Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Funnies


Today has been a day full of starts and stops.  The yard crew came, sort of.  The lights took an intermission, and the internet has been playing hide-and-go-seek.  We visited the downtown market, and saw a sample from the T-shirt line. It's been a full day.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Yakety Yak" by The Coasters.  Leave it to our old friends to provide some Zany fun.
And now for some 'Old School Friday:  "__ __ __ she built fit, she got everything that Uncle John need oh baby..."  Clues:  Three words that are a descriptive  nickname for a certain person.  It rhymes with alley, and it's sung by a man who often claims he invented Rock & Roll, and taught the Beatles everything they know.  Hmm.

This morning I took the dogs out for a casual walk around the house.  It was too soon to have them run after breakfast, but we knew they'd be stuck in the house all day.  The secret to keeping the dogs in line is to have treats in the pocket and let them know.  They behaved beautifully.  

The yard crew came but Khun Kek could only bring three workers so they have to return tomorrow to finish.  There was some concern about a few of our plants that are starting to have brown/yellow leaves.  Kek explained that we've had too much rain and it will get better.  

While the yard guys were getting started, Chalit came over and took some really cool photos of Lisa at work in her studio.  Then we went outside and he took a head shot.  Next week he wants to do a portrait concept that he's been thinking about.  It will be in black & white.  Can't wait to see what he comes up with.

We had just started out the door for a trip to the market when Boot announced that the lights were 'gone'.  The power was out and that meant I'd have to push the gate open.  Poor me (555).  We went to the market and got some material forsome shirts.  Of course, the fabric store is right next to the 'Treat Lady' so we bought a few items.  The place was bustling and we couldn't help noticing several women who had staked out spots to sell 'live bugs'.  So gross, and yet it's what they do.  There's always something in the market that lets you know that this is a different culture than the one where you grew up.  

When we got home the power was on but the internet was 'gone'.  We had just been through a whole resetting thing with a tech from 3BB two days ago, and now it decided to just stop.  I called the support desk in Bangkok and this time they noticed 'uneven' service in our area.  Duh.  It is now a few hours later and things are running smoothly.  Maybe someone plugged something in and just didn't mention it.  (555)

Khun Natty came over this afternoon with a sample of the T-shirt from a digital printing company.  It came out great and now it looks like we're going full steam ahead.  

Tomorrow night we're going to a wine-tasting party at Le Meridien.  Sunday we'll be going to a Mooncake Festival party at Jaffee's.  It's a Chinese celebration.  Looks to be a weekend of smiles.

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


Thursday, September 27, 2012



Today it seemed like the rain we've been missing all arrived at once.  The dogs got to play, we got to swim, and concrete has appeared next door.

Quite a few readers were tuned in and ready for the 'Zany Day' song.  This final verse brings back memories for me:
"Don't you give me no dirty looks.  Your father's hip, he knows what cooks.  Just tell your hoodlum friend outside, you ain't got time to take a ride.  __ __ (don't talk back)  Hint:  The two words of the title are the sound a teen hears when parental units speak.  

We haven't had any serious rain for over a week.  This morning, not long after the dogs exercised, the rain came fast and hard.  The entire front yard had standing water.  We watched with glee as a large fire that had been started behind us was extinguished by the rain.  By the time it was over we were ready for our shopping trip to Makro.

The drive up the highway revealed that it had not rained as hard to the north.  One of the things I had planned on doing at Makro was to take a picture of the coat rack that we bought last week.  I needed to see one fully assembled. I should have realized that anything that they sell from the 'special aisle' is subject to be gone the following week.  There was no coat rack so I'll have to improvise.  The two sets of ball-bearings will have to sit in the tool box, unused.

Last night I had a conversation with Tatt about his testing adventure in Bangkok.  He told me that math was easy and physics was difficult.  Thousands of students from all over Thailand will converge on Bangkok in waves in order to take these 'qualifying' tests.  Tatt still has more to do in coming weeks.  He ran to his room and brought back a gift for us. It was two large bags of some sort of snacks.  I tried one of them and it was some kind of dried fish with chili.  Too spicy to be fun for me.  The other bag was assorted vegetables, I think, also dried and flavored.  Hmm.

Tuesday, while we were at Airport Central we got a snack at the food court.  It's a large area with over a dozen mini-kitchens that serve hot meals.  You buy food credit at a central cashier and the cost of the food is deducted.  The vendors don't have to deal with any cash.  Things were slow in the afternoon and we noticed one cook getting in a nap.  It gets like that sometimes.

                             Out of Juice

This morning, before the rain, I noticed a cement truck rolling out onto the giant dirt lot behind us.  They were pouring concrete into a wide path down the center of the property.  Then the rain came.  Later I noticed they had come back and were pouring more concrete.  I'm no expert but the ground was wet, the concrete is wet so what's going to happen?  Hmm, stay tuned and find out.  It's probably just a temporary path for looking around (he said).  

Tomorrow there will be a small photo shoot here at the house.  Chalit is coming over to photograph Lisa in her work space.  It's for a potential magazine spread.  While that's happening inside, the yard crew will come and do their thing.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"As I watched the seagulls, I thought:
That's the road to take.
Find the absolute rhythm and follow it with absolute trust."
~Nikos Kazantzakis

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Let Go


It feels good to be back in Chiang Rai.  The bulk of the day dealt with travel and relaxation.  We got a wild greeting from the dogs that felt like we'd been gone for weeks.  

The 'Easy Monday' song that seemed to slip through your brain cells was "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf.  Maybe you remember this 'Zany Day' song that many teens can still relate to:  "Take out the papers and the trash, or you don't get no spendin' cash.  If you don't scrub that kitchen floor you ain't gonna rock and roll no more.  __ __ (don't talk back)."  

