Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hi,

We had another cloudy, sun-spattered day in Chiang Rai.  We’ll probably miss two events in the night sky because of the clouds.  The Space Station is going to fly over Thailand tonight, and the much talked about ‘Blue Moon’ will also be out of view.  Oh well, there will be lots of pics on the internet.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “One Night In Bangkok” by Murray Head.  It’s about a chess tournament.  And now, ‘Old School Friday’.  You don’t have to be old to recognise this one.  I’ll bet Art Laboe’s radio show plays it.
“Oh-oh, yes I’m __ __ __, pretending that I’m going well.  My need is such I pretend too much.  I’m lonely but no one can tell.  Oh-oh, yes I’m __ __ __, adrift in a world of my own.  I’ve played the game, but to my real shame, you’ve left me to grieve all alone.”  Clue:  Although it’s a hit from 1956, the ‘group’ performed in Chiang Rai recently.  A key word is mentioned in the first verse.

A news item in The Nation (a Thai newspaper), caught my eye today.  There will be an International Music and Arts Festival in Bangkok and ‘Old School Friday’ will be in the house.  They have three tribute acts performing.  One of them, Lady Gaga, really isn’t old enough to have a ‘tribute’, but The Blues Brothers and Elvis certainly are.  ‘Old’  American music is quite popular in many parts of the world.  Many people learn English by listening to old R&B and Rock tunes.  Oh, now that’s something to think about (555).

Today is the first day of Buddhist Lent.  It is a time when all of the monks spend their nights in the temples instead of staying in their home villages.  They will perform their daily tasks as usual, but at night they will sleep behind the temple walls for three months.  Your photo for today was taken by Blue at a small temple here in Chiang Rai.  It sits inside a larger complex of buildings on the grounds of a Chinese-Thai temple that has been built around it.  


All day today, it has felt like Saturday.  We figured it out and it’s because Cat has a 4-day weekend.  The rhythm of the week is off a few beats.  

Around Chiang Rai there are many vacant lots.  Many used to be rice fields and have been filled in with dirt in the hope that they could be sold for construction projects.  They start out looking like beautiful, red dirt palates, just waiting for a builder.  Over time, they have become ‘urban jungles’, especially with all the rain.  They add to the tropical feeling that sometimes goes away with all the condos and shop houses.  I hope some of them stay the way the are.

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

               Peace,
                         Danny


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Adventure

Hi,

It was a beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  Cloudy with moments of sunshine.  A late storm last night produced rivers and puddles, but by morning it was all soaked in and Daku got to run.  The four of us took in some art and shopped.

So far, only two people have known the ‘Zany Day’ song.  It has to do with a city referred to as The City of Angels, but it’s not Los Angeles.  It can be found in The Land of Smiles.  There is also a time factor involved, the dark part of the day.  “__ __ __ __ and the world’s your oyster, the bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free…”  Clue: Though you wouldn’t know it from the title, there is also a game involved.

As we left the house this morning, it was obvious that it was a holiday.  Many shops were closed but the streets were still busy.  We saw lots of people dressed in white for their visit to their temple.  We arrived at Art Bridge just after it opened and had a chance to view two exhibits with the galleries all to ourselves.  The photo exhibit in the main gallery was just as interesting the second time for me.  Blue and Cat had not seen it yet and it was fun to see their reaction to some of the photographs.  In the upstairs gallery we saw a real contrast.  All of the work was done in charcoal and the artists captured the many facets of ‘Faith’, which was the title of the exhibit.  

We made a quick stop at one of our vets, Dr. View.  Blue and I waited in the van and when Lisa and Cat returned, they told us about Dr. View’s eyes.  She had on a pair of contacts that Cat calls ‘Big Eyes’.  All you see in each eye is a big brown circle, no pupil.  It’s quite an eerie effect.  I guess she had an event she was going to later.

For some reason we thought Makro would not be crowded.  We were so wrong.  The place was packed with shoppers.  Many were buying items to take the their temple, but others used the day off to shop before the weekend.  Considering that for a lot of folks, this is a four day holiday, supplies were needed.  Today and tomorrow, the sale of alcohol is prohibited.  Yesterday probably saw brisk sales in that department.  On the way home, driving through Ban Mai, we noticed that the Catholic school was closed.  Where else would you find a Christian school closing to observe a Buddhist holiday?  Hmm.

The golf course near our house is very green and lush.  Today there were tons of golfers out taking advantage of the nice weather on a day off.  We can’t remember seeing so many groups on the greens.  The photo for today was taken in our front yard.  As you can see, we have a bit of green ourselves.  


This evening, with many restaurants closed, the roadside food vendors were doing good business.  Everything from carts to stands, they were dishing out ‘take away’.  It seems like this year there is more observance of the holiday than in the past.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Adventure is not outside a man;
it is within.”
~David Gayson

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Delight

Hi,

The ‘Storm’ for today had many false starts, but finally happened.  It’s still a rather subdued rainy thing, but we’re getting water and everything is very green.

By now you all know that the ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Walk On By” by Dionne Warwick.  Here’s a ‘Zany Day’ tune:
“__ __ __ __ makes a hard man humble, not much between despair and ecstasy.  __ __ __ __ and the tough guys tumble.  Can’t be too careful with your company, I can feel the Devil walking next to me.  __, Oriental setting, and the city don’t know what the city is getting.  The creme de la creme of the chess world in a show with everything but Yul Brynner."  Hint:  There are many hints in the first verse.  A key word here is the name of a city.

