Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Funnies


This weekend we may experience some cooler temps, but not because it's cooling off.  We're going to Chiang Mai and it's actually cooler there, which is odd because it's usually warmer.  What?

Congrats to Sandy in the Bay Area for knowing that "Western Movies" by The Olympics was the 'Zany Day' song.  It's been a rough week, tune wise, so here's one you should all know, even if you weren't born when it was released.
"I'm going to __ __, __ __ here I come (repeat).  They got a crazy way of loving there, and I'm gonna get me some."
Clue:  It's real easy.  The title is the name of a place.  

We continue to be delighted by the amazing sights we see as we travel around town.  This morning was no exception.  As we drove across town toward the highway it took a moment to realize what we were seeing.  Today's photo is a man on the back of a motorbike with a giant wok on his head.  Gives a twist to 'Walk on by'.  (555)

When we got to Big C we were pleased that we beat the Friday morning rush.  Our stay was brief, and it was off to Central Plaza for lunch.  I stopped in at the Apple Store for a 'Cloud' consultation.  Modern technology has a way of deciding things for us without asking.  I see a revolution in the future.  A lot of my music was moved to the 'iCloud', which may be fine for some, but each time I want to hear a song, it has to be loaded back into my phone via WiFi.  There are times here, when that is not possible.  The tech explained what I had to do and now I have my music back.  While I'm on the subject, I find it disturbing when I finally get comfortable with a program (app), and then they update it and it looks and acts totally different.  Hmm, anybody else experience this?

Thai money is interesting to me for two reasons.  Each denomination of paper money is a different color.  It makes it easy, once you remember the colors, to know what you're handing someone.  On the other hand, each one is a different size, which can sometimes create a problem when one 'hides' behind another.  Oh, such problems.  (555)

Tomorrow (our Saturday) we have a busy day.  We're going to Chiang Mai for a music festival at The Promenda Mall.  Before we leave town we will take Lisa's artwork to Chivit Tamma Da and install the exhibit.  In Chiang Mai we will have time to look around a bit before the event.  The show is an international line-up of acts covering a wide range of genres.  We checked them out on Youtube and want to hear more.  Sunday we will return to Chiang Rai.  One of the artists that really intrigued us is Iyeoka.  You can see a clip at Youtube:

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Stay tuned for the 'Funnies'.


Thursday, February 27, 2014



Today seemed like a cooler day until we went out with the dogs around 4:30pm and realized it was the same hot as yesterday.  It would appear that air/con can play tricks on the mind (555).

This week's 'Zany Day' song has had one response, but I'm sure you're working overtime to remember this gem.
"I call my baby on the telephone to tell her half my head was gone.  I just got hit by a great big brick, she says, 'thanks for reminding me about that Maverick.  Ah um, my baby love the __ __ ...."  Hint:  What is the genre of all these cowboys his girlfriend is mad about?  Time to saddle up.

I have been doing a little research into some R&B history regarding the first use of strings in a production.  There was one page I thought I'd share with you that I found quite interesting and educational.  It's a time-line that goes way back, but gives not only some musical history, but a reflection on the social times as well.

This morning most of our errands were on Bus Station street.  The cool part about it was that there were parking spaces available.  Sometimes, as in any busy town, there is no place to park and you just have to move on to something else.  There are tons of pet supply stores in Chiang Rai, but we've discovered that some products are only carried by the stores connected to a vet.  One such item is Doggie Toothpaste.  Both of our dogs get their teeth brushed every night, but we can only buy it at a vet's store.   The fruit stand we like is around the corner from the pet store so it was like making a little circuit.  

While driving around today I realized that one of the things I like about Chiang Rai is the mix of old and new.  In Bangkok, for instance, one is not likely to see some of the privative forms of transportation in the main part of town. Here, since we're so close to the 'country' we see everything all mashed together.  Old carts and new cars, bicycles and super-bikes, all sharing the road.  The same holds true with housing and businesses.  With no particular zoning to separate things, you might find a noodle shop next to a house, which is next to an insurance company.  

On our way home we made a point of stopping across from the new 'coffee stand' near our house.  Coffee guy was sitting behind his goods talking on his cell phone.  When he saw me taking his picture he waved.  We'll have to stop one day and have a cup.

