Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Funnies


First it looked like rain, then it was hot and sunny, then it looked like rain.... The weekend forecast calls for rain. In the meantime we had a pleasant, productive day.

The 'Dealer's Choice' song was named by two readers. Lisa and Cousin Rikke knew it was "Express Yourself" by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. Check it out on Youtube. 'Old School Friday' will be easier this week, I promise. "(Gonna find her) repeat 3 times. Yeah, I've been __, a __, oh yeah, __ every which a-way... But I'm like the Northwest Mounties, you know I'll bring her in someday." Clue: The year was 1957, and this hit was one of many comedic gems from a group named for either something you put under a glass, or ride down a hill.

It was another 'Free Form Friday' on the streets of Chiang Rai. This morning as we drove the short distance to Lisa's massage appointment we encountered several cases of 'Do What You Like' driving. It all seems to work, it's just something I'm still not used to yet.

I had to go out to New Life an hour early today, which meant I had to leave as soon as I finished my lunch. While I was doing that, Lisa and Boot washed Daku. He doesn't like to be bathed and it's easier with two people. BamBam got her bath while we were eating and we watched her drying ritual on the front lawn. She runs out and dives onto the grass, scoots forward two times, rolls over to the other side and does the same. She went about 20 feet doing this.
We now have two clean dogs. Yea.

A few month ago our friends Jimmy and Poui gave us anti-slip material that can be cut to shape and put down on tile. Lisa made some patterns in the shapes of an elephant head, a butterfly, and a swan. We've been cutting them out and applying them on the patio. They look really cool and it will be a lot safer.

BamBam has this new thing she's been doing rather consistently. When we're in the pool, she gets to be in the yard. She always comes over to the edge and gives us a big grin and then waits to be petted. Yes, the dog grins. We used to call it a smile, but it's much more than that. I wonder what she's thinking when she does this.

Tomorrow I'm going to have my first massage from Joy, the woman who works on Lisa. In the afternoon we're going to the opening of a photographic exhibition by our friend Thomas. It will be at Rai Maefarluang, which is a beautiful garden complex with a permanent exhibition of and about Teak wood. Thomas always has his camera with him, taking candid shots and capturing 'moments'. It will be exciting to see a full show of his prints.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd. Now it's time for the 'Funnies'.


Poker Face

A man walked by a table in a hotel and noticed three men and a dog
playing cards. The dog was playing with extraordinary performance.

"That is a very smart dog," the man commented.

"Not so smart, he has a tell," said one of the players. "Every time he
gets a good hand he wags his tail."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Let Go


It looks like the weather may have turned a corner. We had another sunny day in Chiang Rai. Overnight rain is just the way I like it.

So far, no one has sent me the title of our 'Dealer's Choice' song. There was a big clue in yesterday's introduction.
"Some people have everything, and other people don't. But everything don't mean a thing if it ain't the thing you want. __ __!, __ __!." Hint: If you say what you think or mean, you would "__ __." The band name includes the leader, the name of their town, and a street, and the way they play. Hmm, that quite a mouthful.

Today we stayed at home again. I did go out for a trip to the coffee shop, hoping to have another chat with my friend Siam, but he didn't make it. Other than that, it was a day of odds and ends around the house. In the afternoon we went for a swim and enjoyed the scenery of our yard.

I've been reading through some of my early reflections on living in Thailand and it made me realize that four years is a long time. One of the fortunate things for us has been the fact that we've had so much help along the way. There is always someone willing to show or tell us what to do in any given situation. Some expats arrive with just themselves, but we got here and had support from the beginning. That made all the difference. There are still many mysteries but there's always an answer if we're willing to ask. Hmm.

One of the mysteries that has presented itself recently is the sound of large explosions in the distance. We have no idea what's being blown up, but no one seems alarmed by it. We now know the difference between thunder, fireworks, and explosions. I guess that counts for something.

After lunch today we were watching TV. What an odd feeling to be watching 'Monday Night Football' on Thursday afternoon. I haven't seen much American football, as it's called here, in a long time. It seems so different now, after watching the 'other' football, and the many sports that are shown here. Yesterday we watched the badminton mixed doubles World Championship. The adventure continues.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be."
~Lao Tzu

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, September 28, 2011



The weather in Chiang Rai is being very pleasant. We had another day of patchy clouds, hot sun, and an afternoon downpour that was brief. It could change anytime, but for now, it's great.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "The Girl From Ipanema" by Astrid Gilberto & Stan Getz. Since none of you have expressed yourselves by telling me your year of favorite music, it's still 'Dealer's Choice'. This week I'm dragging out one of my favorite Funk tunes from the early 70s. "__ __... It's not what you look like, when you're doin' what you're doin'. It's what your doin' when you're doin' what you look like you're doin'! __ __, __ __." Clue: The tune is by a drummer and his band, named after a street in their neighborhood. It's about sayin' what you need to say, or something. (555)

We stayed home all day today. It was one of those quiet days. The spray man came, the pool guy did his thing, and we had a visit from our friend Tye in the afternoon.

When we first moved here we had no idea it was becoming a growth area. The topic of economic, and population growth are a part of every conversation these days. The preparation for new expansion in the region has begun and many fear that 'old ways' will be lost. It's a valid concern and I never imagined that I'd ever see such a clash of cultures. Modern 'progress' is difficult to stop. The next few years will be something to watch. I just hope they keep farming corn in the fields around us.

Looks like a Wacky Wednesday.


"As we express our gratitude,
we must never forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



We had another gorgeous day here in Chiang Rai. It rained overnight, but stayed sunny all day. We ran some errands in the morning and went to Wat Rong Khun in the afternoon.