Our plan to stay up late in order to sleep on the bus was good, but there was one element that had not been considered.  There were three hours from the getting up to the sitting down on the bus that required being awake and alert.  Oh my.  The Chiang Mai bus station is more 'Big City' than our home-town version.  I got popcorn and juice in the little convenience store, we checked the 'gate' for our bus on an overhead TV monitor, and generally felt like we were in a more sophisticated place.  Once we were on the bus we watched some TV on the iPad and then napped.  The trip went by much quicker that way.  Occasionally we would be startled by the musical cellphone ringtone in the seat ahead of us, but most of the trip was pretty mellow.  When we were getting settled Lisa got out her phone and we took some photos of ourselves.  Here's our first travel portrait.

Based purely on observation, there still seems to be a mild turf war between the Tuk-Tuks and the Taxis in Chiang Rai.  On Monday, when we arrived at the 'Old Bus Station' in the center of town we didn't see any other taxis.  When the bus stopped at the 'New Station' south of town there were about 5 taxis waiting for fares alongside a row of Tuk-Tuks.  Today we ended up taking a Tuk-Tuk home because we couldn't find a taxi.  I guess that was a minor concession from the new cab company.  One of these days they will learn to coexist.  

Here's a bit of traffic trivia that everyone who drives a car in Thailand should be aware of:  In an altercation between a car and a motorbike, it's always the car's fault.  Hmm, no wonder some motorbike riders seem so fearless.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be.
When I let go of what I have,
I receive what I need."
~Tao Te Ching

Tuesday, September 25, 2012



Today was a fun day.  We slept in, ate out, shopped in a giant mall, and indulged ourselves on yummy stuff throughout the day.

What?  Only one response to the 'Easy Monday' song?  I guess a portion of the next verse is in order.  You gotta know:
"I like smoke and lightning, heavy metal thunder.  Racin' with the wind, and the feelin' that I'm under... __ __ __ __, 
__ __ __ __."  Hint: The group is named after a book.  The title should be clear by now.

With no dog to dictate our morning moves, we slept late.  What an unusual feeling to just laze about.  After breakfast we hung out in the room until our friends Alan and Ten picked us up for lunch.  They took us to a noodle place that served a traditional dish that consisted of chicken, and two kinds of noodles.  They assured us that it wasn't spicy.  I knew as soon as my bowl was in front of me that it was going to be too spicy.  I took a few bites and couldn't go on.  A new serving was supposed to be 'not spicy', but still put a fire in my mouth.  I ate what I could, and enjoyed the conversations.  We talked a lot about the adjustments necessary when moving to Thailand, and the language thing.  Alan and Ten were recently in Chiang Rai to fill in their property with dirt in preparation for building.  That led to lots of house talk.  After lunch they drove us to Airport Central Plaza for our next adventure.

The five story mall that is Airport Central was built in such a way that one can easily get turned around.  That led to seeing more shops, and potentially buying more stuff.  We got turned around several times, but it didn't matter.  We would just ask for directions and find our way.  I saw a display for a housing project called 'Richy Rich Land', we visited with an artist we'd seen in Chiang Rai at 9 Art Gallery.  He has a big area in the mall where he's selling his work and painting as well.  He is self-taught and has developed a beautiful and unique style.  Just as we were fading, we found some massage chairs and let them do their work.  It was fun and relaxing trying to figure out how they worked and then pressing button to change the massage.  Hmm.

One of the 'Off the Wall' highlights of the day was the stand where you dip your favorite fruit in chocolate.  The choices were: watermelon, apple, grapes, marshmallow, and things I don't know.  In the foreground of the photo is the fountain where you get the chocolate.  It had a sign that read: 'Do not touch, do not blow'.  I can only imagine what used to happen before the sign.  (555)

Hopefully I will not have dreams of chocolate covered watermelon tonight.  We will return to Chiang Rai on the morning bus.  Our big plan is to stay up late and sleep on the bus.  It just might work.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"The mind, once stretched by a new idea,
never returns to its original dimensions."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, September 24, 2012



Our Monday was full of adventure.  We traveled to Chiang Mai, cruised an old mall, found a new restaurant, and rode in Tuk-Tuks.  

The 'Old School Friday' song was "Daddy's Home" by Shep & The Limelights.  Time for another episode of 'Easy Monday'.  Remember this?: "Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway.  Lookin' for adventure, and whatever comes our way.  Yeah, darlin' go make it happen, take the world in a love embrace.  Fire all of your guns at once, and explode into space... Like a true nature's child, we were __, __ __ __ __, we can climb so high I never wanna die."
Hint:  This song was featured in a film that became a symbol to some, of a rite of passage and freedom.  The chopper went mainstream.  Four words with lots of impact.

Last night, when the suitcase was opened for packing, Daku sensed that something was about to happen.  This morning we got up earlier than usual and about the time he thought he should go out to play, the suitcase went downstairs.  When the taxi was packed with our bags, Lisa opened the door to the kitchen to get something and Daku tried to make a mad dash to the car.  The taxi driver bolted toward safety and Lisa caught Daku.  He wanted to come with us.  We found out later that he followed Boot around the house all day after we left.  

It was nice to arrive at the bus station relaxed and composed instead of wind-blown and shaken from a Tuk-Tuk ride.  Our first ride in a Chiang Rai taxi was pleasant and we arrived early so we had a chance to soak in the Monday morning bus station scene.  Most of the travelers were Thais going to various destinations around the country.  When it was time to board the bus we were greeted by a really nice 'flight attendant'.  They always have someone who serves water and cookies right after 'take off'.  We hadn't taken the Big Green Bus in a long time and it was a treat to just sit and check out the countryside as we rolled along.  In one valley there was rice as far as we could see.  