This afternoon we bubble-wrapped six of Lisa's cast acrylic prints in preparation for her 'mini exhibit' which begins Saturday morning at Chivit Tamma Da, the coffee house by the river.  It will be up for a month, and will expose a new crowd to her work.  This will be the second such exhibit at the shop.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014



The forecasters have been correct about the weather this week.  It just keeps getting hotter and hotter.  The afternoon winds seem to be over which means less leaves in the yard from the giant teak trees.  Turn on the fan.

Our 'Easy Monday' song was "Stayin' Alive" by The Bee Gees.  The 'Zany Day' song is up next.  It's an oldie.
"To save my soul I can't get a date, baby's got it turned on channel eight.  Now Wyatt Earp and the Big Cheyenne, they're comin' through the TV shootin' up the land.  Ah um, my baby loves __ __ (repeat).  Bam, bam, shoot'em up Pow.  Ah um my baby loves the __ __."  Clue:  The two words describe a genre.  It's by a group named after a sporting event that just concluded.

This morning we drove up the Super Highway to Mae Fah Luang University.  During our conversation with Dr. William he told us that apartments in the area, which is about 15 minutes north of town, are about 1000 Baht a month.  That translates to roughly $30.  I have no idea what they look like, or how small they are, but it did give us a reference as to what apartment living costs are in the Chiang Rai area.  

We had lunch at Art Bridge with our friend Caty and Taeyo, one of her twins.  We hadn't seen the twins in a long time and Taeyo has really grown.  Next month the girls will be one year old.  Lunch and conversation was great, and Taeyo seemed like an old hand at entertaining herself and us.  Today's photo shows her playing with a string-bean.

There is a big difference between the English alphabet and the Thai alphabet.  You can start with the fact that the Thai alphabet over three times as many letters, plus characters for tones.  This makes typing a whole different adventure.  Last night Cat watched Lisa type some text from a book using the 'touch type' method.  Cat couldn't believe how fast she went.  We assured her that with some practice she could type faster than her current pace.  She has never had the opportunity to practice on a regular basis, and now that she's in high school, it's more important than ever.  Homework assignments are submitted to her teachers via the internet.  I guess that's great for teachers since they don't have to decipher some students' handwriting.  Hmm.

Right now there is music coming from somewhere by the river.  All I hear is 'boom boom boom boom', so I really can't appreciate it.  It's going to be an interesting hot season.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Don't ask yourself what the world needs;
ask yourself what makes you come alive.
And then go and do that.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
~Harold Whitman

Tuesday, February 25, 2014



Well, it's hot and there's nothing I can do about it.  It's what I like to call 'two outfit' weather.  There's the warm morning outfit, and the light, cool daytime outfit.  Since we tend to do our 'outside' stuff in the mornings, we usually have the comfort of the air/con during the hottest times of the day.  Whew.

"Well now, I get low and I get high, and if I can't get either, I really try.  Got the wings of heaven on my shoes, I'm a dancin' man and I just can't lose.  You know it's all right.  It's OK.  I'll live to see another day.  We can try to understand The New York Times' effect on man.  Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother, you're __ __, __ __...."  Hint:  Think disco, white suits, and lots of attitude.  It's by three brothers.

This morning we were out and about.  In the course of running errands we discovered more changes in Chiang Rai.  We stopped by a 'new' beauty supply store and looked around.  Then we drove to the corner on the same street where  we thought the bigger supply store was.  The building was gone, nothing but a vacant lot and a giant sign with a phone number.  That 'new' shop was the old one in a new location.  Hmm, that was quick.  After a visit to the veggie/fruit market we got coffee and headed home.  We passed a corner that has been empty for weeks.  Now it has a huge, bright pink sign with a phone number on it.  It seems that land speculation is in full swing around here.  

At the corner of our Soi (street), where it meets the main road, there is a guy who has set up a 'coffee stand' in a vacant lot.  His little business is about 6x4 with signs around it.  Today we passed and he had a customer, sitting on a stool having coffee and a conversation with the vendor.  It's really true that all you need is something to sell and a spot to put it and you're in business.  Simply amazing.  Now our street is official, with a coffee shop on the corner.  (555)

This evening at dinner, Cat was in a chatty mood and told us about her English classes.  She has three different teachers for English.  One teaches spoken English, the second teaches grammar from a book, and the third teaches reading and writing.  I won't pass judgement on this method, but I wonder about the effectiveness of this.  Apparently, the kids who do speak English have taken lessons from private sources.  Hmm.

