Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Funnies


It was another one of those hot days in Chiang Rai.  You know, the ones where the temp is 85F but feels like 109F.  We don’t pay any attention anymore (555).

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “A Horse With No Name” by America.  ‘Old School Friday’ is one I’m sure you know:
“Fine little girl, she waits for me.  Me catch the ship for cross the sea.  Me sail the ship, all alone. Me never think me make it home.  __ __, oh, oh, me gotta go. __ __, oh, oh, me gotta go.”  Hint: This is an ‘Easy Friday’ song for sure.  This was an early Afro/Calypso groove in it’s original form.  Notice: Only the original artist will be tolerated as an answer (555).  Rant over.

There is one parking place at Makro that we consider the best spot on the lot.  It’s right by the front door, in the shade.  Today we got the spot.  It’s the little things sometimes (555).  Makro has very tall storage shelves on each aisle, similar to Costco or Home Depot.  We usually don’t think about it.  Today we wanted something on an aisle where they were putting a few palletes on the top shelves.  The guy operating the electric forklift looked like he was having a ball.  Then it hit me, the realization of just how high all those boxes were.  We continued shopping, but way in the back of my mind is the exit plan in case of an earthquake.  Hmm.

When we arrived at the Healthy Market, there was a young woman from Germany trying to find out about some fruit.  Lisa helped her communicate with the owner.  Whenever we encounter someone traveling, we end up wondering if they’re alone, with a group, passing through or staying to teach.  So many nosey questions that go unanswered.  With fruit in hand, it was off to the Friday Farmer’s market where we found the elusive bok choy.  

Today’s photo was taken at the Healthy Market.  I don’t eat these, but I thought you’d like to see a big chilly from Chiang Rai (555).

During our swim there was clear sky above us, but clouds and thunder to the southwest.  The wind came up and we just knew we’d be getting rain.  The wind blew it all away and we completed our laps.  Getting out of the water when there is a breeze can trick you into thinking it’s not really as hot as it is.  Once dry, one realizes it’s still hot.  

Tomorrow Natcha and Gong will ‘get engaged’.  We don’t know much about this, but we’re pretty sure it’s an Akha ceremony.  It will be held at the home of a friend, we think.  We’re going to go and witness this and hopefully take some photos.  She is very excited about it and this evening she and Cat baked a little chocolate cake for the event.  

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


Thursday, May 28, 2015



The weather today was a full assortment.  We had cloudy skies, clear and hot, dark and windy, and rain.  The rain came after they had finished the roof and cleaned up.  It was a good day.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ tune has touched some of your memories.  Here’s the full chorus and part of a verse:
“You see I’ve been through the desert on __ __ __ __ __, it felt good to be out of the rain.  In the desert, you can remember your name ‘cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.  La la la, la la la la, la la la la.  After nine days, I let the __ run free, ‘cause the desert had turned to sea….”  Clue:  Hmm, did you catch his name?

This morning Daku knew that he wasn’t going out to play.  He was right, and seeing the gate wide open was his first clue.  He never gets to run when the gate is open.  Khun Dang brought an electrician with him, based on something Lisa told him about our light sockets.  They were clearly fishing for a big job, opening up the breaker box and inspecting connections.  That’s one aspect of the house that has been right since the beginning.  The guy left without a word.  Dang gave final instructions to his guys and the day began.  

Our Thursday excursion took us to Browney’s for treats and kibble.  They have added more products and the store is becoming a ‘fun zone’.  Today Blue and I found the ‘costume’ section.  Outfits for dogs of all sizes, in every imaginable character.  I suppose someone will actually dress their dog as a football (soccer) player.  It wouldn’t be that outrageous compared to the princesses and bugs.  Little dogs are popular and if you have one, you will need a carrier for those times when you have to keep them close.  Browney’s had a whole shelf of them. I could go on, but I won’t.

At the Healthy Market there is a woman who runs an eating spot that is open to the parking lot.  Today, she earned the name ‘Sleeping Lady’, since it’s the second time this week that she has been asleep in her shop.  I guess the morning rush takes a lot out of her.  

From time to time we’ll see someone who seems a little out of their ‘element’.  There is a woman in the Healthy Market who specializes in Bok Choy, and cabbage.  Her vegetables come from one of the ‘clean farms’.  What makes me want to know her whole story is how she presents herself.  She always dresses as if she is going to meet friends at a fancy tea room.  When she’s not selling, she sits and crochets.  Today she had on a burgundy outfit with a single strand of pearls.  Hmm.

At our last stop of the morning, we divided our energies.  Lisa went to 7-11 and paid the power bill, while Blue and I went to the pharmacy for vitamins and rubbing alcohol.  Here’s the interesting part:  In Thailand, the alcohol is blue.  It’s also only 70% strength.  Now you know.

