Thursday, December 31, 2009



It was another busy day for us. We spent most of the day away from the house. The light rain was just a little annoying.

Well, I got a lot of right answers on this one. I know a few of you probably know this but just didn't answer.
"...I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It's gonna be a bright, bright sun-shiny day." Hint: It should be clear to you that it's an easy one.

This morning I got some vitamins that I can't get in Thailand. After that we had lunch with our friends Paul and Joy and Leilani, their five month old baby. She's a beautiful baby with a great smile and seemed pretty mellow. We got caught up on the latest news and had some good Thai food.

After lunch we dropped by the house, made a few calls, and headed for Alhambra to visit our friend Debby. She and Lisa have known each other since their teen years. More catching up on family news and what's going on in our lives. We had some interesting conversations about learning languages. She has been teaching English as a second language for years and had some great insights.

Our next stop was Altadena. Today was 'tech day'. Between the two of us we helped my mom clean out most of her 'inbox' on her computer. She belongs to several sororities and has a vast collection of minutes and agendas that has piled up. Later I showed her how to use the digital camera her sister Sara gave her. When we realized it was past dinner time, I went out and got some food and we took a break.

Tomorrow morning we have breakfast at Dinah's, and lunch in Chinatown. The tour continues.

Have a Beautiful Thursday.


"You progress not through improving what has been done,
but reaching toward what has yet to be done."
~Kahlil Gibran

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, December 30, 2009



It it currently raining in Culver City. It's still cold, but not as cold as yesterday in San Jose when we landed. We visited Palo Alto, and Oakland and made it back on the same day. Whew

The smooth song you remembered was "The Girl From Ipanema" by Stan Getz and Astrid Gilberto. Is this wishful thinking: "__ __ __ __ __ the rain has gone." Hint: It's officially easy Wednesday so you get a break.

Getting up at 3:45am was a very strange thing to do, for us. It was dark and cold, but we did it. The drive through the dark streets of the city felt like something mysterious was about to happen. It was. We were going to park our car, get on a bus, and then get on an airplane. That's mysterious. Hmm.

As we prepared for our descent into San Jose the pilot informed us that it was 39 degrees. Hey, that's just 7 above freezing. Turn this thing around. (Ha) This time we had scarves and gloves, which made a difference. What we really needed was one of the full face masks like people wear in Chiang Rai. I don't think security would have looked too kindly on that. You'd be seeing us on the news. Anyway, the coldest part was waiting for the bus to go to the rental car. When we got to our rental stall, there was a '09 Mazda 6 waiting for us. What a nice car. Bigger than the '6' we're driving in L.A. Feels like a luxury car with that ride that floats. I'll just file that away for future times.

After the ice was scraped off the windows, we drove north to Palo Alto and picked up Lisa's Dad, Joe, and headed out for breakfast. This is always a special time, catching up over a meal and filling in the blanks of our lives. He has another art show coming up and we now understand all it takes, and some of what he's going through. Back in his studio, we got to see some of the work, framed and ready to hang. The studio itself is a wonderland. There is something to see at every turn. There are works in progress, finished pieces, early works, and tons of memorabilia. Always something to be learned.

After breakfast, I hit the wall, too sleepy to stand. I finally gave in and took a nap. Knowing that I had to drive the freeways later was my motivation. That and the falling eye-lids. While I slept in the car, Lisa and Joe went over questions, problems, and solutions regarding his cast acrylic process and other art things.

Our next stop in the northern saga was Oakland. This time we wrote down the directions from Mapquest and got there without getting lost. We were meeting The Bay Area Cousins for what has become a traditional lunch. This time was different because the group has grown. Albert and his wife Rochelle are now part of the Cousin Lunch crew. Albert is Eunice's son. I hadn't seen him in over 20 years (I think), and it was a very special reunion. We all had a wonderful time that seemed too short. We'll just have to continue the energy through email and phone calls.

Our return to the south was basically uneventful. We went through airport security like the pros that we are. Knowing what to expect and surrendering to it are what makes it easy. Did I say 'easy'? My mistake, I should have said 'tolerable'. We do what has to be done.

Time to consult the calendar and get into the day. Stay dry and have a Wacky Wednesday,


"Never make your home in a place.
Make a home for yourself inside your own head.
You'll find what you need to furnish it -
memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things.
That way it will go with you wherever you journey."
~Tad Williams

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, December 29, 2009



Today was a day of movement. We traveled to Brentwood, the new mall, back to Brentwood and.... Of course that's nothing like what's going to happen tomorrow.

See, I told you it was easy. A lot of you knew the song. For those in doubt, it was the first Bossa Nova hit.
"Ooh, but he watches so sadly. How can he tell her he loves her? Yes, he would give his heart gladly. But each day when she walks to the sea, she looks straight ahead not at he..."

This morning we had a lunch cancellation and ended up taking C-Bass to an appointment in Brentwood. We both needed socks so we went to the Fox Hills Mall to check it out and do some light shopping. I like the changes they've made. We had lunch in the new food court and found what we needed.

This afternoon Lisa had coffee with our friend Vivian while I went back to the mall to get a case for my new computer. This gave me an opportunity to check out the new Target. As you know, I like Target and any reason to walk through is good enough for me. I must say, it's quite a big store. I stayed focused so I'll have to go back in order to give it a full review. (Ha)

We had an appointment with our accountant in Brentwood at 4pm. The 405 got us there right on time. After that meeting we went over to the new Trader Joe's on Olympic. What a nice store. Big isles, lots of stuff and a weird little parking lot on top. There's a guy directing traffic and as we were leaving, he was helping us out of our space and Lisa commented that he didn't have a whistle. That's right. We'll have to go back and give him one and explain how and when to use it. (555)

Time to go to bed. Have to get up at 3:45am tomorrow.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"The soul is the same in all living creatures,
although the body of each is different."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, December 25, 2009


T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house, lots of creatures were stirring all over the place.

