Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Funnies


We just had a rainy season in one day (555).  It poured all day, took a break for a few hours, and started up again.  

The 'Zany Day' song was "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley.  It's time-travel time and another chapter of 'Old School Friday'.  "They asked me how I knew my true love was true.  I of course replied, something here inside cannot be denied.  They said someday you'll find all who love are blind.  When your heart's on fire you must realize __ __ __ __ __."  Clue:  This R&B ballad was used in a soundtrack as recently as 2001.  It was first released in 1958 by a group named for a slang word for a record (a disc used to play music long ago).  Something is clouding the vision.  Hmm.

We only ventured out into the rain to pick up some lunch.  The puddles in our area were huge, and we witnessed a motorbike getting drenched by a car.  The traffic was very light for a Friday lunch hour.  There had been a major forecast about today's storm so I guess people were heeding the warnings.  It wasn't torrential, just a constant downpour.  It was the kind of rain that brings out sandbags to prevent flooding.  One nice side benefit of the storm was a much cooler day.  

In another episode of 'It's Different', Cat takes a van to school and back every day.  This van is operated by an independent contractor who gets a sticker from the city, and makes arrangements to pick up kids and transport them.  Some vans have a moderate number of students, while others are packed.  Cat's driver recently told her he will no longer be offering his service, which costs about $16 per month.  This meant that she had to find another van to take her to school.  After asking other students, her driver found another van for her and she will start with him on Monday.  For a few days she didn't know what would happen, but it all worked out.  

Down the road from us is the Rimkok Hotel.  They seem to be catering to groups that want to go trekking.  Almost every morning we see a caravan of Jeep-type vehicles come past the house with foam coolers on the roof racks, and four to six tourists per truck.  We don't know where they go, but the transport company is doing a good business.  Today we saw them parading down the road and wondered what they were going to do in the downpour.  Hmm, one can only speculate.  My thought was a trip to the waterfall (555).

Today's photo is from Lu Lum Restaurant, and it appears to be the remains of an old boat dock.  An overgrown path led down to the entrance.  It was probably used to transport guests from hotels to the restaurant.  

If the rain continues through the weekend we will have tennis from the U.S. Open to pass the time.  

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


Thursday, August 28, 2014



It was a beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  Wispy clouds and lots of sunshine.  We even managed an afternoon swim.

This week's 'Zany Day' song could easily be an 'Easy Monday' entry.  It was an early hit by a singer known as 'The King'.  "You ain't nothin' but a __ __, cryin' all the time.  You ain't nothin' but a __ __, cryin' all the time.  Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine."  Clue:  Oh, so easy it hurts.  

There are a couple of interesting things I forgot to tell you about Lu Lum.  We arrived before our friends so we ordered an appetizer.  The prawn cakes sounded like a nice starter.  When Martin and Kay sat down they asked about the order and we told them.  Martin told us that many places mix pork into their shrimp/prawn cakes.  Kay called a server to the table and asked her about this.  After a trip to the kitchen, it was confirmed that there was pork in the prawn.  What?  We didn't eat it.  The other notable thing was the signage for the men's room.  Just a simple sign that is our photo for the day.

While driving around town, I make a point of checking the status of various building sites, just to see how they're doing.  Today we passed one that looked the same as a few weeks ago and I commented that it looked like not much had happened.  When Lisa challenged my criticism, I informed her that it was my job as the 'Progress Police' to make a note of such things (555).  Somebody's got to do it.  There is one project that has us very curious.  On the Super Highway there is a huge structure going up and the sign in front reads:  "Browney's Pet World".  I can only imagine all the things that will be housed in this mega store.  Hmm.  

Cat spent the day organizing a non-school project that encompasses about 5 villages in her home area.  Since she has experience with the Tree Project in her village, she was recruited to 'help' with a project that would introduce hydroponic gardening to the locals.  Somehow, she ended up being the leader and that meant dealing with the details of the final presentation.  She spent the day with a college student, buying growing kits for the gardens and materials for making signs, etc.  They had a meeting with 35 villagers in the afternoon.  Now she has to write a report on the events of the day and submit it to the powers that be.  She has a real knack for problem-solving and getting things done.  We're very proud of her.