It’s too bad we couldn’t have timed the worker’s lunch break with our nap time.  They were doing everything right above our bedroom.  For two days, things were quiet until we dozed off, and then it was pounding, cutting and shouting.  Not constant, but enough to remember they were there.  On the plus side, it won’t happen tomorrow.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“If you touch one thing with deep awareness,
you touch everything.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, May 27, 2015



No need for details on the day’s weather.  Hot and humid as usual.  We’re so ‘rain free’ that Khun Dang came to start repairs on the roof.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Help” by The Beatles.  ‘Zany Day’ is next and should be equally easy.  What?
“On the first part of the journey, I was looking at all the life.  There were plants and birds and rocks and things, there was sand and hills and rings…. I’ve been through the desert on  __ __ __ __ __, it felt good to be out of the rain…”  Hint:  There is a large animal involved.

This morning we were expecting Khun Dang to arrive at 9am.  Just as we were starting Daku’s morning exercise Dang called to say he would be early.  He pulled into the driveway, followed by two guys on motorbikes.  A few minutes later a truck full of bamboo and wood pulled in and they began building a super-structure on the back of the house.  This scaffolding was unusual because it started with the standard metal tubing, but then they extended it upward with bamboo poles, wire, and motorbike inner-tubes.  I just stepped away and trusted that they knew what they were doing.  

Today’s photo is the ‘jungle gym’ that Khun Dang’s guys built so they can reach the roof.  Hmm.

While the workers were building, we decided to get a long overdue van wash.  We hung out at Work@Home and had our ‘usual’.  Lisa has the coffee, I have Jasmine tea, and Blue has a beautiful fruit salad and tea.  We got a chance to visit briefly with our friends Katai and Towan, which is always fun.  He and I talked cars for a few minutes and I learned some new stuff.  They own a tractor business in another province, but Towan’s avocation is that of navigator for a rally team; the kind you see flying through the countrysides.  They just finished remodeling their home and Khun Dang did the work.  That’s how we met him.  

Daku had a hard time today.  He missed his morning workout, and every time he wanted to go out he had to be on the leash.  We knew that we had some birds that build their nests in the rain gutters, but I had no idea how many nests had been built in between the tiles over seven years.  The workers removed piles of ’stuff’ that Daku was very interested in checking out.  

 Time for a Wacky Wednesday.


“If you correct your mind
the rest of your life will
fall into place.”
~Lao Tzu

Tuesday, May 26, 2015



The weather for Chiang Rai was the same old story.  Very hot with some clouds.  No rain in sight for this week.  Time to water the gardens.

I know most of you probably didn’t read your mail yesterday, so here’s the ‘Easy Monday’ chorus.  You know this.
“__ me if you can, I’m feeling down, and I do appreciate you being ‘round.  __ me get my feet back on the ground.  Won’t you please, please __ me.”  Clue: Title is four letters describing the need for assistance.

Our Tuesday in town began with a trip to the Talat.  We were looking for material to make a new bedspread.  The one we have is beautiful, but it’s a dark pattern and during tick season that is not acceptable.  We don’t seem to have the power to make them go away, but at least we can know where they are (555).  The season is in full swing and we are back to the nightly ritual of searching through Daku’s fur.  We have discovered that cedar oil, which is something ticks do not like, is available in Thailand.  A friend of ours is going to help us get some.  
So, we found the material for the spread, and thread to match.  Lisa is planning to make it on her new little sewing machine.  

At the vet’s, it was time to get more thyroid for Daku.  When Lisa said ’Thyroid’ (accent on the first syllable), the vet behind the counter didn’t understand.  Then he looked up Daku’s records and saw the word and recognized ’Thyroid’ with an accent on the last syllable.  Language can be such a baffling, amazing thing sometimes.  Most words here have their accent on the last syllable, so even if it’s a non-Thai word, it’s going to get the same treatment.  It took some getting used to, hearing our names with a different pronunciation.  

The Leechy Fair is still going on, though the crowds are smaller.  We noticed that different fruits have made their way to some of the tables.  It will be interesting to see if it goes all week.  There were still a lot of leechy left.  

Today’s photo was taken next to the entrance to the Talat.  Everything on the cart was made of wood by this man and each item was approximately $15.  Some of the containers look like ice-buckets and there’s a sailing ship in the back of his cart.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“When love is deep,
much can be accomplished.”
~Shinichi  Suzuki

Monday, May 25, 2015



The weekend weather in Chiang Rai was what one might call ‘fair’.  A few times it got dark, like it was going to rain, but it never happened.  Hmm, maybe it happened ‘nearby’.  

