Monday, September 30, 2013



We've had two beautiful clear days here in Chiang Rai.  Tomorrow we are expecting residual moisture from Typhoon Wutip which is coming from the South China Sea.  Hopefully just a drizzle.  

'Old School Friday' was "Oh, What A Night" by The Dells.  It's pretty cool that so many of you knew this one.  Now let's see who knows the 'Easy Monday' song.  "Diamond life, lover boy, he moves in space with minimum waste and maximum joy.  City lights and business nights, when you require streetcar desire for higher heights.  No place for beginners or sensitive hearts... No need to ask, he's a __ __ (repeat 3x)"  Hint:  Really?  This classic from a singer with one name should be looping in your head all day.  (555)  The character in the song is a player for sure.

With dry streets and clearing skies, folks were out taking care of business on Saturday.  We went into town for lunch at one of our old haunts; Siam Cafe.  It's a little place across from the backside of the Wancome Hotel, where we lived during our first month in Thailand in 2007.  They make my favorite chicken burger in Chiang Rai.  

All week there has been a funeral gathering across the road and down from us.  Thai funerals last a week, with most of the activity in the evenings.  Lots of food and drink and visits from the monks.  We have heard everything from the bumping of dance music to the chanting of monks.  Most of the day on Saturday men were building a large shrine that would be placed on a trailer, with the casket inside.  In the evening there were neon lights, fireworks and lanterns floating into the night sky.  On Sunday vehicles were staged and a long procession wound through the streets.  These parades usually end at a crematorium. Today it's the same road as always, but with stories to tell.  Below is the assembled structure that housed the casket taken from our upstairs window.

On Sunday we went to Central Plaza for lunch.  We were also looking for what is commonly called a 'Step down'.  It's an electrical device that switches the voltage delivery to an appliance from 220v (Thailand) to 110v (US).  When we first moved here there were several shops that sold them.  At the mall not only did most salespeople not know what we were talking about, they didn't have them.  Today we solved the problem by giving the 110v lamp to Khun Mahn who took it to a shop that converted it with a Thailand socket.  

Today I made a new friend who is visiting the Kingdom from Australia.  He is an artist and very interested in Art Bridge.  He is part of a similar project in Australia and there could be a lot of information exchanged.  

Tomorrow night Cat will leave on her school trip that will take 200 students around the region, site-seeing and learning more about Northern Thailand.  They will return on Sunday night.  Sounds like quite an undertaking by some brave teachers.

Have a Great Week.


"The best teachers are those who
show you where to look, but don't tell you
what to see."
~Alexandra K. Trenfor

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai spent the day trying to dry out from another storm.  We learned a new word and the student is in 'study hall'.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Killer Queen" by Queen.  Maybe you remember this classic 'Old School Friday' tune:
"__ __ __ __, to love you dear.  __ __ __ __, to hold you near.  __ __ __ __, to squeeze you dear, that's why I love you so..."  Hint:  This 'slow song' should bring responses from the 'older set'.  It has to do with a very special evening.
Sung by a group with a very long R&B history of hits.

This morning we woke up to a very soggy yard, due to the big storm last night.  I can remember hearing rolling thunder in the distance around 1:30am.  Later there was some of the loudest rain I have experienced.  It must have been pretty hard because the sound is what everyone is talking about.  There's no flooding up here, but in other areas near Bangkok, villages are having to use boats to get around.  Many fear a repeat of the 2011 floods.  We may start stocking up on certain items if major shipping roads are impacted.  

We had another productive morning in the streets of Chiang Rai.  It was mostly routine, and didn't require as many U-Turns as yesterday. (555)  We did figure out another adaptation of English when we picked up our vacuum from the 'Fan Guy'.  On the phone it didn't make sense, but when Lisa spoke to his wife today we realized they were saying:
'Wahcoom'.  The W replaces the V, of course, and it all makes perfect sense.  Now you know.

This afternoon Cat told us she had to go back to school tomorrow (Saturday) and take her chemistry test again.  She missed the minimum score by one point.  She is currently in her room studying.  We had a good talk about it, and we think she'll do fine.  She didn't study for it the first time, so with concentrated effort, who knows?

Today's photo was taken a few years ago, but never shared.  It on one of the hilly streets in the shopping district of Mae Sai, near the border with Burma.  The young mother is pushing her cart up the hill with her baby in a sling on her back.   Scenes like this help keep things in perspective. 

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.  Time for the 'Funnies'.


Thursday, September 26, 2013



Today was U-Turn Day in Chiang Rai.  I found myself changing direction for various reasons on a regular basis as we drove around town this morning.  The rain stayed away until this evening and the clouds kept the temperature down.  

I'm impressed that some of you got this one so quickly.  It's one of those 'Zany Day' songs that is not easily 'read'.  
"To avoid complications she never kept the same address.  In conversation she spoke just like a baroness... Perfume came from Paris (naturally), for cars she couldn't care less.  Fastidious and precise.  She's a __ __ ...."  Hint:  Might this be an autobiographical sketch of the singer?  Hmm.

What seemed like a simple task became a journey of multiple U-Turns, repeating the same conversation, and getting the same answer:  'No have'.  I was trying to find a teflon/plastic washer for a bolt.  We really tried to make it simple, with photographs and everything.  We will now put this task in the capable hands of Khun Mahn, who seems to be able to fix anything.  

The last stop on our morning tour was the Talat for treats.  We got a little bit of everything and learned which ones are Cat's favorites.  Actually, they all are.  We are slowly getting an understanding about food likes and dislikes.  Last night she asked us if we liked to eat durian.  That's the smelly fruit that is banned in hotels, airplanes and hospitals.  You don't even have to guess what our answer was.  She laughed with understanding.  Tonight we had a similar talk about pork.  We haven't eaten any 'Moo' in 42 years and that was a good enough answer.  We eat Thai food, with a list of exceptions, and that's just the way it is.  

