Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Teachers


Hi,

Today was a beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  A couple of cloud bursts, but no torrential downpours like yesterday.  The dogs got to play, we had adventures, and the frogs had a party.

Only a few of you remembered the 'Easy Monday' song.  It was "I'm Only Sleeping" by The Beatles.  'Zany Day' is next:
"You walk into the room with a pencil in your hand, you see somebody naked and you say, 'Who is that man?'  You try so hard but you don't understand, just what you'll say when you get home.  Because something is happening here, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mister Jones?"  Clue:  The title is in 5 words that are not sung in the song.  The whole thing is quite mysterious, and long.  Zany for sure.

Late last night the silence was broken by the sound of frogs.  There were a lot of them in our back yard, some in the field next door, and some that sounded like they were in the trees (555).  I'm sure the 'lakes' were part of the reason.  With the windows open we hear all the sounds of the night.  That also means that when the 'jungle' wakes up, we hear that too.  By morning both yards had completely drained and life was returning to normal.  

We went to the downtown market for a quick trip down the center aisle.  It started raining as we entered, but it was over as we left with our treats.  At Doi Chaang Coffee we saw our friend Saowanee, of Nine Art Gallery.  We had a laugh because she was 'doing' Facebook on her phone.  At Work@Home Bakery Lisa had a visit with Jonathan the English Golden Retriever, and when we got home our friend Johan was waiting for us.  It was a busy morning but we got everything done.

After lunch we went to Art Bridge.  Thai PBS was taping a discussion about the project and the art scene in Chiang Rai with some of the senior members of the community.  We had a chance to see lots of friends, have some interesting talks, and watch the preparation for the TV show.  Part of the gift shop became the video and sound control center.  There were computers, mixers and monitors along one wall, and lots of portable screens.  We stayed until they were about to begin, but realized we had no one to translate for us.  It was still a great experience.  Tomorrow the restaurant will reopen for business.  The kitchen is much larger and the staff is ready.  Things are always changing at Art Bridge and today I noticed some new 'art' in the river.  


It's time for Wacky Wednesday.

                  Peace,
                             Danny

"Good teachers are costly,
but bad teachers cost more."
~Robert Talbert

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Story


Hi,

The greater part of the day was rainless.  What a relief, almost.  This evening we're back in storm mode and the lawns are lakes.

Today is your lucky day.  You get to be the first to respond to the 'Easy Monday' song on Tuesday.  Wake up, people:
"Everybody seems to think I'm lazy.  I don't mind, I think they're crazy.  Running everywhere at such a speed, 'til they find there's no need (there's no need).  Please, don't spoil my day, I'm miles away, and after all __ __ __."  Hint:  It's by those 'lads' from across the pond.  It all revolves around a bed, so to speak.

This morning we were about to take the dogs out to play when the yard crew arrived.  This was the one day we told them not to come, and yet they came.  We had a long list of places to go so got an early start.  After Makro, we went to Bliss Studio to pick up some of Lisa's art that had been photographed.  Then it was off to Healthy Market for the good stuff.  Since the market is a block from the bus station, we walked over to get our tickets for our trip to Chiang Mai.  

The downtown bus station is always bustling with activity.  There are local buses, provincial buses and the long-range Green buses.  There are also Tuk-Tuks and Songthaews (covered pick-up trucks with two benches) dropping people off, making it a dizzying sight.  Walking through little side streets, we saw things we've never seen before.  Small shops and supply houses carrying clothing, toys, and mysteries.  Part of our walk included an empty corridor that is a busy part of the Night Bazaar after the sun goes down.  

As we crossed the Pink Bridge toward home we noticed that the level of the river is very high, compared to last week.  The shoreline keeps rising.  In our area there is no threat of the river overflowing, but it's a simple way to gauge how much rain we've had.  There were people standing in the water, in the light rain, fishing with their giant nets.

Our friend Alan came over for lunch.  We hadn't seen him since we returned from the States.  He showed us photos of the house he and his partner Ten are building in the Wiang Chai district, east of town.  It's right in the middle of a village so he gets a different perspective on Thai life than we do living so near the city.  

This afternoon Pat came over to help Lisa come up with names for her artwork for the upcoming exhibit in Chiang Mai.  The idea was to find a titles that would have a similar meaning in both English and Thai.  They sat with each piece until they had something that felt right.  The results are impressive.  

We have had a heavy downpour for several hours this evening.  Lisa went downstairs and looked outside and discovered that the entire front lawn was covered in standing water.  The back is the same.  There are drain holes that sometimes get clogged so I put on 'the boots' and waded into the lake with a long stick.  Lisa held a flashlight and we found both drains.  We couldn't find the drain for the back yard, so it will remain under water for now. The water level has never been this high.  I can only imagine what some places without drainage must look like.  Today's photo was taken this evening.  The lights that look like they're bouncing off of water are just that.  The lights on our front wall are reflected on the lake.


One of the downsides of living far away from family and loved ones is dealing with grief when someone passes.  It's even harder when it's unexpected, as in the case of our Cousin David, who died a few days ago.  We stay close as best we can, through Skype and email, but it's not the same.  Our thoughts are with the rest of the family and all those who knew David.

              Peace,
                         Danny

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

Monday, July 29, 2013

You


Hi,

To say that the rainy season is upon us would be an understatement.  It rained all weekend.  In fact, the northern portion of Thailand is being dumped on with the kind of rain that brings flood warnings.  We're not in any danger, but some areas don't have very good drainage so they may have problems.  We stayed in all weekend.

The 'Old School Friday' song was "Sunshine of Your Love" by Cream.  Time for some 'Easy Monday', if you're awake.
"When I wake up early in the morning, lift my head, I'm still yawning.  When I'm in the middle of a dream, stay in bed, float up stream (float up stream).  Please, don't wake me, no, don't shake me.  Leave me where I am, __ __ __."
Hint:  In my current condition, I'm livin' this song.  This is too easy.