                                An Ocean of Rice

Our hotel is one that we've stayed in several times so we got a warm greeting from the staff.  After relaxing briefly in our room, we went to a dental clinic that had been referred by a dentist in Chiang Rai.  It was a very efficient place with some very compassionate dentists.  We ended up going back to the hotel in a Tuk-Tuk, something we said we wouldn't do this trip.  In reality, what's a trip to Chiang Mai without a ride in a hot-rod?  The guys who operate these machines in Chiang Mai modify the engines and gearing so they go much faster than their country cousins.  Zoom.

I went to a meeting in the evening and went in a Tuk-Tuk.  This was the ride of the century, and I just hung on and watched as the driver maneuvered his three-wheeled beast through spaces that seemed way too small.  I tried to imagine what this would look like on the streets of Culver City or L.A.  There would be an all-points bulletin for a mad man. (555)

Tomorrow is a 'play day' for us.  We'll having lunch with our friends Alan and Ten.  The rest is up to us and that's going to be fun.  

Have a Great Week.


"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
~Marcel Proust

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Funnies


Hot was the order of the day in Chiang Rai.  We made a couple of trips to town, I drove to the country, and our student guest is in Rayong for the weekend.

This week's 'Zany Day' song only got two 'hits', from Denny and Christopher.  It was "Beep Beep" by The Playmates.  'Old School Friday brings a bit of musical history with a 'slow song' that has lived through many generations.  
"You're my love, you're my angel, you're the girl of my dreams.  I'd like to thank you for waiting patiently.  __ __, your __ __ to stay.  How I've waited for this moment, to be by your side.  Your best friend wrote and told me you had teardrops in your eyes.  __ __, your __ __ to stay."  Hint:  This is an 'answer song'.  In the first song there were a bunch of miles mentioned in the title.  The first song was in '57 and the answer came in '61.

This morning we went into town early.  We wanted to get to the bank before it got busy.  It was a normal bit of business, and an exercise in understanding.  When the assistant manager was finishing up with us he asked, "Is Thailand happy today?".  Hmm, what he meant was:  "Are you still happy in Thailand?"  It took a second to figure it out, but we did.  I suppose it was easier to figure out than some of the things we say to people in Thai.

There is a large intersection at King Mengrai Square, with a long traffic light sequence.  While sitting there we noticed a trash truck one vehicle ahead of us.  Sitting on top of the truck was a person.  When the light changed I managed to get in a position so Lisa could capture this bizarre but common sighting.

                      Ridin' High on the Trash

On our way home from the bank we passed Bliss Studio and realized that we had some artwork that needed to be photographed.  We went home, got the artwork and went back to town.  Riding through town we noticed several people riding bicycles on the main, busy streets.  They appeared to be oblivious to the cars and trucks that whizzed by them.  One woman was slowly pedaling as if she was on a quiet country road.  I would be terrified, which is why I don't do that.  In fact, that's why we gave our bikes away.  

This afternoon I went out to New Life Foundation.  On my way home I saw a man sitting on a motorbike by the side of the road.  He was 'tending' his small herd of cows who were grazing.  If he's there next week I'm taking his picture. Down the road from him there was a man in a hammock, gently swaying while talking on a phone.  Hmm.

We went for a swim this afternoon, but had to cut it short due to smoke.  It's a pain but we deal with it by staying inside and filtering the air.  

Tatt, our high school house guest took a bus to him home town of Rayong, yesterday evening.  Sunday morning he will go to Bangkok for testing for college entrance.  He will return on Monday.  We miss him and so do the dogs.

On Monday morning we will take our first ride in a Chiang Rai Taxi.  We'll use the service to get to the bus station for our trip to Chiang Mai.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Stay tuned for the 'Funnies'.


An Amazing Talking Dog

A man and his dog walk into a bar. The man proclaims, "I'll bet you a
round of drinks that my dog can talk."

Bartender: "Yeah! Sure...go ahead."

Man: "What covers a house?"

Dog: "Roof!"

Man: "How does sandpaper feel?"

Dog: "Rough!"

Man: "Who was the greatest ball player of all time?"

Dog: "Ruth!"

Man: "Pay up. I told you he could talk."

The bartender, annoyed at this point, throws both of them out the
door. Sitting on the sidewalk, the dog looks at the guy and says, "or
is the greatest player Mantle?"

Thursday, September 20, 2012



Today we experienced a mixed bag of weather, two markets, and the bus station.  We also had a slow drive past a school parade.

Well, not surprised that my brother got this one.  Nobody else has seemed to figure the 'Zany Day' song.  Hmm.
"Now we're doing a hundred twenty, as fast as I can go.  The Rambler pulled along side of me as if we were going slow. The fella rolled down his window, and yelled for me to hear:  'Hey buddy how do I get this car outa second gear?'  __ __, __ __, his horn went __ __ __."  Hint:  I know I said no hints, blah, blah, but think 'Roadrunner'.

This morning we went to Makro right after the rush hour traffic.  There was still some stop-and-go but it didn't take long.  They frequently have special items in the center of the main aisle.  Today there was a coat rack that caught our eye.  The whole thing was packed into a small, very heavy box.  Hmm, some assembly required.  (555)  More on that later.

As we drove south on the Super Highway we realized that it was flowing smoothly.  Hey, all the lanes are open.  This was a very pleasant change.  Our next stop was the bus station.  We're going to Chiang Mai on Monday and we wanted to make sure we could get tickets.  Initially we were going to just stay in Chiang Mai for one night and come back Tuesday afternoon.  The bus we wanted was sold out so we're coming back on Wednesday morning.  That will give us more time to see things and visit with friends.  It's been a long time since we've been there.