After a consultation with one of our vets today, we've decided to have the dogs get 'the shot' that repels ticks.  We did it a few years ago and never had any problems.  The vet pointed out that the shot is the lesser of two evils, considering all the harm that ticks can do.  We will all be relieved.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"You never know how strong you are
until you need to be strong."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014



Last nights storm continued into this morning, leaving us with a very soggy yard.  The dogs didn't get their morning run, but I don't think they like the rain anyway.  

The 'Easy Monday' song was "Happy Together" by The Turtles.  Here's a 'Zany Day' song that I'm sure you'll remember:  "Well, they said you was high-classed.  Well, that was just a lie (repeat).  Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine."  Hint:  The title is two words describing a type of canine.

Most of today was spent on the compound.  Mid-morning the sun came out from behind the clouds.  By 2pm it was overcast again.  Hmm, missed that afternoon window again.  It's OK though, Lisa worked on her art and I played my guitar.  

There is a lot happening here in Thailand.  The general who has been in charge of the country is now the new Prime  Minister.  Reform is in the air and many changes are continuing to be made.  We get most of our news from either the Bangkok Post or The Nation.  If you have an interest in the political status here, check one of them out.  In an article from an expat newspaper today, an old law is being implemented that would make it illegal to advertise alcoholic beverages.  That's the simple, general gist of it.  It would prohibit many things that are commonplace in the culture and would have a dramatic effect on many sectors.  While there is good reason to tone things down, my guess is that there will be a real struggle to put this into action.  The liquor business is huge here and money doesn't talk, it screams.  This should be another interesting chapter in the ever changing place that is Thailand.

This evening we had dinner with our friends Martin and Kay by the river at a place called Lu Lum.  The atmosphere was really cool, with the sun going down, the river flowing, and the air fresh from the rain.  Lu Lum is one of five restaurants all right next to each other on a little street by the river.  Each place has it's own 'flavor' and they all seem to thrive.  Today's photo was taken from our table.

Time for another Wacky Wednesday.


"Don't let people pull you into their storm.
Pull them into your peace."
~Kimberly Jones

Tuesday, August 26, 2014



We probably didn't get rain today because the sky was tired after last night's storm.  The temps are a little cooler after the rain so that's a good thing.  I am officially done with the rainy season.  It can leave anytime.

I'm happy to see that a few of you got it together (hidden clue).  Here's the second verse of 'Easy Monday':
"If I should call you up, invest a dime, and you say you belong to me, and ease my mind.  Imagine how the world could be so very fine, so __ __.  I can't see me loving nobody but you for all my life.  When you're with me, baby the skies will be blue, for all my life..."

This morning we went downtown and did some walking on the 'tourist' main street.  The Pizza Company was empty, as was Swensen's Ice Cream, but a block away the basic Thai/Chinese place was packed with customers.  It was 10:30am, and by 11am everyone had cleared out.  Food is a very interesting thing here.  Meals are taken at all times of the day, as opposed to traditional times for breakfast lunch and dinner.  There are still those who eat at appointed hours, mainly dictated by work, but you can always find people eating.  Chiang Rai doesn't have a lot of what one would call 'fast food' places, unless you consider the mobile kitchens fast food.  It's just different.

There is a growing concern that articles predicting earthquakes in Chiang Rai and the surrounding area are keeping people away.  Earthquakes generally cannot be predicted, yet news stories continue to predict more in the coming weeks.  This has many merchants wondering why the press would do something that would scare off tourists, both domestic and foreign.  Tourism is a major portion of the commerce in the north.  One of the predictions that was published was attributed to a fortune teller.  Not much was said when the date of the coming quake passed and nothing happened, but the damage was done.  Hmm.  

Today the weather just teased us.  There were big patches of blue sky that shifted into dark clouds, and back again.  It was looking sunny in the early afternoon, and then at about the time it would be good to swim and get some sun, more dark clouds.  We think we've figured it out though.  If we get out before 3pm, we might have a chance.  (555)

The photo for today was taken on our road.  It was a slow ride home as we followed this rolling kitchen.  The guy was on the phone and nervous about going over the edge on the left.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Asking outer conditions to make us okay
will never bring happiness, because 
outer conditions are always changing."
~Sakyong Mipham

Monday, August 25, 2014



Chiang Rai experienced some pretty good daytime weather this weekend.  The 'tick war' continues, and the earth moved.

The 'Old School Friday' tune was "Rock & Roll Music" by Chuck Berry.  Here's an 'Easy Monday' song you may remember:  "Imagine me and you, I do, I think about you day and night, it's only right to think about the girl you love, and hold her tight, so __ __."  Hint:  Sung by duo named for a shelled animal.  Title is two words describing a relationship.

