain that bounces off the pool, makes big puddles and washes everything.  

A few of you knew the ‘Zany Day’ song.  It’s by a group that was part of the British Invasion of the 60s.
“__ __ meter maid, may I inquire discreetly, when are you free to take some tea with me?  Took her out and tried to win her, had a laugh and over dinner, told her I would really like to see her again.  Got the bill and __ paid it, took her home, I nearly made it.  Sitting on the sofa with a sister or two.  Oh, __ __ meter maid, where would I be without you? Give us a wink….”  Clue:  So basically, he’s fallen for this attractive meter maid whose name is in the title.  Hmm.

This morning Natcha and I went to Big C.  We arrived early enough that we had no problem finding the things we needed.  She did all the reaching and bending and pushing the cart.  That made it much easier for me to be involved.  While she shopped in the basic areas, I picked up those little things that wouldn’t stress my back.  Tomorrow we’ll tackle Makro.  

The music has started across the river.  True to form, the same rhythm pattern and bass line also started the show.  It’s OK, as Natcha pointed out, a good singer is coming, based on a poster.  When I mentioned Krathongs in the pool she laughed.  I wasn't sure why, and didn’t ask.  It does seem rather lame since the whole idea is to show thanks and ask forgiveness regarding the Goddess of the River.  This is one of those holidays that has lots of interpretations.  My earliest understanding was that all year people do things that harm the river and so they come with offerings and ask for forgiveness.  

Today’s photo was taken in front of the new version of the old bus station.  This character is a play on a mythological figure and was designed by an ArtBridge friend named Poy.  Her submission became the mascot for The Chiang Rai Games.  This creature is said to bring good luck, happiness, wealth and good health.  

Nitchanan likes to sit at the table with us during dinner.  Sometimes she wants to eat, which adds another dimension to the visit.  This evening she was eating and she dropped a piece of chicken on the floor.  She decided to take her plate and sit on the floor, eliminating the possibility of dropping any food.  The only problem with that is Daku.  Natcha took Daku to the kitchen and Nitchanan was safe on the floor.  The attention span didn’t last long after that (555); she got up and was done.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Facts are facts and will not
disappear on account of your likes.”
~Jawaharlal Nehru

Wednesday, November 14, 2018



Chiang Rai weather was cloudy most of the day.  There were a few baby drops during lunch, but no rain.  With The Games and Loy Krathong coming up, we really don’t need rain right now.  Just sayin’. 

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Louie, Louie” by Richard Berry & The Pharaohs.  Give a listen to the original recording.  There’s nothing left to do but get crazy with another ‘Zany Day’ song.  “__ __ meter maid, nothing can come between us.  When it gets dark I tow your heart away.
Standing by the parking meter, when I caught a glimpse of __.  Filling out a ticket in her little white book.  In a cap she looked much older, and the bag across her shoulder, made her look a little like a military man…”  Hint:  This easy zany is brought to you by those lads from across the pond.  These days you get your ticket in the mail (555).

This morning the pain in Lisa’s leg was gone.  It’s the first day when there wasn’t intermittent discomfort inside the cast.  I, on the other hand, had discomfort in my middle back.  If this persists much longer I may get an x-ray so I can get the specific help I need.  My own diagnosis is that something is out of place.  The doctor is in.

Daku is adjusting to the smaller room except for one thing. He wants to lie on the floor beside Lisa, but has trouble getting out from behind the wheelchair.  He will come over and let her pet him, but then he retreats.  How do you explain to a dog that it will be a month before things return to normal?  

Maefahluang Road, which leads to our street, is the main north/south route on the west side of town.  The trees have been decorated with colored fluorescent lights and there is a large pinwheel in lights at the entrance to the fairgrounds.  Right now all the fun lights end at the bridge, but that could change.  The odd thing is, on the night before Loy Krathong, it’s quiet across the river.  We expected to hear music.  Cat reminded us that when the music does begin, we will really hear it, living downstairs in what used to be her room.  Well, there’s always headphones.  Khun Jin suggested that instead of trying to find a calm place by the river, we could put Krathongs in the pool and enjoy the flowers and candles.  

This photo is of a simple Krathong floating in the river.  

Tomorrow morning Natcha and I will go to Big C and Makro and do the special shopping, stocking up on everything we’ll need for the next 10 days.  This will be an interesting adventure in itself.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Tact is the art of making a point
without making an enemy.”
~Isaac Newton

Tuesday, November 13, 2018



The day began with lots of clouds, then started to look like maybe it could rain.  Our ‘bring the rain’ system worked when Gong washed the van.  You guessed it, it rained.  It was light, but it was water from the sky.

Not too many nibbles on this one.  I’ll give you a big ‘Easy Monday’ hint: It’s not The Kingsmen.  Youtube link later.
“Me see Jamaica moon above, it won’t be long, me see my love.  I take her in my arms and then, me tell her I never leave again.  __, __, oh, oh, me gotta go…”  Clue:  Title is a name repeated.  The lead singer is backed by a group named after Egyptian kings.  

Things were a little weird this morning.  My ‘good night’s sleep’ didn’t really do much for the condition of my back. With my mobility on the sidelines, it was a stay in bed kind of day.  Standing and walking were OK, but there are things one must do after standing.  Leaning, stooping, bending were all off the table.  I don’t like pain, who does?  I set up an appointment with Dr. Happy for late afternoon.  I drove up to Mae Chan and arrived before appointment time.  There were three young men in the waiting room that I knew.  This made the time pass quickly.  It’s a good thing, because the doctor didn’t show up until later.  Two monks came in and I thought they might get special treatment but I was wrong.  I finally saw the doctor and he treated me with injections at the acupressure points. So far, things are better, but we’re still taking it easy.  

On my way home this evening I traveled down the Super Highway.  I can’t remember the last time I was on this highway at night.  There is a nightlife in some areas, with restaurants, shops and unknown attractions.  It’s interesting how many roads have two different lives.  There is the daytime life, with many closed up buildings that seem abandoned, routine shops and lunch tables, and the nighttime life full of bright lights and shiny people and cars.   

There seems to be a consensus that we need to stock up on supplies and stay at home during The Games.  I mentioned it to the doctor today and his response was, “Don’t go out”.  It would be cool if they were televised.  There’s a project while the back heals, search for channels that might broadcast them.  

Today’s photo was taken at Wat Pra Kaew.  A giant piece of green granite was found in the Mae Kong river and carved by a local artist many years ago.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Education is what remains
after one has forgotten what
one has learned in school.”
~Albert Einstein