Tuesday, December 31, 2013



We're back in Culver City now with stories to tell of our northern adventures.  

There were lots of correct answers to the 'Easy Monday' tune.  The last verse is a good one:  "__ __ __ he's gonna save my reputation (BGs)  If I were you I'd take a permanent vacation (BGs)... I could see him comin'... So you better get a runnin'...."  Hint:  No hint, but what a fun song.

If you recall, we left the story at the end of the Cousin's Lunch in Oakland.  We followed a set of instructions as we set out for a location in Berkley that was new to us.  We were going to visit the print studio of Peter Koch, someone Lisa knew in Montana and hadn't seen since she was 17 years old.  They caught up on old times, people they knew, and where they were now.  Then he took us on a tour of his place.  He creates limited edition book collections for writers and photographers, and also experiments with blending new technology with old techniques.  Some of the antique printing presses are still used in his works.   

Palo Alto was our next destination.  Following maps, we managed to get back to the right highway, the right exit, and eventually our hotel.  Dinah's Garden Hotel, which, to me is actually a motel.  It's probably the nicest place we've stayed in Palo Alto.  Our room was large, with wooden floors and a heater that worked.  It was cold up there.  We had time for some brief relaxation before meeting Joe, Eva, and Karen Jo for dinner.  Hunan Garden is their favorite restaurant and Sunday night it was the most crowded we'd ever seen it.  Even with the high noise level, we had fun.  

Monday morning turned out to be a technical nightmare.  Google decided to ask me for my newly revised password, which I forgot.  It wasn't until after breakfast that I was able to reset a new one and send the daily message.  Photos will return as soon as I can convince Google and iCloud and whatever techno monsters out there that I am me and I'm not claiming to be the walrus.  (555)  How simple life was before hackers and jerks. 

In between the drama, we pick up Joe like we usually do, and went to breakfast.  After breakfast we returned to his house, where he gave Lisa a demonstration of another aspect of his art process.  We discussed the method of framing his work.  Inside the house, Joe and Eva surprised us with symbolic gifts.  Each was wrapped in a letter explaining the purpose and their thoughts about it.  Lisa received a paint brush, because every artist needs a brush.  I got a beautiful pen, because as a writer, the pen is mightier than the sword.  It was a touching moment. 

In the early afternoon we had lunch with Ming, who lives in San Francisco.  We had a cool time hanging out with him at Dinah's, hearing about his plans and catching up on bits of life.  

At the San Jose Airport we were put in the 'Pre-Check' line again.  It's nice to leave your shoes on, and have a simpler inspection.  Our flight was delayed, but eventually got us back to LAX.  

It's New Year's Eve.  How will you ring in the 'new'???  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Put your heart, mind, spirit and soul into even your smallest acts.
This is the secret of success."
~Swami Sivananda

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style 

Monday, December 30, 2013



I'm sitting in Dinah's Garden Hotel, typing like crazy.  Just remembered that this is Monday and a message should be already flying through the air to you.  Oh, something about being in the California time zone that I haven't adjusted to yet (555).

The 'Old School Friday' song was "He's So Fine" by The Chiffons.  'Easy Monday' is another group from the same style and era, only they already have a guy.  "(Spoken) He went away and you hung around and bothered me, every night.  And when I wouldn't go out with you, you said things that weren't very nice.  __ __ __ and you're gonna be in trouble (Hey-la-day-la __ __ __).  You see him comin' better cut out on the double (backgrounds)..."  Hint:  It's another song with background parts that make it memorable.  Someone had returned to town.

Sunday morning we arrived at LAX for our flight to Northern California to visit Lisa's dad Joe and his wife Eva, after having lunch with The Oakland Cousins.  When it was time to go through the 'inspection' we were asked if we were traveling together.  We were then cut from the herd and put in the 'Pre-test' line.  They checked Lisa's hands with a wipe of some kind to make sure she hadn't been making any explosives and then had us read a sign.  This is where joy came over us: No unpacking computers, keep shoes on, keep hats on (I was wearing a hat) and a few more convenient things.  I like that line a lot.  

We joke about always seeing people we know when we're out and about.  Easy in a small town.  Imagine our surprise to see someone we know in the airport.  We had a wonderful reunion of sorts with our friend Roberta, who we haven't seen for a few years.  We met her husband, talked about destinations, what's new and all that.  The trip was off to a great start.  

Directions to Bangkok Palace Restaurant in Oakland were perfect, traffic was light and we got there right on time.  The visit with Eunice, Trudye and Skip was a deep one this time.  We all learned more things about our family history.  It was also fun talking about Thailand with the woman who ran the place.

