Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Funnies


Friday in Chiang Rai was cloudy, warmish, and dry for most of the day.  Things got checked off of lists, thoughts of packing are flying through my head.  Hmm.

"Pinball Wizard" by The Who was the 'Zany Day' song.  It's from the Rock Opera "Tommy".  And now, an 'Old School Friday' song that is old but not really 'Old School', if you know what I mean.  In honor of all the warm weather going on, well, this should fit the bill:  "Hot town, __ __ __ __, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.  Been down, isn't it a pity, doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city.  All around, people looking half-dead walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head..."  Clue:  Think about the season and the temperatures and you'll be on your way to the title.

Today was a good day.  Lisa's back pain was not an issue all night, although there are side effects that we have to deal with.  This morning we drove up to MFU for one last treatment before we leave.  On the way we encountered heavy traffic.  The power company was installing new poles, about 20 of them.  They are made of preformed concrete and huge cranes are used to install them.  In a way, it's proof that progress has really escalated in the area.  When you consider that buildings and homes are being built where there was once no need for electricity.  

                                  Pole Sitting

Earlier in the day the yard crew arrived.  It's amazing how fast things grow with rain almost every day.  The lawns and bushes needed lots of cutting and trimming.  I went out to tell Khun Kek about the hornets nest and he had already disposed of it.  He assured me that the bees nest behind the waterfall would be no problem.  It's comforting to know that there are fearless (or crazy) people to deal with the things that seem impossible.  

I discovered today that Monday is an official holiday in Chiang Rai.  I don't know exactly what it's for, but banks and some businesses will be closed.  Of course this doesn't matter since we'll be gone, but it's interesting to know.

The next time you hear from me will probably be after I arrive in the U.S.  Experience tells me that it will be a short message from sleepy fingers.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Time to laugh.


Thursday, June 27, 2013



Cloudy skies, warm temps, and still air made this a real 'tropical' day in Chiang Rai.  You can 'feel' the air.  

Our 'Zany Day' song still has lots of fans.  If you're a patron of the opera, you probably know this tune.  Here's more:
"He ain't got no distractions, can't hear those buzzers and bells.  Don't see lights a flashin', plays by sense of smell.  Always has a replay, 'n never tilts at all...  He's a __ __, there's got to be a twist.  A __ __ got such a supple wrist."

I'm happy to announce that we had a bit of a breakthrough this morning at the hospital.  We met with the doctor from yesterday and he prescribed a real pain medication and physical therapy.  Lisa has been out of the serious pain for most of the day.  She has to stay in bed, doctors orders, and go for ultrasound therapy every day until we leave.  

With the coming trip to the States looming in the background, it is now more on our minds now that the pain is going away.  So many questions present themselves.  Things like negotiating through the airports, dealing with luggage, and the big one, riding through the sky for a full day.  We're taking it one day at a time, but things are looking up.  

Today I took a closer, but not too close, look at the hive that Boot warned me about.  It is not a bee hive, but some kind of hornet nest.  It's a beautiful structure, but I don't want it in the front yard.  Would you like it?  The yard crew is supposed to come tomorrow so maybe they can move it to another location (555).  Hey, they could bag it up and then leave it in another tree.  

                                  Hornet's Nest

While driving up and down the highway this week I had a revelation.  The reason the huge markets are so popular is the fact that people shop for food for the day, not for the week.  Not everyone does this, but those who may not have a large refrigerator, or don't make much money each day, have to shop as they go.  If you can buy fresh vegetables and fruits every day, why not just buy what you will eat?  There are morning markets, afternoon markets, and night markets and they all have a very dedicated customer base.  It's also a source for all the small restaurants and food stalls.  

It's time to make the lists of all the things for the trip that have to be done by Sunday night.  Oh, this is going to be fun (555).  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"The reason people awaken, is because
they have finally stopped agreeing 
to things that insult their soul.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013



It was just another cloudy, hot, rainy day in Chiang Rai.  We continued our search for pain relief, and met new people in the process.  

The 'Easy Monday' song was "A Horse With No Name" by America.  Many responses to this one.  Now we come to the crazy part of the week with our 'Zany Day' song.  "Ever since I was a young boy, I've played the silver ball.  From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all.  But I ain't seen nothing like him, in any amusement hall... That deaf, dumb and blind kid....."  Hint:  This should be easy if you know who sang it.  Title is two words describing a gamers skill.

We made another trip to the MFU Alternative Medicine clinic this morning.  While we were waiting to see the doctor, one of his patients came out of the treatment room.  It was an artist friend of ours who teaches at the university.  He sat with us and we had a nice visit.  He teaches ceramics and is also working on a 'dig' south of Chiang Rai where some ancient pottery was discovered.  Lisa had another adjustment and we both got a peptide injection.  This time, as we rolled down the highway, there was no change.  Dr. William had told us about a woman he'd been to that has the nickname Dr. Blow.  She blows on the afflicted area, recites some incantations and then blows into a glass of water.  You drink the water and things get better.  Hmm.  We didn't see Dr. Blow. but we met a man named Joe, who also works at the clinic, and Lisa tried his 'infrared sauna' table.  It was relaxing, but not the answer.  While Lisa was on the table, I had a great time hanging out with Joe.  More on that later.

On the highway in the morning traffic we spotted a pick-up truck full of school boys.  A minute later we encountered a truck full of girls.  Lisa managed to get this photo as we rolled by them.

The little sprinkling business finally stopped around lunch time.  Our usual afternoon was cancelled and we went to our local hospital to see a doctor recommended by a nurse friend.  Lots of sitting and waiting with not much to show for it in the end.  There is a solution out there, we just have to find it quick.

