Monday, August 31, 2015



There was more ‘rain teasing’ over the weekend.  While there have been some drops from the sky, it was not enough to even soak the pavement.  Other than that, life is good.

So, the ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Since I Met You Baby” by ‘Ivory’ Joe Hunter.  My friend Barry sent a link so you can hear the song.  Now it’s time for ‘Easy Monday.'  “Let me tell you how it will be, there’s one for you, nineteen for me.  ‘Cause I’m the __, yeah, I’m the __.  Should five percent appear too small be thankful I don’t take it all.  ‘Cause I’m the __, yeah, I’m the __.”  Hint:  It’s about a particular person who seems to have his way with us around the middle of April.  Hmm.  It’s by those pesky lads from Liverpool.

We both seem to be past the fever portion of the flu, but there are residual things like coughs, headaches and for me, night-sweats.  We’re getting out more and it feels good to be in the sun.  The only problem with doing things is the nap that seems to be required afterward.  (555)  Seriously though, the stairs still seem like climbing a mountain.

The big entertainment this weekend at The Big Brown House was the IAAF (Track and Field) World Championships from Beijing, China.  We finally finished watching everything I had recorded during the week and now we’re ready for the U.S. Open Tennis tournament from New York.  If you’ve got to relax and recoup, you might as well watch something interesting.  

Chiang Rai is still in it’s building boom.  It’s interesting to watch the differences in how projects are approached.  Some of the shophouses are being built in the traditional manner, and others appear to have more modern planning, with space for parking in front of each unit.  When a ‘country project’ gets built, some days there is work and others it’s idle.  The crews and their equipment are more traditional compared to the buildings with the slick cranes and steel girders.  There is a place called Q-House that will be a major condo in the city when it’s finished.  It is a giant building that will change the rhythm of the area where it sits.  Right now it is humming with workers in hard-hats, which is something you don’t always see with the smaller projects.  The contrasts make it clear that there are not a lot of ‘codes’ being enforced.  The real question is:  Will the units be occupied when finished?

Natcha and Gong returned from their wedding adventure.  Tomorrow life will start to return to the way it was as far as the kitchen and household is concerned.  This was Pawn’s last day, so Natcha will be handling everything until December.  Daku was very happy to see her this afternoon. 

Saturday morning we went to Makro and parked next to a pick-up truck filled with little pineapples.  Your photo for today.

While on the topic of fruit, our original banana tree has gone crazy.  There are bunches hanging all over the thing.  I suspect that if the ones that are close to ripe aren’t taken down soon, we may have another bird war like before.  Just to give you an idea of how ‘strong’ this plant is, one of the stalks was cut off over a month ago, and the workers tossed it beside the road across from our house.  Today, Blue noticed that it is growing a little banana plant (photo tomorrow).  Hmm.  

Have a Great Week.


“That some achieve great success,
is proof to all that others can
achieve it as well.”
~Abraham Lincoln

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Funnies


We had another dry day in Chiang Rai.  Warm and humid is what we’ve been getting during this time when it’s supposed to be the rainiest.  Hmm.

The ‘One-Line Wednesday’ tune was “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations.  ‘Old School Friday’ may not be as easy since it’s from 1957, even though it lives on with numerous cover versions.  “__ __ __ __ __, my whole life has changed.  __ __ __ __ __, my whole life has changed.  And everybody tells me, that I am not the same.”  Clue:  The artist's name includes something one ‘tickles’ when playing a certain instrument.  

All around town we’re seeing different approaches to the harvesting of the corn.  The field next door was plowed under today, even though they didn’t pick all the corn.  The couple who have the little farm behind us did a more detailed harvest, going down each row.  They have very large bags of corn waiting for pick-up.  Across the road from us the corn is not ready yet, because they planted later.  They usually have a big army of workers who harvest the crop.  There is another field we’ve been watching and it’s been harvested and cleared, ready for the next crop. There are lots of bright green rice plantations that we enjoy on our travels.  When they turn golden, their harvest will begin.  

It struck me that many farmers who sold their land, or lost their farms to the land speculations are probably thinking they could have had a few more good seasons.  Their plots have been filled in with dirt, but they’ve been empty for 1 to 2 years now.  

Today Lisa and I drove down to HomePro.  We took the new highway back to town.  It runs north and south on the eastern edge of the city.  There is a real feeling of being out of town, with wide open spaces for about half of the trip.  

Tomorrow is the big day for Natcha and Gong.  They understand that we will not be able to make their wedding, but that we’re thinking of them.  The mere thought of driving 45 minutes to Mae Sai, finding the wedding, spending at least 2 hours with a big crowd and then driving back is not something we’re well enough to do.  

There are new flowers in our front yard that I thought you might like to see.  I don’t know what they are, but they’re beautiful.

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


Thursday, August 27, 2015



Last night we finally got a steady downpour with no drama and that was good.  Chiang Rai had a beautiful day today.  The sky teased of rain, but it never happened.  

One line was all most of you needed to guess the ‘Zany One-Line Wednesday’ tune.  It’s considered a classic by some.  If you need more, here’s the rest of the first verse.  Don’t let the temptation of Google spoil it for you.
“If I have to beg, plead for your sympathy, I don’t mind ‘cause you mean that much to me.  __ __ __ __ __, sweet darlin’…”  Hint:  I just gave you one, but know this: The singer will do anything to keep her.  He has lost his pride.  It’s all there in the first verse.