Well, boys and girls, time is tight and I must go.  We have a breakfast with Joe and then a 'tour' of his new works at his studio.  This trip we're taking some of his work back to Thailand in preparation for a joint exhibition with Lisa.  More on that later.  Then there's lunch with Ming, and a flight back to LA.  

I will finish the 'Tales of Sunday' tomorrow.

Have a Great Week,


"There is no path to happiness.
Happiness is the path."

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday Funnies


Here's hoping you had a wonderful 'Boxing Day' and beginning of Kwanza.  Now there will be new diets, gym commitments, and long walks (555).  

I hope you're ready for 'Old School Friday'.  This one should be easy just from the background lyrics.  
"__ __ __ (Doo-lang-doo-lang-doo-lang).  Wish he were mine (Doo-lang-doo-lang-doo-lang).  That handsome boy over there (Doo-lang-doo-lang-doo-lang).  The one with the wavy hair....."  Hint:  It's by a 'Girl Group' named after a soft fabric used to make pretty dresses.  Hmm.

We're happy to report that Lisa's phone is fine and you can call her at:  (310) 227-2351 if you need to reach her.
The bag of rice did the trick.

Today I sat in the sunshine.  What a nice thing considering how cold it's been.  The weather in Chiang Rai is now in the low 50s at night and the mid 70s during the day.  Three of the northern provinces have been declared disaster areas because of the cold temperatures.  This will allow the government to distribute blankets where needed.  

Lunch today with C-Bass was fun.  We went to the food court at Mitsui Market.  At all of the tables around us we heard nothing but Japanese.  It almost felt like home: that feeling of sitting around, hearing words but not having a clue what they're talking about.  C-Bass has a wonderful sense of humor so the whole experience was light.  While we were there Lisa got some bean jelly, a favorite treat that we don't see in Chiang Rai, at least not right now.  Who knows, with the migration of more people from Japan, we may get a local shop that carries such things.

On the topic of migration and travel, a new 'Friendship Bridge' has opened about an hour north of us, crossing the Mae Kong and will now make it possible for travel by car to China.  Things are going to get very interesting.

Shopping for groceries is like going to another world.  Today I saw Gingerbread Pita Chips.  What?  Walking the aisles is such a different thing here.  Not that we don't see variety in products, but we can read the labels and we know what things are.  It may seem trivial, but I find it 'entertaining'.  

We had dinner at the house with Jeff, Anna, C-Bass and August.  To say that we laughed a lot would be putting it mildly.  C-Bass and Anna had us cracking up about whatever the topic might be.  

Today we're all going to Chinatown for our traditional Dim Sum outing.  Looks like this trip is turning into an international food fest.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Stay tuned for a laugh.


Thursday, December 26, 2013



I think Mr. Lag may have gone home.  Seven hours of sleep that began around 3am and you'll understand why this message is so late.  

Since nobody is old enough to begin to remember the song (555), I'll reveal it.  "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth".  Tomorrow you get an oldie that will be reasonable. 

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013



'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, blah, blah, blah.  I hope you enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate.  

The 'Easy Monday' song this week was "The Christmas Song" as sung by Nat 'King' Cole.  It was written by Mel Torme and Robert Walls.  Now it's time for a 'Zany Day' song that fits in with the season.  This tune goes way back, but I'm sure a lot of you remember it:  "Everybody pauses and stares at me.  These two teeth are gone as you can see.  I don't know who to blame for this catastrophe!  But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as it can be.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ ..."  Hint:  I think the singer has made it pretty clear what they want!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, compared to Chiang Rai, driving in L.A. is very polite.  People take turns and allow you to merge into traffic, they wait at stop signs until it's time for them to go, and no one turns in front of you when a traffic light turns green.  It's so relaxing to know that there is such a thing as 'right of way'.  Speaking of that, I got a notice that it's time to renew my driver's license.  The last time this came up, I was able to do it on the internet.  Well, this time they want me to come in and take a written test, and a vision test.  Hmm, I haven't looked at the rules of the road in so many years that I don't even remember.  Time for some study.  The funny thing is, you only have answer 18 out of 36 questions.  What?  More will be revealed.

Yesterday we visited with our friend Nid at Emerald Thai Restaurant.  We were the only patrons so he had a chance to sit down with us and have a real conversation about Thailand.  When we asked him how things were going he told us how the rail line construction had created a real problem for him and many other businesses on Venice Bl. near Robertson.  The heavy traffic keeps customers away.  Then, of course, we had to talk about the weather.  We have been friends with Nid since before our first trip to Thailand in 2001.  In fact, when we told him we were going to visit his homeland he began to teach us a few important words.  What a guy. 

