Thursday, April 30, 2015



So far, the forecasts have been true.  No rain, just hot.  Maybe some of our rain can drift over to California and ease the drought.  

The ‘Zany Day’ tune is part of a Rock Opera.  This song is establishing the principle character.  Pre-Game Boy.
“He stands like a statue, becomes part of the machine.  Feeling all the bumpers, always playing clean.  He plays by intuition, the digit counters fall.  That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean __ __.”  Hint:  The word you’re looking for usually describes a man in a robe and a pointy hat, waving a wand.  

This morning we made the Makro Run.  While we were there we picked up some pencils, paper and rulers to send to the kids in Nepal.  We’re going to a benefit gathering at 9 Art Gallery tomorrow evening.  There are many ways to help.  Here is a link to an organization with a very high rating for delivering the goods.

Yesterday I mentioned the various stages of planting and growing going on around us.  This morning we were reminded of another thing that happens; abandonment.  There was a small plot not far from us, that was cleaned up and cultivated.  Water tanks and pipes were brought in and seeds were planted.  It looked like it was going to be an interesting vegetable ‘mini-farm’.  Today it’s all grown over with weeds and wild flowers.  

Today’s photo is the planting next to us.  There are three people visible in this shot, plus the man with the plow. by the end of the day there were ten planters out there.  Each one carries an umbrella, and a little can tied to their side containing the corn seeds.  The whole field was finished in half a day.  Now we wait for rain and then corn.

This afternoon, when we walked into AUA, there was a big greeting between Natcha and the woman at the intake desk.  They know each other, which helped ease the tension of enrolling in a different kind of school.  Several of the teachers came through the office and they all knew Cat from when she studied there.  Natcha is very excited about studying English.  She’s also excited about moving in tomorrow.  Life is changing for everyone and it’s great.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015



We seem to be in a ‘storm-a-day’ pattern.  Today it was partly cloudy with bright sun.  By late afternoon the rain was falling.  There was thunder in the distance, but then it all stopped.  There is no rain forecast for a week.  We’ll just see about that.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I’m Only Sleeping” by The Beatles.  The ‘Zany Day’ song is next.  It’s game time.
“Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve played the silver ball.  From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all.  But I ain’t seen nothing like him in any amusement hall…. That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pin ball.”  Clue:  I believe this song is from the first, true Rock musical.  Half of the two-word title has basically been given, and I just know you know who sang it.  

It was a busy Wednesday at The Big Brown House.  Khun Na was cleaning the pool, Khun Yee was sealing the awning, and Khun Dang, a new contractor, was figuring out how to seal part of the roof.  Na comes every week and today he mentioned that he misses BamBam.  That was really sweet.  She would always run out to greet him, giving him her paw.  Today Daku gave him a super-warm greeting and he enjoyed it, but it wasn’t BamBam.  
Whenever the wind blows horizontally while it’s raining, water comes in under the roof tiles in our bedroom.  Khun Dang came to us through our friends at Work@Home and he builds houses.  This is the level of contractor that we’ve been needing in our arsenal for house repairs.  I think we will have a list of things for him to change over time.

After lunch we braved the downtown business district to get the new glasses for Blue and Lisa.  We knew it would take a little time for the lenses to be set in their frames, so we decided to wait at Doi Chaang Coffee where there is cool air.  We had a brief discussion about walking, but it was pointed out that we would also have to walk back.  That realization had us all laughing.  We took the van to Doi Chaang.  When Blue and Lisa tried their new glasses they both had the same response: “That’s much better”.  

Our friends Cornelis and Anoi came over for coffee this afternoon.  Yes, it was a no-nap day.  We had a really fun time.  They told us about driving to Bangkok and how taking three days makes it much easier.  It normally takes 13 to 15 hours driving straight through.  Cornelis had an exhibit in BKK so we heard about that as well.  There was lots of art talk, and plenty of laughter.    

While we were talking and laughing, Cat (left) and Natcha quietly slipped into the pool.  

Tomorrow we are taking Natcha to AUA language school for an assessment test.  She speaks a little English, but wants to learn more.  What is interesting is the fact that she can read some English already.  We have learned that the Akha adopted the English alphabet and use tone markers above and below certain letters, like in Thai.  She already speaks Burmese, Akha, Thai, and some English.  It is not unusual in this part of the world to meet people who are multi-lingual. 

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“I am always doing that which I cannot do,
in order that I may learn how to do it.”
~Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, April 28, 2015



Well, that thing about the rain being gone; not true.  We had rain overnight and again this evening.  Oh well, everything is green and beautiful.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song appeared on a 'record album’ that went ‘round and round’.  One might say it was a revolver.  “Everybody seems to think I’m lazy.  I don’t mind, I think they’re crazy.  Running everywhere at such a speed, till they find there’s no need (There’s no need).  Please don’t spoil my day, I’m miles away, and after all, __ __ __.”  Hint:  I think I’ve said quite enough.  

It was the kind of morning when the sky has clouds, but the sun is dominant.  The kinds of morning that says ‘Get the van washed, you’ll feel better.’  We hung out at Work@Home while the van got it’s bath and had a good visit with Katai, the owner.  Just before we left I noticed a man on a motorbike going by with an interesting load.  I ran down the street and caught this photo while he was stopped.  You can draw your own conclusions.

One of the great things about the Healthy Market is the honesty of the vendors.  Today we asked the husband at the fruit stand if the pineapple was sweet.  His reply was, ’Not sweet’.  He knows we prefer sweet versions of the fruit and sometimes he will tell us before we ask.  

When Natcha arrived for work this morning she had three large plastic bags with her.  She was starting the moving process.  Friday is the day she and Gong will move into the apartment.  There is a sense of excitement and anticipation.  Today we got a new door lock and got the stove for the Thai kitchen connected.  One comforting thought is that she won’t have to travel through the rain to come to work.  

After our successful shopping trip to Big C on Sunday night, we’ve been rethinking the evening shopping idea.  Tonight we returned to Big C and found the store much more ‘user friendly’.  Before we entered the main store Blue and I went to the DTAC shop to handle some phone business.  Lisa went to the TrueTV shop and in both cases, there was no waiting.  During the day, these shops are always crowded.  Inside Big C it was a breeze to shop without being in congested aisles or long check-out lines.  Everything was going fine until we got to the door to leave.  Remember that carwash we got this morning?  Well, it was soaking wet and the sky was letting go of lots of water.  The umbrellas were in the van so we had to make a mad dash.  At least we have a clean, wet van (555).

As we move into planting season for some crops, we see familiar movement as we drive around the outskirts of town.  The field next to us got plowed today and others have begun planting.  It’s nice to see the field getting plowed because it means it hasn’t been sold.  We can expect another crop of corn, though we will never actually taste it.  It usually doesn’t get picked until the stalks are dry.  They use it for feeding livestock and it’s like absentee farming.  Plant it, spray it, harvest it.  Hmm.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The best way to find yourself
is to lose yourself in the service
of others.”
~Mahatma Ghandi

Monday, April 27, 2015



After a weekend of sunshine and rain, it looks like we may be having just ‘hot’ for a while.  That’s fine with us; it means the pool can get back to swimming temperatures.  

A lot of James Brown fans remembered “In A Cold Sweat” as the ‘Old School Friday’ song.  ‘Easy Monday’ is:
“When I wake up early in the morning, lift my head, I’m still yawning.  When I’m in the middle of a dream, stay in bed, float up stream (float up stream).  Please don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me.  Leave me where I am, __ __ __.”  Hint:  Fab Four Friends will know this one.  It’s easy.  

Saturday was one of the fullest days in recent times.  We did the ‘Makro in the Morning’ run for supplies.  In the afternoon Lisa and I went to Art Bridge for the shareholders meeting.  Several of the artists helped translate the proceedings so we knew what was going on.  The great news was the incredible progress that has been made in such a short time.  This year we got a dividend.  There is money to continue with programs for the coming year, and a large ‘gift’ by a prominent artist has opened the door to help artists in need.  

At the end of the meeting, as we headed for the door, one of the senior members informed us that there would be a traditional Northern Thailand style Songkran Ceremony, and that Lisa was to participate since she was one of the older members.  About 12 artists sat in chairs at the front of the room.  After a ceremonial prayer, a microphone was passed from one to another and they apparently spoke of their gratitude to Art Bridge and the community.  Lisa had been told that she only had to sit there... and then came the mic.  She spoke in Thai and they were very pleased.  Then everyone in the room lined up and took small cups of scented water and crawled on their knees in front of the ‘elders’.  They held out the cup and each elder dipped their fingers in the water, sprinkled the holder of the cup and then their own head.  This went on for quite a while.  It was a moving tribute.

Today’s photo was taken at Art Bridge during the Songkran Ceremony.

The day was far from over.  After dinner, Blue, Cat and I set out to try and find the venue for the Brazilian Jazz concert.  I should add that just as we got in the van, it began to rain.  After a phone call to the ‘club’, we found out we were on the wrong street.  Another call helped us get close enough to find the place.  The show was actually in a house that also serves as a music school.  Once the evening started we were treated to a quartet of musicians who were all from out-of-town.  The featured performer was a Frenchman singing in Portuguese.  We had a great time, even though we had to sit on little wooden stools.  It was worth it to watch the interaction between the players and hear some familiar tunes.  

In a conversation about age, Cat told us about a woman in her village that is 103 years old.  She told us that during Songkran, everyone in the village makes it a point to go and visit her and pour water over her hands.  The mental picture of this will stay with me for a long time.  We all decided we should find out what she eats (555).

Have a Great Week.


“Anyone who keeps the ability
to see beauty never grows old.”
~Franz Kafka

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Funnies


Last night’s storm was pretty big.  Some plant life was rearranged, but nothing major.  We’re just glad the wind didn’t last too long.  More thunderstorms are forecast for tonight, but we haven’t heard a thing yet (555).  Meanwhile, the days are still hot.  Typical weather for the most part.  Just happy we’re not in Bangkok where the temps are in the mid 90s and the humidity is 68.  

The ‘Zany Day’ tune known by a few, was “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next:
“I don’t care, ha, about your past.  I just want our love to last.  I don’t care, darlin’, about your faults, huh.  I just want to satisfy your pulse.  Oh, when you kiss me, when you miss me, hold my hand, make me understand.
I break out - __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  This tune is by The Godfather of Soul. 

We had a ‘light’ morning for a Friday.  The four of us went to the ‘Eye Guy’ in town to get exams.  Blue is getting new glasses, Cat is just fine, and it’s reading glasses for Lisa.  I’ll get a check-up next week.  The man we go to has a ‘family owned’ business as opposed to one of the chains that dominate the market.  Nice service, fair pricing, and not far from home.  We are slowly finding the right people for everything we need.  

This afternoon we went to Cat’s dance class.  Even if I didn’t know her, I would have to say that she really stood out in the class.  Dancing with a smile, attitude when called for, and a sense of what was supposed to happen made it easy to watch her.  Some of the students looked like the whole thing was a struggle, but Cat was ‘on’.  She wants to keep dancing after school starts and we’ve made it clear that she can, but that her studies have to be the priority.  The school invited her to be in a ‘competition’ in July down in Chiang Mai.  The adventure continues.

An interesting thing happens with dogs after a big rain.  Daku goes outside and behaves like he’s been given a new yard.  That means everything has to be sniffed and inspected.  Since it’s all been washed, it smells fresh and that means there might be something new to discover.  Oh boy.  We can learn a lot from dogs.

Sometimes we see things, but we’re not exactly sure just what we’re seeing.  On the island of Koh Samet in 2012, the image below was captured.  Hmm, creature from the blue lagoon?

On Saturday night, we are going to an evening of Brazilian Jazz at a place called ‘Jazz Happens’.  Somehow, we missed knowing about this place.  It’s part of something that began in Bangkok and has spread to Chiang Mai and now Chiang Rai.  It looks like a small, cozy place like we used to go to in the ‘Old Days’.  I’ll fill you in on Monday.

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


Thursday, April 23, 2015



Chiang Rai had a little cooler day.  Not a break from the heat, just a little cooler.  Tonight it’s doing the storm thing again.  This time there is wind and rain together.  I think this will be an all-nighter.

Well, only two people recognized the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Whoopi G. would know it.  It’s by a very old band that’s still around.  “I was raised by a toothless bearded hag.  I was schooled with a strap right across my back, but it's all right now, in fact, it’s a gas.  But it’s all right, I’m __ __ __, it’s a gas, gas, gas!”  Hint:  The title has not much to do with the song, but it’s all right now.  He’s a survivor.

Our little family spent the morning in the street, running errands.  At the Healthy Market we were amazed when the bok choy lady kept adding to the bag.  She was going by weight, and bok choy is very light.  It takes a lot to end up with a good amount after it’s been steamed.  When she finished, it was only $1.  At another stand we came away with two big bags of veggies and it hardly made a dent in the budget.  

After a stop at the bakery for Cat, we went up the highway for a confrontation with our internet provider.  We’ve been very unhappy lately with the inconsistent signal.  We got the usual answers and were told that a technician would come to the house.  This evening we got a call and of course the internet was running fast and steady.  Something tells me they are ’throttling’ our signal in order to share it with others.  Hmm.  

At Art Bridge, Blue filled out some forms and now his post-card and poster are on sale in the gift shop.  A few days ago Lisa put a display in the shop with DVDs of her father’s demonstration of creating the cast acrylic print. 

There are many kinds of artists in the world.  Some do their ’thing’ and struggle to survive, while others paint what is asked of them and probably still struggle.  Here is one of many tour buses that we see in Chiang Rai when the tours come to town.  I’ll bet you can’t guess the theme of this bus (555).  At least the members of the tour won’t get on the wrong bus.

Tomorrow we’re going to watch Cat’s dance class in the afternoon.  We’ve only seen a video of her dancing.  This should be fun.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness
 and just be happy."
~Guillaume Apollinaire

Wednesday, April 22, 2015



The forecasters had it right today.  It was cloudy and hot all day and rained late this afternoon.  More rain is supposed to be on the way tomorrow.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song this week was “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys.  Here’s a ‘Zany Day’ number for ya:
“I was born in a cross-fire hurricane.  And I howled at my ma in the driving rain, but It's all right now, in fact it’s a gas.  But it’s all right.  I’m __ __ __, it’s a gas, gas, gas.”  Hint:  The title might have come from an exercise.

Our morning adventure started at the Talat, the main marketplace.  Just as we arrived I got a call from Cat, telling me she was back in town and needed a ride home.  She was at the Song Taew ‘depot’, right around the corner from where we parked.  The Talat was bustling with back-to-school shoppers, along with the normal daily business.  Our main mission was to visit the fabric man who seems to know where everything is.  Blue has been searching for clear plastic sleeves for his posters.  True to form, our friend knew just where to get them and gave us excellent directions.  A walk through ‘shoe alley’ didn’t help my search for a new pair of sandals, but it’s always interesting.  

There are certain regulars that I always hope to see when we visit the Talat.  One of them is the blind singer who serenades as he walks the main aisle.  We saw him today and he was in good voice.  I have great respect for this man who braves the crowded market, focusing on his gift, trying to make a living.  

Following fabric guys direction, we drove down to bus station street, found the shop and Blue got his sleeves.  There is a rhythm to most small cities.  Once you experience the daily routines and patterns, the flow of things becomes more apparent.  It is those moments when it all comes together that I feel 'in sync’ with Chiang Rai.  Today was one of those days when the moments happened.

When the rain came this afternoon we were just considering going for a swim.  Needless to say, that didn’t happen.  Lisa asked Natcha if she brought her raincoat and she hadn’t.  Riding home in the rain would surely soak her so Lisa fashioned a poncho out of a trash bag.  Natcha wore it home and we’ll find out if it worked tomorrow.

Today’s photo is from our trip to Koh Lanta when we celebrated our 40th anniversary in August of 2010.  The sunset kept changing by the minute and this is just one of the dramatic scenes.

Time for a Wacky Wednesday.


"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of
the way things turn out." 
~Art Linkletter

Tuesday, April 21, 2015



Today we had hot and hazy for weather.  The forecasters just gave up on the air quality thing.  They have taken a new tactic: The temperature is 91F but feels like 107F.  What?

So, a few of you remembered this touching love song.  The second verse may hold the key if you’re unsure:
“If you should ever leave me, though life would still go on believe me, the world could show nothing to me, so what good would living do me?  __ __ __ what I’d be without you.  __ __ __ what I’d be without you…."
Hint:  The title is actually a common expression.  

This is the time of year when things get buggy.  One of the most interesting and annoying of the bunch is the Cicadas.  These insects are found in many parts of the world.  The ones in Thailand have this wall of noise they produce and sometimes it overpowers whatever you’re trying to listen to.  Then, in an instant, the sound stops.  It is the weirdest thing I have ever encountered.  Never heard it until we moved here.  This is also the time when we start seeing and hearing more frogs.  We found out yesterday that Natcha is really afraid of frogs.  They mostly stay in the little jungle around the pool, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

There was lots of traveling today.  Visits to our usual haunts for food stuff, and a visit to Art Bridge.  Blue became a member today and will be putting his cards in the gift shop soon.  Saturday we will go to our first shareholders meeting.  It would appear that the experiment has worked; we’re getting a dividend.  

There is nothing like the smell of baking bread to welcome you home from an afternoon in the streets.  That was our experience today and it was amazing.  Natcha has learned to bake coconut flour bread and coconut brownies in the short time she has been with us.  Most of what I eat, she can prepare now.  My coconut milkshakes are perfect and we don’t even have to ask her to make them.  She knows what time and just does it.  Daku has given her his seal of approval and now enjoys hanging out with her in the kitchen, even though she never gives him any food.  Things just keep getting better.

Today’s photo was taken at Work@Home in the parking lot.  It’s a type of palm tree that has many trunks.  I love the tropical aspect of this tree.

This evening Blue and I picked up Eric and we had our ‘boys night out’.  The jazz club didn’t start until 9pm so we just hung out at Doi Chaang Coffee and talked and talked.  It was Eric’s first time there and of course, he really loved the coffee and the ambience.  Later this week Blue and I will try and take in some jazz.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“You cannot teach a man anything;
you can only help him discover it 
in himself.”
~Galileo Galilei

Monday, April 20, 2015



This weekend we heard the last hooray from the folks on the river bank, and big noise from the sky.  The Sunday night storm was a welcome relief from the heat, although it came back today.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “There Goes My Baby” by The Drifters.  Oh, nobody knew.  Maybe this ‘Easy Monday’ tune will be recognized.  “I may not always love you, but long as there are stars above you, you never need to doubt it, I’ll make you so sure about it.  __ __ __ what I’d be without you.”  Hint:  A SoCal group made up of brothers, cousins and friends.  This song is a long way from surf and fast cars.  It was the theme song for a TV series.  

Driving around Chiang Rai, we are always aware of nature.  The city has so many huge, incredible trees, and beautiful flower gardens.  There are several ‘corridors’ of "Rain Trees" that we drive through and it never gets dull.  They create what feels like a tunnel as their tall branches reach over the street from both sides.  Many of them have orchid plants growing on the trunks and this adds a touch of color.  At Meng Rai Square there are gardens that are maintained by the city.  You can always count on seeing seasonal flowers blooming in tasteful arrangements, which is nice if you get stopped at the long traffic light.  And then we come home and we are surrounded by nature.  Life is good in Chiang Rai.

Sunday morning we had a visit from our friend Eric.  We hung out and talked about lots of things, mostly of how much we like it here.  He’s from Idaho and is a retired landscape architect.  As he was leaving, Blue and I spent some time looking over his new motorbike.  Normally, this would not have held our attention for too long, but his bike was designed for Honda in Italy.  There were many features we don’t often see, and the styling was very different from most of the bikes we see around town.  We’re planning a ‘Boy’s night out’ this week.  The plan is to go to the little jazz spot and listen to some music.  Can’t wait.

Blue and I went into town in the afternoon.  We didn’t realize how crowded Big C would be.  Then it hit us, it was the last day of the Songkran vacation for many people.  We only wanted to go to the the ‘Stamp Guy’ so Blue could get a rubber stamp made.  The stamp guy is only there for a few hours a day and when Blue got to his counter he wasn’t there.  The woman in the booth next door read the Thai sign on his counter to us.  He’d be back in 10 minutes.  We had to laugh because it seemed like such a relaxed way to run his little shop.  The business was done and the stamp will be ready on Tuesday.  People were walking around with ice-cream cups and tall sodas since it was a very hot day.  I suspect some folks were just hanging out in the cool building.

Our next stop was across the highway at Central Plaza.  They were having what could best be called a ‘Massage Expo’ on the main floor.  We stood upstairs and looked down on the whole thing and noticed something we’d never seen before.  Several ‘technicians’ were working on people who were seated using a piece of wood and a wooden mallet to pound out tightness.  Weirdest thing ever to watch someone hammering on a person.  There were booths selling oils and other healing aids, and some folks getting traditional Thai massages. It made for a very enlightening excursion.

We were just finishing dinner when the wind began to gently blow.  It picked up a little and then the rain began. What started as shower became a full-fledged storm, complete with thunder and lighning.  Another wave came later and the yard got a thorough soaking.  I love it when it rains at night.  There is more rain forecast for Wednesday, which would be just about the right time to water the yard again (555).  

Today the ‘Village’ by the river was almost gone.  The roofs were coming off of the little houses, the umbrellas were closing, and the place looked like a ghost town.  One nice thing about all that is the quiet this evening. 

Today’s photo was taken at the new home of our friends Caty and Kobchai.  They built a house in the country, south of town and their immediate neighbor is a rice field.  This is one of their views.

Have a Great Week.


“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile can be the source of
your joy.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Funnies


It was another hot day in Chiang Rai.  The weather services are getting more creative these days.  Next week we’re going to have a ‘mostly sunny and delightful’ day.  Hmm, if you say so.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Everybody Must Get Stoned” by Bob Dylan, a.k.a. Robert Zimmerman.  ‘Old School Friday’ is here already.  If you allow your mind to drift back in time you might remember this one.  It opens with a memorable intro and begins:  “__ __ __ __, movin’ on down the line.  Wonder where, wonder where, wonder where she is bound?  I broke her heart and made her cry.  Now I’m alone, so all alone.  What can I do, what can I do?  (__ __ __ __) Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, (__ __ __ __) Yeah, yeah, yeah,yeah….”  Hint:  He is singing this as he watches her leave.  Hmm. 

The streets of Chiang Rai continue to be rather quiet today.  Many shops are still closed, but the celebrating is definitely over.  There are still some hold-outs on the bank of the river, probably enjoying the calm after the chaos.  I think this was our ‘driest’ Songkran yet.  We stayed inside a lot and didn’t go to the busy, water-throwing streets.  

Cat returned from her village this afternoon.  On the way to her dance class she told me, with laughter in her voice, how she rode in the back of a pick-up truck and threw water.  If I were her age, I would have wanted to do that too.  

After our successful trip to immigration, we went to HomePro.  Maybe it’s the swimming and the stairs, but the store seemed bigger today, and harder on the legs (555).  It’s a very large place and requires a lot of walking.  We wanted to get a few things to fix up the apartment.  The main thing was what is called a ‘Hot Water’.  The most common method for supplying hot water is the instant heating units that mount on the wall.  They have been a staple in this part of the world for a long time.  The first time we encountered one of these devices was when we moved into the rental house in our second month in Thailand.  The idea of having this electrical box on the wall of the shower sent my mind to some scary places.  

Our ‘handy guy’ Nueng came over and installed the hot water unit as well as a lot of other little things that will make the apartment more livable.  It’s so amazing to watch the way he just takes all the weird jobs around the house and handles them in a short time.  He spent the afternoon fixing, installing, and adapting, and we stay appreciative.  

Today’s photo was taken at Chivit Tamma Da.  Their spirit house is a miniature of the actual ‘house’ that is Chivit.  It’s an unusual break from the traditional, but serves the same purpose and has great meaning to the owners and staff.

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


If dogs could send text messages:

Thursday, April 16, 2015



The weather is the same.  There is a teaser forecast calling for thunderstorms in a few days, but we just laugh.  

This week's 'Zany Day' song has lots of friends.  Maybe this verse will bring it back to you.  You might know it.
"Well, they'll stone you and say that it's the end.  Then they'll stone you and then they'll come back again.  They'll stone you when you're riding in your car.  They'll stone you when you're playing your guitar.  Yes, but I would not feel so all alone.  __ __ __ __."  Clue:  Another wordy tome from Mr. Z.  There are as many interpretations as there are verses.  

Riding through town this morning, we noticed all the closed businesses.  Songkran is officially over, but the 'holiday' is still in effect.  By next week things will return to normal.  Our morning plan was to hang out at Work@Home while the car was being washed and then get fish and fruit.  The car wash was closed.  What?  Blue, Lisa and I hung out anyway and it was good.  All around town there are vehicles in need of a wash, so I don't feel too tacky.  Dusty cars get water thrown on them and it makes it look worse.  We saw some cars that had powder thrown on them and they are really in need of a wash.  The powder, or paste that is part of Songkran is a very old tradition.  It was/is believed that the paste is a sign of protection and wards off evil spirits.  As with the rest of the celebration, the meaning gets lost over generations and now it's a way of tagging cars and touching girls.  There was an effort to tone down this ritual in Bangkok this year, but I doubt if it worked.  There was plenty of powder and paste in Chiang Rai.

Our new housekeeper, Natcha, has turned out to be a real gem.  She has learned to make some of the special things we eat and wants to learn more.  Today she learned how to fix Daku's dinner, bake coconut bread, and make my banana/coconut shake.  She and her boyfriend will move in on the first of next month and we're feeling like we have the support staff we wanted in the first place.  An added plus is hearing her working in the kitchen, singing along with the songs in her headset.

We had another afternoon swim and it was very refreshing.  Getting back in the water only reminded me just how out of shape I've become since going on this special diet.  Sustained activity will take some gradual progression.  Hmm, maybe pool toys would help (555).

Today's photo was taken at Chivit Tamma Da, and I believe it shows the tender respect that the holiday is really about.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


"Truth will always be truth, 
regardless of lack of understanding,
disbelief, or ignorance."
~W. Clement Stone

Wednesday, April 15, 2015



Hot is still the order of the day.  Water is the next big topic of discussion.  For us it's been avoiding thrown water, and slipping into pool water.  Yea, the season has begun.

