Wednesday, February 29, 2012



Chiang Rai was a little cooler than it has been and we're happy about that. There was lots of activity around the Big Brown House today. There was work on the pool, work on the bugs, then more work on the pool.

The 'Easy Monday' song was easy. "Purple Haze" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Yes, it still sounds good. Another 'Wild Card Wednesday' is here and it's time for something special: "Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway. Lookin' for adventure and whatever comes our way..." Hint: It might be a little expensive to do what is suggested in this song, but abandon is a central theme here. Hmm.

Just before I left for my weekly massage, a pick-up truck arrived with a man and a woman who came to work on repairing the pool. They had gravel and cement in the bed of the truck, ready to seal cracks from the earthquake and improve the flow of water in the channel around the pool. We had to wait until there was no threat of rain to do the work, so the cement can cure properly. Soon the water will be flowing over the sides like it's supposed to, and the surface will stay nice and clean. I'm not sure how long this work will take, but I'm sure they will be back tomorrow.

While I was at my massage, the spray man came (that's what we call him) to do the monthly insect prevention treatment. It's that time of year when it's very important to try and discourage the growth of the mosquito population.

The pool guys came and did their usual job, which didn't seem to get in the way of the repair crew. They had some extra work today since we've had some big wind and burning. The bottom of the pool had ashes and the surface was covered with various floating things that don't belong in a pool. Now it's crystal clear and cold.

This afternoon we did a little dance with the insurance company and Toyota about the repairs on the car. Of course we did, it's written into the script. In the end, I will keep my 8am appointment, the car will be fixed, and another adventure in Thailand will unfold. It's very cold in the mornings and I'll have to wrap up before I take the Tuk-Tuk ride home from the dealership.

Time for a Wacky Wednesday.


"Sometimes there are no answers,
there are only examples."
~Mark Kostew

Tuesday, February 28, 2012



We had a hot and windy day in Chiang Rai. Not enough to clear the air, but it helped. Monday and Tuesday were spent driving around doing things and this afternoon we had an excursion to Central Plaza with Boot.

You've got one more chance to tell me you know this 'Easy Monday' song. I did get some mail, but not enough. (555)
"__ __ all in my eyes. Don't know if it's day or night. You've got me blowin', blowin' my mind. Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?" Hint: Sung by an artist whose guitar playing sent a shock wave throughout the world. Wave on.

On Monday morning, as a result of my world-class driving, I took the car to Toyota for an inspection. A few things had changed from the way they had been and will require some treatment. In the afternoon I drove out to New Life Foundation and met with a young man who was returning to Belgium. He needed a ride to the airport so I took him and we had a good talk on the way. We had become friends over the last 2 months.

This morning while Lisa was having a massage, I made a Makro 'run' for veggies and stuff. Later I went to the flower market to get a fruit basket with a floral decoration. Today is our friend Bobby's last day at the bank. We wanted to take him something and have a final conversation 'across the desk'. We had a nice visit and we plan to keep in touch.

Boot discovered that our TV carrier, TrueVision, was offering a deal on iPhones and she really wanted one. We went to Central Plaza to investigate and found that everything had not been disclosed in the initial advertising. Like that's anything new. We decided to go to the Samsung store and see if we could find something that was similar. About 30 minutes later a smiling Boot was leaving the mall with a new phone. Actually, we were all smiling.

We just finished watching the Oscars, which I had to recorded yesterday morning since we had places to be. That has to be one of the weirdest adjustments living here. Live from America typically means first thing in the morning in Thailand. Hmm.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


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

Monday, February 27, 2012



It feels good to be back in the north where the days are hot and the nights are cool. The art exhibit was wonderful and we came home a day early.

That 'Old School Friday' song was "Maybellene" by Chuck Berry. For 'Easy Monday' this song should be a breeze.
"__ __ all in my brain, lately things don't seem the same. Acting funny and I don't know why, 'scuse me while I kiss the sky." Hint: There's a color involved.