After a stop at our favorite place, the vegetable market, we headed home.  A block past the Clock Tower I noticed that the traffic seemed to be backing up.  I also saw some kids in scout uniforms walking in the street.  As we got closer we realized it was a parade.  Only one side of the street was open to vehicles so it was tricky.  The kids looked like junior high age, and they were led by a band made up of elementary school kids.  A picture is worth a thousand words so here's the band:

                The Short Attention Span Band

As we drove past the golf course, heading for home it began to rain hard.  When we got to the Pink Bridge we saw about five motorbikes at the side of the road, their riders unpacking raincoats.  There was one woman on a bicycle standing under a tree with her umbrella, waiting it out.  When we got to the other side of the bridge it was dry.  The storm was moving north and hadn't crossed the river yet.  Everyone going south got a big shock because it looked like such a nice day.  (555)

This afternoon Natty came over with samples for the art project.  She had two of the six T-shirts that will be a line of Chiang Rai souvenirs.  The artwork is, of course, by our resident artist.  In the near future you will get a chance to preview the images.  They're quite different from the usual offerings and Natty is going to handle the marketing.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"The good teacher ... discovers the natural gifts of his/her pupils
and liberates them by the stimulating
influence of the inspiration that he/she can impart."
~Stephen Neill

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012



The tables have turned and now we're wishing it would rain, just a little.  It's been hot and dry for several days and the lawns need water.  We learned about the land next to us, and the word ghost was mentioned twice today.  Hmm.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "You Keep Me Hanging On" by The Supremes.  On to the 'Zany Day' song, which may be a mystery to some of you kids.  (555)  "While riding in my Cadillac, what to my surprise.  A little Nash Rambler was following me, about one third my size.  The guy musta wanted to pass me up as he kept on tooting his horn.  I'll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn.  __ __, __ __, his horn went __ __ __."  Clue:  This has got to be the easiest 'Zany' tune yet.  Therefore, there will be no clues, hints or nudges.  It was silly a hundred years ago and it's still silly.

Except for my massage this morning, we spent the day at home.  After lunch there was another meeting about the art project that Lisa is doing with our friend Natty.  Things are really progressing and it won't be long before we unveil the whole thing.  

Last night Lisa heard a strange knocking sound downstairs.  After careful investigation we were left scratching our heads.  This afternoon Lisa and Boot were talking about it and Boot was certain that it was a ghost.  Well, no one but us has lived in this house, and as far as we know the land has always been a rice field before we came.  It just occurred to me that it could have been a visitor in the ceiling.  It has happened before, that some bird gets under the tiles and stays a few days.  Creepy.

This evening I went downstairs to take some things to my room in the back.  I passed Tatt's room but didn't say anything.  A little later he came upstairs and wanted me to come and check because he thought he saw a ghost.  What he saw was a glimpse of me as I was leaving.  He was quite relieved.  There are many superstitions that abound here in Thailand, and the existence of ghosts is just one of them.  Spirits are one thing, but physical manifestations are something else.

We got the scoop on the big piece of land behind us.  As I had suspected, it's going to be divided and sold as smaller parcels.  This should be interesting since the access road to the land is only big enough for one vehicle at a time.  Maybe the road will be widened.  One thing is for sure, when the building begins we will have lots of new sounds to contend with, and plenty to see.  I had a fantasy of buying the two plots closest to us and putting in a bunch of trees. 

On Saturday, when we went to the artists' meeting, we parked on the grounds of the temple next door to the building. Here is a quick shot of the newly redecorated entrance.  I'm going to go back and shoot it with bright sunlight so you can get the true effect of the 'chrome' treatment.  

It's Time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude
from achieving his goal;
nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."
~E. Joseph Cossman

Tuesday, September 18, 2012



We've been having some incredible weather lately.  Today was no exception.  The morning was clear, bright sunshine and by the afternoon it was hot.  Travel into town was the usual adventure in driving and we saw a few interesting sights.

I love 'Easy Monday', especially when it's really easy.  The mail has been good.  If you still need more, check this out:
"You say although we broke up, you still wanna be friends.  But how can we still be friends when seeing you only breaks my heart again?  And there ain't nothin' I can do about it.... 'Cause you don't really love me, __ __ __ __ __..."
Hint:  Seriously?  I don't think any hints are necessary.  

When I went to get Lisa from her massage appointment I noticed a lot of activity at the government building near our house.  I think it's related to a big conference that's happening here in Chiang Rai this week.  "The ASEAN-China Gateway" is the name of the meeting and it's all about business matching.  In 2015 the ASEAN Economic Community will be official, and that means that the 10 nations in the South East Asia Region will be doing a lot more business with each other.  Since Chiang Rai is the northern most city in Thailand, we're going to see a lot of action.  

Driving back to our house I saw a guy on a motorbike, riding without his hands on the bars.  He was buckling his helmet, which is a good thing to do, but I'm not sure if doing it while riding with no hands is the best time.   I can just see the story now, "He got it buckled just before he went down".  

When we woke up from our nap I looked out the window and saw a huge cloud of smoke.  It was from a fire that had been set on the other side of our wall in order to clear some of the field.  Fortunately, the wind was blowing it away from us, but it was still a little distressing.  Of course, I had to capture this special moment for you.

                           That's Close Enough

This afternoon we went to NorThai, the shop that our friends Martin and Kay are building.  While Martin was helping Lisa with the poster for her Bangkok exhibit, Kay showed me some of the jewelry they will be selling.  All of the bracelets and necklaces are made with beautiful polished stones.  I also had a 'moment' with Ziggy, a colorful fish that is named after Ziggy Stardust.  Martin told us that Ziggy likes to rearrange the stones in the bottom of his tank.  He picks them up in his mouth and moves them to one side or the other.  He will follow your finger if you move it against the glass of the tank.  They just found out that he doesn't like the color black.  Martin had on a black shirt and Ziggy backed away from him.  Maybe he likes the light.