We seemed to have turned a ‘proverbial’ corner with this flu thing.  It’s not done, but the fever part is basically over.  Residual sensations in the joints and skin, but temps are normal.  To say that fevers leave one weak would be an understatement.  There’s still other stuff, but we’re on the mend.  Let’s just say, I don’t like being sick and leave it at that.  Once I surrender to what really is, then I can be a patient, and be patient.  

This morning my phone rang around 6:30am.  Cat could not get the gate to open.  It’s a good thing we were up (555).  Anyway, something was wrong with the motor so I had to do the ‘brave’ thing and go outside and unlock the motor, which puts the gate on manual.  This evening the gate people came, discovered the problem, reset a breaker and all is well.  They tested everything and explained things to Cat, who explained it to me.  The service call was $10 plus a can of cookies.  We like to give cookies to the service people who come and do a good job.  It always brings a big smile.

Lisa and I went into town this morning to pick up some bread.  It was going to be a quick run, but then we remembered that Pawn was going to be working in our room.  Hmm, how to spend time in town without using too much energy.  We stopped at Work@Home and had tea.  As we were leaving we greeted Towan, who was working on the rally car he navigates for.  We have a connection with the car thing that is ‘understood’.  He is very serious about his rally life.  The car is a little Toyota that has been stripped of all unnecessary interior items.  He told me to ‘jump in’, but he really meant for me to climb in over the cage rollbar.  The racing seat fit like a glove and started my mind ‘racing’.  I’d like a seat like that in the van.  He explained all of the levers and things and then I noticed a case for a Go-Pro camera.  He said it was so the team could see why they laughed so much.  Funny guy.  They race through countrysides on single lane roads with only the directions they receive before starting.  He reads the turns to the driver, who goes as fast as he can while keeping the car on the road.  Oh yeah.

Today’s photo is the last one from our weekend on Koh Samui.  It was taken on the first night, at the beautiful Italian place we found.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“We don’t grow older,
we grow riper.”
~Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, August 26, 2015



Predictions of rain went the way of most predictions of rain, nowhere.  Several times today it looked like it was going to deliver, but the clouds drifted and the sun beat down.  The river is down a little bit, but still looking like a river.  

‘Easy Monday’ was a song many of you remembered:  “Tracks of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.  We’re going to try something different with the ‘Zany Day’ song.  It is also going to be ‘One Line Wednesday’.  We’ll see how it goes (555).  “I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go.”  Clue:  I’m tempted to give you a bunch of clues, but I think you know this pleading number from a vocal group out of Detroit.  

We’re still dealing with the flu and all the associated symptoms.  Some aspects may be a bit better today, but it’s hard to really measure something like that.  There is an interesting thing about this though, we get flu shots every year in October, but they are for our flu season.  The normal season has not arrived, so I suspect we got this from someone from another part of the world.  Hmm, so much for ‘international relationships’. 

This morning Lisa, Pawn and I went into town.  I stayed in the van while they did the shopping.  After it was all over, the conclusion was that zucchini is not in season in the north.  

Even though we didn’t get to enjoy our whole weekend on Koh Samui, I still have some fond memories and a few more photos.  Today’s pics show a tattoo parlor near our hotel, and shots from the airport.  The airport was made to reflect the local life and they try to keep it from looking like a ‘big city’ hub.  

This sign for the tattoo parlor is a work of art in itself.

This canal flows gently beside the walkway to the departure gates.  A nice vibe.

This is one of the gate terminals where we waited for our flight.  It’s built like a Thai Sala.

When it was time to board our flight, we got into trams that carried us to the plane.  That’s a lot different than being put on a bus that drives around an airport.  

We missed a big ceremony on Monday at the government building.  Art Bridge was presenting the works of the artists who created pieces in honor of King Mengrai.  When we’re better, we’ll have to go there and see how it looks.  The works will be hung throughout the building.  Nothing like walking the halls looking for that special piece that Lisa created.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Nothing happens until 
something moves.”
~Albert Einstein 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015



Well, the flu is still upon us.  It appears to have a schedule of when it inflicts certain kinds of discomfort.  Fevers seem to come and go at will, and the evening time is achy time.  Oh yeah, and a few new symptoms on top of that.  I hope you’re ready to look at photos.  (555)

Congrats to those who got the ‘Easy Monday’ song from one line.  If you need more, this should make it easy.
“So take a good look at my face, you’ll see my smile looks out of place.  If you look close, it’s easy to trace the __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  Something a train rides on might be a hint.

Waking up to wet clothes and an aching body are not the way to start the day.  There are some things in life you  just have to do, in spite of oneself.  The dog must be fed, the humans must be fed, and then the humans must go back to bed.  Because of the extensive shopping that Blue and Natcha did yesterday, we didn’t have to go out today.  Tomorrow will be a shopping day.  Hopefully, I will be able to walk through the stores by then.  

This weekend Natcha and Gong are getting married.  It will be a big family affair in Mae Sai, near the border with Burma.  This afternoon they put on their outfits and Blue took some photos of them in the yard.  Below are a couple that I liked.  The first one lets us see their smiles.  It was hard to get Gong to smile.

This next photo is the ‘Fairy Tale’ shot.  I love Blue’s composition on this one.