For some, this 'Easy Monday' song was a breeze. Not unlike the breeze on the beach that's mentioned in the song.
"When she walks, she's like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gently that when she passes, each one she passes goes aah." Hint: Really? You need a hint? OK, it's the tune that put the Bossa Nova on the international map. The original artists are a woman with a silky voice and a tenor sax player.

Both of our utility bills came yesterday so today we went to 7-11 and paid them. From there we went on a search to see if anyone had a cover for our new pump. We're not sure if it needs one, but it seems like a good idea. At the pet supply store we got another reminder of the the use, or non use, of the 'L' sound at the end of a word. We wanted to see a bag of Royal Canine dog food so we could see the ingredients. The man at the store said 'Royun' instead of 'Royal' and we had to add that to the list of words that make us smile. At Work@Home bakery we got a chance to see our friend Jonathan again. He walked by me and nudged me with his nose as he made his way to the sidewalk. He's 8 years old and very mellow.

After lunch we drove south on the highway to Wat Rong Khun where we were to meet with Noy, Susan and Chalermchi, the artist who built the amazing 'White Temple'. We sat in an open coffee shop for an hour, just hanging out with Chalermchi. He looked at Lisa's prints on the iPad and at times got very animated. Noy, Susan and I had our own little conversation while the artists discussed each piece as well as the process. Chalermchi told us about his beginnings as an artist, and how he was soundly criticized for breaking away from traditional methods. It was a wonderful, intimate time and we are grateful for the opportunity. I asked him about one of the buildings in progress on the grounds, and he explained that it would be three stories high. The first is for lectures and teaching, the second will be a library for study, and the third for meditation. He said one would learn the basics on the first floor, study the concepts of Buddhist religion on the second, and meet the soul on the third floor. Then he laughed.

When we got back home Lisa commented on how this has been quite a month of meeting new, interesting people. We are definitely enjoying our Adventures in Thailand.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Not everything that is faced can be changed,
but nothing can be changed until it is faced."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, September 26, 2011



We had great weather in Chiang Rai and a busy weekend.

Our 'Old School Friday' song was "Crossroad Blues" by Robert Johnson. This song from 1936 gained popularity when Cream released a live recording of the song. Look it up and learn about the legends attributed to this song. It was actually about Johnson being stranded after dark in an area that wasn't safe at the time. In those days there were still curfews in place and African/Americans were not permitted to be out after dark. Now you know. Hey, it's time for 'Easy Monday' and a song I'm sure you'll remember: "Tall and tan and young and lovely, __ __ __ __ goes walking and when she passes, each one she passes goes Aah..." Hint: The title contains the name of a famous beach city somewhere in South America. Hmm.

Saturday morning a crew showed up to install the water tank. They got the job done after we called our friends Nukoon and Sutheera, who communicated what we needed as far as placement. By Saturday afternoon we had incredible water pressure and we couldn't be happier. The great thing is, they installed the big tank behind the waterfall, so we don't even know it's there.

In the evening we went to Le Meridien for the wine-tasting party. We saw people we met a month ago, and made some new friends. We met a Thai woman who lived in America and worked for Amtrak for 12 years. When she goes back to visit, she can ride the train anywhere she wants for free. It was a festive evening of conversation, laughter, and a lot of networking.

Sunday morning we went to the vegetable market for a few things, and to pick up a fruit basket as a thank you for Nukoon and Suthera. We had one of the florists put some flowers on the handle and it looked beautiful. When she came by to see the tank we gave her the basket. She told us that Dr. Nan had just had her baby girl and was at Overbrook Hospital, down the road from us. We went into town for lunch and picked up some tiny baby clothes. Later we went and saw the beautiful new baby. Her husband, Nu, has been staying at the hospital with her.

Sunday evening we went to a party at Gary and Ban's house. We planned to stay a polite amount of time and then come home and watch the Grand Prix. To our surprise, they were watching the race at the party. We got to know the owner of a new coffee shop/restaurant and had a wonderful time. We stayed until 10:30, it was so much fun.

Tomorrow we're going to Wat Rong Khun to meet Ajarn Chalermchi, the noted Thai artist who built the 'White Temple' as it's called. Our new friends Noy and Susan have arranged the introduction so he can see Lisa's art work.

Have a Great Week.


"Fear is an insidious virus.
Given a breeding place in our minds...
it will eat away our spirit and
block the forward path of our endeavors."
~James F. Bell

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Funnies


It was another beautiful day in Chiang Rai today. We lunched in town, Lisa worked on a new piece, and there was a cooling swim before dinner. It was a good day.

The 'Dealer's Choice' song was "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" by Sly & The Family Stone. I know we've done it before, but some songs just won't go away. Our 'Old School Friday' song is another one we played with years ago. It was originally recorded in 1936. I guess you could really call it 'Older School'. There was also a movie based on the song. "I went down to the __, fell down on my knee. I went down to the __, fell down on my knee. Asked the Lord above for mercy, 'Save me if you please." Clue: There is a lot of legend around this song, namely selling one's soul for the ability to play music. Great cover by a power trio from across the pond. Note: Only one word of the title is actually sung in the song, but it's a key word.

This morning Lisa had a massage appointment and after that we went to Vivien's for lunch. The coffee shop is part of a family restaurant that is set back on a tiny soi in the southwest part of town. We'd never been there for a meal so we didn't know what to expect. Inside it was like being in a big living room. The tables all had different cloth on them so it didn't have that 'factory' look. Through picture windows the view was a bamboo garden. It was quiet and felt removed from the city. I ordered chicken in orange sauce and Lisa had teriyaki chicken. Both dishes were very good. We'll probably return to try some other items on the menu.

We got word that the water tank and pump will be installed tomorrow. I suspect it will be an all day job, but if they can do it in a day that will be great. Sometimes a trickle of water is just not enough.