The 'Easy Monday' song was "The Girl from Ipanema" by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto.  Here's a 'Zany Day' tune, I think some of you may remember:  "Well, they'll stone ya when you're trying to be so good.  They'll stone ya just a-like they said they would.  They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to go home.  Then they'll stone ya when you're there, all alone.  But I would not feel so all alone, __ __ __ __."  Clue: The key word to this song is in every verse.  That's all you get today.

The streets of Chiang Rai were strangely empty this morning.  Traffic was very light on our trip to Makro.  Driving into town was also very easy.  I guess everyone was doing 'at home' Songkran things this morning, and getting ready for the afternoon and evening.  Many people go to their temple in the morning, so that may have been the reason for the ghost town look.  

Natcha returned to work today, and brought her boyfriend with her.  He hung out in the apartment while she worked.  He seems like a nice young man.  His name is Gong and I'm sure we'll get to know him as time goes on.  It was nice to have some help in the house again.  When we asked them if they were going to play Songkran, they both let us know that they didn't like the water play.  

We have been hoping the pool would be at a swimmable state during this hot weather, especially since the air is good.  After running the filter in long segments, and doing some sweeping, the water presented an inviting picture today.  This afternoon we went in and it was wonderful.  It was a bit 'cool' on entry, but after a little movement it felt great.  

Blue and I went down to the river this afternoon and took photos of the giant village/party across from the boathouse.  Today's photo will give you an idea of the throng of people enjoying the riverside.  This is just one portion of the throng.  More photos later.

Tomorrow we go to immigration for our 90 day check-in.  It has become a simple procedure these days; just a matter of showing them our passports.  

It's time for Wacky Wednesday.


"Every noble activity 
makes room for itself."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, April 14, 2015



Today was spent behind the walls of The Big Brown House.  Across the river the celebrating is going on with a different vibe.  No carnival, no bands, just local drum circles and lots of Karaoke.  People are having fun, kids are throwing water, and tomorrow I will document some of this and share.

It looks like it really was an 'Easy Monday'.  Lots of response to this song of unrequited love.  Here's a little more:
"Oh, but he watches so sadly.  How, can he tell her he loves her.  Yes, he would give his heart gladly, but each day when she walks to the sea, she looks straight ahead not at he.  Tall, and tan, and young, and lovely, the __ __ __ __ goes walking and when she passes, he smiles - but she doesn't see, she just doesn't see...."  Hint: There is a tenor sax featured in this tune, along with a very soft, sultry voice.

Monday was our second day without any help with the house.  We have learned how to handle it, even if we don't like it (555).  Our mission for the day was to go to Big C and Central Plaza.  Rather ambitious for the first day of Songkran, but we needed things.  When we arrived at Big C, there was a line of cars in the street.  We joined the line and surrendered to the wait.  The wait was short and parking was easy.  Inside, it was intense.  The place was buzzing with shoppers.  Blue and I couldn't help laughing when we saw the 'water gun wall'.  There was every type of squirting device imaginable.  Now you can even buy a water gun with a tank that straps on your back.  Some of the water weapons are larger than the kids who want to shoot them.  We managed to get out in a short time and proceed to our next stop.

For many years I have wondered about the flowered shirt connection to Songkran.  Here's one story that may explain a lot.  In 1953 a woman named Khun Oun went to Hawaii.  When she returned to Thailand she brought with her many cultural items, from dance to clothing.  All of this will mean something when I tell you about our next adventure.

Central Plaza had just opened when we got there, so it was easy strolling from place to place.  We had specific things to do and we did them.  As Blue and I were about to meet Lisa at Top's Market, I checked a bag with the staff.  Blue commented on how Hawaiian the whole 'look' was, down to the flower leis.  I asked If I could take a photo of them and they presented us with leis.  At the check-out counter I spotted a friend we haven't seen in about a year and that led to a long conversation.  Then the staff wanted to take a photo with us.  Suddenly, we were in the midst of a little Songkran thing.  It was fun.  So much fun that Blue and I took a 'selfie' to document the occasion.  I usually don't post pics like this, but this is special.

Have a Happy Tuesday and a Happy Songkran.


"When men speak ill of thee,
live so as nobody may believe them."

Monday, April 13, 2015



Chiang Rai had a combination of weather events this weekend.  Lots of heavy downpours, but plenty of cloudy sunshine as well.  We're supposed to be dry for the week.  Perfect weather for throwing water (555).

