Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Well, it was hotter than yesterday, but still quite pleasant.  There’s a beauty pageant at the mall and another new addition to the house.  Read on.

Our ‘Zany Day’ song this week was “The Leader of the Pack” by The Shangri-Las.  It’s time for ‘Old School Friday’.  This week it’s a ‘recycled tune’, so maybe more of you will know it.  “My love must be a kind of blind love.  I can’t see anyone but you.  Are the stars out tonight?  I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright.  __ __ __ __ __ __, dear.  The moon may be high, but I can’t see a thing in the sky, __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  Group named after a big pink bird, and they’re singing about a vision impairment.

This morning we went to Art Bridge, where we learned that they are building an art supply store in an unused part of the building.  They will feature paints from all over Thailand, plus other supplies, at reduced prices.  This is an incredible idea for the artist community.  

Our trip to our internet provider was interesting.  Every year we pay for the entire year, to avoid having to deal with monthly payments.  When you pay for one year you get one month free.  This means that each year it’s due at a different time.  Today, with Cat’s help, we asked about getting faster service.  After looking on Google Earth to determine exactly where our house is, they told us that there aren’t enough customers in our area to warrant changing whatever it is they change.  So, we’re still on the ‘outskirts’ of town.  Eventually the town will reach us and then we can get big city internet.  It’s still not that bad, but knowing there’s faster makes me want it (555).

I got a call from iBeat (our Apple Store) telling me that the laptop I ordered had arrived.  I wasn’t expecting it for a week.  This afternoon we went to Central Plaza to pick it up.  While they were helping Lisa transfer some photos on her machine, I went outside and saw a large stage set-up.  At the rear of the stage I discovered the purpose:  The Miss Bangkok Air beauty pageant.  Two days ago Lisa had seen a long procession of tall, beautiful young women walking through the mall and wondered what it was about.  They were contestants in the pageant.  In one of the parking lots of the mall another stage was being erected for a big musical show.  I guess one could say Chiang Rai knows how to party.  While all this is going on, there are still festivities at the old airport, and the music just started across the river.  Hmm, it’s a busy little place.

Today’s photo was taken by Lisa this morning while we were exercising the dogs.  It’s a view of our front yard, looking toward the street.  It’s so easy to stay at home.


This weekend we will be in learning mode.  Between transferring files and photos, and learning new system quirks, I think we’ll be pretty busy.  

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

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Want

Hi,

The weather here is the same as yesterday.  It’s a great time to be in Chiang Rai.  Flowers are blooming everywhere, the sky is clear, and we’re happy.

The ‘Zany Day’ song brought back some fond memories for some of you.  Here’s the second verse of the drama:
“My folks were always putting him down (down, down).  They said he came from the wrong side of town (whatcha mean when ya say he came from the wrong side of town?).  They told me he was bad, but I knew he was sad.  That’s why I fell for __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue: This ‘Girl Group’ is named for a mythical place.  The title has shades of an early Brando movie.  Hmm.

This morning, after our trip to Makro for provisions, we took BamBam to the vet for her rabies shot.  When she first got in the van she was crying.  We passed a dog on our street and the cry became a momentary growl, then back to crying.  Lisa rolled the back window down a bit so BamBam could stick her nose out.  She was happy after that.  At the vet’s, we knew she’d be a handful, especially when we went into the little examination room.  Two attendants entered and she growled.  That’s when they went and got a muzzle.  Lisa put it on and in less than a minute, it was off.  The second time it was tighter and BamBam ‘surrendered’.  Had the attendants been women, BamBam would not have been so upset.  It takes her time to warm up to men.  When she does, it’s a real bond, but her first preference is women.  

This afternoon the four of us went to Doi Chaang Coffee to meet our friend Pay, the nurse at the hospital who always helps us out.  We hadn’t seen her in a long time and we were due for a visit.  It felt so strange to be in Doi Chaang and have to order hot water so I could have my tea.  Blue and I both had tea as we watched Lisa, Cat and Pay enjoy their ‘fun’ drinks.  The conversations helped distract me from the display case with it’s cakes, pies and cookies.  At one point Cat and Pay were having a long conversation in Thai and when Lisa asked for a translation Cat simply said, “Mashed potatoes”.  We all laughed about that.  As we left Doi Chaang we took a few minutes to enjoy the fish pond in the entry way.  Today’s photo tells the story.


This evening Lisa made me a banana cake that is just the thing to fill the gap in my diet.  It’s interesting because it’s made from just bananas and eggs, with a dash of Stevia.  Like I said, I’ve been hunting for recipes.  I guess it’s paying off (555).  