With all this warm, sunny weather the pool should be just right for a swim tomorrow.  I can hardly wait.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Occasionally in life there are those moments
of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained
by those symbols called words.
Their meanings can only be articulated
by the inaudible language of the heart".
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, September 17, 2012



Our weekend could be described as pretty mellow with interludes of great intensity.  If you include the fact that it stayed dry, then it was a very cool weekend.

The 'Old School Friday' tune was "Knock On Wood" by Eddie Floyd.  Say 'Hello' to 'Easy Monday'.  You know this one:
"Set me free, why don't cha babe.  Get out my life, why don't cha babe... But you don't really love me, but  
__ __ __ __ __."  Hint: There is a musical hook that feels like Morse code, three wigs, three gowns, and lots of gold.

Saturday we got a double dose of the Super Highway construction.  In the morning we went to Makro early, which paid off as far as the traffic goes.  It's what I could almost call a routine run.  There seems to be another shortage of celery, but there's an abundance of durian if one is so inclined.  (555)

After lunch we picked up Chalit and Amber and went up the highway to a building across the road from Makro.  This was a meeting of Chiang Rai artists and we knew it had something to do with securing the building for use as a gallery. When we arrived we saw tons of artists friends we haven't seen in a long time.  The chair of the committee took us around and showed us how they plan to use the building for various purposes.   During the presentation Chalit and Amber translated for us so we could keep up.  A foundation is being formed, with 51% of the control belonging to artists.  Local artists have one month to buy shares in the foundation.  It's a pretty cool plan and has the support of several 'National Artists' who live in the area.  When the meeting ended, everyone's spirits were very high and you could feel the enthusiasm in the air.   Today's photo will give you a sense of one of the rooms, which will be a permanent gallery.

                Building a Foundation for Art

Sunday was spent mostly on the compound.  We went to Gahn's shop to check out the work she had done for Lisa.  The new blouse was just what she wanted so Gahn is making more.  The afternoon was busy.  We bought a big wire shelf system at Makro in a quest to organize our 'shed'.  That's what we call the little room by the pool that keeps all the stuff that has no place to live in the house.  Kind of like a mini garage.  We enlisted Tatt's help in carrying some of the heavier containers in and out of the shed.  While he and Lisa emptied everything out, I put the shelves together.  After it was all done, some lucky recycler got a bunch of cardboard, there is a pile of give-aways, and we have a few things to sell.  The shed is neat, and we can get to stuff if we want to.  It's just amazing how things accumulate when you're not looking.

This morning was 'fix it' morning.  The Screen Man came and worked on our sliding screens.  One of them lost a roller assembly and needed servicing.  While he was here I tried to unfold the mystery surrounding the placement of windows on the outside and screens on the inside.  The short answer is that the frames are made with the bottom of the window lower than that of the screen.  If it were reversed then water would come inside.  Oh.  Now I understand why so many expats import their windows.  

After Screen Man left it was time for Light Guy.  We needed him to change a socket in an overhead light.  This seems to be happening on a regular basis.  The ones that were installed when we built the house were clearly from the discount bin.  I've discussed buying a whole bunch of good ones and having him make everything right.  Seems simple enough.

This evening we had a nice dinner at Central Plaza, picked up a few things at Top's, and visited Telewiz.  Telewiz is a phone shop that handles the phone provider that I use.  I needed to add money to my phone as well as request that they stop sending me text messages.  The message thing is crazy here.  They send alerts to this and that and it's all in Thai.  I was told that it would take two days for them to stop.  As soon as I showed the guy my screen he knew what I wanted done.  Hmm.  Promote 'til they complain.  

Have a Great Week.


"Let us then be what we are, and speak what we think,
and in all things keep ourselves loyal to truth."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Funnies


Today was a lot of morning rain and afternoon gloom.  The temperature was actually cool.  We ran errands, visited the mall, and later had a doggie play-date.  

The many correct (and almost correct) answers to the 'Zany Day' song have renewed my faith in your memories.  The song was "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash.  For 'Old School Friday' I'm giving you an easy one.  Sing it all day:
"I don't want to lose you, this good thing that I got, 'cause if I do I will surely, surely lose a lot.  'Cause your love is better than any love I know.  It's like thunder, lightning, the way you love me is frightening.  I'd better __ __ __, baby..."  Hint:  This tune uses a superstition as the hook.  It was the dawn of the 'Memphis Sound', for those young enough to remember.  (Ha)

The dogs were grounded once again by the morning rain.  Daku had a 'training session' inside and seemed happy with that.  We left the house just as the rain eased up a bit.  The 'bikers' were still in all their rain gear and Lisa got a great shot of a guy riding and holding his umbrella.  Notice his rainy day footwear.

                                 Stayin' Dry?

After a few stops in the downtown district we headed south to Central Plaza.  The main mall doesn't open until 11am on week days, but we needed to go to Tops Market, which opens at 10am.  This is where we can find lots of 'western' items like salad dressing and BBQ sauce.  At the other end of the complex is Robinson department store.  We hung out in there and browsed, just killing time until the mall opened.  We sampled some really cool reclining chairs that were soft.  This is unusual since most Thai furniture is firm to hard.  A mental note was made.

While Lisa shopped for art supplies at B2S stationery, I went to Boomerang Music to see if they had a song I've been waiting for.  Every time we go to the mall I go in and play part of the song that I recorded on my phone.  This time they had it and now we have this very cool Thai/Latin tune by Da Endorphine that's from a sound track.  We know a few words and phrases, but we're going to ask a friend to translate it for us.  

After lunch I made my weekly trip out to New Life Foundation.  I left early just in case it rained but it never did and I got there early.  It was nice to just take in the surroundings and talk to some of the residents before our session began.  Since it's been raining so much there was less dump truck traffic today.  They need dry dirt for the land-filling process in building and everything is muddy right now.  