This afternoon I drove out to the countryside east of town, to the New Life Foundation. I go out there twice a week now to meet with the clients. I never get tired of the sights along the way. The vast green fields of rice, the small roadside businesses, and the simple ways of the country.

The warmth of the afternoon kept drawing us to the pool. Yesterday it was a bit too chilly to swim, but today it felt possible. We went for it and while the initial entry was cool, that soon passed and it felt great. We talked about going to the Night Bazaar this evening, but a giant black cloud started rolling in and then thunder in the distance. A quiet evening at home will be just fine.

Tomorrow evening we're going to Le Meridien for the monthly wine and food tasting. It's a chance to see friends, and meet new people. Don't forget, this is the weekend of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix. It's held at night on streets and it's quite a scene. Check your local listings. (Ha)

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd. On with the 'Funnies'.


Even More True Stories...

The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la.
Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands
of signs had been printed that the phrase means, 'bite the wax
tadpole' or 'female horse stuffed with wax' depending on the dialect.
Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close
phonetic equivalent, 'ko-kou-ko-le,' which can be loosely translated
as 'happiness in the mouth.'

In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan 'Come alive with the
Pepsi Generation' came out as 'Pepsi will bring your ancestors back
from the dead.'

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, September 22, 2011



Yea, no rain today. The lawn was soggy this morning, but it had all day to dry out. There was music in the streets and I had another great visit with my friend Siam.

This was 'Easy' for some of you. Think back to 1970, when R&R was going strong. The leader of this group often wore a knit hat and a fringe jacket. It was always a party when they performed. There's a reference to a couple of their songs in this verse: "Dance to the music, all night long. Everyday people, sing a simple song. Mama's so happy, mama start to cry. Papa still singin' you can make it if you try. I want to __ __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __ __." Hint: Mice and elves? Really? No more hints.

We hung around the house this morning enjoying the beautiful day. The dogs attention was divided between chasing the ball and smelling the yard since it wasn't under water. They have a way of letting us know when they're done playing ball... they just walk away.

After lunch I went into town to meet with Siam at Vivien's, his hangout. On the way I heard music coming from the speakers on one of the big intersections. It was a woman with a beautiful voice singing a ballad. At the next corner I heard it again. In my mind it was like a celebration of the sunny afternoon.

Siam and I arrived at the same time and he had a big smile on his face. He showed me some photos of his bamboo furniture that he will be taking to Bangkok for a show. I helped him give English names to some of the pieces. One of them is two benches back to back. There's room for about 10 people on this thing. He explained that it took a month to construct and told me how hard it was to find curved bamboo. We also listened to the music of a famous musician who specialized in Lana folk songs. We talked about music and I showed him a couple of apps on my iPad. He fell in love with the Koto, strumming his fingers over the virtual strings and laughing out loud. Later the conversation got deep as we discussed religion, spirituality, and the nature of things. At the end of our visit he told me that he didn't have anyone to talk to about these things. That was the same thing I said last week. Life is good.

If it stays sunny tomorrow, we might be able to go for a swim. Today it was a little chilly.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Victory awaits those who have everything in order.
People call this luck."
~Roald Amundson (polar explorer)

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, September 21, 2011



Chiang Rai got the same old song weather wise. Rain almost all day and we stayed home. Lisa painted and I studied my music applications. A nice day on the compound.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Walk On By" by Dionne Warwick. Until someone sends me a year to explore, it's going to be 'Dealer's Choice' on Wednesdays. That means I get to go wild and pick something from whenever. It might be easy, it might be hard. This is from 1970: "Lookin' at the devil, grinnin' at his gun. Fingers start shakin', I begin to run. Bullets start chasin', I begin to stop. We begin to wrestle, I was on the top... I want to __ __ __ __ __ __ __"
Clue: This family affair had some groovin' hits in the early 70s, the number of blanks will be deceiving. Hmm.

Off in the distance, someone is practicing the bass guitar. There is that familiar thumping that we hear during festivals. This is coming from other direction and fortunately, they're playing a song with 'changes' so it's not monotonous.

For the second day in a row, BamBam has come upstairs at exactly 5:40pm to get us for dinner. Not our dinner, but hers. She comes to remind Lisa that it's time for her to eat. Somehow she just knows. Usually, after dinner both dogs go to Boot's house and hang out. Then we get Daku around 8pm and he spends the night with us. This evening Daku went into Boot's house and then came back out. He wanted to come up with us. After about 10 minutes upstairs he was ready to return to Boot's. Sometimes I think they think they run the place.

This afternoon Lisa started reading some of my earliest posts about the transition to Thailand. Reading about the packing up of the Nina Place house, the yard sales, and dinners with August, C-Bass, and Darryl brought back fond memories. It's all archived on the blog site below. A lot has happened in four years.

Tomorrow I'm going to have coffee with my friend Siam. This time I know where I'm going so I can be on time. He goes to the coffee shop two times a week, so maybe we can make it a regular thing. Conversations with those who can communicate in English helps me to learn more about the culture and the history. I'm sure I'll have more anecdotes to share with you.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


"You may regret many things in life but you will never regret being too kind or too fair."
~Brian Tracy

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, September 20, 2011



We seem to be in a pattern of rain in the morning, partial sunshine in the afternoon. Not my ideal weather scheme, but at least there's a break. Today we went to town, twice. Oh my.

I'm so happy to see that the 'Easy Monday' song really was easy, but I still haven't heard from a few of you.
"I just can't get over losing you, and so if I seem broken and blue, __ __ __, __ __ __. Foolish pride is all that I have left, so let me hide the tears and the sadness you gave me when you said goodbye. __ __ __" Hint: If you take a walk down memory lane this one won't get by you. The singer might have seen it coming if she'd used her 'network'.

This morning we went to Healthy Choice, our favorite local health food store. We went to get some aloe to use on Daku's hot spots. The store has so many amazing products that we ended up leaving with a bag of stuff. The young couple who own the place speak English and are very helpful.

