Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Funnies

We traveled with friends, sat in traffic and got tortured by muzac. We also learned a new perspective on Life in Thailand. Oh, and then there's the heat.
The last song we attempted was familiar to a lot of you but you just couldn't go back far enough. It was "Money" by Barrett Strong. Lane and Christopher sent some interesting background on this record. "Money (That's What I Want)" was the 1959 hit single for the Tamla label. The song was written by Tamla founder Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford. It became the first hit record for Gordy's Motown flagship label in June of '60, making it to #2 on the R&B charts and #23 on the Pop charts."
For the weekend we'll look at a song that I'm sure you'll remember. "Listen, (Whao, whao, whao) __ __ __ __ __ __ __, do you promise not to tell..." Clue: You thought they were the only group to sing the last song. Some of you didn't know there was music before them (Ha).
Tay picked us up at 7:30 this morning to take us to the airport. Oh, so early. While we were checking in, we ran into our friends Jane and Ruud. We didn't know they were also going to Bangkok; it was just one of those happy coincidences. We had coffee while we waited and Ruud explained that someone told him that here in LOS everything is 'about'. Not exact, just about. Hmm. Later, as I pondered a sign on the door to the cockpit, which was only in English, I realized that there are many questions and not enough answers.
Bangkok is notorious for it's traffic through several corridors. We knew this, but it's one thing to know it and another to sit in it. We finally made it to the hotel and got a little confused as we entered. Things were very different. We thought that maybe we were in the wrong hotel. After asking, it was explained that they had completely redesigned the lobby since we were here last year. Oh.
After getting settled in our room we went down to inquire about internet service. We found out that the floor we were on did not have access. What? Later I went to the front desk and checked on getting a room change to a floor with internet. We quickly got sent up to the 23rd floor and that's where I'm writing this message.
We have a short list of places we want to go on this trip. Tomorrow we'll start the adventure. Today we discovered a very nice grocery store next to the hotel. We found things we don't see in Chiang Rai. The bag will be a little heavier on the trip home.
One final note about our hotel. They play piano renditions of hit songs throughout the hotel. We're burned out on such titles as 'We Are The World', 'Careless Whisper', and 'I Just Called To Say...'. Maybe tomorrow I'll put on my headphones. (Ha)
It's time for the 'Funnies', sent in by Tom. Have a Warm WeekEnd.


Test for Dementia (Scroll down slowly and don't peak at the answers)

Below are four question and a bonus question. You have to answer then instantly. You can't take your time, answer all of them immediately. OK? Let's find out just how clever you really are... Ready? Go!

First Question:

You are participating in a race. You overtake the person in second place. What position are you in?

Answer: If you answered that you're in first place, you're absolutely wrong. If you overtake the person in second place, you take their place so you are second.

Try not to screw up the next one. Now answer the second question but don't take as much time as you did on the first one.

Second Question: If you overtake the last person, then you are...?

Answer: If you answered that you are second to last, then you are wrong again. Tell me how you can overtake the last person?

You're not very good at this are you?

Third Question: Very tricky arithmetic. Note: This must be done in your head. No pencil and paper or calculator.

Take 1000 and add 40 to it. Now add another 1000. Now add 30..add another 1000, now add 20. Now add another 1000, now add 10. What is the total?

Did you get 5000?

The correct answer is actually 4100. If you don't believe it, try it with a calculator. Today is definitely not your day.

Fourth Question: Mary's father has five daughters: 1. Nana, 2. Nene, 3. Nini, 4.Nono. What is the name of the fifth daughter?

Did you answer Nunu? No, of course it isn't. Her name is Mary. Read the question again.

There's a bonus round but I'll save that for another day.

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Our Thursday is winding down and pretty soon we'll be packing the bags for the weekend trip to Bangkok. Today we went to the equivalent of the D.M.V., shopped for books and watched BamBam be a silly dog.
It's amazing that many of you knew the song but not the artist. Denny was first on the block again with the title and the original artist. For those of you who thought The Beatles were the artist, let's just say you have to go back a little. If you're still not sure about the song, here's a little more: "Your love gives me such a thrill, but your love don't pay my bills, I need __ (That's what I want) I need __..." Hint: It's obviously one word and it's a word that drives almost everything around us. Sad but true.
Somehow we got the impression that we needed to renew the registration on the truck this week. Boot, Lisa and I headed out for the Chiang Rai D.M.V. to take care of business. It took a couple of tries just to find the place. I'd been there before but we took a wrong turn and ended up driving a loop around the north side of the city. When we finally arrived we went to the reception desk and a very patient young woman helped us sift through our papers, which were all in Thai, and determined that we had until April 1 to renew. It was a wild goose chase but we got to see a part of town we usually don't see and that was cool. There's a lot of building going on here. It certainly doesn't look like the recession has hit here yet.
This afternoon we went into town so Lisa could find some books for the trip. There's a shop downtown that carries a big selection of books in English. They have a trade-in system and it really helps cut down on the expense of books. The price is high for books in English. While Lisa browsed I went to the 'Record store' to see if a CD I'd ordered had come in. It hadn't but they took my number and they'll call me. I love this small town service.
After Napa had her ballet lesson we were sitting upstairs and BamBam came up with two of her sock toys in her mouth. She'd never done that before. She likes to greet us with a toy but this took the cake. She walked around the room, tripping over one of the socks and finally settled down for a good chew. Every time she comes to our room she sniffs around the area where Daku had been on Tuesday. Next week, when he comes home, things should get interesting.
One of the challenges of going on a trip is packing the bag. Notice I said 'bag'. There is always the temptation to take more than is needed. We figured that if we started with just one bag it might help us be realistic. (Ha)
Have a Pleasant Thursday.


"Blessed are those who can give without
remembering and take without forgetting."
~Elizabeth Bibesco