This evening they rode up to Mae Sai on their motorbike.  The wedding is on Saturday and they will return Sunday night.  Oh to be healthy.  They gave us an invitation and we told them it all depends on our ‘wellness’.  Pawn will help us until the weekend, and then we’re on our own.  Oh my.  We should be in a lot better shape by then, he said.

In the neighborhood things are happening.  The corn field next to us, another part of the field was ‘harvested’.  It’s not a systematic operation.  The first day they went into some of the rows and pulled corn, and left a lot unattended.  Today they did the same thing.  I still don’t understand how it works, except that I’ve been told that the corn is for animal feed, so it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Hmm.  

In the big lot behind us where we thought a house would be built, three trees were planted this week.  That may be a good sign.  Maybe it will be a park (555).  Oh, eyes are getting tired and stuff.  Time to say goodbye.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


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

Monday, August 24, 2015



The weather on Koh Samui was very nice for the remainder of our visit.  A flu attack did not allow us to enjoy it to it’s fullest.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Guess Who” by Jesse Belvin.  Here’s a clip, since most of you don’t know it:  ‘Easy Monday’ is going to be just one line.  I think you’ll know:
“People say I’m the life of the party ‘cause, I tell a joke or two.”  Hint:  Think 1970 motor artist with many hits.  There may have been crying involved. 

Saturday morning Lisa suspected a previous bout with bronchitis might have returned.  We went to Bangkok Hospital, part of a national chain of hospitals, where things were very efficient.  Her diagnosis was correct and, of course, a few medications were given.  I was starting to feel a little achy but thought nothing of it until I finished with a workshop at the convention.  When I returned to the room we compared notes and we both had what sounded like flu symptoms.  Not much to do about that but ride it out.  We missed the banquet that evening, instead, watching a couple of marathons of TV shows.  

Sunday morning was not much different, but we went to the restaurant and had breakfast.  We decided that since we were on this beautiful island, we should at least walk into the water.  It was wonderful.  I just wish the thought of going all the way in was something my body agreed with. 

On our flight back to the mainland, we had separate seats, which doesn’t usually happen.  I was sandwiched between two guys from Italy.  I listened to music and tried to doze.  I began having abdominal pain which lasted for the rest of the trip home.  It wasn’t until we got settled that I remembered that I’d taken the Thai version of Tylenol to releve the aching feelings, and that is like poison for me.  Lessons learned.

It seems that almost every time we fly from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, we know someone on the flight.  This time was no exception.  Our friend Sunny, who studies in Bangkok, was flying home for a visit.  Rudi picked us up at the airport, where it was not raining, yet Blue told us it was raining at our house.  Sure enough, a few turns from the house the streets were wet.  That is the definition of ‘Rain nearby’.  We are both taking it easy, which is all we can do.  Natcha and Pawn are doing a lot and it’s a big help when you feel so helpless.  

Right now it’s still no fun at all.  I’ll just leave you with some visual memories of our weekend.  

  Early Sunday morning view of the pool and ocean.

One of Bangkok Airways Island Themed paint jobs.

        A floral ‘Welcome home’ at Chiang Rai Airport.

Have a Great Week.


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

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Funnies


It’s day two for us on Koh Samui, but I will continue where I left off.  We had just arrived at the resort.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was, of course, “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles.  ‘Old School Friday’ is a sentimental ballad made famous by a singer with a big voice and a short career.  
“Someone really loves you, __ __, __ __?  Someone really cares, __ __, __ __?  Open your heart, surely you’ll see,  that someone who cares is me.”  Hint:  A favorite ’slow song’ in the late 50s.      

Checking into Al’s Resort was a rather routine thing.  I was a little curious about the fact that the lobby area didn’t really look like a ‘resort’, but I let it slide.  As we followed the bellmen to our room we took a deep breath when they began to climb a flight of stairs, and then another.  The view from the landing was the parking lot.  What?  Inside, we were greeted with a view of the ocean, looking over some metal roof-tops.  We tried to settle in, but the room had a few problems.  On our way to dinner we went to the front desk and asked if we could change rooms.  All of the rooms in the range we had selected were booked, so we inquired about upgrading.  This is where it gets interesting.  They had a room near the pool and the beach on the ground level.  Sold!  We told them we’d move after dinner.

Out on the main road, which was a one-lane, one-way affair, we began looking for an Italian restaurant.  We found one that looked interesting so we wandered in.  It was empty, but open and we told them what we needed.  They seated us at a cozy table in a very quiet room with cool music playing.  We went from the busy, tourist street to an oasis of calm and cool.  Another example of the many contrasts in Thailand.  Dinner and the service were both good and we got a great decorating idea too.  Blue LED lights beaming down on potted plants that is hard to describe.  When we first sat down, I noticed something blue on the stalk of this plant.  As the sun went down the light grew brighter.  Upon closer investigation I figured out how they did it.  Hmm, how can I do this at home?  (taken through a window)

After dinner we packed the bags we’d just unpacked.  Just as the bellmen came to the door it began to rain.  Actually, storm is a better word.  The four of us carried all of our bags to the new room and we were blown away.  We are in what they call a ‘Villa’.  It’s a small house with a living room, a dining area with a sink and refrigerator, and then a separate bedroom.  There were a few problems with things that didn’t work right, but they worked it out.  There are two TVs, two little fridges, and more floor space than most people have in an apartment.  We’re about ten steps from the pool, right beyond that is the beach, and the restaurant.  This is how it should be.  The photo below is the view from our front door.

