Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Last night we had a big storm.  This morning we had what they call 'small rain'.  The rest of the day was cloudy and mild.  A road trip to the country for a 'play date', and new glasses made for a pretty good day.

The 'Zany Day' song was "Rockin' Pnuemonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu" by Huey 'Piano' Smith.  That one was pretty old and a lot of you knew it.  Now it's time for 'Old School Friday'.  This tune has many covers, but it would be special if you told me the original artists.  "__ __ __ __ __ __ __, you decide whatcha gonna do.  Now do you want my love or are we through."  Hint:  It's the first recording by this male duo who also wrote it.  They're giving their 'friend' the choice in the relationship.  Hmm.

Our morning drive into the country took us on a winding road that followed the river.  It was a beautiful ride and the new van handled great.  When we got to our destination, Caty and Kobchai hadn't returned, but the baby sitter knew we were coming and let us in.  Jaiyah was having a bottle, but Taeyo was ready to greet us with a big smile.  It's been months since we've seen the twins and they have really grown.  They are singing, trying to stand up, and basically being too cute for words.

On the way back to town I spotted a hillside with a pineapple crop.  I have seen them before, but always on flat land.  This unique plantation is today's photo.


While we were 'playing' with the twins we got a call that our glasses were ready.  The one thing that really annoys me, besides having to wear them at all, is the adjustment period with new lenses.  Oh well, eventually I'll get used to them.  The technician was very thorough in his demonstration of how to clean them, since they have a special photosensitive coating that tints them in sunlight.  We were getting hungry and his demo went on and on.  Interesting how good service can sometimes become frustrating.  Hmm.

Cat called us from her sister's house, where she's spending the night.  She told us that she did not like the science lab she had today.  It involved dissection and that about says it all.  Tomorrow evening she will go with us to a party at our friend Eddy's.  

In approximately three weeks we will make our Winter Trip to the US.  It would be so cool if we could bring the dogs and our little van (555).  

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

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Yourself

Hi,

Today was a waiting day.  It was a day of patience and frustration and finally, satisfaction.  The van got dirtier with light rain and puddles, and I drove it at night for the first time as we discovered a new (to us) restaurant.

The 'Zany Day' song has some friends out there.  I hope you've had your flu shot 'cause this tune is contagious. 
"I wanna squeeze her but I'm way too low.  I would be runnin' but my feets too slow.  Young man rhythm's got a hold of me too.  I got the __ __ __ __ __ __ __."  Clue:  The original artist's middle name is the instrument he plays.

Our morning adventure involved a trip north on the Super Highway to the Mae Fah Luang clinic to see Dr. William.  When we arrived, the little lot was full so we decided to drive around the north side of the campus, into the hills.  It's a paved road with a view of the campus on one side and lush jungle on the other.  Our next trip into the lot was successful and we went to the clinic for our 'tune-ups'.  Waiting in Thailand, for anything, has to be done with the knowledge that the length of time stated is just a wild guess.  Five minutes means it could be up to fifteen minutes, and so on.  There isn't the same rush as experienced in the west.  A few deep breaths and the confidence that it will happen will keep you calm.  

Lisa's artwork was due back from Chiang Mai last week, but for some reason, it was now going to be delivered today.  The 12n time passed and then it was between 2pm and 3pm.  That gave us a window to go to Central Plaza for some kitchen items.  We got back in plenty of time, but the delivery was not made.  The three boxes of cast acrylic prints finally got to our house at 5:20pm.  

In the midst of the afternoon delivery we got an overhead flyover by five ultralights.  Five of them flew around the area, with their brightly colored sails and loud engines.  We imagined that it would be pretty loud with that on your back.  It's a club of locals who go out for afternoon flights together.  There was a time when that was attractive to me, but now I don't think so.  (555)

We had dinner with our friends Claire and Stephan, who we hadn't seen in two months.  There was a lot of catching up to do while we dined at Le Lum, by the river.  Stephan is a Formula One fan so we had lots to talk about.  There was also a discussion of the need for more English in Chiang Rai and Thailand in general.  With the ASEAN Congress starting in 2015, travel between the 10 nations of the region will bring English speaking workers from countries where it is spoken fluently.  There is the possibility that some locals could lose out.  

Today's photo is from our drive around the campus of Mae Fah Luang University.  It was hard to believe that we were not far away in the mountains.


Tomorrow we drive out to the country to see the twins, who have been in the states with their mom and dad for months.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.  Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, and/or whatever you celebrate.  