We got a chance to spend a lot of time with Jeff, Anna, C-Bass and August, and  this morning will also be fun watching The Boys open gifts.  

This evening we're going to Pasadena for our annual Family Dinner.  We will take Aunt Sara. My brother Denny, his wife Sheila and their son Gavin will also be there, as well as our dear friend Blue.   We always have fun at dinner, and then more fun back at mom's house in Altadena.   

Today's photo is another view of the Chiang Rai Flower Festival.  This pic shows one of the 'Flower Tunnels' at dusk.  

It looks like a Wacky Wednesday.


"Let your heart guide you.
It whispers, so listen carefully."
~The Land Before Time

Tuesday, December 24, 2013



Aside from a little culture shock, our first day back was rather productive.  A lot has happened around town in the last seven months.  A interesting building trend has been observed.

Note:  Lisa is having problems with her phone, so if you want to reach her, use my number: (310) 494-1179.

A few of you seem to be in the musical spirit of the season.  Maybe these lines will help you remember.
"They know that Santa's on his way, he's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh.  And ev'ry mother's child is gonna spy to see if reindeer really know how to fly..."  Hint:  The title is three words and they're pretty obvious (and simple).

Driving on the correct side of the road is the easy part of the transition from Thailand to America.  What goes on inside the car is an entirely different matter.  The hands get used to making certain moves almost automatically.  When preparing to turn to the right, if you're a good driver the hand knows to move the turn signal to the proper position.  In Thailand, with the steering column on the right side of the car, my right hand knows to move the lever to the proper position before a turn.  In America, with the column on the left side of the car, my right hand still want to activate the lever, which is, in fact, the wiper lever.  Today I turned on the wipers numerous times while attempting to signal my turns.  It just takes a few days to retrain the brain and the hand.  When we return to Thailand, the same thing will happen all over again, in reverse.  What fun.

We have decided that when shopping for groceries and essentials, it's best not to get stuck on the price.  Otherwise many things would be left on the shelf.  The new motto is:  If you need it, buy it.  Knowing it's more expensive than what we're used to paying, only leads to aggravation.  

In Europe and Asia the concept of the 'Shop House' is not new.  The business is on the street level and living quarters are two to three floors above.  We've been noticing a lot of building in Culver City, and the Westside in general, where there are businesses on the street level and apartments above.  It's not quite the same thing, but it's different than what we have known as 'normal'.  In some older parts of the city (like downtown), this concept is in place, probably due to the influence of other cultures.  Life goes on and old becomes 'new'.  Hmm.

Last Friday, at the wedding, we experienced something we had never seen before.  After the tea ceremony, family and close friends were invited to the bride and groom's hotel room.  The couple knelt on the floor and received advice from their elders. There were lots of giggles and laughs, though I think in a more traditional setting it might have been more serious.  Then we went to lunch in a large area by the pool.  In the evening there was dinner for 300 in the grand ballroom.  It began with some live entertainment, followed by a video of the bride and groom talking about their courtship.  Then they were introduced and a family friend talked about them, in Thai.  We don't know what he said but the audience got a big kick out of many of his comments.  The couple then lit candles by a giant cake, and took a long sword and made a symbolic cut of the cake.  We were told in advance that this was a 'two outfit' affair.  The morning was more traditional dress, and the evening turned out to be the fashion statement segment.  There was everything from fancy party clothes to a few guys in casual chic T-shirts and jeans with a sport jacket.  This was our second wedding reception and we were the only foreigners there, aside from the step-father of the bride.  We felt honored to be included.

Today's photos show the bride and groom with their parents and relatives, and the bedroom scene.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"The words you speak
become the house
you live in."

Monday, December 23, 2013



Well, we're here in America.  The nights in Culver City are cold like Chiang Rai.  We stayed up late, woke up early, blah blah blah.  

The 'Old School Friday' song was easy, "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley.  'Easy Monday' should be just that:
"Chestnuts roasting on an open flame, Jack Frost nipping at your nose..."  Hint:  Obviously a 'seasonal' song, but which one?  Cool Points if you know the writer and singer that 'made' this tune a classic.