The music is playing across the river and tonight’s offering is not so bad.  Down at the old airport the Thai rock band ‘Potato’ is performing.  Cat mentioned it on the way home (hint hint), but I don’t think she really wanted to go.  They have some pretty good tunes, even though I don’t know what they’re saying.  Music can be like that.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“If you want nothing, do what you want.
If you want everything, develop discipline.”
~Kostya Tszyu

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Become


Hi,

Well, no snow storm today, just hot and sunny.  There is a giant silver thing in the kitchen, and a small silver thing upstairs.  Manuals are in Thai.  What?

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “What The World Needs Now”, by Dionne Warwick.  ‘Zany Day’ is next and it’s old:
“[Spoken]  Is she really going out with him?  Well, there she is, let’s ask her.  Betty, is that Jimmy’s ring you’re wearing?  Mm-hmm…. By the way, where’d you meet him?  [Sung]  I met him at the candy store, he turned around and smiled at me.  You get the picture (yes, we see).  That’s when I fell for __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  I couldn’t write in the sound of a motorcycle, but it’s in there.  She fell for a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, as they used to say. 

There is something bizarre about delivery days.  It never works out as planned, but it works.  Our refrigerator was to be delivered between 10am and 12n.  The truck arrived at 9:15am.  We hadn’t emptied the old one yet, so while they unwrapped the new one, we went to work.  Many of the delivery teams are husband and wife.  Today’s lovely couple worked very efficiently.  When it came time to bring the box inside, they actually carried it up the small steps and into the kitchen.  After the set up we were told to wait 3 hours before plugging it in, and after that it would be cold in 4 hours.  It worked and the food is cold and there’s lots of space.  

By the sound of things from across the river, there’s a party goin’ on, and it’s going all week.  Most of the time I don’t hear it, but when I do, it’s only part of the sound and that can be maddening.  Last night they didn’t stop until midnight.  Thump, thump, thump, etc.  I don’t want to go over there, but I’m curious about how many people are out there in the cool night air on a week-night.  There apparently doesn’t seem to be a reason not to go out.  Things are different here and free music and fun are a natural attraction.  

This afternoon we went to Central Plaza to get Lisa a new laptop.  We couldn’t solve the mysterious behavior of the old one so we opted to end the craziness and visit iBeat, our local Apple Store.  Now we’re sitting here trying to get information from the old one onto the new one.  It’s complicated and may take some heroic research to find a solution.  Technology can be wonderful and frustrating.  

This evening we had dinner with our friend Rachel, who lives in the states and is the the president of The Sold Project.  She has known Cat since the very beginning of her ’Sold’ experience and they are very close.  We learned more about some of the recent developments and the continuing progress of the project.  The project just received ‘foundation’ status here in Thailand and that will open the door to new sources of funding, which will allow for more children to benefit from SOLD.  

I seem to be making progress with my dietary adventure.  Today I had some spinach along with my chicken at lunch.  That was a first.  It’s a very slow process of adding a new food item every few days.  If it doesn’t bother me then we add it to the list of menu possibilities.  I miss going out to Sawadee in the Night Bazaar, but I don’t miss the pain from a tasty meal.  I find myself looking for recipes based on the ‘Specific Carbohydrate Diet’, which is designed to promote intestinal healing.  There, that’s enough medical talk.  

Today’s photo was taken in our front yard.  In the foreground is our new tree, and behind it, a cousin.  In a few years we’ll have a whole new look for this corner of the yard.  One cool thing about these trees is their lack of leaves, and therefore, nothing to rake up (555).  We have two older ones in the back and they are wonderful.


Time for Wacky Wednesday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

What we love determines what we seek,
what we seek determines what we think and do,
what we think and do determines what we become.”
~Uchtdorf

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Living

Hi,

There’s no question about it.  It’s getting hot.  We’re having clear skies, light breezes and hot sun.  Today’s high was reportedly 85F.  Now we wait for the pool to warm up.  

Some of you remembered the ‘Easy Monday’ song rather quickly.  Here’s the first verse for the rest of you:
“Lord, we don’t need another mountain.  There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb, there are oceans and rivers enough to cross, enough to last until the end of time.  __ __ __ __ __, is love sweet love.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of….”  Clue:  The singer knows the way to San Jose.

Today was a big day for us.  We went to HomePro and got a new refrigerator.  This one is much bigger than the one we’ve been using and will make life a lot easier in terms of storing and finding what we have.  The staff was very helpful during our deliberations.  One of the guys helping us pointed out the difference in power consumption between two models of similar size.  Nice call.  While the paperwork was being filled out, I went light-bulb shopping.  Oh, so many choices in that store.  Lighting is labeled with the actual wattage and the ‘what it looks like’ wattage.  You can buy a 40 watt bulb that gives the brightness of 130, as an example.  Then you have to choose ‘warm light’ or ‘daylight white’.  Some rooms are better suited to the warm light, and others need the daylight.  Now I have to get out the changing pole and start installing some brighter lights.