I can't believe no one remembered our 'Old School Friday' song, "Heaven & Paradise" by Don Julian & The Meadowlarks.  You can listen on Youtube.  Maybe you know this 'Easy Monday' offering.  Feel the rhythm.
"Tall and tan and young and lovely, __ __ __ __ goes walking, and when she passes, each one she passes goes - aah.  When she walks, she's like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gently, that when she passes, each one she passes goes - aah."  Hint: This song introduced the U.S. to the music of a South American country on a grand scale.  There is a beach city involved in the title.  Hmm, easy. 

Saturday morning there were probably lots of people expecting to get an early start on their Songkran fun.  It might have happened if the rain hadn't come.  Cat went to her village early and will stay until Friday.  The weather cleared for Walking Street, but later that night more rain came.  We usually don't get this much rain at this time of year.  

Sunday morning it was raining when we woke up, and continued to rain for most of the morning.  Daku was disappointed, but he had fun later.  Blue and I went on a little adventure to the Green Bus shipping depot.  He had some printing done in Chiang Mai and the bus is the quickest way to ship things.  It was eerie, riding through the nearly empty streets in a light rain.  Between the businesses that are normally closed on Sundays, and the ones that are closed for Songkran, not much was open.  The package we picked up consisted of posters and postcards that Blue has created.  The collage consists of faces from 7 different Hill Tribes, taken at 6 villages.  That is our photo for today.

Sunday evening I noticed something flying through the room.  Then it landed and we went on 'high alert'.  It was one of the notorious, long-winged, ant-looking things that tried to take over the house last year.  They have this uncanny ability to squeeze through the tiniest spaces in an effort to get to the light.  Like the moth/flame thing.  All of our bug rackets were out of charge and they had been our first line of defense.  Lisa grabbed the dust-buster portion of our new vacuum and began to capture all the bugs that were sitting on a surface.  Attempts to catch them in flight were marginally successful, but it made a difference.  We were able to confine them to one room by turning off all of the lights in the house and traveling by flashlight.  Tonight we are in the midst of a blackout in preparation for another visit.  This whole invasion thing happens on the first couple of nights of the rainy season.  The bugs think the season has started.  Hey, maybe they're right.  Ironically, last night there were probably locals out under street lights catching the same bugs so they could take them home and fry them up.  Hmm.

Tomorrow we will continue with our Monday adventures, there's so much to tell.  

Have a Great Week.


"It's the possibility of having a 
dream come true that makes
life interesting."
~Paulo Coelho

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Funnies


And the rains came.  Last night we had another big storm, complete with wind that gifted us with stuff from the trees across the road.  We had a lovely day with clean air and hints of more rain to come.  Tonight there's thunder.

'Zany Day' was "Get Back" by The Beatles.  Now we go deep into the 'Old School Friday' file.  Remember this?
"__ __ __ aah ooh, waa-ooh, that's where I want to be-eee, waa-ooh, just you and me-eee, waa-ooh.  In __ __ __ (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh).  Roses are red, violets are blue, God only know how I love you.  My darling I love you, I love you so.  I'll never, let you go.  __ __ __ aah ooh, waa-ooh, that's where I want to be-eee, waa-ooh...."  Hint: This one is pretty old, two of the three words in the title might be the same thing to some, but in the song they are the ultimate, ideal place to be. 

It just started raining again here in Chiang Rai.  The new rain gutter above the awning is making the sound of the rain much quieter than it was before.  When the rain would stream off the roof onto the awning, we got this thunderous roar.  Now there is the sound of the rain on the trees and that's nice.

Daku has been quite busy lately.  We have had lots of different people in the yard fixing, changing, and repairing things.  Every time he goes outside he has to investigate where they were, what they did, and check to make sure they didn't leave any edibles behind.  Such is a dog's life.  He also loves the seeds that get blown down from a tree in the yard.  They hit the ground in little clusters and he finds them irresistible.  The only problem is, they make him sick.  That means he can't be left alone on that side of the house unless we've cleared the area first.  I guess we've been pretty busy as well (555).

As far as I'm concerned, Songkran has begun.  The official start date is the 13th, but today on the way to Cat's dance class she noticed a large wet area in the street ahead.  She exclaimed, "Someone play water", which is how the water-throwing is expressed.  As we got closer, three very small children emerged with buckets in hand and a little girl of about 7 years old timed her toss so the water hit directly on the windshield.  It's on!

This evening we attended the opening of an art exhibit by two women artists.  It was a chance to see some interesting work and hang out with friends.  

Today's photo was taken in our yard.  These are the first flowers from this orchid.  Each flower is about 1/2 inch, to give you an idea of their size.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Time for the 'Funnies'.     Oh yeah, Formula One is in China this weekend.  Zoom.


"Roses are Red
Bacon is Also Red.
Poems are Hard.