Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Funnies


I can't really comment on the weather in Chiang Mai because I stayed in the hotel all day.  It's a safe bet that it was hot.  

The 'Zany Day' song was "Wooly Bully" by Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs.  'Old School Friday' is next, and you probably know this one.  "Deep down Louisiana, close to New Orleans, way back up in the woods among the evergreens.  There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood, where lived a country boy named __ __ __, who never ever learned to read or write so well, but he could play a guitar just like a-ringing a bell."  Hint:  There is a definite autobiographical tone to this song by a guitar player, about a guitar player.  

This morning was a surreal adventure for me, walking into the breakfast buffet at our hotel.  In the past I would get a fried egg, some orange juice, and some fruit.  This morning I picked a boiled egg out of a basket, got a glass of water, and had home-made chicken and pureed pears that we brought with us.  It was actually quite good.  I did not give the waffle station the 'time of day' (555).  That would be like stopping to look at the pies.

The business meeting that I chaired lasted four hours, with a couple of breaks.  I got a chance to connect with some people I haven't seen in a year.  The session was productive and a little draining.  This evening was like a big reunion, seeing friends from Bali, Australia, and England, as well as many places in Thailand.  

Last night when we went to the Night Bazaar we noticed a new trend.  Lots of tiny little elephants with flowers painted on them.  The work was not that good, but from a distance it was a cute idea.  There are some imported elephants that are beautiful, and very pricy.  Today's photo is another look at our little friend from The Big Brown House.

Since it's so hot in Chiang Mai, we brought our swim suits, thinking that maybe the pool would be warm.  The pool is cold.  Only part of it gets direct sun in the afternoon.  That doesn't stop the sunbathers from filling up the deck for a little Thai sunshine.  There were also a few brave souls who were actually swimming laps.

From our room on the 8th floor we can hear the sound of the Tuk-Tuks on the street.  It's Friday night and they will be busy until late.  There is something fascinating about the low-level sound, knowing they're delivering people to the excitement of the city.  Hmm, memories of when that was big fun.

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


"Am I getting older or is the supermarket playing great music?"

Thursday, February 26, 2015



The weather in Chiang Mai is definitely hotter than Chiang Rai.  The drive south was easy and interesting.

You may not have liked the ‘Zany Day’ song when it was out, but a lot of you remembered it.  A few more ‘lyrics’:
“Hatty told Matty, ‘Let’s don’t take a chance.  Let’s not be ‘L-seven’, come and learn to dance’.  __ __, __ __, __ __….”  Hint:  Maybe the whole thing was a sham, a whole lotta bull.  (555)

Whenever we drive to Chiang Mai, we usually encounter a few slow buses and big trucks.  Today was an exception.  It was mostly clear sailing on the southbound side.  The northbound lane had a heavy flow of cars and vans.  We noticed an SUV with a Chinese license plate while we were still in Chiang Rai and thought nothing of it.  Then, as we got out on the highway we started seeing cars coming toward us with Chinese plates.  They seemed to come in waves of 10 or 12.  It became the thing to do, counting plates, and noticing how many expensive the cars were.  We saw lots of Audis, BMWs, Porche SUVs, and Cadillacs.  By the end of the trip we had seen at least 150 vehicles with Chinese plates going north.  Our guess is, large groups had driven down to Chiang Mai for the New Years' celebration and were returning home.  There is a bridge north of Chiang Rai that crosses the Mekong into Laos and then the road connects to a highway to China.  The world is getting smaller.

About half way to Chiang Mai we stopped for a coffee/tea break at a place called ‘Coffee View’.  It looks out onto a valley and is very pleasant.  Today’s photos were taken there.  The first is obviously the view from the porch where we sat.  The second shows a wire that runs down to the large fish pond.  For about $1 you can send a bag of food down the wire, where it breaks open and the food falls into the pond and the fish swarm to feed.  The large pen in the foreground contained a bunch of rabbits that could be fed in the same manner.

This evening we went to the Night Bazaar, which is a short walk from our hotel.  We saw lots of new items, along with the usual touristy attractions.  Between the heat and the crowds, we lasted through about half of it and decided to go 'home' and relax.  Chiang Mai is still in what looks like 'High Season'.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“No sensible decision can be made
any longer without taking into account
not only the world as it is, but the world
as it will be…”
~Isaac Asimov

Wednesday, February 25, 2015



The hot is getting hotter and that ends the weather report.  We had a busy morning doing those final things for our four day trip.  

Well, I guess a bunch of you had “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” rolling around in your heads.  The most successful version of the song was recorded by Marvin Gaye, who covered a great version by Gladys Knight & The Pips, and let’s not forget Creedence Clearwater’s 10 minute version.  Whew.  It’s time for a ‘Zany Day’ song.
“Uno, dos, one, two, tres, quatro.  Matty told Hatty, about a things she saw.  Had two big horns and a wooly jaw.
__ __, __ __, __ __, __ __, __.”  Hint: Truly zany, the two word title could be an animal or a dance. 