Last night, when we landed, we got our first look at the new Bradley International Terminal, and from a travelers perspective it's a wonderful improvement.  We were fortunate that there weren't a lot of other international flights in the terminal.  It made the whole process very pleasant.  We did have a funny incident when our plane rolled to a stop.  After the seatbelt sign went out, everybody got up, grabbed their bags and lined up to exit the plane.  Then the pilot came on the PA and said: 'Uh, there seems to be a problem with the way we lined the plane up with the gate.  We have to back up and try again.  Please take your seats."  Well, that was a new one.  Many passengers were annoyed with this, but we found it funny.  Hmm, what does that mean?  We recognized a Beavis & Butthead moment.  (555)

One advantage to arriving in the country on a Sunday evening is light traffic.  There is something mildly intimidating about getting into an unknown car on the Hertz lot, and then driving it on the city streets, staying on the correct side and using the proper levers and buttons.  Let's just say that we got home safely.  (555)

When we got to our little 'home away from home', there were lots of neat little touches by Anna that warmed our hearts.  Knowing that we usually hit Trader Joe's on our first day back, there was a gift card attached to the annual family photo, and breakfast supplies for our first morning.  After lots of visiting we unpacked the bags, opened all the boxes we had shipped to the house, and finally unwound.  

We missed the flower show again this year.  There was just too much to do and too little time for strolling the garden paths.  Our friend Alberto de la Paz posted some of his photos and I'm passing one on to you.

Have a Great Week.


"It takes a very long time
to be young."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Funnies


It's still cold in Chiang Rai, and it's still the topic of all the chatter wherever we go.  We spent most of the day at Le Meridien Resort, involved with a very interesting wedding process.  Oh, and we still haven't pack a bag.  Ooops.

We leave for America on Sunday, December 22 and arrive the same day, 25 hours later.  What?  While we're stateside you can reach us by phone:

Danny: (310) 494-1179      Lisa: (310) 227-2351 

The 'Zany Day' song this week was "Santa Baby" by Ertha Kitt in 1953.  'Old School Friday' will not be as old as the 'Zany' song, but it's old so hold on.  "You ain't nothin' but a __ __, cryin' all the time.  You ain't nothin' but a __ __, cryin' all the time.  Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine."  Hint:  Really now, this is so easy it's pitiful.  If I weren't so sleepy, you'd be stumped.  (555)

This morning we were due at the hotel at 8:30am for the actual wedding portion of the day.  When we arrived they had already gone through a whole ceremony with the monks.  It seems that when the monks arrive, you begin.  The same thing happened at another affair.  I guess a lot of people missed the early part.  We got to see everything else and it was definitely different from anything we'd ever seen.  When we arrived, all of the guests were lining a long outdoor path.  At one end of the path there was a group of traditional drummers.  The drummers began to move down the center of the guests, occasionally chanting something that got a response from the crowd.  Then we all went into a room where the bride and groom were sitting.  The groom is the son of our good friend Nukoon and we were treated as  'close family friends'.  Everything that happened was documented by a team of photographers and a videographer.  The parents of the bride and groom gave them a lot of money and jewelry in a little ceremony.  Family and friends were photographed with the couple.  We then went outside to a little alcove where we each poured water on the couple's hands and gave them a blessing.  Back in the room it was time for the guests to present the bride and groom with gifts.  It's a tea ceremony where guests go up and the couple presents them with a little cup of tea.  The guest drinks the tea and places an envelope containing money on a tray.  You are then given a very beautiful token of appreciation.  Everyone got a box containing a jewel encrusted replica of a religious figure. 

Today's photo was taken at Le Meridien.  We are joined by Khun Stephan, General Manager, and Dr. Sutheera, step-mother of the groom.

That was just the first part of the morning's activities.  On Monday I'll tell you about going to their bedroom, lunch at the hotel and then the evening activities.  We learned a lot about Thai culture and what to expect in the future.

Tomorrow will be bag-packing day, along with a traditional Thai dance group rehearsal here at the house with Cat and some of her friends from school.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.        Time for something funny.


Thursday, December 19, 2013



As the countdown continues, we wrap ourselves in layers of clothing in and out of the house.  Today we sat in the sun and it was wonderful.  

From the quick responses, this 'Zany Day' song could have been an 'Easy Monday'.  We do this one every Christmas:
"__ __, a '54 convertible too, light blue.  I'll wait up for you dear, __ __, so hurry down the chimney tonight."  Hint:  By now I guess you know the song.  There's a jolly big guy involved. 

It's looking like we might have to wait until we return from our trip before we can sell our car.  Rather than leave it out in the open while we're gone, we decided to get a car cover.  We drove to a place that I thought might carry such an item.  When the service manager came to the car I asked him about a car cover.  His response was  big loud 'What?'.  He understood, but his reaction made us laugh.  He did give us directions to a shop on the highway that had just what we wanted.  The Vios is now snug in its new cover.  Oh, when I told the woman what model car I had she repeated it with a different vowel sound for the 'o' in Vios.  I left smiling at the many ways Thais pronounce words.  No wonder we flounder.  (555)

To say that we dislike selling cars would be an understatement.  Today we had two potential buyers and we went through 'the dance' with them trying to get the price down to wholesale.  The knowledge that it may take some time eases the frustration of some of the absurd offers.  Hmm, life in the fast lane.