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Life In Chiang Rai


Life in Chiang Rai moves at a different pace than the big cities here. This is only from brief observation since I've never lived in one of the big cities, but I've been there. Having said that, I'm looking forward to our weekend in Bangkok with mixed emotions. More about that later.
The song that got Googled a bunch over the last few days was "Everyone's Gone to the Moon" by Jonathan King. Now you know. This should be easy: "The best things in life are free, but you can give'em to the birds 'n bees I want __..." Clue: I'm not sure I really need to give you one but I will. Everybody needs some, it's all we hear about lately. Oh you know this one.
There is an openness about the pace of life here. There are a couple of times a day on certain streets when you know the traffic will be a little hectic so you just take another route. Nobody tries to force anything on you at the Night Bazaar and smiles are everywhere. Our experience with the 'city' is much different. Maybe the opposite. So, while I enjoy the hustle and bustle and the fascination of it all, there is a certain tension that I'll have to try and put out of my mind. We won't be in the streets that much, but we do want to take a trip to MBK and maybe Siam Paragon just to gawk. Of course I'll fill you in on how it goes. I don't mean to discourage anyone from going to Bangkok. It's quite a rush. This is just one 'country guy's' experience.
There are funny little things we come up with to entertain ourselves when we're out in the street. For instance, the family at the furniture store had another baby and we haven't been by to see him yet. We took a gift by after he was born but he was asleep. So now every time we pass the store we say 'Where's the baby?' or 'Show me the baby' and laugh. Nothing like cheap thrills. When motorbike riders do something stupid like drive the wrong way and head right for us, the big question is: 'How big is your death wish?' which has been shortened to 'How big is your wish?'. Then there are all the parking attendants and their whistles. I may have mentioned this before but I bought a whistle and one of these days I'm going to blow it at one of them. (Ha)
This afternoon our insurance man came by with our policy papers for our house. We've got some amazing coverage for what we're paying. There was an interesting clause when it came to earthquakes. If the quake is caused by an object falling from outer space, we're not covered. Oh my.
That just made me wonder about something. Have you ever noticed that when a man-made object has lost its orbit and is heading for Earth they always tell us it's going to land in the Indian Ocean? Excuse me but that sounds a little too convenient to me. I'm just sayin'.
Well, I think it's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.
Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love,
grace, and gratitude."
~Denis Waitley

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Living in Thailand


It's your Tuesday and I'm bursting with news. Monday's gone but still fresh in my mind and big things happened today. One never knows what to expect living in Thailand.
I got a few nibbles on the song. Denny (my brother) knew the title. Who else will step up and admit to knowing an old song?
"Eyes full of sorrow, never wet. Hand full of money, all in debt. Sun coming out in the middle of June, __ __ __ __ __."
Clue: It was 1965 and this melancholy song peaked at number 17. It's like kids say, 'Why can't I go? Everyone's going there.' Follow the rhyme scheme and you may get it.
Monday afternoon we went over to Emmy's Kennel to see the puppies. Part of our mission was to try and choose a dog and get it's scent on a sock so BamBam could start to get used to the idea. With weeks to wait, we just wanted to be sure we got the puppy we wanted. When we got there Emmy was not around so we had to put off the visit.
We had a visit from Tay and her husband Pong. Tay had found some baking soda for us and Pong came to give me my first golf lesson. This was news to me, but that's the way things happen here. Anyway we spent about 45 minutes on the 'back green' with him showing me how to hold the club, position my arms and wrist, and so much more. We hit balls from one side of the yard to the other and then back again. By the end I was doing pretty well. So much to remember. Eye on the ball, back-swing, down swing, follow through, keep my left arm straight, body stays still, oh my. He impressed upon me the importance of practice. Some terms get crossed up going from English to Thai. When he wanted me to try my swing he'd say
'rehearse'. I just smiled inside once I realized what he meant. The inability to pronounce the 'el' sound came up a few times. I have to tell him to call me 'Danny' and not 'Danyun', which was his way of saying 'Daniel'. Hmm, I'd sometimes thought about changing my name but not to that. (Ha) When they left, he left me 10 golf balls. This is not over.
Today we called Emmy's to see if we could come by and see the dogs. We arrived at 11:15 as planned and we were greeted by a large, very friendly Golden Retriever. Emmy took us to the cage where the puppies were and pulled out a little male with a red string around his neck. This was our dog. We just wanted to visit but she insisted that we could take him today. It seemed early to us but we finally said we'd take him since she was going to charge us to keep him longer. Now this was not the original agreement at all. We were to pick him up four weeks from now. Hmm, like I said, you never know what to expect. Anyway, we left with Daku, which is an Aborigine word meaning sand. We made a dash to Dr. Arnon's to get what we'd need and some advice. He was a little upset with Emmy for releasing the puppy so soon. He got on the phone and had a long talk with her. Then he told us we could either pay her the extra money, or keep him and follow his special instructions. We decided to take Daku home with us. We had our first afternoon with our new dog and it didn't go too bad. We had to keep BamBam downstairs which didn't set well with her. She was very curious about this new smell in the house. Daku is so cute. He's just getting the hang of walking and he did venture out in the room a bit. He slept a lot and we played a bit. Then I realized that we are scheduled to go to Bangkok for the weekend. We couldn't leave Boot to deal with BamBam and Daku so we took him back to Emmy's until Monday. He must be very confused in his little puppy brain. So are we. At least it gives us time to collect more newspaper. (Ha)
The end of the golf story is that when we returned to the house with Daku, there was a police truck sitting at the front gate. After getting over the initial shock, I realized it must be Pong. Sure enough, it was and he was bringing me a golf club so I could practice. What a guy. He does love his golf.
Have a Happy Tuesday.


"It is one of the most beautiful compensations
of this life that no man can sincerely
try to help another without helping himself."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, February 23, 2009

For Every...


It was a busy weekend here in Chiang Rai. We went to a party, we had visitors, and we did a lot of walking. There were children to feed and little balls to hit. The adventure continues.

The song you got stuck on was "Cloud Nine" by The Temptations. Oh yeah, that one. I'm thinking this one might throw you. "Streets full of people, all alone. Roads full of houses, never home. Church full of singing, out of tune __ __ __ __ __." Hint: I'll bet you thought only astronauts went there.

Saturday morning we got a call from Jaa. Her family owns the big chain where we bought all our appliances and tile. They were having a party at the main showroom and we were invited. We arrived around 11a.m. and the place was jumping. There was a big truck in front of the store with a walk-in showroom full of neat kitchen products. Inside the store there was a long buffet table and a section with a sound-system playing music. The music was for various groups of dance troupes that were mostly tiny kids putting on quite a show. They must have been from several dance schools in town. Costumes and makeup and simple choreography were the order of the day. The crowd was entertained and the mood was festive. We watched a bit and picked up a few things we needed and quietly left. It was a major promotional event but we were not in the market for more house stuff.

In the afternoon Tay brought her sister Doe (my spelling) over to see the house. Lisa had met her before but it was the first time I'd met her. We had a very nice visit and she wants to come back. After they left we got a call from Pui inviting us to join his family on Sunday morning to help feed some children at Chiang Rai Special School. We accepted of course.

Saturday night we went to Walking Street. The purpose of our trip was to see if we might run into any of Boot's friends who had a booth there and might be willing to help us sell our bags. As we strolled the first block we were thinking we didn't know anybody there. Then we started seeing all these people we all knew. We also saw some pretty amazing sights as well. There was a man with a giant cart that he had constructed and it was fitted with gongs and drums. He stood on a platform on the back and pushed various levers that activated the gongs and drums. Kind of like a one-man-band. It was fascinating. We spent some time watching him do his thing before moving on. Next we noticed a guy standing perfectly still, covered in paint. We call him Green Man since the paint was green. He was letting people paint him. They not only painted on him and his clothes, but they tried to make him laugh but he remained still. I don't think he could have pulled that off on Venice Beach. It was another reminder of the gentle nature of the Thai community. After watching Green Man and some young people spinning tops in a competition, we passed by the group that sings what they see. The woman of the group sang something about me but Boot couldn't tell us what she said because she was singing in Lanna Thai. It's a different dialect and not everyone speaks it. Oh well. After we left the Walking Street we went down to Big C to get some treats for the kids at the school.