The little elephant has joined the herd and is now grazing in the lobby at Art Bridge.  There were about 8 when we arrived this morning, and when we went back in the afternoon, 10 more were there.  There were some that were very distinctive and reflected the style of the artists, while others were complete departures from what the artists usually do.  It’s going to be quite a collection when they’re all assembled.  There will be a catalogue of the elephants, and a presentation on March 20.  That will be a different kind of art exhibit for sure.

Today’s photo was taken this morning at Art Bridge.  It’s the view of the front window.  I’m sure it must have caused some curious second takes as motorists passed on the Super Highway.

This evening I went to the dentist.  When I stopped drinking coffee in December, tea became my warm companion.  I discovered a blend that I really liked and thought everything was fine.  Then I noticed that three of my lower teeth were turning brown.  Yuck!  Dr. Cheewan immediately told me it looked like a stain.  He polished my teeth and they’re nice and bright again.  As I left his office, I thought about how cool it was that we could call in the afternoon and see him the same day.  Driving home I noticed all of the ‘clinics’ with crowds of people waiting to see a doctor.  This is not an uncommon sight here.  Most of the doctors work in the hospitals by day, and have their own clinics at night.  It’s very convenient for those who work all day and can’t take time to wait all day at the hospital.  Based on what the doctors charge, it’s not about the money as much as helping people.

The suitcase is on the floor and it’s waiting for my clothes.  Time to start packing for the trip.  I’ll be writing to you from Chiang Mai for the next two days.  

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


“From error to error,
one discovers the entire truth.”
~Sigmund Freud

Tuesday, February 24, 2015



This morning the little elephant was declared finished.  We took him out on the lawn for a ‘walk’ and he seemed to like it.  (555)

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song really appears too easy.  Lots of correct answers on this one.  Here’s more:
“I know that a man ain’t supposed to cry, but these tears I can’t hold inside.  Losin’ you would end my life you see, ‘cause you mean that much to me.  You could have told me yourself that you love someone else, instead __ __ __ __ __ __ not much longer would you be mine…”  Clue:  This song has been used in several advertising campaigns.  In one of them, raisins were involved.  What? 

On our way to Makro we passed by Art Bridge.  In the front window were six little elephants, lined up with their backs to the highway.  I can’t wait to see all the variations on this ‘canvas’.  We still have a few more photos to take, but today you get to see the results of a month-long labor of love.  If you’d like to see more, write to me and I’ll send you more angles of our little friend.   

This evening we all went to Big C.  On our way, we stopped for gas, paid a bill, and got air in a tire.  The last part is where it gets interesting.  The free air machine has buttons that let you enter the pounds of air you want to put in the tire.  After you tell it that, it’s ready to pump.  When the pressure is reached it turns itself off.  Brilliant.  While Blue and I got gas, Lisa and Cat went to 7-11 and paid the power bill.  I still marvel at how simple some things have become.

We don’t usually shop at Big C at night so we were surprised at how full the parking lot was, and how many folks were in the building.  It makes sense that many people only have the evening to shop.  We’re used to morning shopping.  There are some things that seem to be universal.  Having racks of candy by the checkout stand is one of those things.  As we were putting things on the belt, Cat asked if she could have some M&Ms.  I rest my case.  

Tomorrow we will begin preparations for our trip.  You know, what clothes to take for 4 days, and also what food to take.  I have been doing much better as far as my comfort level, and it’s mainly due to my diet.  We’ll be taking our custom made food with us, and working out some creative alternatives while in the hotel.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Change is never easy. 
You fight to hold on, 
you fight to let go.”
~The Wonder Years

Monday, February 23, 2015



The weather pattern is holding, but the mornings are warming up faster.  It won’t be long before we stick our toes in the pool for serious testing.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Day-O” by Harry Belafonte.  I just know you remember this ‘Easy Monday’ song:  “Ooh, I bet you’re wonderin’ how I knew, ‘bout your plans to make me blue.  With some other guy that you knew before, between the two of us guys you know I loved you more.  It took me by surprise I must say, when I found out yesterday.  Don’t you know that __ __ __ __ __ __ not much longer would you be mine.  Oh, __ __ __ __ __ __, oh and I’m just about to lose my mind.  Honey, honey, yeah…”  Hint:  News of the breakup came by way of rumors.  

The big news at The Big Brown House is that the little elephant is basically done.  Lisa will meet the Wednesday deadline with room to spare.  Tomorrow we’re planning to take him outside and photograph him in his natural surroundings (555).  I will pass on the results of the photo shoot.