All of the rain we've been having has made traveling around town an obstacle course in an effort to avoid potholes. It's most difficult right after a rain because some of them are filled with water and you don't realize they're there until it's too late. Eventually they will be filled, but for the time being, I have to stay more alert.

After lunch we were lulled into a snooze while watching syncronized diving. It's still rather impressive how two people can jump off a diving board and complete the same dive at exactly the same time.

This afternoon we went over to Bliss Studios to visit our friend Chalit. He is the art director for a new magazine called 'Grace' and he wanted to give us some copies. He took all the photos and they are beautiful. It's a fashion, human interest type magazine.

The forecast calls for decreasing rain this week. We'll just see about that. The yards could certainly use a break from the constant soaking. The dogs will also be happy if things dry out. I know that most people think that their dogs are very smart. Our dogs are so smart that we have to be careful of the words we use sometimes because they connect them with certain activities. Having to spell around your dog is a strange thing. Hmm.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Resentments are like stray dogs,
if you don't pet them, they will go away."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, September 19, 2011



We had another mixed bag of weather this weekend. Saturday was pretty nice, but Sunday afternoon and all night rain made things very soggy.

That 'Old School Friday' song was "Willie and the Hand Jive" by Johnny Otis. Hmm, it's OK, we're on to 'Easy Monday' and this should be fun. "If you see me walking down the street, and I start to cry, each time we meet. __ __ __, __ __ __, make believe that you don't see the tears, just let me grieve in private 'cause each time I see you I break down and cry..." Clue: Three words asking the listener give some space. Sung by a diva, written by a prolific duo. Easy.

Friday night we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner, since Boot was working the lottery. We had a nice dinner and then did some 'looking' and a little shopping. There are a lot of new things on the tables of the various vendors so it was fun.

Saturday morning we thought we were going to see some progress on the tank/pump project. A man called Boot and said he was coming over to talk about it. It turns out he was a sub-contractor from contractor number one, who we gave up on. We thought he was from contractor number two until Boot talked to him and we figured it out. We're still waiting to get some answers. I suppose it will be hard for them to get this thing going with all the rain.

Sunday we did the Big C lunch thing. We finally figured out where they keep the popcorn. There are certain things we just have to be able to find in that store. (555) Shopping in Chiang Rai can sometimes be mysterious. An item will be gone from all the stores for ahwile and we don't know why. This time it's Blood Orange juice. It's our favorite in the morning, but Big C is out, and so are our other usual spots. Apple Cider Vinegar is another one that seems to go in cycles. It's here and then it's gone.

Sunday evening Lisa made a great dinner. We had chicken and gravy, baked potatoes, and greens that Boot had made. Nothing like a home-cooked meal American-style, like the 'old days'. It was so good we couldn't stop until we were done.

The rain began that night and didn't stop until this afternoon. It ranged from stormy to drizzle and both yards looked like lakes. The dogs didn't get out until this afternoon, and it was still wet in places. We've learned to take the weather forecasts with a grain of salt and a lot of skepticism because it usually doesn't turn out the way they call it.

Have a Great Week.


"Happiness is like a butterfly.
The more you chase it, the more it will elude you.
But if you turn your attention to other things,
it comes softly and sits on your shoulder."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai had another day without rain, with temps in the high 80s, and lots of humidity. We lunched downtown, strolled a street of memories, and took a cool swim.

The 'Song of '68' that you didn't know was "People Got To Be Free" by The Rascals. Now you know. 'Old School Friday' should get you going. It's from 1958 and it goes something like this: "I know a cat named Way Out Willie, he's got a cool little chick named Rockin' Nillie. He can Walk and Stroll and Susie Q, and do that crazy __ __ too..."
Hint: It's a dance you could actually do sitting down. This makes up for the hard songs this week. (555)

This morning Lisa had a massage appointment. On the way, we realized it was another 'Free Form Friday' when it came to driving. We were past the morning rush hour, but drivers still seemed in a hurry. After her appointment, we went downtown to Jet Yod Road for lunch. There's a little place called 'Siam Corner' that makes a mighty fine chicken burger as well as good Thai food. It was one of our discoveries when we lived at the Wangcome Hotel our first month in Thailand. It's right behind the hotel and was very convenient. After lunch we decided to look for Chez Nous, the guest house run by our friends Joyce and Thomas. As we walked down Jet Yod, we passed a bunch of early memories. Like the place where we took our laundry, the first shop where Lisa got her hair washed and styled, and places we've heard about since we've been here. We found Chez Nous, but no one was home.

Last night we learned more interesting things about Thai culture. One does not ask a guest if they would like a glass of water. You just serve them a full glass without asking. Khun Ploy noticed my tattoo with the Thai word for gratitude and told me that it's the first and most important word taught in the family. In Thai it means gratitude for those who came before you and took care of you. This is important for the survival of the family unit, which is a pivotal part of the culture. She explained that in a 'poor' country, families cannot rely on the government to take care of them so they need each other. I found this to be very enlightening.

A few nights ago, while I was in the yard with Daku, I saw some fireflies. I have no idea this was the season for them and it was a nice surprise.

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


More True Stories of International Promotion

Ford had a problem naming a car in Brazil when the Pinto flopped.
The company found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for 'tiny male
genitals'. Ford pried all the nameplates off and substituted Corcel,
which means horse.

When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were
supposed to say, 'It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you.'
However, the company mistakenly thought the Spanish word 'embarazar'
meant embarrass. Instead the ads said, 'It won't leak in your pocket
and make you pregnant.'

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, September 15, 2011



I'm happy to say that Chiang Rai had a day without rain. What a relief. We went on a little road trip in the morning and chilled in the afternoon. The pool was cold. Oh well.