Saturday morning we drove out to the frame factory.  Every time we turn onto the tiny ribbon of concrete that winds through the rice fields it feels like we have traveled into another world.  On either side of this little road there is nothing but green for as far as we can see.  Right now the rice is standing tall and lush from all the rain.  The frame factory looked totally different when we arrived.  Khun Todd  has a major project that has taken up most of the property.  He is making a giant fish that will be installed in Chiang Sen and it will have many ornamental 'extras'.  He still takes time to frame artwork even though it looks like the project has consumed the place.  

We are still doing battle with those pesky ticks.  Things are a lot better since we started spraying the dogs with a mixer of vinegar, lemon and water each time the go into the yard.  We've also been using drops of essence of rose-geranium, which is said to repel the bugs.  The special non-toxic cedar oil mixture we ordered from the states was shipped, but the Thai customs office has rejected it unless we can produce a livestock certificate.  What?  Yes, it looks like the yard won't get sprayed and neither will we.  

It takes a lot of extra work to be a high school student here.  We are continually amazed at the hours Cat is required to spend on projects outside of the classroom.  Saturday she had a rehearsal with her group to work on their aerobic dance test.  They had to find music and learn a routine the teacher had given.  Sports Day is coming next week and we just found out she has to stay with another student overnight so they can get up at 3am to do make-up, put on traditional costumes and be at school by 6am.  It's a very complicated, busy life for these kids.  Cat is doing her best to keep up, and somehow always has a bright spirit.

Last night we had another storm.  I think I slept through most of it, but a little after 5am, we had an earthquake that shook the house briefly.  To say that we're used to it would be so wrong.  It's always a surprise.  It was nothing like the one in Northern California, but it was still an earthquake.

Today's photo was taken a few minutes after take-off from Bangkok as we headed home from our Pattaya trip.  

Have a Great Week.


"When men learn to respect even the smallest being
of creation, whether animal or vegetable, no need to
teach him to love his neighbor."
~Albert Schweitzer

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai enjoyed another dry day today.  There was lots of sunshine mixed with clouds and it was beautiful.  Daku made a new friend, and we got some new perspective on the marketing of art.

The 'Zany Day' song this week was "Act Naturally" by The Beatles.  Barry sent me info on the song.  It was originally recorded by Buck Owens and The Buckeroos.  Now you know.  Time for 'Old School Friday', and a tune that should be easy:  "Just let me hear some of that __ __ __ __, any old way you choose it, it's got a back beat, you can't lose it, any old time you use it.  It's gotta be __ __ __ __, if you want to dance with me, if you want to dance with me."  Clue: This tune is by one of the Grandfathers of this form of music, that has had a dramatic impact on human life (555).  Can you say 'Duck Walk'?

Yesterday our friend Gahn came by with one of her friends.  When she met Daku, it was love at first sight.  He totally enjoyed all the attention.  They even took 'selfies' together.  I guess a dog's life can be pretty cool.

Before lunch I sat in the sun.  After a few minutes, it became so intense that I thought I'd have to run for shade.  Just before I made the decision to hide, a cloud drifted over the rays and I was saved (555).

We had a coffee date with our friend Sunny, at Doi Chaang Coffee in the afternoon.  She recently got her marketing degree from a university in New Zealand, but hasn't had a chance to practice what she learned.  The idea of marketing Lisa and her artwork has given her lots of ideas.  After coffee we came back to the house, where she learned more about the process and she and Lisa explored art on the internet.  It was very enlightening.  We now have a bunch of directions to research.  After the meeting, we hit the pool.

Thailand is definitely what I would call a 'motorcycle culture' and the number of dogs who 'ride' makes it very clear that it's not just the people who are comfortable on two wheels.  We see dogs of all sizes riding around town with their owners.  Some sit on the floorboard, some ride in the basket, and some prop themselves up with their front paws on the handlebars.  Our buddy Jago is a pro at this.  Today's photo is a Lab that we saw on Bus Station street, just waiting to get back on the road.

This weekend marks the return of the Formula One season.  This episode is coming to you from Belgium.  Zoom.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   And now, the 'Funnies'.


Thursday, August 21, 2014



Today was one of those rare days without any rain.  There were periods of bright sunshine, followed by dark clouds, but no water from the sky.  

Well, only two of you knew the 'Zany Day' song.  I'm surprised.  Even if you didn't like it, it's hard to forget.
"We'll make a scene about a man that's sad and lonely, and beggin' down upon his bended knee.  I'll play the part, but I won't need rehearsal.  All I gotta do is __ __."  Hint:  The song had a country/western feel.  Two words describing 'be yourself'.  Hmm.

This morning our mission was to find the 'warehouse pharmacy' that had moved.  We followed the lead we'd been given and drove right past it the first time.  One U-turn later, going very slowly, we found what had to be it.  The front of the store was very modern, with big tall windows.  Inside, there were four people working, but none of them was the couple we'd known.  We asked the young man helping us if the owner was around.  When our friend came out he explained that it was not his shop anymore.  He was going to help for one year and then be done.  He and his wife have retired from the medical supply business.  He seemed very happy about the change.  For certain items we will make the trip to this shop since they have a very extensive inventory.  Chiang Rai changes.

Whenever a construction site is established, one of the first things that is built is a shack for the workers to live in for the duration of the project.  So many times, the work crews are from a village out-of-town and transportation is an issue.  When we looked at the view from our window in Pattaya, even though they called it a 'poolside view', what we really saw was the construction site behind the hotel.  Today's photo shows a little village of corrugated sheet-metal houses for the crew and their families.  One can just imagine how hot is gets inside.  

With Chiang Rai having so much rain, and mostly in the evening, it's easy to forget that there is a large part of the population that depends on the evening hours for their livelihood.  We usually only think about it with regards to Saturday night's 'Walking Street' and how the rain might affect that, but every night there is the Night Bazaar.  Tonight we went to dinner at the Night Bazaar and noticed all of the plastic coverings over all the stalls.  They are actually building a permanent structure for some of the vendors to help them stay dry.  While we were eating, the owner of Sawadee restaurant came to our table (we were the only patrons), and told us how difficult it has been during this rainy season.  They rely heavily on tour groups, but if it's raining they sometimes cancel.  She always has a good attitude about things, and when asked how it was going she said, "Not bad".  She is ready for the rain to stop though.  So are we.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

"Don't be afraid to dream.
Reality's not going anywhere."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014



These days we can safely say that there will be half a day with pleasant weather and half a day of rain.  Today it came in the form of an afternoon and evening monsoon.  

Apparently this week's 'Easy Monday' song really was easy.  "Cherish" was sung by The Association.  The time has come for another 'Zany Day' song.  "They're gonna put me in the movies.  They're gonna make a big star out of me.  We'll make a film about a man that's sad and lonely.  And all I gotta do is __ __."  Hint:  A mid-60s hit by four lads from across the water.  One of the few hits they didn't write.  

Our system of running errands in the morning and staying at home in the afternoons is really paying off.  It almost always rains in the afternoon.  (5)  During our downtown trip this morning we stopped by the corner where the warehouse pharmacy had been.  It was still empty and in the midst of a major overhaul.  There was a woman on the sidewalk who is like the 'mayor of downtown'.  She wanted to know what we wanted and we explained.  She told us they had moved farther down the road, and gave us some landmarks to look for.  Tomorrow we will visit our friends in their new location.

Probably the most interesting stop we made today was at the local art supply store.  The owner, Khun Supalak, and Lisa have a 'Line' relationship that makes us smile.  Every morning Supalak sends a morning greeting to Lisa's phone, in English, with a little photo of flowers or birds.  Lisa responds with a photo and a message.  She is working on her English and we've seen it progress through the messages.  Today we managed to get a parking place on her block and while we shopped, she practiced her English.  She also spoke a lot of Thai, which can be challenging if she goes too fast.  She is a very special friend who always has a big smile.

Sometimes we will find someone who does good repair work around the house, and then they get a job out of town and we never see them again.  Khun Mahn had been our regular handyman for some time, and then he seemed to disappear.  He had a job in Chiang Mai, but is back and ready to help us out.  He came today with two workers and they fixed a few things.  About 10 minutes after they left, the storm hit.  That was good timing.  Tomorrow they will come in the afternoon, which means that may be in for some wet stuff.  Fortunately, most of the work is inside.

Boot's brother is coming to live in Chiang Rai and will arrive tomorrow morning.  He has been living in their hometown of Rayong, which is south of Bangkok.  He visited years ago when he was a monk, and again after he left the order and got married.  It will be good to see him again.  

In Bangkok, at Suvarnabhumi Airport, the smaller airlines don't always get one of those fancy 'jet way' tubes for entering the plane.  Such was the case with Bangkok Air on Sunday.  We left our terminal gate and got on a bus that took us to the plane.  This actually allowed me a better view of the plane, which was decorated with large stickers of various kinds of luggage.  It's the photo of the day.

It's time for a Wacky Wednesday.


"Know that your kindness
has a ripple effect
in the universe."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014



We're still in the rainy season, but it seems to be not as harsh lately.  The afternoon winds looked like it was going to be a big one, but the rain was light and that made me happy.  

The 'Easy Monday' song for this week has lots of friends.  Here's another verse in case you want to join the crowd:
"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:  It rhymes with the first word of this verse.  The group also knew a girl named Windy.  Any more hints would be no fair at all.

Today was the day we got the van washed.  How dirty was it?  It was so dirty that the lady at the car wash took one look and said, "Whoa".  Among all the dirty vehicles around town, ours was looking the worst.  While it was getting taken care of, we had tea at Work@Home and had one of our wonderful conversations with Katai, the owner.

This afternoon Fern came home with Cat.  Cat had invited her to join us at Art Bridge for an evening of classical music.  We got to the gallery early and had a chance to look at the Small Painting exhibit with Fern, who is also an artist.  The program we went to see consisted of two young Thai women who have been studying opera in Europe, along with violinist Tonoi, who is the pride of Chiang Rai.  The accompanist was also quite good and her support for the singers was very sensitive.  We heard work by Mozart, Puccini, Strauss and many others.  Both of the vocalist had beautiful voices and a strong presence as they sang in German and Italian.  A lot of the audience had never heard opera before and conversations during intermission led me to believe that they really enjoyed it.  By the end of the evening everyone was talking about what a special presentation it had been.  One of the goals of Art Bridge is to present various forms of art to the community as well as the artist members.  

Today's photo was a fun surprise when we opened the gate this morning.  It was nice reminder that there is still some country life in Chiang Rai.  

Have a Happy Tuesday


"Do not wait until 
conditions are perfect to begin.
Beginning makes conditions perfect."
~Alan Cohen

Monday, August 18, 2014



Chiang Rai never looked so good as it did on our return from Pattaya.  The weekend was productive, and we also had a chance to relax.  

The 'Old School Friday' song was "Stagger Lee" by Lloyd Price.  This week's 'Easy Monday' song should be a snap.
"__ is the word I use to describe all the feeling 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:  It was a six-man vocal group that had a friend named Mary.  They were associated with great harmonies.  One word title meaning to hold something dear, or lovingly.  Hmm.

Saturday was the day for our Regional business meeting.  It was an all day affair, with a break for lunch.  When it was over Lisa and I went for a swim in the giant hotel pool, all by ourselves.  It was a perfect way to unwind.  The thought of going out into the party atmosphere of the city was not on our list of things to do.  We ordered in and had a great time hanging out in the hotel.   Today's photo is the pool at our hotel, looking down from our 7th floor room.

During lunch on Saturday we were told of a place to get a nice breakfast, so on Sunday morning we set out on an adventure.  The little streets around the hotel are narrow and dense with activity.  We were about to give up when we came upon a place that had an extensive menu and served Western food.  It was a sports restaurant and pub.  This place had 15 TV screens with maybe 5 or 6 different sports going at the same time.  After I focused on what to eat, it became a dizzying experience.  The eyes settled on Track and Field and that was pretty cool.  We took a Song Taew back to the hotel and prepared to leave.  

The bus ride back to Bangkok went fast, since there was no work traffic.  We had time before our flight so we did what we usually do, and got a foot and shoulder massage.  There is a woman who works there who remembers us from when she did massage work in Chiang Rai and she always makes a point of greeting us.  Bangkok Air had another amazing 'courtesy counter' near our departure gate.  They had coffee, juice and Thai snacks with the ingredients posted in English by each item.  When we got to our gate we saw our friends Jen and her son Pui.  They had been in Pattaya and Bangkok on a short vacation.  We sat and looked at photos of her grandchildren and they told us about their adventures in both cities.  The time passed quickly and then we were flying home.  