The song a few of you got is probably being played on the radio right now. I'm going to give it another day, in the spirit of 'giving'. "They know that Santa's on his way. He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh. And every mother's child is gonna spy, to see if reindeer really know how to fly..." Hint: This is where the giving ends. No hints today. Ho Ho Ho.

Today I was under the illusion that I could just drive over to the mall for some socks. (Ha) The joke was on me. That place was a gridlocked monster. I never got in the building. There seemed to be an urgency about the whole thing that was unusual. A sign of the times, or culture shock. Whatever the reason, people and cars have been dashing about all day.

We had a really nice turkey dinner here at the house. After dinner there was lots of talking and laughing with the boys. They were kept out of the 'wrapping room' and once August had gone to bed, the transfer began.

Tomorrow I'll pick up my mom and bring her over so she can share Christmas morning with the kids. In the evening we'll go to Pasadena for our traditional family dinner.

I hope you have a pleasant day.


"Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me..."
~Jill Jackson Miller

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Return


Yesterday was a busy one. I got crunched, we traveled downtown, presents were wrapped, and I made a turkey run in rush hour traffic.

The 'Easy' song was "Mustang Sally", by Wilson Pickett. You really should have written me. Now I'm going to have to give you another easy song for a one day only pass. This has become a standard that's played this time of year. Duh. "And so I'm offering this simple phrase, to kids from one to ninety-two, although it's been said many times many ways, Merry Christmas to you." Clue: The title is three words, very obvious. It's also known by the first line of the song.

Our day began with a visit from Peaches. She's a Cocker Spaniel who always makes a morning 'Hello' visit to our room, just like BamBam. After breakfast we went over to Franco's office. He's been our chiropractor for years. Based on how I felt after my 'meteor crash' I knew I needed re-alignment. I was right and now I feel better.

From Franco's we went down to Chinatown. We strolled around, saw some of our old friends, and did some shopping. We had lunch at our favorite restaurant down there and headed home. Sounds simple, but there was a lot of walking involved. (Ha) Later in the afternoon we got a call from my mom that the turkey she got for us was being delivered to her house. We're talking cooked and ready to eat. Well, that meant it needed to be picked up. I braved the 'Get away day' traffic and drove to Altadena and picked up the bird. I will never complain about slow traffic in Chiang Rai again. I may complain about how people drive, but now I know slow traffic.

Meanwhile, back in Bangkok, Sunday was a day with no schedule. We could do whatever we wanted and we did. We took the Skytrain to Pantip Plaza. This is a very large building that looks like 3 or 4 Best Buys plus Santee Alley all wrapped into one. The first and second floors are mostly electronics stalls. You name it, they got it. It may not be the original, but it doesn't seem to slow sales. We lunched at the Plaza and then took a cab to Siam Paragon. It's on the other end of the scale. We saw a Porsche bicycle that costs $18,000, a new Lamborghini, and had coffee at the True Experience, where I sat under a plastic dome and listen to music from my iPhone without disturbing anyone else.

We went back to our hotel and relaxed and then went back to Siam Paragon for dinner and more looking around. It was like a little vacation before coming to America.

Happy Whatever you Celebrate this time of year.


"Seek goodness in others.
Love more persons . . .
more impersonally,
more unselfishly,
without thought of return.
The return, never fear, will take care of itself."
~Henry Drummond

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, December 23, 2009



This morning I picked up the car we'll drive for the rest of our stay, cookies were made, and this evening 'Jet Lag' struck.

The 'Easy' song proved easy for some. "__ __, guess you better slow your __ down (repeat)..." Clue: The extra 'blank' would make the line a dead giveaway. (Ha) Really, it's easy. For the desperate, it's part of the title.

The first thing I did today was turn in our one day rental car and get the one for the remainder of our stay. It's a Mazda 6, just like the doctor ordered. Lisa ran errands in it today. This is her first time driving in a long time and I could tell by the look on her face that she really enjoyed it.

This afternoon Lisa, Anna, and August made and decorated holiday cookies. They came up with some very creative items that will no doubt be eaten with joy.

Over the weekend in Bangkok we stayed in a tiny (11 rooms) hotel. Saturday we went to BronzeSmith to see the building where four of Lisa's paintings are for sale. They have started putting together a Feng Shue room and that's where they hang. We met the manager, Khun Supat, who took us on a tour of all three floors. The place is jam packed with sculptures of all kinds. A lot of beautiful work. Then he drove us up to Chinatown in rush hour traffic. A noble deed. We went there to go to an art store that sells a line of products that Lisa uses in her cast acrylic prints. After searching and asking for directions within the building, we finally got help when we had a shop owner call the store and ask them in Thai where they were. Then he had a security guard take us there. Lisa found what she needed and they will ship it to our house in Chiang Rai. Cool.

We took a cab back to our hotel and got to see the most amazing light show ever. Bangkok was all decorated in lights. There were displays in store windows, lights on bridges, and buildings with lights hanging down the sides like falling rain. We once asked why there was so much decorating when most Thai's don't celebrate Christmas and the answer was: "It's fun." We like fun.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about our Sunday in BKK. Right now the Jet Lag has set in and my eyes are getting heavy.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"And the day came when the risk
to remain tight in a bud was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom."
~Anais Nin

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Together (Monday Late Edition)


We're back in America. Over the next few days I'll tell you about our weekend in Bangkok, but first, the trip.