Tomorrow we're having lunch with Caty and Kobchai, the parents of the twin girls.  We're meeting at Art Bridge for an 'adult' lunch.  (555)  I'm looking forward to hearing tales of the twins and hanging out.  

Today's photo was taken in our yard.  It's one of the larger of the orchids that are blooming these days.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"There is no exercise better for the heart than
reaching down and lifting people up."
~John Andrew Holmes

Monday, February 24, 2014



The new word of the day in Chiang Rai is: HOT.  We still have cool mornings, but the days are very hot.  Tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter.  We know what to do in cases like this: Hide.  

The "Old School Friday" song was "On Broadway", with the first hit of the song recorded by The Drifters.  'Easy Monday' is next, with a song by a family ensemble.  "Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I'm a woman's man; no time to talk.  Music loud and women warm, I've been kicked around since I was born.  And now it's all right.  It's OK.  And you may look the other way.  We can try to understand the New York Time's effect on man.  Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother, you're __ __, __ __.  Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin', and we're __ __, __ __..."  Hint:  This was the opening song in a very successful movie in 1977.

Saturday morning Cat went to Chiang Kong with her family.  They went across the new Friendship bridge into Laos and did some shopping.  That evening she met her friend Fern at Walking Street and then Fern came home with her. This was Cat's first 'sleepover'.  Fern had her brand new graphic stylus for computer art and was anxious to try it out.  The only problem was the instructions.  They were in English, Chinese, and Japanese, but there was nothing in Thai, so I helped her get started.  

Sunday was a fun day.  We went to Central Plaza with Cat and Fern, where we had lunch and looked around.  In the evening we went to the violin/viola concert.  The violinist is from Russia and travels to Thailand a few times a year to give concerts and teach.  The viola player is from Japan and is only 23 years old.  We were treated to some very skillful and complicated musical performances that held our attention for the evening.  We saw lots of friends at the well-attended event, and Cat enjoyed her first classical music concert.  

The dogs got baths today.  Daku was a real trouper, standing still but looking like he was being tortured.  After it was over he tore around the yard doing what we call 'The Crazy Run'.  Dashing back and forth across the lawn, turning sharply, and then suddenly doing a 'lawn dive'.  BamBam can actually run and shake herself at the same time.  Amazing little dog.  It was the perfect day for them to dry off in the warmth of the sun, even though they both rolled around on the grass a lot.  (555)

Today's photo was taken in the gift shop at Art Bridge.  It's a Bamboo-framed mountain bike.  Our artist friend Yai, who works with bamboo, was a consultant on the project.  The company is now selling these.  

Have a Great Week.


"People see only what they are prepared to see."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Funnies


Today was a day like yesterday, but without any adventures.  The pool is slowly getting warmer, about 2 degrees a day.  It won't be long before we're swimming again.

The 'Zany Day' song was "All Shook Up" by Elvis Presley.  'Old School Friday' should be easy for most of you.
"They say the neon lights are bright __ __ (__ __).  They say there's always magic in the air (__ __).  But when you're walkin' down that street, and you ain't had enough to eat. The glitter rubs right off and you're nowhere (__ __)."  Clue:  It's about a street in a big city.  Hmm, we were just there in last week's 'Old School' song.

We have known for a long time that BamBam considered it her job to keep birds out of the yard.  She doesn't want to catch them, she just wants them gone.  What's funny is the way she also wants to protect the airspace above the yard.  A bird can be flying over the yard and she will bark at it and run after it until it's out of sight.  That's what I call a watch dog.  Daku, on the other hand, would rather stalk them and, if possible, catch them.  Living with dogs can be very interesting sometimes.