Sunday we had a very nice visit with our friends Brenda and Eric, who live near us at the Condotel.  They are from Idaho and have retired to Chiang Rai.  We’re learning a lot about some interesting places to go in the south of Thailand from them.  They have visited several islands we’d like to see some day.  It’s nice to meet expats and have things to talk about besides what they did before they got here.  

One of the cool things about having Blue living with us are his ‘Tales from the Road’, as I like to call them.  He has traveled extensively for many years, as tour/road manager for many world-class music artists.  It’s always fun to hear those ‘behind the scenes' stories.   

This will be a short week for us in Chiang Rai.  Thursday morning we will drive to Chiang Mai and stay until Sunday.  I will be attending the 8th Regional Convention with Recovery friends from around the world.  We’ll also take care of some business, visit a gallery exhibit and look for things we can’t find in Chiang Rai.  It will be very strange to drive past Charon Gardens and not stop for pie.

This morning we had to refill the thyroid prescriptions for Daku and BamBam and while I was waiting in the car, I spotted one of the unique food vendors from another era.  The woman in the photo carries all of the ingredients that go to make a meal.  Her customers buy the elements they want and cook them in their shops.  It’s a way to have a fresh lunch at work.  It must be a taxing job, especially as the weather gets hotter.

Have a Great Week.


“Music exists for the purpose
of growing an admirable heart.”
~Shinichi Suzuki

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Funnies


For now, just know that the weather in Chiang Rai is hot.  We had a very productive morning and hid from the heat in the afternoon.

That pesky ‘Zany Day’ song was “Float On” by The Floaters.  Two readers nailed it, congrats.  It’s time for a very ‘Old School Friday’ that even some of you ‘youngsters’ might know.  “__ __, __ __, daylight come and he wan’ go home… Come Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana (Daylight come and he wan’ go home).  It’s six foot, seven foot, eight foot, bunch.  (Daylight come and he wan’ go home).”  Hint:  I shortened the verse a bit, but you get the idea.  It’s based on a folk song, became a hit in the middle 50s by an artist who became legendary.  The title is actually a word and a vowel sound.  That’s enough hints.  

Blue and I went to immigration this morning for his first 90 day ‘check-in’.  There was no one else in the office and it only took a few minutes.  That made our day.  We went home, got Lisa, and the three of us went to the Friday Farmer’s Market, where we found some nice, fresh vegetables.  At the pumpkin lady’s table they took our picture after we bought two little Thai pumpkins.  

At Big C we always check out the progress on the huge condo project next door.  I don’t know how many units it houses, but it’s quite a big building.  When we first looked, we noticed a guy hanging from a rope with a paint bucket tied to his belt and a roller in his hand.  So that’s how they painted this thing.  When we came out of the store he was still dangling from the roof and I took his photo.

This evening we went to the opening of an art exhibit at NorThai.  There was a big turnout to see works by some of the ‘core members of the Chiang Rai art community.  They were asked to bring two works from different times in their lives.  Some of the artists showed an early work and a current piece.  One artist brought two pieces of concrete from his old family home that had pencil drawings he had made when he was 5 years old.  His current piece was done with clay on canvas as the basic background, and then an acrylic painting of Buddha on top of that.  We saw many friends and met new people.  Cat’s math teacher was there and it was nice to meet him.  He’s from France and Cat says it is sometimes difficult to understand math in English through a French accent.    

Next Wednesday the little elephant is due to be delivered to Art Bridge.  Lisa has made great progress, but there’s still work to be done.  Her masterpiece is getting close to completion.  When it looks done, she will go back and do the detail work.  She realized today, that each part of the elephant is like creating a new painting but it all has to work together.  Next week you will get to see.

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


Thursday, February 19, 2015



The ‘Hot Season’ has arrived.  The high today was 88F and tomorrow and next week it will be 90F and above.  The lows will still be in the mid to high 50s, but the heat is on.

It seems that the ‘Zany Day’ song has thrown some of you for a loop.  We’ll jump to the last verse, and see if these profound lines mean anything to anybody (555).  “Cancer, and my name is Larry, huh, and I like a woman that loves everything and everybody, because I love everybody and everything.  And you know what, ladies, if you feel that this is you, then this is what I want you to do:  Ooh, yeah, take my hand….. __, __ __…”  Hint:  Real deep stuff, right?  So if you put a cork in water, what does it do?  This is the key word to the title and the group name. 

Boot is recovering from her eye surgery and is back to doing things in the house.  Her cousin is helping out.  Boot is not supposed to do any heavy lifting or look down, for another 40 days.  This has not stopped her from riding her motorbike, with safety glasses, or being busy in the kitchen.  It’s a wonder she stayed as still as she did for as long as she did (555).

We heard a small amount of firecrackers in the distance today, but we suspect tomorrow, Friday, will be the real beginning of the celebrating.  Blue and I drove into town today and it was pretty quiet.  One of our stops was at ‘7-11’, known here as ‘7’.  We went through the process of putting more money on our phones.  Most people have ‘pay as you go’ numbers and it’s based on the time you spend on the phone and what carrier you call.  Minutes don’t seem to be in the equation.  If I’m calling numbers on my carrier then the call is free.  Our whole ‘family’ is on D-TAC so the money lasts longer.  If I call the AIS network, I get charged a small fee.  If all the money runs out, I could still get calls, but not make them.  At ‘7’, we typed in our number on a keypad and in less than a minute a text message appeared on our phones with our new balance.  Brilliant.

The elephant project has 60 artists from Art Bridge participating.  Usually, when a group exhibit is in the works, artists post photos of their work in progress, or the finished product.  With the elephant, it seems to be a very secret thing.  Only a few artists have posted anything.  Either the work is going slow, or there is a mystique that has taken over.  My guess is, with everyone using the same odd ‘canvas’, the work is all going to be very different and no one wants to expose the work until it’s finished.  In early March they will be on display to the public.  

This afternoon we heard a roaring sound that didn’t seem like it was coming from the ground.  I went out and saw a small, single engine airplane with a very loud exhaust, flying overhead.  It circled around and headed toward the airport, then circled back.  This is very unusual, especially as low as it was flying.  The only thing that flies that low is the occasional army helicopter making a run to the north.  Hmm, a new mystery.

Today’s photo is a ‘cluster’ of orchids in the front yard.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Do not be too timid and squeamish
about your actions.  All life is an
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, February 18, 2015



Well, it’s Chinese New Year’s Eve, and the excitement is building in some quarters.  We were startled this morning by the sound of a firecracker string going off at 6:30am.  We were up and around, just not expecting that sound.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Make It With You” by Bread.  Now the clues make sense.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song will bring back memories, since we’ve ‘played it’ before.  “Aquarius and my name is Ralph.  Now I like a woman who loves her freedom, and I like a woman who can hold her own.  And if you fit that description, baby, come with me.  Take my hand, come with me, baby, to Love Land.  Let me show you how sweet it could be, sharing love with me.  I want you to __, __ __ (Come on, come on, come on, baby, yeah) __, __ __ (Ooh, ooh, baby)…”  Hint:  The group name and the title of the song use the same word.  One uses this word to describe the act of being on one’s back on the surface of water.  Hmm.

This morning, Blue and I ran errands.  Our first stop was the Post Office on wheels.  Every morning it parks on the Super Highway near our bank and it’s much easier than trying to park and climb stairs at the regular P.O.
While we were waiting, I noticed what looked like a long piece of material hanging from a tree.  Upon close inspection I realized it was a string of firecrackers.  I had never seen a string so long.  Today’s photo is in honor of The Year of the Goat (my sign).  At the very top there are two very large crackers to close out the chaos.  When the fuse is lit, it’s going to be a noisy, smokey time.

Our next stop was the Healthy Market, for fresh veggies, fruit, and fish.  I ordered the fish and then we went to one of Lisa’s favorite vendors.  At one point we chose some cauliflower and she went behind her table and came up with two that were much larger.  It’s nice having friends in the market.  

All along Clock Tower street there are little red lanterns suspended above the traffic.  The Chinese Cultural Center is decorated in red and gold, and many shops have signs and banners with Happy New Year in several languages.  It all seems bigger this year.  This evening we went to the mall for some food items and paint for the little elephant.  We had to walk the length of the mall and we noticed many people wearing traditional Chinese tops.  Chiang Rai has a very large Thai/Chinese population that celebrates their heritage.  For many Thais, it’s just another day, but for those who have mixed ancestry, it’s a special time.  In front of many businesses we saw little piles of ashes where they had burned offerings to the ancestors.  

Our front yard got an even bigger dumping of leaves this afternoon as the result of a wind that reminded us of the Santa Anas in Southern California.  The timing was all wrong since Duin had just cleaned off the front lawn.  Daku was totally distracted by the leaves and my guess is that tomorrow morning he’ll be a handful.  

It’s time for Wacky Wednesday.


“The trick is in what one emphasizes.
We either make ourselves miserable,
or we make ourselves happy.
The amount of work is the same.”
~Carlos Castaneda

Tuesday, February 17, 2015



Today was one of those days when we didn’t leave the house.  Even so, there was plenty of activity around here.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song has only had two responses.  Hmm, I was so sure you would remember the song with such a strong declaration.  Maybe another verse is in order (555).  “Though you don’t know me well, with every little thing only time will tell.  If you believe the things that I do, then we’ll see it through.  Life can be short or long, love can be right or wrong.  And if I choose the one I’d like to help me through, I’d like to __ __ __ __.  I really think that we can __ __, girl.”  Hint: ‘He' really has a strong desire to be with ‘her’.  The key word is what you would use when producing toast.  You don’t bake it, you __ it.  And that rhymes with bake.