The song you missed this weekend was "What'd I Say?" by Ray Charles. You shoulda known. 'Easy Monday' is here. If you don't recognize it, keep reading the message for a great clue. " been runnin' all over town, now, I guess I have to put your flat feet on the ground." Hint: It's about a woman and her car.

Monday morning, Bangkok time, we got an early start to the airport. We had time to get a 45 minute foot massage, which was needed after all the walking we did over the weekend. After check-in, we went up to the EVA Airline lounge and hung out until flight time.

This trip across the water was the fastest one yet. It took 13 hours of actual flight time. We arrived at LAX and stood in lines for immigration and baggage. That took about an hour. Whew.

When we got to the rental car agency, we found our stall number and got a big surprise. Imagine my shock when sitting there was a Mustang convertible, complete with V8 engine. Don't get me wrong, I love the rumble of a big engine, but I also like driving past gas stations. We had a bunch of laughs, sang the song of the day that related to the car and roared off. Tomorrow morning I do an exchange at another lot and see what we get.

I've already gone through a bit of culture shock. I had to go to the 'New Fox Hills Mall' (that's what I'm calling it) to get more time on my US SIMM card for my iPhone. Wow, the place is amazing. Nothing like the Night Bazaar.

We've had some fun visits with The Boys and had a great 'Family Dinner' over Dinah's Chicken. Welcome to L.A.

Have a Great Week.


"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
~Helen Keller

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Funnies


This will be my last message from Thailand for three weeks. I'll be writing to you from America starting Monday. That's if I can stay awake. (Ha) Today was all about last minute this and that, a vet visit, and a run to the Night Bazaar. Whew.

Our mid week song didn't get much response. After much discussion, Barry and I agreed that "My Little Red Book" was by Love. That's in spite of the fact that Manfred Mann recorded it first for the movie "What's New Pussycat". Love had the hit and the Grammy. It was written by Bacharach and David, who didn't like Love's version. And so it goes with Rock and Roll. (555) Now it's time for some 'Old School Friday'. What?
"Tell your mama, tell your pa, I'm gonna send you back to Arkansas. All right, baby __ __ __, whoa all right, baby __ __ __..." Hint: Part 2 was tons of fun with call and response. Actually four words contracted into three. (Ha) Early hit ('59) from a legendary artist. Even 'New School Kids' should know this one.

Daku went for his last puppy shot today. He didn't like it at all, but he's over it now. He's gained a few pounds since his last visit. Now he weighs 73 lbs and he'll be 11 months on the 24th. (I know, that's a lot of numbers)

This afternoon Johan came by and we talked about lighting for the waterfall, but mostly discussed places to go in Bangkok. We'll be there for two days and there are a few things we're looking for. Mainly household things that can't be found in Chiang Rai.

We leave tomorrow morning for Bangkok (BKK) and in the afternoon we'll go to BronzeSmith to see Lisa's art. The store is three floors of bronze and ceramic statues and decorations. We've been told that Lisa's paintin will be the first on sale in the store.

Sunday will be wide open to do what we want. I'm sure I'll have a few tales to tell. We fly out of BKK on Monday morning and arrive in America Monday afternoon. Ah, the mystery continues. Leave one continent, travel 18 hours and arrive on another continent that afternoon. Hmm, still waiting for the transporter to beam me there in an instant.

Time to go pack the bags with basics for three weeks, plus things like chargers, storage discs, earphones, and passports.

It's time for the 'Funnies'. Thanks Shalini.

Have a Thrilling WeekEnd. See you in America.


I just read an article on the dangers of drinking....
Scared the sh*t out of me.
So that's it!
After today, no more reading!!

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, December 17, 2009



Today was another beautiful day in Chiang Rai. There were visitors to the house, we had a coffee date, a dinner party, and there's a Big Ass concert across the river.

"...and I went from A to Z. I took out every pretty girl in town, they danced with me, and as I held them, all I did was talk about you. Hear your name and I'd start to cry. There's just no getting over you, oh no...There ain't no girl in __ __ __ __ who ever could replace your charms..." Clue: Four words. One of them is a color which is usually black but in this case it's different. The group name can be found in many songs of romance. It's one word. Hmm.

This morning I washed all of our Solar Sun Rings (they'll keep the pool warm when we get more sun on the pool), and prepared them for storage while we're gone. Tye came over to visit with Lisa, and I made a dog food run.

After lunch we went to Doi Chaang and met Atom's younger sister Sunny. We had some really interesting conversations and learned that she's been living in New Zealand since she was 12, staying with a couple there and going to school. She will return in February to go to university. This is the same path that her three older sisters have also taken. After coffee they followed us back to the house so Sunny could see our place.

After our company left, we went back downtown for a massage. I was hoping to get some relief from the trauma of falling on my butt. I think it helped. We went an hour later than our usual time and the place was almost empty, which made for a more relaxing time. It also put us in rush-hour traffic, which really doesn't add that much time to the drive home.

While we were getting ready for the dinner party we heard brief bits of music coming from across the river. I could tell that it was a 'sound check'. We put two and two together and realized that this was the night for the big concert. On the bill were Potato and Big Ass. It would be a night of Rock and Roll, Thai style.

The dinner party we were invited to was to start around 'sixish' (probably not a word) and we got there at a perfect time. We had learned from our hosts that their house was a work in progress. When we arrived, we found that a lot of progress had already been made. It's an incredible house on one of the hills in 'Moo Ban Falang' and some of our other friends in the compound were there. We were given the grand tour, which included going up a spiral staircase. The rooms were huge and there's lots of wood. Walter and Pani have put a lot of time and effort into building a very unique home. He did a lot of the wood work himself. He used to be a dentist. I had a long conversation with a neighbor of theirs named Guy, who is from Texas. We had a tasty buffet dinner and then they surprised Guy with a birthday cake. It was a good time and we now have more new friends.