            Peace,
                       Danny

"Don't change so people will like you...
Be yourself and the right people
will love the real you."
~Unknown

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style 


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gratitude

Hi,

Well, it almost rained today.  There is still a chance that it could happen, but forecasts are being vague.  Four different workers/crews came to the house today to fix or maintain things.  It was like a circus this morning.

Congrats to all who remembered 'Easy Monday' song "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers.  'Zany Day' is next:
"I wanna jump but I'm afraid I'll fall.  I wanna holler but the joint's too small.  Young man rhythm's got a hold of me too, I got the __ __ __ __ __ __ __."  Clue:  This song is about an affliction that the singer has.  Extra Cool Points if you know the original artist. 

First thing this morning we got a visit from the gate company.  The gate opens and closes by remote control and the little button devices have been 'eating' batteries lately.  Three guys came and serviced the motor, and brought two new remotes that we requested.  Things work fine now, and I got to open the gate with a new remote for my trip to Suzuki.

After about an hour at the 'film shop' across from Suzuki, our windows are dark in the right places.  With such big side windows, it's essential to have some kind of tint.  Having a lighter tint on the windshield made a difference in visibility.  I just realized that I haven't driven anywhere at night yet.  Hmm, time to go cruzin'?

While I was with the van, Lisa was juggling the arrival of the new spray man for the yard, the pool guy for his weekly service, and and air/con crew for the three month tune-up.  Theoretically, there will be few bugs, a clean pool, a cool bedroom, and a gate that works every time.  Remember, it's just a theory.

While sitting at a stop light, we noticed this couple with their rolling kitchen.  What really caught my eye was her jacket.  It reads:  'BMW Sauber F1 Team'.  Maybe they're into Formula One.  Hmm.

<BMW Jacket1.jpg>

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all the others."
~Marcus Tullius Cicero

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Friend

Hi,

The predicted rain never really showed up.  A few wet streets around the village, but nothing to talk about.  We experienced a few 'firsts' today.  Stay tuned for the continuing adventures.

Judging by the emails, the 'Easy Monday' song was really easy and that's a good thing.  These lyrics should remove all doubt:  "Wonder this time where she's gone, wonder if she's gone to stay.  __ __ __ when she's gone and this house just ain't no home anytime she goes away.  And I know (I know x 25)  Hey, I ought to leave the young thing alone, but __ __ __ when she's gone..."  Hint:  Oh really now, you need a hint?

This morning was the first time driving the new van to Makro.  Imagine our surprise when we got the first parking place right by the front door.  Makro doesn't supply bags of any kind, so you either toss things into your vehicle and hope they don't roll around, or you bring shopping bags and keep it all organized.  It was much easier to put our bags in the back of the Ertiga than with the Vios.  On the way home there were tiny drops on the windshield so I turned on the wipers for the first time.  

Recently we made some inquiries about a good dentist.  Boot's boyfriend Rudi suggested his dentist, who practices at Sriburin Hospital, which we'd never visited.  The dentist is from India and speaks English, so communication would be good.  Today was the day of our appointments for teeth cleaning, and we were about to have two 'firsts' in one shot.  The hospital, it turns out, is the 'HiSo' place for medical care in Chiang Rai.  We parked in a large lot and as we got out of the car, an attendant in an electric cart pulled up behind our van.  He was there to take us to the door.  What?  It was love at first ride.  As we reached the main entrance, a young man opened the door and greeted us.  Every chair in every waiting area was a comfortable easy-chair.  Not a plastic chair to be seen.  While Lisa was getting her teeth cleaned I waited in a big chair.  One of the nurses came to me and handed me our hospital ID cards.  We didn't have to go to the registration window at all.  Each department has it's own waiting area and in the main lobby we heard live music being provided by two men, one on violin, the other on electric piano.  The whole atmosphere was like being at Nordstrom's or some other fancy department store.  We will definitely be returning if the need arises.  Even if it doesn't, it's a cool place to go hang out (555).

Tomorrow I take the van back to Suzuki to deal with another 'first'.  Our first rattle.  Oh my.  They also have to redo the window tint since they got it reversed.  The windshield is darker than the side windows.  Not OK.  The adventure continues.

Today's photos are from our trip to the housewarming party in Thoeng.  You will see the house from a distance, and Thai turkeys and geese.  



Have a Happy Tuesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

"A friend is someone who understands your past,
believes in your future, and accepts you
just the way you are."
~Unknown

Monday, November 25, 2013

Deeds

Hi,

We've had wonderful weather over the weekend.  The forecast calls for rain on Tuesday or Wednesday.  The big news, besides me not worrying about the rain, is that we got our new vehicle today.  Yea.