The dogs have been very affectionate throughout this whole ordeal.  They really seem to understand what's going on and Daku hangs out next to Lisa and minds me a little more than usual.  (555)  Tonight Daku and I were out in the yard and we saw a firefly.  He was as fascinated as I was.  He also likes the smell of the Night-blooming Jasmine.  It was so funny watching him stand there with his nose in the air, taking it all in.  

I understand that those of you in Southern California are about to be smacked with a heatwave.  That sounds so familiar.  Oh yeah, it happens every day.  Drink lots of water.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Values are like fingerprints.  Nobody's are the same, 
but you leave them all over everything you do."
~Elvis Presley

Tuesday, June 25, 2013



Today was a good day in Chiang Rai.  We had a breakthrough with the back pain, and water fell from the sky.

It seems that a lot of you have been to the desert mentioned in the 'Easy Monday' song.  Were you walking or riding?
"I've been through the desert on __ __ __ __ __, it felt good to be out of the rain.  In the desert, you can remember your name, 'cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain.  (followed by about 22 'la la las')  Clue:  There are four legs involved.  

This morning we left the house for another trip up the Super Highway to Mae Far Luang University Hospital.  Dr. William (everyone uses first names in Thailand) wanted to have a consultation and discuss yesterday's x-rays and try something else on Lisa's back.  Driving up the highway in rush hour traffic is always interesting.  Through the villages and on the road we saw many pick-up trucks filled with workers on the way to job sites.  There doesn't seem to be a regulation on how many people can ride in the bed of a pick-up truck and we have seen as many as 15.  At the clinic we learned that there was no structural damage that was causing the pain and that was a relief.  After a few new adjustments, which seemed effective, Dr. William administered a peptide injection he had discussed with us yesterday.  The purpose is to reverse the inflammation throughout the body and help it heal.  The combination of things seemed to relive the sharp pain and things have been improving all day.  We will return tomorrow for more treatment. 

The rain menu today was light sprinkles with an after-lunch downpour.  It's still a very manageable rainy season so far.  It struck me today that we have slowly been tuning in to the 'big picture' of the region.  As an example:  I have been hearing the sound of the long-tailed boats on the river again.  When the river was very low during the hot (drought) season, the boats had a very difficult time because of sand bars.  With the rain, the river rises and the boats have more room to move.  Lisa pointed out that there may have also been heavy rain up river that contributed to our new water levels.  For the boat operators it means the chance to earn some money taking tourists on trips and hauling light cargo.  Our local river is the Maekok, a tributary of the Maekong.  

Dessert is always fun so I'll end today's message with a trip to an ice-cream parlor in Chiang Mai that had a very creative display.  All of the usual flavors were represented, with the addition of cookies, fruit, and candies.  I can't eat ice-cream, but it made me want some.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"It costs nothing to dream, 
and everything not to."

Monday, June 24, 2013



The one week countdown has begun.  Next Monday we will begin our journey to the USA.  Time to start thinking about what to pack.  Oh joy.

The 'Old School Friday' song was "Fever", originally recorded by Little Willie John in 1956.  Now you know.  It's time for another dose of 'Easy Monday'.  "On the first part of the journey, I was looking at all the life.  There were plants and birds, and rocks and things, there was sand and hills and rings.  The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz, and the sky with no clouds.  The heat was hot, and the ground was dry, but the air was full of sound.  I've been to the desert on __ __ __ __ __, it felt good to be out of the rain..."  Hint:  I'm not horsin' around when I say this is an easy one. 

The plans we had for the weekend had to be cancelled due to the persistent pain in Lisa's back.  The treatment at Mae Fa Luang Hospital (MFU) didn't change anything.  Saturday morning Alan came back to the house and gave Lisa another massage therapy treatment.  It's being a difficult time but we will find a solution.  I went into town and got a roasted chicken for lunch and back downtown to Siam Cafe for take-away chicken burgers.  We've been having a 'Being Erica' marathon, which is a great distraction. 

This morning we went back to MFU to see the doctor who is head of the Alternative medicine department.  He's a very nice American doctor who tried a few things today and wants us to return tomorrow for the final solution.
The MFU campus is very beautiful.  Today I stepped out on a little porch where guests and staff have coffee and snacks. The view of the hillside offered this serene photo op.

                           Hospital with a View

Meanwhile, on the home front, Boot has been very helpful.  This afternoon, while I was out with Daku, Boot called to me and pointed to one of the little palm trees in the front yard.  There is a round bee hive hanging from it.  Then she told me, in her pidgin English, "You not go there, very danger for you."  I understood perfectly.  No excess words, just what I needed to know.  

We have been having light showers off and on, keeping everything moist but not creating any problems.  This means the air is a little cooler, but not much.  Having grown up with mostly 'dry heat', I still find the high humidity to be very 'oppressive' and heavy feeling.  Oh well, it's still hot.  (555)

Wimbledon has begun and you know what that means.  Recording the matches gives us the opportunity to skip through commercials, which is great since they are mostly the same Rolex spot over and over.  There are network promos sprinkled in, but no product commercials.  Very interesting aspect of sports broadcasting here.  

Have a Great Week.


"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars
or sailed to an uncharted land
or opened a new heaven to the human spirit."
~Helen Keller

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Funnies


It may not be the typical rainy season, but we'll take what we can get.  Today there were a couple of afternoon showers.  The temps are cooler and that's a plus.  All over town it was 'pull up and block traffic' day .  

