Wednesday, February 21, 2018



The sky was cloudy this morning in Chiang Rai, but the clouds didn’t last against the hot sun.  Another one of those days.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “My Girl” by The Temptations.  I told you it was easy (555).  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song might be remembered by some:  “[spoken] Is she really going out with him?  Well, there she is.  Let’s ask her.  Betty, is that Jimmy’s ring you’re wearing?  Mm-Hmm.  Gee, it must be great riding with him.  Is he picking you up after school today?  Uh-uh.  By the way, where’d you meet him?  [sung]  I met him at the candy store, he turned around and smiled at me, you get the picture? (yes, we see).  That’s when I fell for __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  By a group name for a mythical place.  There were motorcycle sounds in the recording.  

When we got up this morning, Daku had a different attitude about Chopper.  He must have thought about it overnight (he does this) because he was eager to see him.  We could hear his little puppy yelps from our kitchen.  Later we learned that his first night in his new home was typical.  He woke up a lot and did what babies do.  Fortunately, Natcha and Gong are fairly new parents so they knew what to do.  Clean up after the baby.  Later, they had fun in the yard.  

We cruised over to The Wanderer this morning for coffee.  Khun Noot, Kwan (Mercy’s Mom) and Kern were in the patio having coffee so we had to show them ‘baby pictures’.  

Our day took a dramatic turn when we took Daku to the vet to check on a missing patch of fur.  After the usual wait, it was determined that it was what is commonly known as ringworm (which is actually a fungus infection).  With only one instance of it on him, we are hopeful that we caught it early.  We have to find a hand-held black light so we can see if there’s any more.  What it meant in the short term was shampooing the dog with a special soap, and washing all his bedding, toys and brushes.  Daku was unfazed by most of this, and just wanted to see the puppy. 

This afternoon the Chinese Drum Units came to our street.  First they stopped at Bed Villa and then the big house across the road.  There were firecrackers, lion dancers and a drum circle that was pretty cool.

I’ll leave you with another photo of Chopper, showing his amazing eyes.

Could be a Wacky Wednesday.


“You have to dream before
your dreams can come true.”
~A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Tuesday, February 20, 2018



Another hot day in Chiang Rai.  That about sums it up.  The overnight temps are still very cool, meaning the pool doesn’t warm up for swimming.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song dates back to 1965 from a label in the ‘Motor City’.  It was the first major hit for the group that sang it.  “I’ve got so much honey, the bees envy me.  I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees.  Well, I guess you’d say, what can make me feel this way?  __ __ (__ __, __ __) talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  

The puppy arrived and we are all thrilled.  His name is Chopper and he’s 7 weeks old.  We saw a photo of his dad and he’s quite handsome.  The little bed we got for Chopper would have been too small in a few weeks so we got a bigger one.  He met Daku and really wants to be friends.  Daku is cautiously interested.  He wanted to go outside and be with Neechanon, Gong and Chopper, so that’s a start.  We took a ton of photos and Natcha is doing the same.  Needless to say, today’s photo is Chopper.

Having a new dog that isn’t our dog is going to be an interesting experience.  We have to let them raise this little guy the way they know how.  That is not to say that we won’t step in with some advice from time to time.  Fortunately, they listen and have already asked for help on a few topics.  Chopper likes us, ‘cause he’s a puppy.  I have to remember:  he’s not our dog.  No you can’t take him home with you (555).  When he looks at you with those mysterious bright blue eyes, it’s mesmerizing.  Tatt, our former student, is mad about Huskies and will probably want to book a bus to come visit.  

This morning, after a pick-up at the post office, we dashed through Makro and went to Melt In Your Mouth for coffee and our talk with Joe.  We have learned to adjust our composure when encountering new servers at the various places we go.  Today we had what was clearly a ‘new guy’.  Twenty minutes after ordering coffee and tea, the coffee came, but there was no tea.  They were out of Earl Grey, but he didn’t think to tell us.  Instead, he brought the honey for my coffee and gave it to Lisa.  What?  It was one of those ‘Let it go’ moments.  Not everyone has the same level of minimum education here.  There are some young people who only go to the 9th grade.  There are others who are given a job but get minimal training.  This probably happens all over the world, but understanding why, takes it to a different level.  Everyone cannot go to high school.  It’s just too expensive for many families.  If there is no family business, it becomes a struggle to obtain even minimum wage work.  