'Old School Friday' was "Betcha By Golly, Wow" by The Delphonics.  'Easy Monday' should be a walk in the park.
"__ __ __ when she's gone.  It's not warm when she's away.  __ __ __ when she's gone, and she's always gone too long, anytime she goes away."  Hint:  I know, I know this is too easy for some of you, that's why it's 'Easy Monday'.

Most of our weekend was spent anticipating today's big event.  When we arrived at Suzuki, our salesman met us with a big smile.  We sat down and waited while they organized all the paperwork.  We were brought coffee, struggled with language, and finally reached the point where we were taken to the garage to see the van.  There were still a few things to do, but it was there, and it was ours.  I still have to find an owners manual in English, and we left the lot with no registration tag in the front window, but it's new and this is not unusual.  There are some cool things about our Ertiga that make it fun.  It has a USB port so I can connect my phone to the stereo and play music from my collection.  I can control the volume and track from the steering wheel, and it tells us how far we can go on the existing fuel.  The first thing I had to do after we left was get gas.  It was on empty.  Eventually, I'm going to have to get a mental picture of how much a liter is compared to a gallon and the difference between a kilometer and a mile.  The tank hold 45 liters, which is a lot more than our little car held.  

This afternoon we introduced the dogs to the Ertiga.  BamBam had no trouble springing up and into the back.  We had folded down the third row seats and she wanted to stay.  Daku couldn't do the same so we're making a ramp for him to use.  They're ready to roll.


Have a Great Week.  I'm off to look at the van again.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

"Great acts are made up of small deeds."
~Lao Tzu

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Funnies

Hi,

It looks as though the rain is gone.  We're into winter, even though we're wearing what most people would call summer clothes.  Mornings and evenings are cool and it could stay like this as far as I'm concerned.  We visited Suzuki again and toured a big new store.

In case you hadn't guessed it, the 'Zany Day' song was "Boogie, Oogie, Oogie" by A Taste of Honey.  Now you know.
"Old School Friday" is next, and I'm sure some of you remember this:  "There's a spark of magic in your eyes.  Candy land appears each time you smile.  Never thought that fairy tales come true, but they come true when I'm near you... And __ __ __, __ you're the one that I've been waiting for forever.  And ever will my love for you keep growin' strong, keep growin' strong."  This group had a style all their own, the title is a series of exclamations.  I'll betcha there's one you still use.

This morning the yard crew came and spent the day doing their thing.  We are slowly changing some of the major plants around the yard.  There are trees that drop 'apples' that Daku likes to eat.  The problem is, they come back up at 4 in the morning.  Another banana baby got planted and an entire flower bed that wasn't working has been cleared so that Lisa can work her magic.  

One of the things I love about Chiang Rai is the ability to go to the gas station, get gas and then walk into 7-11 and pay a utility bill.  If necessary I can even add money to my phone.  We did some of that today on our way to the Suzuki dealership.  They are going to have the windows tinted and we wanted to see what the percentage of tint looked like. We learned that 60% means the percentage of light being allowed.  They had us sit in a little Swift to see what it was like.  So, it's 60% on the windshield and 40% on the rest of the windows.  What a relief to know it's going to be right.

Today was the grand opening of HomePro in Chiang Rai.  This is a major chain throughout Thailand and we've shopped at the one in Chiang Mai many times.  Picture Home Depot without the lumber and garden departments, plus some Bed, Bath and Beyond and you know where we were.  There was a garden section but it was mostly tools and supplies.  Next to it there was a little section with artificial plants.  What?  The place was a madhouse, with crowded aisles, 'presenters' on PAs that were way too loud, but with a very friendly staff.  What's really ironic is that the staff wears orange aprons.  Hmm.  It looks like our little town is attracting the big city merchants.  Maybe now Bangkok will start referring to Chiang Rai as 'Northern Thailand' instead of Chiang Mai.  Can you tell that it bothers me?  (555)

This evening, during dinner, we asked Cat what time her school ended each day.  It depends on the day of the week.  The Song Thaew that brings her home leaves at 5pm, so on days when she finishes early she studies and visits with her friends.  Tomorrow she will go to school for half of the day.  We've also learned that some things at school are paid for by the students, like the science lab sessions.  Education here is not free by any means.  Cat definitely understands this and works very hard.  

For the weekend I will leave you with two photos from our adventure in Thoeng.  The first is the portion of highway that wound through jungle hillsides, and the second is the organic gardens.



Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     Enjoy the 'Funnies'.    Formula One GP in Brazil, the last of the season.

                  Peace,
                            Danny


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Beginner's Mind

Hi,

Our adventures in Thailand have taken us to many places, but today's was something for the books.  

This week's 'Zany Day' song was in the memory banks of a lot of readers.  The song was #1 for three weeks in '78.
"There no time to waste, let's get this show on the road.  Listen to the music and let your body float.  The sooner we begin, the longer we've got the groove.  Listen to the music, and let your body move.  Now git up on the floor cuz we're gonna __ __ __ till you just can't boogie no more..."  Hint:  It's a disco classic by a group with a bee product in their name.  

This morning Lisa made mashed potatoes and gravy to take to the party.  We had the good fortune of being able to follow our friend Gary and his wife on our long journey.  There is a 'thing' we've noticed here about distance.  The most common answer to the question, 'How far'? is 'It's not far.'  The reality is that it's far.  We were told that the drive would be an hour.  Not even close.  Maybe an hour on a fast motorcycle, but not in a car on a two lane road.  The beauty of the countryside cancelled out the time difference.  We drove through flat lands with various crops, a mountain pass surrounded by jungle, and lots of villages and small towns.  Looking at the map on our way home we realized we were almost to the Eastern border with Laos.  Hmm, not far.  

The first thing we saw when we arrived at the home of Tony and Nuna, was their guest houses and the gardens.  They have a large piece of land that's on a hillside.  When we got to their house it was difficult to focus on just one thing.  There were so many interesting features in the yard and inside the house.  They have an organic vegetable garden that has each variety separated by a brick border.  There is a coup with chickens, ducks, and turkeys, plus a tank of catfish.  From the upstairs bedroom we could see the valley and a hillside in the distance.  We met an American from Mar Vista, which is very near where we used to live.  He has a business in The Philippines making toys for birds and other small animals.  During our 'Thanksgiving Dinner' we shared stories and talked about cultures.  The party was going to go on into the night, so we made an early exit after a tour of the gardens.

The main reason we left the party early was to go by Suzuki and see if our new van had arrived.  Our salesman, who speaks some English, wasn't around so we went to the service area.  A young man on the sales staff recognized us and said 'New Rote?', a mix of English and Thai meaning 'New Car'.  He took us to our van so we could walk around, take it all in and get more excited.  They will have the windows tinted, which is a must here, and set up the registration and paper work.  We have to wait until Monday.  Hmm, hope I can hold on that long (555)  

Today's photo is the first in a series taken at Tony and Nuna's in Thoeng.  This is the view from their upstairs balcony.  


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

"In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities, 
but in the expert's there are few."
~Suzuki Roshi, Zen Master

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Word

Hi,

Today started off looking like it would rain, but it never happened.  Two trips into town meant no nap.  Oh my goodness.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones.  For our 'Zany Day' song we're going back to the days of disco.  Put on your dancin' shoes and get down to this one:  "If you're thinkin' you're too cool to boogie, boy oh boy have I got news for you.  Everybody here tonight was boogin'.  Let me tell you, you are no exception to the rule.  Git on up on the floor cuz we're gonna __ __ __ till you just can't boogie no more..."  Clue:  Two of the three words are actually variations of another word.  Hmm, let your mind go and you'll get it.

In the course of our morning travels we went to Central Plaza.  Our first stop was Top's Market where we got two frozen turkey breasts that will fit in our little oven.  This is the first time we have purchased turkey here, mainly because in the past they only offered whole birds and our little oven is too small.  We then went by Boomerang Music in hopes of finding some music by an artist we heard at FarmFest.  Unfortunately the staff has changed and they seem to be more tuned into movies and games than music.  They didn't know who we were talking about.  It's sad, because this shop used to be my source for popular Thai music.  Time to shop for a new, hip music store that knows the current stuff.

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai were the cities in Thailand most visited over Loy Krathong.  That explains a lot of the traffic over the weekend.  It's good for local businesses and may be motivation to go on a mini vacation in the future.  (555)  It also appears that in some areas of the Kingdom, fireworks are becoming a problem.  Due to the density of structures (particularly in Bangkok) and the lack of supervision, there have been fires caused by various flying, burning things.  

Tomorrow we're going on an out-of-town adventure to somewhere we've never been.  We've been invited to a house warming party in Thoeng, which is about an hour's drive from Chiang Rai.  Our friend Gary is taking a turkey and we're following him  (follow the turkey any day).  The couple who own the house also have a guest house with several units.  We've met them at Gary's and it should be an interesting afternoon in the country.  