It looks like this 'Song of '68' is a bit of a stumper. Barry got it, so can you. Read the chorus and fill in the blanks.
"All the world over, so easy to see. People everywhere just wanna be free. I can't understand it, so simple to me, __ everywhere just __ __ __ __." Hint: The year before, these guys were groovin', now they're philosophizing. Hmm.

This morning we drove north to Ban Den and the 'factory' of Khun Todd, who frames Lisa's cast acrylic prints. She has some new additions to her collection that will be included in the Bangkok exhibit. She and Todd had to go over each piece and determine the color of the wood for the frames. At one point Todd, who speaks very little English, suggested that she call Chalit so he could translate for him. The call was made and understanding prevailed. When they finished, Lisa commented on the small 4 foot high elephants that his crew was working on. They're made of fiberglass after first being sculpted in cement. He then took us into another yard and showed us a life-sized elephant that was beautiful. We laughed about having one in the yard. I'd love it, but BamBam would go crazy.

Traveling up the highway, and into the countryside was breathtaking. Huge expanses of green rice fields framed by thick trees, and mountains in the background made it a sight to see.

This afternoon I helped Lisa study for her Thai lesson this evening. Khun Ploy comes to the house once a week to give her a private lesson. I'm actually learning by quizzing Lisa on her vocabulary and phrases. Amazing how things work out.

Tomorrow Boot will go to Ban Du to help with the lottery, and we will be on our own for meals. Next month she will go to Rayong for a week to visit her family.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Never see anything that you do
as a failure but see it as an accomplishment.
Then you have never failed; you have always learned."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, September 14, 2011



More stupid rain today. Everybody's done with the rain. In spite of it all, we went to the markets, drank some coffee, and visited five dogs and two humans.

'Easy Monday' was "A Hard Days Night" trying to get you to remember this Beatles song. We now come to the last song in our 'Songs of '68' series. Send me a favorite year and if you're first, your year is next. Thanks to Wayne for 1968. That year had a lot of good songs, and this next one was a #1 hit around this time in '68, by a group you know: "You should see, what a lovely, lovely world this could be, if everyone learned to live together. It seems to me, such an easy , easy thing this would be. Why can't you and me learn to love one another? All the world over, so easy to see..." Clue: Back in the day when we all wanted each other to be free. What?

We woke up to more rain and a very wet yard. It seemed to subside just in time for the dogs exercise segment of the morning. It's a good thing, because without at least one good session, BamBam and Daku get a little crazy being stuck in the house.

Mid-morning we went into town for marketing. We went to the vegetable market first and got chicken and, well, vegetables. Still enjoying the warm greeting we get from the various vendors when we show up to shop. From there we went to Doi Chaang for a coffee break. A few doors north we stopped at Work @ Home Bakery for our bread supply and a visit with Jonathan, the English Golden Retriever. He was in a very friendly mood today. His owner told us about how he has a 'girlfriend' next door that he likes to visit.

Our final stop was the big market. We hadn't been in a long time and it just felt good to wander through a few aisles. Across from one of the entrances is the place where we get chicken sausage, so we stocked up there as well. It stayed dry for all of our little tour, but started up as soon as we got home.

This afternoon we went out to Martin and Kay's to pick up the final versions of the new catalogue, invitation, and flyer for the Bangkok art exhibit. They have five dogs, a couple of cats, and two turtles. We were greeted by the dogs and a few of their visiting dog friends. It was crazy, with seven dogs converging on us at once. They know us, but it's just the idea that we're invading their space that feels weird. They all had to stay outside while the editing went on inside. At 3pm Kay ask us if we would mind sitting at the table with our backs to the room. She had to feed the dogs and they don't like distractions. We complied and moved to the table and stayed very quiet. She brought the dogs in one at a time and they went to their bowls. Once they were eating we could turn around and watch. There they were, five dogs with bowls in a big circle on the living room floor, eating away. We heard all the latest stories and drama about life in a dog pack. It was sprinkling so we didn't see the turtles this time.

Our trip to the farm has been postponed until next week. In the meantime, there's plenty to see and do around here.

It's time for a Wacky Wednesday.


"Man's heart away from nature, becomes hard."
~Standing Bear

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, September 13, 2011



The weather today was, in a word, rain. All day long it rained. We had brief breaks of sunshine, but then it would start up again. Yes, we're sick of it but what can you do? The dogs got a little exercise between the raindrops, and we stayed in all day.

Either it wasn't that easy, or you're losing interest in 'Easy Monday'. Maybe this will jar your memory a little:
"When I'm home, everything seems to be right. When I'm home, feeling you holding me tight, tight, yeah. It's been __ __ __ __, and I've been working like a dog..." Clue: Four lads from across the pond sang this song that became the title of a movie featuring them. Lots of good songs in that film. It's as easy as day and night.

What does one do on a rainy day in Chiang Rai? We began making more plans for the November art exhibit, and for house guests we'll be having the week after the show. Last night we reserved our seats for the trip back to the U.S. in December, which seems like a long way away, but the good seats go fast. When traveling for most of a day, it's nice to be sitting in front of the wing, there's less engine noise.

Thursday we're going to Mae Chan to visit some new friends who have an organic farm. We met them at Le Meridien during the wine tasting party. They supply fresh vegetables for the hotel and other restaurants. It will be fun to go out into the country. They have hydroponic tanks for growing the food, and that should be interesting. They also have a bunch of dogs.

We're very fortunate here in Chiang Rai when it comes to the rain, because we don't have the flooding problems that are causing problems in other parts of the country. Every morning, when Boot is cleaning in the living room, she has the news channel on the TV, showing the relief efforts in the south of Thailand. I'm grateful that we don't have those problems here.