The dogs are quite upset about the rain.  They have had only limited play time.  There has been no 'free time' to just roam around the yard to smell things and eat grass.  It's so soggy that Daku raced back into the house this afternoon.  Between the rain hitting him in the face, and the ground soaking his feet, he was not a happy dog.  BamBam even took to walking under the eves of the roof to avoid the water from the sky.  We have lakes and bogs all around the compound and I've been wearing my knee-high rain boots.  What fun.  Today's photo is two bored dogs.


The lack of wind has made this storm series a lot more bearable.  The rain just drops straight down and we don't have to check for stray water.  (555)  The forecast looks like we'll be in this for the rest of the week.  

Tomorrow we'll go into town and buy bus tickets for our trip to Chiang Mai on Saturday.  A few routine errands will have to be dealt with, but hey, it's only water. 

Have a Great Week.

                     Peace,
                                Danny 

"You yourself, as much as anybody else
in the entire universe, deserve your
love and affection."

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Funnies


Hi,

It's Friday night in Chiang Rai.  The power is out and we're sitting in the dim light of our laptops and a little LED light tower.  Daku is snoozing and BamBam is a little nervous.  Nothing to do but to wait for the power to return, and keep writing.

Our 'Zany Day' song was "Mama Told Me Not To Come", as recorded by Three Dog Night.   For 'Old School Friday' it's an easy one this week.  I expect to get lots of mail.  (555)  "It's gettin' near dawn, when lights close their tired eyes.  I'll soon be with you my love, to give you my dawn surprise.  I'll be with you darling soon, I'll be with you when the stars are falling.  I've been waiting so long, to be where I'm going, in the __ __ __ __. "  Hint:  Recorded by what may have been the first 'Power Trio', named after something that rises to the top.  Hmm, so easy.

This morning felt like rain, but it never happened.  We ended up with a very bright morning.  The dogs played on the lawn until it got too hot.  Our morning expedition into town required that I chart a course in my mind in order to get to the stores we needed.  Fortunately, most of our stops were around the same area.  At the Healthy Market I did my usual thing with 'Fish Guy'.  I walk up near his station, hold up two fingers, he says 'Song', I say 'Song' and a deal has been made.  'Song' means the number 'Two' in Thai.  A few minutes later, after we've finished most of the shopping, I go back and get the cleaned fish.  

While Lisa was in the pet supply store I sat in the car and watched a car carrier pull up with eight Suzuki Swifts on board.  Watching the guy park this giant thing was fascinating.  He moved the giant rig and trailer over to the curb like it was a small van.  I only wish I could have watched them unload the cars.  Some things never get old.

We made a coffee stop at Doi Chaang. The place was empty when we arrived.  While we had our coffee we read The Nation, a daily English language paper in Thailand.  So many things to know about, even if it's a day old.  Looking at newspapers online is not the same as the real thing.  Here in Thailand they will not disappear soon, since most people don't read their news from the internet.  After coffee we walked over to the bakery where we had a chance to hang out with Jonathan, our English Retriever friend.  He's almost 11 years old, and he may not be as spry as he used to be, but he still remembers people and does his thing as ambassador for the shop.  

While we were hanging around at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), I noticed another magical ice-cream display.  It's Friday, who wants some Blue Candy ice-cream?


We've been back for over a week, but we still haven't returned to normal.  We keep waking up in the middle of the night.  What's weird is that we don't get that urge to crash in the afternoon.  

Well, the power just came back on.  That means I can send this from home.  There have been times when I had to drive down to Doi Chaang Coffee and send my message from there.  I am reminded of our first trip in 2001, before we had laptops and smart phones.  We wrote everything down in a notebook and when we returned to the US, this daily message began.  Hmm.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Stay tuned for a laugh and be aware that this is a Formula One weekend.  Zoom.

                    Peace,
                               Danny


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Anyone


Hi,

Today was another one of those 'cloudy all day' affairs.  We had light rain off and on, and now there's a thunder storm. Yes, just thunder, although some predict more rain.  We went on a morning adventure around town.

'Zany Day' song didn't fool a bunch of you.  Just think back to those parties you weren't supposed to go to and you might get a clue:  "The radio is blastin', someone's knocking at the door.  I'm lookin' at my girlfriend, she's passed out on the floor.  I seen so many things I ain't never seen before.  Don't know what it is, I don't wanna see no more.  __ __ __ __ __ __, (repeat).  That ain't the way to have fun, son.  That ain't the way to have fun...." Hint:  Singer was told not to go, now he regrets being there.  Sung by a trio of animals.  What?

This morning's playtime with the dogs was a little distracting for them.  After a rain there are new smells to smell and mysterious things that fall from trees.  There was also the fact that Jago had been there the day before and made a point to mark the yard.  All of that had to be investigated.  They did get their exercise with a little coaxing.

We went into town with a list of errands.  Since the main street is torn up, we had to park at the Wancome Hotel and walk to our destination.  At Thai Airways we did research for the winter trip, then a stop at 'Watch Guy' for a battery. There are some very large blocks in Chiang Rai, which means that alternate routes sometimes take you a long way from where you want to be.  

Central Plaza Mall opens at 11am, but there is a food court and a Top's market on a lower level, that open at 10am.  It was starting to sprinkle so we tried to park inside.  All of the indoor parking was roped off.  (now the rant begins)  If you have an entrance to the market/food court from the parking lot, why not make the parking available to patrons.  Especially when the weather is rainy.  I fumed a bit and got over it, for a time.  Inside there were lots of people eating meals from the vendors of traditional food.  It was interesting to see so many diners at 10:45am.  Late breakfast, early lunch was the only thing we could call it.  When we finished in Top's we stood around with all the folks waiting to hit the mall.  One stop for phone service and we left, done with the errands and exercising great restraint.  