Tonight one suitcase will come upstairs as we begin the process of packing.  It's hard to focus when we have such a big day tomorrow.  We're going to a Thai/Chinese wedding at Le Meridien Resort and it begins at 8:30am.  It will be outside on the lawn so we've been working on being warm and looking appropriate.  We've been told that it will last several hours.  Then, at 6pm we will return for the reception dinner.  Being close with the immediate family of the groom will help us to not feel like strangers in the large gathering.  It will also be nice to have someone who can translate from time to time so we stay 'in the loop'.  

Today's photo is the latest harvest of bananas that we cut down recently.  We gave a bunch away, and there are still more than I can eat before we leave. 

Have a Thrilling Thursday, and a banana.


"Those who flow as life flows,
know they need no other force."
~Lao Tzu

Wednesday, December 18, 2013



The cold is still the main topic of conversation in Chiang Rai.  Travel is the topic at the Big Brown House, along with 'what's left on the list?'.

The 'Easy Monday' tune that will haunt you was "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police.  See, I told you.  Now it's time for the 'Zany Day' song.  "__ __, slip a sable under the tree, for me.  Been an awful good girl, __ __, so hurry down the chimney tonight.  Clue:  This song is full of earthy requests for a seasonal gift.

With just a few days left before the journey to America, my mind starts thinking about the plane ride and how I can possibly survive sitting for so many hours.  Knowing that I will sleep for odd hours, and catch up on TV shows I have stored on a hard drive makes the hours pass.  There is also the pressure of realizing that it really is time to commit to when and where for lunches, dinners and coffees.  Oh, this grown up stuff is quite a deal.  All of that gets softened with thoughts of just hanging out with C-Bass and August, our God Sons who we'll be staying with for three weeks.

We had a fun afternoon with our friend Pat (formerly Atom).  She came over for coffee and we talked about her coming trip to Japan, our trip to America, and lots of dog stories.  We won't see her for at least 6 months while she's studying Japanese in Tokyo.  We ended up extending our long goodbye at the Night Bazaar where we had lots of laughs and actually found something we'd been looking for.  The crowd was bigger than last night and the evening had just begun.  Bus loads of tourists poured into the narrow walkways and for some of the vendors, this was what they had been waiting for all year.  My theory is that people who booked vacations in Thailand couldn't get refunds just because their governments told them they shouldn't come.  The political demonstrations have changed vacation plans and 'driven' visitors up north.  Just a theory, but it makes sense.  For whatever reason, Chiang Rai is seeing a real High Season this year and it's just what the local economy needs.

The annual flower show is opening on Friday, and all over town there have been various promotional tools to draw the crowd.  One of our favorites is the large umbrellas (about 5 feet across) with all the info and a garden of tulips.  No, tulips don't grow in Chiang Rai, although it's cold enough, but they have been flown in for past shows.  We've heard that there may be a penguin at this years event.  Today's photo is one of many umbrellas we see every day.

I saw a product in the drug store that was called 'Fut Cream'.  It was for the foot and the spelling was more direct than I could have imagined.  Makes perfect sense.  

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Education is the most powerful weapon 
we can use to change the world."
~Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, December 17, 2013



It's so cold that we're dressing in layers of clothing and sleeping with quilts and blankets.  Tonight it will be 40 F, and go up to the mid 70s during the day.  A bit colder than in L.A.  This is very strange.  

So far only two people have written with an answer to the 'Easy Monday' song.  Oh, what happened?  Second verse:
"Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met.  It's a big enough umbrella, but it's always me that ends up getting wet.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, everything she do just turns me on...."  Hint:  You may have to call the police when you feel the sting of the answer you forgot.  Everything depends on your memory (555).

There has been a run on anything warm over the last few days.  People are selling scarves, hats, gloves and jackets like crazy.  We went to Central Plaza this afternoon and even some of the shops have added warm stuff to their stock.  Before we went into the mall, we decided to try the car detailing service in the parking garage.  We opted for the basic 'silicone shine' and left the van for them to clean while we shopped.  We could have gone for the 'teflon treatment', but it seemed like $140 was a bit much to spend on a vehicle that was going to sit still for 3 weeks.  

Half way through our shopping it was time for something warm to drink.  Eliza's has become our favorite hang out because we can see the shoppers and they have good coffee, tea, and cookies.  Today they brought Lisa some cookies on a plate and included utensils.  Hmm, you eat a cookie with your fingers, right?