As a result of the good times that we had at Sunday night's Full Moon Party, Jaffee has decided to make it a monthly affair. He and a friend have started what they're calling the 'We Love Chiang Rai Club'. Everyone will bring their own food and beverages and we'll just have fun. It also means we can eat what we like to eat. (555)

Since the tennis is over for a while, we're watching pre-recorded broadcasts of the European Diving Championships, European Gymnastics, badminton, snooker, and sometimes a sports news magazine. Did you know that there is a Cricket league in Los Angeles? I don't quite understand the game, but the league is getting kids off the streets and they look like they're having fun. Hmm.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Tell me and I'll forget.
Show me, and I may not remember.
Involve me, and I'll understand."
~Native American Proverb

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, September 12, 2011



The weather in Chiang Rai has been a mix of cool mornings, hot afternoons, and showers thrown in for good measure. We had a pleasant weekend with a couple of adventures.

Well, that 'Old School Friday' song was "Baby, What You Want Me To Do" by Jimmy Reed. 'Easy Monday' is easy:
"It's been __ __ __ __, and I've been working like a dog. It's been __ __ __ __, I should be sleepin' like a log. But when I get home to you I find the things that you do will make me feel alright..." Hint: Really? I told you it was easy.

Saturday we went to coffee with our friend Atom. We had heard about a new place near the highway, on 'our side' of the river. It's a very large house that has been converted into a coffee house/restaurant right on the river. We sat under a very large old tree and looked out on the water. The ambience was great, but the coffee wasn't so good. We had a good time anyway. There's still nothing like our favorite spot, Doi Chaang.

Sunday we went to Big C for lunch and shopping. Our usual choice there is Black Canyon, but they were closed. We're not sure if it's because of all the renovation, or the fact that there's one across the street at Central Plaza. We ended up eating at S&P, where we had a delicious roasted chicken salad. They also served a little sample plate of Moon Cakes.

Sunday evening we went to Jaffee's Mid-Autumn Full Moon Party. We met new people and had a very fun time. The chef from Le Meridien prepared some Malaysian delicacies that we timidly tasted. We didn't try the sting-ray, and I shied away from the spicy peanut sauce. We met a woman who weaves shawls, table cloths and other items. The interesting thing is that she makes everything from scratch. She dyes the cotton using natural colors from plants, flowers and insects. It's quite a process and takes a long time before she can begin to weave. It was an international crowd and the conversations were lively and diverse. Most importantly, the clouds drifted and we got to see the full moon.

One of the things that we discovered at the party is that very few people here know the names of the streets. I thought it was just us foreigners, but it turns out that lots of locals use landmarks like us. Getting directions was also a topic of discussion. Quite often if you ask for directions, people will point you in the right direction with no details. Somehow we manage to get where we want to go.

Have a Great Week.


"Courage is the power to let go of the familiar."
~Raymond Lindquist

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Funnies


The day in Chiang Rai began with a yard-flooding downpour that lasted most of the morning. The afternoon was beautiful. I saw a parade, and had coffee with my new friend. We also found a new handyman.

Well, the 'Song of '68' that got stuck in your head was "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly. If you didn't remember it, you'll have it in your head all weekend. (Ha) Now it's time for 'Old School Friday', with a down home blues: "You got me runnin', you got me hidin', got me run, hide, hide, run any way you wanna let it roll. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you got me doin' what you want me, baby why you wanna let it go?" Clue: This blues from 1961 has been recorded by tons of groups. The original artist would sometimes have his wife in the studio, singing with him so he'd remember the lyrics.

This morning, just before we were to take the dogs out for exercise, it started raining. It turned into a major storm for a couple of hours. About the time I was to take Lisa for her massage it started to ease up. After I dropped her off I headed into the downtown district for a stop at the hardware store. As I approached a major intersection I noticed a policeman waving traffic in the direction I was going. Then I saw the reason: a parade. Chiang Rai loves parades, even in the rain. There was a pick-up truck with a large floral display followed by various units of women in traditional dresses, all carrying large umbrellas. There was also a drum and gong group playing away. On my way home I encountered them again in another part of town. They walked a long way. Luckily it was just a light sprinkle and they all looked happy.

Yesterday I got a call from Khun Siam, the bamboo artist I met last week. He wanted to meet for coffee and talk. I recognized the name of the place we were to meet and I thought I remembered how to get there. He gave me directions, but I don't know the names of the streets so I just set out to find it. I got terribly lost for about an hour. I called him several times and finally realized that I was on the wrong street. Once he mentioned that I'd pass a 7-11 it all became clear. I found him and we sat and talked for over an hour. He is very fluent in English and had many things to share. We talked about everything from family dynamics to the changing Chiang Rai and everything in between. I look forward to many more conversations with Siam.

Sunday evening we're going to Jaffee's house for a Full Moon Party. Last year's affair was lots of fun and the sky was clear so we could enjoy the moon. Hopefully it will be clear again this year. There will be exotic food that I may or may not eat, and of course, moon cakes. These are little round cakes that come in different flavors. It's a Chinese tradition that's become a part of Northern Thai life as well. This is also the weekend of the Italian Grand Prix so I'll be programing the DVR.

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


A Few True Stories

In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name
into Schweppes Toilet Water.

In Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan 'finger-lickin' good'
came out as 'eat your fingers off.'

An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish
market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of the desired 'I Saw
the Pope' in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed 'I Saw the Potato.'

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, September 8, 2011



This morning there was a very light sprinkle, and then it was just hot and muggy. Daku went to the doctor, and rain in New York dampened our tennis viewing. Oh well, we had a nice cool swim in the afternoon.

It turns out that a lot of you remembered the 'Song of '68'. The only problem is, there aren't very many lyrics, so, here's another look at the song: ""__ __ __ __ __, baby, __ __ __ __ __, honey. Don't you know that I'm lovin' you. Oh, won't you come with me, and take my hand? Oh, won't you come with me, and walk this land? Please take my hand.
__ __ __ __ __, baby, don't you know that I'll always be true..." Hint: It's about the Garden of Life. Hmm.