Saturday we went to the ‘Expat Club’ meeting to hear a vet that we went to back in the early days when we first got BamBam.  It was billed as a talk about, among other things, the relationship between Thais and their pets.  He almost got to that part, but questions from other directions sidetracked his talk.  One remark that was of interest to me was his response to someone using the term ‘law enforcement’ when talking about strays, etc.  He said, ‘We have laws, but no enforcement’.  We have seen this with the burning every year.  'A new law….’, and the burning continues.  He did state that there seems to be a new generation of pet owners that tend to keep their pets inside and give them more care than the traditional pet ‘owners’ who supply food for their pets but little else.  Hmm.

Tomorrow we’ll get to hear the stories about Chopper’s first night away from his mother.  I wish Neechanon could tell us her thoughts on the whole change.  Right now, I think she likes him as long as he leaves her stuff alone (555).

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Simplicity is the ultimate
~Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, February 19, 2018



The weather has been on a lot of peoples' minds lately.  With hot days and cool nights, it feels a little odd for this time of year.  Nothing I can do about it, just enjoy the parts I like.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis Presley.  This ‘Easy Monday’ song is one of the easiest:
“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.  When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.  Well, I guess you’ll say, ‘What can make me feel this way?’  __ __, talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  Hint:  I’m tempted but I won’t.  You should know this.

Saturday evening we had dinner at the mall with our good friends Sutheera and Nukoon.  It’s always fun when we get together, sharing different takes on local life as well as the political scene.  There is a theory that some of the land that’s being bought in Chiang Rai will remain vacant until there is a new government.  Speculation is the name of that game, at least when it comes to homes.  Nukoon has a big pond on their property and a duck decided to move in.  She spends the nights in a tree and flies down in the mornings and floats around all day.  Not a pretty duck, but a duck just the same.  

There were lots of celebrations around town and I think the reason is similar to the other holidays.  This is the first Chinese New Year since the end of the mourning period for the late King.  The balloon festival was bigger this year and there just seemed to be bigger energy everywhere.  

Sunday afternoon we went to The Wanderer for a concert of Biggles Big Band, a group from Amsterdam that makes an annual tour of Thailand.  We’ve seen them before, and they were good.  The band is bigger this year, with a string quartet added, as well as a few new horns.  It was also nice to see some women playing in the horn sections.  They did a segment with the Chiang Rai Youth Orchestra but we missed that.  We saw a few of our Thai friends there although most of the audience was made up of the local expat community.    

Today’s photos are a ‘Tree Update’.  There are two trees in our yard that were planted in memory of our dear friend Blue Johnson.  They are doing well and both have started to bloom.  It’s the first time for the little jasmine tree to bloom and the flowers are very fragrant.  Our friend Claire said that the new flowers are like Blue saying ‘Hi’.

This afternoon we went to get the second injection in the Dengue Fever vaccination series.  Our doctor talked to us about new findings and said that if we hadn’t actually had the fever, we should not take the vaccine.  I wasn’t sure if I really had it so they did a blood test and it turns out that I didn’t.  That meant I didn’t have to get a shot today.  I just had to give blood, which is still on my list of things not to do (555).  

The big news around here is that tomorrow Gong and Natcha will be bringing home a 2 month old dog.  It’s a Siberian Husky.  Gong has wanted a dog since they move in and they are confident that they can handle it and Neechanon, who has not met the dog yet.  More will be revealed.  Daku will have a new friend that hopefully will like to play.  He has missed that.  

Have a Great Week.


“We don’t stop playing
because we grow old; we 
grow old because we stop
~George Bernard Shaw

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Funnies


The weather?  Hot with moments of Really Hot.  The smokey air didn’t come until after dinner, so we had a beautiful day.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Maybellene” by Chuck Berry, 'The King of Rock & Roll’.  There, I said it.  ‘Old School Friday’ is up next:  “You know I can be found, sitting home all alone.  If you can’t come around, at least please telephone.  __ __ __ to a heart that’s true.”  Hint:  That should be enough to get this tune.

This morning, at 6:30am, the drumming started, announcing Chinese New Years.  I couldn’t tell which side of the river it was coming from, but it was a whole bunch of drummers.  There weren’t a lot of firecrackers during the day, which was a surprise.  We forgot to wear some red when we went out this morning.  My ancestors would be shocked (555).  At Big C the staff were all wearing some variation on the Chinese theme.  Some shops had matching red dresses for their employees.  

At the mall there was a lot of activity, we don’t know why except that it was a major holiday.  At Starbuck’s the power went out and we had to wait for it to reboot.  It came back on but the register wasn’t working so we just left the money.  Weird.  I am still getting used to seeing whole families hanging out at the mall.  It’s obviously not every family that follows the traditions of family unity and togetherness, but it seems to be very prevalent in regional cultures.  When I was a teenager, if we had malls back then, I wouldn’t have wanted to be seen with my parents.  

Downtown on Tanalai Rd. this afternoon, many shops closed early.  It was eerie to drive down the street and see so many store fronts completely closed off.  We went to The Wanderer for something cool to drink and saw families visiting.  This will be a big ‘dinner night out’ all over Thailand.  

Right around dinner time I heard Natcha call upstairs.  As I got to the landing I heard Neechanon’s little voice calling me.  Now she has my name down perfect.  Lisa said she was pointing upstairs and saying my name, and something else.  She’s also saying Lisa’s name.  We are both in the two syllable club (555).  No more Nee and Ca.  She was walking around with a phone that Natcha has loaded with songs for kids.  Neechanon knows how to scroll to her favorites and sing along.  I managed to catch a photo of her in action.  The second pic is her ‘Playhouse’ with some of her stuff inside.

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


Wednesday, February 14, 2018



The weather turned out to be hot today.  It also had that smokey haze that usually doesn’t come until later in the month.  At some point every day we have bad air.  Hmm.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “You’ve Got A Friend” by Carole King, then James Taylor, then everybody else (555).
That means there’s nothing left but to get crazy with a ‘Zany Day’ tune.  “As I was motorvatin’ over the hill I saw __ in a Coupe de Ville.  A Cadillac a-rollin’ on the open road.  Nothin’ will outrun my V8 Ford.  The Cadillac doin’ about ninety-five, she’s bumper to bumper, rollin’ side by side…”  Hint:  One word title is a name.

We set out on a different kind of adventure this morning.  After parking downtown near Tanalai Rd. (one of the busiest parts of the business district), we got coffee at Destiny Cafe, then walked up to the ‘Eye Guy’ on Tanalai.  We ordered reading glasses with the tint that filters out the blue light from computer screens.  The street was very busy and had the feel of a big city.  If all the streets were like that it would be cause for concern, but when only one is bustling, not so much.  Next stop was Teppawan art supply store.  We’re friends with the family and it always means starting in the rear of the store, greeting ‘Dad’ and pleasantries with Supalak, with whom Lisa exchanges photos and greetings every morning via ‘Line’.  When the items on the list were collected, we moved to the next stop.

Oh, what a busy place this is on Valentine’s Day.  We saw the build-up yesterday and this morning it was on full blast.  Down in the fruit market section we encountered a real traffic jam.  The street has fruit stalls on one side and stuffed animal shops on the other.  There is only room for one side to have parked cars, but today, there was double-parking on both sides.  That meant that the two-way traffic had to take turns, reluctantly.  It took awhile, but we managed to get our fruit and go.  

Monday, when we were at Big C, we spotted a Valentine’s Day photo background they had set up.  A selfie wouldn’t work so we ask a woman passing by and she took our picture.  Just two crazy kids running loose in the store.

This afternoon we were supposed to go to the DMV about our license renewals but we just couldn’t bear it so we stayed home.  Tomorrow!  

It’s gonna be a Wacky Wednesday.


“Treasure your relationships,
not your possessions.”
~Anthony J. D'Angelo

Tuesday, February 13, 2018



Another carbon copy day in Chiang Rai.  Actually, it was a little different in that the morning was warmer.  