I got home just before Gary and Jago arrived for the play date with Daku and BamBam.  Gary told us that Jago knows the road to our house and as soon as they make the turn he starts getting excited.  One day he drove past our house and Jago turned his head as they passed our gate and then turned and looked at Gary, as if to say, 'Hey, you just missed our stop'.  The dogs ran and played like never before.  The cool weather had a lot to do with it.  Daku didn't get as hot and it just had that 'let's get crazy' feel in the air.  BamBam even warmed up to Jago, a little.  

We learned something about rice farming today from Gary.  Apparently some farmers put carp in the standing water that the rice grows in.  The fish eat the mosquitos and after the rice has been harvested the farmers eat rice and fish.  No need to use pesticides.  Hmm.

Tomorrow afternoon we're going to a meeting of Chiang Rai artists.  Our friend Chalit is going with us so we'll have a translator.  The main topic of discussion is the acquisition of a very large building that would be turned into a gallery for local artists.  We got a letter about it but it was all in Thai.  It's a concept that sounds pretty cool.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Now it's time for a 'Funny'.


Thursday, September 13, 2012



I won't bore you with another weather update.  You already know what I'd have to say.  We went to town today, twice.   

This weeks' 'Zany Day' tune was quickly recognized by a few.  Here's another portion that might be helpful:
"It seems I had to fight my whole life through.  Some gal would giggle and I'd get red, and some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head.  I tell ya, life ain't easy for __ __ __ '__'."  Clue:  A sad tale of a guy growing up with the wrong name.  Any more than that and I'd give it away.  Oh, I might tell you for some cash. 

The dogs were a little upset with us because they couldn't go out and play.  Their understanding is getting better though.  We think they're putting together the rain and staying inside.  They are definitely creatures of habit and patterns.  There are several times a day, usually before nap time and in the evening, when Daku will not settle down until I take him outside.  It's become a ritual that I have accepted.  

Today's supply run was to Big C.  Things were pretty routine during our shopping, but got interesting at the check-out.  There was a sale on juice so Lisa got six of each kind we like.  That's the usual limit.  The checker told us we could only take two of each.  A little later she told us that another item was 'buy 2 get 1 free'.  They have this customer service counter where we take our receipt and after they check it we sometimes get a 'prize'.  Today we got a bunch of little bags of some snack.  As we were going down the escalator I noticed a man with a camera about to take my picture.  I smiled, he snapped and we laughed.  

This afternoon we went back into town for a meeting with our friend Natty to discuss an art project.  We met briefly and then the three of us went across town to Bliss Studio.  On the way back to her family's restaurant she asked me if I found it easy to drive in Chiang Rai.  I paused, Lisa laughed and I gave a polite answer.  Then a motorbike in front of us came to an abrupt stop and squeezed into a parking place.  Natty motioned and said, 'Like that', and we all laughed. It's nice to laugh and talk about it with a Thai person who feels the same way about some of the driving.  And here I thought it was just me.  (555)

After crossing the bridge toward home we realized that the road was becoming a business district.  Since we moved to our house the main road has grown quite a bit.  It used to be fields, fruit stands and some repair shacks.  Now there is a huge government building, three multiple shophouse buildings and a used motorcycle business.  It still feels like the country when we turn onto our Soi (street) though.

                       Our Little Country Road

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"There is no shame in not knowing;
the shame lies in not finding out."
~Russian Proverb

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kind Words


We had another beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  Cloudy sunshine is the best way to describe it.  

Congratulations to all who knew "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer.  Time for another 'Zany Day' song from '69:
"My daddy left home when I was three, and he didn't leave much to ma and me... Now, I don't blame him 'cause he run and hid, but the meanest thing that he ever did was before he left, he went and named me '__'.  Clue: The actual title is four (4) words.  The last word is a name.  It's by a legendary country singer often called the 'Man in Black'.  

This morning it was my turn for a massage.  As I drove through the little business district on the way to Khun Joy's shop I noticed lots of motorbikes with carts making stops to deliver quantities of either fruit or prepared food to local cart vendors.  It got me thinking that there must be a lot of people working in the early hours of the day, preparing these packages.  It would really be something to trace the origin of some of the stuff and see what it takes to get it to 'market'.  

The big piece of land near our house has been quiet for two days.  Monday was very rainy and wet so I didn't expect any activity, but today there was still nothing.  This gives me hope (for the moment) that maybe it just got cleaned up to be put on the market.  Chiang Rai is going through a giant growth spurt and land is at a premium.  At the same time, there is a couple who have been building a shack near our house at the end of the property.  Today they put some used corrugated tin on the stick frame.  Maybe this will be the extent of the development for now.  

When we first moved into our house people would ask 'How many people live there?'.  It sometimes felt odd to tell them that just the two of us live here.  Now, it's a different answer.  There are four people and two dogs.  With Tatt staying with us it has added an interesting twist.  When he arrived he was very shy and quite polite.  He still is, and it's hard to get him to join us for a conversation.  If he were a tenant, he'd be perfect, but he's not.   He's become part of the household and it's nice to have a young person around, even though we don't see him that much.  The dogs love him and he loves them.  He has a bunch of pets at his home in Rayong so he knows animals.  They hang out in his room while he studies, and sometimes they play outside.  On days when the timing is right and the dogs are outside they seem to know when he's due to come home.  Today's photo was one of those days when they were waiting for their friend.

                 BamBam & Daku Waiting for Tatt

Since we've mostly hung around the house for two days we will probably be hitting the streets tomorrow for some essentials.  By contrast, there are people who live here, on the top of the big mountain, and they don't come down for weeks at a time.  Hmm, not quite ready for that yet.  (555)  

It Feels like Wacky Wednesday.


"Wise sayings often fall on barren ground,
but a kind word is never thrown away."
~Arthur Helps

Tuesday, September 11, 2012



Today there was sunshine in Chiang Rai.  There were also clouds, but you knew that.  (555)  The Tuesday routine was the usual stuff, with a morning massage and errands.  We seem to be staying in during the afternoons.