There is a custom here that when a guest comes to your house, you bring them a glass of water.  A full glass of water.  Whenever Lisa has water with a meal, Boot brings her a full glass of water, which is always more than she wants to drink.  To say that the custom is ingrained in Boot's mind would be an understatement.  And so it is with customs wherever one goes.  People get into the habit of doing a certain thing and it becomes automatic.  We see this manifested in many ways here in Thailand.  I've mentioned it before, but driving customs are vastly different than in the States.  This evening I was reminded of that when a young woman came out of a side street on her motorbike.  The street was on my left and as I approached the street, she came whizzing around the corner without even looking.
The rationale is that if you stay close to the curb, the oncoming traffic won't hit you.  Hmm, most of the time it works out.  The thing is, as a driver from another culture it scares me every time they swoop like that.  Yes, still getting used to some things here.

Today's photo is something I just had to share with you.  There seems to be a new fad around town.  Motorbikes with side-hacks have one or more green bottles hanging from the back.  I guess it's a way of making them more visible in the daytime.  These bottles in the photo are the brightest I've seen yet.  I'd like to know what was in them before they became ornaments. (555)

This Sunday we're going to a concert of classical music for violin and viola.  We're going to take Cat with us since she's never been to anything like this before.  We'll start with dinner at Art Bridge and then get some 'culture'.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   On with the 'Funnies'.


Thursday, February 20, 2014



This morning it was cool, and looked like rain.  By mid-day it was sunny and a little cooler than yesterday.  Cooling was predicted and it looks like they got it right.  Now, if we could just get a little rain.

I see we have a few fans of 'The King' in the house.  In case you can't quite get it, here's the second verse:
"My hands are shaky and my knees are weak, I can't seem to stand on my own two feet.  Who do you thank when you have such luck?  I'm in love, __ __ __ __."  Clue:  It's way beyond trembling.

Today's big adventure was a trip to HomePro.  The main focus was to purchase one of those light bulb changing poles. Our ceilings are very high and whenever a light needs changing I have to bring in the tall ladder, climb the ladder, and change the bulb.  We found the pole and life will be different around here - if it works.  I still have to try it out, but the prospects are good.  Strolling through the store, we saw many things that could have changed our focus.  A walk down the aisles in the hardware department had me thinking that I have to come back and spend more time here. (555)  We did take a moment to sit in front of a 3D TV with the glasses on and marvel at the images.  If everything was in 3D, nothing would get done.  Fascinating.

There was an article today concerning the shortage of water.  Apparently the "Northern Royal Rainmaking Center" is looking into ways of dealing with the problem.  I love the name of this department of government.  In some parts of The Kingdom there is rain.  Rudi just returned from a long motorcycle trip with his club and they encountered heavy rain but it was much farther south of us.  Maybe some of it can drift up here and fill the reservoirs.

In Thailand, when you buy a new car, you get free auto insurance for the first year.  The law requires that the car have insurance so the dealers pay for the first year.  While talking with our insurance guy, he explained that in order to cancel the policies on the vehicles we sold, he would need the original copy of our policies.  One of them cannot be found so he said he will go to the police department and verify that we had insurance, and that the car has been sold.  It's a bit complicated and I'm grateful that he's going to to the leg work.  I can just see myself trying to explain all that to the police.  The adventure continues.

Today's photo is the last of the party by the river last Saturday night.  You will see the lanterns with fireworks, and the moon.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"The best way to find yourself
is to lose yourself 
in the service of others."
~Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, February 19, 2014



Today was a beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  A slight cloud cover muted the sun in the morning, and a gentle breeze kept the temperature down a bit.  As a bonus, we didn't get the afternoon winds.  

Well, the 'Easy Monday' song was "Money" by Barrett Strong.  The time has come for another 'Zany Day' song.
"A-well I bless my soul what's wrong with me?  I'm itching like a man on a fuzzy tree.  My friends say I'm actin' wild as a bug.  I'm in love.  __ __ __ __.  Mm, mm, oh, oh, yeah, yeah.  Hint:  The singer would appear to be shakin' not stirred.  (555)  This should be easy.

We went 'outside' for lunch today.  Many people here refer to anything done away from home as 'outside'.  Art Bridge was our destination for lunch.  We were the only patrons in the restaurant, which meant our meal came fast.  Before lunch we walked through the gallery, afterwards we cruised the gift shop.  

