Monday, January 21, 2019



The weather is staying pretty consistent in Chiang Rai.  The nights are not quite as cool, but the days are remaining in the mid to high 80s.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Goin’ Out of My Head” by Little Anthony & The Imperials.  This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is really easy:  “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.  When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May. I guess you’d say, what can make me feel this way?  __ __ (__ __).  Talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  Hint:  Comparing his love to various wonders of nature and wealth.  I’m Tempted to tell you more but….

Our ‘Adventures In Thailand’ are still a bit limited to destinations with short walking distances.  Saturday morning we were going to meet Cat at Chivit Tamma Da, but when we arrived at 9:45am, the lot was full and the joint was jumping.  We ended up at The Wanderer, where we did our usual of coffee and roti.  This was the first time we’d seen Cat since we left for the States.  We had a lot of catching up to do.  There was so much to talk about that she followed us to the house and we continued our conversations.  

Most of Saturday was spent watching the Australian Open, plus wonderful moments with Nitchanan mixed in for good measure.  Sunday morning, Lisa drove me to my meeting.  Quite often, I have to walk a long way from where I can park to where I need to be.  This made it easier.  The body is improving, but long walks and standing for a long time are still difficult.  We had lunch at The Wanderer with our friends Nukoon and Sutheera.  Nukoon is a big tennis fan so we had lots to discuss.  I asked him if he played and he told me he started with badminton, then tennis, and finally, golf.  We laughed when I mentioned that it was a lot less running.  It was his first visit to The Wanderer and he enjoyed his meal and the atmosphere.  

While browsing through Facebook, we discovered that we missed a big parade Sunday evening.  Not that we could have gone (555).  It was a lavish affair with flower floats carrying costumed members of the LGBT community.  This is a major deal since not long ago, there was an almost zero tolerance on the community level.  The times, they are a changin’ and that’s a good thing.  

Today we got a new water pump on one side of the house.  It’s a slick little Italian job that is much quieter than the old pump and puts out more pressure.  It took two guys a little over an hour to make the change-over.  

Lisa captured a moment as Nitchanan transformed into ‘Camera Woman’, using the handle of Lisa's cane as the eyepiece and lens (there is an LED light that she sees as the lens).  She very carefully posed Natcha, making little adjustments until she had it just right.  

Have a Great Week.


“We may have all come on
different ships, but we’re 
in the same boat now.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday Funnies


My sympathies to all those who are living in the midst of ice and snow.  We’re having very pleasant weather this weekend.  Wish you were here.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles (Rubber Soul LP).  And now friends, it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’: “Well, I think I’m __ __ __ __ __.  Yes, I think I’m __ __ __ __ __ over you, over you.  I want you to want me, I need you so badly, I can’t think of anything but you.  And I think I’m __ __ __ __ __, yes, I think I’m __ __ __ __ __ over you, over you….”  Hint: The title is a phrase used to describe losing ones mind.  It’s by a lead singer who really was little, and his background singers.

So, we called ourselves going to bed early and yet, we were awake at 4am., pretended to be asleep until 5ish and then we surrendered to being awake.  This is a critical part of the process because once we stir or speak, then Daku gets up expecting to do downstairs.  The day began in darkness.

We had our first real ‘outing’ into the city.  Gong had brought it to our attention that we needed to get a new tire so we went to a place I used years ago.  It was almost to the mall, which meant we saw a lot of Chiang Rai on our way.  It was still fairly early, so we experienced the end of the morning traffic.  At the tire store, we got four new tires at a very decent price.  There’s nothing worse than hanging around a tire shop so we hailed a Tuk-Tuk and went back into town for coffee at Work@Home.  Our friends weren’t there, but it was nice to relax in familiar surroundings.  We hailed another Tuk-Tuk back to the tire shop and our timing was almost perfect.  

The first Tuk-Tuk drove through the fruit market, which we hadn’t seen in a long time.  On our ride home we drove through the main market and experienced the morning dance that keeps the city moving.  I made a few mental notes of streets to avoid due to road work.  