When all the 'malling' was done we went to get our van.  It looks better than when we drove it from the dealer.  It's a very clean machine inside and out.  I just hope it doesn't rain before we leave.  I'd hate to get it wet and muddy so soon.  Today we got to experience rush hour traffic on the way home.  Now we understand why we don't go too far after 4pm.  Where did all those cars and trucks come from?  What happened to our sleepy little town?  The funny thing is that after around 9pm the question is:  Where is everybody?  

Tonight we braved the cold and went to the Night Bazaar right after dinner.  'High Season' is definitely happening in Chiang Rai.  The place was very busy, with lots of languages being heard as we pushed through the crowds.  The first conversation after the traditional greeting was about how cold it is.  We figured that some of the European visitors would not consider this to be cold, and I guess seeing people in T-shirts proves the point.  After stops at our favorite shops, we finished our shopping and came back to warmer-than-outside house.  Heaters are not a part of normal comfort consideration here.  Our car doesn't have one and neither does our house.  We have a space heater that we can use to heat a small area, but central heating would normally only be used for a few days a year, and not cost effective.  So, we wrap ourselves in the clothes we wear for maybe one or two weeks a year.  Looks like we may be bringing some of them to the states on this trip.  (555)

Time to get a suitcase, just to get in the mood.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"It will always seem impossible
until it's done."

Monday, December 16, 2013

The End


Chiang Rai got slammed with a second rainy season this weekend.  We had a couple of major rain storms, high winds, and a cold 'snap' that started Sunday night.  We are wearing sweaters, socks and sometimes jackets in the house.  

Nobody remembered our 'Old School Friday' song.  It was "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee.  Oh well, I know you know this one:  "Though I've tried before to tell her of the feelings I have for her in my heart.  Every time that I come near her I just lose my nerve as I've done from the start.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, everything she do just turns me on.  Even though my life before was tragic, now I know my love for her goes on."  Clue:  It's the classic 'Shy Boy' story, and yet he pines for her. 

The weekend talk of the town has been the weather.  We haven't been out in any of it, but just watching the trees and rain blow at unnatural angles has been enough to get our respect.  Today's photo shows what happens when drains are not as fast as the downpour.  Today's photo shows the yard in all it's watery splendor, and the 'drain man' looking overwhelmed.  By early afternoon all the water had drained and everything was back to normal.

Sunday morning we had a late breakfast with Stephan and Claire at Chivit Tamma Da.  Our table was out on one of the patios, looking down at the river.  They brought their little dog 'Ginger' with them.  We learned the importance of checking one's surroundings when we heard a rustling sound and saw a snake in the ivy behind Stephan's chair.  It was a harmless green snake, but a snake just the same.  (555)  Near the end of our visit it started sprinkling.  The big tree we were sitting under actually acted as an umbrella for a few minutes, then it was time to go.  

We are in the final countdown week, preparing for our Winter Trip to the states.  There are so many things to consider when leaving for three weeks.  Sunday we went to Makro with Cat, so she could show us things she likes to eat.  Boot will bring in fresh food for her to cook, but there are other things that one needs, like snacks.  We went in the afternoon, which we've never done.  The place was a zoo, I think because people came out after the rain stopped. We got what we needed and had fun doing it.  Cat had never been to Makro and there was wide-eyed amazement at some of the items and quantities available. 

Tonight the temps are supposed to go down to 43 F, which is very cold for this area.  This afternoon we noticed a big crowd of people around a roadside vendor selling used, warm jackets.  Many people are not prepared for this kind of cold.  We are fortunate that we can add a layer or grab a blanket.

Less than a week now, and we'll be flying into what looks like warmer weather, and lots of family and friends.  The dogs will know the time is close when the suitcases come upstairs.

Have a Great Week.


"Everything will be okay in the end.
If it's not okay, it's not the end."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Funnies


We seem to be back in a 'mini rainy season'.  The entire day was spent behind the walls of The Big Brown House.  

Our 'Zany Day' song was the legendary "Love Potion Number 9" as sung by The Clovers.  Here's an 'Old School Friday' tune to either get you in the mood or annoy you for hours after it gets stuck in your head:
"__ __ __ __ __ at the Christmas party hop.  Mistletoe hung where you can see ev'ry couple tries to stop.... You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear, voices singing 'Let's be jolly; deck the halls with boughs of holly'.  __ __ __ __ __ have a happy holiday.  Everyone's dancing merrily in a new old fashioned way."  Hint:  There's dancing and plant life involved.

This time of year we usually don't get storms like the one we had this morning.  It started as a light shower but soon became a major downpour.  We had another one this afternoon and the yard was so saturated that we had our little lakes.  The dogs were not happy about the storm, but they seem to understand now that when it's raining hard there will be no outside play.  