This evening we learned more about how the 'system' at Cat's school works.  Each grade level has 12 classes.  Each of the classes has a specific focus.  Some have an emphasis on language, others on math and science.  These subjects are studied every day, while the rest of the subjects are only studied once a week.  That's why she has so much math homework.  She chose a class with a focus on math, science and English.  Math is a general term used to cover Algebra, Geometry, and Physics.  The sciences are Chemistry and Biology.  It's a heavy load and she studies hard.  

We're watching the Winter Olympics through the internet.  There are events we'd like to see, like Women's Ski Jumping, that we haven't found yet.  Things like Alpine Downhill are great for getting sleepy.  The Snowboard Halfpipe has also become a sleep aid.  Does anyone watch Curling?  I had to ask (555).  I got into it once, but I forgot the rules and it's hard to keep up.  Next month Formula One begins again.  Yea.

Just as I was surrendering to the lawn-watering routine, an article was posted about a draught in our province.  The usual 'dry' season started early and the rivers are all low.  There was a strong urging to conserve water.  Maybe it's time to redrill the well.

Today's photo is the money eating Antelope we saw on Saturday night.  The dancers inside were very animated and after a few minutes it seemed real.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


"It is one of the most beautiful compensations
of this life that no man [person] can sincerely
try to help another without helping himself."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, February 18, 2014



We seem to be in an interesting weather pattern.  Overall, it's getting hotter, and now we have an afternoon wind that makes it feel like the Santanas in California.  Mornings with the dogs no longer require a jacket and today I put on shorts.  The 'Hot Season' is here.

The 'Easy Monday' song has some fans.  My brother, Denny, pointed out that it's the love of this thing that is the root of all evil.  Hmm, the singer still wants some.  "__ don't get every thing it's true, but what it don't get I can't use.  I need __ (that's what I want) That's what I want (that's what I want).  Whole lot of __ (that's what I want)..."  Hint:  I think you get the picture.

When the hot times come it means more watering.  Keeping things around the yard from drying out is the new daily thing.  The afternoon winds don't help.  They seem to draw the water from the soil.  A watering system is looking more and more attractive.  I have a system that I made using garden hoses and little sprinklers, and it works pretty good when one is willing to drag the whole thing out and set it up.  Hmm, that time has come and for now, I'm willing.  

There was more 'road building' behind us today.  Dump trucks have been bringing in loads of something that looks like crushed asphalt, then a tractor spreads it out.  It's taller than the rest of the land, which leads me to think that the next step will be to bring in dirt to raise the level of the land for the houses.  The lot is below the level of our house since it used to be a rice field.  Before the rainy season we'll plant more trees and bushes to provide some privacy from the new homes.  We may get our jungle habitat yet. (555)

Today's photo is from the Sunday night show by the river.  This is a traditional Thai dance and the 'petals' are fanned by the dancer as she moves.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Once we know people's stories, we feel compassion instead of judgment.
~Mary Manin Morrissey

Monday, February 17, 2014



We're back in Chiang Rai after our weekend in Chiang Mai.  There were some memorable moments that will last a long time.  It's good to be home.

The 'Old School Friday' song was "The Boy From New York City", by The Ad Libs.  'Easy Monday' should be just that:
"The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees.  I need __ (that's what I want) that's what I want (repeat).  Your love give me such a thrill, but your love don't pay my bills.  I need __ (that's what I want)..."  Hint:  Some say it rules the world.  Others say it's the root of all evil. 

 Our Saturday lunch adventure found us at a place we'd eaten before.  This time we noticed they had chicken tacos on the menu so we gave it a try.  Let me just say that for a taco in Thailand, is wasn't bad at all.  In the evening everyone at the convention went to the Riverside Restaurant for the big banquet.  We didn't know we were in for many surprises that night.  The building was an open structure, with two levels.  On the backside there was the bank of the Mae Ping river.  Our dinner was a buffet consisting of Thai and Western dishes which were all good.  Just as we were finishing dinner the show began.  A large troupe of young people put on a show that consisted of traditional instruments, drum-dancing, flower dancing, Taiko-style drumming, and two guys in a large antelope-type beast that ate money.  Oh yes, there was also a fire dance.  While all this was going on, lanterns with fireworks were launched into the sky, with a full moon in the background.  The whole thing was very magical and entertaining.  

Today's photo is me standing with my little blue friend at the Saturday dinner.  I will share more pics during the week.

