Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Awareness

Hi,

Well, day five was another busy one.  It was ‘Marina Day’ and Lisa and I saw friends from the institute where she worked.  There was a coffee, a lunch, and a coffee.  That was just the first half of the day.  

Our ‘Easy Monday’ song hasn’t had many responses.  I suspect this last verse may help you remember:
“Last time I saw Marie she’s waving me good-bye, with hurry home drops on her cheeks that trickled from her eye.  Marie is only six years old, information please.  Try to put me through to her in __ __.”  Clue:  Song title is a city and a state.

Our morning was filled with visits.  When you work at the same place for 30 years, there are people who go way back, and have left imprints in your life.  I dropped Lisa off in the Marina for her coffee date and returned to Culver City.  We had a package that was going to Texas and the first time we tried to mail it, no one came to the window at the P.O.  It was the oddest thing.  There were about 6 of us standing in the lobby, calling, tapping on the windows, but no response from the workers.  We left, and today I tried a different location.  This time I had success.  I returned to the Marina in time to hang out with Lisa and her lunch date Melissa.  They worked together for 15 years.  From there we went to coffee with a couple we have met with since we began making return visits.  We made it home just before Mr. Lag.

Some of you have been reading this daily message for a long time.  You were around to hear the tales told of our two Godsons, Sebastian and August, who we’ve known since birth.  Sebastian, aka ‘C-Bass’ and now Ian is a 20 year old college Junior studying at the Loyola film school.  August is 15 and going into the 10th grade.  Oh, how the time flies.  It was a odd jolt to realize that Ian would not be around today because he had to go to work.  What?  He has a summer intern job on a TV show.  From the 'August Chronicles' I must report that last semester he made an electric guitar in a class project.  Now he knows a lot more than I do about these things.  He’s been helping Lisa work out some ‘issues’ with her computer and continues to amaze us with his understanding of how things work.  He’s also become quite a chef, creating dishes from recipes and coming up with his own inventions in the kitchen.  

The evening found us having dinner with my dear friend Mark and his girlfriend Erica, at a little Italian place called EnjoEat.  It’s tucked away behind the ArcLight Theater in Culver City and the food is quite good.  Today’s photo was taken on the street next to the elementary school.  So many signs, so many rules.  Scroll down slowing to capture the whole experience.


Today I learned that a lot of the Condo construction near the Marina is due to the migration of the ‘Tech’ industry to this area.  In fact, they're calling it Silicon Beach.  Hmm, there goes the neighborhood (555).

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“Your perception of me 
is a reflection of you;
my reaction to you is 
an awareness of me.”
~Unknown

Monday, June 29, 2015

Problem

Hi,

To say we had a busy weekend would be an understatement.  Lunches and dinners, visits and naps.  It’s nice being based in Culver City because we get the cooler air from the coast.  Inland, as some of you know, is very hot.  Meanwhile, it’s doing the rain thing back in Chiang Rai.

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Sea Cruise” by Frankie Ford.  Time for another episode of ‘Easy Monday’.  See if this rings a bell:  “Long distance information, give me __ __.  Help me find the party trying to get in touch with me. She could not leave her number, but I know who placed the call, ‘cause my uncle took the message and he wrote it on the wall.”  Hint:  Another from the Father of R&R, has a bit of a trick ending.  

Friday I went to Hollywood twice.  I saw lots of old friends and the many changes in the city along the way.  Riding through Beverly Hills there were lots of new cars to check out.  You know I do this every time we return to the states.  A mental ‘car fantasy’ list is being compiled as we speak.  There are clearly a lot of people here with a lot of money to spend on their autos (555).  I’ve been seeing quite a few Tesla sedans and I know they go for 100K.  There also seems to be a lot more motorbike/scooters on the road than before.  Judging by the price of gas, it should come as no surprise.  

Today’s photo is an older car that still looks good.  This Jaguar Sedan was spotted in traffic on Venice Bl. and the owner was blasting The Kinks as we sat at the red light.  I love L.A.


Saturday evening we had dinner with The Valley Cousins at a restaurant in Culver City.  Lots of catching up on news and life in general.  We had a Sunday lunch with my mother in Pasadena.  We went to the Hastings Ranch district and sampled another Italian spot.  Sunday evening we had dinner with more Valley Cousins along with Anna, C-Bass (aka Ian) and August.  That was big fun.  This trip we have discovered more places that I can have a nice meal without breaking my diet.  

While I’m writing, Lisa is texting with Natcha in Thailand, using a program called Viber.  It’s 1:10pm tomorrow over there.  We have been here 4 days and Mr. Lag is being rather persistent.  He just won’t go away.  Oh well, at some point he’ll have to take a nap.  Then he can bug us when we return to Thailand (555).

Have a Great Week.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“If the problem can be solved, why worry.
If the problem cannot be solved, worrying
will do you no good.”
~Santideva



Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Day one in America and Mr. Lag reared his ugly head.  It may take a few days to kick him out, but you know the story (555).  It’s the saga of the stowaway.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “One Eyed, One Horned, Flying Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next.  It’s from 1959 and it’s by a singer whose last name is that of a car, even though it’s not about that.
“Old man rhythm is in my shoes, no use t’sittin’ and a-singin’ the blues.  So be my guest, you got nothin’ to lose.  Won’t ya let me take you on a __ __?  Oo-wee, oo-wee baby, oo-wee, oo-wee baby, won’t ya let me take you on a __ __?”  Clue:  There is a nautical theme in the title.