With just 10 days until we depart for the US, we've been focused on scheduling some of the many lunch, dinner and coffee dates.  There is also the matter of making sure everything is in place here in Thailand.  Next week will be full of lists and errands.  We will also be watching the weather forecasts so we can begin to prepare mentally for what looks like a cold visit.  In a few days I'll bring the luggage upstairs and the dogs will know something is happening.  Leaving them is always one of the harder things about these trips. 

There are several activities here that we are looking forward to in the coming week.  We'll be going to a wedding/ reception and the opening of the Chiang Rai Flower Show.  We usually miss the flowers but this year the opening is earlier so we'll get to enjoy it.  ArtBridge Chiang Rai is also having a major 'member' exhibit that opens on December 25, but we'll miss that.  Lisa has a cast acrylic print that will be part of the exhibit.  We'll get to see that when we return to Thailand.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     Time to Laugh.


Thursday, December 12, 2013



Chiang Rai experienced a half & half day today.  The morning was cold and cloudy and the afternoon was warm with hazy sunshine.  We had a morning excursion downtown and I had an unexpected trip to the mall during the dinner rush.

"I told her that I was a flop with chicks, I've been this way since 1956.  She looked at my palm and she made a magic sign, she said, 'What you need is __ __ __ __.  Clue:  The title is not a perfume, but it has a number just the same.  Someone is probably selling it on the internet.  Now that would be something.

One of the fascinating things about living here is that many locals don't really know the names of the streets.  What adds to this fascination is the fact that some of our 'play names' for the streets are the same as the Thais.  I mention this because this morning we walked along 'Night Bazaar Street' to do some shopping.  The Night Bazaar intersects with the main thoroughfare, but NB Street is easier to remember and say.  It also should be pointed out that many streets change names at various points, so having a 'landmark name' saves more confusion.  We've been thrilled at the new addition of uniform, non-slip, tile sidewalks but today we realized that all of the tiles are not cemented in place.  There is more work to be done so I guess they just set them there to see the big picture.  

The big news in our tiny neighborhood is that the pygmy deer are gone.  They were taken away today by a small crew hired by the husband who left.  He also took his dog, who was an 'under the gate' friend of our dogs.  I hope the deer receive better treatment elsewhere.  We're just happy the smell is gone.   

This afternoon we reconnected with Khun Mahn, the guy who fixes things.  We showed him the bee hive behind the waterfall and ask if he knew anyone who could take them away.  About an hour later two men arrived to relocate the bees.  I don't know how they did it because I had to pick up Cat from school and take her to the mall on business.  Her tree-planting project involves a team of local kids and they have been given some money to continue their work.  Today a bank account was established for their future projects.  Very cool.

Today's photo is from our evening at the Farm Festival.  One of the vendors got happy with the deep frier and was selling, well, just read the sign.  I think that one of the things they meant to offer is fondue but who reads signs anyway?

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"It's not what you say out of your mouth
that determines your life, it's what you 
whisper to yourself that has the most power."
~Robert Kiyosaki

Wednesday, December 11, 2013



Last night it rained and today it was cloudy all day with light rain in the evening.  It's funny how the rain warms things up (relatively speaking).  Morning in the market is always fun and today was no exception.  So much to see, smell and hear.

This week's 'Easy Monday' song was "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight and The Pips.  'Zany Day' is next:
"I took my troubles down to Madame Rue.  You know that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth.  She's got a pad down on 34th and Vine, sellin' little bottles of __ __ __ __."  Hint:  The title of this song may not meet FDA standards.  It's sung by something that sometime has four leaves.

Our overnight rain left the yard wet, but not wet enough to keep the dogs from enjoying the crisp air and all the new smells.  After their workout we ran errands.  There is a new animal clinic not far from us and they have some of the things we need.  Today we were looking for ear drops for Daku.  They had the product and while we were waiting we looked at the other things on the shelves.  Today's photo is something I did not expect to see.  I have no explanation at this time (555).

In the downtown Talat there are three fabric shops right next to each other.  We started at one end and went through them all, looking for material for clothes and a cover for the new dog beds.  The only thing we didn't find was something for the dashboard of the van.  There is another shop inside the market and the owner has been very helpful to us in the past.  Today his father was hanging out in the shop and we got into a conversation.  They are originally from India and the father asked me if I spoke Indian.  He told me he thought by my skin tone that I might be from India.  Hmm, no, I'm from France.  Then we talked about how old we were and how we loved Thailand.  He's 78 and has been here a long time.  It was kinda cool.  The other nice thing about visiting this shop is the treat stand right in front of the entrance.  They now make little cupcakes and pancakes that are milk free.  