Cat's sister made Krathongs for us to place in the river.  As you can see, each one is a separate work of art and it was a beautiful expression of gratitude.  


It's time for Wacky Wednesday.

             Peace,
                       Danny

"A bird that you set free may be caught again,
but a word that escapes your lips will not return."
~Jewish Proverb

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Think

Hi,

Today was a rainy day.  It began last night with a very hard downpour and then showers all day.  We didn't leave the house.  It was still a good day.

Congrats to all those who got the 'Easy Monday' song on the first day.  The band's name is from an old blues tune.
"When I'm watchin' my TV and a man comes on and tells me how white my shirts should be, but he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke the same cigarettes as me.  I can't get no...  Hint:  Yo, it's easy.  Not satisfied with that answer?

We left off yesterday with our return to Earth after our balloon ride.  By the time we had landed, the crowd had grown to the point where we were ready to leave.  On our way out we passed one of Cat's friends and her parents.  There were a lot of our friends there but we didn't see them.  As we drove down the road to the main entrance, there was a long line of cars waiting to get into the parking area.  I don't know where they were going to put them, it was crazy.  

As we approached the Pink Bridge on the way to our house we encountered another massive traffic jam.  Cars were double parked and on one side of the road it was an ocean of motorbikes.  Lanterns and fireworks were filling the air.  We sent two lanterns into the air and then watched the sky from the front yard.  Cat commented that the display fireworks were very beautiful but not good for the sky.  Hmm.

There is a small coffee shop at Central Plaza that we frequent because the coffee is good and we can watch the shoppers.  It's called Eliza's and they recently opened a restaurant/coffee shop in town.  Sunday the three of us went there for lunch.  The owner, 'Meet', is very nice and was willing to cook with some sunflower oil we brought her.  We have realized that many places use soy oil, which my system does not tolerate very well.  She will keep the jar of oil so I can have 'clean' meals.  

The plan for Sunday evening was to go to the river and place our Krathongs in the water.  Cat informed us that she had a school friend that wanted to meet her at the fairgrounds.  We weren't up for the crush of the crowd or the noise so her friend, a boy, said he'd come to the house and they would walk to the river.  I don't think they considered it a date, although it seemed like it, but we set a time for her to return and she was cool with it.  When they came back to the house they were laughing and taking pictures of themselves in the driveway.  She was very happy and so were we.  

Monday was another party day across the river and we saw more lanterns in the sky, more fireworks, and more loud firecrackers.  Cat went back with her friend Pawn, and they put Krathongs in the river.  Pawn's father drove them both ways so our minds were at ease. 

Today's photo is from the balloon light show at the Farm Festival.  The blue spotlights were my favorite.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

"Don't believe everything you think."
~Unknown

Monday, November 18, 2013

Interrupt

Hi,

This has been one of the most adventurous weekends in a long time.  It may take a couple of days to tell you, but it's worth the ride.

Last week's 'Old School Friday' song was "Baby I'm Yours" by Barbara Lewis.  'Easy Monday' should be a snap:
"When I'm drivin' in my car and the man comes on the radio, he's tellin' me more and more about some useless information, supposed to drive my imagination.  I can't get no, oh no, no, no.  Hey, hey, hey, that's what I say.  
__ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, 'cause I try and I try and I try and I try..."  Hint:  Life can sometimes be so frustrating.  Hmm, and it's by some of the oldest rockers in the world.

Saturday morning we went about 20 miles outside of town, to The Sold Project Resource Center for the parents meeting.  It looked like the whole village was there.  The scene was very inspiring, seeing whole families there to support their children and the work being done.  I would guess that maybe there were close to 100 people.  We were introduced to three recent college graduates who were supported by Sold.  One is now an English teacher, another works at a hospital with a degree in science.  We left after about hour and returned in the afternoon.  Cat took us up the hill, into the village to see her sister's house.  We met her grandmother on the road and she walked up and hung out with us.  At the house Cat gave us a tour and then we sat on a mat in the yard and enjoyed the view of Doi Chaang (Elephant Mountain) in the distance.  There were two dogs and a bunch of chickens in the yard.  It was absolutely quiet.  I asked Cat how she got to the highway for school when she was living there and she told us she rode her bicycle.  It's almost a mile of bad dirt roads.  The van would pick her up at 6:30am and she'd return at 6:30pm.  Life is different for her today.  