This afternoon we went to a video production shop to get some DVDs copied.  I also took a reel-to-reel tape to see if they could copy it to a CD.  Sadly, they didn’t have a machine to play the tape.  In fact, the young man was a little surprised that I had even asked.  He looked at the tape, then at me and asked, ‘Songs?’.  I have a few more places that might be able to steer me in the right direction.  I’m hoping to find a recording studio that might have an old machine from the Dark Ages that can help me out.  (555)

We got lots of mail today, and that is unusual.  The best mail of all was a package from Tatt.  He sent all of us presents.  Inside the box were presents for Cat, Blue, Lisa and me.  He had wrapped them all himself.  Blue, Lisa and I all received incense collections.  He also sent us a beautiful ‘runner’ that is usually placed across the end of a bed.  We don’t know what Cat’s gift is since she is at her village until tomorrow, but it’s different from ours.  Today’s photo is one of the boxes he sent.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. 
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
~Lao Tzu

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mind

Hi,

The weather in Chiang Rai is now at that ‘cool nights and very hot days’ stage.  Jackets in the morning, T-shirts in the afternoon.  It won’t be long before we’re in the ‘Hot Season’.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “In The Still of the Night” by The Five Satins.  Time for another dose of ‘Easy Monday’ and I think you’ll agree that this one really is easy.  “__ __ __ __ __ is love, sweet love.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.  __ __ __ __ __ is love, sweet love.  No not just for some, but for everyone.”  Hint:  Seriously?  You need a hint on this one?

The big event on Saturday was the wedding dinner at Le Meridien Resort.  In the lobby there were beautiful photos of the bride and groom, some enlarged to bigger than poster size.  There was a ‘set’ at one end with a garden motif, for taking photos where we took pics of ourselves with the groom.  We got to sit with our friends Nu and Dr. Nan (Cat’s orthodontist).  At the front of the room was a big stage, with a 7-piece band.  They played a mix of Thai and American hit songs and were very good.  We had dinner before going since we knew the dinner was a traditional Chinese menu that we couldn’t eat.  To our surprise, a hotel staff member came to the table and asked us when we would like our special meal.  Hmm.  I told him to bring it with the main course, not knowing what was happening.  It turned out the head chef, a friend of ours, had seen us in the lobby and had his staff prepare steamed chicken and pumpkin for us.  We saw many people we knew and also realized  that we were the only non-Thais at the affair.  Being friends of a very large family is nice.  It’s the same family that took us under their wing when we first arrived in Chiang Rai.  

Sunday we went back the Le Meridien for ‘Australia Day’ lunch.  There weren’t many Aussies there and we were told that there really weren’t many in Chiang Rai, other than young teachers.  The music for the lunch was from an Australian radio station in Sydney and we got to hear some pretty cool tunes from down under.  Blue and I had the same meal as the night before, while Lisa and Cat got to sample the buffet.  Oh well.  When we first walked into the restaurant, the first thing I was confronted with was the dessert table.  I just told myself, ‘I don’t eat that’ and moved toward our table.  

Lisa has begun work on her elephant and it’s going to be beautiful.  It’s a different experience, painting on a contoured surface that is not canvas or paper.  We have to get some low tables for those hard to reach places, but she’s up for the challenge.

This morning we dropped Cat at school and discovered that we couldn’t drive to the Super Highway because of street closures.  We kept running into detours until I finally figured out a route.  As we drove down the highway we passed Pho Khun Mengrai Square.  There was a parade being staged, and the square was full of people in costumes of various types.  Later we found out it was Poh Khun Day, in honor of the founder of the province.  King Mengrai, born in 1238, is highly revered by Thais in the north and considered the father of the Lanna Kingdom.  He united many smaller kingdoms as a way to protect themselves and be more productive.  He led this united force in a campaign that forced back the Mongol armies that tried to invade.  When locals pass the monument in the square, they ‘wai’ to Mengrai as a sign of respect.  Needless to say, the traffic was quite heavy all over town.  Cat told me that this evening there would be parades around town and for 10 days there will be festivities at the old airport, south of town. 

Today’s photo was taken by our friend ‘Nine’ in front of her art gallery on the highway.  