So, the 'Zany Day' song was "Get Off Of My Cloud" by The Rolling Stones.  I'm going deep on the 'Old School Friday' song.  Tell me the artist who sang the original version of this song in 1958.  "Never know how much I love you, never know how much I care.  When you put your arms around me, I get a __ that's so hard to bear..."  Hint:  It was sung by a man whose first name referred to his stature.  The title might need medication (555).

This morning we went into town for a few things.  Part of the travel required a trip through the bus station parking lot.  Every time I drive this route, it's like going into a surreal movie where time blurs and I get this strong feeling that this isn't where I grew up.  There are motorbikes, cars and trucks converging into one lane, busses trying to merge into and back out of all of this, and Tuk-Tuks sitting at the end, like vultures waiting for prey.  Sounds like I need to take a photo of this scene.  

The discomfort that Lisa was having in her back has returned.  So after doing some investigating, we drove up to Maefarluang University Alternative Medicine Clinic this afternoon.  The hospital is on the campus and is a very modern facility.  When we got on campus, I asked the guard directions to the hospital.  He told me, "Turn right and go away."  We laughed all the way to the building.  He was right, it just came out wrong.  The doctor she saw does everything.  He is a chiropractor, acupuncturist who did part of his study in China.  When the treatment was finished and we were saying good-bye, we wai'd him and he smiled and chuckled and told us he was Korean.  What that meant was, the wai was not in his vocabulary.  We will return on Monday for another treatment.

Today's photo was taken in our front yard, looking toward the street.  The giant Teak trees are full of huge green leaves, giving a perfect backdrop for the orange and red tones of our little flowering bushes.  The bright sun is from the east.

                             Morning Light

This weekend we seem to have Saturday 'off', and a full day on Sunday.  We're having Caty, Kobchai and the twins for lunch.  Then, in the evening we're having dinner with Stephan and Claire at Sawadee in the Night Bazaar.  Whew.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    And now, a laugh.


Thursday, June 20, 2013



The rain arrived in Chiang Rai.  It snuck in late last night for a small shower and then returned today with a longer, steady rain.  

A few people knew the 'Zany Day' song.  This group may be gathering a bit of moss after 50 years, but the song endures.
"...I laid myself out, I was so tired and I started to dream.  In the morning the parking tickets were just like flags stuck on my window screen.  I said, 'Hey, you, __ __ __ __ __, (repeat 2x) Don't hang around 'cause twos a crowd..."  Hint:  Sounds like a cry for solitude, or is it isolation?  The singer wants the world to leave him alone.  

One sure way to tell if it has rained is to try and bounce a ball on the lawn.  If it doesn't bounce, it rained.  Don't you just love science?  (555)  The air was coolish and the dogs enjoyed romping on their winter playground.  During the hot season it's too sunny and warm for Daku to be directly in the heat so we play in the shadows.  Today was so overcast it didn't matter.  

We went into town to mail the artwork to our friends in Denmark.  At the shipping company there was a long ordeal about whether to let them cut the wrapped package open.  Lisa explained that it was artwork, but they insisted that they had to see what was inside.  It all seemed arbitrary and a little absurd until I realized there is probably a tighter security grip since our province has become such a focal point of drug trafficking.  We finally let them open one end of the mailing tube and peak inside.  The whole thing took about 45 minutes.  Oh well, nothing was harmed and it should arrive early next week.  

When we got home I noticed that the street was wet.  It hadn't rained downtown, but across the river in our neighborhood, there was a light shower.  After lunch we had the long steady rain that is perfect during nap time.  We had an easy swim in the rain-cooled water.  The sky began to clear and we saw a bit of sun just before it set.  

Today's photo was taken across from the acupuncture doctor's office.  It's appears to be an abandoned house or business.  Aside from being an interesting wooden structure, note the suspended bicycle, looking like an art piece.

                                    Hanging Bicycle

The early countdown has begun for our trip to the States.  We will fly out on July 1 and land in Los Angeles on July 1.  Once again, loving the science.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note."
~Doug Floyd

Wednesday, June 19, 2013



Chiang Rai is still in a holding pattern as far as rain is concerned.  If you need any heat and humidity, we'll gladly share.  We had lunch at the house with an artist friend and his partner and learned a lot of interesting things.

The 'Easy Monday' tune was "Got to Get You Into My Life" by The Beatles.  It's Wednesday and that can mean only one thing:  'Zany Day'.  "I live in an apartment on the ninety-ninth floor of my block.  And I sit at home looking out the window imagining the world has stopped.  Then in flies a guy who's all dressed up like a Union Jack and says, I've won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack.  I said, 'Hey, you, __ __ __ __ __ (repeat).  Don't hang around 'cause twos a crowd..."  Hint:  Someone's serenity is being threatened and he doesn't like it.  It's another tune from across the pond during the great invasion.  (555)

This morning I had my weekly massage.  Swimming every day has changed the tone of some muscles and the massage is just the thing to relieve the tightness.  It was pretty routine, meaning no painful moments.  Outside on the street I could hear the occasional 'sound truck' slowly cruising while blasting a commercial for some product.  I suppose that's one advantage of not understanding everything I hear, I don't get sucked into product overload.  Khun Joy doesn't like them at all and always has some comment which I don't understand.  