The coffee shop next door is still under construction.  Today they moved into the hammer and nail phase of the project.  It was so nice when they just poured concrete and waited for it to cure.  So peaceful (555).  

In today’s photos, Nitchanan and Daku are seen hanging out in the living room.  She carried her bag of chips all around, and Daku followed, patiently waiting for something to drop.  In the first pic you can see her airplane.  
In the second pic they’re posing for the camera, hamming it up.

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


Thursday, January 17, 2019



This morning it looked like it might rain.  Of course, that burned off and we had another beautiful day even though it was a little cooler.  

Day two of a song is usually when the memories give the answer.  Let’s see if this ‘Zany Day’ song works the same.
“I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine.  We talked until two, and then she said, ‘It’s time for bed’.  She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.  I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath.  And when I awoke I was alone, this bird had flown.  So I lit a fire, isn’t it good, __ __.”  Clue:  There is furniture involved. 

Even with a good night’s sleep and an afternoon nap, we are still finding it difficult to stay awake at 7:30 in the evening.  Mr. Lag is trying to make a statement and it’s being heard.  “You will obey”.  I suppose the chin dropping to the chest is a sign of submission.  This may be a short message.

We learned more about water pumps today from our friend Edwin.  We got a call from the ‘Water Works’ company and when Lisa asked the young woman if she spoke English, her reply was, “I cannot do that”.  Hmm, we had to laugh.  Once we make contact, we’re going with the Italian model they sell.  

This afternoon, Nitchanan came to visit and brought a new toy.  It was a large model of an A380 jetliner with a friction motor.  You do remember friction motors don’t you?  They were mostly in cars, and made them go faster and farther on the floor.  Anyway, it was one of those moments when there was an attraction to a non-traditional toy and it made me smile.  She handed me the plane and began to play with the little didgeridoo.  Then we’d trade again.  Another game was born, for a minute.

There is a bird that we have come to love, even though we can’t always see them.  They are called the Greater Coucal and they like to hang out in big trees and one bush in our yard.  They sound like apes when they are courting, making a hooting sound that gets louder with each series.  Here’s one in our yard.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Love is when he gives you a 
piece of your soul, that you 
never knew was missing.”
~Torquato Tasso

Wednesday, January 16, 2019



We’re having cool mornings, which are perfect for exercising the dog and warm afternoons, great for snoozing at the request of Mr. Lag.  He could leave anytime and it would be OK with me.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Smooth Operator” by Sade.  Here’s another ‘Zany Day’ entry to tax your mind:  “I once had a girl, or should I say she once had me.  She showed me her room, isn’t it good __ __.  She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere.  So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair.”  Hint:  It’s those pesky boys from across the pond, mid 60s and there is furniture involved.

This morning we had a delightful and insightful breakfast with our friend Edwin.  He gave us some healing meditations that have helped him.  In the course of conversation, he mentioned a man who Blue went to a few times.  The healer with that foul tasting herbal tea.  When the conversation turned to exercise, it opened the door to swimming and the construction of a heating system for our pool.  We learned that there is a company that deals with all things water, before it enters the house.  This outfit may be the closest we’ll see to plumbers.  We have their number.  Sure beats trying to do it myself.  A big revelation during breakfast was the number of people in Thailand who speak Lao.  The province of Issan (in the northeast corner of Thailand) is right next to Laos and it’s population speaks mostly Lao.  Any discussion of language in Thailand also includes the many forms of Thai language as well as English and how it is taught.  It was very stimulating morning.

I may have mentioned this in the past, but there is a thing that tarmac workers do at airports that always gets me.  The people who guide the plane out of it’s parking spot stand and wave just before the plane leaves for the runway.  I have seen it once in the States, in San Jose, but always in Thailand and Taiwan.  

While on the subject of travel, on our flight from Bangkok to Taipei, we were on the ‘Hello Kitty’ jet.  It’s not a big deal from inside the plane, except that they play the most annoying music over and over as the passengers board the plane.  Today’s photo is Kitty’s place in the airport.

We still haven’t seen a lot of Chiang Rai since we’ve been back.  Our running of errands is on ‘hold’ since neither of us can stand in long lines or walk long distances yet.  Luckily, there are no lines at our favorite coffee shops.

It Feels Like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Love is the only force capable
of transforming an enemy into 
a friend.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019



We’re in the weather pattern that begins with a cool, foggy morning and progresses into a hot, sunny day.  

It would appear that the ‘Easy Monday’ song has slipped right by some of you.  Here’s the second verse.
“Coast to coast, L.A. to Chicago, western male.  Across the north and south to Key Largo, love for sale.  Face to face, each classic case we shadow box and double cross, yet need to chase.  A license to love, insurance to hold, melts all your memories and change into gold.  His eyes are like angels but his heart is cold.  No need to ask, he’s a __ __, __ __, __ __, __ __.” Clue:  The group and the singer share the same name.  The title refers to someone who seems to get away with everything they attempt.  To give too many hints would be the Sweetest Taboo.

Let me just say that Mr. Lag is in the house.  Sleeping patterns are not what they used to be, and we know enough by now to just go with it.  One minute we’re watching the Australian Open tennis tournament, the next, we’re sound asleep.  It’s fortunate that we have no particular place to be for a few days.  That could be embarrassing.  Then there’s the waking up in the middle of the night.  

Yesterday we went to immigration to fulfill a new requirement that states that whenever we leave the province or the country, we must check in and let them know where we were.  It’s a little curious, but we comply because they said so.  

Tomorrow is ‘Teacher’s Day’, not to be confused with ‘Teacher Appreciation Day’.  On Teacher’s day the schools are closed to contemplate the value of educators in the life of students.  It’s also a day off for teachers.  January 16 has been Teacher’s Day since 1957.  We first heard about this when Natcha mentioned that Nitchanan would have no school tomorrow.  Teacher Appreciation Day was introduced to us by Napa, a ballet student of Lisa's many years ago.  This is the day when students bring flowers, candles and incense to school, crawl to the teacher and present them.  Three specific flowers are given: one to symbolize wit, another to show respect, and a third to honor their perseverance.  

We’re starting our day with breakfast at The Wanderer with our friend Edwin.  We haven’t seen him since the wonderful dinner we had with his family, before our trip.  It’s been awhile since I had breakfast in the woods.  I’m leaning towards the waffles with cinnamon apples.  

This morning we exercised Daku for the first time in over two months.  The front lawn has been missed.  He was so happy to be out on the lawn with the two of us.  As he was breaking the rules by running, he had a big smile on his face.  Yes, it’s true, dogs smile.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“He is no fool who gives what
he cannot keep to gain what
he cannot lose.”
~Jim Elliot

Monday, January 14, 2019



We are back in Chiang Rai, where the weather is wonderful.  Today is was in the mid-80s, going down to the mid-60s tonight.  Yeah, this feels good.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “School Days” by Chuck Berry.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ tune we haven’t hummed in a long time:  “Diamond life, lover boy, he moves in space with minimum waste and maximum joy.  City lights, business nights when you require streetcar desire for higher heights.  No place for beginners or sensitive hearts.  When sentiment is left to chance, no place to be ending but somewhere to start.  No need to ask, he’s a __ __, __ __, __ __, __ __.”  Hint:  

We left off with us waiting for our plane at LAX.  There was a special moment when we first got to the airport.  When we dropped off our car at Hertz, we pulled into the wrong line.  After explaining our situation, they arranged for us to be driven to the airport in our rental.  At the curb, we had to figure out how to get our luggage inside to EVA Airlines.  A tall young man walked up and volunteered to help.  He was on his way to Fiji and was feeling good. He carried all of our luggage in one trip. The wheelchair people picked us up at the EVA ticket window.  When we got upstairs for the inspection and scrutinization portion, I got the royal treatment again.  This time I guess I looked like I would be an agreeable subject for a training session.  This young man, looking as nervous as I was feeling, started explaining everything I had heard in San Jose when I went through this the first time.  I tried to explain that I knew what to expect, when his supervisor/trainer stepped in and told me he had to say everything because it was blah, blah, blah.  She had a good sense of humor and we began to chat about ‘things’ as he interrupted to tell me which part of his hand would search where.  I was finally released with the knowledge that I’m a good training subject, and that most of the TSA workers are staying on the job so they don’t lose their place.  

Flying across the ocean was uneventful.  I was hoping to sleep a lot, like on the previous long segment, but there I was, wide awake.  I ended up watching some movies, snoozing a little, and wishing it was over.  That never works.  In Taipei we didn’t have too long before it was time to go to the boarding area.  When we arrived at the airport, it was very empty since we got there before the stores opened.  Later, when we rolled down the same corridor on the way to our flight, it was like a bustling city.  There they were, 7 something in the morning, selling perfume and whisky to whoever was willing to buy.  

Looking back over the whole trip, it was one of the most difficult journeys in the eleven years of doing this.  Mostly because of the physical issues this time.  Six months from now we’ll remember this with a smile and say ‘Well, that happened.’  For now, it’s time to rest and recuperate.

Pulling into The Big Brown House, we tried to absorb as much as possible.  The lawn, the trees, the house, it seemed like such a long time ago.  Daku was overjoyed as well.  He circled and circled and eventually calmed down.  We had  just finished dinner when Nitchanan made a shy appearance.  The first thing we noticed was her height.  She was taller.  Gong and Natcha had done an amazing job of moving all of our stuff back to the upstairs bedroom.  

The only thing we did on Sunday was drag ourselves over to The Wanderer for lunch.  Khun Noot came to our table and spent some time with us.  She made a pot of organic teas that she had blended.  She told us that over New Years the place was swamped with visitors.  It was nice to be there when it was mellow.

The first photo was taken by Lisa, on our approach to Chiang Rai.  These are some of the foothills that surround us.
The second photo is a cup of the tea that Khun Noot made for us.  

Last night Nitchanan was totally over her shyness.  As she entered our room there was a big “Hello”, and she picked up where we left off 3 weeks ago.  

Have a Great Week.


“It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on.
It takes a lot of strength to let go.”
~J. C. Watts

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Friday Funnies


The afternoon weather in Culver City was almost warmish.  I wore at least two layer the entire trip.  The rain that was predicted never appeared and that was fine with us.  There will be plenty of time for rain when we get home.  When you have things to do in the street, rain makes it harder, at least in the big city.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Flight 505” by The Rolling Stones.  ‘Old School Friday’ is an ode to education and being young, set to a R&R beat by ‘The Master’.  “Up in the mornin’ and out school.  The teacher is teachin’ the Golden Rule.  American history and practical math.  You studyin’ hard and hopin’ to pass.  Workin’ your fingers right down to the bone, and the guy behind you won’t leave you alone.”  Hint:  The title is not in the lyrics.  It’s from 1957, but is now a classic.

Thursday morning we had breakfast with my childhood friend, Reg (Reggie when we were younger).  Our breakfast menu included travel, retirement thoughts, politics, and the past.  It’s been a few years since our last face-to-face and it was good to see him.  

We went to a little French cafe for lunch.  Well, I guess I’m not a continental guy.  Maybe I need the real deal.  At any rate, most of it was good and I’ll leave it at that.  

It appears that I’m not the only person in the L.A. area who misses things the way they were.  I’ve listened to many reviews of the changing times and most of them are not good.  We have to wait and see who will occupy the area in about 5 years.  Who can guess the next frontier for the land barons?

We’ve had some fun, off the wall conversations with The Boys and I keep being amazed that they are so old so fast.  The timing of our exit this evening was such that we didn’t get to say goodbye to Jeff.  We did a Facetime from the car and that was fun.  Never done that before, but it worked.

Right now, it’s Thursday night and we’re sitting in the EVA lounge waiting for our flight.  Boarding begins before I should actually send this, but if I wait until we get to Taipei it will be very, very late.  So, you’re getting your Friday message early.  

This pic is a blast from the past.  Daku is pleading for me to take him out and play.  A thousand words, and a lot less hair.

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