We began our state side adventure by staying up until 2am.  What?  Lisa woke up at 5am and I woke up at 6.  Now experience tells us that at about 2pm our old friend Mr. Lag will demand that we literally pass out.  We had more to do in the morning that we realized, but got it all done.  We went to Altadena to visit with my mom and sure enough, at 2pm I got an invitation to rest my head on anything close by.  I fought the urge to collapse and we drove back to Culver City.  Fortunately, the traffic wasn’t super heavy and I managed to fight off Mr. Lag until we were safely back at home.  Sleep came quickly.  

Meanwhile, back in Chiang Rai, Daku is getting lots of attention.  We got messages from home assuring us that he is being well taken care of, with photos.  First Cat sent a Facebook message that included a pic of Daku looking sweet. Then later Natcha sent a message with two photos.  If he wasn’t spoiled before, he will be by the time we return.

Today’s photo shows one of Daku’s favorite toys looking out over the landing, just like he does.


Blue wrote to tell us that the heavy rains had begun.  Looks like the rainy season has begun.  We saw many signs of the current drought as we drove towards the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley.  We also noticed that there were some yards with healthy, green lawns while others were brown and patched.  We told my mom that we were giving her a ‘Good Citizen’ award for her dying lawn and garden.  Right around the corner there were some beautiful yards.  My mother had us laughing, saying that maybe they painted their lawns.  We all know that’s not the case.  Hmm, do we turn them in?  (555)

Things have really changed around the Culver City area.  In a way, it makes me feel like home.  So much building is going on, so many new businesses replacing things we’ve known for years.  As you know, we still identify certain landmark stores by their original names.  There’s a new one to add to the list.  The Albertson’s on Venice is now a Haggen’s.  Who?  It will always be Albertson’s.  Downtown Los Angeles, from the freeway, was quite a sight to see.  I wonder just how many giant buildings can fit in the spaces between the streets?  Hmm.

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

                  Peace,
                            Danny


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Secret

Hi,

We are now in Culver City, California, on the west coast of the United States.  Our overseas flight was similar to many others.  The arrival was the highlight of this journey.

The ‘Zany Day’ song seems to be a mystery for most.  I’m sure that after a few well-placed clues, you’ll know the song.  “Well, he came down to earth and he lit in a tree, I said Mr. __ __ don’t eat me.  I heard him say in a voice so gruff, ‘I wouldn’t eat you ‘cause you’re too tough.  It was a __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __, it sure looks strange to me.”
Hint:  The creature has one where you have two, there is a color involved that is a favorite of royalty, and it flies.

Each of the three flights we took had one thing in common; they all had lots of runway time.  One thing airports have in common; dull runways, especially at night.  It’s not their fault.  These ‘airplane streets’ have a specific purpose so I guess I’ll leave that one alone.  

In the past, landing at LAX has meant long walks, long lines, and an unhealthy dose of frustration.  This trip was very different.  Once we had de-planed (yeah, it’s a word) we did the very long walk to the recently remodeled Border Control area.  It looked as though our flight was the only one being processed, which meant no long lines at all.  There are machines that help you do most of the ‘processing’ and give you a little print-out.  A brief stop at the station with an immigration officer and it was off to the luggage wait.  We actually got to the luggage carousel before the bags arrived.  We hired one of the baggage workers to take our cart up to the street.  We breezed through customs and arrived at the street level just as the Hertz bus pulled up.  Timing could not have been better.  
For the first time in seven years, we got a station wagon to drive.  Not sure if we’ll keep it, but it’s cute.

Our trip to the house was interrupted by a detour at 80th & Sepulveda.  Not knowing the surrounding neighborhood put us in a ‘follow the leader’ excursion behind another car and had us winding around for about 15 minutes.  We finally found our way out and ‘home’.  

In Taipei I noticed that one of the food courts had been given a name.  I couldn’t resist sharing “Great Food Town” with you.  You will notice a couple of familiar faces in there.


Today we will get new SIM cards for our phones, and visit my mom in Altadena.  Oh, there will also be the adventure of shopping for food.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“All journeys have secret destinations
of which the traveler is unaware.”
~Marin Buber

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Education

Hi,

We just arrived at the EVA air VIP Lounge in Taipei.  It’s a good thing we brought our own food.  Let’s just say the pickins were slim.  The morning presented a few surprises before we left town.
  
The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles.  See, that was easy.  Now we’ll delve into a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “Well, I saw the thing coming out of the sky, it had one long horn and one big eye.  I commenced to shaking’ and I said oo-wee.  It looks like a __ __ __ to me.  It was a __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __, sure looks good to me.”  Clue:  The title, one of the longest I know, is describing what appears to be an alien creature.

 About an hour before we were scheduled to leave the house for the airport, Gong brought our bags downstairs.  At the same time the doorbell rang.  I could tell it was Rudi, an hour early, but the big surprise was seeing Boot.  She came with him and we had a little reunion.  Daku went totally crazy with joy.  He hasn’t see Boot in months.  He ran around the yard, made circles around Boot, and basically got his morning exercise.  She was just as excited to see him.  They used to spend a lot of time together during the afternoons.  It was good for everyone.