It seems like every day, when we leave the house, we see something we've never seem before.  Chiang Rai never lets us down when it comes to surprises.  Today's photo is one such surprise.  We don't know what this is, but it seemed to be made of metal and it was once on top of something else.  Hmm.  I hope they tied that tight.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                   Peace,
                              Danny

"If you could be anyone in the world,
you should want to be yourself,
because you're the only one equipped to do the job."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Power


Hi,

Today it was partly cloudy in Chiang Rai, for most of the day.  We had a doggie play-date, took a little road trip, figured out the new printer and had a swim with friends.  Then the sky opened up.

That 'Easy Monday' song was "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits.  Oh, you knew that.  'Zany Day' is next, and it's fun.
"Want some whisky in your water, some sugar in your tea.  What's all these crazy questions they askin' me?  This is the craziest party there could ever be, don't turn on the lights, 'cause I don't want to see.  __ __ __ __ __ __ (repeat) That ain't the way to have fun, no."  Hint:  Singer should have listened to the advice of a parental unit.

This morning our friend Gary and his dog Jago came over for a play-date.  Daku was so excited he could hardly contain himself.  He was jumping around even before he got outside.  We kept BamBam inside at first and she was going crazy as well.  Daku and Jago did their usual teasing and running around the yard.  When BamBam was finally released she didn't do her usual 'attack' on Jago.  She was a lot more friendly to him this time.  She chased her ball and he followed her, occasionally trying to get her to play with him.  She still doesn't want to play, but I think she likes the fact that he follows her around.  While the dogs played, Gary told me stories about Jago, and adventures in England and Europe.  After about 30 minutes of hard play all the dogs were hanging out on the porch with the humans.  They were done.

After a stop at Grace's bakery for some treats, we drove up to MaeFahluang University, to the medical clinic.  The staff was delighted by the bag of baked goods.  All the treatment rooms were full so we sat and listened to interesting tales of healing from Dr. William.  This visit we both got a back adjustment and an exercise to do.  Driving onto the campus is a beautiful thing.  Once past the tree-lined road the terraced campus is in full view.  Today's photo is the view from the car as we arrived.


In the afternoon our friend Noni came over to swim.  She brought her niece, who recently arrived from Canada, with her.  We all hung out in the pool, talking about travel, food and a Canadian teenagers perspective on Thailand.  Just as we were finishing the little snacks that Noni brought, it started to sprinkle.  Within a few minutes it was a full-fledged downpour.  The timing could not have been better.  We got our swim and an afternoon storm.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.

                  Peace,
                             Danny

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Garden


Hi,

They don't call it the rainy season for nothin'.  It rained all day today.  Mostly light, but it was rain.  We had to cancel a doggie play-date, but there's always tomorrow.

Well, a few of you got the 'Easy Monday' song right away.  It's ironic that a song that poked fun at music videos would be a hit on a music video channel.  "We gotta install microwave ovens, custom kitchens, deliveries.  We gotta move these refrigerators, we gotta move these color TVs.  I shoulda learned to play the guitar.  I shoulda learned to play them drums.... That ain't workin, that's the way you do it.  Get your __ __ __, get your chicks for free."  Clue:  You'll be in dire stress if you don't remember this.  

Today was one of those days when it's nice to just look out the window and enjoy the shiny green of the garden.  The rain did not distort the view with wind and chaos, just a steady drip.  We went out in the morning to get our printer checked out.  There is a chain of stores in Thailand called TechnoCom and they handle computers and printers.  They are a major HP dealer and the one near us is the main store in Chiang Rai.  The owner was there today, which always helps since he speaks English fluently.  When trying to explain a problem it always helps to be understood.  After a lot of explaining on both sides, it was determined that we should get a new printer.  We have upgraded to a small color laser model that made an excellent print in the store.  Now that it's at the house the computer does not see the printer.  Having exhausted all options, we go back to the store tomorrow.  Machines.

The owner of the store was born in Chiang Rai and told us a little of what it was like growing up here.  He said it has gotten a lot warmer since he was a boy.  We heard tales of dirt roads, truckloads of Hill Tribe people bringing crafts to town.  That led to a conversation about the growth of the city.  It was nice to listen to a real 'native' talk about his early life and his perspective on the changes.

When we went to Big C on Sunday, we got a big pack of Scott's toilet tissue.  In the checkout line I noticed the words 
'Bark Code' above the bar code.  We had a laugh and wondered if it was counterfeit (555).  When we got home I knew I had to take a photo to share with you.  That's when I noticed the little dog on the side.  Laughed again.


As crazy as it may sound, we're already working on our December visit to the States.  Flights get booked early for that season so we have to plan ahead.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                  Peace,
                             Danny

"My mind is a garden. My thoughts are the seeds.
My harvest will be either flower or weeds."
~Mel Weldon

Monday, July 22, 2013

Life


Hi,

During our first weekend back in Chiang Rai we discovered that some things have changed.  Today and tomorrow are the celebration of a major Buddhist holiday in Thailand and the city has many visitors.

Our 'Old School Friday' tune was "If 6 Was 9" by Jimi Hendrix.  Now for an 'Easy Monday' song for a little fun.
"Now look at them yo-yo's, that's the way you do it.  You play guitar on the MTV.  That ain't workin', that's the way you do it.  __ __ __ and the chicks for free."  Hint:  A commentary on the supposed simplicity of the new video age.  (555)

Saturday we went into town and discovered heavy traffic around the Healthy Market where we buy our fruits and vegetables.  At first I thought it had something to do with the upcoming holiday, but the cars just drove around the block and exited on Bus station street.  Hmm.  Later we discovered that the main street through one part of town has been blocked off for new storm drains.  We didn't get caught in any traffic, but I started figuring out alternate routes.  It's going to be weeks before this project is completed so we'll just have to deal with it.  