We had an early lunch date with Cornilus and Anoy.  We gave them a tour of the house and discussed some of Lisa's artwork.  We first met Cornilus at 9 Art Gallery when he was about to open an exhibit.  We have known him a long time and this was the first time he and Anoy had been able to come visit us.  He has shown his work in many parts of Thailand as well as countries around the world.  He had lots of ideas and tips on how to expand on the exposure of Lisa's work.  Anoy is working as a real estate broker, which is a hot market in Chiang Rai these days.  We learned that someone bought one of the tiny lots behind us, next to the farm.  He used to be in the hotel business and knows lots of people.  The conversation over lunch was lively and informative.  We now know about more places to visit here in the north, and got tips on visiting China and Malaysia.  Our list of travel destinations keeps getting longer and longer.  Now the question is: when?

On the road yesterday we followed this truck full of monks.  They are initiates, probably going back to their temple. 

It looks like our 'Dance Card' is open until the weekend.  Maybe the rain will come while we have no place to go and we can just sit and watch it fall.  (555)

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to."
~Lao Tzu

Tuesday, June 18, 2013



If anybody out there has any rain to spare, send it quick.  We need something to cool this place off a bit.  Actually, we're doing OK even with the extreme heat.  As a dear friend says, "Walk slow and drink lots of water."

The 'Easy Monday' song definitely has a following.  It's nice when it's easy and carries good vibes.  Good to have it back...
"You didn't run, you didn't lie, you knew I wanted just to hold you.  And had you gone, you knew in time we'd meet again for I had told you.  Ooh, you were meant to be near me.  Ooh, and I want you to hear me.  Say we'll be together every day.
__ __ __ __ __ __ __."  Clue:  The mystery of this tune revolves around and around, back in the '60s.  Uses two forms of the same word.

This morning it was 79 F at 6am.  So hot that Cousin Trudye sent me a message from Oakland, CA.  (555)  I don't know  how hot it was when we left for our shopping excursion to Makro, but it was well into the 80s.  I think the thing that has everybody talking about it so much is the humidity.  It feels heavy and oppressive.  On our way down the Super Highway we pulled up behind a pick-up truck that I have seen many times, but never had a camera ready.  It's an old Dodge that has been restored/customized and is one of the cleanest 'Hot Rods' I've seen in Chiang Rai.  See for yourself.

                              Cool Dodge Truck

Right now it's 8pm in Chiang Rai and the temp is 83, but feels like 85, with the humidity at 55%.  We have the luxury of air/con, but I'm wondering about the folks who live in little thatch houses.  They have to be hot, but not as hot as those living in the corrugated tin shacks.  There is a woman who appears to be living in a roadside sala (looks like a covered bus stop).  I have noticed her sitting on the bench, eating meals, but today she was sleeping on the ground with only cardboard between her and the dirt.  When we first arrived there was no one sleeping on the streets.  Now there are two people on one stretch of road, ironically, right in front of a luxury hotel.  Life goes on and I stay grateful.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


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

Monday, June 17, 2013



Chiang Rai is back in 'Hot mode'.  When the weather gets like this it seems that the universal greeting is about how hot it is.  

'Old School Friday' was a hit with "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" by The Shirelles.  Time for an 'Easy Monday' tune:
"I was alone, I took a ride, I didn't know what I would find there.  Another road where maybe I could see another kind of mind there.  Ooh, then I suddenly see you.  Ooh, did I tell you I need you?  Every single day of my life."  Hint:  Title is seven words, it's by four lads from across the pond. 

Our Saturday adventure to the Legend Resort was a lot of fun.  When we arrived, the wine tasting party was in full swing. There were many people there that we didn't know, but once we found our friends it was cool.  We ended up sitting with our new friend Thip, who is also a stock broker, and her friend Ghee, who owns a Ford dealership.  It was nice to sit with people with whom we could have a real conversation, as opposed to some of the posers who were there for the free wine and maybe getting their picture taken by one of the many photographers roaming the room.  These functions always seem to escalate in volume as the evening wears on.  Afterward, I was reflecting on how many women were there who are professional business people, breaking out of some of the traditional patterns.  It's such a contrast to much of the 'country' life.   Moving between the different worlds within our city/town is always fascinating.

As we were leaving the The Legend, we were impressed by the lighting of the spirit house in the courtyard.  

Sunday was a 'beat the heat' day.  We swam in the afternoon and the water was the only reason we went outside.  The sky was absolutely clear and the sun was doing it's thing.  BamBam usually likes to roam around the yard after her nap, and visit us at the pool.  Sunday she did a minimum perimeter check and then relaxed in the shade.  

It was still around 90 F when we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner.  There's an interesting thing about the vendors and their set-up routine.  They seem to start putting their stalls together so they're finished by the time it's dark.  There are always a few who do it by the time of day, but a lot of them seem to start later in the summertime.  After all, it's not called 'Night' Bazaar for nothing.  (555)  We made the rounds and saw some of our friends, each one greeting us with an exclamation about the heat.   Forecasts are now calling for rain on Wednesday.  We wait with open arms.

Have a Great Week.


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

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Funnies


Today we had a totally clear, sunny sky in Chiang Rai.  We had doggie play, met a new vet, and got a much-needed car wash.  

So, the 'Zany Day' song was "Once In A Lifetime" by Talking Heads.  I guess you deserve an easy 'Old School Friday':
"Tonight you're mine, completely.  You give your love so sweetly.  Tonight the light of love is in your eyes, but __ __ __ __ __?"  Hint:  The title is actually 6 words, but the hook is only 5 in the first verse.  You know the song, it's that musical question about the morning after and what not.  