It’s still dark and cold at 6am.  By mid-day it’s getting warm and by mid-afternoon it’s hot.  I’m not complaining at all, considering the weather in other parts of the world.  This morning was also very musical, with spiritual overtones.  The monks at the temple were chanting, and traditional mallet music was drifting through the air.  At the same time, the drum corp at the Jr. High School was practicing.  It was a strange, yet comforting mixture of sounds.  I suppose I liked it because it was people making music, being reverent, and it wasn’t loud for the sake of being loud.  

This  morning Lisa had a visit from a budding artist from Holland who wanted to know more about her work.  They spent about an hour in the studio discussing various mediums, styles, and processes.  During their conversations Lisa learned that a friend of ours in town had previously learned a lot about the cast acrylic process when he visited our house and got the studio tour.  He had explained it to the woman who came over today.  You just never know who is paying attention.  

The saga of the little elephant is an interesting story.  The painting continues and time has become another source of motivation.  At first glance it would appear that it might be fun and easy.  After that glance, one faces the task of painting on a curved surface that is smooth, and it has many areas that are difficult to reach.  ‘He’ has already been on his side once, for access to the inside of his legs.  Soon he will get the same treatment for the other side and then there is his tummy.  It’s looking great and when it’s done it will dazzle the eyes, but right now it’s a lot of work.  Our resident artist is putting in long hours, but smiling at the end of each session.

This afternoon we were faced with a plumbing dilemma.  The details are not as important as what one does in such situations.  When we were in our first year here, I asked a Thai friend if he knew a good plumber.  He asked me, “What is a plumber”.  When I explained, he told me they just had people who worked with pipes.  Oh.  There are those handymen who have made ‘pipes’ their specialty, but they also do lots of other things.  We got the problem solved by someone who doesn’t even work with pipes.  Amazing, and different.

Today’s photo was taken last Friday at the organic vegetable market.  This side of the market has very fresh produce and the opposite side has a mixture of veggies and prepared food.  You can see two young men in dark green in one booth.  They are from the Army base that shares this piece of land once a week.  The soldiers have a large garden and bring some of their produce each week.  Hmm, I like that idea.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“And in the end, it’s not the 
years in your life that count.
It’s the life in your years.”
~Abraham Lincoln

Monday, February 16, 2015



Chiang Rai is back in the pattern of very warm days and cold nights.  We’re still waiting for those warm nights that will help the pool heat up.  (Sigh)  

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Save The Last Dance For Me” by The Drifters.  That means it’s time for ‘Easy Monday’, and something you might know.  “Hey, have you ever tried, really reaching out for the other side?  I may be climbing on rainbows, but baby here goes.  Dreams are for those who sleep, life is for us to keep.  And if you’re wondering what this song is leading to, I’d like to __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  Sung by a group who’s name is something you use to make toast.  The singer is stating his intentions.  It’s from the early 70s.

Saturday was an interesting day.  We dropped Cat at the orthodontist office to get her braces adjusted and went to the Talat (the main central market).  It was 10am and the place was jammed with shoppers.  One thing that was very evident was the coming of the Chinese New Year on February 19.  There is one stall that always has an assortment of things related to Chinese cultural practices, but this time of year they go all out.  There were large lanterns, banners, and loads of fireworks for sale.  They also have a stock of paper replicas of things to burn in honor of the ancestors.  Everything from iPhones to small cars, to items of clothing.  The color ‘red’ was all through the Talat.  In a few days the fireworks will begin going off and that will last probably until after the 19th.

In the evening, while Lisa worked on the little elephant, Blue and I went out with the intention of going to the opening of the Dark Star Community Building opening.  The traffic was very intense, not only because it was Saturday night and Walking Street was going on, but it was Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated here with much enthusiasm.  At the big high school near us there was a music concert, down the street there were many people gathered to watch the Clock Tower light show, and then there was the traffic trying to get to Walking Street.
Due to some misdirection, we never found the building and went home.  We’ll try and find it in the daytime when the streets are friendlier.

There is a roving dog pack that is currently doing their thing in our neighborhood.  Last night they were barking and howling, giving their own concert to everyone around.  They will leave soon and harass another part of the village.  

The little vegetable farm behind our house has a ‘shack’ where they keep supplies and have their meals during the day.  I noticed that they have a Spirit House next to the shack and decided to take a photo.  These little ‘houses’ on pedestals are all over Thailand.  You can see them in front of businesses, hotels, farms, and especially homes.  Their purpose is to provide an appealing shelter for the spirits, or celestial beings who would otherwise reside in the heavens.  This comes from the ancient practice of Animism, which is still a big part of the Thai culture today.  When we intended to buy our property we were encouraged to go to the land and talk to the spirits of the land and let them know that we would take good care of it and live good lives.  We often see people praying in front of the Spirit House in front of their business.  Offerings are brought and placed on the house as a way of paying respects.  It might be in the form of flowers, incense, or food and drink.  Today’s photo is the Spirit House for the little farm.  It’s just to the left of the shack.  I have added a close-up of a typical house also.

Have a Great Week.


“The important thing is this:
to be able at any moment, 
to sacrifice what we are for
what we could become.”
~Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Funnies


Things are really heating up in Chiang Rai.  The temps are rising daily and the wardrobe is changing as well.  

Well, that ‘Zany Day’ song was “Lola” by The Kinks.  You should know this (555).  ‘Old School Friday’ is next:
“You can dance ev’ry dance with the guy, who gives you the eye, let him hold you tight.  You can smile for the man who held your hand ‘neath the pale moonlight.  But don’t forget who’s taking you home and in whose arms you’re gonna be.  So darlin’, __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  The singer is making a request for the end of the evening.

This morning was not as cold as other days.  In fact, I made the mistake of leaving the house wearing a thermal top and a T-shirt only to find myself boiling in a few hours.  We made the rounds of Makro and the Friday farmer's market.  The quality of the Friday ‘crop’ is noticeably better than what is found in the stores.  We plan to find out if they set up in any other locations during the week.  It would be nice to shop with them at least twice a week.  

Boot came home from the hospital today.  She has to rest for a few days, with no heavy lifting and no looking down.  BamBam was very happy to have Boot return.  Life is slowly returning to normal for her.  With Boot at home it means that Duin is also available to help in the yard and the kitchen.  Lisa is doing all the cooking, and now Duin will help with the clean up.  

This afternoon the wind blew for quite awhile.  For us, this time of year means that the giant leaves from the Teak trees across the road blow into our yard.  Duin did a great job of cleaning them up, but not before Mr. Daku had a chance to sample the ‘chip’ menu.  I thought he had outgrown his taste for the big leaves, but I was wrong.  

Today’s photo shows Daku, caught in the act of munching away on one of the many leaves in the yard.  I finally had to distract him to another area without leaves.

Living in Thailand and staying in touch with friends mean that I really do get to celebrate my birthday for two days.  I am very grateful for the number of birthday communications I have received from all around the world.  This is something I never would have dreamed of in the past.  Wow, very cool stuff.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.      Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.


Thursday, February 12, 2015



Here in Thailand it’s February 12 and that means it’s my birthday.  By the time some of you read this it will be the 12th where you are.  I had a lovely day and I’m perfectly fine with celebrating it for another couple of days.

A few of you remembered this ‘Zany Day’ song.  This verse gives away a little more about the title.
“Well, I’m not the world’s most physical guy, but when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine, oh my
__, lo lo lo lo __.  Well, I’m not dumb but I can’t understand why she walks like a woman and talks like a man, oh my __, lo lo lo lo __, lo lo lo lo __….”  Hint:  One word, two syllables, first one is mentioned many times.  Easy. 

Today began like most days.  Get up, go outside with Daku after his breakfast and walk the yard, then help with the breakfast for the humans.  My first surprise was gifts from Blue.  We have a running joke about the logo for Mae Farluang University, which is "MFU" so he got me this cool jacket from the campus bookstore, plus a couple of school polo shirts.  When I finally got upstairs and looked at my email, he had made a great greeting card and it was waiting in my inbox, along with one from my brother.  A little later a real card appeared on my keyboard from Lisa.  Inside was a beautiful stone pendant.  My day was complete.  We spent the morning around the house, Lisa painting and me researching various things on my computer.  

After lunch we got a call from our friend Katai, from Work@Home.  She and her husband Thovan were at the gate with a gift.  They brought a gorgeous bouquet of red and orange flowers.  They had never met Daku so today was the day.  It was love at first sight.  Towan greeted Daku as he came down the stairs and that was all he needed to get fired up.  When they left, Towan told Daku he would miss him.  They plan to get another Golden Retriever in the near future.

It was my birthday and I was given an offer I couldn’t refuse.  Yes, I’d love to go to the mall and look for something I’d like.  What?  Lisa, Blue and I went to Central Plaza and I started at the Apple Store.  Then we went to Banana, another electronic store, and back to Apple where I found a cool device for my phone.  Today was a good day.

This evening we went to 9 Art Gallery for the opening of an exhibit featuring 9 artists.  It was like ‘old home week’, with all of the core artists there in full force.  The artwork was quite varied style wise, and overall we enjoyed the paintings.  We had lots of conversations with our friends, many of whom were also working on finishing their elephants by the due date.  There was a band set up, but during the time we were there just the lead singer held court.  This older gentleman in a cowboy hat sang a medley of Elvis songs in English with lots of drama.  As we were leaving he was singing ‘Besame Mucho’ with all his heart.  

On the way to the art exhibit we stopped at the roadside stand near our house that sells eggs.  Lisa brought a ‘bag of eggs’ and it struck me that many of you have probably never seen such a sight.  Today’s photo is how eggs are sold on the street.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Look, art knows no prejudice, art knows 
no boundaries, art doesn’t really have judgement
in it’s purest form.  So just go, just go.”
~K.D. Lang

Wednesday, February 11, 2015



One word to describe the weather today would be ‘Murky’.  It’s cloudy with a strange haze mixed in, and it stinks.  This usually doesn’t begin until late in the month or early March.  Turn up the air filter.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder.  ‘Zany Day’ is next.
“I met her in a club down in old Soho, where you drink champagne and it taste just like cherry cola, c-o-l-a cola.
She walked up to me and she asked me to dance, I asked her name and in a dark brown voice she said, ‘__’, __-__-__- __, __….”  Hint:  The title is one word, and it’s a name.  Kind of a kinky song.

When we first heard about Boot needing surgery, she thought it would be today, but she went to the hospital this morning and this afternoon they told her it would be tomorrow and she must stay overnight.  She thinks she might be home on Friday, but I suspect it will be Saturday.  Life around here is very different without Boot.  Lisa is doing the cooking, which is rather involved, and I’m doing what I can to take up the slack.  Cat helps in the evenings, and we’re all trying to do those little things that we normally don’t have to do.  Duin is still with Boot at the hospital so there will be minimal house cleaning until she returns.  

Tomorrow evening we will attend an art opening at 9 Art Gallery.  Saturday there is an open house for a new project called Dark Star Community & Studio.  It’s a building that will be a center for workshops and classes in various artistic genres and there is also a photography studio/gallery run by the Chiang Rai Photography Club.  Later in the month there’s another opening at NorThai, featuring local artists.  This month is filled with art events.  There will also be the unveiling of the little elephant project in early March.  Exciting times for the community.

I couldn’t resist taking a picture in the fruit section at Makro.  It took me a minute to realize what I was seeing.

I totally get it.  I can’t read Thai and whoever was packing the grapes couldn’t read English.  Grapes are grapes.

This afternoon I finally unpacked the keyboard controller I bought several months ago.  I plugged it into my laptop, opened Garage Band, and started hearing music from my computer.  This hasn’t happened in a very long time.  Now I have a lot to learn, but I already have the seed of an idea.  I’d better get back to it before it floats away (555).

It’s time for Wacky Wednesday.


“To be able to look back on one’s life
with satisfaction, is to live twice.”
Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, February 10, 2015



Another day like the last one, weather wise.  Aside from the weather, our days are never the same here.  There are set routines, but in between there are many variations.  

At last, an ‘Easy Monday’ song that really is easy.  Now that the Grammys are over, you can let me know the song.  “You must have known that I was lonely, because you came to my rescue.  And I know that this must be heaven.  How could so much love be inside of you?  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, that’s why I’ll always be around…"
Clue:  Seriously?  It’s a wonder everybody didn’t write in on the first day (555).  

Today Boot’s cousin Duin arrived from Phuket.  She came to help out while Boot recovers from eye surgery tomorrow.  We know that she will be in the hospital at least one night and her cousin will stay with her.  Boot is understandably nervous about the whole thing, but having Duin here has cheered her up.  

We have been noticing a lot of ‘visitors’ around town, even though the ‘High Season’ is nearly over.  I think some lines have been blurred and the definition of the season will have to be changed.  This evening we went to the Night Bazaar and the place was packed.  Before we parked, we saw a car with Chinese plates.  This is becoming a regular occurrence in Northern Thailand since the completion of a highway that goes from China to Laos, and a bridge across the Mekong into Thailand.  In the Night Bazaar we heard many languages and it really felt like a scene from a movie.

The photo for today is another from the front yard.  There are five palm trees next to the driveway.  In this photo you will notice the tops of three of them.  The ‘spike’ sticking up will become a new fronds.  All of the trees have one at the same time.  The shot was taken around 8am, facing east.  The structure behind them is our neighbors addition that never got used.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“No act of kindness,
no matter how small,
is ever wasted.”

Monday, February 9, 2015



The weather in Chiang Rai was cool over the weekend.  We’ve had a cloud cover in the mornings that doesn’t burn off until the afternoon.  The strange thing is, there are forecasts for 99F on February 21.  What?  How could anyone possibly know that?