Even readers who claim not to follow popular music knew this one.  Here's the chorus for 'Easy Monday' just in case:
"Whoa, you like to think that you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah.  It's close to the truth to say you can't get enough, you know you're gonna have to face it, you're __ __ __."  Hint:  This is so easy.  You've seen the video, you've sung the song.  Maybe you've lived it.  

This morning the dogs didn't get to go out and play because it was raining.  They seem to be getting better at understanding the deal.  The rain stopped but it was time to take Lisa to her massage.  Morning traffic on certain streets is probably the same as it is all over the world.  It moves, it stops, and there's always someone who is a few minutes late and thinks everyone should let them through.  For the most part, I am understanding that based on the way the streets are set up, there will always be something that will either slow it down or stop it within one minute of the tantrum, so why bother.  We always get to where we're going without rushing and we don't seem to be late.

While Lisa was getting her massage I went to the 'Fan Guy' to see if he could fix our toaster.  Typically, I left my number, but no one ever called to tell me that they couldn't fix it.  I was not surprised.  They call when it's fixed and they want to get paid.  On my way to pick up the laptop I drove through the market.  I rarely drive through the main access street in the morning and it was interesting to see the aftermath of the night before.  In the evenings there are tons of food vendors selling meals and ingredients.  There were piles of leftover vegetable parts and containers in the street where the carts had been last night.  I guess someone comes along and scoops it all up since we never see it in the later morning hours.  Hmm.

The little laptop is working and Boot is back to reading email and visiting Youtube.  Today she had a notice in her email from someone wanting to be a Facebook friend.  She laughed, saying she doesn't have it and doesn't want it.  I think that may change over time.  Looking back on when we first met her, it's pretty amazing just how much she has learned in such a short time.  

By now you have figured out that I am fascinated with things that have wheels.  Here in Chiang Rai there are so many variations on the theme that it's like being in a candy store.  There's always some 'special' thing that has been made for a particular purpose.  Today's photo fits the bill.  It's a trailer with large drums mounted on it, and it's for parades.  The drummers walk behind the trailer, while other players sit on the back of the truck and strike an assortment of gongs.

                                      Drum Cart

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"The easiest thing to be in the world is you.
The most difficult thing to be
is what other people want you to be."
~Leo Buscaglia

Monday, September 10, 2012



The weekend was a mixed bag of sky business.  We traveled to opposite sides of the city, and watched a lot of sports.  It's a great way to stay dry.

'Old School Friday' was The Everly Brothers, singing "All I Have To Do Is Dream".  'Easy Monday' is next:
"Your lights are on, but you're not home.  Your mind is not your own.  Your heart sweats, your body shakes, another kiss is what it takes.  You can't sleep, you can't eat, there's no doubt, you're in deep.  Your throat is tight, you can't breathe, another kiss is all you need..."  Hint:  Sung by a sharp dresser and his band of models, somebody needs rehab.

Saturday morning we drove out to the southwest countryside to visit our friend Gahn, who is a seamstress.  She is going to make Lisa a blouse and modify a bag for me.  Her family has a pineapple farm in Ban Du, north of us.  She explained that she had just returned from harvesting pineapple and that in another six months they would do it all again.  Now we have a better understanding of another aspect of living/eating.  When it's time to harvest, she closes her shop and all her energy goes into the crop.  

On Friday I took our little PC laptop to the shop to see why it wouldn't start up.  Since I don't use it, I'm not very good at troubleshooting and there is a very competent place by the market that we trust.  Saturday afternoon the owner called to say that he got it running and it seemed to be OK.  He wanted to keep it over the weekend, and re-check it.  This is the ultimate 'customer service guy', telling me how much it costs, but adding that if something goes wrong, I can deduct the first fee from the repairs.  I'll pick it up tomorrow and then Boot can get back on the internet.

Sunday morning we had to go to Makro for supplies.  Even thought the highway is still under construction, we had to go.  Driving north on the highway, in light rain, we were surprised to see a crew working in the rain.  Traffic was moving great on our side of the road, but going south, we were looking at a long line of cars.  We decided to try another route that began near Rachapat University.  This was going to be pure adventure since we had no idea where we were going, except that there was a sign pointing to the airport.  The airport access road is close to Makro so it's a great landmark.

My sense of direction is getting better as we live here and drive around.  The road we took kept turning, but still going in the general direction we wanted.  We saw little farms, lots of houses of every description, and lots of simple, rural life.  When we finally turned onto what I thought might be the right road we got confirmation when we saw the airport tower and the tail of an airplane in the distance.  The trip took longer than the traffic backup, but now we know what's out there.  As we turned toward the highway, past the Chiang Rai United stadium, we saw a long line of vendors setting up drink stands and coolers on the side of the road.  Very strange, since there was no indication that there was a football match.  Hmm.

During a break in the afternoon rain I went out on our balcony and got a shot of part of the land that's going to be developed next to us.  This photo gives you an idea of how close it may come to our yard.  Hmm, higher wall is sounding better and better.


We stayed home Sunday evening and watched Formula One.  There have been talks about building a racing facility in Thailand suitable for Formula One.  The latest location mentioned was Chiang Mai, which is just 3 hours south of us.  If they build it we will have to experience it 'live' at least once.  Austin Texas is on the schedule this year.  It's the first time in a long time that F1 has been in America.  Who's going?  (555)

Have a Great Week.


 "Once we know people's stories, we feel compassion instead of judgment.
Today, practice remembering that everyone has a story."
~Mary Manin Morrissey

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Funnies


We spent the morning in the market place, watched a parade of dump-trucks, and had another big rain this afternoon.  