Since Daku is still having an itchy chin and our vet is out of town, we decided to check out Jago's doctor.  He and Gary came over this morning so they could lead us to the office.  Daku and Jago played a bit, staying in the shade the whole time.  Something about smart dogs I guess.  The office is in Ban Du, which meant we had a little trip in the car.  Daku was a little worn down from playing so he traveled well.  Gary and Jago were zipping along on their motorbike like old pros.  When we arrived, the vet was not there so we waited.  Her name is Dr. View, but one must put a 'W' in place of the 'V' to say it correctly in Thai.  Got ahead, try it.  She looked like she was about to graduate from high school, but has actually been in her office for 6 years.  She examined Daku and gave us some things to try for one week to see if they work.  

Boot's boyfriend Rudy told us about an acupuncturist who is apparently quite good.  This afternoon we followed him to the office on the other side of town.  Hmm, our second trip to a doctor while following a motorbike.  After braving the Friday traffic, we found out the doctor was in Bangkok.  We'll go back Monday for an appointment.  Since we had some time, we decided to get our car washed.  The poor little thing had been through several storms, a round trip to Chiang Mai and looked like it hadn't seen soap in months.  While it was getting cleaned up we hung out at Doi Chaang Coffee.  It was a nice way to unwind from the crosstown traffic (cue Hendrix song).  There was an insert in The National, an English language Thai newspaper, called China News.  With the coming of the ASEAN accord there seems to be a lot more interesting news and information about surrounding nations flowing into Thailand.  It's probably the same in the other member-nations.  This may prove to be a pivotal time in the history of the region.  

On our way home, as we crossed the Pink Bridge, we saw a very curious sight.  They looked like monsters looming up from the river.  What we saw were 5 dump trucks with their beds raised, being washed in the river.  Amazing Thailand.

Saturday evening we're going to a wine tasting at The Legend Resort.  It's another chance to see friends and check out a new addition to the hotel.  It seems that we see the most expats in one place at these wine tasting events.  Break out the Sprite so I can get my drink on.  (555)  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   It' time for a 'Funny'.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Letting Go


It would appear that the rainy season has temporarily abandoned us.  We're back to hot and hot, looking at high 90s this weekend.  Oh well, it's Thailand.  

A few of you were able to recognize the 'Zany Day' song.  Maybe this little tag line will help the rest of you.  
"__ __ __ __, water flowing underground.  Same as it ever was, same as it ever was..."  Hint:  The group name is another way of referring to commentators or those talking and saying nothing.  Hmm, can't tell you what the song means.

This morning the dogs were very excited to get back to their normal routine.  While chasing her ball, BamBam tipped it with her nose and it went flying into the 'sitting pool' under the waterfall.  She began barking frantically, and then jumped onto the shallow seating area.  This is the first time she has done this, motivated by her ball.  She still couldn't reach it so I had to get the net.  This afternoon she saw a rock on the bottom of the pool. It is used to hold down the thermometer.  She thought it was her ball and went into her little frenzy.  We gave her a ball and she was happy.  

Our morning outing included a trip to Makro and then the Healthy veggie market.  Between stores we stopped by Bliss Studios to see the large-scale prints that Chalit and his brother made for us.  They are copies of several of Lisa's cast acrylic prints that will be sent to Denmark as a wedding gift for our friends Jesper and Louise.  Chalit and Nu were able to capture the color and resolution so the prints look amazingly like the original.  

At Healthy Market we did our usual entrance.  Lisa went to the vegetable tables and I went to the Fish Guy.  Before I got to him he noticed me coming and held up two fingers.  I nodded and he went to work.  All of the women who sell the veggies have this routine where they hand me the bag after purchase.  They know I carry the heavy stuff and we always exchange smiles.  

While we were out of town there was rain in Chiang Rai.  That meant that the pool was a little cool this afternoon, but it still felt good.  With the predicted temps for the rest of the week, it will be 'bath time' by Saturday.  (555)

Today's photo is another eye-catching moment from the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.  I mean, how could I miss the big pink chairs.  Nothing like an outdoor foot massage for the weary shopper.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Sometimes letting things go
is an act of far greater power
than defending or hanging on."
~Eckhart Tolle

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Past


Today we returned from Chiang Mai without any rain in our path.  A warm welcome from the dogs was the icing on a really cool day.

'Easy Monday' was "What's Love Got To Do With It?" by Tina Turner.  Our 'Zany Day' song should be familiar.  
"You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack.  You may find yourself in another part of the world.  You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile.  You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife.  You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?...."  Clue:  Beneath the zany veneer there is a rather deep song.  Today we celebrate the zany side, just this once.  (555)

This morning we had the luxury of sleeping in since there were no dogs to feed.  We had breakfast at a little cafe we like that's a block away from the hotel.  There are interesting sights to see in the larger alleys of some cities.  Today we saw signs for two bars right next to each other.  One was called 'C.U. Bar' and the other was 'Secrets'.  After breakfast we packed and got ready for our return trip.  

On our way out of town we went to Rim Ping Market.  It caters to expats from different countries and has lots of interesting products.  We usually find items we can't get in Chiang Rai, like sweet pickle relish.  After cruising the aisles we headed for the highway.

We passed the construction for the new "Central Festival Mall" as we left town.  It's going to be huge, and much closer to the hotels we stay at when we're in town.  The traffic on the road was light again.  This makes the trip less stressful since it has two major mountain passes and winding valley roads.  We took our time and let those in a hurry do their thing.
There was a photo opportunity that called to us so we drove slowly through one section of the trip, just to make sure we didn't miss it.  From what I can tell, the company makes chocolate candy among other things.  We kept seeing signs reading 'Sweet Memory Valley' but didn't know what they meant until we snapped the photo.  Hmm.