Just after completing the security check at Chiang Rai Airport, Noot and Kwan came through the line.  They were also going to Bangkok, and then on to Hua Hin.  We hung out before the flight and then a little in BKK, waiting for bags.  It sure made the time go faster.  In Bangkok we saw a group of ‘Cabin Crew’ from Sri Lanka wearing beautiful ‘locally inspired’ uniforms that looked like something from a festival.  They were very colorful and were a long way from the business suit trend. All body types were represented.  Something new was learned today.

The flight from Bangkok to Taipei was very uneventful.  The pilot took us high above the storms in the area so our flight was mostly bump-free.  Now we don’t leave until midnight, and there’s not a lot to do except walk around.  Walking around an airport this time of night is not that interesting.  

The photo below was at the same location at the BeauTea Cafe, there were these Akha figures at the entrance to the restrooms.  A bit weather worn, but welcoming just the same.


Time to sit and watch the people for a bit.  

Feels like Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny 

“Experience, travel - these are an
education in themselves.”
~Euripides


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Traveler


Hi,

Guess what?  Another day without rain.  Today we came so close.  Dark clouds, heavy breeze, moisture in the air and then it all blew away.  I’m sure the yard crew appreciated the absence of rain.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song is apparently easy.  Lots of mail on this one.  Just in case you ‘almost’ remember, here’s more.  “I’ll give you all I got to give if you say you’ll love me too.  I may not have a lot to give, but what I got I’ll give to you.  I don’t care too much for money, money __ __ __ __.  __ __ __ __, everybody tells me so.  __ __ __ __, no no no, noooo.”  Hint:  Seriously?

This morning the yard crew arrived while we were exercising Daku.  They were a little early, but the reason was made clear.  There were only four people working today.  Usually there are seven or eight, including two men.  Today it was Khun Pim and three women.  Pim mowed the lawns with the weed-wacker machine and did a better job than the guys.  They actually managed to complete the job in record time.  

While the yard crew was working, we went into town with the last list before take-off.  We made sure to stop at Browney’s after our Makro run, so Daku will have plenty of treats while we’re gone.  Rolling down the highway we stopped for gas at a station we rarely frequent.  Blue noticed a very clever sign and I took some photos.  


This afternoon we had a ‘House meeting’ with Natcha and Pon, her niece who has been helping her.  Cat served as interpreter and we discussed what needed to be done while we’re gone.  Keeping The Big Brown House running smoothly takes coordinated effort.  The meeting was a big success and everyone is happy.  More important, we can leave without feeling like something won’t get done.  Of course, Daku won’t be happy for the first day, but he really is a dog.

This will be the last message from Thailand for two weeks.  Tomorrow’s post will be sent from Taipei during our layover.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“A traveler without observation
is a bird without wings.”
~Muslih-Uddin Sadi

Monday, June 22, 2015

Harmony


Hi,

I’m back from what turned out to be a rainless weekend.  The recent forecast calls for rain after we leave for the States.  As long as the North gets some rain we’ll be happy.  Right now it’s still hot and humid all the time.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Shop Around” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.  This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ should be just that.  You know this.
“I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend, if it makes you feel alright.  I’ll get you anything my friend, if it makes you feel alright.  ‘Cause I don’t care too much for money, and money __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  It’s those lads from across the pond telling us that cash isn’t everything.  Hmm.

We are now in travel-focus mode.  That means that most of what we do beyond the routine is all about the trip.  Other things creep into conversation, but it seems to get back to what to take,  when do we, and how long is…  Then thinking about what to wear on the plane, I start picturing myself at hour #8, and will I be comfortable in ‘that’.  Once we get on the first flight, a big sigh will be released.  We will be committed.

Sunday we went to the mall to pick up a few essentials.  After Cat checked on tickets for the movie she wanted to see, she joined us and the four of us had a lot of fun shopping (looking), and joking around.  While we tried to enjoy tea and coffee at a little open stand, we were right in front of one of the many ‘clinics’ on the second level.  Apparently you can get any part of you ‘re-shaped’, ‘sculpted’ or ‘re-hydrated’.  Of course that led to lots of laughter and speculation.  Then while we were shopping at the market, I came to the conclusion that when one is food shopping with a local, and they don’t know what something is, it’s best to just put it out of your mind.  I am not from here, and that’s OK.

This morning Blue and I went to the Healthy Market.  While the fruit lady was bagging our order, a man came down the street selling aprons and cooking hats.  Quite a character.


After dinner, I went to pick up Cat from her English class.  On the way, I encountered a Police ‘stop’.  Usually, these are for checking registration, fining motorbike riders for not wearing helmets, etc.  Today the main officer had me roll down my window so he could see me.  Once he saw my face, he waved me on.  I guess they were looking for a specific person.  They made quite a haul on motorbike offenses though.  When a bike gets stopped, they have to pay on the spot.  If they can’t pay, they have to call someone to bring money, or walk to the nearest ATM.  Everyone knows the consequences and takes their chances.  I saw many bikes turning around to avoid the stop.  Hmm.

Have a Great Week.