Between our visits to the country we went to the local Suzuki dealership to look at the new (for Thailand) Ertiga.  It's what they call an MPV (multi purpose vehicle).  Basically, it's a small 7 passenger van based on the Suzuki Swift, built in India.  We went for a test drive and today (Monday) we ordered one in black.  

After visiting with Cat's family we went to Boonrawd Farm for the Farm Fesival.  As we approached the property we could see 5 large hot-air balloons in the distance.  Cat decided that she wanted to ride in one.  More on that later.  We sat in line for about an hour before parking.  People were coming from everywhere to attend this event.  It ran for 5 days, but Saturday night was 'the night'.  We got there early enough to walk around and check out our dinner options.  Once we got our food, we had to walk around and find a place to sit and eat.  So many people.  We finally got to eat and then the first band hit the stage.  They performed a very tight set that included some Thai originals as well as some American oldies (James Brown and Earth, Wind & Fire). 

As we moved around the Festival grounds we ended up by the balloons.  It was time for the ride.  We got our tickets and then waited while they did a production number with smoke and colored lights on the balloons.  It was a very cool show that would have looked better sitting down (555).  Once they started 'flying' the balloons the line moved at a good pace.  The three of us got to ride in our own basket together.  Inside the basket with the fire operator is a little scary at first, with the giant flame right above your head.  Heat rises so it takes a few extra blasts to start the upward movement.  We must have been 40 to 50 feet in the air, with three ropes holding us in place.  The view was awesome.  

             The view from above Farm Festival

             The three of us returning to Earth

Tomorrow we'll continue the weekend adventures. 

Have a Great Week.

               Peace,
                         Danny

"The person who says it cannot be done
should not interrupt the person doing it."
~Chinese Proverb

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Funnies


Hi,

The rain arrived, parades filled the street, and Loy Krathong began with a bang (many bangs).  We got to experience holiday traffic at its best, and the weekend has just begun.

The 'Zany Day' song this week was "Like A Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan aka Robert Zimmerman.  On to 'Old School Friday, and a Golden Oldie from way back.  "__ __ __, and I'll be yours until the stars fall from the sky.  Yours until the rivers all run dry.  In other words, until I die.  __ __ __, and I'll be yours until the sun no longer shines.  Yours until the poets run out of rhyme.  In other words, until the end of time... __ __ __."  Hint: In another hit she greeted a stranger.

Last night we had a major rain storm.  Daku and I slept through thunder, lightning and rain.  This morning there was no sign of flooding in the yard and it all looked fresh and clean.  

This morning we were doing some errands on the main drag where the storm drain work is being done.  The pavement is complete, some of the new sidewalks are in place and we heard from Watch Guy that tomorrow it will be open to traffic again.  There is still work to be done, but at least we can cross off a major detour.  The merchants will be happy since they have suffered for three months so far.

We had lunch at the house with our good friend Pat (Atom) who is going to Japan in January to study Japanese.  It's a pretty brave thing to go to a city like Tokyo by yourself for three months.  

Daku has been a little 'depressed' lately since he has to wear 'the cone' to keep him from licking his elbow.  We're treating a hot spot and I think he understands.  He's also having a hard time this year with the fireworks.  It's the first time he's reacted to them.  He paces nervously and stays very close to us.

This afternoon I got a call from Cat telling me that school ended early and she needed a ride.  She also told me that the traffic in front of her school was very busy because of the Loy Krathong event in the park nearby.  When I left to get her I ran into a major grid-lock at one point due to detours from the parade route.  On the way, I picked up Lisa, who had been out with a friend.  We managed to pick up Cat and made our way home.

The photos for today are of a truck filled with a drum group getting ready to unload their gear, and the stage that was set up in the middle of the street for a big event in front of the Chinese Cultural Center.



Tomorrow we're going to the parents meeting at The Sold Project.  We will stay for awhile and then leave since everything is in Thai.  We will return in the afternoon, visit Cat's sister's home in the village, and then go to the Boonrawd FarmFest.  It's the second year for the event that will have food, music and various activities like a balloon ride.  When it gets dark we will send lanterns into the sky.

Saturday will see the celebration of Yi Peng when Khom Loi (Sky Lanterns) are launched into the air.  The festival is a time to make merit.  This festival's timing is so close to Loy Krathong that they have been connected.  On Sunday the actual floating of the Krathongs takes place in rivers all over Thailand.  Small floral arrangements with a base of banana leaves are placed in the river, with a candle, incense, and small coins as a way to make amends to the river.  Originally, it was an offering to the river spirits.  There are giant Krathongs made for contests, many celebrations have beauty contests, and then there is the partying.  Fireworks and food round out the basics.  