This morning we woke up and went out to see the beach in the early morning.  No one was in the pool, and just a few people were on the beach.  The sand was powder-soft and the water was perfect.  The restaurant looks out on the beach, with no windows to block the breeze.  I think we like this place. 

More adventures and photos when I return to you on Monday.  

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


Thursday, August 20, 2015



The weather in Chiang Rai was cloudy with a chance of rain.  Koh Samui was hot with a chance of tropical rain.  Tune in tomorrow to find out what happened.

A few of you knew this ‘Zany Day’ song right away.  One reader got it from the first line.  Here’s verse two:
“Follow her down to a bridge by a river where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies.  Everyone smiles as you drive past the flowers that grow so incredibly high.  Newspaper taxis appear on the shore, waiting to take you away.  Climb in the back with your head in the clouds and you’re gone.  __ __ __ __ __ __….. Aaaaahh.”  Clue: Last word of the title is the thing that is ‘a girl’s best friend’.  What?

Our trip to Koh Samui was an interesting cultural adventure.  From Chiang Rai to Bangkok, the population of the plane was mostly Thai people and groups of foreigners.  From Bangkok to Koh Samui, it was almost all foreigners.  By itself that would seem like an obvious change in demographic since Samui is a vacation destination and not a cheap one.  What we noticed was behavioral things that sometimes irritate us.  For instance, in Thailand there are always seats in domestic waiting rooms that are reserved for monks and novices.  In Chiang Rai, you won’t find people sitting in those seats.  In the waiting room to Koh Samui, all of the seats were occupied and there were no monks on the flight.  

There seems to be in instinctive impulse for travellers to try and get to the front of any line.  Everyone is going to have to wait at some point, and we’re all getting on the same vehicle, going to the same place.  Ironically, we managed to get on both of our planes first without trying.  When we reached Samui, we were sitting in the last row of seats.  I was prepared to wait, but then they opened the rear door and we were right there.

As we departed Bangkok the weirdest thing happened.  The plane taxied to the runway and onboard there was lots of conversation and laughing.  When the plane stopped and prepared for the acceleration, a silence fell on the crowd and then we took off.  I can’t explain it, but we had never seen this happen.   

Most of our flight to Koh Samui was over water.  When the plane began it’s decent, Lisa looked out and saw land and we knew that had to be our destination.  Today’s photo is part of the coastline of Samui.

As we looked down, the island looked rather primitive, except for a few obvious structures.  When we landed all those thoughts were gone.  The little airport is busier than Chiang Rai could ever hope to be.  There were a number of planes on the ground.  As our plane unloaded we could see another plane with passengers streaming out as well.  Then it hit us, this is the end of summer for people from all over the world.  We heard many languages as we waited for our luggage.  Outside it was near chaos as vans jockeyed for position to pick up guests for the various hotels.  We were glad we had made arrangements to be picked up.  It didn’t lessen our sit in the traffic, but we didn’t have to find a taxi and negotiate a fare.  

When you look through the travel magazines on Koh Samui, your eyes are filled with pristine beaches, immaculate hotels and spas and the promise of paradise.  The ride from the airport was through a neighborhood in rural Thailand.  It was not sparkling, just real.  Then we hit the main road to the hotel and it was a typical ‘tourist’ shopping district, complete with a counterfeit 7-11.  

I will continue the adventure tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


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

Wednesday, August 19, 2015



Today was a rainless day, which now sounds strange.  I think after the last few days, the clouds had to go off and refill.  Some of the rice fields around town have reached that state of brilliant green that makes living here a visual joy.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Dance With Me” by Orleans.  Now you know.  It’s time, once again, for a round of the ‘Zany Day’ song.  This one should be easy:  “Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.  Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, a girl with kaleidoscope eyes.  Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your head.  Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she’s gone.  __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, Aaaaaaaahhh…”  Hint:  It’s from 1967, by those four lads from across the pond.  There’s a girl, some altitude, and some jewels.

It’s been almost 6 months since we went on an adventure outside of Chiang Rai.  There are many things to consider, deal with, prepare for, etc.  Fortunately, we know from experience, that The Big Brown House can survive without us.  This morning we stocked up on more food basics and I got new sandals for our trip to the sea shore.

Aside from our brief visit to Venice Beach in January, we really haven’t been to the beach in far too long.  This trip to Koh Samui will hopefully satisfy some of our oceanic yearnings (555).  In case you didn’t know or remember, the work ‘Koh’ means island.  The weather is hot, with possible thunder showers, so it’s just like Chiang Rai.  Samui is one of Thailand’s largest islands in the Gulf of Thailand, and yet it seems small.  Although the island has been ‘modernised’ to a great extent with condos, resorts and spas, it still has a rainforest and lots of special places that have not been ‘built over’.  Fishing was the primary way of life, historically.  The water is clear, and the beaches have real sand so we’re going to be doing some strolling for sure.

Your photo for today is from September of last year.  It shows the aftermath in our front yard of a real rainy season storm.  

Tomorrow we fly to Koh Samui and you will get photos of something very different.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


“Attitude is a little thing
that makes a big difference.”
~Winston Churchill

Tuesday, August 18, 2015



Well, drip, drip, drip was the order of the day.  Lots of rain last night left everything well watered.  It finally cleared in the late afternoon.  Daku was not pleased.