Some of the traffic around town is because of the holiday that began today.  It is Asalha Puja Day and it commemorates the Buddha's first teaching.  Many devotees travel to their home towns to celebrate with family.  It is a public holiday so banks, schools and some businesses are closed.  Chiang Rai has many temples that attract tourists, even without a holiday, so this weekend was especially busy.  

Sunday we expected a long line of cars when we approached Big C, but it wasn't the case.  All the shoppers were already inside.  I always enjoy shopping during the build-up to a holiday because there are lots of families roaming the store in little clusters.  Sometimes three generations making their way down the aisles and you can almost feel the excitement.  After we left Big C we went to Central Plaza.  It was so crowded in the 'inside' parking that we left and decided to just go home.  On our way home we saw some of the huge storm drain pipes that are to be installed.  There will be businesses that will probably lose money while their customers have no access.  The way most of the streets were originally constructed, there is no simple way to re-route traffic in times like these.  I guess they never imagined that the town would grow this dramatically.

We had dinner plans with our friends Stephan and Claire at Art Bridge, but when we got there the restaurant was closed.  They have been enlarging the kitchen due to the popularity of the place.  We went into town and ate at the Night Bazaar, which is always fun.  It gave us a chance to actually walk through the construction zone and get a close look at what's going on.  We hadn't been downtown for dinner in weeks and there were changes in the Night Bazaar.  New vendors, old vendors with new products, and the look of preparation for the next wave of 'High Season'.  We can always tell the changes in the tourist season by the number of large custom buses in town and the amount of new products on the tables in the Night Bazaar.  

Today our friend Sutheera came over for lunch.  She will be getting her doctorate in business next month so there was lots to talk about.  She also had questions about our trip to America.  We are still learning about Thai food and today was no exception.  Sutheera brought us a bag of a special dessert that was way too good.  They look like little tacos, but it's actually coconut filling with some kind of crispy noodle on top, folded into a sweet flour disc that looked like a tortilla.  Yum.  The picture below tells the story (except for the taste).


Have a Great Week.

                Peace,
                           Danny

"The meaning of life is to find your gift.
The purpose of life is to give it away."
~Pablo Picasso

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Funnies


Hi,

It's Friday, we landed on Wednesday, but the body feels like it's somewhere over the Pacific.  Getting sleepy at 7:30 in the evening is not fair.  

The 'Zany Day' song was "Sunshine Superman" by Donovan, and you shoulda known.  'Old School Friday' is by a guitar legend.  "If the sun refused to shine, I don't mind, I don't mind.  If the mountains fell in the sea, let it be, it ain't me.  Got my own world to live through, and I ain't gonna copy you.  Now __ __ __ __, I don't mind, I don't mind.  If all the hippies cut off their hair, I don't care, I don't care...."  Clue:  It's a numbers game.  I took liberties with the title line so you could have an accurate count.  

Today was one of those days when the sky was dark and cloudy and it felt like is was nap time all the time.  There were things to do and we did them.  How brave.  We drove up to Mae Fah Luang University to the clinic.  Lisa got an adjustment from Dr. William and we delivered some things he needed from America.  We knew he didn't take payment for his services in the clinic, so we asked how much we should donate and he said to bring some treats for the staff next time.  Hmm, that is quite different from how things work across the water.  

There is major repaving happening on the Super Highway north of town.  We have encountered it on all of our trips to the university.  Even with one lane closed, things keep moving.  Of course, the volume of cars and trucks is nothing compared to what we saw on the Santa Monica Freeway, or any others.  When it's all done it really will be a Super Highway.  (555)

One sure way to tell that the rainy season is here is the attachments of extra-large mud flaps on the rear fenders of the motorbikes.  Not everyone does this, but they only seem to appear when the rain is frequent.  With so many bikes carrying passengers, it seems only fair to protect them from the spray of the rear tire.  A lot of people have put their 'roof canopies' on their motorbikes, making them look like something from a science fiction movie.  There is always lots to see when driving about.  Oh yeah, apparently there is a link to right-hand turns and my use of my windshield wipers as turn signals.  I only do it turning right.  How weird is that?

Today's photo is another piece from the airport in Taipei by a teen artist.  There is a clear understanding by the youngsters of Taiwan that the planet needs our help.


This weekend we will go to Art Bridge and dine from the newly remodeled kitchen.  They had to make it bigger to accommodate all the business.  That is a good sign that things are going to work.  Some of the senior artists have been hosting groups of school children, explaining the artwork and exposing them to the arts.  The dream is being realized.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     Time for a 'Funny'.

                      Peace,
                                 Danny


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Alive


Hi,

Day One back in Thailand and it's hot and humid.  It looked like it was going to storm this morning, but by afternoon it was just sunny and hot.  The river is up and everything is very green and lush.  We missed the two weeks of rain, but the results are obvious.  It's also obvious that it's going to take a few days to get over the trip home.

"...'Cause I've made my mind up you're going to be mine.  I'll tell you right now, any trick in the book now baby, all that I can find..."  Hint:  The singer is going to use his super powers and a lot of tricks.  Hmm, then they'll sing in the sunshine.
OK, you've had lots of clues and stuff.

Yesterday (Wednesday) we landed in Bangkok around 11:30am.  We had seven hours until our flight to Chiang Rai so we got lunch and then a foot and shoulder massage.  After that I could have curled up and gone to sleep.  We walked around the airport, sat and watched the people, and then checked in for our flight.  That meant we could go through security and proceed to the level where the flights leave.  We still had hours to wait.  Sleep was coming over me like a dark cloud.  At a quiet table in the food court I was able to put my head down and snooze a little.  