Back in our hotel room we had the misfortune of being on the side of the building overlooking a large area for outdoor dinners.  There was a note under our door apologizing for the 'inconvenience' that we encountered.  There was a Thai rock band entertaining the diners and they were not only loud, they weren't very good.  Luckily, they ended by 10:00 pm.

On our way out of town we stopped at Central Festival for lunch.  As we drove into the main parking structure we saw a sign indicating that on the second level there was:  VIP parking, Super Bike parking, and Ladies Parking.  Hmm, that last one still has us curious.  We'll investigate on our next visit.  We ate at an unusual place that was all about salads. You fill out an order form telling them what you want and you can get it either as a salad or a wrap.  They featured hydroponically grown vegetables and the serving was huge.  

Just before we left the populated area of Chiang Mai, we stopped to get gas.  There was a long line coming out of the station and it turned out to be the line for electricity.  The line was full of various configurations of hybrid cars and trucks, looking to get a quick charge to start the week.  Another surprise.

Back in Chiang Rai, the repaving is finished on a stretch of the Super Highway and traffic is flowing like normal.  Behind our house they started a project to put in another paved access road through the middle of the vegetable farm.  My conclusion is that they are going ahead with the plan to build little houses behind us.  Time for some thick trees and bushes.  Hmm, progress.

Have a Great Week.


"Do not withhold your gift from others.
Do not make the mistake of
thinking that you have no gift to give.
Everyone has a gift.
But don't compare your gift to the gifts of others,
or you may not value it sufficiently."
Paul Ferrini

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Funnies


The weather here in Chiang Mai is pretty warm during the day, but I spent most of the time in the hotel in a business meeting.  We went out for lunch and a stroll and it was quite a contrast to the hotel air/con environment.  

The 'Zany Day' song was "25 to 6 to 4" by Chicago Transit Authority.  It relates to a time of day and how to count minutes and numbers after being up all night.  OK, here's an easy 'Old School Friday' for a few of you:
"Oo, ah, oo, ah, oo oo Kitty, tell us about __ __ __ __ __ __ (repeat).  He's kinda tall, he's really fine, some day I hope to make him mine all mine.  And he's neat, and oh so sweet, and the way he looked at me just shut off my feet (yeah yeah) ..."  Hint:  About an out of town fellow from a place known as The Big Apple. 

Yesterday, on our way to Chiang Mai, we saw a group of 'Brown Monks' by the side of the road.  They are sometimes called that because they wear brown robes of the forest order.  They do not use mechanized transportation, and usually live in the woods.  One of them was waving a water bottle, indicating that they needed water.  We thought we had packed some water so we pulled over.  All we had were a bunch of juice boxes which they gladly accepted.  Most of them were in their late teens/early 20s.  The oldest of the bunch then held up a 20 baht note and it turned out they wanted some money.  Hmm.  We gave them a small amount and as we drove away we heard him ask for a very large amount.  What?  Was this real or a new kind of highway hustle?  If we see them on the way home we'll know for sure.

After a very late lunch we walked around a bit.  On a corner we passed a man who had his sewing machine set up on the sidewalk.  He was repairing a bag at the time, but by his sign 'Tailor Clinic' and the collection of thread, it looked like he could fix anything.  

This evening I connected with friends I met a few years ago.  They come from many parts of the world and though I can't always remember their names, I know them and they know me.  Tonight I met a young man from Malta, a woman from Scotland, and many 'old friends' from America.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.


Thursday, February 13, 2014



I'm writing to you from the 9th floor of a hotel in Chiang Mai.  It's been a wonderfully tiring day of pie, cows, and a big city.

Looks like the 'Zany Day' song may be a 'stumper'.  So far, no one remembers this tune by a big band named for a Windy City.  Here's the second verse:  "Starring blindly into space, getting up to splash my face.  Wanting just to stay awake, wondering how much I can take.  Should I try to do some more?  __ __ __ __ __."  Hint:  It's a numbers game, with horns and guitars.

On our drive to Chiang Mai this morning we saw many signs that were entertaining.  One was for a shop called: 'Miss Bakery'.  There was also a place called 'Coffee Terminal', which was in the middle of nowhere, very modern, and no doubt run by technology-minded baristas.  We encountered a few trucks with loads so wide that they hung over the sides and so tall that a strong wind might have toppled them.  The final 'What?' was a Songtaew full of passengers and a guy relaxing on the roof, going down the highway.  Oh yes, there was a stop for pie on the way (555).