Last night Chiang Rai had out-of-town guests in the form of The Platters.  It was the talk of the town, but we didn’t go.  They were performing at The Dusit Island Resort which is very near our house.  As some of you may know, The original Platters were together from 1954 to 1970.  Many groups from the good old days are still around in name only.  Some sound good, and some get by.  I’m happy that some of our Thai friends got to experience live R&B in Chiang Rai. 

When we awoke this morning, the power was out.  There was a knock at our door and it was Cat, asking how she could open the gate to go to school.  I showed her how to disarm the motor and later instructed Pon how to do it.
Cat found out that the electric company was working on the school in our village.  It only lasted about 45 minutes. 

Our morning run of errands ended at Healthy Market.  The clouds were getting darker and it felt like it was about to rain.  There was an eerie vibe all around.  Traffic was a little crazy, there was an urgency, as if something was about to happen.  The darkness made it seem as though it was 5:30 in the evening.  When we got home we waited, a breeze came, and it was all gone. 

During dinner, Cat told us about her day.  Her class walked across town to Wat Phra Kaew to give candles to the monks.  While they were there they learned more about the temple.  There are 35 monks and 100 little monks (her term).  There is a school for the little monks and on weekends, anyone who doesn’t go to school can come for lessons.  We found this interesting since there are many children who cannot afford to go to school.  The monks are offering a real community service in this way.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Healthy Market.  It starts out as a round fruit called Mak (my spelling).  It is sliced, strung together, and then dried.   When the fruit is young it is red.  Years ago people used to chew it, thinking that it made their teeth clean and strong.  It basically made them red.  Now the dried fruit is given to the monks on auspicious occasions as an offering.  We’re not sure why, but that’s what happens.  


Just when we thought the rain had ended for the evening, another wave came through.  I hear thunder in the distance so we may get more overnight.  Time to get out the wadding boots.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“There is no delight in owning
anything unshared.”
~Seneca

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Change

Hi,

Drip, drip,drip.  That has been the sound of our weather all day.  We’re enjoying the occasional rains because they don’t pose any problems like flooding, wind and destruction (555).

The ‘Easy Monday’ song is clearly a winner.  The artist is memorable, even with the fortune-telling fiasco.
“I just can’t get over losing you, and so if I seem broken and blue, __ __ __, __ __ __.  Foolish pride is all that I have left so let me hide the tears and the sadness you gave me, when you said goodbye.  __ __ __, and __ __ __.”
Clue:  ‘Nothing to see here’ could be added to the title’, like the scene of an accident.  

Last night, as I was sending the message through my Blogspot page, Google informed me that I had sent 2100 posts since 2007.  I actually began writing to some of you in 2001, right after our first trip to Thailand.  My very rough calculations have determined that there have been a total of 3900 posts.  Hmm, that’s a lot of messages.  Thanks for reading.

This Thursday is a major holiday in Thailand.  It is the Theravada Buddhist festival known as Asalha Puja.  It takes place in July, on the full moon of the eighth lunar month.  The holiday celebrates The Buddha’s first sermon.  Cat’s school will be closed for two days, since the next day marks the beginning of Buddhist Lent.  

Today’s photo was taken at Big C and shows part of the display of items that can be purchased in honor of the celebration.  People buy these large candles and give them to temples.  There were also gift baskets with personal-care supplies, towel sets, and even umbrellas in appropriate colors for the monks.  I think most of these candles have been made from molds, but we have seen many that were hand carved.


In our travels today we got a glimpse of the river.  It’s starting to look like its ‘old self’ again.  More boats are running and I’m pretty sure that means irrigation water for the farmers to the southeast of us.  The Bangkok Post reported that the government has declared the drought is over.  Well then, I guess it’s business as usual.  

This afternoon in the kitchen, Natcha said something to Lisa that she didn’t understand.  Natcha started laughing when she realised she had spoken in Akha instead of Thai.  It’s a very different language, and since it’s her first language, it’s easy to see how that could happen.  Also, when she talks with Pon, her niece who is helping her, they speak Akha.  I don’t plan to learn it, but I like the sound.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Future

Hi,

We seem to be in a light-weight version of the rainy season.  Lots of little showers, occasional downpours, but no thunder and lightning.  The forecast for this week calls for lots of rain so we’ll see.

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Blue Monday” by Fats Domino.  This ‘Easy Monday’ song should be just that:
“If you see me walking down the street, and I start to cry, each time we meet.  __ __ __, __ __ __.  Make believe that you don’t see the tears, just let me grieve in private, ‘cause each time I see you I break down and cry, and __ __ __ (don’t stop)…”  Hint:  This singer had a long string of hits by a pair of prolific writers.  I think you know it.

Saturday, while we were at the Healthy Market, Lisa spotted a florist working on what looked like a work of art.  We walked around to his stall where he had just finished the arrangement.  He was pleased that we wanted to take a photo.


In the evening Cat decided she wanted Lisa to do her hair and make-up for the big dance show on Sunday.  They did a trial run but were not happy with some of the make-up materials.  That meant a Sunday morning run to Big C.
They were successful and when it was all finished, we were all very pleased.

Sunday was a big day for all of us.  The timing of things got crazy until we worked it out.  When we arrived at the mall, there was a giant crowd on the second level, waiting for the show to begin.  We found couches at a Doi Chaang Coffee shop that provided a view of the stage in the distance.  We relaxed while listening to small children singing and a few speeches.  A few friends who were in the mall came by and it was nice to know people in such a large crowd.  Parents and relatives of all the participants were waiting for their children to perform.  Some of the group numbers were cute, and a couple of ballet numbers were choreographed by Cat’s teacher, using popular music rather than classical.  It was fun to watch and probably fun to dance to as well.  Imagine a ballet number set to reggae music.  Finally, it was time for Cat’s group, the K-Dance class, to take the stage.  We managed to find different places to watch and take photos.  Blue had his telephoto lens while Lisa and I were taking video with our phones.  The group did a great job and Cat, of course, was the best of the bunch.  When it was over we took pics of her and her sister and friends from The Sold Project.  That evening, she had to study for a math test.  A rather tall order when one is filled with adrenaline.

In January we will have another person living at The Big Brown House.  Natcha and Gong are having a baby, due in January, probably while we are in the States.  The adventure continues.

Have a Great Week.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“The future is call ‘perhaps’, which is the only 
possible thing to call the future.  And the 
important thing is not to allow that to scare you.”
~Tennessee Williams

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hi,

It was another day of drizzle in Chiang Rai.  During our morning excursion it stayed dry.  How nice.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Poison Ivy” by The Coasters, and a ton of other people.  And now, it’s time to go back in time with ‘Old School Friday’.  Who remembers this one:  “__ __, I hate __ __.  Got to work like a slave all day.  Here come Tuesdays, oh hard Tuesdays.  I’m so tired, got no time to play… Sunday mornin’ my head is bad, though it’s worth it for the time that I’ve had.  But I’ve got to get my rest ‘cause __ a mess.”  Hint:  A day of the week figures prominently in the title, along with a color.  This has got to be one of the easiest Fridays yet.

This morning we went to our favorite furniture store looking for a small drawer set.  We found the perfect item and continued on to Healthy Market.  Lisa has become a pro at stuffing a bag with bok choy and getting the weight perfect.  Today she put exactly 2 kilos in the bag and the bok choy lady gave her a big smile.  At the fruit stand Blue and I were looking at something I’d never seen before.  What caught my attention were the little spines all over the outside.  Fruit guy came over and proceeded to unpeel one.  It looked a little like a date inside.  He gave Lisa and Blue a piece to sample.  Lisa said it tasted sweet with a little dirt flavor.  You notice I was not part of the tasting test.  I smiled politely and told him I didn’t want any as I moved away (555).  


This afternoon we had the door on our new dryer reversed.  It opened in the wrong direction in relationship to the washing machine.  You know how a door can disrupt the rhythm of transferring clothes.  Three guys came and took the thing apart, then put it back together and it only took them 15 minutes.  At first, the way they were standing around, I thought they didn’t know what to do, but they had it.  

We put our cute little electric lawnmower up for sale on a site called ‘Chiang Rai Baht and Sold’.  Pretty clever I’d say.  Anyway, the first response we got was from our friend Tawee, director at The Sold Project.  We couldn’t help but give them a special discount and he’s coming to take it tomorrow.  

On Sunday, Cat and the dance crew will perform at Central Plaza Mall.  She’s getting excited about it, even though most of her friends won’t be able come.  We’ll be there for sure.  It will be her last performance with ‘The Kid’, and then it’s back to serious senior year study.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.  Don’t forget the ‘Funnies’.   Oh, this really is the weekend for the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix.  

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dream

Hi,

It was a drizzly day in Chiang Rai. There was one baby downpour but it didn’t last too long.    We did a bit of very productive traveling around town today.  Sadly, the pool is cooling.

There were quite a few correct responses to the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Here’s a bunch more that may help you:
“She’s pretty as a daisy, but look out man she’s crazy.  She’ll really do you in if you let her get under your skin.  __ __, __ __, late at night when you’re sleeping __ __ comes a creeping around…. You’re gonna need an ocean, of calamine lotion.  You’ll be scratching like a hound, the minute you start to mess around.  __ __, __ __….”  Hint: I think you’ve got a bunch of hints.  It’s easy now.

Our morning adventure began in the community north of us called Ban Du.  There was a package waiting for us.  Whenever something is too large or heavy for the mailman to bring on his motorbike, we get a notice to pick up.  At the P.O., the eye clinic was gone, but there was a woman selling leather bags of every description.  We were wondering how much the vendors have to pay to set up on the front steps.  There is a coffee/juice stand that is always there.  

Down the road from the post office was the ‘beloved' Makro.  We only needed a few things today.  When we got to the check out, one bag of grapes did not have a price tag (bar code).  Nothing goes through the check stand without a bar code.  If you want the product, you have to go back to the department and get one with a sticker, or leave it for another day.  I went back to the produce department, got it weighed and priced, and we finished our business.  We were lucky in that the checker closed the lane so I didn’t have to rush back.  It must have been her break time (555).

Daku was in need of some new treats and the next logical stop would have been at Browney’s on the highway.  Today we went to what we call ‘Old Browney’s’ on Bus Station street.  That’s where the owners still conduct business as usual.  Lisa and the wife have had a great connection and she hadn’t seen her since the new store opened.  They had a warm reunion and Daku has more stinky fish treats.

You may remember the photo I posted of the field next door being sewn with corn.  Well, the corn has grown.  It stands almost 6’ tall.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

             Peace,
                       Danny

“Don’t be afraid of the space between
your dreams and reality.  If you can dream it,
you can make it so.”
~Unknown

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ability

Hi,

We had a cloudy-looks-like-rain day.  The temperatures have come down and it’s not as uncomfortable as last week.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ tune was “Saturday In The Park” by Chicago.  That leaves me with no choice but to give you a new ‘Zany Day’ song.  “She comes on like a rose, and everybody knows.  She’ll get you in dutch, you can look but you better not touch.  __ __, __ __, late at night when you’re sleeping __ __ comes a-creepin’ all around.”  Clue: We’re talkin’ about something that could be a person or another form of life.

This morning, as we prepared to get in the van for a trip to Big C, I smelled an odd smokey smell.  When I walked out into the front yard I heard a crackling sound, looked up and saw part of one of our palm trees sparking.  Blue and I had seen this before.  When a palm tree starts a new frond it appears as a spike going straight up into the air.  This one was touching a power line and it caught on fire.  There was nothing to do but observe until the new frond burned through and fell off, and then the fire went out.  What troubles us is the fact that it must be a bare wire for this to have happened.  We will alert the yard crew to always check the height of the trees and make sure they trim anything near the wires.  In the meantime, we will continue to wonder who one calls to check on bare wires.

You may have heard that the price of gold has dropped dramatically.  Here in Thailand, there is no shortage of gold shops.  At Big C we were curious to see if there might be large crowds around the two shops upstairs.  At first they had no customers, but when we were about to leave we saw several people checking out the counters.  These shops are almost always a counter of glass cases, you don’t actually go into a shop.  We looked at one section of the counter, checking out prices, but without knowing what they were before the crash it was pointless.  I saw some beautiful work that wasn’t that expensive.  Hmm.  Gold here looks very different than the gold one buys in America.  It has a more orangish tone to it because it is more pure, but if you buy gold here and try to sell it in the States it is not valued as high.  

Natcha and Gong were invited to her brother’s house this evening to eat Akha food.  They were very excited about going to a gathering of family and eating traditional food.  As we finished our dinner a young man came walking toward the pool with his guitar.  My guess is that he was a cousin/nephew and was also going to the dinner.  He sat alone and strummed.


Tomorrow, the Women’s National Takraw team will play at Cat’s school.  She’s excited about this.  This is the sport that is like volleyball, but played with the feet.  It will be a nice break from all of the testing and homework this week.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Empty

Hi,

Chiang Rai experienced faint sprinkles off and on today.  Not really what you’d call rain.  Keep reading to find out about the big story of the month.

This ‘Easy Monday’ song was recognised by two readers and deemed ‘easy’.  Here’s the second verse:
“Another day __ __ __, I think it was the Fourth of July (repeat).  People talking, really smiling, a man playing guitar singing for us all.  Will you help me change the world.  Can you dig it (yes I can).  And I’ve been waiting such a long time for today.”

For almost eight (8) years we have been living without a clothes dryer.  It’s one of those luxury items we got used to being without.  In the early days we just accepted it because there weren’t many in Chiang Rai anyway.  Then they started appearing at the appliance stores with very high price tags.  Then those prices started inching down. Fast-forward to today, with six people needing their clothes washed on a rotating basis during the rainy season.  Tubular clothes racks can only hold so many loads at a time.  Today we changed all that and bought a dryer.  The store sent two guys out this afternoon to install it.  Now we get to read the manual and learn how to use it properly.  Things have really changed since we last had a dryer.  All I can say is:  Let it rain.

While we were waiting for all the business to be handled at Sinthanee, after committing to the dryer, I wandered over to the motorbike area.  There was a new Honda model wearing a familiar graphic.  Today’s photo is a Honda Moove with the Paul Frank monkey.  I found this to be an interesting collaboration.


This is the first week back to school for Cat after mid-terms.  If students don’t pass a particular exam, they are retested.  That is part of the business of school this week.  There are some mid-terms I wish I could have re-taken back in the day.  While the system is very different than in other places, there are many things that are the same all over the world.  A high value is put on final numbers.  Hmm.

We’ve always known that Daku was a smart dog, but lately it’s even more apparent.  He has quite a vocabulary.  No, he doesn’t talk, but he understands a lot more English than we gave him credit for.  Aside from daily patterns, he will react to key words.  After dinner Lisa said something about going upstairs and Daku jumped up and headed for the stairs.  We used that word when he was young, to get him to go up the stairs and I guess he remembers.  Golden Retrievers have the potential to learn up to 200 words.  He’s got a good start on that.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“Worry does not empty tomorrow
of it’s sorrows.  It empties today
of it’s strength.”
~Unknown

Monday, July 20, 2015

Mountain

Hi,

The weekend in Chiang Rai was a mix of cloudy and rainy, heavy at times.  The temperatures have been relatively cooler, which isn’t saying a lot, but we can tell the difference.  Whew.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Every Beat of My Heart” by The Pips.  Yes, before they became Gladys Knight and The Pips. It was their first hit.  Now you know.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be easy if you remember 1972.
“__ __ __ __, I think it was the Fourth of July.  People dancing, people laughing, a man selling ice-cream, singing Italian songs.  ‘Eh Cumpari, ci vo sunari’.  Can you dig it (yes I can) and I’ve been waiting such a long time for __.”
Hint: By a big band named after a city that’s windy.  There’s a day of the week involved.

I must apologise to anyone who went looking for Formula One on Sunday.  It’s next Sunday (555).  Imagine my disappointment when, as I was all ready to dive into some high-speed corners, I had to settle for some tennis.

Most of our weekend travel around town was on dry streets.  The rain seemed to come either during nap time or at night.  Saturday night was a real downpour that seemed to go on all night.  I think it’s the first time in weeks that ‘Walking Street’ got hit in the middle of the evening.  We haven’t been there in a very long time.  If it wasn’t so hard to park and I didn’t have to walk, it might be fun to go again (555).  

Sunday morning, Lisa and I went to Art Bridge.  There is another ‘member exhibit’ coming up featuring ‘Small Paintings’.  I think it should be called ‘Tiny Paintings’ since each canvas is only 20cm x 20 cm.  That’s a little over 7.8 inches square.  It should be interesting to see how some of the artists who normally paint massive canvases will shrink their style into such a small space.  

While we were at Art Bridge we had a chance to visit the current exhibit in the ‘Big Room’.  It opened while we were in the States.  The work is by a Chinese-American photographer and all the subjects were in or under water. They were presented as digital prints on canvas, which has a very dramatic effect.  

This weekend I heard a sound that has been absent from the local ambience.  It was a long-tailed boat on the river.  Before the recent string of storms the river had been low and it’s difficult for the boats to navigate around  all the sand bars that were sticking up.  This is good news for the boat drivers who have lost money not only from hauling goods on the river, but also because there seem to be a lot of tourists in town.  We’re not sure why there are so many visitors, but it’s good for the local economy.  

Today’s photo was taken at Chivit Tamma Da on Sunday.  Things have really grown along the banks and you can see that the river is looking ‘healthy’.


Have a Great Week.

                Peace,
                          Danny
 
“No one can choose your mountain
or tell you when to climb.
It’s yours alone to challenge, at your own
pace and time.”
~Unknown

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Last night’s storm went on and on.  By morning it was just very cloudy.  Baby sprinkles happened during the day, but the yard crew was able to spruce things up just fine.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Flight Number 505” by The Rolling Stones.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next, from 1961.
“With __ __ __ __ __, there’s a beat for you.  In every toast of wine, there’s a toast for you, oh, yes it is.  In all my conversation, you’re my inspiration.  And everything I do, I do for you…”  Hint: Everyone alive has one.  It’s the first hit by a group that would later put the lead vocalist name in front of the group name.  She later went solo.  

While the yard crew was working, Blue and I went to the shop where we bought the internet router.  A young technician tested it and discovered a problem with the security something.  He changed a few things, put in a new password and sent us on our way.  So far, it’s been working pretty good.  There is still a glitch to be resolved, but the internet is in the house. 

The lack of rain in most of Thailand is putting restrictions on farmers in some provinces.  They are being asked by the government to wait to plant rice.  Some farmers already have their rice growing and refuse to let their fields dry out.  The rice must be in standing water to grow.  With the hot weather, the water would evaporate, leaving them with dry fields.  Some farmers are defying the authorities in order to save their rice.  Rationing is taking place in some areas and in others, the production of drinking water has slowed down.  What?  I don’t make this up.  In our area there doesn’t seem to be the same problem for the most part, especially if we get more storms like the one last night.  The river appears to have a little more water and that means the farmers further down-river may have more water to deal with.  Living in an agricultural region has been quite an education. 

One of the cool things about living here is the opportunity to see sporting events we probably would never experience otherwise.  We’ve been watching some of the World Volleyball Championships, rooting for the Thai womens' team of course.  Sometimes we get to see badminton and table-tennis meets between countries in the region and it’s not like the game we played as kids.  For a real thrill, go to Youtube and search for Sepak Takraw.  It’s like volleyball, but played with the feet.  Three players to a side and it moves very fast.

Today’s photo was taken outside Art Bridge.  This light sculpture is in front of the gallery like a beacon 


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.   Oh yes, Formula One from Belgium this Sunday.

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Write

Hi,

All day it seemed like just another day of the same ‘maybe’ weather.  This afternoon we got rain and it’s still raining this evening.  It comes in waves and it’s coming hard.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song is from the 60s, by a group of guys who are still Rockin’ it.  Maybe you know them.
“Well, I sat right there in my seat, feeling like a king.  With the whole world right at my feet, ‘Of course I’ll have a drink’…. Get me on __ __ __, get me on __ __ __.”  Clue:  This mode of travel moves a lot faster than a stone that rolls (555).

Today the Little Black Van never left The Big Brown House.  The only person who left the compound was Cat, who had another testing day at school.  The yard crew was supposed to come and do their thing, but that was delayed until tomorrow.  Now I’m hoping that the storm will end in time for the yard to completely drain.  

We learned that Natcha and Gong will be married sometime in August.  No word yet as to what kind of wedding it will be.  From a purely selfish point of view, I’m hoping there will be a traditional element involved.  We’ve never seen a Hill Tribe wedding.  

If the yard crew comes tomorrow, we will definitely be leaving the house in the morning.  They use ‘weed-wackers’ to mow the lawns and it gets quite noisy.  There are a few things that need to be dealt with in the outside world.  We have an ongoing problem with our Wi-Fi signal and it looks like we have to go back to our provider and once again, complain about the sluggish performance.  One of the problems of living on the outskirts of town is the fact that they ran a ‘basic’ cable out here and we can’t get the speeds they advertise in the city.  It also means that as new customers are added, we think we’re sharing with more people.  That equals more traffic trying to get through that tiny wire.  We usually have Cat with us when we try to tackle difficult problems like this, but she’ll be in school. Blue speaks Thai and I draw good pictures, so maybe we can communicate.  

From time to time, there are reminders that we live in a different place.  Not the daily reminders, but things like ads that tell us the iWatch is coming to Thailand, and it’s been available other places for months.  The same is true for TV shows and some movies.  Most of it doesn’t mean much as far as our consumption, but it makes the delay apparent.  

When the weather looks like it’s going to rain but doesn’t, I imagine that a lot of folks on motorbikes get caught unprepared when it finally dumps.  Today is a perfect example.  There are those who keep a thin raincoat under their seat just in case.  Then there are those who take it when they’re sure it will rain.  The last group never bought one and just rides soaking wet to their destination.  Life on two wheels.

The photo for today was taken at Aye’s Deli.  The picket fence was installed on top of the brick wall when more privacy became necessary.  It’s a clever idea that we may some day incorporate on our rear wall if a house is ever built behind us.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny  

“Until the lion learns how to write, 
every story will glorify the hunter.”
~African proverb

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Afraid


Hi,

High humidity and heavy looking rain clouds were the order of the day.  No rain, but it looked and felt like any minute it would pour.  It was not to be.  Maybe later tonight.

That ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Yesterday” by The Beatles, featuring Paul.  Time for some ‘Zany Day’ fun.
“Well, I was happy here at home, I got everything I need.  Happy bein’ on my own just living the life I lead.  Well, suddenly it dawned on my that this was not my life.  So I just phoned the airline girl and said, ‘Get me on __ __ __, get me on __ __ __.”  Hint:  There is a number in the title. 

Mr. Lag is taking his time with saying farewell.  We keep going forward, denying him total satisfaction.  I still hit the wipers, Lisa wakes up at 4:30am, and naps are interrupted by various life events.  Hmm.

We had a very busy Wednesday on this side of the ocean.  It began with a giant food run at Makro, then Healthy Market.  Makro has always had a ‘no bag’ policy so we carry lots of shopping bags in the van.  Today I watched a man unload his cart of newly purchased goods directly into the bed of his pick-up truck.  I thought about the task ahead of him when he gets home.  At Healthy Market I was once again amazed at how the fruit lady can thump a pineapple and determine whether or not it’s sweet.  The ones she thumped this morning were very sweet.  Another ‘Hmm’.

A few night ago, while doing a 'tick check’ on Daku, Lisa noticed something strange on his tail.  Daku does not like us messing with his tail.  We decided to take him to the vet for a consultation.  When we arrived, the waiting room was empty.  Then a little dog came in with his owners and Daku sat up to check him out.  He stayed pretty calm and finally went back to lying flat on the cool tile floor.  When Dr. Arnon called him into the examination room we expected him to get all crazy, but he let him mess with his tail and didn’t put up much of a fight at all.  It turns out his tail is OK.  As we were leaving, Lisa suggested we take him over to Work@Home for a visit with Katai and Towan.  They met him at our house and they always ask about him.  Daku was happy to see Towan, who took the leash and let Daku pull him around the yard in back of the shop.  They had quite an adventure, going out in front of the shop and finally inside.  They have a special dining/meeting room that has air/con and we settled in there.  ’The boys’ had lots of fun.  Towan kept hugging and petting Daku and he took it all in.  We will definitely have to do this again.

Today’s photo was taken at Work@Home.  It’s the man of the hour with Towan and Katai.


At our visit to Work@Home we also learned more about the effect of this weird, non-rainy season on the agriculture industry.  By not getting the rain needed to plant on their usual schedule, farmers have had to delay their ’seasons’ and, as a result, may not even have a crop of certain fruits and vegetables.  This can impact whole communities as well as various suppliers, including farm equipment dealers and the whole delivery system.  Something to think about.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“Be not afraid of going slowly;
be afraid only of standing still.”
~Unknown

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Inside

Hi,

Last night Chiang Rai got a tremendous soaking.  Today the 2pm storm never happened.  If this is how our rainy season is going to be, I think I can handle it.  Lovin’ the nighttime rains.  Oh, and it’s still very hot.

Looks like this week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is still a hit.  If you still haven’t figured it out, this should help:
“Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be.  There’s a shadow hanging over me.  Oh, __ came suddenly.  Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.  I said something wrong, now I long for __.”  Hint: This song features a member of a famous quartet, collaborating with strings.

While we were in the States. Daku had a chance to do some serious bonding with Blue, Natcha, and Cat.  There were many meals when Blue was the only person at the table.  Daku used to get so close to Blue’s food that it was verging on rude.  Blue trained him to lie down beside him while he ate.  When Daku comes to the table and looks at Blue, all Blue has to say is, “You know what to do”, and Daku drops to the floor and stays there.  Daku spent his nights in Cat’s room.  He’s done this before when we’ve been away.  A few nights ago he went down the hall and I thought he would return.  He didn’t come back.  When Lisa went to see where he was, he was curled up at her door.   Whenever Natcha is working in the kitchen, Daku goes in and plops down on the floor and just hangs out.  Sometimes, if he hears her come into the house, he will go downstairs just to be with her.  What a guy.

The amount of rain that goes into the pool has a direct effect on the temperature.  If it’s a light rain there is little difference.  Last night’s rain was another story.  When we went in the water today, it was much cooler than the day before.  Not cold, but cool as opposed to almost too warm to swim.  A few more storms like that and we may have to hang up the suits for a bit.  

This afternoon we went to the nursery near our house.  It’s a wonderland of growing things.  The yard crew is coming tomorrow so we wanted to get some things for them to plant.  The nursery is right next to the army base and today there were a bunch of young soldiers working on widening one of the little lanes.  I like the fact that they were working with shovels and hoes instead of weapons.  This is the same base that has a huge vegetable garden on one side and a golf course on the other.  Go army.

Today’s photo was taken a few weeks ago while sitting at a red light.  We hadn’t noticed this little road before since it intersects with the Super Highway and we’re usually going too fast to notice things like this.  We have no idea where it goes, but a few cars and bikes drove in and out.  Someday we will have to go exploring.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Happiness is your nature.
It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it
outside when it is inside.”
~Sri Ramana Maharshi

Monday, July 13, 2015

Spirit

Hi,

It’s Monday evening in Thailand and Mr. Lag is still doing his thing.  We seem to be falling asleep in the early evening, waking up way too early, and forgetting things we want to remember.  Sometimes it feels like an inside out version of our jet lag in the States.  Oh, and I keep using the wipers as turn signals, after 4 days.  What?

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Donna” by Richie Valens.  That brings us to ‘Easy Monday’.  Early 60s smash.
“__, all my troubles seemed so far away.  Now it looks as though they're here to stay.  Oh, I believe in __.”  Hint:
Hey, this is ‘Easy Monday’ and you know this song (555).

Our weekend was rather quiet, which is a good thing considering our current condition.  For Cat, it was just the opposite.  The dance team was driven down to Chiang Mai on Saturday afternoon.  They had dinner at Central Fiesta, the huge new mall, and then went to the ‘Walking Street’.  The group was a little disappointed about not having any form of internet in their hotel rooms.  Oh, what’s a teenager to do?  They survived the night and had to get up at 5:30am and put on makeup.  Their dance number went well and their teacher also danced in another category.  One more performance and this chapter of her life will be over.  

Our ‘new’ bridge has a couple of potential problems that we’re watching closely.  On the road just south of the bridge, there is a brand new, yellow center line.  As you drive toward the bridge there is another center line.  It can happen that cars respecting their center lines could actually come together.  Hmm.  While it’s nice to have a two lane bridge, one of the lanes on the north side goes away in a curve.  Imagine the surprise some drivers are getting as their lane squeezes them into traffic or into the woods.

Rain came on Sunday night and again today after lunch.  It’s still very hot.  So hot that the pool has gotten warmer even with the rain.  Other parts of our province are having problems with a lack of water.  The government has asked farmers to hold off planting rice until more rain comes. Since we are at a higher elevation, and near a river, our local environment has benefitted from the sporadic rain.  The real rainy season is very late.  

Today’s photo was taken by Lisa near Marina Del Rey, California.  We don’t get to enjoy sailboats in Chiang Rai.  


As soon as we’re not sleepwalking, we have two new exhibits to see at Art Bridge.  

Have a Great Week.

             Peace,
                       Danny

“Life’s blows cannot break a person
whose spirit is warmed by the fire
of enthusiasm.”
~Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Well, day one back in Thailand and we fought off Mr. Lag just long enough to get some food in the house.  We’ll see how things play out over the weekend.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Willie and The Hand Jive” as recorded by Johnny Otis.  There are many versions of this song, but Otis was the one who put it to the Bo Diddley beat and made it a hit in the US.  Thank Barry for the info.
That leaves us with the business of ‘Old School Friday’ and a sad love song from an artist who left too soon.
“Oh, __, Oh, __, Oh, __, Oh, __.  I had a girl, __ was her name.  Since she left me I’ve never been the same.  ‘Cause I love my girl, __, where can you be (where can you be)?  Now that you’re gone I’m left all alone.  All by myself, to wander and roam.  ‘Cause I love my girl, __ where can you be?”  Hint:  It’s a name.

While we were in the states, Daku slept in Cat’s room.  She gets up at 5:20am and Daku got used to getting up at that time.  We normally get up at 6:30am, so you can see, there was a problem on our first morning back.  We got him to wait, but he played with one of his toys and kept getting up.  Maybe he’ll do better tomorrow.

This morning I found myself doing the ‘automatic' thing with the turn signals.  The wipers kept coming on and you know why.  Some say it takes 21 days for a habit to be formed, but I’m here to tell you that it only took 14 for my left hand to be convinced that it was the turn signal hand.  I have to concentrate every time I turn a corner.

Believe it or not, it felt good to be back in Makro (555).  All of it, from the familiar faces to the knowledge of where things were, it all felt comfortable.  With the detailed list that Blue compiled, we made our way through the relevant parts of the store.  The second half of our shopping was at the Healthy Market and that’s when it got interesting.  ‘Fish guy’ had already sold out, and so had the bok choy vendor.  She asked for Lisa's phone number so she can call when she has a kilo for us.  Fruit lady provided us with bags of great looking stuff and also offered a high-quality bottle of honey, at a higher price.  

Today’s photo was taken at Makro.  This is a very tidy display of various chilly peppers.  Also, note the large lemons, something we couldn’t find here seven years ago.


The street department was busy while we were gone.  They were out with the line-painting machine and it’s nice to see bright lines defining lanes once again.  They even put little blinking lights in some lanes near intersections.  Our newly remodeled bridge has new lines and a few points of confusion.  I’m sure they’ll get it worked out, eventually.  

I forgot that this is Friday, but I should have remembered that if there is monotonous music coming from across the river, it’s Friday.  Last week Cat and one of her friends went to the fairgrounds and she told me that it’s like Walking Street, with less people.  There is also another new weekly event at a market north of us.  That means we could go ’shopping’ and be assaulted by loud music four nights a week.  Oh joy.

Saturday afternoon Cat will go to Chiang Mai with the ‘K-Dance’ crew for an overnighter.  They will dance in a competition on Sunday and return home.  Fortunately, they will perform here in Chiang Rai later in the month so we’ll get to see the routine.  Needless to say, we wish we could go but there is no way we can travel this soon.  

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

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hi,

The timing of this message is a little out of sync.  That’s the best way to describe me when we finally arrived in Chiang Rai.  What day is it?  I’ll cover the essentials and we will never discuss this again (555).

Based on responses, this could have been a Monday song (555).  Maybe you’ll see a pattern in this next verse.
“Mama, Mama look at Uncle Joe, he’s doing’ that __ __ with Sister Flo.  Grandma gave baby sister a dime, 
said, ‘Do that __ __ one more time… __ __, __ __, __ __, doin’ that crazy __ __.”  Hint:  It’s like a dance, but not with feet. 

Our trans-Pacific flight was pretty smooth.  There was sleeping, reading, light eating, movies, and sleeping.  How else do you spend 13+ hours a mile over water at over 500 mph?  Taipei was just waking up when we arrived.  Going to the lounge, the corridors were empty.  Two hours later the whole place was a bustling metropolis.  

The biggest part of our ‘day’ was spent in Bangkok, waiting for the final flight of our journey.  We did the usual, almost obligatory foot massage.  That was a wonderful relief.  They should have them on the airplane.  When we finally got to our gate for the final wait of the trip, I spotted Khun Chalermchai, the artist who built Wat Rong Khun.  Lisa went over and they exchanged pleasantries, wais and smiles.  Once on the plane, I could hardly keep my eyes open.  

The welcome home in Chiang Rai started in the airport as we defended to the baggage area.  There was a small Thai orchestra of young people playing traditional instruments.  


At The Big Brown House everyone was there.  I think Daku was the most excited to see us.  All of the humans were glad to see us too.  Gong carried our heavy bags upstairs and we began that task of trying to unpack while in a fog.

It’s Friday morning here and we’re about to go shopping for food for as long as we can stay awake.  Fear not, the Friday Funnies will be arriving on their correct day and time.

Have a Thrilling rest of the evening,

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Getting out of bed in the morning
is an act of false confidence.”
~Jules Feiffer

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Listen

Hi,

I’m sitting in the EVA Air Lounge, it’s 11:30pm on Wednesday night.  We don’t take off until 1:25am.  At that time we will fly over the ocean for 13 hours and 20 minutes (they say) until we reach Taipei.  There, we will sit for 3 hours before boarding our 3.5 hour flight to Bangkok.  In Bangkok there is a 5 hour wait and then we fly for 1 hour and 10 minutes to Chiang Rai.  Piece of Cake.  (555)

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Downtown” by Petula Clark.  Congrats to all of you who remembered.  ‘Zany Day’ is next: “I know a cat named Way-Out Willie, he’s got a cool little chick named Rockin’ Millie.  He can walk and stroll and Susie Q, and do that crazy __ __ too.  Papa told Willie, you’ll ruin my home.  You and that __ __ have got to go.  Willie said, Papa don’t put me down, they’re doing’ that __ __ all over town.  __ __, __ __, __ __. doing’ that crazy __ __.”  Hint:  I don’t think you should get any more.  You have half the title already.  

During our last minute errands on Tuesday, we stopped by Emerald Thai Cuisine to visit with our dear friend Nid.  Back in 2001, when we told Nid we were going to visit Thailand, he began teaching us some basic words.  He has been a good friend for many years.  If you ever get the urge to have some delicious Thai food, please stop by and have a meal at Emerald, 9315 Venice Bl., in the block west of In 'n Out.  Be sure to tell him Danny & Lisa sent you.  You’ll get a big smile and special care.


In an episode of the August Chronicles, I told you that he had made an electric guitar.  Today’s photo is August’s guitar.  He built the whole thing, starting with a blank piece of wood shaped like the Fender Stratocaster.  He did the wiring, and the finish too. I think he’s amazing. 


For our last meal of the trip, we went back to EnjoEat with the whole family.  It was a great finish to the whirl-wind visit.  Jeff, Anna, Ian (C-Bass) and August have been our ‘host family’ for at least 14 times and we are very grateful.

It’s almost time to board the plane, which means we walk down a corridor, wait for them to call our ‘zone’ (a section of the plane) and then get on and watch all the other passengers board.  

See you when I get to Thailand (555)

It’s definitely a Wacky Wednesday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

"The most basic of all human needs
is the need to understand and be understood.
The best way to understand people is to listen to them."
~Ralph Nichols

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Pure

Hi,

Well kids, we just spent our last night in America.  Now it’s off to the Land of Smiles.  Not that there haven’t been a lot of beautiful smiles in California.  I will leave with a whole new set of fond memories.

‘Easy Monday’ is from 1964.  Even if you’re not old, you might remember:  “…You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go __ where all the lights are bright, __, waiting for you tonight, __ you’re gonna be alright now
(__, __).”  Clue: The singer also cautioned us about sleeping in the subway, in another song.  This song title is one word.  How hard can that be?  Special clue: What is the opposite of up.

This morning Lisa and I made a brief trip to Venice Beach, saw the Pacific Ocean, a bit of the boardwalk, and the local ‘color’ before dashing off to the next location on our list.  We made a pact that next trip, we are going to return to the beach with no time limit.  It is a thing to be savored, not rushed.  

At the mall, as well as the boardwalk, I was reminded of Chiang Rai and the Night Bazaar.  Being in the midst of strolling crowds speaking different languages felt very familiar.  If only I understood what everyone was saying.  Or not.  

Every time we visit the states, it seems there have been changes.  This trip is no exception.  The first big surprise came when we went to get gas at the Arco station we lovingly called ‘Fedco’.  The station was gone.  Not just closed, but nowhere to be seen.  Then we discovered that Rally’s Burgers is gone.  We were fans for a minute, but it was such a landmark for so long I thought they would never leave.  It appears as though condos are going to devour Culver City (555).  I could go on, but I won’t.  Still, it’s amazing.

Meanwhile, back on the road, we left the mall and headed for Alhambra to visit Lisa’s childhood friend, Deb.  A traffic report warned of three blocked lanes ahead so we got off and took an alternate route.  It worked great and I’m sure it saved us a lot of time and aggravation.  We exchanged info on family visits and life in general.  She told us about her grand kids and we told her about the young people in our lives.  It was a good visit. 

In Altadena, we picked up my mom and went to dinner.  We have a lot of fun hanging out with her.  While driving across town she told stories of my elementary school days.  Apparently, I was a pretty sweet kid...   

Today’s photo was taken at Venice Beach, California.  


Have a Happy Tuesday

             Peace,
                       Danny

“The teaching is simple.
Do what is right.
Be pure.”
~Buddha