Before I continue, let me say that life in Chiang Rai is still the same.  The terrible incident in Bangkok has not affected our little city at all.  We are doing just fine.

‘Easy Monday’ was easy for a few of you.  Maybe the next verse will bring back some memories.  
“Fantasy, could never be so killing, I feel free, I hope that you are willing.  Pick the beat up, and kick your feet up __ __ __.  Let it lift you off the ground, starry eyes and love is all around.  I can take you where you want to go.
__ __ __, I want to be your partner…”  Hint:  This pop/country song had beautiful vocal harmonies through most of the song.

Today we traveled about in the drizzle.  It was the kind of rain that really doesn’t need an umbrella if you’re just going from the car to a building.  We managed to park close to all the doors we needed so it was pretty cool.  Since Daku didn’t get to run this morning, we left the house early and made four stops and got home before lunch.  The main thing we learned on this outing is that zucchini is still not to be found in Chiang Rai right now.  Hmm.  

We had been wondering if the people who planted the corn next door had forgotten about it.  Today they showed up with 5 pick-up trucks and about 10 people to begin the harvest of the corn.  That is the photo for the day.

Wednesday (19) is our 45th anniversary of life together.  Thursday we will fly south, to the island of Koh Samui for an extended weekend.  We will hang out by the pool, on the beach, and in between, I will attend a convention of the fellowship.  We’re looking forward to this trip since we’ve never been to Samui. 

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“When you learn to accept
instead of expect, you have
fewer disappointments.”

Monday, August 17, 2015



This weekend Chiang Rai got it’s first real ‘Storm of the Season’.  We also had pleasant weather in-between rain.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Don’t Let Go” by Roy Hamilton.  Hear it here:  This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song should be a snap ‘cause it’s not so old (5).
“__ __ __, I want to be your partner.  Can’t you see, the music is just starting?  Night is falling, and I am calling, __ __ __.”  Clue:  This one is from 1975 by a group using the name of a famous city in the south.  Easy.

Big, dark clouds loomed overhead on Saturday.  There were times when it looked like they might blow away.  I’m sure the Walking Street vendors couldn’t decide whether to stick it out or pack it in.  The late afternoon rain was followed by scattered clouds, but it wasn’t long before the major storm hit.  This one went on most of the night, leaving the back yard with pools of water.  We survived with no real problems, but the wind did manage to blow some rain under the roof tiles.  Cat spent the day in her village, but with all the rain, she stayed overnight at her sister’s house.

Sunday was the big day, all over Thailand.  I didn’t realize that the ‘Ride for Mom’ didn’t start until 3pm.  We were out in the morning and we’d see a rider here and there, and thought we’d missed the big deal.  Our friend Eric went on the ride.  The group he rode in had about 2 thousand riders.  There were three groups, plus a lot of unregistered riders.  One of the goals of the event was to break a record held by Taiwan for the most riders on a national bike ride.  Thailand now holds that record with 294,863 riders nationwide.  In Bangkok alone, there were 40,000 riders.  In every province there was a similar ride, with people going to the provincial capitals for a chance to participate.  You can see the complete article in the Bangkok Post, including a photo of part of the big crowd.

Sunday evening we did our usual dinner at The Bistro, but first we spent time on the 12th floor with Eric and Brenda in their condo.  Today’s photo was taken from their north facing window, showing jungle below, as it looks during the rainy season.  An amazing view considering we were still in the city.  

Have a Great Week.


“Mistakes are the usual bridge between
inexperience and wisdom.”
~Phyllis Theroux

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai got two storms today.  We started the day with that look of impending doom.  Mid-afternoon we had a quick rain that was heavy in some areas.  This evening we have thunder, lighting and heavy rain.  It feels like the rainy season.  Hmm.

So, the ‘Zany Day’ song was “Get Off of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones.  Here’s an ‘Old School Friday’ test for ya:
“Hear that whistle, it’s ten o’clock (__ __ __, __ __ __).  Come on baby, it’s time to rock (__ __ __, __ __ __).  I’m so happy I got you here (__ __ __, __ __ __).  Keeps me grinnin’ from ear to ear (__ __ __, __ __ __).
(Oooo-weeee), this feelin’s killin’ me, (Aaaaah-shucks), well, I wouldn’t stop it for a million bucks.  (I love you so) Just hold me tight and __ __ __…”  Clues:  This 1958 hit has the singer not wishing to end the close contact with his partner.

The yard crew arrived this morning and began the cutting of the lawn.  Khun Pim used the weed-wacker device and it took her longer than usual due to the length of the grass.  It looks great now, but it was a lot of work and her workers had more clippings tha nusual to deal with.  When I took Daku out in the afternoon, he looked baffled.  ‘Where’s all my munching grass?’

There are some vegetables that are staples in the Thai diet, and are, therefore, easy to find all over town.  Then there is zucchini.  Today we went to Big C, Tops, the King Project, and the Farmer’s Market and no one had zucchini.  We were told that there would be some on Monday.  As we were leaving the King’s Project produce store, I spotted something at the stall across the aisle and took a photo.  It’s boiled eggs on a stick.  Of course, I’m assuming they’re boiled.  Anyway, it’s a curiosity we’d never seen before.