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight” by The Spaniels.  It’s time again for ‘Easy Monday’.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ __, that’s why I’ll always be around.  You are the apple of my eye, forever you’ll stay in my heart.  I feel like this is the beginning, though I’ve loved you for a million years.  And if I thought our love was ending, I find myself drowning in my own tears.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, that’s why I’ll always be around…”  Hint:  This should be easy.  Once again, singing about that big bright ball in the mid-day sky.

Saturday was a busy day at the Big Brown House.  There was lots of preparation for the dinner party in the evening.  Cooking and doing things around the house.  Having guests over was just what we needed to put some of Lisa’s artwork back on the walls.  In the afternoon I picked up my friends Bonnie and Harvey, who are touring Southeast Asia, and brought them to the house for coffee and conversation.  We hung out on the patio and helped them map out their ‘one day’ to see the sights.  Blue and Cat negotiated with a woman who drives a taxi, explaining where they wanted to go and it all worked out.  

The dinner was a huge success and we all had lots of turkey and trimmings.  As always, we had fun talking with Stephan and Claire.  There’s always something new to learn about the hotel business and Australia when they’re around.  They will be leaving on a trip to the states soon and it was interesting to see what they were looking forward to doing.  

This afternoon we went over to Browney’s Pet World to see how it looked on the day of the official opening.  As we left the driveway there was a man pushing a cart full of cut firewood.  I didn’t get a photo, but it brought up something I hadn’t thought about.  There are people who still cook over a wood-burning fire.  For some, a gas burning stove would be an extreme luxury.  Not only did it make us realize we are in the country, but also how some things are easily taken for granted.  At Browney’s, they had peeled off the covering on the front of the building to reveal wood-grained aluminum siding that was very impressive.  The parking lot was almost full and things were in full swing.  We took a bouquet of flowers and the staff insisted on having us pose for a photo with the son and a manager.  There was a row of baskets from well-wishers along the office wall.  Next time I’ll remember to take a few pics.

Today’s photo is a little bush that produces two different colors of flowers.  When Daku was a puppy he couldn’t get enough of the scent.  Now the flowers are higher and he’s lost interest.

Have a Great Week.


“Love is wanting others to be happy.”
~The Dalai Lama

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Funnies


The weather in Chiang Rai was decidedly different today.  It was overcast and cool, compared to earlier this week.  We left the comfy confines of the house and ventured out into the world.

The ‘Zany Day’ tune was “School Boy Crush” by Average White Band.  ‘Old School Friday is by a group who draws it’s name from a breed of dogs.  “__ __, well, it’s time to go.  __ __, well it’s time to go.  I hate to leave you but I really must say, __ __, __.  Well, it’s three o’clock in the morning, baby, I just can’t treat you right.  Well, I hate to leave you baby, don’t mean maybe because I love you so.  __ __, well, it’s time to go….”  Clue:  The two word title is a way of bidding farewell.

The U.S. Consul was in Chiang Rai this morning, at Le Meridien Resort.  We were there at 8:30am to handle a passport renewal.  When we arrived there were already 8 people ahead of us.  After almost an hour, the business was handled in a few minutes and Lisa's new passport will be ready in 2 to 3 weeks.  That will require a trip to Chiang Mai, but we plan to be there around that time anyway.  The people from the Consulate are very friendly and efficient.  That always makes things like this bearable.

Our next stop was Makro, which was rather calm for a Friday morning.  We may have missed the early rush.  The real excitement happened after we left Makro.  We had noticed that there were cars in the lot at Browney’s Pet World so we decided to stop and see if they were open.  The official opening will be Monday morning, but they let us come in and shop.  The place is huge inside.  I have never been in a pet store with so much inventory.  We started looking around in the ‘treat’ section and a young man who spoke a little English helped us deal with labels that were all in Thai.  When we found what we wanted, he got a basket and carried it around for us.  We had a conversation with the owner and complimented him on his new store.  When the interior is ready, I’ll take pics so you can see what all the fuss is about.

This afternoon we went to the organic farmers market near out house.  It only happens on Friday’s.  We got some really fresh vegetables and some delicious pineapple.  When Lisa spoke to the women vendors in Thai they were quite taken by it.  This was a clear sign to us that they haven’t had a lot of interaction with Thai-speaking foreigners.  It was fun watching their reactions.  

Today’s photos from the yard are both colorful reds in their own way.  The bougainvillea bush is one of several growing in both yards.  This one is really full right now.  The Ginger plants grow by the waterfall area and seem to enjoy their spot a lot.

Tomorrow evening we’re having guests for dinner, which hasn’t happened in a long time.  We’re having a combined turkey dinner with Stephan and Claire.  It should be a lot of fun and a lot of food.  

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