When it came time to board our flight I was still sleepy and as soon as we took off I was in dreamland.  Rudy, Boot's boyfriend, met us at the airport with our car.  When we rode through the gate to the house, Boot came out to greet us.  The dogs were in the kitchen so we didn't get mobbed on arrival.  BamBam was the first to appear, smiling like she always does.  Then Daku made his entrance and was actually a little more civilized than the last time.  He didn't do a lot of jumping, but he ran in circles around us.  They both came upstairs and 'helped' us unpack some of our stuff.  I think they know that we always bring them something.  Once things had settled down, Daku got right into the usual rhythm of an evening at home.  

After breakfast this morning we went to Overbrook Hospital for our final tetanus shot of a three shot series.  Our friend Nurse Pai was there to help us, but the place was so busy we had to wait for our medicine.  You take the prescription to the pharmacy where you pay at one window, and then get the medicine at another.  It's so strange to have them hand you a package with a syringe and a little bottle, then direct you to room 48 (the treatment room).  Pai gave us our shots and we were done.

It felt a little weird driving on the left side of the road.  I only hit the wipers once instead of the turn signal.  We had to go to Makro for supplies, but first we needed gas.  It's so nice to just pull up and have them pump the gas for you.  

We had decided that after lunch we would not go out again.  Mr. Lag was sitting in the back seat of the car and made it clear that he had made other plans for us.  Although we could have slept all afternoon, we got up and tried to do things so we could sleep tonight.  (Ha), it was a good idea, but everything seemed difficult to do.  We sat on the patio and enjoyed the yard with the company of the dogs.  The big yard news is that the bananas ripened while we were away.  Boot gave a bunch of them to Kwang, but there are plenty left for me.  They're tiny but good.  I had one after dinner.  I know I won't be able to eat them all, so I guess we'll have to set up a table outside the wall and go into business (555).  

While we were in the airport in Taipei we looked at a display of drawings and paintings by 13 to 15 year olds.  The theme had to do with the environment and I snapped a couple of them to share with you.  Today's photo is the first one that caught our eye.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.  It is now time to put my head down.  

                     Peace,
                                Danny

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments
when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."
~Thornton Wilder

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Awaken


Hi,

I'm happy to announce that we are back in Chiang Rai, after a long ride home.  Mr. Lag paid us a visit half way through our seven hour layover in Bangkok.  Hmm, things will be interesting for the rest of the week.

This week's 'Easy Monday' song was "You're Gonna Lose That Girl" by The Beatles.  It was from the movie "Help".
Here's a 'Zany Day' song that is sure to bring back memories:  "Sunshine came softly through my window today.  Could've tripped out easy a-but I've a-changed my ways.  It'll take time, I know it, but in a while.  You're gonna be mine, I know it, we'll do it in style..."  Hint:  Two word title that is not sung in the song.  The first word has already been exposed.  The second can reach tall buildings in a single bound.

When we boarded our plane for Taipei we got to experience the new 'pod' environment on the Boeing 777.  It's like sitting in an enclosure with lots of leg room, a seat that allows for reclined sleeping, a large screen for viewing stuff, and lots of storage space.  The only problem is, if you're traveling with someone, you can't see them unless you lean forward and wave.  Most of the food and service was excellent and the time just 'flew' by.  (555)  I had chocolate pancakes for breakfast.  What?

                  My Own Personal Mission Control

In Taipei we had over two hours to just hang out in a lounge that had the most annoying music yet, for an airport.  It was about 5:30am when we landed and the airport was just waking up.  By the time we started toward our departure gate, the joint was jumping.  The shops were buzzing and people were taking photos at the Hello Kitty pay phone.  

I'm getting very sleepy, again, so I'll tell you more about the Bangkok airport adventures in travel in our next episode.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.

                     Peace,
                                Danny

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dream


Hi,

If you're a night-owl, then you're probably wondering why this message is coming to you so early.  I'm sitting in the International Lounge at LAX, waiting for our flight to Taipei and then Bangkok.  We leave at 1:55am, so that's why you're getting this so early.  Otherwise it would be a day late, or something like that.

The 'Easy Monday' song was featured in a movie with a one word title.  It's by four guys you're familiar with.
"If you don't treat her right, my friend, you're going to find her gone.  'Cause I will treat her right, and then you'll be the lonely one.  __ __ __ __ __ (repeat).  I'll make a point of taking her away from you, yeah.  The way you treat her what else can I do?"  Clue:  I'd love to help you with this one, but you'd lose the experience of remembering such a fun song.

Our quick trip is over, and as we bid farewell to Southern California, I want to thank you for your hospitality.  Thank you for the cold weather, the crowded freeway, the yummy Thai food, the news in English, the courteous drivers, the crows that woke us up, and most important, the continued friendships that always warm our hearts.

Our last evening was really great.  We had dinner with Jeff, Anna, C-Bass and August.  Then we hung out until it was time to go.  

If you ever get over to Chiang Rai, we'll be there to show you around and make you feel at home.  

I'll leave you with one of several murals that 'live' near the corner of National and Washington Blvds.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                 Peace,
                            Danny

"To those who can dream there is no such place as faraway."
~Anonymous

Monday, July 15, 2013

Advice


Hi,

Back from our Palo Alto/San Jose weekend.  Lots of driving, smiling and talking.  We had a great time at the party  and made some new friends.

The 'Old School Friday' tune was "Rockin' Robin", originally recorded by Bobby Day.  Now you know.  'Easy Monday' came from across the pond.  "__ __ __ __ __ __ (repeat).  If you don't take her out tonight, she's going to change her mind.  And I will take her out tonight, and I will treat her kind.  __ __ __ __ __ __, (repeat)."
Hint:  Someone is about to be without their girlfriend.  Hmm.