‘Old School Friday’ was “Fever”, originally by Little Willie John, and ‘appropriated’ by Peggy Lee.  ‘Easy Monday’ is terribly easy:  “__, I need somebody.  __, not just anybody.  __, you know I need someone, __.  When I was younger, so much  younger than today.  I never needed anybody’s __ in any way.  But now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured.  Now I find I’ve changed my mind, and opened up the doors.”  Hint:  First the song, then the movie, and now ‘Easy Monday’.

Saturday morning we did a very brave thing; we went to the mall just as it opened.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t as crowded as I imagined it would be.  We needed school and art supplies and I had to get rid of a phone number.  There was another thing that happened quite unexpectedly.  While going from one end to the other, we passed a shoe sale.  I felt a mild obligation to walk through and discovered a pair of shoes I didn’t realize I needed.  Hmm.  Cat found a pair of sandals she needed.  So amazing how that can happen (555).  I’ve never had a pair of black suede loafers.  

Sunday morning Cat went to the mall to see a movie with some friends.  With the first full week of school behind them, it was time for a little diversion.  

The Leechy Fair was one of my targets for a photo session and Sunday was a perfect time.  Here are a couple of photos that show the road side segment of the fair, and a close up of Blue picking a bunch. 

Natcha was busy in the kitchen this weekend.  She has a nephew who turned 5 years old and she wanted to make him a cake.  Not only did she make a little chocolate cake, but she made a bunch of iced mini-cupcakes.  We learned today that she and Gong are getting engaged with plans to get married next year.  The adventure continues.

Have a Great Week.


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

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Funnies


This morning I didn’t bother reading the forecasts.  There were big dark clouds all around, but they kept moving.  Something was brewing.  We had light rain all afternoon and into the evening.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Politician” by Cream.  You should have known.  Nobody got it, so here’s a real easy ‘Old School Friday’.  “Never know how much I love you.  Never know how much I care.  When you put your arms around me, I get a __ that’s so hard to bear.  You give me __, when you kiss me, __ when you hold me tight.  __, in the mornin’, __ all through the night.”  Clue:  Quite sick, with a high temp.

The yard crew was scheduled to come today and we wondered if they’d be able to work.  When we returned from Makro they were all over the yard, weeding, trimming and preparing to cut the grass.  During the season when it rains a lot, things grow so fast that we need them to come more often.  The first rain came not long after their lunch break and they had to stop.  As soon as it let up, they started working again.  When sprinkles came they kept working.  They had a whole range of weather to deal with, from blazing hot sun to rain.  What a day.

We are now in what can best be described as ‘Leechy Season’.  Leechy are a smallish round fruit in various shades of red.  Inside there is a translucent, spongy meat with a seed in the center.  When they ripen, they seem to do it big time.  All over town there are tables of the fruit for sale.  At the big yard where we go for the Farmer’s Market on Fridays, they dedicated the whole place, plus part of the road solely for the sale of leechy along with tons of pineapple.  We went over after dinner and bought a bag of both fruits.  I’m not a big fan, but Blue, Cat and Natcha will take care of the leechy in no time.

All of our reservations and bookings have been made for the ‘Summer Visit’ to the states.  We will leave Thailand on June 24 and leave L.A. on July 7.   

Today’s photo begs the question:  Do you think it will rain?  (555)  It was taken at 8:30am this morning.  

We will have an uneventful weekend so far, except for the Formula One race from Monte Carlo.  

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


Thursday, May 21, 2015



There was talk of thunderstorms, etc. and it looked like it could happen anytime.  We had a brief rain in the late afternoon and now it’s just cloudy.  As a special treat, I’m going to give you a ‘Friday Funnies’ extra on Thursday.  One of the forecast sights stated:  ‘Today’s high: 84F, feels like 81F’  What?

Well, so far this ‘Zany Day’ song seems to be a stumper.  That’s OK, there’s still time to figure it out.
“I support the left, though I’m leaning, leaning to the right.  I support the left, though I’m leaning, leaning to the right.  But I’m not there when it’s coming to a fight.  Hey now baby, get into my big black car…."
Clue:  What do you call the people you’re asked to vote for?  Easy.

For the first time in a long time, we stayed home all day.  Before lunch we took delivery on a large evaporative cooler for the living room.  This one can use water or water and ice.  So far, we’re very happy with the change in temperature.  Having a large room that’s next to a staircase makes it difficult to cool, but we’re getting there.  

Today’s photo was taken by Blue yesterday, down by the riverside.  