This afternoon Blue and I went to the immigration office for a second time.  The first time we went in the morning, it was very crowded, and the regular staff was not working the counter.  The second time proved to be the right choice.  We saw familiar faces, and when a gentleman approached the window with a large pile of documents, the immigration officer waved to Blue and asked what he needed.  It was a simple ‘check-in’ so he called him to the counter and it was done in a few minutes.  It’s nice to have friends in situations like this.

As we were heading home it began to rain.  It was heavy for a few minutes and motorbike riders were either soaking wet or pulled over seeking cover.  At the house, the rain had already stopped.  The storm during dinner temporarily stopped the festivities across the river.  They started up again but I think they’ve been rained out by now.  

Here’s hoping that Sunday’s ‘Ride for Mom’ is just a cloudy day with no rain.  

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


Thursday, August 13, 2015



Today’s forecast was just like any other day, except it delivered.  We had a nice downpour this afternoon.  We’re hoping the system clears out in time to see the night sky.

It looks like this ‘Zany Day’ song is still in rotation in many of your memory banks.  Here’s the second verse:
“The telephone is ringing I say, ‘Hi, it’s me.  Who is there on the line?’  A voice says, ‘Hi, hello, how are you?’  Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine.  He says, ‘It’s three a.m., there’s too much noise, don’t you people ever want to go to bed?  Just because you feel so good, do you have to drive me out of my head?’  I says, Hey, you, __ __ __ __ __….”   Hint:  Singer is about to have his 19th nervous breakdown if not left alone to do his thing.  He’s floating on something.

We should have known that the day after a big holiday would be a major shopping day at Makro.  The parking lot was intense.  After circling three times we found the perfect spot.  Inside it was very busy, but not unmanagable.
While shopping we saw a cart with the longest fish we’d ever seen in a grocery store.  It was over 3 feet long, and slender.  Next time we’re there I’m going to check out the fish department and search out the mystery fish.  

On the highway we were slowed by a police check.  They were having a big day with the motorbikes, checking everyone’s paperwork.  There was quite a line of bikes, waiting to be scrutinised, and another line waiting to pay their fines.  Cars and trucks are basically waved through unless they spot an expired registration card.  The registration certificate has to be mounted in the lower left corner of the windshield, which makes it easy to do a  quick check.  So exciting (555).

During our morning shopping, the repair guys came and fixed the air/con.  Since it had recently been serviced, they didn’t charge us.  Now we have our cool room back and life is good.  At least we know what to do in case this happens again.  

I found more information on the ‘Ride for Mom’.  It takes place on August 16 in most of the larger cities in Thailand.  In Bangkok 40,000 riders have signed up for the ride.  The course will be 43K and they plan on having water and medical teams all along the route.  We don’t know exactly what Chiang Rai has planned, but it starts at Cat’s school.  This will be quite an event and we just may have to find a spot and cheer them on.

At lunch we were doing our usual thing of making jokes about the weather forecasts from the various services.  They have a new term: ‘around’ as in, 'a thunderstorm and shower around.'  Oh, that’s so helpful.  Imagine our surprise when it actually rained today.  The photo for today was taken from our upstairs balcony.  The sun is shining on the yard, but the rain clouds were on the way.

Tomorrow the yard gets a much-needed haircut.  It will be nice to be able to exercise Daku on the lawn.  We’ve had to keep him on the driveway this week because the tall grass is too distracting.  It will also be easier for the humans to walk around.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Failure is success if
we learn from it.”
~Malcolm S. Forbes 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015



The weather in Chiang Rai was overcast this morning, giving way to partly cloudy with very light drizzles.  By late afternoon it was hot again.  Tonight we’re going to look for the meteor showers.

Well, ‘Easy Monday’ was remembered by many.  It was “Proud Mary” originally by Creedence Clearwater Revival and then Ike & Tina Turner.  It’s time to get wild with a ‘Zany Day’ song from across the pond.  We’ve sung this before.
“I live in an apartment on the ninety-ninth floor of my block.  And I sit at home looking out the window, imagining the world has stopped.  Then in flies a guy who’s all dressed up like a Union Jack, and says I’ve won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack.  I says, ‘Hey, you, __ __ __ __ __, hey, you, __ __ __ __ __, hey, you, __ __ __ __ __.  Don’t hang around ‘cause twos a crowd…”  Hint:  Obviously there’s some British influence here.  Space has been violated, the bliss destroyed.  Hmm.

We stayed home almost all day today.  Since it was a National Holiday, there was probably traffic anyway.  This morning we had a truck from the city come out and clean our septic tanks.  Big fun at The Big Brown House.  

Cat returned from her village this afternoon.  She and I went to see if our Sunday restaurant, The Bistro, would be open for dinner today.  On the way, she told me about going to visit her mother’s remains at what we would call a cemetery.  Typically, it is a quiet place with lots of stupa or chedi, which are, in most cases, small structures with pointed tops.  The one for her mother is in a grouping that sits on the edge of the forest.  She and her sister took food and water, talked to her mother and then poured the water on the stupa.  This is a difficult day for her, but she is able to express herself and that is good. 

I’m very curious to know how many people turned out to ‘Ride for Mom’, the bike ride in honor of The Queen on her birthday.  With all the promotion that was done, it should have been hundreds of riders.  It’s nice to see an event that had nothing to do with competition, just coming together.  There has been talk of trying to make Chiang Rai a bicycle-friendly city.  We do see a lot of people on bikes, some for transportation and others for recreation.  The one thing that is missing is real bike lanes.  The way most of the building is done here, there is little room to widen a street, so there is no room for a new lane.  The riders on the main roads are very brave, dodging cars, etc.  
In time, the awareness will grow and changes will be made where possible.  Meanwhile, biking is getting more and more popular.

Today’s photo shows a main corner in the Den Ha district.  The King and Queen can be seen in the panels.  It is always maintained and kept up by locals.  It’s one of the more impressive examples of detailed woodworking.

Lisa found a recipe for Snickerdoodles made with coconut flour and now there are cookies in the house.  I’m so jazzed.  Since I’ve been on my new eating regimen, cookies have been out of reach.  So grateful.

It’s time for a Wacky Wednesday.


“One of the advantages of being disorderly
is that one is constantly making
exciting discoveries.”
~A.A. Milne

Tuesday, August 11, 2015



The rain predictors got it wrong for another day.  Instead of rain today we got thunder.  I guess that counts to some.  It’s been very hot and humid.

It seems that quite a few of you are old enough to remember the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Some knew the song but forgot the title.  “Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis.  Pumped a lot of ‘tane’ down in New Orleans.  But I never saw the good side of the city, till I hitched a ride on a riverboat queen.  Big wheel keep on turning.  __ __ keep on burning.  And we’re rolling, rolling, rolling on the river.”  The title is the name of the riverboat queen.  That should help.  Oh, I think the word ‘tane’ is referring to gas, as in octane.  

This morning we went on a real adventure.  It began innocently enough at Big C, but then we went to the mall.  The lower portion was open, but the parking lots were all blocked off.  What?  Blue and I sat in the van in a no parking area while Lisa went into Top’s.  We don’t know if they opened up the lot, but there were a lot of cars just roaming around looking for parking.  The adventure began when we went in search of a 'Queen Corner’, as I like to call them.  There was one I remembered, but when we got there, the garden wasn’t very dramatic.  We tried another corner but there was no Queen to be seen.  In another village we found the King and Queen together, and finally went back to the first corner for today’s photo, which was taken with Lisa’s phone.

In the midst of all the driving around and getting shot locations we discovered a huge Thai market that we didn’t know existed.  One of the flaws in driving is that you can miss places that are tucked away in dark alleys.  

The yard crew couldn’t come today because, with the holiday tomorrow, it was difficult to find workers.  Hmm.  We can survive another day in the tall grass.  What will be difficult to survive is a day and two nights without our bedroom air/con.  This afternoon the sound of dripping water signified only one thing: clogged air/con.  Tonight we have the cooler upstairs, hoping it will fill the bill.  It doesn’t get as cold and in a small area it adds a lot of humidity.  It it becomes intolerable, we have the option of sleeping in Cat’s room since she’s staying with her sister overnight.  She left for her village after school so she can spend ‘Mother’s Day’ with her sister and visit her grandmothers.

I have found a solution for the camera phone dilemma, at least for the time being.  My iPhone 4s still takes great photos, so that will be my ‘camera’ when I’m out and about.  I just couldn’t send you fuzzy photos now, could I?

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Kindness is a language the deaf can hear
and the blind can see.”

Monday, August 10, 2015



Chiang Rai had a weekend of good daytime weather.  We did get some nighttime rain, but nothing dramatic.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” by The Platters.  Time for some ‘Easy Monday’.
“I left a good job in the city.  Working for the man every night and day, and I never lost one minute of sleeping, worrying ‘bout the way things might have been.  Big wheel keep on turning, __ __ keep on burning.  And we’re rolling, rolling, rolling on the river.”  Hint:  No, it’s not ‘Ole Man River’ (555).  This should be easy, no matter how old you are.  Originally performed by a duo, they broke up, she went solo, blah blah, but this one was a monster hit a long time ago.  There’s a boat involved.  The title is a name.

With all the rain we’ve been having, our lawns look more like ‘meadows’.  The front lawn is getting difficult to walk on due to the high clover and tall grass.  Of course, Daku loves it.  Tomorrow it will all be cut down to a reasonable length. 

While we were driving around town on Saturday we saw lots of people working on tributes to The Queen, whose birthday is Wednesday.  There are many corners in Chiang Rai where there is a large frame dedicated to either The King, The Queen, or The Princess Mother.  There is a large photo and some kind of garden at the base.  Some of the gardens are very creative.

Sunday was the busiest day of the weekend for us.  After Cat’s appointment to get her braces tightened, we went dress shopping.  We didn’t find anything for her on our first round, but we may have found a shop that can make clothes for us.  Our friend Gahn, who made clothes and did our alterations, has just disappeared.  We’ve been on a lightweight search for someone to fill the gap.  In the afternoon we went into town, to a little alley with nothing but women’s clothes.  At the last shop she found two dresses that were perfect.

We had dinner Sunday night at La Favola, the Italian restaurant at Le Meridian Resort.  We all ‘dressed up’, which is why we went dress shopping for Cat.  Our friends Stephan and Claire met us there and we had a great time.  We hadn’t seen them since their last triathlon and there were stories to hear about that.  The hotel was very busy with two big groups.  Every year there is a honeymoon tour that comes from Spain to Thailand.  There were approximately 30 couples.  The swimming pool was full of newlyweds when we arrived.  The other group was a gathering of dealers and distributors from all over Southeast Asia, convening to see and discuss a new Ford SUV that is the first of their line to be completely built in Thailand.  In the parking garage there were about 10 cars and trucks, all covered until the big ‘reveal’.  We thought about lifting the covers and taking pics but just laughed at the idea.

Over the weekend I realized that the camera on my phone was producing fuzzy photos.  I kept cleaning the lens but that didn’t help.  Today, after missing a couple of great shots to share with you, I went on the internet to see if anyone else had the same problem.  They do, but there are alternative cameras I can install so there may be a solution.  These days, the idea of carrying a phone and a camera is just too much to think about.  Spoiled.  It reminds me that not that long ago, there were no cell phones, and a camera was for special occasions.

Here is a fuzzy flick for ya.  Blue and I couldn’t stop laughing at the apparent typo on the left-hand speaker.  Can you imagine how loud 26000 watts of speaker power would be?  It would blow out the walls, when you consider 100 watts would be loud.  Anyway, you had to see it to believe it.  Rock on.

Have a Great Week.


“What we achieve inwardly will change 
outer reality.”

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Funnies


Well, it rained last night, and it stayed dry all day.  It’s 7:30pm and a real storm just blew in bringing big thunder and lightning.  I think it’s going to be a long night.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song this week stumped you all.  It was “Gris-Gris, Gumbo Ya Ya” by Dr. John.  If you’ve never heard it, click on the link.  Now it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’.
“They asked me how I knew my true love was true.  I of course replied, something here inside cannot be denied.  They said some day you’ll find all who love are blind.  When your heart’s on fire, you must realize __ __ __ __ __.”
Hint:  This song was originally written in 1933, but this 1958 recording became a major hit in the US as well as the UK.  The group name comes from a slang word for a record (some of you might remember these 555).

Yesterday, while we were in town, there were dark clouds but no rain.  Little did we know that it was raining back at The Big Brown House.  Farther north, it rained very heavily, creating flooding at Maefahluang University and also at the border with Burma.  The area surrounding us seems to have good ‘run off’, but the lower areas are having problems.  

Blue and I spent the day at home.  Lisa went to Chivit Tamma Da with our friend Sutheera for a ‘Ladies Lunch’.  They had a wonderful time by the river.  Sutheera recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong.  It’s one of the places we’d like to see someday, along with Kunming, also in China.  

Getting news about Thailand, in Thailand is very interesting.  There are two newspapers in Bangkok that have on-line editions.  There are plenty of things to learn and keep up with when the mood strikes.  There are some things where one needs historical background in order to keep up.  Then there is Yahoo News.  We have found that we can get a lot of news about Thailand that we don’t see in the ‘local’ papers.  I won’t go into the whys and wherefores, but if you want to catch up on Thailand news, just scroll through Yahoo and you’re bound to find an article or two.

All of a sudden, it’s quiet outside.  The storm seems to be over.  That doesn’t mean it’s not still raining, it’s just being quiet about it.  It also means we can plug our computer cords back into the wall.  We always unplug them when there’s big lightning, even though we have two lightning rods on the roof.  

Today’s photo was taken 2 years ago (not by me).  The Night Bazaar flooded and the Thai Dancers posed for this classic shot. 

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


Thursday, August 6, 2015



The forecasts call for more overnight rains.  Today was dry with a touch of blue sky.  So far, this has been the most comfortable rainy season I can remember.  Typhoon Soudelor, in the western Pacific, is moving North of us toward China.  The river has risen to the point that the ‘beach’ is gone.  

I didn’t hear from anyone regarding the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Here are more lyrics about the good doctor.  
“I got many clients, come from miles around, running down my prescription.  I got my medicine to cure all y’alls ills.  I got remedies of every description.  __-__ __ __ __, hey now.  __-__ __ __ __…”  Clue: The artist was mentioned in yesterday’s post.  He’s what might be called a Shaman, a Witch Doctor, or a Sorcerer.  The title refers to his collection of potions or cures.

The front lawn at The Big Brown House has grown to the length where it is irresistible to Mr. Daku.  This morning, while he was running back and forth across the yard for treats, he suddenly stopped and started eating the grass, as if he had become transfixed.  We moved the play to the driveway and he forgot all about it.  He’s a dog.

On our morning adventure into town we traveled to the southern end of town on the main road.  Coming toward us we saw a big truck with red lights flashing.  It looked like it might be a fire truck.  When it got closer, we saw that it wasn’t, just a big red truck with banners on the side.  It was promoting the big bike ride coming up.  It’s called ‘Ride for Mom’ and it is part of the celebration of The Queen’s birthday.  They have been advertising it on TV and it will travel between two cities.  Behind the truck was another truck and then a parade of about 20 bicycle riders, all wearing the commemorative blue T-shirts that will be for sale.  Nothing like a caravan through town to add a little excitement to the day.

Today’s photo was taken on Maefahluang Road, the big road near our house.  The gate is to a private residence right next to the egg lady’s stand.  On this section of the road it’s the only house.  The simplicity of the gate caught my eye.

Our ‘radar’ when it comes to the number of visitors is right on track.  There was an article noting that tourism was up 30% over last year in the month of July.  Sometimes we disregard the back-packers, thinking that they don’t spend much money, but this is a wrong conclusion.  Everybody has to eat and needs somewhere to sleep.  That means that someone in Chiang Rai gets a boost in business, even if it’s on a small scale.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Worry gives small things
a big shadow.”
~Swedish Proverb