Saturday morning we flew to San Jose.  Flying at mid-day was good because there weren't many people going our way.  We had booked a room at The Zen Hotel in Palo Alto and it was very cool.  We were in a room that had a back door that opened to a Zen garden.   It's someplace we'd stay again.  

After we got settled in our room we drove into the main part of town and met with Ming.  While we ate lunch he told us about the research he's doing, studying American film making.  We learned a bunch about the structure of movies and spent time talking about Thailand.  

Palo Alto is a city made up of many distinct elements.  It's a college town, a business hub in the tech world, and also an area with lot of 'old' money.  There were lots of signs on the streets letting you know the fine for running a red light.  The fees were not the same on all roads.  There was a $100 range for the same offense.  There were also lots of concessions for bicycle riders, like special lanes and places to lock bikes.  The main street was a crush of cars and people on Saturday afternoon.  That night we saw a line almost a block long for an ice cream parlor.  Must be some good stuff.

The birthday dinner party for Joe & Eva was a smashing success.  All of their dearest friends and family were there.  There was a large assortment of Chinese food, and a big helping of conversation.  We made some new friends and saw people we haven't seen in years.  Great Grand Children brought paintings they'd made, one danced and another read a poem she wrote on the spot.  Lots of creativity was flowing.  After the party we went back to their house and just hung out for a while.  Sunday morning we picked up Joe and went to breakfast and then returned to his studio.  He showed us his recent art projects and some experiments he's been doing.  

From Palo Alto we drove south to San Jose where we were to have lunch with Bill, Rachelle and Cordelia.  We haven't seen them in a couple of trips to the US, so it was really good to spend some time with them.   We saw something new to us on the streets of San Jose.  They have public toilets that are large enough to take a bicycle inside.  After they are used, they apparently shut down for 'decontamination' for a few minutes before the next use.  We noticed a guy standing, waiting for this process to be over before he could go inside.  Clearly not an emergency friendly unit.  

After lunch we had time before we had to be at the airport for the flight home so we wandered around a big shopping center.  Pet stores are high on our list of places to check out.  We have been looking for yellow or blue rubber balls for playing catch with the dogs.  Those are the colors dogs see best, but no one seems to make balls in those colors.  Hmm.  We went to a Target, where I got a hat. 

Back in Culver City, after a chilly flight home, we were hanging out with Mr. August and he playfully put on my new hat.  It was a cool look for him as you can see from this photo.

                             Mr. August

It seems like it has taken us the whole two weeks to get over Jet Lag.  This should make the return to Thailand very interesting.  

Have a Great Week.

                    Peace,
                               Danny

"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't."
~Erica Jong

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Funnies


Hi,

Well, we're heading to the home stretch of the California visit.  One more dinner, a trip to Northern California, and then packing for home.  

The 'Zany Day' song was "Thank You (falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" by Sly & The Family Stone.  That means it's time for 'Old School Friday'.  "He rocks in the tree tops all day long, hoppin' and a-boppin' and a-singing his song.  All the little birds on Jaybird Street, love to hear the robin go 'tweet, tweet, tweet'.  __ __ (tweet x 3), __ __ (tweet, tweedle-lee-dee)..."   Clue: It's something about a bird.  Extra Cool Points if you can tell me who sang it first.

A trip to the 'Fox Hills Mall' (yes, I still call it that) was mildly successful.  The place keeps changing, which keeps it interesting, and confusing at the same time.  

I had lunch with a dear friend of mine.  Seth and I met at Denny's, and this time I had French toast, among other things.  When he was performing his 'God Fadda Workout' we became groupies.  Now he's directing TV specials and also working on a film.  Long-time friendships are a wonderful thing and today was a nice reminder of that.

During the afternoon we hung out around the house.  There are still some small lists that need completing, but we wanted to be around the boys.  August baked a cake for his mom's birthday and C-Bass was working on a paper for school.  At one point C-Bass explained how the soccer (football) leagues work in England and Europe.  He used his video game as a teaching aid and it all became clear.  When I left to have coffee with my friend Dan, August was in the driveway lighting something and announcing that he was bored.  Oh, I remember those moments of summer when there was nothing to do.  He usually keeps himself pretty busy so I guess this was just a momentary setback (555).  

In the evening we had a fun birthday celebration for Anna.  There were cards and gifts and August's cake, which was delicious. 

            A July B'day Cake by Mr. August

It seems like just as I get used to driving 'American Style', it's time to go back to Thailand and flip the whole thing.  I've only hit the wipers a few times in the last couple of days.  I know that the first time I drive in Chiang Rai, the wipers will come on when turning a corner.  Actually, the more I think about it, since it's raining every day, it might keep me from using the wipers as turn signals.  Hmm.  

Saturday morning we will fly to San Jose and drive to Palo Alto.  Ming will visit us from San Francisco and that evening we will go to a birthday party for Joe and Eva (Lisa's dad and step-mother).  They decided to have a joint celebration of their birthdays, which is a pretty cool idea.  We will visit with Joe in his studio on Sunday morning, have lunch with friends in San Jose, and fly home in the afternoon.  Whew.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.

                         Peace,
                                    Danny  


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tightrope


Hi,

The tiny little sprinkle in the morning didn't discourage us from our many adventures of the day.  We covered a lot of ground as you will soon see.

A few of you knew this 'Zany Day' song.  I'm sure some of you will get it after reading these lyrics.  
"Dance to the music, all night long.  Everyday people, sing a simple song.  Mama's so happy, mama start to cry.  Papa still singin', you can make it if you try.  I wanna __ __ __ __ __ __ __ (repeat)."  Clue: There are many references to other tunes by this group, and gratitude is the theme of the title.  Hmm.