                         Sweet Memory of What?

For years we have driven on the highway to Chiang Mai and passed a Doi Chaang Coffee shop and just kept going.  Today we decided to stop and see if they served food.  Once we were off the road we realized it was a beautiful, thatch-roofed cafe with lots of traditional decor and an open, homey feeling.  We had coffee and a snack, enjoyed the ambience, and continued our journey.

When we got home it took the dogs a few minutes to settle down.  BamBam walked around with a toy in her mouth making a little singing sound.  Daku acted like we'd been gone for weeks, wanting to jump up and generally forgetting how big he is.
It's evening and things are back to normal.  

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"When the past calls,
let it go to voicemail,
it's got nothing new to say."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013



Light rain was the weather for our drive to Chiang Mai.  The temps here are coolish compared to Chiang Rai.  It's been a very good day.

This week's 'Easy Monday' song was a snap for a bunch of you.  You even had funny commentary on the artist's love-life.
"It may seem to you that I'm acting confused when you're close to me.  If I tend to look dazed, I read it someplace I've got cause to be.  Well there's a name for it, there's a phrase that fits.  But whatever the reason you do it for me.  Oh,
__ __ __ __ __ __ __?"  Clue:  I'm paraphrasing the hook in the song, or there would be way too many little lines, but you get the idea.  Seven words forming a question about the nature of a certain relationship. 

This morning Daku must have sensed that something was going to be different.  He got his first clue when I took the suitcase upstairs the night before.  He was up, pacing, at 5am this morning.  It was raining lightly so we didn't do our usual play time.  We finished packing and were on the road by 8:30.  I guess the traffic was light because of the rain, or because it was earlier than we usually go.  Whatever the reason, we arrived at the hotel 3 hours later.  

We're staying at the Dusit D2, which is in the Night Bazaar district.  It's part of a chain of larger hotels, but this one is like a boutique version, with a very 'hip' theme.  Customer service is excellent and the modern look is fun.  Our plan was to take a cab to the appointment so I ordered one from the desk.  When we went down there was no cab.  Then we remembered that in Chiang Mai the taxis come from a central location.  If the trip is not very long, they either don't send a cab or you have to wait for one that is in the area.  We ended up taking a Tuk-Tuk.  

The doctor visit went fine and we now have a good chiropractor we can go to when necessary.  After a restful afternoon we had dinner in the hotel restaurant.  There was an item on the menu that I knew I just had to share with you.  It was listed in the curry section.  "Jungle Curry with Wild Boar".  Nope, I don't think so, but what a story to tell the folks back home if one were brave enough to eat it.  We had a traditional dish called Khao Soi (sounds like 'cow soy').  It's roots are in Burma and Laos and it's curry, fried rice noodles, and various garnishes.  We had it with chicken and when we ordered it the server told us it wasn't spicy.  Ha!  We realized there is no way to make a curry dish without it being spicy.  Most people who eat spicy food would not notice what I noticed.  I did get used to it and enjoyed it.  Since the presentation was so creative I thought I'd show you my dinner.  Oh, that red drink is a 'Tang Mo Pun', like a watermelon slushy.

                                       Khao Soi

After dinner we went to the Night Bazaar, which is huge compared to the one at home.  Prices are a little higher, as is the aggressive style of the vendors.  We saw many things over and over again.  There were some stand-outs, like beautiful silk scarves and hand-made jewelry items.  

Tomorrow we will do a few things in town and then return to Chiang Rai.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"If I try to be like him,
Who will be like me?"
~Yiddish Proverb

Monday, June 10, 2013



The weekend in Chiang Rai was hot and humid, but without any rain.  Tonight (Monday) the wind is whipping around, dark clouds are overhead, and it smells like rain.  Hmm, someone's been living in the country too long (555).

Our 'Old School Friday' song was "My Guy" by Mary Wells.  Time for an 'Easy Monday' song that I know you'll remember: "You must understand, though the touch of your hand makes my pulse react.  That's only the thrill, a boy meeting girl, opposites attract.  It's physical, only logical.  You must try to ignore that it means more than that.  Oh, __ __ __ __ __ __ __?  What's love but a second-hand emotion?  Hint:  This acid queen was a private dancer down at the Nutbush city limits, but became a fool in love.  The song is asking a profound musical question.  Hmm.

Saturday morning we went over to Overbrook Hospital so Lisa could see her doctor about a problem she is having with her back.  The results were not completely satisfactory so we're going to Chiang Mai in the morning to see a chiropractor.  It will be an overnight road trip.

Most of the English that we hear is based on Thai sentence structure.  It's a form of pidgin and we've come to understand what is being said.  That understanding sometimes requires putting in the word that the person meant to say but didn't get exactly right.  There are those times when it's very to the point.  The other day, while discussing what fruit to buy, Boot exclaimed, "You like, you buy".  No mystery there.  Another phrase that I'm fond of is the replacement for 'What are you doing?'.  It comes out: 'What you do?'.  Less words, but the meaning is clear.

Today's photo was taken at Art Bridge last week.  Lisa is standing with her bags that are for sale in the gift shop.

Sunday we went to Central Plaza for dinner.  We ate at one of the restaurants that offers non-fried food and freshly made ice-tea.  While we were eating, I noticed a big screen TV on the far wall.  The entire staff and most of the customers were glued to the latest edition of 'Thailand's Got Talent.'  It really was like a talent show, with some good stuff and some that was not so good.  We found it interesting that every contestant, regardless of the comments from the judges, would wai before leaving the stage.  It's a simple gesture that allowed everyone to leave gracefully.  