We just got back from the Night Bazaar where we had dinner with Stephan and Claire.  The five of us had some lively conversations about lots of things.  While we were eating, it rained heavily and the vendors did their special cover-up until it stopped.  By the time we finished dinner things were getting back to normal.  

Our photo of the day was actually taken by Blue while he was here.  The angle that the rain is falling lets you know that the wind is blowing a bit.  (555)  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Life isn't about waiting 
for the storm to pass. 
It's about learning to dance
in the rain."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Be Yourself


The rain tiptoed around Chiang Rai today.  There was a tiny sprinkle at one point, but it stayed dry enough for the yard crew to come and clean things up.  

A few more people figured out that the 'Easy Monday' song was "Girl" by The Beatles.  'Zany Day' is next.  Ready?
"She keeps her Moet et Chandon in her pretty cabinet.  'Let them eat cake' she says, just like Marie Antoinette.  A built-in remedy for Khrushchev and Kennedy.  At anytime an invitation you can't decline.  Caviar and cigarettes, well versed in etiquette, extraordinarily nice.  She's a __ __ gunpowder, guillotine, dynamite with a laser beam..."  Clue:  There is a definite royal flavor to this one.  Not a king in sight.

This morning we had coffee at Art Bridge.  The morning air was cool, it was very quiet, and everything felt light.  We had just done our shopping at Makro, there was nothing pressing and we were enjoying the moment.   There is a funny menu story that I must pass on.  There is an item that reads: 'Pork River'.  What it should say is: 'Pork Liver' but someone translated it the way they speak English.  Here in the North, Rs and Ls are inter-changable in Thai, and apparently in English as well, though not with good results.  

Today's photo is a great example of a 'play on words' involving the R and L switching.  Very 'Western' tongue-in-cheek.   It's located in Chiang Mai in the upscale district.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the yard crew was busy cutting, clipping and planting.  We had another banana tree 'baby' planted in the front yard.  The first tree has a long bunch that are in the process of maturing.  The coconut trees provided a mild harvest and according to the yard people, they're very good.  They saved us some this time.   

This evening during dinner, Cat told us about her tests today.  The English test went well, but the Chemistry and Thai were very difficult.  Hmm, that's a lot to deal with in one day.  Tomorrow we're going to get some sticky rice.  It's something she's used to eating.  I like it sometimes, especially with fresh mango, which is in season right now.  Yum.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.

"Always be yourself!
Unless you can be Batman.
Then, always be Batman."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013



I am still trying to figure out why so many of you didn't get the Friday Funnies.  So far, my research has concluded that Yahoo does not allow messages from the future.  What?  That's right, and I'm 14 hours into the future of those of you in America and surrounding areas.  I also think it has something to do with either the link or the 'funny'.  I'll keep trying.  If you want to see what all the fuss is about, go to the 'Blogspot' link at the bottom of this message.  Remember, you can always find the daily messages there.

Just when we thought the rain was over, Blam, another storm crashes the party.  More is apparently on the way, so no carwash this week (555).

I'm a little surprised that more of you didn't get the 'Easy Monday' song.  Barry got it and sent a video.  Thanks.
"When I think of all the times I've tried so hard to leave her, she will turn to me and start to cry.  And she promises the earth to me and I believe her.  After all this time I don't know why.  Ah, __.  __"  Hint:  It's by those four lads from Liverpool, 

This morning we went to Big C for supplies.  Cat went with us so she could chose some things she likes.  It's a good thing because we didn't know there were choices when it came to Ovaltine.  There is the straight powder, and then there is what is called '3-in-1', which is the powder, powdered milk, and sugar.  You just add water and it's done.  While we were browsing the aisles I spotted 'Homey' brand crackers.  Cool.  

When we left Big C the sky seemed dark for 10:40 in the morning.  As we pulled out of the lot the drops began to fall. Then the wind started blowing and when we got home it was coming down very hard.  It rained for hours.  

This evening Cat told us that her sister offered to prepare a local delicacy for us.  We are going to respectfully decline the gift of worms from bamboo.  Hmm.  No further discussion needed.  Tomorrow Cat has tests in four subjects, and then two more on Friday.  I guess the're final exams, with some subjects being more difficult than others.  Boy, that was a long time ago.  

Today's photo shows the result of one brushing of Mr. Daku during shedding season.  He looks a little amazed himself.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"The ones who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, 
are the ones that do."

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Past


Let me begin by saying that many readers who use Yahoo, AT&T, and SBCGlobal may not have received their 'Friday Funnies' last week.  Everything I sent came back.  If you did not get Friday's message, please let me know and I'll send it to you.  

The weather in Chiang Rai has been a mix of crazy and beautiful.  Saturday afternoon we had a monsoon type blast that brought wind and rain that kept changing direction.  To give you an idea of how weird it was, the car got wet sitting in the carport.  It didn't go on for too long, but it was very dramatic.  We are still fortunate to be flood-free in our area.  The big news was the arrival of Cat on Sunday.  

The 'Old School Friday' song was "Hello, I Love You" by The Doors.  It's 'Easy Monday' time once again and I think you know this one:  "Is there anybody going to listen to my story all about the girl who came to stay?  She's the kind of girl you want so much it makes you sorry.  Still, you don't regret a single day.  Ah, __, __."  Hint: This single word title is mentioned in the verse, it's describing someone.