Mr. Daku has been having a little problem with 'Hot Spots'. It's common for Golden Retrievers during the rainy season, from what we're told. He's been wearing his cone when he's alone, but gets to go free when we can keep an eye on him. He's had the urge to scratch the area of irritation and that's not good. He's very sweet about the cone. He stands perfectly still and lets us put it on. What a guy.

We're still waiting for the man who is supposed to install the water tank/pump system. Hopefully it will be soon. Running a bath can take forever. On the positive side, we have running water, even if it's just a trickle.

Tomorrow I've been invited to go for coffee with Khun Siam. We're going to meet at a little cafe that we've been to before. I really liked talking with him and it looks like I have a new friend. We have many common interests so it should be fun.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"The lesson I must learn is simply
that my control is limited to
my own attitude and behavior."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Wednesday, September 7, 2011



Today was one of those days when everything happened at the same time. The yard crew, the pool guy, and our friends all here at the same time. Luckily we got to leave on our excursion and avoid some of the noisy activity. We visited the workplace and studio of a local artist.

That easy 'Easy Monday' song was "Money" by Barrett Strong. Time for another visit to 'Songs of '68'. Who could forget this classic? "__ __ __ __ __, baby, __ __ __ __ __, honey. Don't you know that I'm lovin' you. Oh, won't you come with me, and take my hand? Oh, won't you come with me, and walk this land? Please take my hand. (guitar/bass riff)" Hint: This early 'Heavy Metal' tune became an anthem of sorts. The musical 'hook' has a life of it's own. The name of the group has a reference to an insect. Hmm.

On Monday the yard crew came to work, but the rain was too heavy. Today they returned, even though it sprinkled off and on. Wednesday is pool guy day so he was here doing his thing. There were 7 or 8 people busy with this and that and the place was humming. The dogs don't like these days because they have to stay inside. They only get to go outside on a leash, which is a drag but necessary.

Today Thomas and Joyce took us to the studio of Khun Angkrit, a young man with a very interesting and enlightening approach to his art and his life. He sees them as one. His family has a restaurant/bookstore and his gallery is above the complex. It's two floors of mostly open space. There is a 'gallery space' and then there are two workshop spaces where he paints. He walked us through the body of his work over the last 4 or 5 years. Most of it is various series of abstracts, but he also has what he calls his 'activist' side. Talking to him, we were taken on a philosophical adventure that explained a lot of things. We also learned more about Thai traditional art as a cultural medium. At the end of our visit we went down to the bookstore where we were served tea and sweet toast. In the course of our visit we got a broader view of another artist in the community, and a better understanding of this culture. Another great day in Amazing Thailand.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Hearing is a gift,
Listening is an art."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Tuesday, September 6, 2011



I won't bore you with the weather, you already know. We went into town this morning and spent the rest of the day at home. Between the dogs, the art, and the U.S. Open it was a pretty good day.

"Your love give me such a thrill, but your love don't pay my bills. I need __ (That's what I want), etc." Clue: There are places in the world where you might be able to get along without it, but your life would be dramatically different. The word 'cash' comes to mind. I've given you all the clues I can without telling you the title.

Today we went to the bank to take care of a little business. Our friend Bobby told us that he got approval on the final project for his MBA degree. He was very excited about the prospect of being finished. It's amazing to watch him handle three things at once in his job. From the bank we went to Doi Chaang Coffee to meet with Jaffee. Things are gearing up on the plans for the November exhibit. We also stopped at the bakery for our bread supply. Lisa has been having conversations in Thai with one of the women there and they are becoming 'buddies'.

Lisa is working on a new cast acrylic print that is going to be wonderful. She's using a little different approach in her method, as an experiment, and, from my perspective, it's working.

About the time we usually go into the pool the sky was getting dark. We decided not to swim. Even though we're getting used to swimming in colder water, the outside temperature still needs to be a little warm or it seems like work. Cold work. (555)

Tomorrow we're going on another adventure with our new friends Thomas and Joyce. We're going to the home gallery of a noted artist here in Chiang Rai. It is becoming quite common for artists here to have a gallery at their home. There is a new map that shows the location of the galleries that artists have established in the Chiang Rai area and you could take a whole day, driving around seeing the sights and the art. What a concept.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"When we lose the right to be different,
we lose the privilege to be free."
~Charles Evans Hughes

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Monday, September 5, 2011



Chiang Rai experienced more of the mixed weather thing this weekend. Warm and humid with occasional rain. Today it was the same. Saturday we went to 9 Art Gallery for an opening and Sunday we had a downtown adventure.

Our 'Old School Friday song was a stumper. It was "We Belong Together" by Robert & Johnny. Maybe you'll fare better with this 'Easy Monday' song: "The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees, I need __ (That's what I want) That's what I want (That's what I want)..." Hint: The title is only one word, something that everyone needs at some point, and many people want. Hmm, it's easy.

Saturday was mostly a day around the house. In the afternoon we went over to Martin and Kay's to deliver all the parts for the catalog and invitation for Lisa's November exhibit in Bangkok. Martin is a very talented artist and graphic designer. We got to see their pet turtles in the daytime. We'd seen them the night of the party but they were asleep. They are beautiful creatures and they respond to certain commands.

In the evening we went to 9 Art Gallery for the opening of a show featuring eight artists. They each had three or four pieces and each artist had a different style. We missed the opening entertainment, a trio of musicians mixing traditional and contemporary styles. Khun Sompong told me about the man that led the group, who is also an artist. They had a CD for sale that included the leader's art work in a series of postcards. It was an incredible package of art and music.