That 'Zany Day' song was "Once In A Lifetime" by The Talking Heads.  Christopher and Barry were the only ones who remembered.  Bravo.  This week's 'Old School Friday' should be an easy one for a lot of you.  I expect lots of mail.
"When I want you in my arms, when I want you and all your charms, whenever I want you, __ __ __ __ __ __ __..."
Hint:  It's by two brothers, and it's still not clear who fell asleep with Susie.  They seemed to be into sleeping and dreaming, or something.  It's easy.

This morning we took the dogs out a little later than usual.  It seems that they should have more time after their meal before vigorous exercise.  At first they were a little upset, but they settled down.  The only problem with waiting to play is that it gets warmer and that makes it harder on Daku.  The new plan is for a smaller breakfast and a bigger dinner.  We'll see what they have to say about that.  (555)

Today's adventure took us to the downtown market district.  Lisa spent some time at the 'Everything Store' while I took care of some computer business.  Parking the car at the market entrance is always a treat because of the 'parking guy' and the cool 'Hand Dance' he does as he guides you into your place.  We went deep into the market in search of material for making blouses.  Our friend at the big fabric store was very helpful.  We picked up some deserts from our favorite vendor and took in the sights and smells of the market.  One thing I have learned is that there are times when it's best to avert ones eyes.  There are so called 'edible' things that I just don't want to see.  My curiosity got the best of me today and I saw little things wiggling in a bowl that I wish I could erase from my memory.  

On our way to the morning adventure we were following two young women on a motorbike.  They were all dressed up for work, complete with high-heels.  We have wanted to share this common sight for the longest time, and today Lisa caught this photo as they turned a corner.  You just don't see this on the streets of L.A.

For five years we have only had one house next to ours.  The west and the north sides have been fields and we've really enjoyed that.  Now progress may be encroaching on our ideal situation.  All week the parade of dump-trucks has continued to bring load after load of dirt to a big area off the north/west corner of our lot.  There is a small plot of land that appears to be a 'buffer' zone between us and the new project.  We keep guessing as to what it's going to be.  Maybe a park, a playground, or maybe a flower farm?  I'm going to ask one of our friends to go and enquire.  What's really strange is the fact that the street it faces is only wide enough for one car at a time.  Hmm, that has not stopped large buildings from being built in other neighborhoods.  There do not seem to be any zoning preferences here.  If you have the land, build what you want.  If it gets too invasive we can always make our wall taller.  Yes, crazy thoughts enter my mind.

This afternoon, on my ride out to New Life, I got to see the countryside east of town.  There are many side roads that go into little villages and they are calling.  One day we will just go out and explore life outside of the city. 

This weekend is the Italian Formula One Grand Prix.  If you like red, there will be an ocean of it in the stands as Ferrari fans cheer for the home team.  Zoom.

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


What A Scary Flight

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the stewardess
announces over the intercom that "we're just waiting for the pilots."

The passengers look out the window and see two men, dressed as pilots
walking towards the plane. Both men are using guide dogs and appear to
be blind. There are murmurs among the passengers, and some believe it
is a joke.

The men board the plane and go into the cockpit. More concerned
murmurs and uneasy chuckles from the passengers. The plane taxis
normally to the runway and begins it's takeoff. As passengers look out
the window they realize they are nearing the end of the runway. The
entire passenger cabin begins screaming but the plane lifts off just
before the end of the runway. The passengers calm down and chuckle to
themselves, at this point believing that they fell for a joke.

In the cockpit, the pilot turns to his copilot and says "you know, one
day those people are gonna scream too late and we're all gonna die!"

Thursday, September 6, 2012



Today we woke up hungry, got stuck, went to the car wash, shopped (looked) at the mall, watched the U.S. Open and an afternoon storm.  It was quite a day.

So, one person wrote me with the correct answer.  Christopher remembered this 'Zany Day' song.  How about you?
"__ __ __ __, water flowing underground... You may ask yourself, my god, what have I done?....Same as it ever was, same as it ever was..."  Hint:  This is one of those songs that you either know, or you don't.  Hope you do.   

On a normal morning we would wake up at 6:30, go down and feed the dogs, Lisa prepares breakfast and by 7am the first part of the morning is over.  Today we got up at the same time, by order of the dog, and did everything but have breakfast.  We had to remain on our fast until our 8am appointment at the hospital.  Oh, the hunger.

When we arrived at Overbrook Hospital, our nurse friend Pay had all of our paperwork prepared, and took us to the lab so they could draw some blood to check our cholesterol and blood sugar.  We went to Work@Home bakery for breakfast after leaving our dirty little car at the carwash next door.  How convenient.  After picking up the car we went back to the hospital for our results.  I'm happy to report that all our numbers are at acceptable levels.  It's nice to know that we're keeping things together.  

Our next adventure was at Robinson Department store in Central Plaza.  The time has come to start looking for just the right outfit for Bangkok debut of our artist in residence.  November will be here before we know it.  Each line of women's clothing has it's own clerks and they have their own sense of customer service.  Lisa noticed quite a variation on the theme.  The apparent winner was the young woman who set up the clothes in the dressing room, unzipping and unbuttoning everything, so there was nothing to do but to put them on.  After exhausting the departments at Robinson we moved into the mall.  Lots of 'crazy clothes', some 'maybes', and what not to wear to an art opening.  (555)  I did see a T-Shirt that read 'My Soul is from the 60s'.  May have to get that.

The U.S. Open tennis tournament airs overnight in Thailand so we record it for watching when it's convenient.  It's nice to be able to stop play and watch the rain, or deal with the dog, or whatever.  This afternoon we got a big surprise delivery of water from the sky.  

Last Sunday at the party our friend Bert was taking candid photos of the guests.  Here's a moment he captured when I was in deep conversation with our artist friend Em.  

               Rockin' the Mohawks in Chiang Rai

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Learn to see things as they really are,
not as we imagine they are."
~Vernon Howard