I was pretty sure this ‘Easy Monday’ tune was going to bring lots of answers.  I’ve heard from a few.  Here’s more:
“You just call out my name and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running to see you again.  Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call, and I’ll be there.  __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  This chorus from the song is the essence of the song.  The singer is declaring that they have your back.

This morning we returned to Melt In Your Mouth for coffee and a conversation with Joe.  While we were talking, the sound of ceremonial music came from the bridge.  Four silver vans preceded a pick-up truck carrying a large, white seated Buddha and the truck was playing the music.  It seemed so natural for that to happen.  We really have been here a long time (555).  Across a small channel off the Kok River we saw one man fishing with a crude spear gun, and another casting a net.  Morning life by the river is fascinating.

Today’s photos were taken at ‘Melt’.  The first was the view from our table.  The second photo is a garden next to Melt and related to the restaurant.

Part of getting a driver license is a certificate from a doctor.  In the past, we had gone to a doctor who gave a strange ‘test’ requiring us to hold our hands above our heads, wiggle our fingers, and a few other things.  We went in search of his office but he had moved on.  That meant an afternoon trip to Overbrook Hospital for the paper. 

The best time of day to visit institutions is in the early afternoon.  This seems to be a consistent rule of thumb for us.  Today at Overbrook was no exception.  After the usual check-in, there was a short wait to see the doctor.  This time we had a real exam.  The doctor asked us important questions about our health and made sure we were aware of the consequences of driving in poor health.  We are now cleared for take-off.  Tomorrow we’ll tackle the DMV in the early afternoon (555).

We had a visit from Neechanon after lunch.  She has been spending time with her aunts and we’ve missed her.  She immediately went to the bookcase and pulled out a book we brought back from the States.  On the ‘A’ page she spotted an apple and named it in a big confident voice.  What was significant is the fact that she has been taught to pronounce the ‘L’, rather than saying ‘appun’, as is often the case.  Brava to the aunts.  There was a little meltdown when it was time to go, but Natcha always distracts her so gently that it doesn’t last long.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

“Clouds come floating into 
my life, no longer to carry rain
or usher storm, but to add color
to my sunset sky.”
~Rabindranath Tagore

Monday, February 12, 2018



The local weather has been close to ideal.  Cool evenings and warm days in the mid-80s.  Now all we need is a little rain to wash the sky and water the lawn.

I don’t think anybody remembered Little Richard singing “Send Me Some Lovin’”, but it was and still is a monster ballad.  Never mind, it’s time for ‘Easy Monday’, where we all know all the songs (555).  “When you’re down and troubled, and you need some love and care, and nothing, nothing is going right.  Close your eyes and think of me, and soon I will be there, to brighten up even your darkest night.  You just call out my name…”  Hint: I don’t know if we need hints today.  

Today in Thailand (Feb. 12) is my birthday.  Yesterday we had a party, since Monday really isn’t a party day (555).  There were 28 adults, 3 small children, and 1 very small visiting dog.  Everybody had a good time.  The Wanderer brought over another of their outrageous chocolate cakes, and friends brought orchids and fruit.  The weather was perfect, and nobody in the neighborhood burned any trash, meaning the air was pleasant.  We discovered that some of our friends were actually friends with each other and we didn’t know.  That made for some nice surprises.  Lisa choreographed the event and Natcha and Cat helped make sure everything ran smoothly.  When it was over, there was lots of stuff left over.  Most of it consisting of things we don’t eat, so we gave it away.  It was a good day.

Today’s photos are from the party.  

Since Natcha and Gong worked so hard all day, we went out for dinner.  The closest place was The Wanderer so that’s what we did.  When we returned home we didn’t realize how tired we were.  It actually carried over into today.  We had no shopping to do so we just went to Work@Home for coffee.  

After wearing black for the year of mourning, most of my T-shirts are black.  The weather in the mornings isn’t always warm enough for a loose fitting shirt so T-shirts work best.  Having said all that, we went to Big C so I could get a few shirts with color.  We finished our morning in the street with lunch at Melt In Your Mouth.  Sitting outside with the river in front of us was very relaxing.  

Tomorrow we go to the ‘DMV’ to renew our licenses.  Here’s hoping we don’t have to take a written test or watch the rumored 1 hour movie (555).

Have a Great Week.


“Common sense is not so common.”