Sunday evening we had dinner with Jaffee at the Night Bazaar. After dinner we walked over to Jet Yod Rd. to see a painting Jaffee told us about. The little shop was a combination laundromat/tea bar. There were three paintings by an apparently untrained Thai woman artist. Across the street we visited a new place. It's kind of a bar on a corner with the street sides open. There is lots of old stuff all around, plus hand-made leather bags, beaded jewelry, and reggae T-shirts. What really caught our eye was a wall literally glowing with art. A young man named David from Andorra was painting a mural in 'black light' paint. It was a psychedelic scene that really popped out. David and his girlfriend have been traveling around Southeast Asia for four months. When they got to Chiang Rai and found the bar, he asked if he could paint something and they let him have a wall.

There's a new trend happening here in customizing motorbikes. They're putting LED lights on the bodywork, so at night you see the shape of a frame or fairing coming down the street in electric blue with red accents. It's something to behold.

Have a Great Week.


"Friendship is like a bank account;
you cannot continue to draw on
it without making a deposit."
~Nicole Beale

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Funnies


We had a beautiful day in Chiang Rai. Warm and muggy, but no rain. Today the dogs got baths, and we celebrated another anniversary.

I don't know how they do it, but the Rolling Stones are still at it. I'm guessing they're still doing their hit from '68, "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Next up it's 'Old School Friday'. For those of you around in the late 50s, I expect an email:
"You're mine and __ __ __, yes, __ __ __ for all eternity... You're mine, my baby, and you'll always be I swear by everything I own you always, always be mine..." Hint: Sung by two guys, this song was more about possession than devotion. Back then I don't think we knew the difference.

There comes a time when your realize that your dog needs a bath. Today was the day. Daku barely tolerates being bathed. BamBam loves the water, and the attention. After their baths they ran around the yard chasing each other.

Today we realized that yesterday, September 1, marked our four year anniversary of living in Thailand. That sparked memories of our early days in Chiang Rai. A lot has happened in four years.

This afternoon we went to Central Plaza to check out the craft exhibit. It turned out to be more of a marketplace thing with tables for merchants to show their wares. One table had some great stuff that was creative and useful. Most of it used Hill Tribe weavings. We got a few things to put in the gift collection. One woman was making an unknown object with the use of a knitting machine. We decided to just stroll around until dinner time.

Coffee World is a place we've seen in the mall, but never tried. Today we had iced coffee there and enjoyed it. Then we just cruised around the mall, taking our time and investigating shops. While we were in Tops Market, at the check-out, there was a brief power failure and the whole place got very dim (it's a little below street level). It was light enough to find our way, but you couldn't make out faces. The cash registers had backup batteries so we could finish our transaction. Just as we got to the parking lot door, the lights came back. It was interesting to observe how people responded. Those who were dining just kept on eating and talking as if nothing had happened. I guess when you live someplace where this is part of life, you learn to just 'live through it'.

We had dinner at Sizzler before the rush. They have a big window that looks out into the mall so it's fun to sit and 'people watch'. After dinner we went to Boomerang, the big music/video store in the mall. We got a movie in Thai, at the suggestion of Khun Siam. He learned to speak English from watching an English speaking movie over and over. We found one that we think we might enjoy (who knows) and we'll give it a try. On the box, everything is in Thai except the words: 'Based on a true story'. Amazing Thailand.

Well, gotta go. We're going to make cookies tonight, and there's more tennis to watch.

Have a Wonderful Weekend. Time to laugh.


A linguistics professor was lecturing his class one day.

'In English', he said, 'A double negative forms a positive. In some
languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a
negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can
form a negative.'

A loud voice from the back of the room piped up, 'Yeah, right.'

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style

Thursday, September 1, 2011



Today was another day of mixed weather. It was pretty nice until an early afternoon storm. Then it got nice again. There was lots of errand running in the morning, and a visit with a friend in the afternoon.

It would appear that the 'Song of '68' has not yet left your minds. Today you get the hook, in case you need help:
"I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag. I was schooled with a strap right across by back, but it's all right now, in fact it's a gas! But it's all right, I'm __ __ __, it's a gas, gas, gas!" Clue: The title is a play on words, someone who bounces up and down, or in this case, bounces back. And to think they're still makin' music after all these years.

This morning I went to Big C as they opened the doors. It's fun shopping in an empty store. I zipped around, finding what I needed, and got out before the crowds. At the HP store, where I buy printer ink, they know when I walk in the door that it's time to open the cabinet and wait for my order. Lisa uses lots of ink in her art process so I've become a regular at the store. Early shopping at the pharmacy warehouse makes one wonder how they find anything. It looks like chaos in there, with boxes stacked high, and workers sorting things on the floor. We always get what we need though.

Today was one of those days when Boot goes to Ban Du to help her former mother-in-law with the lottery. That means we usually get lunch out. We were downtown when it was time to eat so we went to Aye's for lunch. Before we ate we stopped at the little deli that they have in the rear. We'd never been there so we didn't know what to expect. It turns out they have bread that's made with no dairy products. The woman at the counter is also the baker and she speaks English. She listed all the ingredients for us and we bought a loaf of bread. We had some of the bread with dinner and it was good. It's good to have more than one source for basic necessities. We also got our mini refrigerator back from the service center. When we arrived they opened the door to the freezer section and removed a frozen cup of water. Yep, it works.

We snoozed through some of the U.S. Open, and the rain storm. Then our friend Johan called to say he was bringing some salt for the pool. He stayed a while and told us about his trip to Holland, and his grand-daughter's first steps. We hadn't seen him in a couple of months. BamBam has a crush on him and was thrilled to see him, and so was Daku.

Tomorrow we're going to Central Plaza for a special craft show with workshops. It should be interesting to see what is presented.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"The joy is in the journey
the destination is always changing."

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style