Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Funnies


The weather in Chiang Rai is staying in the current pattern of cold, foggy mornings, hot days, and pleasant nights. We remembered Thanksgiving after the fact, but will have a turkey dinner on Sunday.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Hoochie-Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters.  It’s time for ‘Old School Friday’ and it’s gonna be an easy one, I hope.  “She comes on like a rose, but everybody knows.  She’ll get you in Dutch.  Now you can look but you better not touch.  __ __, __ __.  Late at night when you’re sleepin’ __ __ comes a-creepin’ around.”
Hint:  Hmm, there’s a plant involved, disguised as a person.  Or is it the other way around.  By a group that’s known  for their ‘Zany Day’ tunes.

The big news today is that the exhibit is set.  We spent the morning unwrapping the artwork and placing it in various positions.  Before that happened we moved ‘walls on wheels’ around the room, looking at different ways to maximize the impact of the presentation.  Each piece of art was set on the floor in the spot we thought was best.  Then we’d walk around and move things like chess pieces.  We settled on a layout and went home.  In the afternoon we returned to Art Bridge for an evaluation by Khun Sompong, one of the senior artists here in Chiang Rai.  He has a lot of experience in setting exhibits and his judgement is highly regarded.  He came in and moved a wall, shook things up and made it all make sense.  When we left, everything on our check-list had been done.  

This evening we went to a small exhibit at The Curry Hut, where we saw small photos, mostly from around Chiang Rai.  There were some familiar places in some of the photos, but the way they were taken gave us a different perspective.  The folks at the Hut have been promoting Lisa’s exhibit and many of the guests tonight are coming to the opening tomorrow.

Walking into Big C tonight, we came upon this display for a wedding production company.  Who knew there were Unicorns in Thailand?

Tomorrow night is the big night.  We’ll make one last check of things in the morning, and then try to relax until the evening.  The opening ceremony has speakers, translators, greetings from the artist, a video of Lisa’s father talking about his art, and the presentation of the artist by Dr. Kobchai, the owner of Le Meridien Hotel.  A ribbon will be cut and everyone will go to the new, upstairs gallery.  There will be photos next week.

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


Thursday, November 27, 2014



This morning it was dark at 6am.  There was no fog, at least I couldn’t see any.  In simplest terms, it was an art day. 

So far, the ‘Zany Day’ song is a stumper.  I didn’t mean for that to happen, but I guess I went too deep.  Here’s more:  “I got a black cat bone, I got a mojo too, I got John the Conqueror, I’m gonna mess with you.  I’m gonna make you, pretty girl, lead me by the hand, then the world will know, the __-__ __.”  Hint:  Title almost sounds like baby talk, but it’s not. 

The first thing on our list for today was to load 34 works of art into the van.  We enlisted Boot’s brother, Nu, to help us.  The plan worked perfectly and all of the art went into the van without any problem.  We were due at the gallery at 9am.  After running the dogs we hit the road.  It’s a short trip to Art Bridge and when we arrived we got to see what happens an hour before it normally opens.  The staff was preparing the lunch menu in the kitchen, the waiters were counting things, arranging tables, and workers were putting finishing touches on the new gallery.
Three young men unloaded the van and we discussed the next steps with the manager, Poy.  It was determined that more clean up was necessary before we took the work upstairs so we went home.

Blue joined us and we went to Work@Home for coffee, tea and conversation.  The air was cool and the sky was clear.  It was a beautiful morning.  After coffee we made a few more stops at shops where posters could be hung.   One of the places we stopped was Browney’s pet supply.  We didn’t expect them to put up a poster, but the owner was eager to hang it and said she’d be at the opening.  Wow.  It’s looking more and more like we’re going to have a big crowd on Saturday night.

We had a nice lunch at Art Bridge since we were to hang the work at 1pm.  While we ate, we watched a scene unfold at the table next to us.  Two by two, older couples arrived and greeted each other with big smiles.  It was some kind of club or organization and there was a genuine bond between them.  When we finished lunch we had another meeting with Poy and decided to mount the show tomorrow morning.  

This evening we went to an opening at 9 Art Gallery.  It was like a reunion of the old guard.  They used to have an opening on the first Saturday of each month and that’s how we got to know most of the local artists.  They stopped having the monthly openings and people were missing them.  You might say they were back by popular demand.  The exhibit featured 8 artists and their work represented various styles.  We had good conversations with some of the senior artists from Art Bridge and also with some old friends.  

Today’s photo was taken on the Super Highway.  It might look like an ordinary delivery truck until you realize that it’s carrying ‘Ize & Pure Drinking Water’.  I couldn’t resist sharing another creative spelling of an English word.  Hmm, maybe it’s colder.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Hatred and fear blind us.
We no longer see each other.  
We only see faces of monsters,
and that gives us courage to destroy 
each other.”
~Thick Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, November 26, 2014



The day began with fog, but turned into another hot one.  Eventually, the night-time temps will be the day-time temps and winter will be in the house.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “With A Little Help From My Friends”, by The Beatles.  ‘Zany Day’ is next and it’s from the blues archives.  “On the seventh hour, of the seventh day, on the seventh month, the seventh doctor said: ‘He’s born for good luck, and I know you see, got seven hundred dollars, and don’t you mess with me.’  Why you know I’m here, everybody know I’m here, and I’m the __-__ __, everybody knows I’m here.”  Clue:  The first two words of the title are slang words that rhyme.  If your mojo is workin’ you just might get it.

Today’s photo is the view from our upstairs balcony this morning.  The fog is clearly visible, engulfing the view past the wall.  Oh my.

By the time we took the dogs out, the fog was almost completely gone.  There is something about the cool, moist air that revs up the dogs.  This morning Daku was ready to ‘work’, doing his laps across the front lawn.  BamBam usually runs herself without much prompting.  Today she was happy to chase a few balls and then just alternate between chewing the ball and chewing the grass.  

The day outside the walls began with a trip to Makro.  It’s interesting to see the mix of holiday promotional items in a store like this.  As we entered, there was a display for a book about The King.  His birthday is December 5 and is observed with much enthusiasm.  A little past that there was a big table with Christmas wrapping paper and lights.  Even the Pringle’s potato chips have Christmas trees on them.  A few steps later there was a big table with gift baskets that are used as offerings at the temples.  

Today was the day Blue completed all of the work towards his retirement visa.  We are all very happy that it’s happening and he’ll be staying in The Kingdom.  

After lunch we were back out in the street.  It’s a busy time right now and things are getting done.  Tomorrow morning we will load the van with the art work for the exhibit and take it to Art Bridge.  Then we will ‘set’ the exhibit in the gallery.  There will be help in carrying the work up the stairs, and then we will place each piece where we want it and then the staff will hang them.  Oh, decisions, decisions.  

It looks like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Everyone is my teacher.  Some I seek.  
Some I subconsciously attract.  Often 
I learn by observing others.
Some may be completely unaware that
I’m learning from them, 
yet I bow deeply in gratitude.”

Tuesday, November 25, 2014



After an unusually cold morning, the day turned out hot.  We had a very busy adventurous day.  Ride along.

Looks like the ‘Easy Monday’ song was easy for some of you, but not many.  Maybe another verse will help:
“What do I do when my love is away?  (Does it worry you to be alone?).  How do I feel by the end of the day?  (Are you sad because you’re on your own?).  No, I get by __ __ __ __ __ __ __, Mmm, get high __ __ __ __ __ __ __, Mmm, gonna try __ __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  This tune was sung by the drummer of the group, who wore four rings.  You can get through a lot if you have the key word in the title of this song.

This morning we picked up Cat and her sister at the Talat (Big Market), and drove up to the Chiang Rai immigration office.  Blue was going to get his Retirement Visa, and Cat was to apply for a Thai Passport.  While Blue was at the counter having his papers scrutinized, I took Cat and her sister to another office nearby to see about more paperwork.  When we returned to immigration, they had instructed Blue to go to Mae Sai, cross over to Burma and re-enter so he would have a certain amount of days on his remaining stay.  It was very complicated and we didn’t thoroughly understand.  We drove into town to another office where Cat discovered she needed to collect a lot more background information in order to apply for a passport since she is under 20 years old.  

Our drive to Mae Sai was fun, noticing all the brightly painted buildings, the beautiful mountains, and the changes in the fields.  It’s rice harvesting time in many of them and we could see mounds of the left over plant stalks.  Mae Sai is a bustling border town.  Since it’s High Season, there was even more activity than usual.  We dropped Blue off at the border and went shopping.  That’s what one does in Mae Sai.  There is such an amazing variety of stuff for sale that it boggles the mind.  Most of it is from China, and there are degrees of quality.  There are vendors selling anything you can imagine, and things you’ve never seen before.  One has to be careful since there are cars and motorbikes driving inside, making deliveries.  We were on a mission for warm coats so we didn’t really browse.  I did see several shops that I could spend time in though.  Hmm, we’re going back next week.  We did find what we were looking for so it was a successful venture.

Today’s photo shows one of the many shopping lanes in the Mae Sai district.  It’s like a city within a city.

Across the border, Blue spent as little time as possible.  We have been to Tachilek once, and our memory of it was that it was a very depressing place, full of desperate street vendors and shops full of knock-off designer goods.  Blue confirmed this and noted that he didn’t see many smiling faces.  There are some historic sites to see, but overall, it’s just not a destination we would choose.  There are only a couple of towns one can visit without hiring a guide, under government supervision.  Although the country is officially named Myanmar, I still call it Burma because that was the name before the military takeover.  

Once we all reconnected it was time to head home.  On the roadside south of Mae Sai there were lots of stands selling strawberries and assorted by-products like juice and wine.  A lot of land is being developed with the speculation that more people will come to this region with the coming Association of South East Asian Nations, of which Thailand and Myanmar are members.  Increased trade and easier border crossings for local citizens will mean a lot more business.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“How easy it is to see your brother’s
faults, how hard it is to face your own.”
~The Buddha

Monday, November 24, 2014



Chiang Rai is in what I think I’ll call ‘Half and Half Weather’.  One half of the day is cold and the other hot.  Bit by bit it will all turn cold so I guess we should enjoy the hot while we have it.

‘Old School Friday’ was an easy one so most of you didn’t bother writing (555).  “Fever” was the song, by Little Willie John.  I have a feeling this ‘Easy Monday’ song is just what we need to start the week.  You can sing along.
“What would you think if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me?  Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, and I’ll try not to sing out of key.  Oh, I get by __ __ __ __ __ __ __, mmm, I get high __ __ __ __ __ __ __, mmm, I’m gonna try __ __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  It’s by those four lads from across the pond and they’re letting us know that with some assistance from certain relationships, they will be alright.

Saturday afternoon we had a meeting at Art Bridge with the manager and the director to go over the fine points of the exhibit.  At first we were worried that they might tell us the gallery wouldn’t be finished in time, but that was not the case.  From the bottom of the stairs we could smell paint, which led me to believe they were in the final phase of the construction.  The opening of an exhibit is a show in itself.  There are speeches, presentations, and finally, the cutting of the ribbon.  The presenter has been secured, a businessman in Chiang Rai with a high degree of visibility and respect.  Our next major job will be getting Lisa and Joe’s work to the gallery.  This will be the true test of the van’s capabilities (555).  There are over 30 pieces of artwork to transport, the rest have been delivered by the framer.  The excitement is building.

Boot’s brother offered to do work for us around the house, with no payment.  We would have paid him, but he wants to do it for free since he’s staying here.  He’s been watering the gardens and Sunday he painted some areas that needed touching up.  Nu is a welcomed addition to our household.

This seems to be ‘art opening week’ in Chiang Rai.  Thursday night there is an exhibit opening at 9 Art Gallery, Friday an opening of a photography exhibit at The Curry Hut, and Lisa and her Dad’s exhibit on Saturday night.  It’s going to be a busy week.

There is no doubt in my mind that Daku can tell time.  Sunday afternoon Lisa was wrapping her art and Daku walked over to me and just stared at me.  I turned and he followed me and continued to stare with a look of determination.  It was 4pm, the time when he goes outside.  If we’re upstairs at 4pm, he comes over to me and smacks me with his paw.  When it’s about 10 minutes before dinner time he comes into the room and just stands there, as if to say, ‘Well, don’t just sit there, fix my dinner.’  Hmm.

Today’s photo was taken at Art Bridge.  This carved, wooden village becomes an animated wonder when you drop a coin into the attached box.  The farmers work the grain, the oxen plow the field, and the children play.  It’s fascinating.

Have a Great Week.

“Sometimes you just need to hear
the right thing from the right person
at the right time.”

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Funnies


We woke up to cold air and fog this morning.  It lifted and turned into a hot sunny day.  It’s a new phase of weather.

Nobody guessed the ‘Zany Day’ song.  It was “Idol With The Golden Head” by The Coasters.  You can hear it at the link below.  For ‘Old School Friday’ I’m giving you an easy one.  I’m pretty sure you’ll recognize this gem:
“Never know how much I love you.  Never know how much I care.  When you put your arms around me, I get a __ that’s so hard to bear.  You give me __ when you kiss me.  __ when you hold me tight.  __ in the mornin’, __ all through the night.”  Hint: High temperature in a human being.  

We went back to the Healthy Market today to get our fish.  While we waited for the fish to be cleaned we strolled in the street in front of the flower stalls.  Today’s photo shows some unique things that can be done with flowers and leaves.  

We made more stops around town, distributing posters and invitation cards for the art exhibit.  Art Bridge has been presenting exhibits and workshops for three years and has built a reputation.  This is Lisa’s first show there and to many local friends, it’s like an ‘arrival’.  We got a call from the printer and the catalogues will get here by bus tonight.  We’ll pick them up tomorrow.  We were told that they are in two large, heavy boxes.  Oh joy.

In our search for mailing tubes, we discovered a few solutions.  The first was to use the cardboard tube that holds a bolt of fabric.  The second, which we’re trying this week, is a length of PVC tubing.  This tubing is used for all of the plumbing in Chiang Rai and I suspect all over Thailand.  We stopped at a supply house and had them cut us a piece from their scrap barrel.  The tip came from an expat forum here in town.  

There is a restaurant/bar down by the river that has started featuring live music again.  How do I know?  We can hear it at our house.  I just realized that the reason we can hear it so well is that most places are open air affairs.  I wonder what will happen when it gets real cold.  Hmm.

Today I made a new friend.  He’s a teacher from South Wales who has been in Thailand for four years.  We hung out this afternoon and really hit it off.  In addition to teaching, he is also an accomplished juggler.  I can’t wait to see him throw things in the air and catch them (555).  I’ve always found that fascinating.

Tomorrow Cat gets her braces adjusted, which is never fun.  Then she will go to her village for several days and return on Tuesday.  Her school is closed on Monday and Tuesday for special testing of the Seniors.  Tomorrow we have a meeting at Art Bridge with the director and a bunch more errands.  It will be a busy weekend, but very satisfying.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     And now, the ‘Funnies’.   Oh yeah, this is the final race of the 2014 F1 season.


Thursday, November 20, 2014



Chiang Rai had what looked like rain soaked clouds this morning, but we ventured out anyway.  We delivered posters and invitation cards for the art exhibit to various locations and had a very productive morning.  The big news is about water.

Well, I’m surprised that no one knows this ‘Zany Day’ song.  Charlie Brown went Searchin’ and couldn’t find what the title character in the tune found.  Read on:  “The __ eyes began to wink and blink, he said, ‘Hold on give me time to think.  The lightning flashed and the __ did speak.  He said, ‘Your Big Foot May she’s down at Catfish Creek.  Rocking and a rolling, hopping and a-bopping…”  Hint:  There is a precious metal involved in the composition.

When we began thinking about places to promote the show, we realized how many people with businesses we could call on to hang a poster and/or put out invitation cards.  The list kept growing.  Being part of a community is about building relationships and it seems that we’ve built quite a few.  It’s gratifying to know that we have ‘friends’ who are willing to help.  As a result, the word is getting out.  

This morning, for the first time, the fish guy at Healthy Market was out of fish.  What?  There must have been a run on his fish, but he assured me he would have more tomorrow.  At the fruit stand, the husband of the couple that run it spent a few minutes picking out a good watermelon for us.  He always does this with a big smile, muttering something under his breath in Thai that seems to make him laugh.  

While we were out, HomePro delivered the big water tank that will supply the house.  During lunch Nung showed up right on time and he and his friend set everything up.  We now have water with pressure in the house and everybody is very happy.  

Speaking of everybody, our household has grown by one.  Boot’s younger brother is staying with us now.  He arrived a few days ago and already has a job.  He is a very shy guy, and very sweet.  We forgot his name and when we asked Boot, she told us one name, then later told us an easier name.  Today Cat asked him his name and he told her something all together different.  Hmm, what’s your name?  Now there are seven people, two dogs, three motorcycles, and the little van.  I think we’re close to a full house.

Today’s photo was taken at Boon Rawd Farm the last time we were there. The white birds in the water are swans.  It’s a very relaxing landscape.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Being me takes practice
and I’m still figuring it all out.”
~Anna Pereira

Wednesday, November 19, 2014



Chiang Rai is now in the rain-teasing phase right before winter.  What's weird is that our winter is dry.  Hmm.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I’m Your Puppet” by James & Bobby Purify.  Time now for another ‘Zany Day’ song:
“Bought myself an __ __ __ __ __, put it on a shelf right above my bed.  Got down on my knees and began to pray.  I said, ‘__’, tell me where’s my Big Foot May.”  Clue:  There is a symbol of superstition involved.  It’s by a vocal group known for their zany, novelty hits.  You know who they are.  Something that rolls down a hill.

We can tell that winter is nearby because it’s dark when we get up at 6am.  What, why so early?  The van that takes Cat to school comes earlier than the last one, which means that breakfast has to come earlier, which means that our day begins earlier.  This morning it was dark with a slight sprinkle.  The other sign that winter is near was the fact that it was cold.  Later in the day it was hot, but the temps are definitely changing.  Swimming season is over.

Our morning was spent running errands ‘north of the river’.  I just realized that when we go into town, we travel south, over the Pink Bridge and all the major business stuff is on that side.  When we go north, it’s to places like Art Bridge, Makro, the Post office, and Maefahluang University.  So, today we started at Art Bridge to pick up the printed invitations for Lisa’s exhibit with her dad on November 29.  The place was buzzing with activity.  The construction continues on the upstairs gallery where the exhibit will be set.  The main lobby is filling up with paintings and sculptures for a December 27 opening of a tribute exhibit in honor of the late Tawan Duchanee, a local, National Artist.  

Today’s photo shows the sky in Chiang Rai as seen from the deck at Art Bridge.

The preparation for an art exhibit is a major production in itself.  We have done this before, and each time it seems to grow new facets of importance.  The posters and invitations are printed and now have to be distributed around town.  The catalogue for the exhibit is at the printer in Chiang Mai and will be done on Friday.  On Friday they will arrive in Chiang Rai on the Green Bus.  It’s amazing that they can take a package to the bus station and ship it here and get same day service.  The artwork that is still at the framer will be delivered to the gallery and the rest we will transport ourselves.  The actual hanging of the show will be done by Art Bridge, who will also take care of the refreshments and provide the sound system for the opening. The end result will be a presentation of the work of Lisa and her father using the same cast acrylic print technique.  The satisfaction of seeing the work on the walls will have us smiling for a long time.  

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“The miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green earth,
dwelling deeply in the present moment and
feeling truly alive.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, November 18, 2014



Today was another weather ‘fake out’ day in Chiang Rai.  By mid-morning clouds were gathering, looking like it might rain.  In the afternoon it had blown away.  It was a happy/sad thing since we need some rain, but like being dry.  (555)

Looks like we have another winner with this week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Let’s see if anyone else remembers:
“Pull them little strings and I’ll kiss your lips, __ __ __.  Snap your fingers and I’ll turn you some flips, __ __ __.  
Mmm, your every wish is my command, all you got to do is wiggle your little hand, __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Hint:  This  is not your typical Pinocchio story.

This morning both of the dogs got baths.  That always leads to the ‘crazy run’ where Daku dashes around the yard, BamBam runs, but doesn’t play, and they both roll around on towels to dry off.  It’s quite a show.  

After the baths, Blue, Lisa and I left the house with the intention of getting the van washed.  As we drove to town the sky began to change and the dark clouds had us thinking twice about it.  We decided to just go to Work@Home for coffee and tea and maybe visit with Katai, the owner.  We always have stimulating conversations when we visit and today was no exception.  In the course of the conversation, the giant statue that’s being built near us came up.  Katai told us that it is not a Buddha, but a Chinese Buddhist Deity named Quan Yin.  I later discovered that her name means: ’She who hears the cries of the whole world.’  The temple plays an active role in the local community by offering food and housing to at-risk young girls.  It may be time to go back to the temple and see what progress has been made on the statue.

This afternoon under clearing skies we returned to the downtown district and got the van washed.  Sitting in Doi Chaang Coffee, we noticed how the traffic is changing, and also the number of ‘visitors’ that are in town.  The ‘High Season’ is almost in full swing.  There are more big buses and tour vans around, and tourists on foot are easy to spot with their maps and back-packs.  Chiang Rai has many interesting sights to see, and the cooler climate offers a nice contrast to the heat everywhere else in Thailand.

Our photo for today was not taken by any of us, but was sent to Lisa by our friend Supalak, who owns the art supply store in town.  Every day she and Lisa exchange photos and a greeting using a program called ‘Line’.  Supalak sent these Purple Bananas and told Lisa that they grow in Thailand.  Hmm, something for the garden?

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Focus on what matters,
and let go of what doesn’t.”

Monday, November 17, 2014

Can Do


The weekend weather in Chiang Rai was beautiful.  Blue skies with puffy white clouds most of the time.  We had a minor wind storm that looked like it would bring rain, but it just blew it all away.  Hmm.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was "Blueberry Hill”, by Fats Dominoe.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be a snap.  Remember?
“Pull the string and I’ll wink at you, __ __ __.  I’ll do funny things if you want me to, __ __ __.  Mm, I’m yours to have and to hold, darling you’ve got full control of __ __.”  Hint:  Who remembers Howdy Doody?

The saga of the water tank is slowly being sorted out.  Since the old one is unfixable, and the platform it sat on is broken, we had a few things to do.  Nung, who turns out to be more than a lighting guy, determined what we needed.  He and a friend came over today and poured concrete for a new base for the new tank.  After looking, but not finding a tank like we had before, we found a suitable replacement at HomePro. The new tank is made of a high-tech, food-grade polymer with a 25 year guarantee.  We still have to wait until Thursday for installation since the concrete has to cure.  That means dealing with the weak pressure from the ‘city water’ system.  We had the tank for so long that we forgot why we got it in the first place.  Now I understand why there are so many water tank systems all around town.  With the tank, you still get water from the city, but it is pumped at a higher pressure into the house.  Of course, if that pump stops working, no water.  

Saturday evening we went to NorThai for the opening of a two-artist exhibit.  Gothie is a young French artist who experiments with acrylic and sometimes mixes wood and iron into his works.  I enjoyed hearing him describe his process and inspiration.  Martin Doyle is the ‘resident artist’ and co-owner of NorThai.  His new works were vivid and thought provoking.  It was a nice balance of styles and we got to spend some time with some expat friends as well as some local artists.  

Sunday we all went to the mall for lunch.  After lunch Lisa went to the stationary/art supply store and got a bunch of acrylic paint for the little elephant project.  The elephant should arrive sometime next week.  While we were in Chiang Mai, we saw the painted cows again, and some elephants that are a little larger than the Art Bridge project.  There is definitely something magical about brightly painted animals.  In the evening we had dinner with our friend Atom.  The folks at Sawadee are used to seeing the four of us for dinner, so when five showed up, they had to set up a special table.  We had a great time that carried over to Swensen’s for dessert. 

Today’s photo was taken by Blue as we were leaving Chiang Mai.  I happened to look up and see the sign.  Blue captured it with his telephoto lens.

Have a Great Week.


“Do not let what you cannot do
interfere with what you can do.”
~John Wooden

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Funnies


Our trip to Chiang Mai was very productive.  The weather was its usual hot self, with the exception of a brief mountain shower on the way home.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Politician” by Cream.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next, and I’ll try to make it an easy one (555).   “I found my thrill on __ __.  On __ __, when I found you.  The moon stood still, on __ __, and lingered until my dreams came true.  The wind in the willow tree played love’s sweet melody.  But all of those vows you made were never to be….”  Clue:  Song was written in 1940, had numerous recordings, but became a giant hit in 1956 by an R&B artist who was a little on the chubby side (that’s a hint).  Oh, not the Checker guy either.  The two word title is a location.

This morning, after breakfast, we walked to one of the larger streets where there are numerous boutiques selling locally made products.  The tourist season has begun so there were lots of new designs and styles.  We walked a lot farther than we realized, but it was worth it.  Back on our hotel street we found a couple of shops that had an assortment of very old things from Tibet and Thailand.  It was fun to just look.  One could spend hours sifting through all of the ‘stuff’ in these shops.  

On this trip it seemed like Blue and I kept noticing the many ways people transport things and the risks they take in doing so.  Everything from overstuffed trucks to strange loads that look like they will fall off at the next bump in the road.  The interesting thing is, the goods get delivered.  Today’s photo is a simple delivery of rice, on a very small bike.

We made it back to Chiang Rai in record time since there was no stop for pie.  I guess I was just anxious to get home.   This weekend we will deal with the drama of the water tank by getting a new one and having it installed.  That’s the simple version.  Saturday night we’re going to the opening of an art exhibit at NorThai.  Life continues to be amazing.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.        Don’t forget the ‘Funnies’.


Thursday, November 13, 2014



We had a gorgeous day on our trip to Chiang Mai.  Traffic was not very heavy on the highway and we made good time.  Oh yes, and there was pie.

Only two people know the ‘Zany Day’ song, so far.  Maybe the second verse will help you figure it out.  Hmm.
"I support the left, though I'm leaning to the right.  I support the left, though I’m leaning, leaning to the right.  But I’m just not there when it's coming to a fight.”  Hint:  It’s by a Power Trio from across the pond who know something about sunshine and love.  One word title was the subject of recent elections.  Now you should get it, even if you don’t know the song (555).

This morning, sitting in the local traffic in Chiang Rai, I spotted a truck.  At first I thought it was piled high with junk metal.  Then I realized that it was full of newly assembled bicycles.  Was it coming from Santa’s workshop?  You decide as you ponder today’s photo.

We arrived in Chiang Mai at mid-day.  Driving on fairly familiar streets gave me a bit of confidence that we could find our hotel.  Driving past the street while on a one-way street,  meant we had to make a huge circle to get back to where we wanted to be.  We found the 'Raming Lodge Hotel & Resort’ (pronounced rah-Ming) in the middle of a small Soi (street) that’s filled with bars, restaurants and small shops.  It’s a big, six-story brick building that looks out of place.  Once inside, it didn’t matter what the street was like.  It was like an oasis.  We had lunch at the ‘Rock Me’ cafe and bar.  There was a clever motif throughout the place, with round, black menus resembling records, posters of Jimi Hendricks, Cream, The Stones, and Miles Davis, and a focus on decadent western things like double beef bacon burgers.  Hmm.  We ate sensibly and enjoyed the meal.  Our rooms are very comfortable, though the beds are hard.  It’s the first time we’ve been in a hotel where all the treats in the room are free.  What?

Chiang Mai is a big city.  It is big in size and population.  We decided to have dinner at Promenada, one of the newer malls in the city.  Our mode of transportation was Tuk-Tuk.  On one hand, it was faster than a car in rush-hour traffic.  On the other hand, it was noisier and stinkier than a taxi.  Luckily, our driver wasn’t one of the ‘cowboys’ that takes risks by darting and weaving.  We got to see neighborhoods and side streets as well as sit in the traffic on the small highways.  It was an adventure, being in the open with motorbikes whizzing by on both sides and feeling every bump in the road.  When we got to Promenada, Blue told the driver he did a good job and he laughed.  

It’s very strange to walk into a shopping mall and find it virtually empty.  That was our experience this evening.  The restaurant where we ate was busy, and so was the grocery store, but the rest of the place was deserted.  We figured it might have been the time of day, and the remote location.  Anyway, we had a great dinner and got some hard to find items at Rimping Market.  

When we returned to our hotel, by taxi, the street was alive with the nightlife.  It’s been a long day and the street is not my cup of tea.  Tomorrow we’ll explore a bit and return to Chiang Rai.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“If life knocks you down, 
roll over and look at the stars.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2014



Chiang Rai experienced a clear, hot day.  Could it be that the rainy season has finally left us?  We watch the skies and wonder.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett.  Onward to the ‘Zany Day’ episode.
“Hey now baby, get into my big black car.  Hey now baby, get into my big black car.  I just want to show you, what my politics are.  I’m a political man, and I practice what I preach.  I’m a political man, and I practice what I preach.  So don’t deny me baby, not while you’re in my reach.”  Clue:  The title is one word, whose variation has been used in this verse.  Not going to pass judgement, but it sounds so familiar (555).

For about a month, the van has been developing a small rattle in the driver's side door.  It has become very annoying, so this morning I took it to Suzuki for repair.  When the mechanic drove the van I was hoping it would make the noise.  There is nothing worse than to take a vehicle for repair and not have it do what you say it does.  Well, it performed flawlessly and rattled away.  He took off the door panel, fixed the rattle and had me drive it.  Oh, the silence was wonderful.  It’s nice to be able to go to a small dealership and not have to go through a lot of red tape to fix a minor problem.  The agent who sold us the van thought it might take a long time and was willing to let me use their ‘test drive’ van for the day.  Pretty cool.

In the afternoon we went to our local immigration office so Blue could renew his visa.  It’s so nice to walk into an empty office and get service right away.  The staff is friendly and helpful so it never feels intimidating.  There was some joking around during the process, which always makes it feel lighter.  I suppose it helps that we always come prepared, and with a good attitude.

After a stop at the pharmacy, and the bakery, we went to the Healthy Market for vegetables.  While we were shopping a man who has a ‘Tea Pot’ cart came up to me and asked me where I was from.  He spoke very good English and had a very ‘non Thai’ look.  We talked, or rather, I answered a lot of questions, and then I asked about him.  He told us his grandfather was from Algeria, his father from Pakistan, and his mother was from Malaysia.  He is part of the Muslim community and takes his ‘shop’ to another location in the evening where he sells to ‘his brothers’.  Interesting guy - I hope to see him again.

Yesterday, while we were at the vet’s, Lisa got a new bed for Daku.  He as taken to it with great enthusiasm.  

Tomorrow we drive south to Chiang Mai for an overnight trip.  I suspect there will be pie on the way there (555).

It’s time for Wacky Wednesday.


"If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014



Today’s weather in Chiang Rai ranged from foggy in the morning, to bright and sunny in the afternoon.  

This ‘Easy Monday’ song has created a lot of responses.  Some songs stand out in our memory.  Here’s more:
“I’m gonna wait 'til the stars come out, and see that twinkle in your eyes.  I’m gonna wait __ __ __ __, that’s when my love begins to shine.  You’ll be the only girl I know that really loves me so __ __ __ __, oh yeah…”  Clue:  I wonder if her name was Sally?  Maybe her coach turned into a Mustang at that special hour.  Hmm...

This morning we covered a lot of territory.  First we drove out to Gahn’s house to try on clothes.  There were workers carrying drywall out of her house.  She told us that the rain had weakened the ceiling in her dining area and last night it caved in, while everyone was sleeping.  

At the vet’s, we had to get more Thyroid since Daku is taking it now.  For some reason, it always takes a long time to fill dog prescriptions.  Hmm.  

Our next little adventure took us north of Chiang Rai and into the countryside.  In some of the large rice fields, we could see where they had begun the harvest.  The frame factory was a hub of activity this morning.  They are making giant decorative pieces for the project Todd is involved with on the MaeKong.  The framing he is doing for the upcoming exhibit is beautiful.  To give you an idea of size, I parked next to two of the large fiberglass pieces.  

Last Friday we discovered that the water tank that provides water for the house had tipped over, sprung a leak, and was shooting water into the area behind the waterfall.  The ‘feet’ on one side sank into the ground and started the problem.  Today we got the leak stopped, and the pipes reconnected directly to the house.  Tomorrow the tank will be taken to the shop for repair, hopefully.  For now, everything is back to normal, except that the water pressure is lower.  

The preparation for “Timeless Harmonies”, featuring the works of Lisa and her father, Joseph Zirker, has reached the promotional phase.  You will be getting an email invitation from me. 

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“See yourself in 
everyone you meet.”
~Panache Desai

Monday, November 10, 2014



After a beautiful almost clear day, we are enjoying a night with no sound from outside.  It’s eerie, yet quite pleasant.  No explosions, no thumping bass, just silence.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Oh, What a Night” by The Dells.  ‘Easy Monday’ is next.  Not a Cinderella story.
“I’m gonna wait ’til __ __ __, that’s when my love comes tumbling down.  I’m gonna wait ’til __ __ __, when there’s no one else around.  I’m gonna take you girl, and hold you, and do all the things I told you __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  Patience is the key, there is a time designation involved.   

Saturday we did a very brave thing.  We took both dogs back to Dr. View for a second round of tick shots.  We had been told that they might need another, and she was right.  When the dogs realized they were going with us, they got crazy.  BamBam wanted to get in the van so bad she scratched up the passenger side door.  Once they were inside and riding, they decided they wanted to sit in the middle row with Lisa.  That doesn’t quite work, so she had her hands full keeping them in the back.  In addition, every time BamBam made a sound like she was upset, it would set Daku into a protective tizzy and both dogs were bouncing around.  They always know when they are going home, though.  As soon as they got back into the van after their shots they were model dogs, sitting quietly looking out of the windows.  Hmm, why can’t they do that on the way?

Even though Friday was supposed to be the final official day of Loi Krathong, the party continued across the river until Sunday night.  It’s fascinating to watch holidays stretched out over more than one day, or an ‘eve’ and a day. For those of you in the U.S., try to imagine the 4th of July being observed for a week.  It boggles the mind.  The amount of trash generated is impressive.  Today the riverbank park was empty and almost cleaned up, but it took a large crew most of the day.

Sunday we went to Central Plaza for school supplies and lunch.  After lunch I decided I should stop by the Apple store and see if the new iPhones had arrived.  They were released in Thailand on October 31, but apparently none of them were shipped to Chiang Rai.  Well, they had them in stock and after what seemed like a long process, I left the store with a new iPhone 6 Plus.  Since then, I have exercised great restraint and have shared my attention with other things in life (555).  So many new things to explore.  

Last week Blue took today’s photo of the temple at MaeFahluang University.  

Have a Great Week.


“Nature does not hurry,
yet everything is accomplished.”
~Lao Tzu