Our Wednesday began with breakfast at Dinah's with our friends Pam and Steve.  I actually controlled myself and didn't have my usual 'dessert' of cinnamon French toast.  Oh well.  They told us about their upcoming trip to London and a British Isles cruise.  There were also the updates in our lives and the changes on Westside landscape.  We had a long conversation about the dogs and how much we miss them.

                               Daku & BamBam

We got an early start on our drive to Pasadena so we could look for a few things.  Didn't find what we were looking for, but saw a lot of the city where I grew up.  It's a little confusing for me because so many streets are now one-way and many landmarks are gone.  There were things that brought back memories of my childhood though, and that was nice.

In Altadena we picked up my mother and then met my brother and his wife at Saladang Thai Restaurant for lunch.  It's always fun hanging out with them and this was no exception.  After lunch Denny, Sheila and my mom drove down to San Diego for a little getaway.  

Back on the Westside, we thought we'd get in a little nap, but the neighbors decided to do a construction project, so that didn't work.  We met our friend Kathie for dinner at Emerald Thai, and had a wonderful time trading adventures and life stuff.  

The construction of the Metro train line through 'our part of town' has turned Venice Bl. into a place to be avoided in the late afternoon.  It has certainly put what we call 'traffic' into perspective.  When we get back to Chiang Rai, I will not complain any more when I get stuck at a 2 minute stop light.  That's nothing compared to waiting through three sequences of lights at one intersection.  Of course, in a few weeks I'll forget what I just said and go back to fusing about all the cars and motorbikes.  (555)

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                    Peace,
                               Danny

"Being on the tightrope is living; everything else is waiting."
~Karl Wallenda

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Discovery



Hi,

Tuesday's heatwave wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Of course, with most of the mid-day spent in Marina Del Rey, the ocean breeze helped keep the temps down.  The sun was still hot, so running for shade was wise.  Lots of visiting today.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "My Girl" by The Temptations.  See how easy that was?  And now, to the 'Zany Day' tune:
"Lookin' at the devil, grinnin' at his gun.  Fingers start to shakin', I begin to run.  Bullets start chasin', I begin to stop.  We begin to wrestle, I was on the top.  I want to __ __ __ __ __ __ __ (repeat)."  Hint:  The zaniest part of the tune is in the title.  We've played with this one before.  Don't be too sly with your answer.

This morning we went shopping for the dogs.  Trying to find yellow and/or blue solid rubber balls is harder than it sounds.  These are the colors dogs see best, but so far, none of the pet supply stores have what we need.  We did get some Nyla bones, which they love, and they last a long time.  We saw a really cool dog bed, but we can't take that on the plane.  (555)

We got a 'new' car today from the rental company.  We traded the Nissan Sentra for a Chevy Malibu and the difference is night and day.  We still have a bit of driving to do and it might as well be pleasurable.  The ride is smooth and the seats are very comfortable.  Oh yea, it goes good too.  (Ha)

Speaking of going good, we've been having fun car-watching while we're here.  There are so many cool cars that we don't see in Chiang Rai.  Today we say a new Ferrari as it growled it's way down the street.  Oh my!  

We had visits with some of the people Lisa used to work with in the Marina.  Coffee, lunch, coffee was the sequence.  We had dinner at Emerald Thai with our friend Kerrina. 

Today's photo is me and a giant watermelon.  When we return to Chiang Rai I'll show you what the little ones look like.

.
 Now that's a Melon

This morning we have breakfast at Dinah's, lunch in Pasadena, and dinner at Emerald again.  I'm feeling full already.

Time for a Wacky Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                              Danny 

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen
and thinking what nobody has thought."
~Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Respect


Hi,

The weather on Monday was what we expected when we landed last week.  I'm glad it finally showed up.  Blue skies and sunshine.  Yea!

Now I know that a lot of you know this song.  Let me know that you know this 'Easy Monday' tune.  "I've got so much honey, the bees envy me.  I've got a sweeter sound, than the birds in the trees.  Well, I guess you'd say, what can make me feel this way?  __ __, talkin' 'bout __ __ (__ __)."  Clue:  I was so tempted to give you a clue, but that would give it away.

Our first trip on the famous 405 freeway was a piece of cake.  We started after the morning 'rush' and it went smoothly.  Traveling north on the 101 was interesting.  The traffic came to almost a stop, but then just opened up as if nothing had happened.  Weird, but then we've been away for awhile, and I forgot that this is normal.  Hmm.  When we arrived at the ranch we saw some beautiful horses and giant oak trees.  There was a lot of activity in preparation for a wedding this weekend.  We hung out in Blue's house for a bit, and then drove up to a little mom and pop Thai restaurant.  Back at the ranch we walked around the grounds, and Blue told us about some of the horses and their personalities.  By this time the temperature was rising and it was very hot.  Without the usual humidity that we're used to it really felt different.  

Today's photo is the arch where the wedding ceremony will be held.  It's a wonderful backdrop for a special occasion.

                                         
Back in the city we went to a second Ross and found what we were looking for.  We updated our 'tech bag' for carrying the laptops and other gear.  A little four-wheeled 'spinner' will be perfect for navigating around the airports on the way home.  

In Thailand we have watermelons that are small and round.  We were quite impressed with the size of the melons on our stop at Whole Foods.  They were huge compared to what we buy.  We took a photo to show Boot.  She'll get a kick out of that.

This evening Lisa and August started making a new board game.  They have grown tired of playing the same games so now they will have their very own creation to play.  I think it's going to be a winner.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                         Peace,
                                    Danny

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

Monday, July 8, 2013

Choice


Hi,

We've had a busy weekend here in SoCal.  Lots of lunches and coffee.  Week two is about to begin, with more of the same.