There were a lot of people in the mall and we noticed lots of families.  I find it fascinating to see so many teenagers strolling the mall with their parents.  Another Hmm.

It's storming outside right now but the house is secure.  It's time to pack the bag for the trip.  I'm driving this time, so we can stop when we want to and set our own schedule.  

Have a Great Week.


"Sometimes life's shadows are caused by
our standing in our own sunshine."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Funnies


It's hard to imagine, but it hasn't rained today.  Of course, the night is still young and there is thunder in the distance and dark clouds overhead.  Hmm.  Today we renewed our car registration.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Hey, Hey We're The Monkees" by The Monkees.  Nothing more to say (555).  Now it's time for another dose of 'Old School Friday' for those who remember.  "Nothing you can say can tear me away from __ __.  Nothing you could do 'cause I'm stuck like glue to __ __.  I'm sticking to __ __ like a stamp to a letter, like birds of a feather we stick together.  I can tell you from the start I can't be torn apart from __ __."  Hint:  Two words describing the person for whom she's feeling great attachment. 

When we took the dogs out this morning it was like every morning.  BamBam chasing her ball like it's her sole purpose in life, and Daku reluctantly walking over to retrieve his.  Lisa finally got Daku running around and he got excited and wanted to play with BamBam.  She doesn't really like to play and soundly rejected Daku with a series of growls that he understood right away.  They have such distinctly different personalities.

Our morning adventures began at the DMV.  When we arrived, the parking lot looked very busy and we thought maybe we picked the wrong day.   Inside, there was no line at the registration window.  We had taken every document we thought they might want to see, but all they wanted was a form from our insurance company.  A few minutes later it was time to pay.  When I told Lisa how much it was, in Thai, the woman helping us smiled.  We left there very relieved that there were no complications.

At the Healthy Market where we get our fruit, Lisa asked our friend for two Ngoks.  She smiled and put two in a bag and then grabbed three more.  I guess you just can't eat two.  As we were leaving I spotted a rolling coffee shop and had to take a pic.  It's quite a little production on wheels.

Weather update:  The thunder is overhead making huge, scary sounds and BamBam has managed to insert herself behind two different pieces of furniture so far.  Both dogs are now getting soothing attention from Lisa as the thunder moves on to the east, leaving a steady rain as a parting gift.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     Stand by for a 'Funny'.


Thursday, June 6, 2013



So far, the rainy season is staying out of our way.  It hasn't rained when we had something to do (555).  That could change with a breeze.  It was basically a quiet day at the Big Brown House, some rain, some sun and a swim.

Easy and silly, exactly what a 'Zany Day' song should be, if you're old enough to remember.  They actually had some good tunes over their career as a group.  "You know that we want to do what we like to do, the only time we get restless is around something new.  __ __ __ __ __ and people say we monkey around..."  Clue:  The name of the group is in the title of the song.  It was a musical introduction that was befitting a Disney production.  Oh, did I say that? 

This time of year is special because everything that grows seems to flourish from the rain.  We live on the edge of town and there are little 'jungles' everywhere.  The golf course is lush, and our road looks like it was just carved out of the wilderness.  We survived the first night of the flying bugs with no intruders.  We could see the aftermath of their frenzy on the deck, and last night they could be heard hitting one of the windows.  Kinda creepy, if you have a vivid imagination.

As a result of our trip to the vet, Daku has a pill that he's supposed to take twice a day.  Normally, he's so busy gulping down his meals that he never notices the various vitamins in his bowl.  For some reason, he does not like the big blue pill and has managed to eat around it twice.  The problem has been solved by slipping it inside a small piece of chicken hot dog, which he loves.  

This afternoon, when we went to get the chicken hot dogs, I saw a woman on a motorbike with a small child sitting in front of her and a teen on the back.  This is quite common.  What caught my eye was the small bicycle that the teen was holding on her lap.  You do what you have to do.  On the same little trip we decided to take a picture of a structure that is a mystery to us, so far.  The part with the thatch roof was erected in one day.  The building next to it seems to be part of the same project, but it's not for living.  It's concrete blocks with a metal roof and door.  Hmm, more will be revealed.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers."
~Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, June 5, 2013



Chiang Rai is finally getting a tiny bit of relief from the heat.  With rain everyday, it has cooled off a few degrees.  We had a yard-flooding rain this afternoon and tonight the flying bugs are out.  Dinner with a friend at Art Bridge was very good, even with the creatures flying around.

"It's Too Late" was right on time as an 'Easy Monday' tune.  Now it's time for some silliness and the 'Zany Day song.
"Here we come, walking down the street.  We get the funniest looks from everyone we meet.  __, __, __ __ __ and people say we monkey around, but we're too busy singing to put anybody down."  Clue:  It's a zany song by a group that was 'constructed'.  They ended up becoming a cartoon, which they were in real life (555).  

The sky looked like it might rain any time, all day.  This afternoon we decided to get in a swim before the darkest clouds arrived.  The water had cooled over the last two rains, but it was still very refreshing.  The wind came up and we cut our swim short.   We had to laugh as we watched the clouds being blown away.  It did rain later and it created the familiar lakes in the front and back.  The water drains quickly, but while it's happening it looks like a disaster.  

By late afternoon the bugs were circling above the yard, like a science fiction movie.  We knew what was coming and cued the scary music.  We were to meet our friend Andrew at Art Bridge at 6:15 for dinner, but that meant we'd have to leave a light on in the house.  The bugs are drawn to lights so it adds to the tension.  After a deep breath, we closed all the windows and went to dinner.  