Have a Great Week.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience
can never go back to it’s old dimensions.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Our Friday was a beautiful, clear blue day.  The morning was cool, but the afternoon warmed up to almost hot.  It was a good day for the yard crew that came to groom everything.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Taking Care of Business” by Bachman/Turner Overdrive.  Our ‘Old School Friday’ song should be familiar to some.  The background parts may be all you need.  “Shoo-doob-n-shoo-beedoo, shoo-doob-n-shoo-beedoo, shoo-doob-n-shoo-beedoo wuaa.  __ __ __ __ __ __ I held you, held you tight.  ‘Cause I love you, love you so, promise you’ll never let me go __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  The group that sang this was named for their number, and a smooth material.  The title refers to that quiet time after the sun has gone down.  Hmm.

The Big Brown House seems like a very relaxed place on the surface, but there are many things going on among the residents.  We have a master calendar just so we can keep up.  Between Cat’s school and non-school schedules that change quite often, to the ever-changing supply needs, we think on our feet in between the entries on the page.  It’s like a dance, an exercise in ‘solutions’ and it keeps the mind alert.  

This morning we went out to look at refrigerators.  Blue, Lisa and I checked out the larger models at one of the biggest appliance stores and got an idea of what is available.  The cute little frige we bought when we got here has become way too small for four people and two dogs.  It would be nice to buy some things in larger quantities and make less trips to the stores.  While we were out, Cat was having a math lesson via Skype with her tutor in Bangkok, and the yard crew was cutting, chopping and pruning outside.  

Today’s photo was taken on our front porch during the yard crew lunch break.  They are from Hill Tribes and three of the women relaxed after their meal by working on their cross-stitching. 



Our weekend is going to be a busy one.  Saturday morning Cat will go to her village and take part in a presentation with The Sold Project.  She will talk about her life with a group of visitors from America, and answer questions.  She’s going to try and do it all in English.  She will return in the afternoon and we will all get dressed up and go to a wedding reception at Le Meridien Resort.  Sunday we will return to Le Meridien for a lunch celebrating ‘Australia Day’.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     Hang on for the ‘Funnies’.

                     Peace,
                               Danny


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Joy

Hi,

Today was a special day.  It is Lisa’s birthday.  So, a big shout-out to Khun Lisa from The Gratidude himself.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song got a couple of responses, and that’s disappointing.  I was sure more of you knew this one.
“If it were easy as fishin’ you could be a musician if you could make sounds loud or mellow.  Get a second-hand guitar, chances are you’ll go far if you get in with the right bunch of fellows.  People see you having fun, just a-lying in the sun, tell them that you like it this way.  It’s the work that we avoid, and we’re all self-employed, we love to work at nothing all day.  And I’ll be __ __ __ __, every day.  __ __ __ __, every way…”  Hint:  Take yesterday’s clue and consider it was by a group with two last names plus a special gear in a car.  Hmm, this boogie tune was very popular in the early 70s. 

We got a call from Art Bridge telling us that Lisa's elephant had arrived.  It’s part of a project for the Green Wing Honda Company.  They commissioned artists from the collective to paint little elephants that will be put on display in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and possibly Europe.  The artists have a month to complete their work and then there will be an unveiling ceremony at Art Bridge.  We’re excited about our little house-guest.  BamBam was not pleased about the presence of another animal in the compound.  I think she’ll get used to it over time.  Daku was curious, but cool about it.   Of course, he’s our photo for today.  He stands 3ft tall from the floor to the top of his back.  


This afternoon Cat, Blue, Lisa and I went to Central Plaza.  We had tea at Eliza’s Bakery and laughed a lot about Cat being the only one at the table who could eat the little cookies they serve.  The three ‘elders’ at the table are on diets that don’t include things like cookies or cake or pie.  And with that, the world will soon come to an end.  

After tea, Lisa and Cat went to the big stationary store while Blue and I shopped in the department store for an electric grill.  We found what we wanted and then watched as the salesman went into the traditional ‘discovery’ portion of the transaction.  He took the grill out of the box and completely assembled it, then turned it on so we could see that it worked.  The same with the hand-held mixer.  I find this to be a time-consuming exercise, but highly satisfying.  It’s so nice to get home and know that what you bought will work properly.  

Since we couldn’t go to Swensen’s for ice-cream and sorbet, Blue suggested that Lisa get a new phone for her birthday.  Our little caravan proceeded to the same shop where Blue and Cat got their Samsung phones and Lisa began ‘shopping’.  She settled on a new model with a screen larger than her current phone.  It’s actually a cool looking phone.  I am now living in a house where I’m the only iPhone user.  I guess I’ll have to learn a little about the ‘other’ system, although Cat is the pro and Blue is quickly learning.  Blue and I stood in the middle of the phone tech section of the mall and marveled at how so much business was going on over small, hand-held devices.   There are over 25 ‘booths’ selling phones and/or accessories.  They all seem to do business and they cooperate with each other.  While looking at cases, the vendor we approached ask us to wait a minute.  She left her spot, went down two spaces and returned with an arm-load of cases.  When we finished she took them back.  Everybody seems to help their neighbors, village style.  Amazing Thailand.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“Conquering any difficulty always gives
one a secret joy, for it means pushing back
a boundary-line and adding to one’s liberty.”
~Henri Frederic Amiel

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Craving

Hi,

Today the weather was perfect for our road trip.  In the process, we experienced Customs, and a Makro that blew our minds.

‘Easy Monday’ was “Good Day Sunshine” by The Beatles.  The ‘Zany Day’ tune should get you movin’.  
“You get up every morning from your alarm clock’s warning, take the 8:15 into the city.  There’s a whistle up above, and people pushin’, people shovin’, and the girls who try to look real pretty.  And if your train’s on time you can get to work by nine and start your slaving job to get your pay.  If you ever get annoyed, look at me I’m self-employed, I love to work at nothing all day.  And I’ll be __ __ __ __, every day.  __ __ __ __, every way…"
Hint:  There is an expression that might put you in the right direction:  TCB  Otherwise, I got nothin’.

The ride north to Customs, at the border with Burma, was fast and beautiful.  The foothills were draped in what looked like a very low cloud, but the sun was shining on the farmland at their base.  We saw various stages in the growing of rice.  Some farms looked like giant squares of muddy water, while others had tips of green poking through the surface.  When we arrived in Mae Sai, Lisa found a note in her phone that gave us the landmark to look for in order to find the Customs House.  The building seemed to be empty, with just a few staff personnel handling paper work.  We were told that we’d need a license from the Food and Drug minister to ‘import’ our vitamins.   After a conversation out of a movie, it was agreed that we would pay some fees and taxes. Hmm, six months ago we were told there was nothing to tax.  Eventually we left with our two boxes and the suggestion that next time we bring the vitamins in our luggage.  Amazing.

Today’s photo is the Mae Sai Customs House.  Notice the ornate entry in the foreground.  That is our van, waiting for it’s freight.


Since Makro was on our list of places to go, we decided to check out the store just south of Mae Sai.  We entered, expecting to see a copy of the one in Chiang Rai, but we were quite wrong.  The store was big, spacious, very clean, and the staff was friendly.  The layout of the vegetable and meat departments made it easy to see what was there.  Now I’m trying to figure out a good reason to drive all the way back up there to shop at the Mae Sai Makro (555).

In the afternoon we went to Immigration with Blue.  After some paper-signing and waiting for approvals, he finally got his 1-year visa!  While we were waiting, one of the officers came over and sat with us.  His English is pretty good and we talked about learning by listening, and how difficult it is to follow TV shows and movies in another language.  He’s always fun to do ‘business’ with at the office.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“The deepest principle in 
human nature is the craving
to be appreciated.”
~William James

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ability

Hi,

The warming trend continues here in Chiang Rai.  By the end of the week we’ll be in the 80s during the day.  Time to break out the light cottons and put the heavy jackets in the back of the closet.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was easy for a few, but maybe the rest just need more lyrics.  Here’s the rest of it:
“We take a walk, the sun is shining down, burns my feet as they touch the ground.  And then we lie, beneath a shady tree, I love her and she’s loving me.  She feels good, she knows she’s looking fine.  I’m so proud to know that she is mine.  __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Clue:  Has to do with that big, bright thing in the sky, which shines in some places sometimes. 

Today there was a notice in the mailbox that we had two items waiting at the post office.  We have been waiting for our boxes from America so we went to the PO to get them.  What we got were two envelopes, both telling us that our boxes were at Customs in Mae Sai.  Ah, memories of 6 months ago.  Tomorrow we’ll take a road trip north and retrieve our vitamins, etc.  The thing is, I don’t exactly remember how we got there last time, since we followed a motorbike taxi guy.  Hmm, ask Mr. Google.

After many trips to immigration, it looks like tomorrow will be the day that Blue gets his Retirement visa.  It’s cause for celebration, since it makes living here more secure.  

During our travels today we noticed that Browney’s Pet World is getting closer to completion.  They are starting to put ‘stock’ in the store.  We can’t wait until they open this mega-store for pet lovers.  Just the idea of something so big in Chiang Rai will probably draw every animal lover in the province.  

Last weekend, Cat went to her village to work on an on-going project.  This time, her sister took a group of young people on a walk through the forest, pointing out all of the edible plants.  They photographed them and took notes.  They will put a book together as part of the ‘Tree Project’.  It’s a part of village education that could easily be lost as the kids move into the modern age.  Next weekend they will dye silk, using colors derived from plants in the forest.  What a great experience.

Today’s photo was taken in our yard.  Our ‘Orchid Tree’ is where we hang our orchids and a bunch of them decided to bloom at the same time.  


Have a Happy Tuesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“Ability will never catch up
with the demand for it.”
~Confucius

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rewards

Hi,

The weather in Chiang Rai is getting warmer.  It’s a slow process, but it’s happening.  The weekend was spent finding various ingredients for a special diet.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “What’s Your Name” by Don & Juan.  My brother, Denny got Super Cool Points for including the final bit from the song:  “Shooby-Doo-Bop-Bah-Dah”.  Those were the days.  It’s time for another episode of ‘Easy Monday’.   "I need to laugh and when the sun is out, I’ve got something to laugh about.  I feel good, in a special way.  I’m in love and it’s a sunny day.  __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Hint:  It’s by those four lads from across the pond and it’s a happy love song.  Should be easy (555).

We have become students again.  This thing with my intestinal thing has us studying various websites and lots of literature.  The logical way to heal something is to first stop hurting it.  That’s where I am right now and the list of things to eat that will stop the harm was interesting.  Nothing weird, just not what I would want to eat.  An organic egg in the morning, along with gelatin flavored with pure grape juice.  Fortunately, there is an operation called ‘Hilltribe Organics’ located right here in Chiang Rai and they are marketing organic eggs at Top’s Market in Central Plaza.  We first discovered these eggs at Doi Chaang Coffee, when they were introducing the company.  Not only are the eggs delicious and ‘clean’, their sale is providing a livelihood for members of one of the Hill Tribes.  You can learn more at:  http://www.hilltribeorganics.com  

A search of the usual markets did not find any pure grape juice, with nothing added.  Then Cat suggested we buy some grapes and put them in our juicer.  It worked, and now we have grape-flavored gelatin and a pleasant drink, when diluted with water.  This diet is almost consuming our lives, but it’s worth it.  

There has been an event across the river for most of the week.  We can see the tents, and hear the music so we know it’s some kind of ‘expo’ with food, vendors selling things, and music.  For several days the music has been really good.  It’s Monday night and the quality is not the same; verging on shaky.  On the bank of the river near all of this activity, a small dock is being built so the long-tailed boats can drop off passengers.  The main dock is on the north side of the river and for most tourists, it means having to cross the bridge that’s still being remodeled, and then walk into town.  The bridge is slowly getting it’s new lane.  There is still a large open space, which makes it look a little strange.  The Chicken guy who sells at the base of the bridge is still there, but the construction is slowly pushing him out.  His domain is falling apart and it’s just a matter of time before he’ll have to relocate.  

In a conversation with a friend today, we learned that there will be a wedding at one of the major hotels this week.  That’s not unusual, but it will begin at 3am.  That is the time that the monks said it would be most auspicious.  Hmm, I wonder how many guests they expect at 3am?  We will be attending a wedding reception on Saturday, at 6pm.  Now that’s more like it.

Our van desperately needs to go to the car wash, but I don’t think we’ll be taking it to this operator.  Somehow, I don’t think this is what the customer wanted.  


Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Men (people) are rich only as they give.
He who gives great service gets great 
rewards.”
~Elbert Hubbard

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Well, it seems that Mr. Lag is not completely done with having his way with us.  There are still times when we just fall asleep, without even trying, or wake up hours before the alarm.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Charlie Brown” by The Coasters.  ‘Old School Friday’ will be easy for some.  
“__ __ __?  I have seen you before.  __ __ __?  May I walk you to your door?  It’s so hard to find a personality with charms like yours for me, Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ee.  __ __ __?  Is it Mary or Sue?  __ __ __?  Do I stand a chance with you?  It’s so hard to find a personality….”  Hint:  Sung by a male duo, asking the introductory question. 

Today’s experience with taking down the exhibit was nothing like we imagined.  We were told that the crew at Art Bridge would take the works off the walls and wrap them.  When we arrived at 12:30pm, that part of the job was done and they were having lunch.  We hung out and relaxed, which was good timing since I was having an ‘episode’ with my pain thing.  Then we were told that they would load the work into the van.  Wonderful.  We had planned on making two trips to the house since all the work wouldn’t fit.  Khun Poy, the gallery manager, told us that they would load the remaining art into the gallery van and follow us home.  When we got to the house the two young men brought everything inside and it was over.  We didn’t have to lift or carry anything.  What a great way to end it all.  

There is some kind of celebration going on in our neighborhood that we know nothing about.  Yesterday a marching band from the local school did their thing on the main road.  This afternoon BamBam went crazy, barking at the remains of a lantern that landed in our yard, and tonight there are fireworks going off behind us.   We just never know when something like this is going to happen.  It keeps life interesting (555).