Evenings in Chiang Rai take on a festive atmosphere that has a charm of it’s own.  The outdoor and semi-outdoor restaurants begin filling up, the curbside carts offering a variety of meals are all in place, and the evening markets are bustling with shoppers.  Families on motorbikes are a common sight on warm evenings.  Sometimes they’re just out for a cool ride.  Watching all these scenarios the imagination runs wild, at least for me.  It’s one of the things that keeps the adventure alive.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“A real hero is always a hero
by mistake; he dreams of being
an honest coward like everybody else.”
~Umberto Eco

Wednesday, May 20, 2015



Today we got a forecast that was just as vague as any other day.  It was cloudy off and on all day, with wind and light rain around dinner time.  Fortunately, our young trees are still standing.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, written by Carole King, but originally sung by The Shirelles.  That brings us to our ‘Zany Day’ song.  Many of you will probably encounter the subject of this song in the coming months.  “Hey now baby, get into my big black car.  Hey now baby, get into my big black car.  I just want to show you what my politics are.  I’m a political man, and I practice what I preach.  I’m a political man, and I practice what I preach.  So don’t deny me baby, not while you’re in my reach.”  Hint:  Title is one word.  

Our ‘in town’ adventures began at Big C.  The highlight of the visit is our photo for the day.  The orchids are on sale in the produce department at a cost of 29 Baht per bunch.  That comes to around $.85 US.  Not a bad price to brighten up a room.  

If you recall, I mentioned that there was a fortune-telling machine at Big C.  Today, as we were leaving, I splurged and spent 5 Baht to know my fortune.  Of course, it was all in Thai, so I asked Cat to translate for me. She explained that it was written in ‘Old Thai’, which meant she had to translate that into ‘New Thai’, and then to English.  The resulting message was that whatever I want to do will be good, that I will have enough money, and that any health problems will get better.  I’d say that’s a pretty cool fortune (555).  Now we wait and see.

Down in the Talat, while Lisa and Blue were looking at material, I got stuck looking at an Indian soap on the big TV on the wall.  The owner, who is from India, asked me in Thai where I was from.  We’ve had this conversation before, but I just answered and we went back to watching.  The program was Indian, but dubbed in Thai.  There are many programs from this part of the world with Thai replacing the original language and I suppose some of them have big followings.  

Because of overcast skies and cooler nights, the pool had a chilly feel when we entered today.  Once in the water, it felt great.  After our swim we discovered we were out of coconut milk so we had to make a local run.  On the main road there is a Tesco Express that is like a mini-market.  At 5pm, the road was hectic.  School was out, the outdoor market was full of shoppers getting dinner supplies, and commuters were making their way to the villages north of us.  Slow and steady were the watch-words as we avoided wrong-way drivers, bikes pulling out, and people crossing the road at will.  We survived and made it home.  Another reason we don’t usually go out after about 4pm (555).

It’s time for Wacky Wednesday.


“Don’t wait for the perfect moment.
take the moment and make it perfect.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015



The forecast today was a little off again.  First, they told us it was 84F with a ‘feel like’ temp of 104F.  Really?  Then they told us to expect rain, but it didn’t.  Oh well, another day in paradise (555).

Hooray for a really ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Just in case you didn’t catch it the first time around, here’s another verse:  “I’d like to know that your love, is love I can be sure of.  So tell me now, and I won’t ask again.  __ __ __ __ __ __?”  Hint:  It’s the question of the ages.  For those cool points: A girl-group is involved.

Blue and I went to Immigration this morning for his 90 day check-in.  When we walked in, we got a rousing welcome from the staff.  The office was almost empty and he got served in just a few minutes.    It’s so nice when it’s that simple.   

The excitement for the day came when we took Daku to the vet.  Tick season is upon us, or should I say, ‘Upon Daku’.  He had what looked like a very persistent tick on his foot and we decided that we should have the vet remove it.  He has a real sense of the household routines and when he saw Lisa appear in the kitchen with his brush, he became suspicious.  Just as she began brushing him I went out to the van.  That really set him off and he knew he was going somewhere.  He hasn’t been getting away from our compound enough lately, so when we arrived at the vet’s, he had to investigate everything on the street.  Once inside, he calmed down a bit.  While we were waiting, some women brought in a pet carrier and a cage full of kittens.  We had to pass the kittens to get to the exam room and of course Daku had to check them out.  One of the little ones hissed and took a swing, Daku jumped back, but wanted to try again.  In the room, it took four people to hold him down while Dr. View, who is very gentle, inspected his foot.  It wasn’t a tick, but he got a shot to hopefully keep them off of him.  On the way home he was very calm.  It’s always like that once he knows the worst is over.  He slept a lot this afternoon.

Rain clouds lurked for most of the day, but drifted away around the time we usually swim.  The only problem was, it was so hot we didn’t feel like being in the bright, hot sun.  Oh well, another day.

Across the river we can see the school vans, looking like some kind of camp-out.  Most of them are silver and it’s a strange sight.  In the morning each one picks up anywhere from 8 to 12 kids, delivers them to their respective schools and then parks in a shaded area for most of the day.  There is another group that parks under one of the big bridges, and others have their spots.  There is a gypsy vibe to the whole thing that I find fascinating.

Today’s photo is the man of the hour, crashed out.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“There is no end of craving.
Hence, contentment alone is the
best way to happiness. 
Therefore, acquire contentment.”
~Swami Sivananda

Monday, May 18, 2015



What can I say?  It’s still very hot and humid.  It makes the weather forecasts sound silly after a few weeks.  ‘Today the temperature will be 94F but will feel line 105F’.  Just tell me how hot it is and be done with it. (555)
We’re having daily rain, sometimes in the afternoon, sometimes the evening.  Everything is green and blooming.

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Blue Suede Shoes”, written and sung by Carl Perkins, covered by Elvis Presley. This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song should be no stranger to your memory banks.  ‘Cool Points’ if you name the original recording artist.  “Tonight you’re mine, completely.  You give your love so sweetly.  Tonight the light of love is in your eyes, but __ __ __ __ __?”  Clue:  The title is sung in the second verse, but you should know it anyway.

The big adventure this weekend was the fundraiser for Nepal at Art Bridge.  It started at 4pm and when we arrived around 5pm, there were lots of people ’shopping’ for art.  It was a silent auction and we were given stickers to place a bid.  If there was a bid, you put your sticker over the previous bid.  Secret numbers made it more mysterious. There was some really beautiful work by Art Bridge artists.  Lisa donated a piece and there were lots of stickers on it.  Some pieces were created specifically for the occasion and showed scenes of Nepal that were breathtaking.  Cat joined us after her dance rehearsal and our friend Atom also met us there.  We hung out in the restaurant for a while and went back into the gallery for the last part of the bidding.  From what we’ve heard, a lot of money was raised for Nepal relief.  

This morning Lisa and I went to Big C.  We got there relatively early.  A shopping spree would have been easy with all the empty aisles.  I must say, we behaved, did our shopping and left.  At Central Plaza Mall the first thing we realized was that the hours had not changed, at least not for week-days.  We were able to shop a Top’s, but the mall was still closed.  That’s probably a good thing (555).  

Sometimes there are little happenings in life that you are totally unprepared for.  Today, Lisa got a message from a Facebook friend saying that she and her husband were in Chiang Mai.  When she mentioned his name it was like a blast from the past.  He was the producer on the single recording that our group ‘Mosaic Tweed’ did back in 1968, I think.  What a small world it has become.  He has a different name today, and is into a different kind of music, but he’s one of two people that were at those sessions.  We are hoping to get together while they are in the country.  

Today’s photo is the corn field I showed you when it was being planted.  This photo shows the new corn in the afternoon light.

Have a Great Week.


“Hold a true friend with both hands.”
~African Proverb

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Funnies


It was another broken record day for our weather.  That T-storm from yesterday finally showed up around 2am and watered the lawn.  More weather news later.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Searchin’” by The Coasters.  Congrats to all who knew it.  If you know a song, let me know.  It’s a nice way to stay in touch.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next and this should be easy as well.  
“Well, it’s one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready now go cat go, but don’t you step on my
__ __ __.  You can do anything but stay off of my __ __ __.”  Hint:  Cool footwear.  A Rockabilly hit in the 50s by two different artists.  One was the writer, the other a legend.  Extra Cool Points if you know which one wrote it.

An interesting thing happened today at Makro.  As we approached the checkout, an expat gentleman in another lane looked over, smiled and waved to me.  I couldn’t remember whether I knew him or not and it was the catalyst for revelation.  Blue mentioned a point that another expat friend made recently; that anyone who is not Thai is considered ‘different’.  That smile and wave of recognition is the same thing that African-Americans have known since the early days of so-called freedom.  When you see your brother on the street, you acknowledge him.  It goes deep to the understanding that you are not alone.  So it seems, there is a new level of ‘not alone’ as we acknowledge fellow expats, regardless of origin, with the understanding that we are all ‘different’.  The adventure continues.

This afternoon the water in the pool was almost too warm.  I had to laugh, thinking back a few weeks ago when it was not quite warm enough for swimming.  Today’s temp was perfect for hanging out and looking at the yard.  We turned on the waterfall, which adds some cool water from the underground tank and it helped a bit.  Tomorrow, I may start the cooling process earlier so we can get in some laps of real swimming.  We got out when the thunder started rolling up from the south of town.  It began to sprinkle and kept up a steady drip for over an hour.  This evening Natcha and Gong are in the pool cooling off from the day. 

Today’s photo was taken next to the big market (Talat).  This merchant doesn’t use a calculator, he’s totally old school and you just have to trust that the number he writes down is correct and fair.  There is a woman downtown who also uses an abacus, but she puts the final number into a calculator.  What? 

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


A little 10-year-old girl was walking home, alone, from school one day, when a 

big man on a black motorcycle pulls up beside her.  After following along for a 

while, he turns to her and asks,

"Hey there little girl, do you want to go for a ride?"

"NO!" says the little girl as she keeps on walking.

The motorcyclist again pulls up beside her and asks, "Hey little girl, I will give you $10 if you hop on the back.”

"NO!" says the little girl again as she hurries down the street.

The motorcyclist pulls up beside the little girl again and says,
"Okay kid, my last offer! I'll give you 20 Bucks "and" a Big Bag of Candy if you will just hop on the back of my bike and we will go for a ride.”

Finally, the little girl stops and turns towards him and Screams Out...
"Look Dad" "You're the one who bought the Honda instead of the Harley ...YOU RIDE IT!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015



Chiang Rai had another day of humid, tropical heat.  The forecast for a thunderstorm was a joke, but we did get a minor sprinkle around 4pm that lasted 3 minutes.  

Hat’s off to the few who remembered this ‘Zany Day’ song.  Maybe another verse will be the jolt you need.
“Well, Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade got nothin’, chile, on me.  Sergaent Friday, Charlie Chan and Boston Blackie. No matter where she’s hiding she’s gonna hear me comin’.  Gonna walk right down that street like Bulldog Drummond, ‘cause I’ve been __.  Oooh, Lord, __, mm child, __ every which a-way….”  Clue:  It’s by a group that has brought us lots of zany material in the past.  They’re friends of Charlie Brown.  What do you do when you can’t find someone/something.  One word, and it’s not ‘look’ (555).  

This morning we covered a lot of territory in a brief amount of time.  After a frustrating trip downtown, we left due to lack of parking.  We went north on the highway to Art Bridge to drop off a cast acrylic print that Lisa is donating to the Nepal Fundraiser that will be held on Sunday.  On our drive we noticed some of the vacant land that has become jungle-like as a result of the rains.  There is a wish that it could just stay like that.  Everywhere we go north of the river has wonderful opportunities to take in nature at it’s best.  There is building going on, and there are lots of shops and villages, but there are also pockets of ‘wild’ that are refreshing.

Some days it takes a lot of digging to find what we’re looking for.  Today it was bananas.  After striking out at the fruit lady in the Healthy Market, we headed to our neighborhood.  We knew that the Tesco Express had bananas so we stopped there.  Lisa came out with a little bag of very green fruit and we figured we’d have to wait until tomorrow.  As we drove up the road to turn around, we spotted a roadside stand with bananas.  While Blue and I were waiting in the van, I happened to look across the road and I noticed something I have missed for years.  Nestled in between some small businesses was what I would call a ‘Baby Canyon’.  Our photo for the day is a sample of the lush greenery that surrounds us.

Cat’s first day back at school seemed to go well.  So far, she likes her teachers and had lots to tell us.  All of her classes this year are on the fourth (top) floor of the building and the room is very hot.  One of the things she will be learning this semester is Ballroom Dancing.  This is in preparation for their Senior Prom.  She had us laughing about her view of this.  She told us it will be very slow and “... I won’t like that."  I suppose after the dancing in K-Dance class, it might seem boring, but good to know.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“If you realize that 
you have enough,
you are truly rich.”
~Lao Tzu

Wednesday, May 13, 2015



If today’s message seems late it’s because it is.  We had a busy evening at The Big Brown House.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles.  There is also a very good version by Joe Cocker/Leon Russell.  Now it’s on to the ‘Zany Day’ song.  I’m going to start with the first verse, since the chorus is a giveaway.  “Well, now, if I have to swim a river, you know I will.  And a-if I have to climb a mountain, you know I will.  And a-if she’s a hiding up on a-Blueberry Hill, am I gonna find her chile, you know I will ‘cause I’ve been __.  Oh yeah, __.  But I’m like the Northwest Mounties, you know I’ll bring her in some day.”
Hint:  One word title.  The act of being on the hunt, looking for ‘her’.

Today was Cat’s last vacation day before school starts.  There has been excitement and anxiety, fear and joy, silence and  chatter during these last days of perceived freedom.  I remember these feelings even though it was a long time ago.  When you’re that age, life changes in an instant and what was the end of the world one minute, is a distant memory in the next.  

This morning we all went to the mall for a veggie run at Top’s Market.  It was an uneventful trip except that we noticed that the main floors of the mall were open and it was before 11am.  This got us to speculating about why they had opened up early.  Had they changed the hours because of the heat?  That seemed to be the most likely reason so far.  More will be revealed.  

This evening we had our friend Rachel over for dinner.  She is the Director of the Sold Project, and comes to Thailand every four months to conduct meetings with The Sold Project staff.  She has known Cat since the project began and they are good friends.  We had a really nice visit, catching up on Sold news, discussing food, and a major conference that Rachel attended in Hong Kong.  After dinner Cat danced for us, showing us two of the routines they’ve been working on in her class.   Wow, dinner and a show, who knew?

After seven years here, we are still learning interesting things.  There are some people who don’t know their birthdays.  When the time comes to commit to a date, they just make it up.  Where we live is such a combination of city/rural life that it’s easy to forget that some folks have no need to know certain things.  

If you ever need chili, this is the guy to see.  He’s in the Talat (main market).  When I walk by I start sneezing.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


“But logic never could convince the heart.”
~Colin Raye

Tuesday, May 12, 2015



The beat goes on, or rather, the heat goes on.  We have lived through quite a few ‘Hot seasons’ with temperatures that were probably as high, but the humidity this year makes it seem like it’s much hotter.  Hmm.

A lot of you wrote me with the answer to the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Some said it was ‘Too Easy’, but that was the point.  I’m trying to get past last week’s total shutout.  If you can’t quite put your finger on the tune, here’s more:  “What do I do when my love is away?  (Does it worry you to be alone?)  How do I feel by the end of the day?  (Are you sad because you’re on your own?)  No, I get by __ __ __ __ __ __ __.  Mmm, I get high __ __ __ __ __ __ __.  Mmm, gonna try __ __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  Track 2 on the very famous album about a not so famous band leader.  Fab four is also in the mix of clues.  You know this.

In most mechanized cultures, when school starts, there is more traffic.  And so it is in Chiang Rai.  All of the schools are not in session yet, but the few that are have brought with them some extra ‘busy’ on the streets.  There is a high school near us and the increase of motorbikes on the road is quite apparent.  I don’t know how many students attend the school, but it’s a big one.  Cat’s school has over 3,000 students, which means that just the faculty and staff create more cars on the streets.  School vans are another factor that is a little different than in other places.  All around town there will be 9 to 12 passenger vans taking kids to and from school.  It would be interesting to know just how many it takes to move all of the students of Chiang Rai.  Hmm.  In light of all this, it’s time to stay alert avoiding the teens on two wheels and the vans that make frequent stops.  Or, stay off the streets when all that is going on (555).

Since we’ve been living in Thailand we have continually been baffled by family relationships.  By that I mean, the real connections between people.  The use of brother, sister and cousin seem to have been given out by early English teachers as words to use if you want to.  A close friend might be identified as a sister, a brother might actually be a nephew.  We never actually know until we ask a few more questions.  I think most people know the correct words in Thai, but when it comes to English, it just falls to the most familiar word at the moment.  Amazing Thailand.

Today’s photo is a portion of the field across the road from our house.  Beyond that is the river, and then those beautiful orange trees in the distance.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“When one’s expectations are reduced
to zero, one really appreciates everything
one does have.”
~Stephen Hawking

Monday, May 11, 2015



The weekend was a mix of very hot days, stormy nights, wonderful art and new corn.  Not a bad mix actually.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “On Broadway” by The Drifters.  This week I promise to make ‘Easy Monday’ easy with this unforgettable tune from our friends from across the pond.  “What would you think if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me?  Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, and I’ll try not to sing out of key.  Oh, I get by __ __ __ __ __ __ __.  Mmmm, I get high __ __ __ __ __ __ __, Mmm, I’m gonna try __ __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint: Song about how nice it is to have friends.

Saturday afternoon I dropped Cat at the dance studio for her class and rehearsal, and then went to the language school to pick up Natcha.  The school is across the street from the ‘Prison Park’ in the center of town.  The name comes from the fact that many years ago, there was a prison at the same location, which was near the edge of town.  There is still some of the wall remaining.  While I was waiting, I heard music from the park.  I was taken by surprise when I heard the opening strains of The Eagles’ “Tequila Sunrise” blasting from behind the wall.  It was followed by a Thai favorite: “Hotel California”.  We have been to gatherings where the song was played and people sang along.  Interesting.