When we got home, the dogs reacted like we'd been away for weeks.  Cat came up and told us about her trip to Chiang Mai and brought Lisa some of her favorite treats.  Everyone was back home and it felt good.

Have a Great Week.


"One of the happiest moments ever,
is when you find the courage to 
let go of what you can't change.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Funnies


I'm writing to you from Pattaya, Thailand.  Today we flew in a plane, rode in a bus, and saw a large expanse of water.  

That 'Zany Day' song you were wondering about was "Summertime Blues" by Eddie Cochran.  'Old School Friday' is going to be a challenge for some of you, and probably unknown to others.  It's been an easy week so far (555).
"The night was clear, and the moon was yellow, and the leaves came tumblin' down... I was standin' on the corner when I heard my bull dog bark.  He was barkin' at the two men who were gamblin' in the dark.  It was __ __ and Billy, two men who gambled late.  __ __ threw a seven, Billy swore that he rolled eight..."  Hint:  The title is a name. 

Our adventure began with a flight on an airline that just recently started flying out of Chiang Rai.  Bangkok Air was an unknown to us, but won us over on the first flight.  After we went through the final security check-in, we were invited to a little buffet serving free coffee and desserts.  On the plane, before taking off, they played the usual video about the safety features, but it was preceded by a music video song and dance number promoting the airline.  Most unusual and very creative.  Once in the air, we got our special meals (unusual for a 1-hour flight) and they were better than most.  We'll be flying with them again for local flights.

There is a bus company that has a monopoly on mass transit to Pattaya so unless you want to hire a car at a much higher price, you take their bus.  We bought tickets and they told us the bus was ready to go.  When we got to the bus the two seats were at opposite ends of the bus.  What?  We were told we could negotiate with the passengers.  We went back to the desk and heard, "You didn't say you wanted to sit together".  What?  The next two hours were spent relaxing and having lunch before boarding a bus with two seats together.  

There is a lot of truck traffic on the roads south of Bangkok.  The area is a major shipping hub for Southeast Asia.  We saw what looked like 'cities' of containers.  Things are dry here.  It's quite a contrast to our lush, northern green. 

Pattaya is a very popular vacation spot for tourists from around the world, as well as some Thais.  This is my third time coming here and I still don't find it appealing.  It just rubs me the wrong way.  Maybe I'm spoiled, living in Chiang Rai.  There are so many Russian tourists visiting Pattaya that menus now feature Russian, Thai and English.  The road along the beach front is lined with bars that look out onto the beach.  Bar girls make sure the glasses stay full as the men stare at the passing traffic.  Kind of a sad scene actually.  There has been a crack-down on the taxi mafia by the new government and other clean-up measures are being taken.  Away from this 'zone' there are some rolling hillsides covered with condos and beyond that it gets back to being Thailand as we know it.  Hmm.

The photo for today was taken while riding through town this evening.  It sort of sums up some of the sleaze factor.

Looking at the ocean at night, the horizon is dotted with the green lights of night-fishing boats.  It's a beautifully eerie sight.  Tomorrow it's meetings all day and a boat ride in the evening.  Sunday we bus/fly home.

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


Thursday, August 14, 2014



Today was a day of rain, light traffic, and a visit from friends.  The big news in Chiang Rai for some, is that the local golf course on the army base has reopened.  At least when it's not raining.  

When non-'players' know the 'Zany Day' song, it means that I should be hearing from some of you 'regulars'.
"I gonna take two weeks, gonna have a fine vacation.  I gonna take my problem to the United Nations.  Well, I called my congressman and he said quote, 'I'd like to help you son, but you're too young to vote'.  Sometimes I wonder, what I'm a-gonna do, but there ain't no cure for the __ __."  Clue:  The season is part of the title.  

The rain that began last evening stayed with us all night, and all day today.  It never turned into a fierce storm, just one of those friends that never leaves.  We didn't let it hold us back.  Out into the day, umbrellas at the ready, they stormed the streets (555).  The day was looking good, things getting done, list getting shorter, and then it was time to go home for lunch.  When I pressed the button on the remote to open the gate, nothing happened.  Hmm, it could only be one of two things.  Either the power was out, or the battery in the remote was done.  Climbing over the wet gate turned out to be a bad idea, so we headed back downtown to the 'Watch Guy' for a new battery.  The gate opened and we smiled.  