Sunday we will go to a party in the evening and then go to the river and place Krathongs in the water.  

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

                  Peace,
                            Danny

Gettin' Funky, Thai Style 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Path

Hi,

This morning we woke up to a light drizzle.  There was a Sold staff meeting at our house while we went looking at cars.  The Festival of Loy Krathong has begun across the river.  

So far, only a few of you remember this week's 'Zany Day' song.  The singer has referred to himself as a poet.
"You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely but you know you only used to get juiced in it.  And nobody has ever taught you how to live out on the street and now you find out you're gonna have to get used to it... To be on your own with no direction home, like a complete unknown, __ __ __ __?"  Clue:  I can just hear The Rolling Stones doing this one.

While we were hoping for a nice soaking, this morning's drizzle was enough to get things in the yard wet.  By the afternoon the sky was looking as blue as ever.  Hmm, there is still a forecast for rain.  

Earlier in the week we volunteered our house as a place for The Sold Project to hold their staff meeting.  They wanted to meet in town and then go to lunch.  We're close to town so the seven staff members had a dynamic meeting around our dining room table.  

We had an interesting time at a used car lot north of the city.  Our goal was to find out if we could find a nice SUV a few years old.  Communicating with non-English speakers about car stuff can be tricky.  Based on what we think we understood when we walked away, it was a pretty good deal.  At another lot they had left the windows open on the vehicle and it was full of mosquitos.  Not so good for sales.  The trip was successful in that we have some starting points.  

Watching American Football I wondered how people used to the metric system relate to all the terms stated as yardage.  Just one of those important things that run through my mind.

Today's photo was taken last night at the Lanna Lantern Festival.  This group of tiny musicians had just started their 'set'.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Giving


Hi,

Chiang Rai had another great weather day today.  Late this afternoon we saw some scattered clouds in places, but still not looking like rain.  We went window shopping in the morning, and helmet shopping in the evening.  Hmm.

The 'Easy Monday' song that you may have known was "Monday Monday" by The Mamas & Papas.  'Zany Day' is next:
"Once upon a time, you dressed so fine, you threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?  People'd call, say, 'Beware doll, you're bound to fall'.  You thought they were all kiddin' you.  You used to laugh about everybody that was hangin' out... How does it feel, how does in feel:  To be without a home, like a complete unknown.  __ __ __ __?"
Clue:  By an artist who doesn't use his real name.  Song makes reference to something that gathers no moss.

A few months ago we took the dogs to a big grassy area by the river.  Transporting both dogs in our little car was crazy.  Normally, they only ride in the car to go to the vet, so it's one at a time.  They need to get out more so we've been considering getting a larger vehicle, one that would give the dogs some space for travel.  It would also be good for transporting Lisa's art.  To that end, after lots of internet research, we went to a few dealers to see what they had to offer.  There are so many things to consider that it numbs the brain.  

Big C was on the agenda this morning and that's always an adventure.  Both Big C and Makro are selling Christmas decorations, which has always been a fascinating thing.  Thailand, in some places, seems to be embracing its emerging 'collection of cultures' in a positive way.  People come here from many places, bringing with them their own ways of doing things and their own belief systems.  Chiang Rai is becoming a melting pot and it's a beautiful thing.

This evening Cat ask us if we could take her to buy a book for school.  The timing was perfect since we were trying to find a time to take her shopping for a motorbike helmet.  She's going to be getting a motorbike ride on 'parent's day'  Saturday and she needs a helmet.  At the huge book store on the highway she found her physics book.  Then it was off to Central Plaza to look for a helmet.

When we arrived in the parking lot at Central, the Lanna Lantern Festival was in full swing.  Actually, a talent show was going on, and all the lanterns were glowing.  Small children were playing piano, singing, playing ukuleles and singing, and there was a drum and flag unit warming up.  We took some photos before going into the mall.  This one shows Cat and Lisa standing in front of some of the 'animal lanterns'.


We never did get the helmet, but we found one that fit.  Tomorrow Lisa and I will go to the big helmet store and get the model and color of choice.  As we were leaving, we heard a little girl singing to a ukulele accompaniment, and it turned out she was doing it all.  We were impressed.  I suspect she'll end up on 'Thailand's Got Talent' someday.