It would appear that 'Old School Friday' was a stumper.  The song was "Sha-Boom" by The Chords.  You deserve an 'Easy Monday' that is truly easy.  "I've got sunshine, on a cloudy day.  When it's cold outside, I've got the month of may.  I guess you say what can make me feel this way?  __ __, talking 'bout __ __."  Hints:  (555)

On Friday we went to Altadena and picked up my mom, then drove to Alhambra for a nice Thai lunch with her and our friend Debby.  At one point the server asked us how we knew how to speak Thai.  When we told her we lived in Thailand her face lit up.  She is from Nan and is here studying.  That opened up a whole conversation at the table about learning languages and the teaching of a second language.  We learned and laughed.  We got back to Culver City just in time to greet Mr. Lag.

Saturday we had lunch with Bruce and Danielle, the couple who stayed with us on their Asian adventure.  They showed us photos from their trip and we saw places we want to go in the future.  Hmm.  

Dinner with the Valley Cousins was fun.  Nowell, Jenny and Chaz met us at East Wind and we got caught up on all the news.   Sunday we had another Cousin lunch with Martha and her daughters, back at the same restaurant.  

In between all these visits there was shopping for essentials and things we can't get in Thailand.  It's too bad that weight is such an issue when traveling or we'd end up with a lot more cool things.  (555)

I'm actually enjoying all the relatively polite driving here on the Westside.  No one turns in front of me, there are no motorbikes going the wrong way on the side of the road, and cars actually stop when traffic lights turn red.  There are also many sights that we just don't see here.  Like this photo from the archives.  Notice how organized they are.

                              Cows on a mission

This morning we will drive out to the Malibu mountains to visit our dear friend Blue, who lives on a horse ranch.  We're looking forward to the beauty of the landscape.

Have a Great Week.

                  Peace,
                             Danny

"Choosing to live your life by your own choice is the
greatest freedom you will ever have."
~Shad Helmstetter

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Funnies


Hi,

I hope that those of you in the US had a safe and sane 4th of July.  We went into the world in the morning, and had a very relaxed afternoon and evening around the house.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Yakety Yack" by The Coasters.  'Old School Friday' goes way back this week.  Remember this?
"Oh, life could be a dream (__ __) if I could take you up in paradise up above (__ __), if you would tell me I'm the only one you love.  Live could be a dream sweetheart.  (Hello, hello again, __ __ and hopin' we meet again)"  Hint:  The title is two words that actually make a sound that isn't really a word, but a sound.  Get it? 

We spent the morning visiting two spots that are always on our list of things to do when we visit.  The first place was Target, one of my favorite places to go just to see what's available.   Then we went to Ross, which is usually a good spot for shopping.  We didn't find anything special, but there are two more stores to hit (555).  

All of our favorites have been eliminated at Wimbledon so we've lost some interest, at least on the womens side.  There are still more matches with the men and we'll try to catch those.  It's a Formula One weekend and I'm guessing I can get Mr. August to record it for us.  I was amazed at the technology that has evolved with the control of a TV.  Jeff was able to go on his phone and tell me the channel for SpeedTV.  He told me he can control the DirecTV box from his phone.  I would really have fun with that in Thailand.  

The photo for today is one of my favorite Chiang Rai choppers.  A nice modern take on old school concept. 


Our dinner was a BBQ affair on the patio, with turkey burgers, veggies and chips.  August grilled chicken and we feasted. After that, as the sun went down, we had a fireworks show, sort of, in the driveway.  They had a pack of fountains and things that went bang, and August was our official lighter of fuses.  In the background was the sound of all the other fireworks going off all around.  It sounded like a war zone, a constant rumble of explosions.  From the upstairs bedroom we could see some 'real' fireworks displays in the night sky.  Since we usually don't visit this time of year this was a treat.

Tomorrow we go to Altadena and take my mother to lunch.  We have one weekend in town so it's going to be a busy one.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Prepare to laugh.

                       Peace,
                                  Danny


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nurture


Hi,

The weather in Culver City was cool, then warm, then cool.  I found myself wearing layers this morning, not something I've done since our last visit here in the winter.  Just another adjustment to make.  

It's nice to know that cultured songs like our 'Zany Day' tune are still remembered.  Many of you knew this one.  
"Don't you give me no dirty looks, your father's hip, he knows what cooks.  Just tell your hoodlum friends outside, you ain't got time to take a ride.  __ __ (don't talk back)."  Hint:  The title refers to the sound made by a teen complaining about chores.

I am turning on the wipers in the car less and less.  Everything is reversed on the steering column so when I think I'm signaling for a turn, and the wipers come on, I am reminded of where I am and which hand is supposed to be working.  It's crazy.  The good thing is that the urge to drive on the 'wrong side' of the street is pretty much gone.  (555)

Today was doctor day.  Lisa saw the two docs that fixed the back problem before and it looks like things are going to be much better for the rest of the stay.  

Someone in the neighborhood where we stay has been practicing setting off their fireworks.  Reminded me a bit of what it's like in Chiang Rai when there's a holiday.  Actually, there doesn't even have to be a holiday.  There is something about things that make loud noises that attracts people and makes them want to hear it again.  One thunderous boom is not enough.  At least here it all fades away the day after the 4th of July.  In Chiang Rai they set things off until they're gone, and that can take a week or longer.  

The dogs, Peaches and Lola, had a visit from the dog grooming van today.  They came out looking all trimmed and pretty.  Peaches is sporting a patriotic bandana and seems to like it.  They will need lots of love and comforting tomorrow night when the bombs burst in air.  I know many people who are not leaving their pets alone because they get so freaked out.  We can totally relate.  

At the airport in Chiang Rai there is a shop that sells various local treats.  Everything from coffee to dried fruit.  While having coffee before our first flight I noticed that they had green mangos for sale.  Hmm, just the thing to wake up your mouth on a morning flight.  They are very sour, and very popular.

                              Mango Time?
                                   
Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                     Peace,
                                Danny

"Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go
any higher than you think."
~Benjamin Disraeli