Saturday we were in town and tried going to Doi Chaang Coffee.  Even though the street is closed, since they're on the corner, there is a guard that opens the blocked street for patrons.  We were able to enter with no problem.  The carwash next door was completely empty.  The storm drain project is hurting many businesses.  
We wondered what will happen when the big ditch crosses 'Walking Street'.  Maybe they'll erect a temporary foot bridge.  Hmm.

Sunday morning everything was ready for Cat's arrival.  Tawee, director of The Sold Project and his wife Beth brought their baby girl Kate, along with Cat and her sister and her nephew.   We were going to have a swim and lunch.  It turned out that just the guys swam and we had fun in the pool.  Cat and her sister unpacked all of Cat's things and set up the room.  We got the distinct feeling that this was a real move and not a trial.  During lunch we discussed the basics of school transportation, and answered a few questions.  Cat's sister seemed very happy that her little sister was going to be in good hands.  

This morning when we went down to feed the dogs, Cat was all ready for school.  Daku was a little too happy to see her and got dog hair on her dark blue uniform skirt.  We have more training to do with Mr. Handsome, as Blue calls him.   This is a testing week at school so she only goes three days, with tests in three subjects each day.  Tomorrow we'll go out and get the things she likes to eat, which won't be difficult since she likes everything.  Two things we'll have to get are milk and Ovaltine.  We both remember Ovaltine from our childhoods and it was funny that it's one of Cat's favorite things.  

Today's photo of Blue and me was taken at McDonald's in Chiang Mai, breakfast before hitting the road.  Did someone say 'Pie'?

Don't forget to let me know if you didn't receive the 'Friday Funnies'.  I'd hate for you to miss the laugh or the slide-show from Lisa's exhibit.

Have a Great Week.


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

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Funnies


The Chiang Rai sky was in pre-rain mode all day.  Friday's are always busy in town so we got an early start.  

Our 'Zany Day' song had a lot of you scratching your heads.  It was "I'm A Hog For You, Baby" by The Coasters.  Now we're at the end of the week and a tune that you may remember.  Just open the door to the past and say 'Hello' to this:
"She's walking down the street, blind to every eye she meets.  Do you think you'll be the guy, to make the queen of angels sigh?  __, __ __ __ won't you tell me your name?  __, __ __ __ let me jump in your game...."  Clue:  This local L.A. band became iconic, even had a film made about them.  Some of us saw them before they were famous, like at Griffith Park by the merry-go-round.  Oh my, that was a long time ago.

Today we went into town with lots to do.  We began at the Talat, picking up some treats.  The treat lady gave us a sample of something we'd never seen before.  We haven't tried it yet but I'll let you know if it's good.  From the big Talat we went by the fruit market but our friend wasn't at her stand so we looked at clothes in a big store we always pass.  Most of these places have lots of choices for women, but pretty standard stuff for guys.  I'm not into plaid shirts so I just stand around (555).  

After a short stay at Big C we went to Central Plaza.  The iService shop still doesn't have the fans for my laptop, which is becoming an annoying situation on many levels.  The machine is noisy, so I limit its use (oh no), and the parts have been on order for about a month.  There was a lot of pre-show activity on the main floor of the mall.  'F.B. Medical', a skin care clinic, was about to have a big 'Model Search' contest.  We noticed them stopping shoppers and interviewing them, looking for contestants?  After lunch we saw our friends Cornelis and Anoi and we had a nice little visit.  It was a busy morning and even though it looked like rain, it didn't.

Today's photo comes in the form of a link to a newspaper.  'City-Now' published a bunch of photos taken at the opening. It's like a slide-show so you will get to see lots of scenes from the event.  There are several pics of our friend Blue included.

On Sunday another house guest will arrive.  We will be hosting a student named Cat, who is a junior in high school.  Her village is a long way from the school she attends in town, so staying here will make things more efficient.  Our last student guest, Tatt, is now going to a university in Bangkok and working hard.  Cat already speaks some English so communication will be easier for us.  There will be a one week trial to see how things work out.  The adventure continues.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   It's time for the 'Funnies'.  Oh yeah, and Sunday is the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix.... Zoom.


Thursday, September 19, 2013



A morning rain shower, afternoon sunshine, and warmish water in the pool.  These are conditions I can live with.  Our morning in town proved to be an adventure in detours.

A few of you recognized this week's 'Zany Day' tune.  Maybe the second verse will jar more memories.  There's food:
"One little piggie ate pizza, one piggie ate potato chips.  This little piggie's comin' over your house, gonna nibble on  your sweet lips, 'cause __ __ __ __ __ __, can't get enough of your love..."  Clue:  The key word in the title is three letters long and relates to a farm yard relative of Miss Piggy.

We had just finished exercising the dogs when it started to rain.  The clouds and wind made it pretty obvious that it was going to happen.  We're getting good at 'reading' the conditions, at least in our area.  That qualification is important because there are at least three distinct areas in Chiang Rai where the weather can be completely different.

Our first destination this morning was to Art Bridge.  Lisa is helping with the English wording of various applications and letters.  Eventually, we're hoping to be able to read everything related to Art Bridge.  It can be frustrating to get mail and not know what it says.  We had time to browse the gallery and look at the student work that was recently installed.  This will require another visit to absorb all the new work.  

After a cookie stop at Bobby Bo's place, and pet treats on Bus Station street, I thought I had figured out how to get to Work@Home and Doi Chaang Coffee, which are now in the path of the storm drain project.  The little side-street I chose had been blocked off, which meant going around the block.  Our second try was met by a giant crane and very big pipes.  We ended up making a large circle and parking on an open street and walking half a block.  They told us it's going to be three or four months like this.  Chiang Rai has been fortunate this rainy season in that there has not been any serious flooding.  Other parts of Thailand have not faired so well.  The major drain upgrade is good insurance.

This evening Boot made tuna salad for dinner.  Lisa taught her how to make it the way we like it.  Today we got a variation on the theme that didn't really work.  For some reason, Boot decided to add some peanut to the mix.  Oh my, you don't want to try this at home.  

Today's photo is from the opening at 116 Gallery in Chiang Mai.  Lisa and Mrs. Wantip are standing with the dancers who entertained the audience.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"No one can drive you crazy
unless you give them the keys."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013



After a thunderous night, we had a beautiful day in Chiang Rai.   We stayed behind the walls all day and didn't realize it until the day was over.  Hmm.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Ooh, ooh Child" by The Five Stairsteps.  'Zany Day' may be a challenge if you're young:
"One little piggie went to London, one piggie went to Hong Kong.  This little piggie's comin' over your house 'cause it'll love you all night long.   __ __ __ __ __ __, can't get enough of your love.  When I go to sleep at night that's the only thing I'm dreamin' of."  Hint:  Sung by a group known for their zany tunes, title uses another term for the animal mentioned in the lyrics.

Last night, just after drifting into early sleep, a series of thunder claps jolted the house.  It felt like an earthquake, the percussion was so heavy.  We could hear it move south, like a monster walking across the sky.  After we calmed down and went to sleep, there was more, and then the rain began.  This morning Rudy told us that BamBam was shaking and he had to hold her.  We had been wondering how she was doing with it all.  Daku slept through it and so did Boot.  What?

There have been several positive reviews of Lisa's exhibit published in Chiang Mai newspapers.  This will likely bring more visitors to the gallery and that's a good thing.

With all the activity building up to the opening of the exhibit, we neglected to celebrate our sixth anniversary of moving to Thailand.  A lot has happened since we came here.  We have become part of three communities and have lots of friends.  There is the art community, which has become a big part of our lives, and then there are our Thai friends that we've met through different activities.  We also have expat friends from various countries.  We saw the diversity at our party a few weeks ago.  It feels good to know that even though we are far away from where we spent most of our lives, we are definitely not alone.

Today's photo is from the unfinished 'Temple Spa Complex' (my term) that is on the highway to Chiang Mai.  On one trip, we were imagining what we could do with it.  We'd make it into a crazy tourist attraction similar to the Madonna Inn on the highway in California.  If you know the place then you get the idea.  Everywhere you look there is something a little off-center, a little zany.  We lovingly refer to the spa by that name.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"In matters of style, swim with the current;
in matters of principle,  stand like a rock."
~Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, September 17, 2013



Today was a fairly quiet day at the Big Brown House.  We took Blue to the airport and said goodbye, did essential shopping, visited with our dog friend Jonathan, and decompressed.  I'll tell you about Sunday on the road.

It's so nice when an 'Easy Monday' song is remembered by so many of you.  Here's the one big verse of the song:
"Some day, yeah, we'll get it together and we'll get it all done.  Some day when your head is much lighter.  Some day, yeah, we'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun.  Some day when the world is much brighter.  __ __ __ Things are gonna be easier..."  Hint:  Five kids learned their steps and performed this song about hope.   

Sunday morning we were determined to have a nice breakfast, which meant checking out of the hotel first and then looking for food.  The exit road from the hotel put us on the road to the main highway and the only thing we saw was McDonald's.  Just as we decided to stop, the rain started.  We managed to put together an edible meal and had fun considering the menu options.  There is a straight road out of town before the first mountain pass, and that's when the rain hit hard.  Fortunately, we didn't have any serious downpours once we left the flat land.  We did encounter our share of over-anxious drivers, but that's to be expected I guess.  

At the half-way point we stopped at a large hot springs area that has become a tourist shopping bazaar.  Next to the shopping there is a huge complex that looks a lot like a Cambodian temple.  It was to be a spa over some hot springs, but the developer ran out of money so now it just sits.  We took photos (I'll share later), continued our journey, and we actually got home in record time.  

Dinner at the Night Bazaar was interesting.  We were telling Blue about the time we had to move our table when a big rain hit, and then a big rain hit.  There was no wind so it wasn't so bad for us, but the vendors were scrambling to cover their merchandise.  From the upstairs restaurant we had a view of the whole scene.  We could tell that they had done this many times.  When the rain slowed to a sprinkle, some carried on like nothing had happened.  Just another night at the bazaar.   

Today's photo is from the exhibit on Saturday.  The ribbon cutting was performed by Ajarn Vithi, a former Assistant Dean at the Chiang Mai University Fine Arts Department, assisted by Lisa, with Tawee Donchai (The Sold Project) and Mrs. Wantip (the Gallery owner) looking on.

The house seems quiet right now.  It gets like this when a guest leaves.  The energy changes.  The dogs haven't checked on the guest room yet, but I think they already know that Blue is gone.  They understand that suitcases mean someone is going.  Hmm.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go;
they merely determine where you start."
~Nido Qubein

Monday, September 16, 2013



Life in Chiang Rai is returning to normal after our adventurous weekend in Chiang Mai.  The art exhibit was a success and it's good to be home.

The 'Old School Friday' song was "You Send Me" by Sam Cooke.  Time for 'Easy Monday' and a song of comfort.
"__ __ __, things are gonna get easier.  __ __ __ things'll get brighter. (repeat)"  Hint:  Recorded by a family group from Chicago.  Two of the tree dashes are not really words.

Saturday we went to Whole Foods Restaurant for lunch.  It's a beautiful wooden building based on a Thai house.  We had a wonderful dining experience there and will probably return.  We weren't due at 116 Gallery until late afternoon so it gave us a chance to relax and prep for the big evening.

As we rode up to the gallery we saw the big banner hanging from the front and side of the building.  Inside, things were almost ready.  We were very early, so it meant having to wait nervously for guests to arrive.  Before we knew it, there was a small crowd waiting for things to begin.  About 50-60 people gathered around to hear short talks from Lisa, and the 'ribbon-cutter', a former Dean of the Art department at Chiang Mai University.  He had been given a tour of the exhibit before hand and spoke of the 'explosion of creativity' in Lisa's work.  Our friend Tawee, Thai director of the Sold Project spoke about their work, and then it was time to open the show.  Two young women in traditional Thai attire held the 'ribbon' made up of satin and flowers.  After the ribbon was cut, they led the audience around the gallery and then performed a traditional Thai dance.  The room was full of press, noted artists, and art lovers.  A few hours later three pieces had been sold, Lisa had given a demonstration of the cast acrylic print process, and teachers and artists were asking lots of questions.  

When all the wrapping up of the show was complete, Mrs. Wantip, the gallery owner, took us to dinner by the Ping River. We ate at what might be called a 'Thai modern' restaurant that featured a jazz quintet and very good food.  Blue and I  enjoyed watching the group of young musicians who had really done their homework.  When we returned to our hotel we were floating on air.  It was the best opening night ever.  More photos to come.

Tomorrow we will continue with our Sunday adventures.  It is also the day we say goodbye to our dear friend Blue.

Have a Great Week.


"I will love the light for it shows me the way,
yet I will endure the darkness, for it shows me the stars."

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Funnies


We had a beautiful day in Chiang Mai, after rain all last night.  Today was very productive and now we have time to relax.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Baby You're A Rich Man" by The Beatles.  What a shame that most of you don't remember it.
For "Old School Friday" we're going to visit an easy one, but from the middle of the song.  See if you recognize this one:
"At first I thought it was infatuation.  But, oh, it's lasted so long.  Now I find myself wanting to marry you and take you home.  Ohh, __ __ __.  I know __ __ __, __ __ __.  Honest, you do."  Clue:  A smooth voice declaring his love.  No, there is no postage involved (555).

This morning we went to the hotel dining room for the breakfast buffet.  Hmm, not quite what we had in mind.  We nibbled, but it was just not very good and we are sort of removed from any alternatives.  Our hotel is on a bumpy, single lane road that time forgot.  It would be nice if there were restaurants of other things near by, but we'll all alone.  We new this, and we're getting used to it, but it can be inconvenient at times.  

At the gallery we went through the process of placing each piece where it should be hung.  Dominant colors, frame color and size were all a part of the equation when deciding where things would hang.  Also, the placement of the subject in the work sometimes had a bearing.  Hanging a show is more than a notion.  Blue is also an artist and contributed a lot of information we hadn't considered.  When we had it almost done, the owner of the gallery arrived and had ideas as well.  We finally got it done to everyone's satisfaction and went to lunch.  The gallery owner, Mrs. Wantip, has a driver and she had her take us various places.  It was a very nice gesture.

Today's photo is a panorama view of the gallery as we staged the artwork on the floor.  The pieces are still in their bubble-wrap, and still being shuffled around.

After checking the gallery after the crew had actually hung everything, it was time for a massage.  Mrs. Wantip said she knew a good place for a Thai massage.  She booked us for two hours, which we've never done.  When we got to the location, we told the manager we wanted only one hour.  She said OK and we forgot about it.  Then Mrs. Wantip called at just past the one hour mark and said she'd pick us up in another hour.  We'd been hijacked, but it was a great massage and we all feel much better.  

Monday I will tell you all about the evening at 116 Gallery.  Until then, Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.


Thursday, September 12, 2013



Today was a travel day.  I'm writing to you live from the Eurasia Hotel in Chiang Mai.  It's been a day of laughter and silliness.  

Nobody has responded to the 'Zany Day' song.  What?  Here's another chance to delve into the depths of zaniness.
"You keep all your money in a big brown bag inside a zoo.  What a thing to do.  __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ too.  Tuned to a natural E, happy to be that way.  Now that you've found another key, what are you going to play?  __ __ __ __ __, (repeat 2x)"  Hint:  It came from across the pond, on a mysterious tour of sorts, and there is wealth involved.  

When we left Chiang Rai this morning, we were thinking 'express' with maybe a stop half way.  Our first detour came just south of town when we turned off the highway to drive by Wat Ron Khun.  Blue hasn't seen it in two years and a lot has changed.  We also wanted to see the giant Buddha we'd heard about.  It's way off in the distance, and it's huge.

In the middle of the first of two mountain passes there is a place called Charin Garden.  It's easy to miss if you're going fast, but I was determined to stop for pie.  I planned to just get a piece 'to go', but we all ended up eating pie by the river, enjoying the view.  Pie became the joke of the day, bringing lots of laughs.  Today you get two photos: Charin Garden entrance and a view of the river from our table.

When we arrived in Chiang Mai our main objective was to find the Eurasia Hotel.  After several phone calls and drive-bys, we finally found it.  We are staying in little bungalow type houses that are in a garden-like area next to the hotel's main building.  So far, we're liking the place, even though it's a little dated.  We'll head out and get dinner and walk the Night Bazaar and then just hang out.  The car will remain in it's parking place.  We've already been in a taxi and a Tuk-Tuk and I'm fine with that.  The traffic is so 'big' compared to Chiang Rai, plus, I just don't know this place well enough to feel confident about getting around. 

Tomorrow we go to the gallery and 'hang' the exhibit.  Then we're off the clock until Saturday afternoon.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Peace is possible.
Each moment that one individual chooses peace inside,
the whole of humanity moves forward.
We each have the ability and responsibility
to become peacemakers in our daily lives."
~John Morton

Wednesday, September 11, 2013



There was more gorgeous weather in Chiang Rai today.  Sunny and hot (90 F), with those pretty clouds drifting by again.
We ventured out in the morning for a tune-up and lunch at Art Bridge.  The bags are out and it's time to start packing.

This week's 'Easy Monday' song was "Money" by Barrett Strong.  We'll continue with a theme for the 'Zany Day' song.
"How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?  Now that you know who you are, what do you want to be? .... What did you see, when you were there?  Nothing that doesn't show.  __ __ __ __ __ (repeat twice)  Hint:  To solve this mystery, follow the money. (555)  

The first thing on today's agenda was waving goodbye to the three crates of artwork.  The shipping guys were on time and really careful.  We found out later that the work arrived safely in Chiang Mai on time.  Later in the day, some of the blank spaces on our walls were filled with more of Lisa's cast acrylic prints.  Now it feels like home again.

A drive up the Super Highway to MaeFarluang University and the Alternative Clinic was next on our list.  Lisa and I got adjustments from Dr. William, kind of a structural 'tune-up'.  Blue took some photos of the lush hillside and we headed back down toward town.  It was nearing lunch time so we decided to stop at Art Bridge.  There is a student exhibition being installed and there was lots of activity.  After lunch we talked with our friend Yai, a bamboo artist, about the ever-changing world of the Hill Tribes.  He has lived with the Akha and noted that development and education is slowly diluting their culture.  It was a heavy conversation that will be explored at a later date.

At the Healthy Market the fruit lady explained to Lisa that some fruits were going out of season and some coming in strong.  It's nice to know what to expect.  The afternoon's at the market are very different than the mornings.  It's more laid back, almost quiet.  

We capped the day off with a pleasant swim after dinner as the sun was going down.  Today's photo was taken by Blue on his trip to Laos.  The facial features on this Buddha are very different from what we see in Thailand.  Almost as if from a different continent.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"There is no key to happiness. The door is always open."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013



Today was a beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  After a light morning rain we had blue skies with puffy clouds.  Blue went exploring again and the walls are empty in the Big Brown House.

Well, a lot of you remember our 'Easy Monday' song.  Some of you even knew who the original artist was.  Here's more:
"Your love give me such a thrill, but your love don't pay my bills.  I need __ (That's what I want) that's what I want."
Clue:  This is an easy one.  What does it take to buy anything?

This morning we went to Makro to pick up our air cooler.  It had been sent to the factory repair center after it just stopped working.  We were expecting some kind of charge, but there was none.  On the way home we passed the motorcycle 'inspection' stop that has become a permanent fixture on the highway.  They check for helmet, license, insurance and collect the fine on the spot.  We watched with amazement as a guy approached without a helmet, was waved over by the police, but sped up and just kept going.  Hmm.

Blue had good experiences yesterday with his visits to some Hill Tribe villages, so today he decided to go to one of the more remote locations.  Apparently, because of the heavy rains, many of the villagers had left and moved to the Chiang Mai area.  There has been lots of rain there as well, but they can live on higher ground.  He did find a woman whose photo he had taken two years ago and they had a nice visit.  After leaving the village he and his driver spotted a giant statue of Buddha on a hill top.  They found their way to the statue and then discovered a very large reclining Buddha in what seemed like an abandoned jungle area.  Hopefully, we'll see photos of this soon.

This afternoon we packed up the three crates in the living room with Lisa's artwork for the Chiang Mai exhibit.  Tomorrow morning they will be trucked to the gallery in Chiang Mai.  We will hang the show on Friday.  

We went to the Night Bazaar for dinner and shopping.  We hadn't been in over a month and we noticed many changes.  It was clear that some of the vendors are waiting for the rains to stop before setting up shop again.  Others have sophisticated coverings for their stalls that they must assemble and take down every day.  

Today's photo is a 'portrait' of BamBam captured by Blue. 

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Your mind will answer most questions
if you learn to relax and wait for the answer."
~William S. Burroughs

Monday, September 9, 2013



Here in Chiang Rai we had lots of rain, lots of sun, and a great party on Sunday.  Today our elephant arrived.  

The 'Old School Friday' song brought out a lot of different versions of "The Glory of Love", but the one I was humming was by The Velvetones.  If you don't know it, listen to the whole thing here:    Now it's time for 'Easy Monday'.  I think we all know this one:  "The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees.  I need __, that's what I want..."  Hint:  One word that seems to be running things where ever you turn.  

Saturday morning we went to Central Plaza and renewed our retirement visas for another year.  It was the smoothest immigration encounter yet.  Blue and I bought some Thai music and we left before we got carried away.  (555)  Our favorite radio station was having some sort of talent show but we didn't stay.  The sound system was very loud and we had lots of things to do.

While having lunch at Doi Chaang coffee on Sunday we learned that the storm drain project is going to take one year.  Once they reach the river on one side of the street, they will do the other side.  Oh my.  Most of the merchants on the street are feeling a loss of business due to the lack of access.  There is also a problem with dust since most of them are completely open to the street.  There are a few that have closed entries, but the dust still gets in.  I guess next year there will be no worry about flooding, if they can remain open that long.  Hmm, progress.

The party was wonderful.  We set things up to have an indoor affair since it kept looking like rain.  It didn't really rain, but having everyone inside made for a more intimate gathering with lots of conversation between all of the guests.  Some of them knew each other and everyone made new friends.  Connections were made, both social and business and we learned more about some of our friends.  Blue had a chance to meet some of our 'circle of friends' and put faces to some of the names we'd been throwing at him.   We had 20+ in attendance and with lots of food and fun.  After it was over we were very tired.  

Today we went into town to get more bubble wrap for Lisa's artwork.  It was time to start getting things ready for the shipping company on Wednesday.  We now have three crates in the living room and tomorrow we will load them up.  We also had a delivery from Kkun Tawd of one cute little elephant.  Daku checked it out briefly and then ignored it.  BamBam did exactly what we thought she'd do.  She came out barking, crept up sniffing, then ran away barking.  After a few minutes she realized it wasn't moving and left it alone.

                                  Our New Pet

Have a Great Week.


"Educating the mind without 
educating the heart
is no education at all."

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Funnies


The rain is still coming down.  Tiny little breaks hardly let things dry out and then it hits again.  We had a very interesting encounter at a coffee shop today.

The 'Zany Day' song was "The Beat Goes On" by Sonny & Cher.  If you thought that was old, think again.  It's time for 'Old School Friday' and we going way, way back this week.  "You've got to live a little, take a little, and let your poor heart break a little.  That's the story of, that's __ __ __ __."  Hint:  There's a talking part in the middle of the song, and the title has been used for many other songs.  It's by an 'Old School' singing group.

In preparation for the renewal of our visas tomorrow, we went to the bank this morning.  We met a new person who just started working at our branch.  She speaks English and was very helpful.  We hope she stays.  

After a visit to Healthy Market for fruits and veggies we went to Work@Home for bread.  They were out of bread, but Jonathan, our English Retriever friend was hanging out.  Blue had been wanting to see him and they had a little reunion.  Blue took photos and as we sat talking, the owner came back to the shop.  During the course of telling her about the exhibition in Chiang Mai, she mentioned that she likes to draw.  She got some of her 'Happy Diaries' to show us her artwork.  The books are daily drawings of how she would like her life to be, or the things in her life that make her happy.  What a great idea.  Her drawings are simple illustrations, and very charming.  We learned a lot more about her today.

When we got home, Jago's dad Gary was waiting to deliver some chairs for the party.  Daku could hear his voice from the kitchen and got all excited, thinking Jago was at the house for a play-date.  When he finally got outside after Gary had gone, he checked out everywhere he'd been.  When the rain stops long enough for the yard to dry out they will have to get together and play.

Today's photo was taken at Doi Din Dang looking outside from the gift shop.  Ceramics among the trees make for an interesting 'forest'.

We have a busy weekend ahead with a violin concert on Saturday night, and the party on Sunday, not to mention the US Open and the Formula One Grand Prix in Italy.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.          It's time for the 'Funnies'.


Thursday, September 5, 2013



We went exploring today, had lunch with a friend, weathered a storm and dined with more friends, and we got an elephant.  It was a good day.

How cool that so many of you know the 'Zany Day' song.  Here's the last verse just in case you need help remembering:
"Grandmas sit in chairs and reminisce.  Boys keep chasing girls to get a kiss.  The cars keep going faster all the time.  Bums still cry 'Hey buddy, have you got a dime.'  And __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __."  Hint:  The key word in the title is something that one does/keeps with a drum.

This morning we drove north to the frame factory of Khun Tawd.  Blue took lots of photos of the many statues that are scattered around the grounds.  There are relics from castings of temple installations, elephants and dragons.  We saw a little elephant that we liked and Tawd is going to bring it to the party on Sunday.  He's going to paint it white and then Lisa will do something creative with it and it will sit in the front yard.  Tawd also gave us some old plaster faces of Buddha that were sitting among some vines.  Today's photo is of one of the 'masks' that Tawd gave us.

A little farther north, through some lush countryside, we explored the grounds of Doy Din Dang, the ceramics factory/gallery of Khun Somluk.  More photos, a cup of coffee in the quiet, Zen-like atmosphere, and then back to town. 

The storm drain project in the downtown area has moved north, making it difficult to get to Doi Chaang Coffee.  What ever will we do?  We had planned to have lunch there with our friend Andrew.  We ended up eating at Aye's on the main street, in the section where the work is almost done.  He told us that the new giant drain is going all the way to the river.  This is going to take a long time.  I'm already mapping alternate routes in my brain (555).  Lunch was full of conversations about the growth of the city.  Andrew and Blue have a longer history with Thailand than we do and it was interesting to hear them remembering the 'good old days'.  

A major storm flooded the yards during nap time.  The sky relaxed long enough for us to go to dinner at Moomai with our friends Nukoon and Sutheera.  That was a lot of fun since they have known Blue for many years.  We sampled food we'd never had and discussed everything from tennis to airplanes.  Just as we were leaving it started raining again. 
Looks like the rainy season is not over yet.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"First they ignore you, 
then they laugh at you, 
then they fight you, 
then you win."  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013



This was another weather as unusual day in Chiang Rai.  A cloudy, something's coming day that began raining in the late afternoon and kept dripping into the evening.   Blue went exploring during the day and we got supplies for the party.  

Our 'Easy Monday' tune was "I Feel Good" by James Brown.  Ya shoulda known.  The 'Zany Day' song is next.  What is it?
"Charleston was once the rage, uh huh.  History, has turned the page, uh huh.  The mini-skirt's the current thing, uh huh.  Teenybopper is our newborn king, uh huh.  __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __.  Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain.  
La de da de de, la de da de da."  Clue:  Sung by a married couple, about the changing times. 

There was lots of activity this morning at the Big Brown House.  Blue had engaged a taxi to take him to Chiang Kong and point north and he was leaving at 9am.  While we were waiting for the cab, the pool guy arrived.  The dogs were busy checking to see who was coming and going.  

On our visit to Makro we discovered that our air cooler will not be ready until the 20th of this month.  I also noticed that there are new racks in the beverage section, which really completes the 'Costco' look.  Big metal frames now line the aisles where the sodas and waters live.  There are also things one just doesn't want to see while shopping for food, and yet they are dealt with in a very casual manner.  That's all I'll say about that.  

What was to be a simple trip to the art supply store turned out to be an exercise in traffic negotiations.  A portion of Clock Tower street was closed due to the storm drain project.  It meant that traffic in two directions had to circle the clock and go another way.  I got to go around the clock twice because there was no parking.  It was interesting that people seemed more willing to yield in this congestion than they do on a normal driving day.  I guess there was a communal feeling of 'we can all get through this' if we cooperate.  It was nice.  Our last stop of the morning was the Talat, for treats.  We ended up going off the main aisles, into the maze to look at light weight shirts.  We were successful on all counts and left with shirts and treats.  

Tonight we went to the big farewell party for our friend Marc, the manager of The Legend.  We saw lots of people we know and it was fun.  We introduced Blue to some of our friends of interest and listened to a few speeches.  They were still going strong when we left.  

Today's photo is another installation at Art Bridge by the artist who carves wood.  This scene of village life comes alive with the drop of a coin.  I am still baffled and amazed as to how he does these.  

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Be quick to listen and slow to speak."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013



Our predictable weather segment is over and now we're in crazy mode.  We started off with a nice cool morning, it got warm and sunny, then warm and cloudy and by afternoon we had a little storm.  This evening we have big lightning, thunder and maybe more rain.  None of this was predicted.  One just has to stay ready.

I think I've figured out what an easy song is, finally.  I feel good about the responses that have been coming in lately.  Keep it up (555).  Here's more of this week's 'Easy Monday' tune:  "...And when I hold you in my arms, I know that I can do no wrong.  And when I hold you in my arms, my love won't do you no harm, and I feel nice, like sugar and spice..."  Hint:  I have given you the title in this message.  No more hints.

We stayed at home all day.  The only list we had was my list of light bulbs to change.  We are having a party on Sunday so a lot of thought went into that (555).  Lisa worked on her last piece for the exhibit and the invitations arrived from Chiang Mai.  

Yesterday, when we stopped by to see Watch Guy, we mentioned the US Open, knowing he's a big tennis fan.  He told us his 'favorite cheer' lost.  He was smiling, but he was sorry she lost.  We just loved the expression.  

One of the fun things about hanging out with Blue is what we call 'Stories from the Road'.  At dinner we heard a few from the late '70s and one from the early '90s.   I still contend that it would make a great book, but then I don't have to write it.  

This evening we went into town with the intention of going to the Night Bazaar.  We stopped at NorThai for a quick tour and as we left, a light rain began to fall.  Not the sort of thing that vendors or shoppers enjoy.  On a clear night we will go again.  On our way home the Clock Tower light show was just starting.  The pretty lights are always nice.

Blue and the dogs are finding their respective grooves.  BamBam knows she can get lots of petting if she puts her head under his hand, as a hint.  Daku circles Blue and then, with some coaxing, sits and behaves.  Both dogs frequently head down the hall to the guest room to see if he's around.   Today's photo shows both of them on their best behavior after dinner.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"The most important single ingredient in the formula of
success is knowing how to get along with people."
~Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, September 2, 2013



Today's message is a little late.  We're just getting back from a dinner party.  Hot days have been framed with cool mornings and evenings.  Perfect for a patio party under partly cloudy skies.  

The 'Old School Friday' song was "All I Have To Do Is Dream" by The Everly Brothers.  Time for some 'Easy Monday'.
"Wo! __ __ __, I knew that I would.  __ __ __, I knew that I would.  So good, so good, I got you (horns play).  Hint:
I really shouldn't, but it's by 'The Hardest Working Man in Show Business', expressing his current state of being.

Saturday morning Blue and I went to Central Plaza.  The last time he was here it was under construction.  We made a 'surface' tour of the place after setting up the 'Guest Phone' with a new SIM card.  The card was about $1.55 plus about $6 which is good for 2 months.  That makes it easy to stay in touch on a brief visit.  

Blue, Lisa and I went to Art Bridge for lunch.  That's always fun for us and Blue had a great time.  The food was good and our time spent in the gallery was the usual adventure.  Every time, I see something I missed or didn't focus on before.  The gift shop was also a hit, and we saw some work of member artists that had been made into framable prints.  

Sunday's big adventure was dinner at Boon Rawd Farm for dinner.  It's about 30 minutes west of town and it's where the Singh Corporation grows tea, barley and rice.  On a hilltop overlooking the 'farm' there is an open-air restaurant with incredible views.  We met our friends Stephan, Claire, Scott and Michele and had dinner and laughter.  There were also some deep conversations as well, but mostly we had fun.  Before dinner we ordered their fried tea leaves.  It's probably not the healthiest thing on the menu, but they were so good it was hard to stop eating them.  Today's photo is one of the views from the hilltop.

This morning we had coffee by the river at Chivit Tamma Da Coffee House.  We were the only customers on the patio and the quiet of the morning was very relaxing.  Blue ordered hot chocolate and it was served with a separate cup of whipped cream, a serving of sugarcane juice, and additional hot water.  Joakim, the owner, told us that lots of young people have been taking photos of Lisa's artwork.  This is cool since it gives her exposure she didn't have before. 

This evening we went to a farewell dinner party for a friend who is leaving Chiang Rai.  He was been the manager of The Legend for six years.  It was a small gathering but we still met someone we didn't know, who has lived here for 12 years.  It was a fun time mixed with lots of stimulating conversation.  There's another party on Wednesday at The Legend, with a larger crowd.  

Have a Great Week.


"Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate
in eternity."