Friday nights in Chiang Rai are ‘going out’ nights.  On the road into town we passed several restaurants and they all appeared to be full.  We’re still in the High Season, but these were places that are not on the tourist lists, just local eateries.  It’s nice to see that business is good.  The new restaurant that was the ‘Soul House’ and then became the ‘Safe House’, now has both signs up, so we don’t know what to call it.  Maybe it will become the ‘Safe Soul House’.

Today’s photo was taken on the way to Chiang Rai.  We were approaching the southern end of the area when I took this one. 


Have a Wonderful, Long WeekEnd.    It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.

                  Peace,
                            Danny


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Soften

Hi,

The Chiang Rai weather is slowly getting warmer, a few degrees at a time.  I was reminded of a few temperatures in various eastern United States locations and I guess it’s not really cold here.  So why am I wearing layers of clothing? 

“Who walks in the classroom, cool and slow?  Who calls the English teacher Daddy-O?  __ __, __ __, he’s a clown, that __ __.  He’s gonna get caught, just you wait and see, (Why is everybody always pickin’ on me?).
Hint: It’s another in a string of novelty hits by a group you should be familiar with by now, named after something that rolls down a hill.  

By maintaining our usual schedule, we seem to be allowing Mr. Lag to have his way without interrupting our lives too much.  He still calls us, but we press on until it’s nap or bed time.  Take that, you tormentor.

Today we went to Art Bridge to discuss the ‘move out’ details.  Most of the work will be done by the staff, which is a great relief.  One of the guys will follow us home and help unload the van, so we don’t have to do a lot of lifting.  That is, until hanging time arrives and we fill the walls (555).  

This afternoon we went to the Healthy Market.  It was our first time there since we’ve been back and it was nice to get the warm greetings from our vendor friends.  From there we went to Aye’s Deli to pick up my custom made rye bread.  It will be nice to have something to eat with my breakfast, and to create acceptable sandwiches.  I just have to figure out what to put between two pieces of bread that falls within my diet.  Oh joy.  At the deli, Khun Oh has a note on the wall listing the ingredients for my bread.  It’s nice to have such caring service.

This evening at dinner, Blue and I took a trip down memory lane, recalling TV shows from the 50s.  It all started when I mentioned Korla Pandit, an organ player who had a daily show that was very trippy.  He wore a turban and sat at a Hammond organ and just stared into the camera as he played.  Hmm.  Then there was Howdy Doody, Soupy Sales, Space Patrol, Beanie and Cecil, Roller Derby, and a host of others.  We laughed a lot.  Good medicine. 

It seems like we’re finally getting adjusted as far as the days of the week are concerned.  We left L.A. on Sunday, arrived on Tuesday, and thought it was Wednesday for two days.  I think we’ve got it now.  Whew.

Today’s photo continues with a garden theme.  This garden is at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).  It was created since our last trip to Bangkok so it’s new to us.  Small, colorful gardens can be found throughout the airport.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Acquaintance softens prejudice.”
~Aesop

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happy

Hi,

The weather in Chiang Rai is cold.  At 6am it was dark and cold and it stayed that way until early afternoon.  It is very similar to being in Culver City.  The high was supposed to be 73F with a low of 52.  Tomorrow should be a few degrees warmer.  Still feels cold to me.  Mr. Lag is working overtime.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Monday, Monday” by The Mamas and The Papas.  ‘Zany Day’ is next and it’s easy.
“Fe-fe, fi-fi, fo-fo, fum.  I smell smoke in the auditorium.  __ __, __ __, he’s a clown, that __ __.  He’s gonna get caught, just you wait and see.  (Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?)  Hint:  The title is a name.  Anybody got any peanuts?

Last night I had a ‘system shutdown’ at 12m.  Just couldn’t keep the eyes open.  The 6am alarm came too soon.  When I took Daku out after his breakfast it was dark and the air hurt.  I told myself that it would be over in a few minutes and I’d be back in the slightly warmer house.  There is no heat in the house except for the space heaters in our respective bedrooms.  Those are used on a limited basis, so it never really gets warm.  

I think we were pretty active for our first day back in Thailand.  We wrapped up and went to Makro and the thin cloud cover kept the sun from warming the air.  When we came out, the muted sun felt good.  By the afternoon, when we went to Big C and Central Plaza, the sun was blazing and we’d dressed too warm.  Now that we know, we can adjust our wardrobe.  As soon as the sun goes down the cold walks in and reminds me that it’s still winter.  At least there’s no snow on the ground.

Tomorrow is the last day of Lisa and Joe’s art exhibition at Art Bridge.  That means that Friday is the day we have to move everything out of the gallery.  Most of the work that we will be bringing home was unframed when it left.  It’s time to get creative with our use of space.  We will no doubt hang art in places where it’s never been.  This should be interesting.