The art exhibit we attended in the evening was very stimulating.  The young artists were from various campuses of the equivalent of the state college system.  Most of the artists stepped out of the ‘Traditional’ box and had some very adventurous work on display.  Each artist stood by their work and it gave us a chance to meet them and ask questions.  I learned a lot about some of their motivations and what’s important to them.  The gallery was concerned that the turn-out was light, but it was a good crowd for viewing the exhibit.  Apparently, Chiang Rai United, our local football club, was playing that night.  

Saturday night we had one of those ’Storm of the Century’ encounters.  High winds and rain, plus thunder and lightning made it a night to remember.  The morning after, we discovered one of our young flowering trees had been knocked over.  It was not completely broken so we propped it up and hope it recovers.  Today we got bamboo to hopefully hold it and another young tree if the wind should return.   

The field next door has little green corn shoots coming up, and the large field across the road was planted today.  Soon, we will be surrounded by corn.  So much better than construction of any kind.  

Today’s photo is a garden bouquet that Lisa made with gifts from our yard.  

Have a Great Week.


“Live out of your imagination,
not your history.”
~Stephen R. Covey

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday Funnies


I’m sure the forecasters are dancing around the room with joy.  It rained in Chiang Rai, finally.  After a hot, muggy day and a teaser sprinkle this afternoon, we had a windy storm this evening.  

So, one reader gave it a valiant try, but in the end, no one got the ‘Zany Day’ song, “Buick ’59” by Vernon Green and The Medallions.  Now you know.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next, even though we just came from way back when.  Here’s one that I think most of you will remember.  
“They say the neon lights are bright __ __ (__ __).  They say there’s always magic in the air (__ __).  But when you’re walkin’ down that street, and you ain’t had enough to eat, the glitter rubs right off, and you’re nowhere (__ __).  Hint:  It’s about a famous street in NYC and you can see if from up on the roof.  Cool Points for the name of the first to record this classic.

This morning we ventured out in the heat.  At Big C we examined the fortune machine and discovered that the Fortune Cat was not that at all.  The balls contained tiny toys.  Oh well, maybe there’s a toy in my future.  Upstairs in the store, the section with the school uniforms was crazy.  It was packed with parents and children searching for the right sizes of this and that.  It’s interesting to watch the different approaches to finding the right fit.  Some parents held the shirts and shorts up to their child to make sure there was room for growth.  Others had the kids try the clothes on right there in the aisle.  On the other side of the check-out area there is a table where the shirts are left to have school and student names embroidered on them.  A few days ago there were hardly any items, but today there was a huge stack of bags waiting for the computerized sewing machine to do it’s thing.  School starts next week.

Across the highway at Central Plaza Mall, the customers were standing in a crowd at the base of the escalator, waiting to get inside.  The lower floor opens an hour earlier and our destination was Top’s market on that level.  It was 11:03am and folks were getting restless.  None of our business so we started shopping.  One thing we were looking for was the frozen turkey breasts that they have from time to time.  Sadly, they were all gone, which means we’ll probably have to wait until November for the next round.  We had a collection of them that is down to the last one.  Oh well, it’s been good.  In the intense heat, the mall has lots of visitors.  Where else can you stroll, sit, watch, and maybe have something cool to beat the heat?

Today’s photo is a close-up of the flowers on the big orange tree from a few days ago.  

Life at The Big Brown house is totally cool with our new housekeeper, Natcha.  She has really added a special something to the ‘vibe’ around here.  Having someone who is bright and happy, who pays attention to detail, and remembers how to do things is making all the kitchen activity much easier.  There is a lot of preparation involved in our meals and Natcha has learned how to do most of it already.  She and Daku are best buddies and she prepares his evening meal.  The whole happy thing is going both ways.  She told Lisa she is very happy here and that was our goal.  She and Gong swim in the evening and the Thai kitchen is working out.  The one thing we have to do is create a small platform in front of the sink.  We made the sink height closer to a Western style sink, but Natcha is very short so it’s a reach for her.  

On Saturday Cat returns from her village. We’ll attend the opening of a ‘Young Artists’ exhibition at Art Bridge and our friend Rachel, the Director of The Sold Project, will have dinner with us.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.   Formula One this weekend from Spain.  Zoom.


Some race horses staying in a stable. One of them starts to boast
about his track record. "In the last 15 races, I've won 8 of them!"

Another horse breaks in, "Well in the last 27 races, I've won 19!!"

"Oh that's good, but in the last 36 races, I've won 28!", says
another, flicking his tail.

At this point, they notice that a greyhound dog has been sitting there
listening. "I don't mean to boast," says the greyhound, "but in my
last 90 races, I've won 88 of them!"

The horses are clearly amazed. "Wow!" says one, after a hushed
silence. "A talking dog."