Saturday Lisa and Jaffee went to the flower market district to get some floral arrangements to place around the gallery. In the afternoon we walked to the gallery and put the finishing touches on things. As guests began to arrive we decided to let them browse the exhibit before the official opening. I noticed a long black car with flags on the bumpers cruise by the gallery and I knew that had to be our guest of honor. I was right, it was Ken Foster, the new Consul General of the United States for Chiang Rai. He's a very warm, friendly gentleman who has lived in Thailand for many years. After he and Lisa walked the exhibit he took off his coat and sat down to chat with guests. After some introductions Lisa spoke about her art and it's process and then Mr. Foster was introduced. Then the ribbon was cut and Lisa presented him with a cast acrylic print, which is the custom here. He informed her that in order to receive a gift, he was required to make a donation so he donated the value of the print to The Sold Project. Later he bought two more pieces from the show. The Thailand Director of the project and the Director of Volunteers made a presentation about the project and had a chance to talk to Mr. Foster. It was a good night for everyone involved. There was great interest in the cast acrylic print process as Lisa gave a demonstration of how she creates her artwork. Everyone gathered around a grand piano in the middle of the room with focused attention during the whole thing. We'll probably go back in mid March for an 'encore' reception.

Sunday morning we decided to come back to Chiang Rai, since our work was basically done. On the way out of town, as I was turning onto a narrow bridge, I drove up the ramp that became a curb. The car ended up perched half way around the corner with three wheels in the air and no way to get down. Five men on motorbikes stopped and lifted the car, bit by bit until it was back on the street. Then they casually got on their bikes and drove away. Embarrassed and adrenalized, I drove off. We stopped and made sure nothing was leaking or broken and continued on our journey home.

With the exception of the 'curb surfing' incident, we had a very successful adventure. The local English speaking paper printed a press release about the exhibit, complete with photos of two of Lisa's works. There were several magazine writers at the show and we're hoping for more press in the future.

Have a Great Week.


"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed."
~Denis Waitley

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Funnies


It was a warm day in Chiang Mai. We did a little riding, a little walking, and did all the work to prepare the exhibit.

The 'Wild Card' song was "25 or 6 to 4" by Chicago. It refers to the time as in minutes before 4am. 'Old School Friday' is next, with a song from one of the most prolific writers of early Rock & Roll. "As I was Motivatin' over the hill, I saw __ in a Coup de Ville. A Cadillac a-rollin' on the open road, nothin' will outrun my V8 Ford. The Cadillac doin' 'bout ninety-five, she's bumper to bumper rollin' side by side. __, why can't you be true? Oh, __, why can't you be true. You've started back doin' the things you used to do." Hint: The one word is a woman's name.

Being a stranger in the big city can be a little intimidating sometimes. Today I drove to the gallery, following some misdirection. We finally called and got the specifics. The gallery space at Sangdee Gallery and Cafe is really nice. The 30 cast acrylic prints fit perfectly. Two men from the gallery helped us hang the work once we knew where we wanted each piece to go. Lisa and Jaffee tried different arrangements with a little help from me in the peanut gallery. We had to unwrap each item and then figure out placement. Everything was hung before 2pm. We took a break and returned late in the afternoon to finish labeling each one with stickers on the walls.

Before we went back to the gallery we went to the old Central shopping center next door to our hotel. I noticed a Tuk-Tuk pulling in loaded with musical equipment. A little later I heard some tuning from a guitar and got curious. I followed the sound to a staircase leading into the building. There, sitting against the wall, were four blind musicians. They played bass, guitar, a single drum, and a guy with various percussion. They started to play and the lead singer had a beautiful voice. I watched as people came down the stairs, their faces lighting up when they saw the musicians. They would pause and dig out some change to put in their tip box. I took a few photos and it was time to go. When we got back to the hotel there was a very young woman sitting in the lobby playing a traditional instrument that resembled a hammered dulcimer. It was a musical afternoon.

I left Lisa and Jaffee at the gallery and headed out to find a Tuk-Tuk to take me to a meeting on the other side of town. I walked down a long street, hoping one would pass by but no Tuk-Tuks came by. I kept walking with the knowledge that I would soon come to a major intersection. When I got there I hailed down several truck taxis but they were unwilling to take me to my destination. I finally spotted a Tuk-Tuk dropping off a fare and made a deal to take me to the meeting. Life in the big city.

After the meeting I went to dinner with a friend. We went to a place that's owned by an American from Chicago. Very nice restaurant with very good food. Since my friend is a regular there we got extra portions. Hmm. It's been a full day.