Across the river and all over town, the preparations for the Festival of Loy Kratong are under way.  At the fairgrounds by the river the merry-go-round was set up today, stalls for vendors are popping up, and it's just a matter of time before the thumping of bass drum fills the night.  The locals have already started setting off fireworks on our road.  This does not make Daku very happy at all.  He was very affectionate when we got home this evening and we suspect it was because of the loud noises.  Next time we have to leave in the evening we'll leave the radio on to distract him.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

"Dig deep into the soil of your giving.
No matter what we think we've accomplished,
we have only scratched the surface of our own generosity."
~Mary Manin Morrissey

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hope

Hi,

The sky above Chiang Rai is still not showing any signs of rain.  Maybe it will not appear at all.  

I expected more of you to recognize the 'Easy Monday' song.  There were maternal and paternal units involved.
"__ __, can't trust that day.  __ __, sometimes it just turns out that way.  Oh __ __, you gave no warning of what was to be.  Oh __ __, how could you leave and not take me?"  Hint:  So easy, yesterday has relevance.

Today's big adventure was a trip to Makro.  We almost had to put it off.  At the end of morning dog play, something happened to Daku's right rear foot.  He limped around and then spent time licking his foot.  Upstairs Lisa cleaned and soaked it.  Daku then stayed in one position while we dressed for the vet.  When we were ready to leave he got up and was fine.  On to Makro.

There are some aisles at Makro that we seldom use.  Some contain commercial kitchen supplies, others are stationary and printing supplies.  Today we were looking for clothes hangers and ended up on an 'new' aisle.  We weren't sure we'd find anything and then we saw hangers of every description.  As we moved on to the produce section there was a table filled with 'Baby Mandarin Oranges'.  Tiny little oranges that were almost bite-size.  I shoulda bought some.
The big news in the meat department is the addition of an automatic hand dryer by the customer sink.  Before the dryer, after handling any meat products one would wash the hands and then walk away trying to shake the water off.  Hmm.  Store security doesn't seem to be an issue at most places where we shop.  At Makro though, they have a person who stands at the exit door and examines your receipt and then stamps it.  This makes no sense at all since you have just left the check-out cashier.  What?

When living in the country of your 'first language' it's very easy to use the internet to research almost anything.  Whether it's material for knowledge or shopping for an item.  That is not the case when living in another country.  Many times, I will do a Google search, get a page of results, and then have to look for one that appears to be in English.  Sometimes I can translate the site by clicking a button.  Then it's a matter of trying to understand the translation.  It's a challenge that becomes quite an adventure.  

One of the major 'petrol' station chains has recently posted signs at their entrances to notify customers of the capabilities of their 'facilities'.  Here's the picture that's worth a thousand words:
  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

"In the kingdom of hope there is no winter."
~Russian Proverb

Monday, November 11, 2013

Value

Hi,

I'm happy to report that the typhoon has not affected our weather so far.  It turned northeast when it hit land.  Unfortunately, Vietnam is getting a very heavy tropical storm right now.  

The 'Old School Friday' song was "A Thousand Miles Away" by The Heartbeats.  The answer song was "Daddy's Home" by Shep & The Limelights, which was actually the same group.  Now you know.  'Easy Monday' is easy:
"__ __, so good to me.  __ __, it was all I hoped it would be.  Oh, __ morning, __ morning couldn't guarantee.  That __ evening you would still be here with me."  Hint:  Two word title is actually one word twice.  Hmm.

Sunday we went to dinner with Cat and our friend Rachel, who is the director of The Sold Project and is visiting from the states.  She and Cat have a beautiful relationship and have been friends for 5 years.  Cat was the first scholarship recipient of the project, and the dinner was a little reunion of sorts.  Next Saturday is 'Parent's Day' at the Sold Resource Center and Rachel invited us to attend.  When she told us the whole thing would be in Thai, we said we probably would not attend.  When we were leaving the Night Bazaar Cat told us she really wanted us to come to the meeting, so we told her we would go for awhile.  Then we went to Swensen's for ice-cream.

Today we met with visitors from America who are friends of friends.  They are considering retiring in Thailand and had never been to the North.  We had lunch at Art Bridge where we noticed a menu item we'd never seen before on the potato page:  'Hush Browns'.   After lunch Ed and Perry came to our house.  They had lots of questions about our adventure, and we were happy to share what we have experienced.  We had a lot of fun and now we have new friends.  

Our photo for today was sent to us by our friend Gary.  Jago is probably the coolest looking dog on a motorbike.
 

Have a Great Week.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

"Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value."
~Albert Einstein