Today’s photo was taken at the Taipei airport.  It is a relaxation garden with paths that wind around the floral arrangements.  In the rear there are massage chairs.  The only thing that breaks the mood are the posters of close-up photos of bugs.  Hmm.


Time for Wacky Wednesday.

             Peace,
                       Danny

“The only thing that will make you  happy 
is being happy with who you are,
and not who people think you are.”
~Goldie Hawn

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Door

Hi,

We’re back in Chiang Rai.  We are also very tired.  It feels like Mr. Lag may have beat us to the house.  I’d better make this short, before my forehead drops on the keyboard and types something I didn’t mean to say (555).

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was easy for some.  Just in case you missed it, or opened the message on the wrong day, its title is mentioned in the last sentence.  “__, __, can’t trust that day.  __, __, sometimes it just turns out that way.  Oh, __ morning you gave me no warning of what was to be.  Oh, __, __ how could you leave and not take me?”  Clue: The title of the song is one word twice.  

The hardest part of the trip home was not being able to eat much.  I basically dined on little rye bread and honey sandwiches that Lisa made, along with apple sauce and popped potato chips.  She made the bread from scratch and it was good.  

The dogs gave us one of the wildest greetings yet.  They were both so happy to see us that they could barely contain themselves.  BamBam was doing her ’singing’ thing and Daku wanted to jump up and hold an arm in his mouth.  We managed to keep him from doing that, but it was hard for him.  When we opened the bags they were busy investigating.  Boot made us dinner and we had a chance to find out from Blue and Cat, what we’d missed while we were gone. It’s good to be home.

It has been our experience that jet lag seems to be harder on the trip back to Thailand.  As I mentioned, Mr. Lag is already doing his dirty work.  I think he likes the fact that we lose a day coming home.  There is so much to unpack and he just keeps getting in the way.  We’re trying to stay awake so we can rise to the occasion when Daku gets us up in the morning.  

Today’s photo was taken in the Taipei airport.  The lighting is what caught my eye, but there was nothing for me to eat.  


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

"There is no key to happiness. The door is always open."
~Unknown

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Curtains - Do not open until Monday morning

Hi,

As I write this, it’s actually Sunday night and we’re sitting in the Star Alliance lounge at LAX.  It’s the nicest lounge in our journey and it’s busy right now.  If I didn’t send you this little message, you would not hear from me until Tuesday, and that would not be OK.  Some of you were maybe hoping for a break?  (555)

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “My Guy” by Mary Wells.  Now it’s time for ‘Easy Monday’.  “__,__ so good to me.  __ morning, it was all I hoped it would be.  Oh, __ morning, __ morning couldn’t guarantee that __ evening you would still be here with me.”  Hint:  If you opened this message as directed, on the correct day, then you know half of the title of this song.  

The weekend was a combination of busy and mellow.  We finally finished the last of the lists.  It’s amazing that even though we’ve been doing this for years, it’s never exactly the same and there’s always something to look for before we return to Thailand.  

Sunday morning was a real treat.  Lisa and my mother Jean gave me my last cake at the Gratitude meeting, celebrating 25 years.  Then we had lunch in the Marina.  It was a very special time since it also marked 25 years of this little ritual.  

In the afternoon I experienced another form of culture shock.  I went to Best Buy to buy a new electric razor.  It’s been years since I set foot in the store of distraction.  Somehow, it looked like they managed to get more stuff in the same space.  Hmm, I guess that’s possible.  I forced myself to focus on the mission, though I did get a little sidetracked as I passed the cases for my new phone.  I found a razor similar to my current one, which is now obsolete.  There were so many variations on the theme of rotary haircutting devices.  I quickly made my way to the cashier and left with my sanity.

After the bags were packed we hung out with Jeff, Anna, C-Bass and August.  Mr. August showed me a guitar speaker cabinet he rebuilt.  Jeff and I discussed music stuff, and C-Bass and I had a deep talk about how American football really should be called Gridiron, like it is in Australia.  Anna and I had our familiar banter about my intestinal shortcomings.  When it was time to go we had lots of hugs and said farewell once again.

Today’s photo was taken at The Legend Resort in Chiang Rai.  This is one of the tallest Spirit Houses in town, and unique in it’s paint motif.


We board the plane for the first leg of our journey in 30 minutes.  Time to pack things up.  See you from the other side of the Pacific.

Have a Great Week,

             Peace,
                       Danny

“Open the curtains of your mind.  
If there is light outside, it will come in.
If there is light inside, it will go out.
Keep the curtains open.”
~Unknown