Sunday morning we headed south down the highway about 17 kilometers to the junction at Wat Rong Khun. We took one wrong turn, saw lots of farm land and finally found the school. There were about 200 kids between 5 and 15 years old. Their lunch had been prepared and our job was to pass out the plates, then give them oranges and later the treats. Most of them live at the school and it's one giant community. Some are physically challenged, some are autistic while others have Down's Syndrome. Regardless of why they were there, we were met with grateful, smiling faces. At one point, before they ate, they were led in song by one of the older boys. Jen told us it was the 'Thank you song'. It was a heartwarming experience that will not be forgotten.

I'll have to tell you about my Monday on Tuesday since this is getting a little long. Have a Great Week.



"For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it." ~Ivan Panin

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Funnies

Hard to believe that it's Friday again. I started my 'project', Lisa taught a class, we approached the pool, and Tiger gets some new competition.
I must say, I'm impressed and intrigued that so many of you knew the song. It gives me new insights as to what you're into, or were into, and what music made an impact on you. "Once In A Lifetime" by The Talking Heads was, as Ashley put it, "One of theeee most brilliant songs ever!" Lane sent me a piece that may help to understand the lyrics of the song. "The song has a rather existential vibe to it, although it is usually interpreted to be a song dealing with the middle age crisis and the inevitable sacrifice of youthful ideals and dreams for conventional success." Now you know.
For the weekend, we'll ponder this line: "I love the life I live and I'm gonna live the life I love, I'm doin' fine on __ __" Clues: By itself that line has been used countless times by a wide range of writers. The song I'm humming was by a group of guys that tempted us through the '60's with their imagination. This was from their psychedelic period. Oh yeah, there's a number in there too.
I got a pretty good start on the new flower bed fencing today. I now have a pattern of 'moves' that will make the job go faster tomorrow. I must say, I've learned how to improvise after watching the house building and various other construction sites. I fashioned a post-hole digger out of a piece of PVC tubing and I'm using split bamboo to make shims for my little fence posts. I'm going to start early in the morning though. Today I got a late start and the day was just too hot.
Speaking of hot, the pool water is not. This was supposed to be the day we were going to take our first swim of the season. We got all ready and Lisa made her way into the pool. As she stood in the middle and exclaimed that it was just too cold, I waved from the shore and didn't bother going in. Her tolerance for cold water is higher than mine so you see my logic. We'll just keep approaching it until it's comfortable. (Ha)
Napa came over this afternoon for another ballet lesson. Tay, her mom, had mentioned to Lisa that her husband Pong wanted to know if I would like to learn to play golf. Hmm, OK. The first time I met him one of the things he wanted to know was if I had a sport. Well, no. So now I'll have a sport. He's what has been referred to as a 'high-level policeman', speaks English and loves to play golf. This should be another interesting adventure. There is a golf course right over the bridge from our house so I won't have to go far to knock balls into the trees. (555)
It's time for the 'Funnies' with a big thanks to my friend Barry. Read the whole thing and have a Fabulous WeekEnd.


Oil Change instructions for Women:
1) Pull up to Jiffy Lube when the mileage reaches 3000 miles since the last oil change.
2) Drink a cup of coffee.
3) 15 minutes later write a check and leave with a properly maintained vehicle.

Money spent: Oil Change $20.00 Coffee $1.00 Total $21.00

Oil Change instructions for Men:
1) Wait until Saturday, drive to auto parts store and buy a case of oil, filter, kitty litter, hand cleaner and a scented tree, write a check for $50.00.
2) Stop by liquor store and buy a case of beer, write a check for $20.00, drive home.
3) Open a beer and drink it.
4) Spend 30 minutes looking for jack stands. Jack car up.
5) Find jack stands under kid's pedal car.
6) In frustration, open another beer and drink it.
7) Place drain pan under engine.
8) Look for 9/16 box end wrench.
9) Give up and use crescent wrench.
10) Drop drain plug in pan of hot oil: splash hot oil on face and arms in process. Cuss.
11) Crawl out from under car to wipe hot oil off of face and arms.
12) Throw kitty litter on spilled oil.
13) Have another beer while watching oil drain.
14) Spend 30 minutes looking for oil filter wrench.
15) Give up; crawl under car and hammer a screwdriver through oil filter and twist off.
16) Crawl out from under car with dripping oil filter splashing oil everywhere from holes. Cleverly hide old oil filter among trash in trash can to avoid environmental penalties. Drink a beer.
17) Buddy shows up; finish case of beer with him. Decide to finish oil change tomorrow so you can go see his new garage door opener work.
18) Sunday: Skip church because "I gotta finish the oil change." Drag pan full of old oil out from underneath car. Cleverly dump oil in hole in back yard instead of taking it to recycle.
19) Throw kitty litter on oil spilled during step 18.
20) Beer. No, drank it all yesterday.
21) Walk to liquor store; buy beer.
22) Install new oil filter making sure to apply a thin coat of oil to gasket surface.
23) Dump first quart of fresh oil into engine.
24) Remember drain plug from step 10.
25) Hurry to find drain plug in drain pan.
26) Remember that the used oil is buried in a hole in the back yard along with drain plug.
27) Drink beer.
28) Shovel out hole and sift oily mud for drain plug. Re-shovel oily patch of ground and avoid environmental penalties. Wash drain plug in lawnmower gas.
29) Discover that first quart of fresh oil is now on the floor. Throw kitty litter on oil spill.
30) Drink beer.
31) Crawl under car getting kitty litter into eyes. Wipe eyes with oily rag used to clean drain plug. Slip with stupid crescent wrench tightening drain plug and bang knuckles on frame.
32) Bang head on floorboards in reaction to step 31.
33) Begin cussing fit.
34) Throw stupid crescent wrench.
35) Cuss for additional 10 minutes because wrench hit and broke the rearview mirror.
36) Beer.
37) Clean up hands and forehead and bandage as required to stop blood flow.
38) Beer.
39) Beer.
40) Dump in five fresh quarts of oil.
41) Beer.
42) Lower car from jack stands.
43) Accidentally crush remaining case of new motor oil.
44) Move car back to apply more kitty litter to fresh oil spilled during steps 23 - 43.
45) Beer.
46) Test drive car.
47) Get pulled over: arrested for driving under the influence.
48) Car gets impounded.
49) Call loving wife, make bail.
50) 12 hours later, get car from impound yard.

Money spent: Parts $50.00 DUI $2500.00 Impound fee $75.00 Bail $1500.00
Beer $40.00 Total-- $4165.00
But, you have the satisfaction of knowing the job was done right...