After checking into the hotel we hired a car to take us to Promenada Resort Mall.  The man who drove us has been stationed at the same spot for at least 6 years.  His car is always clean and he drives like he's taking his family someplace.  He's our favorite.  We arrived before the press conference began and had time to have a much needed lunch.  When the 'event' was over we walked around a bit, realizing that this 'Resort Mall' was not really a resort, it just looked like one.  Lots of light from windows near the roof, big trees and fountains, and a section that seemed to be dedicated to children and teens.  It is not finished yet, so we couldn't get a map of all the vendors but it's big and beautiful.

Today's photo is from an exhibit that is scattered around the Promenada.  It's been done before with horses in the U.S., and elephants locally, but this is the first time we'd seen painted cows.  Moo.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"The consciousness of loving and being loved
brings a warmth and richness to life
that nothing else can bring."
~Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, February 12, 2014



I had a very Happy Birthday filled with little surprises and lots of love.  Now it's time to pack for a four day trip.

Well, the 'Easy Monday' song was "Every Breath You Take" by The Police.  It's 'Zany Day' again so start humming.
"Waiting for the break of day, searching for something to say.  Flashing lights against the sky, giving up I close my eyes.  Sitting cross-legged on the floor, __ __ __ __ __."  Clue: Three of the five 'words' in the title are actually numbers.  Hmm.

Today's coconut oil project turned out to be mainly research.  Cat, Fern, and a quiet boy named Bon sat at the dining room table, with two laptops and their cell phones, investigating exactly how to do what they proposed.  We are told that they found out what to do.  When it was almost time to go for our lunch at the mall, Cat came upstairs with a drawing that Fern had made.  It was a birthday present for me.  I was floored.  She had gone into Facebook and drew from three photos from various times in my life.  They were surrounded by a guitar, headphones and a tambourine.  The composition was quite good.  We had her sign it and Lisa put it in a clear frame.  Fern had never seen one of her drawings in a frame and she was thrilled.  That was cool.

At Central Plaza we had lunch and then I was 'dropped off' at the Apple store to look for my birthday gift.  Oh my.  I wandered around the store and came upon a product called 'Leap Motion'.  I have read about it and now it was right in front of me.  It allows the user to do things on the computer by moving your hands in the air.  There are many possibilities for this once I learn what to do.  

On the main floor in the center of the mall was a Subaru display.  There were about 4 cars, plus a super-sports car that I wanted to take home.  The sign on the window showed a price of 2,640,000 Thai Baht.  'Oh', he said.  That's around $81,000 and I didn't have that much in my pocket.  It was very sleek though.  There was also a Mazda 'showroom' display in another section.  

The 'number plates' for our van finally arrived and we dropped by Suzuki for their installation.  It's comforting to know that it's done and we're 'legal'.  

During dinner we watched the Half-Pipe Snowboard competition from the Winter Olympics.  Cat had never seen the sport and was amazed.  After we'd finished eating they surprised me with a cake.  Fortunately, there were only two candles to blow out (555).  The final surprise was a gift from Cat.  It was a little music box in the form of an old-time     Victrola.  Below is a photo of the cake that Cat picked out.

Tomorrow we go to Chiang Mai for my annual Recovery Convention.  Thursday will be a day to just be in Chiang Mai and we're meeting some friends who invited us to a press conference at Promenada Resort Mall.  The press event is for a big Cultural Festival to be held in March.  We've never been to a resort mall, but if you Google it, it will blow your mind.  I'm looking forward to seeing old friends from around the world, and making some new ones at the convention.

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


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

Tuesday, February 11, 2014



Today was one of those mellow days.  A shopping trip, coffee and conversation with a friend, and prepping for our trip to Chiang Mai.  We're also having fun watching the snow and ice in Russia from a distance.

This week's 'Easy Monday' song had several responses.  Here's the bridge and last verse.  I think you know it.
"Oh, can't you see you belong to me?  How my poor heart aches with every step you take.  Every move you make, every vow you break.  Every smile you fake, every claim you stake I'll be watching you."  Clue:  Take a breath and you might remember.  If you don't, I'll have to call the group that sang it and have you arrested (555).