Tomorrow is the art exhibit. Everything is in place, the presenter has confirmed that he'll be there and we definitely have guests coming.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd. Time for some 'Funnies' sent to me by our friend Claire.


Boat Names That Bring a Smile

Anger Management

Knot Working

No Kids Tuition

Luna Sea

Called In Sick

Hell Froze Over


Thursday, February 23, 2012



This is a little later than usual due to an extended dinner party. Chiang Mai is just like we left it, larger than life.

There were a few responses to the 'Wild Card' song. I'll bet you know it but just don't know it yet. Here's a bit more:
"Starring blindly into space. Getting up to splash my face. Wanting just to stay awake, wondering how much I can take. Should I try to do some more __ __ __ __ __." Hint: It has to do with time. What is the windy city?

We had an eventful trip from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. First, we stopped at a new restaurant outside of town. It sits on a hill in the middle of a tea plantation that's owned by the family that runs Singha beer and the views were amazing. Jaffee told us that people come there to watch the sunsets. Sounds like a plan. Our second stop was Charin Garden Resort. It's a restaurant/resort right off the highway and has a reputation for its baked goods. We had lunch there, looking out on a river. We can recommend the apple pie. Across the river were Thai cabins that one can rent for $24 a night. They're rather spartan, but it's a cabin in the woods. There were many flowering trees and lush flower beds all around.

When we got to Chiang Mai we checked and found out that our room was on a floor without WiFi. Jaffee made a call to the desk and they moved us to a WiFi floor. We relaxed a bit and then got ready for the SKAL dinner. The hotel where the dinner was being held is not officially open yet. When we arrived a young man showed us one of the rooms. It's difficult to tell you how beautiful it was except to say that we'd love to stay there for a few days. There were double sinks in the bathroom, an old-fashion tub and the option of an outdoor shower. There are only 30 rooms and they start at $165 a night. Hmm, maybe that cabin is looking better. (555) We had a good time meeting new people, and talking about the exhibit. Speaking of the exhibit, the Chiang Mai Post printed the entire press release about Lisa's exhibit and included two photos of her work. Tomorrow we're going out and buy a bunch.

Tomorrow morning we go to the gallery and begin hanging the show. The adventure continues.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"If you want to be respected by others,
the great thing is to respect yourself."
~Fyodor Dostoevsky

Wednesday, February 22, 2012



The countdown has begun. The list has been completed, and the art has left the building. It was a good day.

In case you were wondering, the 'Easy Monday' song was "My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder. Here comes another 'Wild Card Wednesday' tune for you to digest: "Waiting for the break of day, searching for something to say. Flashing lights against the sky, giving up I close my eyes. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, __ __ __ __ __."
Clue: Since it's release in 1970, this song has inspired lots of discussion and theories. A question of math, or perhaps meditation, or maybe in love? Group name is a city.

Today was a busy one, since it was our last full day before leaving for Chiang Mai. Everything we needed to do got done. The shippers got the art and it will be delivered tomorrow afternoon. We got the car washed, the hair cut, the catalogue inserts printed, and still managed to shop for supplies at Big C, and have a farewell lunch with our friend Kelly. She'll be leaving for the U.S. on Sunday so today was our last chance to spend some time and say goodbye.

There is a suitcase on the floor, and it's time to put something in it. Hmm, five days means I'll have to pack a few things. (555) The weather in Chiang Mai is in the high 90s by day and mid 60s at night. Hmm.

Tomorrow evening we're going to a dinner given by a travel and tour organization. Jaffee, who is Lisa's manager, is a member of this group and there will be an introduction/promotion of the exhibition. We know a few of the members so it should be a pleasant affair.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


"Beautiful things can be difficult."
~Plato (paraphrased by me)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012



Today we experienced overcast skies with warm temps. It was a day of running and walking. Preparations for the Chiang Mai weekend are almost done and there's a suitcase on the floor. Daku is suspicious.

This 'Easy Monday' song was just that for some. I still haven't heard from a bunch of you so here's more of the song:
"Maybe someday, you'll see my face among the crowd. Maybe someday, I'll share your little distant cloud. Oh, __ __, pretty little one that I adore. You're the only one my heart beats for, how I wish that your were mine. La la la, la la la, la la la, etc." Clue: He was made to love her but she just doesn't see him. Hmm. C'est la vie.

This morning Khun Ampie came by to bring us a banana tree. It's a baby, but it's real cute. La planted it and there was talk of getting another one with very sweet bananas. Ampie is also looking for a certain kind of orange tree that we like. Well, we like the oranges, not the tree. Now I'm thinking a mango tree would also be nice since it's become my favorite fruit. This could get interesting.

I made a run up to Makro after dropping Lisa off for a massage. There's nothing like mornings at Makro. The aisles have little traffic, and the shelves are full, mostly. There are still certain items that haven't returned since the shortages related to the flood. We're not really affected, but it's hard not to see the gaps. While I was waiting to have some chicken weighed, a motorbike taxi driver cut in front of me. Some older people don't get the concept of waiting in line, but I know that so I try to be tolerant. (Ha) His phone rang and that saved him. I dug his ringtone. It was some traditional Thai music and that just blew me away. Why didn't I think of that.

After Lisa's massage we went to the bank to handle some business with our friend Bobby. He told us he had just given his notice and would be leaving the bank at the end of the month. That was a big surprise that left us feeling a little vulnerable, but Bobby assured us that he would be available if necessary. He told us to just call and he would talk to the other young men and help explain or translate if needed. He will be a great asset to any company that hires him and we'll miss his smiling face behind the desk.

We spent the greater part of the afternoon at Central Plaza. After confirming that the iBeat Apple store had the laptop we wanted, it took a few tries to get everyone on the same page with regards to what we wanted to have done. They told us it would take two hours to transfer everything from one laptop to the other. Once we got it paid for, we left to tackle other items on our list. There's a lot to see in Central Plaza and today we saw a little more at a slower pace. We even sat in some of the demonstration massage chairs.

We saw our friend Kelly, who will be leaving Thailand soon. We're going to have lunch with her tomorrow. Back at the iBeat store the work was going slower that predicted so we left and went home for dinner. When we returned everything was done. Lisa is very happy with her new computer and we're both learning about the operating system 'Lion'. Lots of new things to adjust to, but it's all pretty cool.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"We see ourselves as broken, and then set out on a long
and frustrating journey to fill our emptiness.
But it is not fixing that we require; it is awakening."
~Alan Cohen

Monday, February 20, 2012



I'm back from my weekend in Pattaya. I had a great time and came home tired. The week got off to an adventurous start as you will soon find out.

Well, a few of you knew the 'Old School Friday' song. It was "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" by The Shirelles. Now it's 'Easy Monday' and a song I'm sure you remember. If you don't get this one I will wonder about you.
"__ __ __, lovely as a summer day. __ __ __, distant as the Milky Way. __ __ __, pretty little one that I adore, you're the only one my heart beats for, how I wish that you were mine." Hint: There's a little French involved.

The city of Pattaya was full of tourists and I stayed in the hotel the whole weekend. There was lots to do so I didn't mind not being out in all the craziness. I got to see lots of friends from many different countries. There were 'old friends' from Finland, Sweden, Australia, and I made some new ones from Ireland, Russia, Iran and Canada. We had many conversations on a wide range of topics. When I got home I got a very boisterous greeting from Daku. It's nice to be missed by one's dog.

Sunday night the screen on Lisa's laptop went black. Not a good sign. It was running but we couldn't see anything. Today, after my morning at the dentist and her's at the salon, we went to the iBeat store at Central Plaza to find out what was wrong. The conclusion was a 'broken' graphic card. It just quit working. Tomorrow we're going back and get her a new computer. They will transfer all the files into the new one and cyber life can continue.

We spent the rest of the day distributing posters and flyers for the exhibit this weekend in Chiang Mai. Wednesday the shippers will come and take the crates and deliver them to the gallery on Thursday.

The weather here has turned the proverbial corner. The nights are warming up. This morning I didn't have to put on a jacket to go out with Daku. It's been a little overcast, but warm anyway.

Have a Great Week.


"The real measure of your wealth is how much
you'd be worth if you lost all your money."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Funnies


I'm here in Pattaya after a bit of traveling. My battery is getting low and the internet is questionable. Hmm, life on the road.

That Wednesday song that slipped your mind was "She Loves You" by The Beatles. For 'Old School Friday' here's one you know: "Tonight you're mine completely. You give your love so sweetly. Tonight the light of love is in your eyes, __ __ __ __ __ __?" Hint: It's by a 'Girl Group' that had lots of hits in the 60s, wondering if the romance will continue.

We got up before the sun in order to do the morning routine and still have time to leave for the airport by 7:15am. It all worked out and we had time to have coffee before my flight. The trip to Bangkok was the usual hour and 20 minutes. There wasn't much to see so I messed with my iPad. On the cover of the Air Asia magazine there was a little box that read 'Help save the Earth. Read this online and stop stealing me.' After landing and walking what felt like the length of the airport, there was a wait for the bags. I reached the stand for the bus to Pattaya with 30 minutes to spare.

The ride south to Pattaya was a chance to see what the major highway looked like at mid-day Friday. I saw more container trucks that I've ever seen. They were leaving the Bangkok port and heading south to various storage depots. We arrived in Pattaya on time, but then the bus had to make it's way through the traffic. This place is big and busy. Passed a place called 'Kiss Food & Drink'. Once we reached the 'bus office' I had to take a pick-up taxi to my hotel. This took another hour in heavy traffic. I have another city to put on my list of 'never gonna drive there' places.

This afternoon I heard thunder in the distance and then the sound of rain. It's been raining off and on into the evening. Good thing I didn't come here for the beach. They do have a pool and the water is warm. Maybe the sun will shine tomorrow and I can get in a swim.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd. I'll leave you now with the 'Funnies'.


One afternoon, a man went to his doctor and told him that he hasn't
been feeling well lately. The doctor examined the man, left the room,
and came back with three different bottles of pills.

The doctor said, "Take the green pill with a big glass of water when
you wake up. Take the blue pill with a big glass of water after you
eat lunch. Then just before going to bed, take the red pill with
another big glass of water."

Startled to be put on so much medicine, the man stammered, "Wow Doc,
exactly what is my problem?"

The doctor replied, "You're not drinking enough water."

Thursday, February 16, 2012



Chiang Rai is still buzzing with visitors. The heat is still a topic of conversation, although it's going to get hotter. We did some very productive 'errand running' today and saw friends along the way.

I got lots of mail on this last song. If you still can't figure it out, I'm sure the full chorus will ring a bell. If not, oh well. "__ __ __, yeah, yeah, yeah. __ __ __, yeah, yeah, yeah. And with a love like that you know you should be glad.
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah) Hint:

This morning started out with repair guys coming to the house to fix a bracket on our headboard. They were sent by the folks at the furniture store. When they finished I asked how much and they said no charge. Hmm. We gave them something for their work and they were very appreciative.

We went to Makro again today for the chicken parts that we feed the dogs. There were other routine things to get and observations to be made. Did you know that you can get various parts of a squid in separate packaging? Every time I cruise the frozen food area I learn more than I needed to know. Maybe next time I'll go to the cereal section.

Today was lottery day which meant that Boot was gone most of the day. Laa made us a good lunch, but her days of running a food stall caused her to pile our plates with more than we usually eat.

After a nap we went to Central Plaza to get some supplies for the art exhibit. We also shopped for a portable DVD player. We found one by a company that is based in Thailand and it will play discs from 'all regions'. Some players will only play things from a particular part of the world. It took a while to get the guys in the store to find the manual so we could check things out. Our next stop was the DTAC store, the carrier for Lisa's phone. After adding money to the phone she had them remove the code that allowed text messages in Thai from the company. They were constantly sending her texts from 'Happy Virus' with promotional deals for internet and games. Why would you want to call something from your company a virus? Oh well. Down in Top's Market we ran into our friend Eddie. He bought one of Lisa's cast acrylic prints at her last exhibit, and told us it's hanging in his new house. When we get back from Chiang Mai we're going to go see it. As we were leaving the Plaza we saw our friend Atom, who we thought we had said our final goodbyes to, so that was a neat surprise.

This evening Lisa had a Thai lesson and then we, or should I say 'she', baked a batch of cookies. I will take some on my trip to Pattaya this weekend. I'll be sending you the Friday message from there, with the help of 'hotel WiFi'.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"The deepest hunger of the human soul is to be understood,
to feel heard, to feel validated ...
The deepest hunger of the human body is for air.
If you can listen to another person,
in depth, until they feel understood,
its the equivalent of giving them air."
~Steven Covey