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Today we got mail, bamboo and more fencing. The pool days are warmer and so is the pool. If I didn't know better I'd think it was summer.
Looks like our current group has some fans out there. A special song can certainly rattle the cages and bring forth mail from folks I haven't heard from in a while. For those of you on the fence, here's the chorus and the place for the hook. Good luck.
"Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down. Letting the days go by, water flowing underground. Into the blue again after the money's gone. __ __ __ __, water flowing underground." Clue: It's about life on several levels.
A few months ago I made little fences around some of the flower bed to keep BamBam out. She has taken up rock hunting and this has led her to forage around the edges of the beds. In order to discourage her I need to widen the perimeter. My big plan is to use slender bamboo for the stakes to keep the motif started by Rene and the dog run. The wire has rusted so I'm replacing that as well. Now I just have to do it. (Ha)
Mr. Handyman went out to the front gate to secure the wireless doorbells (kept falling off the wall) with some concrete nails. These little things are amazing. I found out about them during the building of the house. Since I don't have a cordless drill, it was a simple solution to just nail them to the wall. I'm going to try them in the house for picture hanging. "I love it when a plan comes together." For special commendation name the T.V. show where that phrase was commonly used. Bonus for the character.
It looks like tomorrow will be the day we slip into the pool for the first time this season. The temperature is not ideal, but warm enough if we actually swim. (5) I think we got spoiled swimming at the Culver City YMCA's heated indoor pool. If tomorrow works out we'll just get used to cold water workouts. Time will tell.
The big news was in the mailbox. When I went out to fix the doorbells I noticed a pink slip of paper in the box. We had a package waiting at our not so local P.O. in Ban Du. After a 10 minute drive north we entered the P.O. and took a number. The automated voice kept calling numbers but no one approached the counter so Lisa went up and showed the man the slip of paper. We were taken to the 'back room' where all the action is. There were several desks and at the one we went to a young man was stamping pages in books. He couldn't be bothered and just pointed. An older man came to over to help us. While the man searched for the right book to have us sign we noticed an open bay door with a mail truck back up to the dock. In addition to the usual mail there were two motorbikes being unloaded. They were bound in bubble wrap and had apparently been 'mailed' to someone. Hmm. Finally the man returned with our package. It was a copy of Blue's book "Faces in the Golden Triangle".
The book is absolutely beautiful. Blue has assembled some of the most intriguing faces you will ever see. From young children to old men and women, there is a sense of something very deep. There is a history lesson, stories and captions that make this more than just a picture book. It's an experience. Be sure to take a look at the sample pages and you may want to add this to your collection.
Have a Warm Thursday.


"If you find it in your heart
to care for somebody else,
you will have succeeded."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


We just finished our Wednesday. It was a day for the pool guys, an art gallery guy, and new discoveries. Even though it's considered a small town, there is more here than meets the eye.
While it's nice to hear from some of you all the time, I'm shocked that more of you didn't remember "Stop, In The Name of Love" by The Supremes. Sandy, in the Bay Area wrote: "When I was in undergraduate school, my roomate said that the title of this song did not make sense. After looking at her with a very puzzled expression, I asked her what was the title and she said "Stop in the Neighborhood (before you break my heart)". For four years, we harassed her about this and rightfully so."
Oh well, you had your chance at an easy one. Now comes the fun. This next one is one of my favorites from this group. "...You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife. You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here? Hint: The group name is also a name for pundits in the media. While the song may be confusing, there are some memorable lines. If you know, you know. (Ha)
The big news today is that Lisa is going to have an art show. Tay took her to a gallery over on the Super Highway and they met with the couple that owns it. He is an artist and his wife is an architect. He had looked at Lisa's website and offered her a show. During the month of August Lisa will share the gallery with another artist. The show will be promoted in Chiang Rai and in Bangkok. This is a major step in gaining exposure. We're so excited it's hard to describe.
Earlier in the day we went to a lighting shop to get some 'fresh' bulbs. We were told that some bulbs only have a one year shelf life and they may not burn for long after that. I won't mention where they're made, but we were told where to get good ones. It was right near the new clock tower so after the bulbs, we walked up to one of the stationery/art supply stores near the market. On the way we discovered a shop that sells and repairs sewing machines. We had been looking for such a place. A little English was spoken, which is always fun.
At the destination store Lisa found a couple of large canvases and we heard a song playing in the store that we really liked.
After several attempts with butchered Thai, we were able to get our question across: 'Who is singing'. The shop owner is a very nice woman who remembers us every time. She pulled out the case and found the title of the CD and wrote it down. This evening as we left the Night Bazaar, we stopped by the 'Record Store' and they're going to order it for us. Cool.
I guess the lesson today is that the surface of any place will just be the surface. Until you spend time taking that deep breath and diving in, you miss the essence. Hmm.
Have a Wacky Wednesday.


"If someone listens, or stretches out a hand,
or whispers a kind word of encouragement,
or attempts to understand a lonely person,
extraordinary things begin to happen."
~Loretta Girzatlis

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


There has been a major construction project on the north side of town and today we investigated. The patient is still recovering and BamBam is on restriction. Huh?
I guess I'm going to have to hand-feed you a song that you already know. It's from '65, one of my favorite music years.
"...But this time before you run to her leaving me alone and hurt, (Think it over). After I've been good to you (Think it over) After I've been sweet to you __ __ __ __ __ __ Before you break my heart..." Hint: The choreography on this one was fun. Big hair and sparkling gowns were a trademark, not to mention a thumping bass.
There was a rumor right after we started building the house, that the government was going to put in a road that would cross the river near a central thoroughfare in the center of town. We were assured that this would probably divert some of the traffic that passes in front of our house. It was a welcome thought, but we had no certainty that it would happen. Then work began across from the Police station on a road heading north. It didn't seem like a place for the road that had been mentioned so I didn't give it much thought. Today I got curious so we turned off from our usual route and slowly made our way over a compacted dirt road. After about a block we could see the concrete framework for what was obviously a bridge. It was grand. We still have no idea where the other side is, but that's for another day's exploring. This could mean a short-cut to town. I'll keep you posted.
When we asked Dr. Nan how long it would take to get over the extraction, she told us it might take a few days. Then there was mention of my age. I tend to forget that it can be a factor, since I really think I'm a bit younger. (Ha) Seriously, I have to watch it sometimes. Anyway, I'm doing pretty good about being good to me. Of course, I get a little help from my friends. Lisa and Boot inquire about my comfort level and it makes me keep aware. No need to be a martyr.
Our active teen dog BamBam has a slight limp when she gets up from lounging. Once she's up it goes away so we're thinking she's strained something. In light of that, we're trying to limit her vigorous activity. This is difficult for her because she loves to run and play. Trying to supervise her outside time is not easy. Keeping her from bounding up the stairs will also be hard. A few days of this and if she doesn't improve then we'll take her to see Dr. Arnon. I'm hoping the rest (Ha) will do it.
A few weeks ago I shared with you our experiences going through the mourning process with our Thai friends. One of the most difficult things about living in another country, so far away, is not being able to be close to loved ones when someone dear passes. Such is the case right now. Cousin Rudy's life is being celebrated today in San Diego and we can't be there. At least not in person. We will be there in spirit and I'll be carrying a bag of memories that go back to childhood. He will be missed, way over here. Our thoughts are with the entire family.
It's time for Happy Tuesday.


"We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make our world."
~The Buddha

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, February 16, 2009


Well, another weekend bites the dust. We did our usual Sunday with a massage and dinner on the town and the new week began with me having a 'Play Date' with Dr. Fun. Stay tuned.
Over the break, some of you were humming "The Best of My Love" from The Eagles. Remember? Let's start with an oldie:
"Baby, baby I'm aware of where you go, each time you leave my door. I watch you walk down the street, knowing your other love you'll meet..." Clues: Three supremely talented young women from the motor-city gang urging someone to pause.
Last week I mentioned how wonderful a Thai massage can be. There are a few things you should know if you decide to indulge. First of all, never let an operator twist your back. They have a move where they have you seated on the floor and they hold you from behind in what looks like a 'full nelson' wrestling move. Then they twist vigorously to the left and right. Not good. Things can go terribly wrong. The second thing to not allow is the walking on the back. Seems rather exotic but it can also lead to unwanted complications. Take it from me, it's just as soothing without these two things. Speaking of massage, I had a different woman this week and I think she set the bar for iron hands. Most of it was good but there were some moments when I felt like I needed to give away national secrets to get her to stop. At one point I told her 'bow bow' which means gently. I'm so glad I learned to say that.
In the Thai language the word for tooth is 'fun'. The word for dentist is 'mor fun'. Some kind of cruel joke in my book. Anyway, I had a tooth that needed to be removed for reasons I won't go into. Since I personally don't like to hear the details of other people's medical procedures I won't give you mine. Let's just say I was not looking forward to this appointment. Dr. Fun in this case is Dr. Nan. We'd been to see her in the past for teeth cleaning and she put a new cap on a tooth for me. This was the first time I had to have something done that had the potential for pain. She did an excellent job of making sure I didn't feel anything and the whole thing was a lot less than my imagination had conjured up. Whew. I'm doing fine and the whole thing cost about $15, including some Tylenol. It's interesting to note that you can't buy acetaminophen over the counter in the Kingdom. The only way to get it is by prescription.
After we left the hospital I felt OK enough to do some shopping. On our way to Big C we stopped for gas. I can't remember the last time we bought gas. I've been giving this a lot of thought and I've come to the conclusion that fuel lasts longer because we don't drive as far or as fast as we did in say, SoCal. By my calculations, with the help of a conversion chart, I usually drive between 25 and 49 mph around town. On the highway I usually cruise at around 60 to 65. There's not a lot of opportunities to go that fast so a tank of gas lasts a long time. Nice.
As far as the weather goes, I'll guess that you wish you were here. Have a Great Week anyway.


"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."
~E. E. Cummings

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shopping in Mae Sai

Friday Funnies

As the week winds down (there's another odd expression) so does the celebration. We dined by a river, and got a present for BamBam.
Well kids, the song was "Our Day Will Come" by Ruby and The Romantics. It's OK if you didn't know it. It's a good song though. For the weekend and in honor of Valentine's Day, we'll hum another love song. This one should be easy. Write to me.
"Every night I’m lyin’ in bed holdin’ you close in my dreams. Thinkin’ about all the things that we said, and comin’ apart at the seams...Oh, sweet darlin’ you get __ __ __ __ __." Hint: They probably didn't write this one in Hotel California, but it does pledge a great deal.
Today was the last day of my B'day celebration. Thanks for all those cards and letters. (Ha) You shouldn't have. Actually, my mom sent a package of cards that arrived on the first day of the run. It was perfect timing. Today was a little less dramatic than the previous two. We drove up to Mae Sai for our visa business and then went to the shop that sells old Buddhist amulets and artifacts. There was a young woman there this time who explained each one to us. It was very interesting. From there we strolled and looked and listened. There was some gift buying for others and for ourselves. We started looking for a soft rug for BamBam since she's taken a liking to one of our bathroom rugs. Lisa spotted what turned out to be a cushion that fit the bill so we got it. Bam loves it. Some of the vendors pick up just enough English to try to draw you in and it's sometimes rather funny. The best of the day was "What do you want?" One of the low-lights of shopping in Mae Sai is the children that beg. Some of them are local but most, from what we've been told, are sent across the border to hustle the tourist. It hurts to turn them away, but if you give one of them money, you just continue the cycle of abuse. These kids are being pimped out by someone and it's not right. For a time, there was a crackdown on this sort of thing in Bangkok. Not sure if anyone on the border cares or not. Hmm. On the brighter side, there are many unique things to see as well as piles of 'what's that for' and stuff you know will break as soon as you use it once.
Boot told us about a small cafe near the border that we might check out. It was getting near lunch time and we decided to try and find it. After some asking as we moved in the direction of the place, we found it. We had walked right past it earlier in our travels. We sat at a table overlooking a tributary of the Mae Kong river. Not a very romantic view, with trash and tree branches in a shallow part, but it was nice in it's own way. We thought our waiter had made a mistake when we paid our bill. It just didn't seem like enough money. Hmm. He was right and it was cheap. After a stop at another little spot for some really good coffee, we hit the road.
Our friend Tay has a friend with a little shop across from the bus station and the friend has offered to sell our bags in her shop. Tonight we have work to do. There are tags to attach and bags to be bagged. Time to go to work.
Have a Wonderfilled WeekEnd. I'll leave you with the 'Funnies', sent to me by my friend Blue.


PS If you're from Oklahoma, get over it.


1. Go to a secondhand store and buy a pair of men's
used size 14-16 work boots.
2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy
of Guns & Ammo Magazine.
3. Put a few giant dog dishes next to the boots and
4 Leave a note on your door that reads:


Big'un, Duke, Slim, & I went for more ammo and beer.
Back in an hour. Don't mess with the pit bulls - they
attacked the mailman this morning and messed him up
bad. I don't think Killer took part, but it was hard
to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four
of 'em in the house. Better wait outside.