We just got home a little while ago and the music is pumping from across the river. When I took Daku out for his evening exercise he got distracted by all the sounds. Big Ass was playing and it was good. I could hear the audience singing along with them. They're one of the first groups I heard when we came over in January of 2007. Interesting point here: Their name is Big Ass whether you speak Thai or English. Amazing Thailand.

Have a Cool Thursday.


"The light around someone who speaks truth, who consistently acts
with compassion for all, even in great difficulty, is visible to all
around them."
~Jack Kornfield

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



Today we went to an antique store, said good-bye to our friend, and got more invitations to do things. Looks like we'll need the flight to America to get some rest.

The song many of you missed was "School Boy Crush" by Average White Band. Yeah, you knew that. Try this:
"I just got out __ __ __ __ the minute that you said good-bye. I thumbed right through __ __ __ __, I wasn't gonna sit and cry..." Hint: Hit by an L.A. band, written by a team with many hits of a smoother nature. There's a literary theme here.

This morning we took John down to Work@Home for lunch and then went next door to Doi Chaang for a look at the new antique store. Fortunately, Khun Newt was there and the moment she and John met each other, there was magic. She immediately recognized the beads he was wearing and they went into a discussion about beads and artifacts that was non-stop. She brought out a big book on beads and John exclaimed that he had the book and had met the author. It was fun just watching the two of them relating on such an enthusiastic level. They were giddy. I think the visit to the little store will definitely be a factor in his return to Chiang Rai. After our visit there we went next door for some delicious coffee. Then it was off to the airport, which has recently been remodeled. We said our good-byes, made a few stops for essentials and returned home.

We got an invitation to a dinner party tomorrow night at the home of a couple we met at the Le Meridien art show opening. In the afternoon we're meeting Atom at Doi Chaang to meet her sister who has been studying in New Zealand. Oh, and Tye is coming over in the morning to visit with Lisa. Needless to say, our last few days here are going to be filled with more excitement than just packing bags.

This evening we had dinner with Johan at a restaurant we'd never been to before. It's on the main road, in the southern part of town. The structure is like a giant, traditional Thai house. It's on stilts so the downstairs is all open. We ate upstairs where there are many private rooms with air-conditioning during the warm weather. We sat on the outer deck and looked down on a stage where there was live entertainment. The food was good, the show was very good, and we left with another wonderful option when looking for somewhere to go. I took some pics with my phone that I'll have to post before we leave town.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Remember the powerful presence that you are.
Remember the powerful being that you are.
Remember the light that you are."
~Aq'naton Ben-Ish

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, December 15, 2009



Last night we saw a meteor. Today we went into the Central Market, found a hide-away in the middle of town, and John returned from Burma.

"She said 'Hey, wait a minute, hold on (repeat)'. When ever I try to think of what it feels like, to feel it for the first time, and was it really such a thrill? She said 'Look boy, but don't touch, that ain't much, only a __ __ __."

Last night was the last chance for us to see a meteor shower. We went out around 10pm and stood in the driveway, looking up. Just as we decided to use the lounge chairs from the pool, we saw a big meteor streak across the sky. Lisa saw some tiny ones that must have been farther away, but the main one seemed close. It was almost like fireworks, or a special effect. Then we got the chairs out and I didn't set one end of the legs right and when I sat down, it dropped me to the ground, hard. It was about 6 or 8 inches and I was not prepared. Today I'm sore but it seems to be getting better. What we won't do for stars.

This morning we ventured into the market in search of shoes, a basket, and a local coconut treat. We actually found everything we were looking for. We also found a lady making the sticky rice desserts that Boot used to bring us. The market is such an amazing place. Today, while Lisa's coconut treat was cooking she had a conversation with two women, in Thai. When it got to the location of our house, one of the women knew the house and got very excited. Then a nurse friend of ours from Overbrook Hospital walked by and we talked to her. It was a great morning.

Speaking of coconuts, one of our trees has some baby coconuts on it. That will be so cool. Not sure if the tree is old enough to produce mature fruit. More to learn about. At least we know that it's possible. Now the question is, do I climb the tree, tropical style, or use a long-handled saw. (Ha) I think you know the answer.

We ate lunch on Jetyod Rd. in the downtown area. After lunch we walked down the street looking for the guest house run by one of the ballet mothers. We found it down a long driveway. There, in the middle of a busy area, was an oasis. A simple, peaceful, garden with about 6 or 8 rooms I think. Lots of shade and flowers. It's called Baan Bua (Lotus house).

This evening, after ballet, we picked up John across from the bus station and went to dinner. We took him over to the river, where we ate on Saturday night. He told us tales of travel, and isolated villages he found. The restaurant had a cool jazz trio playing tonight. Two guitarists and a woman singer. The head waiter makes jokes about coming to our house for a deep sleep. We always laugh and now we're buddies.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"I am part of all that I have met."
Ulysses, from Homer's 'Odyssey'

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, December 14, 2009



We had quite a weekend. There was a 'Family' dinner, the Night Bazaar, and the dogs got baths. We also observed some interesting transporting of objects. Hmm.

I made a little mistake on our 'Old School Friday' song. The title was really only three words, but that didn't stop a bunch of you from knowing that it was Barbara Lewis singing "Baby, I'm Yours". 'Easy Monday' is easy:
"Meet me in the playground, at a quarter to four, wait till everybody's long gone. There must be so many things that we can explore, maybe I can walk you home..." Hint: You'll be crushed if you don't get this one. The title is in three words, by a group that was actually above average.

Saturday morning we went to Big C. Boot went with us this time. We discovered that she was having trouble with her eyesight, so she got an exam at our favorite 'eye shop'. After two examinations, she picked some frames and we expected them to tell us to come back during the week. We were told to come back after we shopped and they would be ready. Sure enough, when we returned with our cart of groceries the glasses were ready and Boot is thrilled at how clear the world looks.

In the evening we went to Leelawadee for dinner with our Thai family. There were nine of us and we had a fun time. Lots of food, laughter and some interesting conversations. One topic was the fact that there are many English words used, mixed in with Thai. It all started when Third got a phone call and answered 'Hello'. Many people do this and we wondered why. It seems that there are modern terms that have a Thai translation, but the Thai word is not used. There is a word in Thai for 'computer', but it's rarely used. Nu's fiance, Dr. Nan, invited us to come and see her new dental clinic on Sunday. Words cannot describe how beautiful her clinic is. The color motif is lavender and pink and it has a very warm, inviting feeling. At some point we'll go back and take some pictures so you can see for yourself. It didn't feel like a dentist's office at all.

Sunday afternoon Lisa gave both dogs a shower while I ran an errand. BamBam loves water so it's not too hard. Daku, on the other hand, can't stand any part of it. He stands there and whimpers and gives pitiful looks. Both of them did an odd thing at the end of their shower. Instead of shaking off in the shower stall, they stepped into the bathroom and then shook the water off. Not how it's supposed to go.

Sunday night we had dinner at the Night Bazaar and then did the last of our holiday shopping. While we were walking around we ran into our Thai teacher, Janya and her husband Barry. It's always fun to see someone we know in the midst of the crowd. It's 'High Season' now and there are lots of 'visitors' all over town.

This afternoon, on our way to our massage, we followed a three-wheeled motorcycle with a load of bicycles. The motorcycle is basically the back half of a bike, with a cart attached to the front. Two wheels in front and one in back. The driver steers by moving a horizontal bar connected to the cart. This guy had eight bicycles stacked on their sides, sitting in front of him. He had to stand up at times to see the street. Amazing Thailand.

Have a Great Week.


"Choices are the hinges of destiny."
~Edwin Markham

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai is beautiful this time of year. The flowers are blooming, food is blooming, and we had a great lunch experience.

The song you almost remembered was "You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes. That wasn't so hard was it? For our 'Old School Friday' song I'm going to give you another easy one. I hope this one rings a bell. (not a clue)
"__ __ __ __ ( __ __ __ __ ) and I'll be yours until the stars fall from the sky, yours until the rivers all run dry, in other words, until I die, __ __ __ __" Hint: I think it's already been given away.

It's that time of year when everything is in bloom and riding around town is a very colorful sight. In fact, while we're away there will be the annual Flower Festival. It's a shame that the timing is such that we miss it every year. There's also a Food Festival going on at the old airport, but we're missing that by choice.

Today we went to the home of Poui and Jimmy for lunch. There was another couple there that we'd never met. It turns out that the compound they live on is the same one as two other couples we've recently met. We didn't know we were going some place we'd been before. Weird how that works. Most of the people living in the compound are expatriots. The locals call it 'Moo Ban Falang' (foreigner village). Their house was built 10 years ago by Poui's mom. She bought an old house and took the wood to build her new house. This is commonly done here. It's set on a hillside and gives the feeling that you're in the woods. Next time we go I'll take some pictures. Lunch was delicious, the conversations were fun and informative and we left feeling like we'd like to do it again.

Tomorrow we're going to take 'The Family' to dinner. It's a combination celebration of Jen's birthday, her son Pui's birthday, and Nu's upcoming wedding. There will be lots of food, laughter and merriment.

We still have more things to do before we leave. Tonight I'll get the suitcase out and we'll start making the decisions about clothes. The winter trip means bringing warm clothes, which means I'd better not forget my thermals.

It's time for the 'Funnies', and archive item from our friend Blue. Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.



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, December 10, 2009



Today we had another cold morning. Not as cold as some places in America, but cold for us. We went to a dance recital, and had unexpected visitors.

By the looks of things, our current song could have been an 'Easy' one. Lots of you got it but I'm still waiting for the rest of you to get it. Here's some of the chorus: "__ __ __ __, no, you just have to wait. She said love don't come easy, it's a game of give and take..." Hint: It was the summer of '66 and three young women with big hair and glamorous gowns were all the rage.

You're probably getting tired of me talking about how cold it is here, but let me put things in perspective. The weather for most of the year is like summertime in most places. It's so warm here that they don't even put heaters in the cars and trucks. That means that when it drops down into the 50s, you'd better wrap up for the ride. (Ha) I got a message from my brother Denny, in Parker, Colorado and he said the outside temperature on their car thermometer read -9 degrees. Now that's cold.

This afternoon we went over to the Dusit Island Resort, which is just over the bridge and around the corner from us. We knew it was going to be kids from a 'Dance School', but had no idea how many were involved. The lobby was buzzing with mostly girls ranging from tiny little three year olds all the way to teens. There was lots of makeup and quite a variety of costumes. We got settled in the auditorium and waited. When it finally started, it was with music. We don't know what it was but it probably had something to do with the King. Everyone jumped to their feet as the music began. After the song, the mistress of ceremonies introduced the 'presenter', which is the way most artistic events begin. It was the Governor of the Province of Chiang Rai. After his opening comments things began. The room was set up for 200 and there must have been at least 150 family members and well-wishers. After about an hour, there was an intermission. We went to the lobby and had coffee and talked with Tye, who had invited us. This is the only dance school in town so this was a big deal. All of the various groups did a second number and when the dancing was over they started handing out certificates. Tye told us we could leave and we did. Two hours was quite enough. After all, we missed our nap time.

Late in the afternoon BamBam started barking in her 'watch dog' tone so I went down to see what was going on. Boot's friend Jindah, her husband and daughter, plus two of the husband's friends were in the back looking at the pool. One of the friends has a house in Koh Samui, in the south and is thinking about building one. They took pictures and spoke in French. One of them spoke a little English and told me that he lives 2 months in France, then 3 months in Thailand and so it goes. I don't know what he does, but now I'm curious. Hmm.

I found out that all the activity last week with the helicopters and soldiers was in preparation for the niece of the King. That explains a lot. It would appear that our little town is growing and getting more recognition. Even though we are in the northern most 'city' in the country, Chiang Mai is referred to as 'the north'. Looks like that may be changing.

Have a Warm Thursday.


"Wherever you go, go with all your heart."
Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, December 9, 2009



With a week and a half before we leave for America, thoughts now turn to packing, travel, and the whirlwind 'tour' that each trip becomes. In the midst of all that we still have places to go and people to see here. The adventure continues.

Just in case you missed it, the 'Easy' song was The Beatles singing "I Want To Hold Your Hand". This next one may take a little thought: "I need love, love to ease my mind. I need to find, find someone to call mine, but mama said: __ __ __ __ ...." Hint: Three young women from the Motor City singing about not rushing into things. Well, one thing in particular.

Tomorrow we're going to a dance recital at the Dusit Island Resort. One of Lisa's students, Nampung, invited us to a presentation by another class she takes. We don't quite know what it will be, but we expect it will be youngsters trying to remember all the steps, parents beaming proudly, and cameras capturing the moment.

This afternoon we had a visit from our friend Poui and her mom. She's been in Alaska with her husband Jimmy, and they've returned to live in Chiang Rai. They have invited us to lunch on Friday and Poui brought us a map to their house. Poui used to have an incredible stall at the Night Bazaar selling small artifacts, and hand-made jewelry. For whatever reason, this is only the second dinner invite we've had to someone's home. We usually go out when invited. Hmm.

I've been spending a lot of time with the dogs lately and it's been fun and grueling. BamBam is easy to exercise because she loves to run. There's a little green toy she loves to chase. She gallops across the front lawn and either catches it on a bounce or attacks it on the ground. Sometimes she'll bring it back and tease me with it before dropping it for the next throw. Daku has to be coaxed into running. His weakness is a plastic water bottle. Filled to one third with water, it's heavy enough to throw and he loves to go for it. Once he pounces on it, he's satisfied to chew on it for a while. I've been working on getting him to bring it back. With him, it becomes a tug of war trying to get the bottle. I don't do that much since he likes to rearrange his grip and his teeth are big. The two of them together do a lot of running, and wrestling. They like to grapple over the green toy. At the end of play time it has become apparent that Daku must be put on a leash. He's still a wild child and loves to charge into the flower beds in the back yard. It's cute but not funny, the way he'll throw a side glance, look me in the eye and then do the thing he knows is wrong. Kids.

Have a Wacky Wednesday.


"The only things we ever keep are the things we give away."
~Louis Ginsberg

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, December 8, 2009



Today we'll finish up the weekend and jump into Monday. There will be flowers, mountains, and a meeting with a traveler.

It really was an 'Easy' one this time. I guess it's so easy some of you didn't bother to write. Oh well, sing on.
"And when I touch you I feel happy inside. It's such a feeling that my love I can't hide, I can't hide, I can't hide." Clue: For a long time many people didn't get the play on words in their name. Also, there really are six words in the title.

We had every intention of checking out a few places in Chiang Mai on Sunday morning, but Lisa didn't feel well so we decided to head back to our 'Minitropolis' of Chiang Rai. This was our third trip to Chiang Mai in the car and each time the traffic is a little different. Leaving town it seemed like it might be light, but as we proceeded into the first mountain range, things got busy. Learning to be aware of ones surroundings is important when driving. On the highway, that means understanding what is considered common practice and making allowance for that. Somewhere along the way they left out driver education, or at least mountain driving. I was taught to never pass on a hill unless I could see way ahead, never pass on a blind curve, and to observe the caution lines in the center of the road. Well, none of that seems to mean anything for a lot of drivers. We make it a habit to move to the left of the lane on some curves just in case someone is passing from the other direction. If I can't see a safe distance for passing, I don't pass. Anyway, there is a way to do it and stay safe and we've got the hang of it now.

We stopped at the orchid spot again and got a beautiful plant with huge blooms. It takes self control to not get carried away. The prices are so reasonable that we could have filled the car. Hmm.

Monday morning I made a solo run to Big C. After that I went to the bakery. The bakery is also a guest house, which means it's more like a rooming house than a hotel. While I was waiting for my bread to be sliced (it was right out of the oven) a young man who was a guest asked me if I was Thai. I explained that I was originally from America and he told me he lived in Alhambra for two years. I wasn't sure where he was from, but as he started telling me of his travels all over China, I started wondering. I finally asked him where 'home' was and he said Tokyo. He's been on the road for quite some time I guess. There are so many fascinating stories. So many ways people see what they see and satisfy their curiosities. I have a sense of adventure, but it calls for some comfort and security these days. (Ha)

It's time to have a Happy Tuesday.


"It takes as much courage to have tried and failed
as it does to have tried and succeeded."
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, December 7, 2009



We went to Chiang Mai for the weekend. In the big city we went to a festival of arts, crafts and gifts of all kinds. We rode in tuk-tuks, song taus and stayed in a cute, odd little hotel. We also witnessed a tribute to the King.

'Old School Friday' had two winners. Cousin Trudye knew the song and the group. Linda knew the song. It was "Could This Be Magic" by The Dubs. I'll try to be gentler next time. Here's your 'Easy Monday' challenge:
"Oh yeah, I'll tell you something, I think you'll understand. When I'll say that something __ __ __ __ __ __ (repeat dashes 2 times)." Hint: First big hit by four guys from across the pond that invaded the world.

Saturday morning we jumped up, had breakfast and hit the highway. We dropped John off at the bus station for his trip to Burma. He'll be there until the 17th. We got to Chiang Mai around 11am and had to wait to check in. We walked down the road to another hotel and had a nice lunch and then got a call from our friend Tye. She was in town for her daughter Napa's ballet class. She came and got us and we went to the Art Fair where our friend Nat had a booth. We strolled up and down and saw many beautiful things. It's hard to describe all that we saw, it was such a mix of things. There were incredible fabrics, wood carvings, jewelry, custom made clothes, and antiques. Tye left us there and we waited around for Nat. We finally met with her and then went back to our hotel. The Tuk-Tuks in Chiang Mai are much faster than the ones in Chiang Rai. They're like hot-rods and the drivers are crazy. I'm just happy our journey was only 12 blocks.

The hotel where we stayed was unlike any we've ever been in. There were little decorative touches all around, as if we were staying in someone's home. In the room nothing was bolted down as it is in most places. There was a vase with flowers on the dining table, we had a little kitchen with an electric kettle and dishes in the cabinet. The hotel has six floors but the elevator only stops at landings between each floor. Hmm.

We returned to the Art Fair in the evening and it was a crush of people compared to the afternoon. There were young women passing out long candles. We didn't know why, but we took them anyway. At 7pm a song started playing on the P.A. and everyone stopped where they were, lit their candles and started singing the song. There must have been four verses and they were all singing with much enthusiasm. It turns out it's a birthday song for the King that everyone learns in school. It was really something to stand there and watch and listen as several generations of Thais sang this song. Quite moving. After the song the candles were put in planters and anything that would hold them, still burning.

It was unfortunate that we forgot the camera. There were so many things to take pictures of, but I did get a shot with my phone of a woman with an unusual vending gimmick. She had a tiny mini-van with a little stove on the tailgate. She was cooking skewers of pork in various forms, and playing disco music, with a disco ball spinning inside the van. The side of the van had a cartoon painting of a pig and the word 'Piggy' under it. Amazing Thailand.

To be continued tomorrow. Have a Great Week.


PS Click the 'Follow' button so I'll know you're there.

"Let us not look back in anger,
nor forward in fear,
but around us in awareness."
~James Thurber

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Funnies


Brrr. It was really cold last night. Today started off cold and then warmed up to summer like temps. We spent the middle of the day in town doing various things. Tonight we're going to take John to the Night Bazaar.

The song many of you remembered was "What A Fool Believes" by The Doobie Brothers. 'Old School Friday' song:
"__ __ __ __, my dear, my heart's all aglow? __ __ __ __, loving you so? __ __ __ __, having your love? My prayers were answered, so far from above." Hint: The musical question is whether of not any of this relates to the world of abra kadabra. It's a slow song.

After doing our usual morning stuff around the house, we all headed downtown for lunch at Aye's. We had the good fortune of running into Aye as she was leaving her restaurant. As is her style, she engaged us in conversation, telling us about the Chinese language lessons she's taking. We had a nice lunch and set out to run a few errands. Most of them were within walking distance and it was nice to stroll around during the day. We stopped at Connect Cafe for coffee and John used one of their computers to take care of some business. We left him there and did some more 'essential' shopping.

This afternoon we dropped John off at a textile shop he had been to on his last visit and then went to ballet class. Through some mixed communication, John's Tuk-Tuk driver brought him to the Sports Stadium where the class was being held instead of taking him home. We had a good laugh about it and came home to a delicious dinner.

Daku was really feeling his oats this morning when I took him out for his exercise. After just one dose of his medication he seemed eager to run and play. I didn't let him overdue it though. We happy that he's feeling better.

It's time for the 'Funnies'. Have a Wonderfilled WeekEnd.


A man sees a sign in front of a house: "Talking Dog for Sale." He
rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. He
goes into the backyard and sees a black mutt just sitting there.

"You talk?" he asks.

"Yep," the mutt replies.

"So, what's your story?"

The mutt looks up and says, "Well, I discovered this gift pretty young
and I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift,
and in no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in
rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would
be eavesdropping."

"I was one of their most valuable spies eight years running. But, the
jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any
younger and I wanted to settle down."

"So, I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover
security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and
listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings there and was
awarded a batch of medals."

"Had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired."

The man is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

The owner says, "Ten dollars."

The guy says, "This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?"

The owner replies, "He's such a liar. He didn't do any of that stuff."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, December 3, 2009



Another gorgeous but sometimes smoky day in Chiang Rai. We paid a visit to the vet, started research on air filters, and John arrived. Someone else arrived in town but we don't know who. Hmm.

Our song was very familiar to many of you. If you didn't quite catch it from yesterday's lyrics, maybe the opening will help: "He came from somewhere back in her long ago, the sentimental fool didn't see. Tryin' hard to recreate what had yet to be created, once in her life. She musters a smile for his nostalgic tale, never coming near what he wanted to say..." Hint: Makes reference to the concept of only seeing what we want to see, especially in relationships. What? This song took many people many listens to figure it out. Don't feel foolish.

For some reason, we've entered a 'fire season' of sorts. Not brush fires, but man-made fires that consist of trash and/or crop rubbish. At any given time we have to close the windows and turn on the air. It's become a pet peeve of mine but we're dealing with it. To that end, we're going to get an air purifier that we can move from room to room. It will be well worth it.

This morning we took Daku to the vet. He's been having trouble with his shoulder again. We suspect it's from too much rough play with BamBam. He was given some pills to relieve the inflammation. We're restricting their play for awhile and it should clear up. He's still a growing boy. He's now 10 months old and weighed in at 70 lbs today.

Our friend John called from the bus station this evening and on my way to pick him up there were two helicopters circling in our area. As I crossed the bridge by the fairgrounds there was a big gathering of soldiers lining the street. At every intersection there were either police or soldiers, and cones blocking some side streets. Our conclusion is that someone from the Royal Family is coming to Chiang Rai to help celebrate the King's birthday on Saturday. All I know is, I've never seen this kind of display in the two years we've been here. I'll have to ask our friend Tye, whose husband is a policeman. I'll let you know.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we had a great reunion dinner with John. He gave us an update on life in Bali, and told us of his travels in Thailand and Burma. He's going back to Burma in a few days for more exploring. He's buying treasures to take back to his shops in Bali. He told us about his train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. It takes 12 hours through the countryside. Someday we'll have to do that. He also told us of a hot-air balloon festival he attended in Burma. Who know? We'll spend the day together tomorrow and then we're off to Chiang Mai as he leaves for Burma. I'm hoping he can stop through on his way home.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Don't try to be a great person, just try to be a good person.
And if you can succeed at being a good person,
then you have found greatness."
~Don Heitkamp

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, December 2, 2009



It was another quiet day at the Big Brown House. I did some watering, exercised the dogs twice, and posted the waterfall photos on the Flickr site. Lisa worked on another cast acrylic print for most of the day. Tonight we're going to Khun Jaffe's for dinner and conversation.

The 'Easy' song was "Somebody To Love" by Jefferson Airplane. Just to make this one fun, I'm going to start inside the song and go to the chorus. Are you with me? "She had a place in his life. He never made her think twice. As he rises to her apology anybody else would surely know, he's watching her go. But __ __ __ __, he sees. No wise man has the power to reason away, what seems to be..." Clues: Basically blinded by love, our subject goes on and on. Title in four words is by a group of brothers who weren't really brothers. Hmm.

We've been having these amazing pink sunsets lately. It's very vivid. I'll post a photo. Stay tuned.

John called and he won't be arriving till tomorrow. The guest room is ready and he'll probably get in sometime in the afternoon. Can't wait to hear all about his adventures.

While on the subject of adventure, it could be said that our resident artist is on a constant adventure. There will be a show at Le Meridien in January, and possibly more requests from Bangkok. With three weeks away from the studio during our winter trip, every minute counts when it comes to the art work. The catalog is growing and the work keeps going to wonderful new places.

We're having a late dinner with Khun Jaffe, Martin and Kay. Jaffe is the curator for the exhibits at Le Meridien and I'm sure there will be lots of 'art talk' centered around the various installations he's planning. He also has a book that's nearing the printing stages. It's a coffee table photo book on the best of the North of Thailand.

It's time to head out for the evening. Now it's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"The human contribution is the essential ingredient.
It is only in giving of oneself to others that we truly live."
~Ethel Percy Andrus

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, December 1, 2009



Today was a good day in Chiang Rai. Mild weather in the morning, warm in the afternoon, and a full moon tonight. I finally found the best connection for printer ink, and I went to the postal coffee bar. Oh yes, and company's coming.

'Easy Monday' appears to be a success. Lots of mail with the answer to the song. The chorus should clinch it:
"Don't you want __ __ __, don't you need __ __ __, wouldn't you love __ __ __, you better find __ __ __."
Hint: The lead singer of this group graced us with her slick voice.

On my first trip into town today I noticed two rows of flags going down the 'beach' at the river. They were Thai and King flags. On my second trip there were men in the water putting together a bamboo enclosure. There was a platform in the center. In the fairground area there were young people in traditional Thai costumes. I was very curious. On my last trip back to the house, a long procession of trucks and cars and police cars were escorting a flatbed truck carrying a very ornate statue of the Buddha. I had just turned a corner by a cultural center and my grand conclusion is that the statue was going to the center after being blessed in the river.

There is an HP center in the business district and they have the ink we use in our printer. The odd thing is, they charge less than everyone else in town. It's usually the other way around. I had a conversation with one of the sales people who has learned a little English. We went back and forth in English and Thai and managed to have a conversation. Cool.

At the Tops/Edison building downtown there is what I call the 'Postal Coffee Bar'. It's in a corner with a curved counter and it's a post office sub-station. They also sell fresh brewed coffee. We pass it all the time and on occasion, actually mail something. Today was one of those times. I had to mail some things to America. Since they sell boxes there, all I had to do was take the stuff to them and they packed it up for me. I filled out some papers and that was that. It's like that at the real post office, but with more of a crowd.

Our friend John, from Bali, is coming to town tomorrow. He's been in Burma, and Chiang Mai buying things for his stores in Bali. He was one of our first house guests, in fact, he was here for our house warming party. It will be good to see him again.

Have yourself a Happy Tuesday.


"Don't let yesterday use up too much of today."
~Native American Proverb

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style