This morning we got the van washed and had coffee at Work@Home.  Our friend Kitai, the owner, was there and we had another cool visit with her.  We always have so much to talk about.  She and her husband also have a tractor business and she was explaining why things weren't going so well.  There is a situation here in Thailand where the rice farmers pledged their rice to the government with the understanding that said government would sell the rice and pay the farmers.  The deal has fallen through and the farmers have no money.  One of the many ripples is that they can't buy farming machinery, including tractors.  Some of them can't feed their families or send their kids to school. No one seems to know how this will be settled, but the problem continues.  On a happier note, today, while talking about Daku, she was able to laugh about the antics of her dog Jonathan, who recently passed.  We also learned that because of the large population of Thai people in the Los Angeles area, they refer to it as another Thai 'province'.  That really cracked us up.  

During our dinner conversation with Cat, she told us that a friend is coming over tomorrow and they're going to try and make coconut oil.  We don't understand the process yet, but it sounds interesting.  She has the rest of the week off due to a camping trip for the lower grades and a Buddhist holiday on Friday.  

Tomorrow we will go to Central Plaza for lunch as part of my birthday celebration, and Boot is making one of my favorite dishes for dinner.  

The photos for today are from our adventure on Sunday.  I love the bridge that leads to the entrance of the house, and the stream that flows through the gardens.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Kindness can become its own motive.
We are made kind by being kind."
~Eric Hoffer

Monday, February 10, 2014



The days seem to be getting warmer and warmer here in Chiang Rai.  It feels odd to watch the people at the Olympics in Russia, all bundled up while we have the air going over here.  

The 'Old School Friday' song was "I Wish You Love", and the artist in question was Gloria Lynne, who had the hit in 1963.  You can probably find it on Youtube.  Now it's time for 'Easy Monday' and a song that was a giant in 1983.  I think you know this one:
"__ __ __ __, and every move you make.  Every bond you break, every step you take, I'll be watching you.  Every single day, and every word you say.  Every game you play, every night you stay, I'll be watching you."  Hint:  No, it's called 'Easy Monday' for a reason.  (555)

We are able to see the Winter Olympics via the internet, so all is not lost.  So far, it's been fun to watch and Cat saw ice-skating for the first time tonight.  

Sunday was an absolutely full day of activity.  It began with a Buddhist ceremony commemorating the 25th wedding anniversary of a couple that we've known for several years.  It was at their home just south of town.  The grounds were full of trees and water features and the lower floor of the house felt like the lobby of a grand old Thai hotel.  The back yard was the setting for the ceremony which included five monks who chanted for about 25 minutes, followed by a blessing from the head monk.  We saw many friends, met new people, and reconnected with a man we met in January of 2007 when we visited Chiang Rai to check things out.  

By the time we returned to our house, it was almost time for lunch.  Lisa, Cat and I agreed that Eliza's would be a nice place to eat so we went there.  The owner was very apologetic about not serving lunch since she had to decorate cup-cakes for a wedding.  She makes very elaborate cakes, cup-cakes and cookies and as an apology, she gave us each a cup-cake.  Next stop: Central Plaza, where we ate and left, which is pretty amazing.  It's hard to put into words, the cultural contrast of going from the huge, modern mall to the Talat (local marketplace).  We went from the pristine shops to the smell of raw shrimp and frying food.  From slick displays to stacks of whatever you want to buy.  I can tell I'm become acclimated by the fact that it was just as much fun as the mall.

After a brief relaxation period, it was time to get dressed up for the 'cocktail party' portion of the anniversary celebration.  It was held at the Mantrini Hotel and we saw more old friends.  This was a gathering of mostly professional people who own businesses or are doctors, etc.  This is the second affair that has required two 'costume changes' in one day.  Whew.  There were some stimulating conversations ranging from the effect of the political situation on the stock market, to education and culture.  All in all, it was quite a day.  

Today's photo shows the 'Happy Couple' presenting offerings to the monks and receiving blessings.  

Have a Great Week.


"If you are always trying to be normal, 
you will never know how amazing you can be."
~Maya Angelou