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Seasons Here in Thailand


The weather here is warming, the trees are shedding and the pool is calling. A birthday was celebrated again, and tomorrow we go on a little road trip.
A few of you got the song but I suspect more will write in after this clue. It's from the last line of the song. Give it a try.
"Our dreams have magic because we'll always stay in love this way __ __ __ __." Hint: Lead singers name is a gem, the song is forecasting the future.
There are basically three seasons here in Thailand. There's hot, hot and rainy, and winter. We're moving into the hot season and if I recall, the time right before and after winter, are the most pleasant. I think I'm actually getting used to it. I sort of gauge it by what clothing feels the most comfortable. I have just moved from jeans and long sleeves to my light cotton Thai pants and loose cotton sport shirts. When we first arrived I always considered T-shirts as a warm weather garment. I wondered why most Thai men wore button front sport shirts. Now I understand. One needs to have air circulating around the body. That still doesn't answer the question as to how some workers can wear long sleeved heavy shirts in this weather. I guess it's similar to robes in the desert. Hmm.
There is a stand of very tall trees across the road from our house. They have huge round leaves that are sometimes 10 inches in diameter. When the wind comes up and the leaves are blown off the trees it sounds like rain. Very eerie. Some of them blow into our yard and BamBam takes great delight in picking them up and chomping on them for a few minutes. She doesn't eat them, just likes to chew.
We keep thinking that today will be the day we'll go back into the pool. Then we stick a toe in the water and decide on tomorrow. The forecast calls for temps in the 90s very soon. The water can't resist getting warmer so soon we'll be splashing around and swimming laps again. Whoopee.
Today we lunched at Big C for my birthday. Then we browsed the sunglasses across from Black Canyon, where we ate. We couldn't resist and we each got a pair. Since it was a special day I got a pair of novelty glasses that make me look like an alien. Nothing like a little fun. Then we went upstairs and picked up something we've been meaning to get. A boom-box. We needed a portable music player that we could take out by the pool and also move around the house. It was made in Thailand, which is kinda cool. It even plays karaoke CDs and has a mike so you can sing along. Or not. (Ha)
Tomorrow we're going up to Mae Sai, which is the border town with Burma. We have to go to immigration for our three month check-in. It takes about an hour each way but the country side is fun so it should be a nice trip.
Welcome to Wacky Wednesday.


"To understand the heart and mind of a person,
look not at what he has already achieved,
but at what he aspires to."
~Kahlil Gibran

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Today we stayed on the compound. There was art and art work, ballet in the afternoon, and I started a three-day birthday marathon.
As usual, day two brought lots of responses on the song. Nothing like those little underscores to focus you on the title. The song was "My Best Friend's Girl" by The Cars. Now try this one: "__ __ __ __, and we'll have everything. We'll share the joy, falling in love can bring..." Clue: See I've given you the little lines on day one. That means you should have an easier time with this. (Ha) It's a female singer with a male back-up group from '63 and it's a love song.
Miss BamBam woke us up again this morning. She wakes up early and that naturally means that it's time to begin playing and eating and tasting. Well, not tomorrow. We told Boot to keep her downstairs until we get up. The morning was kind of lazy due to restless sleep on my part and a cloudy day outside. It really looked like it could rain but it didn't. Anyway, after lunch and a rest period, Lisa did some work on a new painting and I worked on the 'Art Bags'. It felt good to be productive.
Late afternoon saw the dining room turn into a dance studio of sorts. Napa and Tay arrived for Napa's ballet lesson. She's very bright and catches on quick. Even though it's not a formal teaching environment, she works hard.
You're probably wondering how I can possibly get away with a three-day marathon. It's simple. February 12 is my birthday. I will be busy tomorrow evening so we celebrated with a dinner this evening. Tomorrow is the actual day, which will be celebrated here. Friday in Thailand will be Thursday, the 12th in America, where I was actually born. Now you see how I've turned the time warp to my advantage. It's fun and confusing at the same time. This one makes it number 66. Simply amazed in Thailand.
For tonight's dinner we went to the restaurant that Johan took us to a few weeks ago. Boot, Lisa and I waded through the menu and we searched for a dish we had before. We found some things we could eat and Boot ordered for herself, in Thai. When the food came, we had two shrimp dishes and a green vegetable plate. When we asked Boot what she had ordered, she said she didn't know how to tell us in English. After some discussion and a reference to farmers and fields we got it down to an insect. A little later in the meal Lisa asked her if it was grasshopper and she said it was. No, we didn't taste it. It was offered but we declined. Hmm, maybe next time.
With that on your mind I'll leave you to a Wacky Wednesday.


"Hatred does not cease by hatred at any time;
hatred ceases by love.
This is an unalterable law."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Life in Chiang Rai

Ice Cream


Today was a busy day. There was a trip to Big C, BamBam got vocal and we worked on a monumental project. Plus all the usual observations of life in Chiang Rai.

I only got one response to this song. I'm a little surprised. It must be the rain in SoCal that muddled your memories. Try this: "Here she comes again. When she's dancing 'neath the starry sky she'll make you flip...You kinda like the way she dips __ __ __ __ __ (x2) And she used to be mine." Clue: There was a recent movie with the same title. Hmm.

Over the weekend, while strolling the aisles of Big C, I spotted some sandals that I had been looking for. Sandals are a big part of life here. They're cool on the feet and easy to take off when entering a home and some businesses. You see, shoes are removed when entering homes because traditionally, much of life is lived on the floor. That's where people eat, watch T.V. and hang out. That's not to say that people don't have furniture, but the 'old style' was very simple. Anyway, I wanted some sandals with a strap around the heel since slip-ons are not always practical for me. I bought the sandals and when we got home I realized that they hadn't removed the big plastic/magnetic security thingy. When we approached the check-out stand today they just laughed and removed it. Amazing Thailand.

This morning I heard a bump at our bedroom door and I knew who it was. It was BamBam. She came in wagging her whole backside and making her little whimpering sound. It's her 'So happy to see you' sound. She seemed a little agitated and we realized she missed Rene. They usually played in the mornings. What else could we do but play with the dog. She's been spending more time inside with us lately. If we leave her outside by herself she becomes 'goat dog', chewing on anything she can put in her mouth. She's partial to rocks but will bite leaves, mess with bugs and chew grass on occasion. We've tried putting supposedly bad tasting things on rocks but she likes pepper anyway. Hopefully it's a phase she'll grow out of.

The afternoon found us working on our 'bag project'. We have tote bags that have a silk-screen of Lisa's art on them and we're getting them ready for 'market'. There are two styles with two different art pieces from the Dancer Series that Lisa created since we've been here. Today we began putting bottom supports in the bags. You can go to Lisa's new website and click on 'Dancers' and look for 'Lighten Up' and 'Reach Out'. Those are the ones on the bags.

This evening I spotted a woman on a motorbike with her son riding on the seat in front of her. He was reading a comic book while they rode. Hmm.

It is now time for Happy Tuesday. Enjoy.



"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither,
but just to enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate."
~Thornton Wilder

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, February 9, 2009

Thai Massage


I'm back from a mellow weekend. There's dance news, a sad good-bye, and a full moon shining on a baby elephant. What does it all mean? Stay tuned.

I love it when I get mail. This weekend I got lots of mail about the song. Yes, it was "Fool On The Hill" by The Beatles.
"You're always dancing down the street with your suede blue eyes and every new boy that you meet, he doesn't know the real surprise..." Hint: It's by a group named after something we see on the streets, and it's about an old flame. Should be easy.

Sunday we went into town and had our usual massage. Actually is wasn't usual at all. Lisa's operator, Nong, was out sick so she had a substitute. She did a good job, but it wasn't Nong. While on the subject, there are some things to know about the Thai massage. First of all, there are several kinds. There's the foot massage, which is very popular. It can be very relaxing and you can take it from me, there's nothing like getting your 'feets did' as we jokingly say. It's usually more than just your feet. You get your lower legs, upper back and neck done as well. Then there's the full massage, which we get. You're given a pair of pajamas to wear and you stretch out on a mattress on the floor. They start at your feet and work out all the tight muscles all the way to your head. At the end there's even a kind of facial massage. Last but not least, is the oil massage. I've never had one but Lisa has. When you come to Thailand, you must experience the Thai massage at least once. Considering that here in Chiang Rai an hour costs about $6.00, how could you resist?

Late Saturday afternoon we got a call from Tay. She and Napa and the girls from the dance school had gone to Chiang Mai for a competition. The girls were going to be in the finals on Sunday. We found out Sunday that they took first place in the ballet division. Tay and the girls were very excited.

This morning we took Rene to the airport for his flight to Bangkok and then home to France. He's been here since mid December and we really like him a lot. Boot was very sad to see him go but he plans to return and stay in Thailand. They're very much in love and are very happy together.

Tonight I was driving past the Dusit Island Resort on my way home and by the light of the full moon I spotted a baby elephant and its handler walking by the side of the road. I have never seen this in Chiang Rai. We've seen them on the streets of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and though it's a great attraction for tourists, it's not good for the elephants at all. The handlers let people pet the trunk for good luck, for a fee. There was a time when teak wood was a big industry in Thailand and the elephants did the heavy work. Since the banning of teak harvesting, the elephants and the families that care for them have been out of work. Much effort has been made for them to be taken care of but not everyone finds that help. There's a hotel north of us that has a refuge for the elephants and their families and it's been a great success. Here's hoping the little guy I saw tonight will find a decent home.

Have a Fabulous Week.



"Of all the creature of earth, only human beings can change their patterns. Man alone is the architect of his destiny...

Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."

~William James

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Funnies

The wild week is over. So, maybe the weekend is for regrouping for another wild week. But if that's true, what about wild weekends? Oh, the conundrums of life. The fence is growing and we pay final respects.
The song so many of you knew was "You Send Me" and was sung by Sam Cooke. Remember that name, we'll visit him again.
"Day after day, alone on a hill, the man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still. But nobody wants to know him, they can see he's just a fool, and he never gives an answer. But __ __ __ __ __ sees the sun going down and the eyes in his head see the world spinning round." Hint: From the later years of the mop heads, guru who? The title is sprinkled in the lyric of this verse.
This morning I got the fencing and some paint and Rene set about completing the structure. I bought so much fencing the manager gave me a discount. The paint didn't work as planned but it may provide a small measure of protection.
This afternoon was the final episode in the week long tribute to Ao Mah. All week there have been evening services. Today there was an afternoon service and then a procession to the cemetery. The procession and burial were Chinese Buddhist while the previous services were Thai. We arrived at the temple in time to join the slow caravan. Here in Thailand, in the North at least, the old tradition was to carry the casket on the back of a horse-drawn wagon. These days it's a flatbed truck. A group of young men sat on the truck and tossed flower petals and play Chinese money down the entire route. There is much symbolism in everything and I learned that the flowers were to alert the spirits that Ao Mah was coming. The money symbolized that she was letting go of earthly things. Something to that affect. Anyway, there were about 60 people at the burial site. The temple provided a bus for the women of the village so they could attend. For almost two hours we visited and the family took more pictures and prepared the site. I walked up a hill to see the prep and discovered that there was a full feast of roast chicken, fruit, noodle dishes and sweets for Ao Mah.
When it was finally time to commit her to the earth, the family turned their backs so as not to have to watch and while a long string of firecrackers pierced the air, she was lowered into the ground. Much more happened after that but the family was on the hill and we just watched from below. This has been a very special chance for us to learn things about the culture first-hand. As we learned from Sutheera, it's a very 'blended' culture with tastes of many combined into one. Traditions are hard to maintain unless they are passed down. We were able to see that process. I will probably remember more things to tell you as time goes on so just know that this is not the end of this chapter.
Now it's time for the 'Funnies'. This week you can thank Cousin Trudye for the laughter. Have a Great WeekEnd.



Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.

Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags. Then try 50-lb potato bags and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level.) After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag.

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Living in Chiang Rai


Today there was a fencing fiasco, a ballerina blowup and a funereal family reunion. There's never a dull moment living in Chiang Rai.
I find it interesting how many of you knew the song but not the artist. I guess we have some work to do. (Ha) Need help?
"You thrill me. I know you thrill me. Darling, you thrill me, Honest you do." Hint: Change one word and you'll be cookin'. You'll have the chorus and the title. Oh, shoot me now for giving it away.
This morning Rene and I went out to look for fencing material for the 'dog run'. We started on what we call 'Bus Station Street' for obvious reasons. Not only does it have the station, but it also has a row of hardware suppliers so we figured it was a good place to start. Up and down the street we got the same answer: 'No have'. Then we went to my 'local' store and they had wire fencing but it wasn't galvanized, which meant it would rust. We went up and down the highway and finally went home. Tomorrow I'll buy the bare wire fencing and we'll paint it green and be done with it. It should blend nicely with the bamboo and the yard.
This afternoon Napa came over to get some ballet coaching for her upcoming dance competition this weekend. Normally she's all smiles and full of personality. Today she was a grouch. We found out she was having a spat with her mom. Not much to do about that. The show must go on. (Ha)
Tonight was the final night of services for Nukoon's mother. All of the relatives that we've ever heard about were there. We met lots of cousins and friends of the family. There was a different set of monks and it was basically the same service as Sunday night with two exceptions. The senior monk gave a teaching/sermon that was quite long. What made it interesting was that he spoke slowly and distinctly so it was easier to pick out words I knew. There were bits that allowed me to know a little of what he was talking about. Couldn't tell you a lot, but I got stuff. The second difference was the eulogy read by Sutheera, daughter-in-law of 'Ao Mah' After the service there was food and lots of picture taking. Something else I found interesting: All the family/friends pictures were taken in front of the casket. As if to quietly make sure that 'Ao Mah' was included. After all, the whole week was about paying respects and remembering. Tomorrow afternoon we'll return to the temple and go to the cemetery with the family. It has certainly been an educational and enlightening week.
Have a Cool Thursday.


"The most influential person who will talk to you all day is you,
so you should be very careful about what you say to you!"
~Zig Ziglar

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


It was another warm day in Chiang Rai. The days start off cool but by mid-morning you can feel it coming on. We went to school, men cleaned the pool and work began on the wild animal compound.
Don't shoot me, I didn't write it. I hum it a lot though. Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" was the song in question. Whew.
"At first I thought it was infatuation But woo, it's lasted so long Now I find myself wanting To marry you and take you home
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh...__ __ __..." Hint: I don't care when you were born, you gotta know this one. Honest, you do.
Yesterday, while driving to get the bamboo, Rene and I had a conversation about levels of logic. It has become apparent that there are many levels of logic. Driving in Thailand has shown me that what was logical in America, is not necessarily logical here. Driving on the wrong side of the road is a perfectly logical way to get around traffic here. That's not the same conclusion that would be drawn by an officer of the law in California. Rene recalled an incident where he was riding without his helmet and a policeman pulled up on a bike, with two children on it. He motioned for Rene to put on his helmet. He wasn't wearing one. Hmm.
This concept will grow in my mind and I'll probably be able to express it more clearly as I go deeper. You know how it is when you decide to be a philosopher. (Ha)
Our big adventure today was the party at Chiang Rai Tech. The students (60) were given sheets with questions they could try and ask, in English. We stood at the front of the classroom and asked for questions. It became very obvious that it was going to take some time to warm them up. They were very shy and those that did ask questions asked them with little quiet voices. It was mostly young men in their late teens. There were some young women and one of them wasn't shy at all. We ended up in two groups. One of the members of my group happened to be the president of the English Club. He was full of conversation and questions. When an hour had passed we had made new friends and some of them had opened up with their English. Snacks were set up buffet style and we hung around and talked and took pictures. I traded email addresses with the club pres. and another from our group wanted a picture of the two of us. We left there feeling really good about the whole encounter.
Rene is doing a very creative thing with the little enclosure for the dogs. (notice my optimistic use of the plural?) I'm taking some progress pics so you can see how it evolved. Today BamBam was hanging out with him while he worked on it. Little does she know that it will restrict her in the future. Hmm.
Tomorrow I may be a little late with this. We'll be attending the last of the funeral services and it may run late.
Have a Wacky Wednesday.


"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars
or sailed to an uncharted land
or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."
~Helen Keller

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


The rain never came but visitors did. I found the bamboo connection and the puppy project is on hold.
A few of you recognized the song and that was cool. The next line may wake up some minds. "Because something is happening here but you don't know what it is, do you, Mister Jones?" Clue: There's a thin line between reality and 'whatever'. It's supposed to be a ballad. And you thought they were only used as love songs. (Ha)
The forecast was for rain. We were hopeful but not excited because this happens often here without results. There has been an increase in burning lately. I guess it's due to the fact that so many corn fields lost their value. Rain would be cleansing
This morning we went to see our vet, Khun Arnon, to ask him if he'd heard any news on the puppy front. He made a call to a friend of his and we followed him to Emmy's Kennel. Emmy specializes in Golden Retrievers and is a breeder. There was group of pups that were just begging to go with us but they had already been sold. One of the 'moms' had a fairly new litter and even though we have to wait, we gave her a deposit on a male. We met the father and Dr. Arnon said he would stand by the health of the dogs. That sure beats guessing at a pet store. Looks like the end of March will be our target.
This afternoon we had a visit from Third and his aunt Lalita and her friend Tang. They are starting an English school for children here in Chiang Rai and wanted to know if we'd come and talk to the students. The school isn't open yet but when it does we'll do our bit. They're focusing on kids between 7 and 12 with the idea of full communication. Tang works in Bangkok as a researcher with the government and is a very interesting person. The adventure continues.
Speaking of adventure, after our guests left, Rene, Boot and I went to a place on the highway that sells rough wood. I call it that because it's not a lumber yard. We went there to get some bamboo for a dog run on the side of the house. It was amazing, seeing the big stacks of long bamboo poles. Rene is going to build the fence and knew just what he needed. He measured the pieces he chose and a worker cut them to the proper length. Tomorrow he'll look for the fencing material and start work on it. There are times when we want to be outside without Miss BamBam getting into everything.
Tomorrow we've been invited to a party at the English class over at Chiang Rai Tech where we made the tapes with Lek. It will be interesting to meet her students and see if they can converse in English.
Have a Happy Tuesday.


"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
~T. S. Eliot

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, February 2, 2009


It was a busy weekend here in Chiang Rai. We continued to fend for ourselves, Napa christened the 'new' pool, and we attended the first night of a Buddhist service for a dear departed matriarch.
The weekend song was easy for some. It was "Dance To The Music" by Sly and the Family Stone. This may be harder to get:
"You walk into the room with your pencil in your hand. You see somebody naked and you say, "Who is that man?". You try so hard
but you don't understand, just what you'll say when you get home." Hint: It's by a self-proclaimed poet who entered the scene in the 60's and is still going strong. The title of this song is not in the lyrics. Very mysterious.
Boot and Rene returned from Rayong late this afternoon. They were glad to be back and we were happy to see them. With the exception of the night we went to dinner with Johan, we ate at home for the whole time Boot was gone. We figured we'd be eating out a lot but Lisa did a masterful job of preparing delicious meals. We watered, took out trash, ironed our clothes and did all the things grown-ups do. (Ha) BamBam was very happy to see her 'mom'. She was a little beside herself for awhile. Now things can return to normal. We learned that BamBam has an internal clock that tells her when it's 7:00 a.m. and that means 'get up and feed me'.
Sunday was the busiest day in a long time. Tay and Napa came over for a ballet lesson. After Napa finished dancing she changed into her swim suit and, without even testing the water, jumped right into the pool. She was determined to go in and when asked if the water was cold, answered with an emphatic 'No'. I suspect this will be a normal occurrence from now on. The temperature is creeping up about one degree per day. We'll probably hit the water next week.
We got a call from Sutheera telling us that Nukoon's mother has passed. Just to bring you up to speed, 'Loh Ma' (Grandma) as she was called, was the matriarch of our 'Little Family' that looks out for us and is Ming's great-grandmother. She had quite a colorful life and, at 93, was loved by everyone in her village. When the members of the village found out, they gathered at Nukoon's house and took care of everything. Sunday night we went to the first night of services that will end on Thursday. We'll go back for that one as well. On Friday she will be taken to the cemetary. It was explained to us that this will be a combination funeral. The services are at a Buddhist temple but since she was Chinese, she will be buried and not cremated. We're learning something new with every turn. We were asked to participate in the Sunday night service by taking banana leaves filled with rice and placing them in front of the one of the monks. There were four monks presiding over the ceremony. Each night there is a service and then socializing and game playing.
Tomorrow we go on our search for a puppy. Now that Boot is back and can look after BamBam, we will begin the 'baby-sitting' for 'our' dog. (Ha) We've settled on looking for a Golden Retriever or a variation on that theme. Part of the adventure will be in the communication with whoever has puppies.
Lots more to tell of course, but that's all for now. Have a Stupendous Week.


"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children."
~Ancient Indian Proverb

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style