Every time we go to Art Bridge there is something new to check out.  We met the chef tonight, and he was very flexible about improvising on some of his dishes.  During dinner we compared notes about our cultural perceptions and how accurate the phrase 'Same Same but Different' really is.  As the sun set we could almost sense the growing infestation of the bugs.  Swatting them away as we talked became common practice.  The staff turn a bunch of lights off to try and help the situation, but it didn't work.  After dinner we went into the gallery.  Each time we go back I discover a piece I hadn't focused on before.    

On our way home we saw people by the side of the road, looking for the flying bugs.  The larger ones will be taken home and, well, you know.  We even saw a couple on a motorbike riding very slowly, using a flash light in search of this annual 'treat'.  When we arrived home, the house was bug free.  Whew.

Today's photo is of me holding Jaiya, one of the beautiful twins.  

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


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

Tuesday, June 4, 2013



It would appear that the rainy season is knocking at the door.  We had another brief, big rain this afternoon.  

Looks like we have a bunch of winners with this 'Easy Monday' tune.  If you still need help, this verse might do it:
"It used to be so easy living here with you.  You were light and breezy and I knew just what to do.  Now you look so unhappy, and I feel like a fool.  An __ __ __, baby, now __ __ __ though we really did try to make it.  Something inside has died and I can't hide and I just can't fake it..."  Hint:  Really?

 Last night we had another rain in the middle of the night.  This morning when we looked out, there were big Teak leaves on the lawn.  They had been blown over from across the street.  It was our good fortune to have a visit from the yard crew later in the morning.  They spent the day grooming the whole thing.  Now it looks like nothing happened.  Their work was interrupted for a time by a heavy downpour.  When it slowed to a sprinkle they went back to work.  Our banana tree produced little 'babies' and we had one of them planted in another location.  They also planted the Jacaranda tree and the two bamboo plants that have been rooting.  

We went into town to run a few errands.  One of our stops was to see the Watch Guy.  He and his wife are big tennis fans so we had a little exchange about that.  We ended our excursion with coffee at Doi Chaang and a look through The Bangkok Post.  There is so much news that we never know about unless we see the print versions of the English speaking papers.  We read the Bangkok Post and The Nation on-line, but there isn't the same depth of coverage.  Here in Chiang Rai there are only Thai newspapers so we are among the illiterate.  

Whenever a storm comes, we know that BamBam will be looking for a place to hide.  It used to be that the thunder sent her running next to me or behind anything she could find.  Now, when she hears the rain start she knows that there could be thunder.  Today's photo is BamBam sitting behind a bunch of cleaning supplies.

There is one other things that happens at the beginning of the rainy season.  The little flying things that look like ants with wings seem to come out for about two nights.  Last year we had a major swarm in the kitchen that took a long time to 'remove'.  They are drawn to the light, so tonight there are no lights on downstairs.  They are viewed as a delicacy by many people and you can see people out on the streets on the nights when they appear, collecting them by the handfuls.  We are clearly not from around here.  (555)

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Be patient with yourself.
Self-growth is tender;
it's holy ground.
There's no greater investment."
~Stephen Covey

Monday, June 3, 2013

Two Things


It is still hot here in Chiang Rai, but the rain was a regular visitor over the weekend.  In fact, we just had a major storm a little while ago.  

'Old School Friday' was "Mustang Sally" and you shoulda known.  'Easy Monday' may be what you need now.  Try this:
"Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time, there's something wrong here, there can be no denying.  One of us is changing, or maybe we've just stopped trying.  And __ __ __, baby now __ __ __ though we really did try to make it..."
Hint:  What happens when time has run out?  

Friday evening we went to the wine tasting at Le Meridien Resort.  Since I was the designated driver, I only had two glasses of Sprite (555).  We met an interesting couple who have been here for over 20 years.  They help families living with AIDS.  We also hung out with the wife of the food manager and learned more about what it's like to be in the hotel business.  When one contracts with an international chain, they can move you to other locations when they want to and though there are some preferences you can state, it's their choice.  We have met two couples who have lived in many places in a short period of time.  Two years in one location is a long stay.

Saturday morning looked like it might rain but it didn't.  We drove 30 minutes into the country, to Caty's birthday party.  We were the first guests to arrive so we had lots of quality time being with the twin babies.  They have been in the world for two months and they are really growing.  We had a chance to hold Jaiya and Taeyo.  They are non-indentical so it's easy to tell them apart.  Their dad, Kobchai, made a delicious coconut soup and some other dishes that we couldn't eat, but the smells were wonderful.  We met a few expat moms and their little ones and watched them play in the pool.  Oh yes, Saturday was our 5 year anniversary in The Big Brown House.

All around town there are tables and booths selling a very popular fruit that is now in season.  It's called 'Ngok Rambutan', or Ngok for short.  The 'ng' sound is made in the back of the throat.  It's something quite foreign to the western mouth.  Here is a photo from our local roadside fruit lady with her display.


Sunday afternoon we went to NorThai and hung out with Kay, who owns the place with her husband Martin.  They are changing the first floor around and we sat and talked about the value of 'conversation environments' for visitors.  I said 'Hi' to Ziggy the fish.  We were going to return to the downtown area in the evening for dinner, but decided to stay at home.  I spent most of the time learning how to convert video files and burn them to DVD.  It was a very mellow evening.  

Have a Great Week.


"If you really want to help others,
there are two things you must avoid:
doubt and expectation."
~H.H. Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje