Thursday, October 31, 2013



Coming to you 'live' from downtown Chiang Mai, Thailand.  After a morning of doggie drama, and a routine road trip we are settled in our temporary digs.

A lot of you seem to be in a 'Zany Day' mood based on the responses I got.  They don't make hit songs like they used to (555).  "Well, he came down to earth and he lit in a tree, I said 'Mr. __ __ __, don't eat me.'  I heard him say in a voice so gruff, 'I wouldn't eat you cuz you're so tough.  It was a one-eyed, one-horned flyin' __ __ __...."  Hint:  This verse is very relevant to the whole title.  The thing is hungry and, like before, there's a color involved.

Things were going well this morning until BamBam decided to investigate one of the drain holes in the front yard.  She dropped her ball and it rolled into the hole.  This sent her into a frenzy.  First she was looking at the hole, then at me, and then franticly digging.  Not cool in any way.  We finally had to put her in the pen while I tried to retrieve the ball.  I knew, from past encounters, that I would have to go into the corn field next to us.  I put on my rain boots and carefully made my way down the slope into the muddy field.  Armed with a long bamboo pole I tried to push the ball into our yard.  After many tries with the pole, and a snake (the wire kind) I decided to poke the ball like playing pool.  That did the trick, but after having spent about 30 minutes at this, I was ready to go back to bed.  BamBam was reunited with her ball and play time was over.

By the time we finally got on the road to Chiang Mai, the traffic was light and the road was pretty clear.  There are so many things to see on this stretch of road.  It ranges from vast rice fields to mountain passes covered with jungle, and roadside vendors all selling the same fruit (whatever is in season).  In between the landscapes there are communities that range from small villages to growing towns.  Over the years we have watched some of these towns evolve and it's fascinating.  There is a giant Buddha that we had to stop and photograph.  We don't know anything about it except that it's very big and it looks like it's concrete.

After an hour on the road, we coincidentally arrived at Charin Gardens just in time for lunch.  This is the resort/restaurant that makes every kind of pie you could imagine.  We had lunch and pie.  There were lots of 'visitors' there today; many with Thai guides.  For those who don't want to travel with a large group the answer is to go with your own personal guide.  That way you can spend as much time on whatever you want.  

Our hotel is right on the Night Bazaar 'strip'.  At the front desk we got a nice surprise when they upgraded our room to a 'Junior Suite'.  It will do just fine for two nights.  

Tonight is Halloween for the many expats living in this big city.  In an online newspaper I saw a list of the places doing special things and it was a very long list.  Mostly bars and restaurants having costumed drinking parties.  Hmm.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013



Light rain has been an occasional visitor all day.  We ran errands in the morning and went to the OTOP festival in the afternoon.  Now it's time to pack the bags for a three day trip to Chiang Mai.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Norwegian Wood" by The Beatles.  Congrats to those who knew.  Now it's time for more silliness and the 'Zany Day' song.  "Well I saw the thing comin' out of the sky, it had the one long horn, one big eye.  I commenced to shakin' and I said 'ooh-eee'.  It looks like a __ __ to me.  It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin' __ __ __ (repeat)  Sure looks strange to me."  Hint:  There's a color involved and it might be hungry.

This morning we did our shopping circuit, gathering needed supplies.  We hit the whole east side of town, going from Makro to the bank, a pit stop for gas, Big C, cookies and home.  Whew.  While we were at Makro, Lisa was looking at labels and came across this winner that is today's photo.

There was a nice break in the rain so we decided to run over to the fair grounds and visit the OTOP gathering.  In case you don't know, OTOP stands for 'One Tambon (District) One Product'.  It's a chance for areas in Thailand that produce specialty products to get featured in a focused manner.  This one was a small one, but there were some nice things this time.  Lots of fried food, sugar desserts, natural remedies, and clothes.  We saw some interesting woodwork, and a few vendors had some unique bags.  I spotted the small stage where all the thumping comes from.  It was mildly comforting to notice that the speakers are pointed away from our house.  Hmm, just imagining if they were aimed the other way.  (555)  There is a new small shanty town village under the Pink Bridge, right next to the park where the festival is happening.  I think it's worth another trip for photos.  Lots of corrugated tin shacks built close together.  

I picked up Cat from the school bus stop since it was raining quite hard.  When I asked about her day she told me she studied all day.  Well, that happens at school.  The school she attends seems to rotate the subject of focus so each day is different.  I remember having six classes every day and they were the same ones all week.  Today she studied six or seven subjects and tomorrow it will be a different set.  Hmm, intense.

Our trip to Chiang Mai was initially booked to be for the dismantling of Lisa's art exhibit, but the gallery would like to extend it for 10 more days.  We'll take the opportunity to do a little holiday shopping, visit with friends, and check out other possible venues for exhibits.  

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
~Martin Luther King Jr

Tuesday, October 29, 2013



Cooler temps for most of the day are a welcome thing right now.  Errands were run, the dogs had a doggie play-date, and a house guest left this evening.  It's been a full day. 

Just because 'Easy Monday' is easy doesn't mean you don't have to tell me something.  (555)  If you know, tell me.
"She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.  I told her I didn't and crawled off to sleep in the bath.  And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown.  So I lit a fire, isn't it good, __ __."  Hint:  It's another from an LP that goes round and round, by them boys from across the pond.

This morning, we had our usual dog play.  In the photo below I'm teasing Daku, trying to get him to run.  It has become a game that we seem to understand.

There is a new edition of the OTOP Festival across the river.  We were going to check it out tomorrow.  I can't tell if it's a big one or a small one, but they do have live music so it's probably a big one.  The difference is in the quantity and quality of products that the vendors bring.  Some of the districts bring things that are produced by locals in that area.  Others bring packaged goods that they are distributing, which is a very different thing.   

The big event of the day was an afternoon play-date with Jago.  Gary and Jago arrived around 4pm and when I told Daku that his friend was here he put his paws on the counter by the window (a real no no) to look out.  He and Jago  had one of their joyful meetings, did their little happy dance and began tearing around the yard.  BamBam was still inside, having a fit, wanting to be out there.  We know that she needs a little time to settle down, so she doesn't attack Jago.  Once we let her out, she became the object of his affection.  He wanted her to play with him but she just ignored him.  It went like that for the whole time.  All three dogs ran a lot and had a good time.  There will be running dreams tonight.

This evening we said goodbye to our friend Alan.  He is flying back to the US after living here for almost 2 years.  He came to our house after a sad breakup and spent a few days before his flight.  We had conversations about learning to live here in Thailand, and making the transition back to the other side of the world, and taking care of oneself.  He and the dogs got along great, and we got the benefit of his 'Healing Touch' physical therapy.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge
and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you,
you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."

Monday, October 28, 2013



The weekend in Chiang Rai was rather mellow.  There were a few parades, lots of chanting, lots of music, tennis and racing cars.  Oh, and the rain paid us a visit or two.

The 'Old School Friday' song was "Earth Angel" by The Penguins.  That was a long time ago.  'Easy Monday' should be a snap:  "I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.  She showed me her room, isn't it good, __ __?"  Hint:
There is furniture involved.

Saturday morning as I was taking Cat to school we encountered heavy traffic on Clock Tower street.  Looking ahead, I could see flags and that was our first clue that a parade was being staged.  The left lane was free so I decided on an alternate route.  As we got close to the corner I realized we were behind a long line of Toyota Yaris cars and that the flags all said 'Toyota'.  We were in a car parade, which is pretty 'old school' if you think about it.  We laughed about that and moved across town without problems.

Early Sunday morning there was chanting from the village temple.  Then there was music, more chanting, a sermon, and more music.  It was very nice, just a bit long.  Not long after the services were over, which was after lunch, local Thai rock-style music began from the school.  It lasted all day and into the evening.  We mostly heard the bass drum, which played the same pattern for almost every song.  Oh my.  Mid-morning we drove out to Khun Gahn's house to pick up some shirts she was making for me.  We haven't seen her in a long time, since she's been working on the family's pineapple farm.  As we got near her street we could see a little parade staging by the side of the road.  On our return the little band of children had assembled and it was too cute to pass up.  Today's photo is the local 'Melodica and Drum Corps'. 

There is always something brewing with government agencies in most countries.  Thailand is no exception.  There is a plan to put all elephant operators under the control of an agency that would examine, register, and oversee how all of the elephants are treated.  The elephant operators have threatened to bring hundreds of their animals to the Bangkok area and block traffic and confront the government house.  This boggles the mind just thinking about it.  Hopefully, it will not come to that.  At least for the sake of the elephants, who don't need to be subjected to that kind of 'city shock'.

Today Cat went to school and we hung around the house all day.  Her English homework is to translate a passage from English to Thai.  Guess we will be of no help on this one.

Have a Great Week.


"Change and growth take place when
a person has risked himself and dares to
become involved with experimenting with his own life."
~Herbert Otto

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Funnies


We actually had a day without rain.  The yard got groomed, new things were planted, we went on a little road trip in the morning, and Thailand mourns the loss of The Supreme Patriarch.  

The 'Zany Day' song was "Monster Mash" as you know.  It was done by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett.  'Old School Friday' is next, with a truly old song that will bring back memories for some.  For others, just some simple lyrics.
"__ __, __ __ will you be mine?  My darling dear, love you all the time.  I'm just a fool, a fool in love with you."  Hint:  This song is about an extraterrestrial being that is the object of the singers desire.  Hmm.

This morning the yard crew arrived and after giving Khun Pim instructions on what we wanted done, we began the adventures of the day.  Our first stop was Overbrook Hospital to get flu shots.  Our good friend nurse Pay helped expedite the details of getting the medicine.  While we waited, we saw our friends Nu and Nan.  She was our first dentist when we got here, but her specialty is orthodontics and now she has her own clinic.  Nu is part of 'The Family' that looked out for us in the beginning.  We talked about their daughter, Poon Poon, who is learning to read English at age 2.  After our shots it was time to hit the road.

Before getting on the highway we stopped for cookies.  They were to be our payment for services at the Alternative Clinic at Mae Fah Luang University Hospital.  This is the arrangement Dr. William has with the staff.  He doesn't charge for chiropractic adjustments, the staff gets treats.  As we walked into the building, we stopped to enjoy the hillside behind the campus.

Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara Suvadduhana Mahathera, the Supreme Patriarch of Thai Buddhism died at 100 years old.  There will be a 30 day mourning period with various ceremonies and tributes throughout The Kingdom.  One of the ceremonies will be seven days of chanting by 1,199 monks.  It will be interesting to see what events take place in Chiang Rai. 

This morning I had one of those 'trivial revelations' that just shows up when you least expect it.  The two main items that are moved about the city on a daily basis are fire and ice.  Fire in the form of metal containers of compressed gas for cooking, and ice to keep food fresh.  Everybody that cooks on a stove uses a canister of gas to supply the flame.  Small shops, restaurants and portable kitchens all use ice to keep food from spoiling.  It's amazing to see the number of motorbikes moving around town with their sidecars filled with either gas cans or ice.

Even though tomorrow is Saturday here, Cat will go to school and study with her friends for most of the day.  They will tackle things like biology, physics, math, and chemistry.  

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


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Let Go


Chiang Rai had a combination of cloudy, sunny, stormy today.  We went through it all without getting wet.

Looks like quite a few of you are getting in the spirit of things.  At least you remembered this 'Zany Day' gem.
"Out of his coffin, Drac's voice did ring, seems he was troubled by just one thing.  He opened the lid and shook his fist and said, 'Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?'"  It's now the mash,  it's now the __ __.  The __ __, and it's a graveyard smash..."  Clue:  I think you get the picture here.  Yesterday my 'blanks' were a little off, but it didn't stop you from knowing the song.    

Today our timing was perfect with regards to the water from the sky.  There was another major downpour right after lunch.  No problem for us since we're usually at home during that time.  We are beginning to get a sense of whether it's going to rain.  Lisa called it today, alerting Boot to take a raincoat when she went to lunch.  

The yard crew is coming tomorrow if it's not raining.  OK, that could be interesting.  It can look like a beautiful morning and turn into a stormy afternoon.  In the past, when it has rained while they were working, they'd just sit it out until the rain stopped.  There are a series of weather fronts coming from China and we are directly in the path.  At least they mostly dissipate by the time they reach us.

Last evening we kept hearing fireworks.  Actually, they were big loud 'booms'.  Lisa did some research and found out it was the birthday of King Chulalongkorn, also known as Rama 5.  He reigned from 1868 to 1910 and became known as 'The Great Beloved King' for his many reforms and changes in The Kingdom.  He was the King who essentially ended the practice of feudal slavery in Thailand.  There is a lot of interesting information on the internet.  From the sound of things outside, some are still celebrating.

This year the date for the annual Chiang Rai Flower Show will begin on December 20, which means we will get to go.  It usually takes place while we are on our Winter Visit to the U.S.  It's quite a spectacular event and you know I'll share it with you.

Cat's first day back to school was a busy one.  Tonight she had homework in English and Math.  Lisa helped her with some of her English.  The difference in languages becomes very obvious when putting sentences together or trying to understand some concepts.  Cat seemed to understand things quickly, but then she has a good tutor.

I recently posted a photo of a lunch truck that has a steady business in Chiang Rai.  There is a new breed of trucks that bring a modern attitude to the whole thing.  They are made from converted VW or Daihatsu vans and are very slick.  Today's photo was taken in Chiang Mai, but now we have a truck like this in Chiang Rai.  You can't stop progress.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013



Today we didn't just get rain, we got a storm.  It was one of the hardest downpours in recent memory.  The afternoon was full of sunshine.  In the evening we saw a light show.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Cherish" by The Association.  Now it's time for a seasonal 'Zany Day' song.  Have fun.
"I was working in the lab late one night, when my eyes beheld a eerie sight.  For my monster on his slab began to rise and suddenly to my surprise he did __ __, he did the __ __, The __ __, it was a graveyard smash..."  Hint:  The doctor's son got his boogie on (555).  This should be easy.

This morning Daku seemed resigned to the fact that he wasn't going out to play.  Both yards were flooded and it kept on coming.  I drove Lisa to a massage appointment and the streets weren't bad, but when I went back after an hour and a half, there was some flooding in a few places.  We are still quite fortunate that things drain pretty quickly at our house, and the city isn't entirely flat.  

Living in another country and being illiterate can have it's advantages as well as being a problem.  I just realized that I don't get as annoyed by the spam text message I get because I don't know what they say.  Just one of those realities that sinks in from time to time.  

By the time we got up from our nap, the sun was shining and the yards were draining.  The uncultivated land behind us was a mud pit, the the little farm looked pretty good.  Needless to say, no one worked out there today.  

Tomorrow Cat starts the second half of her junior year in high school.  She has quite a busy class schedule, with English four days a week.  That means we have to switch from our 'simplified' English to speaking in complete sentences and using 'all the words'.  Oh, the habits one can acquire.  This evening we took Cat downtown to see the Clock Tower light show.  It keeps changing colors for five minutes, while music plays in the background.  Here is a photo as it was glowing in the red zone.

It feels like Wacky Wednesday.


"If I have seen farther than others,
it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants."
~Isaac Newton

Tuesday, October 22, 2013



The rainy season has returned, slightly.  The month of October always has some rain days, but this is getting ridiculous. It would be nice if they were spread out through the month, but it looks like they're all coming back-to-back.  Oh well.

So far, only three people have responded to the 'Easy Monday' song.  The next verse begins with a word that sounds like the title.  There, I said too much.  "Perish is the word that more than applies to the hope in my heart each time I realize, that I am not gonna be the one to share your dreams, that I am not gonna be the one to share your schemes, that I am not gonna be the one to share what seems to be the life that you could __ as much as I do yours..."  Hint:  You've had your ration of hints on this one (555).

This morning we took the dogs out after the rain stopped.  Daku was in good form and concentrated on getting his ball.  BamBam has this thing she does that I find interesting.  If a horn honks out on the street, she runs to the gate, like someone is here to see her.  Hasn't happened yet, but she keeps hoping.  The grass is at a length that the dogs seem to think is too long and it's their job to chop it down.  Sometimes they lose focus, but then, they are dogs after all.

The grass isn't the only thing that likes to grow fast with all the rain.  The banana trees also like it.  Today's photo is the 'original' banana tree.  You can see that it is now much taller than me and will probably consume the skyline in about a year.  

This afternoon we had a visit from our friend Alan.  We had a long talk about life in Thailand and quest for happiness.  Hmm, sounds like a universal topic.  He lives east of the city so we plan to take him on a tour of Chiang Rai so he can get to know the landmarks and places to go.  That should be fun.

Cat returned from her sister's today.  We spent some time making adjustments to the 'house laptop' that she will use for her schoolwork.  The main thing was changing the language from English to Thai.  For some strange reason, when the language was changed, certain keys on the keyboard changed function.  Once we figured that out it got better.  Now she can write papers, do Facebook, email, and generally access the outside world.  It is a different time we live in, that's for sure.

With more rain in the forecast, we will be brave and go out into the world and do things.  Yeah, that's what we'll do.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Always remember that you are Unique,
just like everyone else."

Monday, October 21, 2013



When October arrived, the rain stopped.  We thought the 'season' was over, but we couldn't have been more wrong.  This weekend Chiang Rai got a lot of rain.  Some was light and some was those big drops that smack you on the head.  Fortunately, we've learned how to duck.

Only one person knew the 'Old School Friday' tune.  Michael T. wrote and told me it was "Come Go With Me" by The Del Vikings.  Now you know.  Time for an 'Easy Monday' song, one that won't tax your brain.  This song is by a six-man vocal group that brought a choral sense to pop music in the '60s.  "__ is the word I use to describe, all the feelings that I have hiding here for you inside.  You don't know how many times I've wished that I had told you.  You don't know how many times I've wished that I could hold you.  You don't know how many times I've wished that I could mold you into someone who could __ me as much as I __ you."  Hint:  Oh, come on now, you know this.  

Saturday was cloudy and threatened to rain for most of the day.  We ran errands in the morning.  After lunch I took Cat to the Talat, to a spot that serves as the central depot for Song Taews (pick-up truck taxis).  She went to spent the weekend at her sister's.  We had rain in the afternoon and, like so many other Saturdays, it seemed to stop when it was time for Walking Street.

This year we missed the Vegetarian Festival.  We knew it was going on, but didn't go anywhere that was seriously celebrating.  There was an alternative menu at S&P Restaurant in Central Plaza and I have no idea what they were serving.  The next big event will be Loy Kratong in November.  Now that's a holiday.

Sunday evening, on our way to Art Bridge for dinner, we stopped at 9 Art Gallery to see the current exhibition.  It's a group show with 5 artists.  One of them we are very familiar with and it was nice to see more of his work.  We were the only people in the gallery, which meant we could take our time and talk about the work.  

At Art Bridge we saw a group of artists we know and had the usual warm exchange.  There was a good crowd there for dinner and it's nice to see that the restaurant has established itself as a dinner destination.  As we were leaving, it was apparent that it had been sprinkling while we ate.  Just as we stepped out of the shelter of the building, the 'big drop' rain just seem to come out of nowhere.  It rained hard until we reached Ban Mai, the village next to ours.  When we got to our house it looked like it had barely rained.  Once inside, the rain became heavy and we realized it had followed us home.  (555)

Today's adventures included another trip to the mall, and coffee at the only Starbucks in Chiang Rai.  I suppose that fact will help us remain a small town as opposed to a city.  On our way home we noticed that traffic was backing up on 'our' bridge.  As we got closer we realized there was a procession of monks crossing the bridge and people were slowing to take photos.  We did the same.  After the bridge I stopped to check out the truck they were following.  It was carrying a large golden statue of a monk, probably for installation in a temple north of town.  The bags they carry hold their alms bowls.  

Have a Great Week.


"Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and freedom."
~Victor Frankl

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai had another day of dripping from the sky.  Nothing torrential, just a persistent sprinkle, all day long.  We had morning adventures at Central Plaza and a lazy afternoon.

The 'Zany Day' tune was Maybellene by Chuck Berry.  And now, for an 'Old School Friday' song that goes way back:
"Love, love me darlin', __ __ __ __ __, please don't send me, 'way beyond the sea.  I need you darlin', so __ __ __ __."
Hint:  The backgrounds might be a good hint:  "Dom dom dom dom dom doo bee doobie dom dom dom dom dom...."

This morning Cat's bus returned from Bangkok.  At 7am I drove down to the bus station.  Traffic was very light so it was a breeze.  On the way home we talked about the training she did and she told me that about 100 young people from around Thailand came to the event.  She also said there was a lot of rain in Bangkok.  

Later in the morning Lisa, Cat and I went to Central Plaza.  We got there just before they opened the doors.  It was nice to go into the mall without a lot of people.  While we were shopping in the kitchen area of Robinson, we spotted some LED light bulbs.  There were two kinds, and one was very expensive.  When we asked one of the salesmen, he took it out of the box and dropped it on the counter and it bounced.  We were all amazed, and realized why it cost so much.  We ended up buying the cheaper model.  (555)  We lunched at the mall and while we were eating, a sound check began right outside the restaurant.  There was a concert scheduled for the afternoon and by the sound of things, it was going to be very loud.  After lunch we did the Swensen's thing again and we had sorbet while Cat had a sundae.  She really wanted to  return for the concert since it's a Thai super star, but it was not to be.  Her school starts next week so we picked up some supplies, did some grocery shopping and went home.

This evening I tried to help Cat download a video to her phone, but I don't know much about Android phones and her phone is a small Samsung.  Eventually we'll figure it out.  She wants to put The Sold Project video on her phone so she can watch it without having an internet connection.  Hmm.

We have had our share of elephant adventures here in Thailand.  Today's photo was taken at Anantara Elephant Rescue Camp near the Golden Triangle.  The little guy wanted to come out and play, but the fence was just too frustrating.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Prepare for 'The Funnies'.


Thursday, October 17, 2013



Today it rained.  We had about half a day of steady, medium rain that soaked everything.  That was the big news at The Big Brown House today.  

Just in case you weren't one of the many who remembered this 'Zany Day' song, here's the last verse.  
"The motor cooled down, the heat went down and that's when I heard that highway sound.  A Cadillac a-sittin' like a ton of lead a hundred and ten, a half a mile ahead.  The Cadillac lookin' like it's sittin' still and I caught __ at the top of the hill.  __, why can't you be true? ...."  Hint:  The artist is a true original, the subject of the song has been confused with eye make-up.  Hmm.

When we lived in America we became very fond of hummingbirds.  We had a feeder by our kitchen window and would watch as they came and 'refueled'.  We even got to know some of their personalities.  Living in Thailand, we have no hummingbirds.  They are exclusive to North and South America.  There is a bird, however, that got our attention not long after we moved here.  It is called the Greater Coucal.  When we lived in Gatong Village, in the rental house, we would hear a sound that reminded us of some kind of ape.  We found out that the creature making the eerie, hooting sound was a bird.  They are about the size of a raven, mostly dark brown with deep orange wings.  There are large Rain Trees in the area where we live now, and the Greater Coucals like to perch in the big trees where they can look down and locate prey.  We've been told that they eat insects and snakes.  We often hear them in the corn field next door.  There is no other sound like hearing 5 or 6 of them in a tree, all hooting.  Today's photo is a Greater Coucal in one of our trees by the waterfall.

Things are slowly returning to normal around here.  Rudi is back from his motorcycle touring adventure and tomorrow Cat will return from Bangkok.  We are getting a preview of the winter season as the air has been cooler all day today.  When one sees an abundance of long-sleeved shirts at Big C, and jackets on the racks of roadside vendors, you know what's coming.

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, October 16, 2013



Chiang Rai had another day with a strange looking sky.  It was like rain was a possibility, with a odd color mixed in for good measure.  The forecasts are the usual mix of confusing statements, but they ultimately agree that it's going to rain.  Afternoon winds have also been part of the equation for the last two days, but they bring nothing.  (555)

Our 'Easy Monday' song was "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer.  Here's a 'Zany Day' tune you may remember:
"As I was motivatin' over the hill, I saw __ in a Coupe de Ville.  A Cadillac a-rollin' on the open road, nothin' will outrun my V8 Ford.  The Cadillac doin' 'bout ninety-five.  She's bumper to bumper rollin' side by side.  __, why can't you be true?  Oh __, why can't you be true?  You've started back doin' the things  you used to do.  Hint:  Title is a woman's name, and she seems to have a need for speed.

Cool mornings are perfect for doggie play.  Even though Daku sometimes has a wandering attention span, he was fairly active today.  The grass is at a chewable length so he and BamBam take 'breaks' to do a little grazing.  Today's photo shows the dogs taking a 'moment' at the same time.

It had been a couple of weeks since we'd been to Makro.  This morning's shopping trip was a restocking adventure.  One of the interesting things we noticed was the lower prices for chicken.  Usually, when the price of something goes up, it doesn't come down.  Whatever the reason, it was a welcome reduction.  There didn't seem to be any shortages on the shelves so that means the roads from Bangkok are clear and goods are moving our way.

There has been rain in Bangkok and one of our friends posted some photos of rising water.  It's not at a dangerous level, but it's not draining.  So odd that we're hoping for a little rain to water things, and other parts of the country are hoping for clearing skies.  

The Sold Project is celebrating 5 years with a new, updated video about the history and success of their work with at-risk children here in the Chiang Rai area.  This project is very dear to us, as you know, so click on the link and learn more.

This evening we completed the last of our travel arrangements for our Winter visit to the U.S.  It won't happen until December, but we've learned that the earlier the better when it comes to travel plans.  

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Let us not look back in anger,
nor forward in fear,
but around us in awareness."
~James Thurber

Tuesday, October 15, 2013



Under a strange, hazy sky we went on a road trip to immigration.  It was nice to get out and enjoy the countryside.

A lot of you were quick with a response to the 'Easy Monday' song.  Nothing like a really easy song to start the week.
"You see the signs, but you can't read.  You're runnin' at a different speed.  Your heart beats in double time, another kiss and you'll be mine, a one track mind.  You can't be saved, oblivion is all you crave, if there's some left for you, you don't mind if you do... You know you're gonna have to face it, you're __ __ __."  Clue:  Powerless over Cupid.

Normally, we would have done our '90 day check in' at Central Plaza, when immigration brings the show to town.  The first Saturday of this month we were in bed so we missed it.  Today we drove up to Mae Sai, which is the border town with Burma.  The drive took just under one hour.  Mid-morning travel on the highway is uneventful, except for the police checkpoints.  They don't stop us, but it slows everything down for a few minutes.  The countryside is lush from the rainy season and the foothills seemed magical as they loomed up from the flat rice field foreground.  As soon as we walked into the immigration office we saw our friends Scott and Michele.  It's always nice to see familiar faces; it helps break the ice.  This was the first time we had been to the office in Mae Sai in a long time.  They have streamlined a few things and our check in only required presenting our passports.  No more filling out forms with copies of this and that.  We were there for less than 30 minutes.  

Yesterday morning we were to have a visit from whoever is buying property next to us.  It was a big mystery as to what it was all about.  Our friends Chalit and Amber came over to help with translation and for Chalit to 'witness' the property line numbers.  We waited for 45 minutes and no one showed.  Chalit called a number on the letter and a man, I guess the real estate man, said he was on the lot behind us and we should come to him.  Reluctantly, we drove to him and then met the parties involved.  A large plot of land directly behind us is being bought by the sister of the farmer.  She plans to sell small parcels for little houses.  This sounds familiar, and the other lot where they tried this is still vacant.  Of course, that's fine with us, but even if they build it won't be a problem.  We plan to put up some very tall plants in the meantime, to start our 'green wall'.  Today's photo shows the rear of our property from the farm behind us and the land that's being bought.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


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

Monday, October 14, 2013



The weekend was a busy time for us.  An overdue carwash, a birthday celebration, tennis from Shanghai and Formula One from Japan kept us pretty busy.

'Old School Friday' was "Everyday People" by Sly & The Family Stone.  Time for some 'Easy Monday' that you know:
"Your lights are on, but you're not home.  Your mind is not your own.  Your heart sweats, your body shakes, another kiss is what it takes... Whoa, you like to think that you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah.  It's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough.  You know you're gonna have to face it, you're __ __ __."  Hint:  Somebody needs a rehab, if there is one.

Saturday we went into town on a mission:  Get the car washed.  We spent half of our waiting time at Work@Home Bakery.  While we were hanging out, the owners came zipping home on their vintage Vespa custom.  They live behind the bakery/coffee shop.  After letting their dog Jonathan out, the three of them came in and we had a nice visit.  The second half of our wait was spent at Doi Chaang Coffee, a few doors to the south.  We browsed through the Thursday edition of the Bangkok Post, which was still full of new for us.  In the end, we drove away with a shiny, clean black car that looked like new.  

In the evening, we hung out with Cat after dinner.  Not long after she went to her room, Lisa saw a post from a friend wishing Cat 'Happy Birthday'.  We thought her birthday had passed, but discovered it was actually Saturday.  We went to her room and she confirmed that it was her birthday.  We decided that Sunday we would celebrate her 16th birthday.  Apparently, it's not a big deal here, but 16 to us, is one of those years that has some significance.  

Our Sunday plan was to go to Central Plaza, stroll around seeing the sights and then have lunch at Fuji Japanese Restaurant (her request) and then Swenson's for ice-cream.  When we arrived at the mall there was a giant expo going on.  It was everything about the Lana Stag Beetle.  I had no idea so many people were so interested in these big, black, scary looking bugs but folks of all ages were gathered around booths and displays.  There were lots of bugs sitting on pieces of bamboo, just staring.  They don't seem like they'd make a very playful pet, but people were buying them and taking them home in little plastic cages.  Normally, they are kept on a small log or bamboo stick, with a small string tied to the bug.  We didn't spend too much time on this, although I did investigate while Lisa and Cat were shopping.  Below is a photo I took from above one of the tables with displays of mounted insects, and a close-up of a Lana Beetle.  

At Fuji we had fun.  We watched as Cat ordered mass quantities of sushi.  We asked her if she was going to eat it all and she smiled and said 'yes'.  About 20 minutes later, she gave out a big sigh and announced that she was full.  That's when Lisa told her the saying 'Your eyes were bigger than your stomach.'  She laughed at that and we had the remaining food packed up to go.  There was, however, room for ice-cream and that was also fun.  We'd never been in Swenson's, since we can't eat ice-cream, but we had some strawberry sorbet that was too good.  I think we'll be going back.

Sunday evening we took Cat to the bus station for her trip to Bangkok with three of her friends and a staff member from The Sold Project.  They are going to give some training in tree planting to a group of young people.
Have a Great Week.


"Real love begins where nothing is expected in return."
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Funnies


Today we continued to make progress, gaining more strength and doing more stuff around the house.  The dogs are happy about that.  This afternoon we had company and learned a few things.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)."  by The First Edition.  The lead singer was Kenny Rogers.  The rest is history.  Ming wrote that 'apparently' Jimi Hendrix listed this as one of his all time favorite songs.  Hmm.  Now it's time for some 'Old School Friday' and something I'm sure you know:
"Sometimes I'm right, then I can be wrong.  My own beliefs are in my song.  A butcher, a banker, a drummer and then.  Makes no difference what group I'm in.  I am __ __."  Clue:  This was no ordinary family.  

Lately, the mornings have been almost cool.  It's a nice change, even though it doesn't last.  The days are still very warm, even with the afternoon breeze.  The dogs have more energy on the cool mornings so it was good to get out with them today.  Daku was in rare form and BamBam was her usual, running self.  

Rudi left on a 5 day motorcycle ride with his club.  They will ride through some National Parks, scenic valleys, and end up near the border crossing at Laos.  He started telling me where they were going and my mind just fogged over.  It happens every time people assume I have a Thai map in my head.  I guess I just don't have a head for geography, unless it's local travel for survival (555).  

Our friend Sutheera came over late this afternoon.  She brought a document having to do with some property that is being purchased near us.  The buyers want to verify the size of our land, or something.  She also wanted to invite us to a wedding in December.  This led to a long conversation about the nature of such a wedding and just what takes place.  We learned that it's really going to be a party, and that the legal business is handled at an office downtown.  There is no ceremony, just speeches about the bride and groom by someone with a bit of celebrity and a sit-down dinner.  

We considered the idea of having neighbors and worked up a whole presentation about 'The Hood'.  It's all about how peaceful and quiet it is around here.  With the exception of:  The Temple speakers, the Village speakers, the Church PA, the drum corp at the school, the concerts across the river, and the 10 dogs that roam the village barking and howling.  Yep, nice place to build.   Maybe we should hire the mob from our old neighborhood to come over give them an idea of real 'village life'.  Here they are, direct from the archives:

Cat called this evening to say that she'll be returning tomorrow afternoon.  Sunday she leaves again, on a bus trip to Bangkok.  She's a very busy young woman these days.  Not much idle time in her vacation.  

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


Thursday, October 10, 2013



The weather in Chiang Rai is perfect for being outside.  Clear and sunny, but not overwhelmingly hot.  I went into town today and discovered things are doing just fine.  

I'm totally impressed by the number of you who remembered this 'Zany Day' song.  The lead singer went on to become a major Country star.  This one put him on the map, as a member of a group.  "I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then I followed it in.  I watched myself crawlin' out as I was a-crawlin' in, I got up so tight, I couldn't unwind, I saw so much I broke my mind.  I __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __."  Hint:  Yes, it's filed under psychedelic music (555).

There comes a time when one just has to go into the world and get food.  Most of what we needed I could get at the Healthy Market.  Having been away for over a week, and under the weather, the first thing that struck me was the smell.  The combination of chili, cooking meat, raw meat, and certain veggies blended into an aromatic shock.  I have learned to weather the initial shock and push on through when it comes to things like this.  I got all the things on the list and headed for my next stop.  Navigating the streets was pretty easy so far.  Bus station street intersects with Phaholyothin Rd. which is the main street in the central part of downtown.  It changes names after a few blocks, but this is the street that is getting all the attention these days.  I saw boxes of tiles stacked up by the construction, and a worker installing some for a new sidewalk.  Hmm, I wonder if these will be non-slip?  There is no uniformity when it comes to sidewalk surfaces.  

My stop at Work@Home made the morning trip worthwhile.  Lots of service getting the bread and then one of the staff brought me two VIP cards for a chamber concert next month.  While I was reading about the concert, the owner came in with Jonathan, our favorite English Retriever.  We had given them some powder for Jonathan's food that is good for Golden's skin when dealing with hotspots.  She was so happy that it was working and asked me to wait a moment.  She came back with a big box of chocolates she recently got in Japan.  It was cool.

More streets are closed, my further travel will take some deep thought.  I guess it comes down to dealing with change.  

Speaking of change, here's a shot from a shop in the Talat, where the calculator is not welcome.  This guy figures everything on his abacus and he's very fast.  I love the way he built it into a table, right in the front of the shop.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes,
you may have a fresh start any moment you choose,
for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down,
but the staying down."
~Mary Pickford

Wednesday, October 9, 2013



Today was a slow day around the Big Brown House.  Actually, we're just doing what we're supposed to be doing.  Getting rest and building our strength.  Tennis and old movies are a nice side benefit (555).

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Roxanne" by The Police.  See, that was easy.  Our 'Zany Day' song may be a bit of a challenge, but here goes:  "I woke up this mornin' with the sundown shinin' in, I found my mind in a brown paper bag within.  I tripped on a cloud and fell eight miles high, I tore my mind on a jagged sky.  I __ __ __ (__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __)."  Clue:  This very long title is the singer's attempt to check up on himself.  Hmm.  

Another day behind the walls, not going crazy yet, but anxious to get out and see the world and get some needed supplies.  Tomorrow we break out (555).  Tuesday's trip to the mall was just the teaser I needed.  I saw things that need closer inspection.  Like the fact that another stretch of the main downtown north/south thoroughfare has been closed.  Do I need to come up with new alternate routes?  It's been a week since I've seen downtown.  Oh my.

Chiang Mai has been getting a ton of tourists from China since a Chinese movie titled 'Lost in Thailand' was filmed there.  This year looks like northern Thailand will be a major destination partly because we're dry.  Some of the Samlors around town have new upholstery and a few new 'slick' restaurants are opening.  One of the new eateries is not far from us on the road into town.  We think it may be part of a chain called 'The Good View'.  They put a lot of time and money into making it beautiful.  

Cat is staying at her sister's this week during her school vacation.  She calls us every evening to see how we are and to check in.  Her sister lives in a small village outside of town.  When we asked her if she knew everyone who lived there she smiled and said 'yes'.  

There is a bar/guesthouse on Jet Yod Rd. with a very interesting wall.  It was painted by a traveler from a tiny country in Europe.  The place is like wandering back in time, to the late 60s.  

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought."
~Napoleon Hill

Tuesday, October 8, 2013



Beautiful weather prevails in Chiang Rai these days.  We're moving a bit more, feeling a little better.  

Some of you were quick to respond to this 'Easy Monday' tune.  For some of us, the first reference is Eddie Murphy.  If that brings a smile to your face, then you know this song.  It's by a trio of pretend lawmen from across the pond.
"I loved you since I knew you, I wouldn't talk down to you.  I have to tell you just how I feel, I won't share you with another boy... __, you don't have to put on the red light.  __, you don't have to put on the red light..."  Hint:  Easy one.  Extra points if you can tell me the movie in which Mr. Murphy 'sang' part of this song.

Yesterday evening Rudi brought us some tablets designed to deal with our symptoms.  We had amazing results after dinner.  The fevers went down and the aching lessened.  Another dose this morning, and while it didn't make everything all better, it did make life more tolerable.  Fortunately, we have some good distractions to baby-sit us.  Now that the China Open is over, the Shanghai Open is happening.  During the breaks in the matches they play The Beatles, Led Zep, and during the big storm they played The Doors' "Riders on a Storm".  

I managed to get myself together this afternoon and actually leave the house.  I took my computer to Central Plaza and the iService store for my new fans.  I had more energy than I thought I had, and did some light shopping at the market, strolled the main aisle, and then sat in the shop until they were done.  The mall was bustling with traffic since school is out and tourists are starting to come to town.  I had forgotten how absolutely quiet my Macbook Pro had been before the fan problem.  

In water news, it looks like Bangkok and surrounding areas are going to have some of the same problems they had in 2011.  It's the time of year when there is a high tide in the Gulf of Thailand.  There is also an excess of water in the Chao Phraya River, which runs through the city.  The river has no where to go against the tide and the result is flooding. We're just hoping people can be evacuated and prevent more loss of life.  

There is a street in Chiang Rai that we call 'Party street'.  We've never been on this street, but the signage tells the whole story.  Today's photo is a billboard on a truck with ads for various establishments on 'Party street'.  Lots of interesting use and misuse of language, but nobody seems to mind.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Don't believe everything you hear.
There are always three sides to a story,
yours, theirs, and the truth."