                Peace,
                          Danny 

“Happiness is when what you think,
what you say, and what you do
are in harmony.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Funnies


Hi,

We had another beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  There was a thunderstorm, literally, and a light shower.  Otherwise, it was hot and sunny.  The California forecasts are for cooler weather than we’ve been having.  A break is definitely in order.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was known by only one reader.  Michael T. knew it was “Junk Food Junkie” by Larry Groce.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next.
“When I became of age my mother called me to her side, she said, ‘Son, you’re growing up now, pretty soon you’ll take a bride.’  And then she said, ‘Just because you’ve become a young man now, there’s still some things that you don’t understand now.  Before you ask some girl for her hand now, keep your freedom for as long as you can now.’  My mama told me, ‘You better __ __,  oh yeah, you better __ __.”  Hint:  The title suggests looking for the best and not settling.  No cart necessary.

This was one of those days when we never left the compound.  It was nice to stay at home and ‘chill’.  The lists are getting shorter and thoughts of clothes to pack are entering my mind.  It just occurred to me that since we always go to Ross when we’re in the states, I could take less clothes and bring something back (555).  Actually, it happens anyway, but sometimes one needs a little change.  When Lisa brought one of the large suitcases into the bedroom this evening, Daku got a little agitated.  He knows what it’s for, and what it means.  

The Friday night party is going strong across the river.  We’re mostly hearing monotonous drums and that’s not OK.  One of these weeks we’re going to have to get brave and see what goes on over there.  We’ve known since our ‘early days’ here, that Friday is ‘going out’ night in Chiang Rai.  You can ride around town and see restaurants doing brisk business, food trucks with lines for treats, and the Night Bazaar full of strolling young people.  It’s one of the things we like about this town.  

I showed you a photo of a bag of eggs a few weeks ago.  Today’s photo is a guy making an ‘Egg Run’ on his motorbike.  Unbelievable.


Cat has been very busy these days.  In addition to school and extra classes, she has dance rehearsals three days a week.  The K-Dance class is going to participate in a contest in Chiang Mai the weekend after we return to Thailand.  The whole crew is going together and staying overnight.  She’s pretty excited about it, and is looking forward to the adventure.  There will also be a show in Chiang Rai at a later date.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.        Stay for the ‘Funnies’.       Formula One from Austria this Sunday.  Zoom.

               Peace,
                         Danny

Do regular dogs see Police Dogs
and think, ‘Oh shit, it’s the cops’?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wound

Hi,

It might have been a little cooler today, but it was hard to tell.  The humidity is so high that the ‘feels like’ temps were still about 100F.  The sky didn’t present any real rain clouds, but big, puffy white castles.  

Well, looks like we have another stumper, unless today’s verse rings a bell.  This was a very popular song in it’s day.  See if you remember.
“You know I love that organic cooking, I always ask for more.  And they call me Mr. Natural, on down to the health food store, white sugar don’t touch my lips.  And my friends is always begging me to take them on macrobiotic trips, yes they are.  But at night I stake out my strong box that I keep under lock and key, and I take it off to my closet where nobody else can see.  I open that door so slowly, take a peek up north and south, then I pull out a Hostess Twinkie and I pop it in my mouth.  Yeah, in the daytime I’m Mr. Natural, just as healthy as I can be.  But at night I’m a __ __ __, good lord have pity on me.”  Hint:  The first and third words are from the same root.  This guy’s got a real habit.

The powers that be must have realized that the bridge was overdue for completion.  Today, without ceremony or fanfare, they opened both sides even though the work is not finished.  It was a wonderful feeling to drive over the bridge without worrying about the oncoming traffic, or getting stuck behind the slower motorbikes and their trailers.  When it’s finally done, it will really help the flow of traffic in and out of our village.

It’s very nice having lots of trees in our yard.  The only thing is, trees have leaves and they don’t stay on the branches forever.  When Boot was with us, she spent a lot of time sweeping up leaves.  I think it was like a meditation for her.  Natcha spends more time in the kitchen and cleaning inside the house, for which we are very grateful.  Today, at HomePro, we bought two ‘western style’ rakes.  The Thai rake is really a stiff broom with bristles that break as you rake.  Our new rakes have plastic tines and should make the task a lot easier.  

While we were cruising through the Healthy Market, Blue recognized something we had never seen before.  Today’s photo shows what bamboo shoots look like in their ’straight from the earth’ form.  If left in the ground, they could grow to be giant stalks of bamboo.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                           Danny

“A wound from the tongue is worse 
than a wound from the sword; the latter
affects only the body, the former, 
the spirit, and the soul.”
~Pythagoras

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Silence

Hi,

Today we experienced two ‘small rains’ in one day.  In some parts of town it was blazing hot, in others, overcast with eventual showers.  Things got wet, the van needs a bath, and the pool is a little cooler.  Season change?

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “A Hard Days Night” by The Beatles.  For this week’s ‘Zany Day’ song, I’m giving you the chorus first, just to whet your appetite.  “Oh yeah, in the daytime I’m Mr. Natural, just as healthy as I can be, but at night I’m a __ __ __, good Lord have pity on me.”  Hint:  There is a kind of food involved.

We managed to hit all three of our major food shopping venues before lunch.  It helps to get an early start, although it’s not like we beat any crowds at Makro.  Since it is a supply depot for lots of mom and pop stores, people show up very early so they can stock their little stores.  Around this time every year there seems to be a shortage of celery.  This might not seem like a big deal, but it’s an ingredient in the ‘Five Juice Drink’ that Blue and Lisa have every morning.  Today we scored some healthy stalks at Big C.  It seems that we can never get everything we need at one store, hence the tour.  The Health Market was the final stop for fruit and more veggies.  

Coconut flour bread has been a regular menu item here at The Big Brown House for quite a few months now and we all enjoy it.  It is different than baking with a grain flour and Lisa and Natcha had it down to a science.  When we received a recent supply they discovered that it behaved differently.  The flour is finer than earlier batches and experimentation has begun to find that perfect blend of ingredients.  The adventure continues.

This afternoon in the pool, we talked about what to eat on the airplane when we come to the states.  For me, there is no choice but to munch on things from home.  My 27 hour menu will consist of coconut flour bread and brownies, occasional raw nuts, and possibly some pear sauce.  It will certainly beat some of the concoctions that the airline serves.  

The big artistic news is that Lisa has begun a wall painting above our bed.  Hanging a painting above a bed is never a good idea, especially where there is the possibility of earthquakes.  You will see it when it’s finished.  Based on the early work, it will be like sleeping under a beautiful tree.

When Blue and I went to the plastic store next to Healthy Market, we encountered a pair of parrots getting some sun.  One of them looked up at me and seemed to pose.  His owner told us he’s too young to talk.  We’ll be waiting (555).


It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“A sage thing is timely silence,
and better than any speech.”
~Plutarch

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Danger


Hi,

Today we had another cool morning, probably because of the light rain last night.  This afternoon the predicted rain came early, at around 3:30pm and produced a steady medium downpour.  No swim today.

It looks like the ‘Easy Monday’ tune is a hit.  Just in case you’re still unsure, here’s the second verse:
“You know I work all day to get you money to buy you things.  And it’s worth it just to hear you say, you’re going to give me everything.  So why on earth should I moan, ‘cause when I get you alone, you know I feel OK.  When I’m home, everything seems to be right.  When I’m home, feeling you holding me tight, tight, yeah…”  Hint:  Something about the time of day, or night? 

This morning I took the van to Suzuki for a check-up.  These visits have become routine, even though I don’t understand most of what is said to me.  I know, from the diagrams, what was done to the vehicle, but that’s it.  There is also the drama of the bill.  First I am presented with two papers.  They are both invoices.  One required two signatures, the other only one.  Then the various copies and carbons are taken apart and it’s all taken to the cashier.  This visit, the cashier came to me with a need for two more signatures.  Eventually, I left with one piece of paper, and Suzuki has about 15.  Hmm.

The last time we were at the Healthy Market, the first thing I spotted when we arrived was the subject of today’s photo.  Either this vendor worked very hard that morning, or had a long ‘night before’.  


Word-of-mouth is a very important tool for us here in Chiang Rai.  Considering that there are no ‘yellow pages’ and we don’t read Thai, if we want to find something or someone, we have to ask somebody.  Recently, Lisa asked Noot and Kwan if they knew a good masseuse in the area.  They told us about a woman they’ve known for years named Nok.  Today Lisa had an appointment with Khun Nok, who has a little place in the big nursery on the highway.  When I dropped her off, it was almost like a fairy tale.  There, set back among a group of trees, was the small structure that was her massage studio.  I didn’t see the interior, but it was described as ‘funky and kinda cool’.  There was the sound of a small waterfall in the background.  Lisa said she experienced one of the best, mellow massages yet.  I guess I’ll have to try it next.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

            Peace,
                      Danny

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance
and conscientious stupidity."
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Improvement

Hi,

It’s still hot in Chiang Rai.  It’s still hot everywhere in Thailand.  We had brief rain at night, so things are getting watered.  Today started out cooler due to a light rain last night, but the sun broke through and the heat was back.  Pool time was on time.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry.  It’s time for an ‘Easy Monday’ song.
“It’s been __ __ __ __, and I’d been working like a dog.  It’s been __ __ __ __, I should be sleeping like a log.  But when I get home to you, I find the things that you do, will make me feel alright.”  Hint:  Title has a play on words relating to evening employment.  It was the title of this groups first film.

There has been a lot of activity on our bridge.  While all of the traffic is going over the new section, workers are busy building a matching concrete rail for the original side.  This weekend, machines began putting down asphalt on a section of the road leading to the bridge.  It looks like we’re going to get a resurfaced section of the road leading to the bridge, and a layer of asphalt on the bridge itself.  We were worried that the bumpy concrete was going to be the final surface.  The new side also got new lights.  They are very tall poles with fancy gold ornaments at the top.  Photo coming soon.  Oh yes, and chicken guy has left his BBQ with the little girl tucked in a corner by the side of the road.  Maybe he will return when it’s finished.

Sunday morning, on our way to Big C, I hit the lever for the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal.  I laughed and said I was practicing for our trip to America.  Blue and Lisa got it right away, but Cat didn’t have any way of knowing why we were laughing.  Lisa explained the ‘lever layout’ in American cars and she immediately got the joke.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t be turning on the wipers when we get there (555). 

This morning Blue and I went to the Post Office.  In the parking lot we saw today’s photo.  Not only was she selling reading glasses, but giving eye exams right there on the spot.  We’ve seen this before.  Maybe it’s so people can read their mail (555). 


It’s getting to be the time for lists.  I need a list of things for the ‘Tech bag’, and things for the plane.  Traveling for 26 hours requires things to watch on various devices, just in case the movie menu is lacking.  There’s also the supply of supplements needed to keep the physical me comfortable (55).  Oh, and how many pairs of socks, etc.   It all seems boring until you get there and realize you forgot something.

Have a Great Week.

               Peace,
                         Danny 

“Continuous improvement is better than
delayed perfection.”
~Mark Twain

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Chiang Rai had one of those post-card days today.  Beautiful blue sky with scattered clouds.  Of course, it was hot and humid, but you can’t feel that on the card (555).  We just returned from the Night Bazaar, where the joint was jumping.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Dang Me”, by Roger Miller, 1964.  ‘Old School Friday’ comes to you from 1956.
“I’m gonna write a little letter, gonna mail it to my local DJ.  It’s a rockin’ rhythm record, I want my jockey to play.  __ __ __, I gotta hear it again today.  You know, my temperature’s risin’ and the jukebox blows a fuse.  My heart’s beatin’ rhythm and my soul keeps on singin’ the blues.  __ __ __, and tell Tchaikovsky the news.”  Hint:  This is early R&R with a classical twist in the title.  It’s by a pioneer of the genre.  Hmm, if it walks like a duck, doesn’t mean it’s a duck.

The first thing we did today was drop by ‘The Wanderer’, which will be the name for the project being built by Khun Noot and her daughters.  Since it’s a tribute to her husband, Khun Witcha, they felt it was a fitting name since he was a wanderer, traveling all around the world.  A friend of ours brought us another South African Jacaranda tree and we passed it on to the project.  They were delighted, since they only had one.

We breezed through the Healthy Market, then went to the car wash.  No rain is forecast until next week so it won’t get dirty until then (5).  We hung out at Work@Home, where we basically had the place to ourselves.  When we’re out and about, we spend a lot of time laughing about this and that.  Today, Blue came up with an idea for a website that had us in stitches.  Can’t tell you yet, but when it happens, you will know.  When the car was done, rather than park it in the shade, they left it in the sun.  It just meant that it took longer to cool the inside once we got rolling.  At the Friday Farmer’s Market we got fresh bok choy and cabbage.  

When we return to the states, we usually come with things from Thailand.  There are little people in our lives that we like to shop for, as well as a few big kids.  The Night Bazaar is the perfect place to shop.   This evening we picked up Cat from ‘The Kid’ dance studio, along with her new friend, Nesta.  The girls went to the food court while we took care of business.  Technically, it’s not ‘High Season’ for tourists, but you wouldn’t know it by the abundance of ‘visitors’ in the aisles of the bazaar.  It might be due to the heavy rain and flooding in Bangkok.  It’s happened before.  If they buy things, it’s great for the local vendors.  Nesta lives in Payao, which is a long way from Chiang Rai.  She comes to town to study dance on the weekends and stays in a hotel near the studio.  After we dropped her off we passed the fairgrounds and it was packed with people.  Cat had heard that this was a new thing every Friday night.  I can hear that familiar ‘thump thump thump’ in the distance.

After telling you about the dog outfits at Browney’s, it’s only fair to show you an example.  What you are seeing are doggie sandals and goggles.  Just what a doggie biker needs.


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

                   Peace,
                             Danny


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Become


Hi,

Chiang Rai experienced slightly cooler temps today.  We had a brief shower this afternoon which ended in time for a cooling swim.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song seems to be a bit of a stumper.  It’s by what might be called a ‘country novelty song singer/songwriter’.  I’m sure there is a better way to describe him, but that’s what comes to mind.  Verse three: 
“They say roses are red, and violets are purple.  Sugar is sweet, and so is maple surple.  Well, I’m the seventh out of seventy sons.  My pappy was a pistol, I’m a son of a gun.  __ __, __ __, they ought to take a rope and hang me.  High from the highest tree.  Woman would you weep for me.”  Hint:  The key word here is a polite word for another four letter word also beginning with a ‘D’.  Hmm.

This morning, after exercising Daku, we planted two lemon grass plants that were given to us by Khun Noot.  The smell is almost intoxicating.  She uses the plants to repel mosquitos and other insects.  Hmm, we may have to get more of these and put them all around the yard before the rainy season really kicks in.  

One of the most commonly heard phrases around here is ‘Mai me’, which means ‘no have’.  Today, at Makro, we heard that phrase while enquiring about Kimchi, a Korean side dish.  We were a little surprised that the staff didn’t know what we were talking about.  We’ll just have to do a more specialized search around town.  
We had better luck finding things at Browney’s Pet World.  Lisa bought a bunch of treats for Daku.  While she was gathering some of his favorites, Blue and I browsed the costume department again.  Did you know that there are Disney character clothes for dogs?  I did not know this.  Tiny little doggie princess dresses just made me shake my head.  It’s always fun to see what’s at Browney’s.

In our daily travels, we usually use the main road that leads to our house when leaving the downtown area.  There is a drink truck that parks in the same spot every day and it is our photo for the day.  It’s custom built to sell things from the side.  Trucks like this are popping up in Chiang Rai and are probably even more prevalent in Chiang Mai and Bangkok.  The age of the mini food truck has arrived.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Laughter


Hi,

A daily weather pattern has evolved.  The mornings are sunny with light clouds, the afternoons have dark clouds that look like rain, and the night is when the water falls from the sky.  At least it’s been like that for three days.  Maybe the rainy season is really here.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.  It’s ‘Zany Day’ time with a country twist.  “Well, I sit here gettin’ ideas, ain’t nothing but a fool would live like this.  Out all night and runnin’ wild,  woman sittin’ home with a month old child.  __ __, __ __, they ought to take a rope and hang me.  High from the highest tree, woman would you weep for me.”  Hint:  First word of the title rhymes with a word in the verse.  (5), of course it does. 

This morning we went to the Healthy Market for a few things.  It was still early so we decided to go hang out at Work@Home.  We had a nice visit with Katai and as we were leaving, she showed us a tiny bird’s nest sitting in a tree by the driveway.  It speaks well of the vibe of the place that a bird would build a nest so close to humans, in a fairly busy place.  There was one beautiful egg sitting in the nest.


In the past, when we visited the states, we ordered things we can’t get in Thailand and had them sent to our Culver City address.  Then we would box those items and send them to our Thailand address.  You may recall that the last time we did this, we received a reprimand at Customs and the officer told us not to do it again.  His assistant told us to bring our vitamins in our luggage.  Well, that would be fine if it were a few bottles, but a six-month’s supply is going to take another suitcase.  The plot thickens.  We can barely get two large cases, and carry-ons into a mid-size sedan.  Getting to LAX becomes problematic.  We’re researching a solution to this earth shattering dilemma and I know there’s an answer (555).  

This evening we went to the mall for a phone fix.  H.A.L. struck again and decided that Lisa should use a different email program than the one she chose.  Mr. Google was also in on it, but we got it solved at the shop where she bought the phone.  On the way home I asked Cat the name of one of the civic buildings and she said she didn’t know.  We laughed and told her she’s supposed to know everything.  Her response was classic:
“I am Cat, not Google.”  The van filled with laughter.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Laughter is the closest distance
between two people.”
~Victor Borge

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dwell

Hi,

Last night we had one of those quiet, steady rains that watered everything without flooding the yards.  This meant Daku was in doggie heaven this morning.  Another rain teased us all afternoon, but never appeared.

Well, ‘Easy Monday’ is so close you can taste it.  Some got it, some missed it by one word.  Here’s more:
“Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, every night you stay, I’ll be watching you.  Oh can’t you see  you belong to me?  How my poor heart aches, with every step you take…..__ __ __ __, every move you make….”  Clue:  The key word in the title is an essential part of life.  When it’s gone, we’re gone.  Hmm.

Today was a fairly routine Tuesday.  Big C for essentials, and a stop at one of the larger ‘home shops’ for a new door-bell for Gong and Natcha’s apartment.  The last part of our sweep was a stop along the road for fresh pineapple.  I guess we won’t be doing that sort of thing on our visit to the states.  I know there are places where one can get fresh fruit, but it’s usually peeled and carved.  Another thing I will miss on our visit will be the service at the gas stations.  Here, you never pump your own gas.  Every time we visit, I have to check to see which side of the car has the gas tank door, and remember that I have to go and pay first.  What?

This afternoon we went for a swim.  Last night’s rain was much cooler than previous rains, and it left the pool a little on the chilly side.  As long as we were swimming, it wasn’t so bad.  I guess we’re moving into ‘that time of year’ when the pool is a sometime thing.  We did learn that there is a crew in town who can make a ‘sun water heater’ for the pool water.  Year round swimming will be wonderful.

During dinner, Cat told us that tomorrow is ‘Teacher Day’.  That means the students will present their teacher with a special gift.  Her class is making, among other things, a floral arrangement and Cat is bringing some flowers.  

On our trip to the river side property yesterday, one of the special things we saw was the ‘Fern Wall’.  Wire racks hold the pots for each plant so if needed, they can be easily replaced.  The variety of ferns makes for a dense green wall of wonder.


It just started raining, complete with big thunder.  We just got back from the Night Bazaar and our timing couldn’t have been better.  It’s been a long time since we cruised the aisles and it was fun checking out the new stalls and shops.   There are three new T-shirt shops, all run by young people and featuring fresh, creative graphics.  It was nice to see some of our vendor friends too.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“Those who dwell among the
beauties and mysteries of the earth
are never alone or weary of life.”
~Rachel Carson

Monday, June 8, 2015

Try

Hi,

We had another hot, rainless weekend here in Chiang Rai.  In between various activities we watched the finals of the French Open and the Canadian Gran Prix.  So glad we can record these things and not have to stay up late to watch then ‘live’.  The forecasts are now calling for thunderstorms ‘in the area’, which could mean anything and nothing.  Hmm.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Riot in Cell Block #9” original hit by The Robins.  The lyrics I gave you were from the Blues Bros. version, but you didn’t know the song anyway.  Lisa and Cousin Trudye knew it.  ‘Easy Monday’ is next, and I think it should be a snap.  “__ __ __ __, every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take I’ll be watching you.”   Hint:  The cops are watching. 

Our Saturday excursion to Boon Rawd Farm was very enjoyable.  It’s been months since we were there last, and we noticed changes.  There is a new lake, and new construction underway.  They also added a bunch of new speed-bumps on the main road.  This would not be a problem if they had painted them like the existing ones.  In keeping with the wild animal theme, the old bumps have either zebra stripes or giraffe patterns, so you can see them.  The new ones are basically invisible until your vehicle is launched.  Most uncomfortable for the back seat passenger.  We met a few new people at lunch and had fun talking with our friends.  The view was spectacular since all the fields were green from the rain.  The heat was oppressive but we spent most of the time in an air/con dining room.  When the room became too cold, we decided it was best to leave.  When the weather gets a little cooler we’ll have to go back to the ‘farm’ and do it again.

Sunday morning we went to Big C a little later than usual and paid the price.  Oh, the humanity.  

In the afternoon our new friends Anthony and Amelia came over.  Anthony is a Ph.D. candidate studying the Buddhist temple building practices and traditions.  Amelia is an artist and is teaching art at the International School.  They brought some snacks and Blue joined us at the table for conversation and munching.  Then the four of us got in the pool and talked for about an hour.  We shared observations about life in Chiang Rai and learned a lot about the temple building system.  Many artists and craftsmen go to technical school and study very specific subjects dealing with traditional Buddhist art and temple making.  We learned that there is a company devoted to building giant statues like the one up the road from us.  Some temple construction is based on donations, which means that it could take a long time for their completion.  Anthony told us of a temple that took 17 years to finish.  We hope to spend more time with them in the future.

Today we were invited to the property owned by the family connected with Doi Chaang Coffee.  Khun Noot and her daughter Kwan showed us the progress they have made on their amazing coffee shop/restaurant/library.  They have more trees than before, due in part to a friend of the family who brings a new tree every week.  There are almost 300 different trees on the land.  One of the most exciting things to see was the new water feature, shown below.


Have a Great Week.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“Fear of failure must never be
the reason not to try something.”
~Frederick Smith

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Today we got tricked by the weather.  We know that every afternoon it gets dark and cloudy.  We had a chance to swim, but the thunder and clouds gave us the impression that the rain was coming soon.  It never came and we missed a swim.  Next time we’ll wait for the water to fall from the sky.

The ‘Zany Day’ song that stumped most of you was “Ballad of A Thin Man”, by Bob Dylan.  For ‘Old School Friday’ 
I bring you an oldie that is similar to an event that recently happened in Los Angeles.  If you read the news then there’s your first clue.  “It was December the sixth, 1983.  I was doin’ time for armed robbery.  At four in the morning, I was sitting in my cell, I heard a whistle blow, and I heard somebody yell: ‘There’s a __ __ __, there’s a __ __ __, there’s a __ __ __ up in __ __ __ __.”  Hint: Lots to artists to choose from on this one.  ‘Cool Points’ if you know the 1954 group that had a #1 R&B hit.  Has to do with chaos in jail.   

This morning Blue and I went ‘adventuring’.  We started with a drive to Ban Du, the community north of Chiang Rai, where the main Post Office for our zip code is located.  We both had business to conduct, in different areas.  Blue got to take a number, I had to sit and wait for the counter guys to get to my notice.  I was at the package retrieval counter, where you put your notification in a window and wait.  Behind the counter there are piles of things that are apparently sorted, but that’s where it ends.  Meanwhile, Blue was waiting for his number to be called.  After showing both my I.D. and Lisa’s passport copy, I got our package.  That was when Blue’s number got called.  The whole thing was about 10 minutes.  Not bad when you consider that this is the main P.O. for a large area.

At the Healthy Market it was mostly fruit and fish in our bags when we left.  We noticed a lot of remodeling going on with some of the stalls.  It would be interesting to know who actually owns the square block of property and how often they upgrade things.  I know that each stall pays rent, but that’s about it.  

Today’s photo was taken at the Healthy Market.  This ‘Rice Lady’ can tell you the origin of each of the tubs of rice.  This is a far cry from going to the store and buying a box or bag of rice.  Take your pick.


This evening we went to two events.  First there was an opening at Art Bridge.  We got there early in order to get a good parking space, and then we hung out in the restaurant during the ‘Conversations’ portion.  It was all in Thai so we wouldn’t have understood anyway.  Cat joined us after her dance rehearsal and the four of us sat at a table that allowed us to meet lots of friends as they passed by.  The exhibit was for two artists exploring the concept of ‘Emptiness & Wisdom’.  It turned out to be a very deep, Zen filled evening when discussing the work with the creators.  During the course of the evening we also learned that the little elephants are in Bangkok and tomorrow they will be featured at Central World.  Some of the Art Bridge artists are driving down tonight (12 hours) for the opening event, and some media interviews.  

The second event we attended was a farewell night at NorThai.  They are closing their doors and invited us to come by and visit one last time.  We had a chance to talk to the couple who founded it and visit with friends of NorThai.  Life goes on. 

We have a ‘packed’ weekend coming up.  Tomorrow we’re going to Boon Rawd Farm for a birthday/baby shower luncheon, and Sunday we’re having guests over in the afternoon.  There is also the finals of the French Open and the Canadian Formula One Gran Prix.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   On with the ‘Funnies’.

                Peace,
                          Danny