On our way to Khun Gahn's this afternoon it started to sprinkle.  Gahn is going to make the covers for the dog beds and whip up some garments before we leave for the US.  It's a nice ride to her place, outside of town.  I got to watch the odometer roll over to 600 kilometers, which means that the break-in period may be over.  Oh yeah, now it's time to floor it and see what this baby can really do.  (555)  The rain picked up just as the dogs were ready to go out and play.  They have a keen sense of time when it comes to playing and eating.  Having to wait is not something they enjoy, but they know that eventually we'll cave and take them out. 

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"It isn't the things that happen to us 
in our lives that cause us to suffer,
it's how we relate to the things that happen to us
that causes us to suffer."
~Pema Chodron

Tuesday, December 10, 2013



A very light sprinkle teased us this morning.  It kept looking like rain, but it never happened.  We had a balloon sighting, a visit from a monk, and a chance encounter with friends.

Looks like 'Easy Monday' was a winner.  There is a classic line from the song that should bring back memories:
"...I'm gonna be with him on that __ __ __ __.  I'd rather live in his world, than without him in mine."  Hint:  Does anybody know what a 'pip' is?  Just askin'.  Did you really expect another real hint?

This morning I looked out to the north and saw a hot-air balloon rising in the sky.  It was far away, but it was clear that it was going up.  Our skies are getting interesting.  I wonder what some people in the countryside were thinking as this giant bag rose skyward.  

Today was 'Constitution Day'.  Schools were closed as were many businesses.  Cat was going to join us on our morning adventures until she got a call from her uncle that he was coming to visit.  His name is Pra Som, the 'Pra' being a designation for monks.  He was traveling with Cat's young brother Ling Ling.  When they arrived we sat and talked a little and then walked around the yard.  He is a very gentle man with a beautiful smile.  He is a monk at the temple in Cat's village.  Ling Ling had been to the house before and wanted to swim, but the water is much too cold.  Pra Som and Cat talked while we went shopping.

With any new vehicle there are always a few things that you would have designed differently.  I love our new Ertiga, but because of the angle of the windshield and the color/finish on the dashboard, there is a reflection that can be distracting in bright sunlight.  This morning we went to HomePro to get some material that I thought would solve the problem.  When we got home I did some cutting and put it on the dash, only to see it reflecting back at me. Oh no.  I think I need a flat, non-reflective material like black felt.  The search for a solution continues.

This afternoon we took Cat to Chivit Tamma Da, a coffeehouse by the river.  We had coffee and she had an ice-cream shake.  While sitting in the patio, a large group of 'visitors' filed in and went down to the riverside seating area.  A few minutes later a large group of Thais walked by.  We got curious as to where all these people were sitting so I got up and strolled over to the top of the area.  As I started down the steps to the river, a woman waved and came toward me.  It was our friend Khun Om from Chiang Mai.  She and her husband Khun Yute are the promoters of the Chiang Mai balloon festival and they were there with a group of ballooners.  That explained the balloon we saw this morning.  Khun Om was very helpful when Lisa had her last exhibit in Chiang Mai and they visited our house several months ago.  I had a fun conversation with Yute about the balloons.  I ask him about getting blown off course over somewhere like Burma, and what would they do.  His reply was to get out the passports and visas.  We had a good laugh and then he told me that one of the balloons had to set down this morning on the military base near our house.  The soldiers were very suspicious of these foreigners with cameras floating down on their base.  Khun Yute had to rush over and straighten things out, but it will be a story that will be told by both sides for quite awhile.  He and I also had the same idea about having a hovercraft taxi service on the river.  Hmm.  

There is an afternoon market in Ban Mai, the village next to us, but we usually don't go there since the parking is a bit crazy.  Today we decided that if we could do an easy park, we would go in for a few things.  We found a great spot and entered the outdoor market at the height of the dinner shopping crush.  As we walked down one aisle I remembered why I don't like this market.  One minute you're looking at fresh vegetables and the next thing you know, it's meat products in the open air looking like leftovers from a dissecting class, and, well, things that made me turn my head.  We did find the organic vegetables Boot had told us about, and we got some 'treats'.  There are vendors who have assembled little packages that make up a complete meal for those who don't want to cook.  There was also the spicy food aisle that gripped my nose.  Cat and I both laughed at how strong it must have been, and she likes spicy food.  

Behind the pool waterfall there is a bee hive.  It seems to be inside the rocks and this photo shows them while they were still sleeping this morning.  At this point, we have no idea what to do, but I'm sure someone can get them to move without harming them.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"How you make others feel
about themselves 
says a lot about you."