This afternoon we had a visit from nurse Pay and Boy.  They had been to Doi Din Dang and wanted to stop by our house.  We sat on the patio enjoying the yard and then got into a interesting 'lesson' on the history of certain amulets of The Buddha.  Boy has made this his hobby of sorts, and knows all about where certain ones come from,  and how they are created.  He has two that he wears and he showed us some details that were amazing.  He pulled out a small magnifying glass and had us look closely at the images.  There were tiny flecks of color imbedded in the surface.  We could see green, red, blue and yellow, which came from dried flowers that were mixed into the clay.  They were from offerings that had been made in the temple where they were made.  I also learned that my favorite amulet is a copy, and that those made in the temples are never black.  Using the glass, I could see the true color of the clay where the paint had worn off.  Hmm.  He is going to give me an authentic amulet the next time we get together.  

Tonight we have to pack the bag for our weekend trip to Pattaya.  I will be attending a Regional Service Committee meeting, and we'll see some sights while we're there.  I've been there twice, but Lisa has never seen this seaside resort town.  It will be good to be near the ocean again.

Cat is also going on an adventure this weekend.  Early Saturday morning she and her classmates will board a bus for Chiang Mai.  They will visit a university campus in the morning and then spend the afternoon at the zoo.  

Today's photo shows that irresistible smile that Daku produces.  Well, of course you can have a treat (555).

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"I am learning to be patient and compassionate with myself
as I gain the courage to be true to myself."
~Shakti Gawain

Wednesday, August 13, 2014



The cloudy sky produced some light sprinkles all afternoon, and turn into a shower in the evening.  So, this thing called the rainy season is not over.  

This week's 'Easy Monday' song was "A Song For You" by Leon Russell.  Your 'Zany Day' song is easy.  Have fun.
"A-I'm a-gonna raise a fuss, I'm a-gonna raise a holler.  About a-workin' all summer just to try to earn a dollar.  Ev'ry time I call my baby, try to get a date, my boss says, 'no dice son, you gotta work late'.  Sometimes I wonder what I'm a-gonna do, but there ain't no cure for the __ __."

Today was a day for negotiating the streets of Chiang Rai.  A lot was accomplished, and yet, it's not over.  Some of our 'stops' were in vain, so we will try again tomorrow.  Parking has become a real issue in some parts of town.  What Chiang Rai needs is a few multi-level parking structures.  In the business district it's really a matter of timing.  Unless someone is leaving a spot, there never seems to be a vacancy.  Going around the block can be frustrating because some of the blocks are big.  If the weather was cooler it might be different.  Walking in the hot sun is not fun these days.  Add to that, the fact that some merchants put chairs or cones in front of their businesses, saving parking for friends.  Makes you just want to go home.  (555)

The battle with the ticks continues.  This has got to end sometime, but when?  Daku has become quite the passive pup when it comes to our twice daily debugging process.  He just takes a deep breath, rolls onto his side, and lets us do what has to be done.  He only puts up a fight when it comes to his feet and his tail.  Sometimes it seems like we're winning the war, and other times it's overwhelming.  

The 'New Bridge' by the main police station has undergone the storm drain treatment and now they're repaving what they tore up.  That means the bridge is closed on one end.  The intersection is now a 'T', with traffic sent to alternate streets to enter the bridge.  For some reason, the traffic lights are off, which now causes new problems at certain times.  Since we avoid driving during those times, we're not affected, but I have visions of what might happen.  

Sitting at a light this morning, I watched a motorbike rider take his helmet out of his basket and put it on his head.  That's all he did.  He didn't fasten it.  I started keeping track of who had their chin straps buckled and it was a very small percentage.  Hmm.  There's been talk of making the driver license test more difficult by adding more questions.  Having driver education might also be a good idea, but I'm just a guest.

Tomorrow is 'Science Day' at Cat's school.  Her group is doing a project with some younger students that sounds like fun.  The kids are to make paper airplanes and have a contest to see whose flies the farthest.  I know there's some science in there some place.  It brought back memories of the hours spent trying to master the right folding technique to make the perfect plane.

Today's photo is part of our backyard, taken from Lisa's upstairs studio.  Just another reason why we like to come home.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Do the best you can
until you know better.
Then, when you know better,
do better."
~Maya Angelou

Tuesday, August 12, 2014



It looks as though Chiang Rai will get through the entire day without rain.  What?  Lots of dark clouds coming and going, but nothing dropping on us.  

Based on the responses, this really is an 'Easy Monday' tune.  Maybe the second verse will help you remember:
"I know your image of me is what I hope to be.  I've treated you unkindly, but darlin' can't you see.  There's no one more important to me, darlin' can't you please see through me, 'cause we're alone now and I'm singing this __ __ __."  Clue:  The actual title of this song has four words.  It's been sung be hundreds of singers in many styles.  If you can't remember the original writer/artist, that's OK.  

We spent the day on the compound.  It was one of those quiet days where things got done.  I did leave the house in the afternoon to pick up Cat from the Song Taew 'Depot' at the big market.  On my way, I saw lots of little families on motorbikes, small eating spots doing a brisk business, and people carrying bouquets.  Mother Day is the second biggest selling floral holiday after Valentine's Day.  If we were to go to the mall, we would have seen families waiting to eat in the nice restaurants, treating moms to a special meal.  There were, no doubt, parts of town where it was just another day.  

During dinner we heard all about Cat's visit to her village.  She spent most of the time with her sister.  She told us about going mushroom hunting with her sister and how their three dogs encountered a cobra.  The dogs apparently got sprayed in the eyes with venom.  They rinsed their eyes but Cat doesn't know what will happen next.  She also visited with her uncle, who is a monk.  They have a great relationship and besides being a monk, he is the patriarch of the family.  Now it's back to the routine of books, tests, and projects.  Cat just came upstairs with a Mother Day gift for Lisa.  Very Sweet.

Though we didn't get a 'live' view of the Super Moon, our friend Claire gave us the view from Virginia, and Barry sent an L.A. photo, so we feel like we almost know what it was like.  

Today's photo will give you an idea of what the Art Bridge exhibit was like.  Too much to absorb in one evening.  

Since this week actually begins tomorrow (Wednesday), we have a long list of things to do and errands to run.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"There is only one way to avoid criticism:
Do nothing,
Say nothing,
and Be nothing."

Monday, August 11, 2014



The predictable weather in Chiang Rai has continued in the usual manner.  We were looking forward to seeing the Super Moon, but the clouds rolled in and blocked the view completely.  Hope you got to see it.

The 'Old School Friday' song was "Sea Cruise" by Frankie Ford.  Time for an easy 'Easy Monday'.  This one's for you.
"I've been so many places in my life and time.  I've sung a lot of songs, I've made some bad rhymes.  I've acted out my love in stages, with ten thousand people watching, but we're alone now and I'm singing this __ __ __."  Hint:  It's a bit of a confessional, there's no masquerade going on here.  

The big event this weekend was the opening of the "Small Paintings" exhibit at Art Bridge.  The turnout was amazing and many of the paintings were 'reserved', meaning people wanted to buy them.  As we walked through the crowd we noticed the red dots signifying a 'reserve'.  A giant buffet was served in the restaurant and there was live music in the outer gallery.  The opening of the exhibit was rather dramatic when, as if by magic, the two large doors to the gallery swung wide with no one touching them.  As we entered, there was a woman from Holland playing the violin in the center of the room.  One of the pieces she played was about The King, and the room erupted in applause.  Today we stopped by the gallery and learned that the big doors have a remote control to swing them open.  We also learned that there was a red dot by Lisa's painting.  That made the day.

The photo for today is Lisa's 'Small Painting' titled "First Flight".  

We have an artist friend who lives out in the countryside.  He told me of a recent incident that happened while he was painting a Naga (a traditional Thai dragon).  As he began to paint, his dog started barking.  When he went to look, he saw a cobra in his yard.  After several attempts to scare it away, it finally left.  The next day the dog barked again when he began to paint and another snake was approaching the dog.  On the third day it happened again.  After he finished the painting of the Naga, the snakes stopped coming around.  Hmm.

Chiang Rai, and all of Thailand, is in holiday mode.  Tuesday is The Queen's birthday, also called 'Mother Day'.  It is a national holiday and since if falls on Tuesday, many businesses took a long weekend.  The Queen's birthday color is blue, so the flower shops are full of bouquets and large arrangements with the color blue as the prominent theme.  Each day of the week has a color and the day you were born is 'your color'.  The King's color is yellow.  In addition to paying respects to The Queen, mother's are also treated to a special day.  Cat went to her village to spend some time with her family and will return Tuesday afternoon.

Have a Great Week.


"You alone are enough.
You have nothing to prove 
to anybody."
~Maya Angelou