Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Funnies


I saw a little bit of Chiang Mai today and it’s hot like Chiang Rai.  They get the same forecasts that we do:  Thunderstorms, blah blah.

The ‘Zany Day’ tune was “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh.  It’s time for ‘Old School Friday’ and something easy.
“I’m a poor man’s son from across the railroad tracks, the only shirt I own is hangin’ on my back.  But I’m the envy of ev’ry single guy since I’m the apple of my girls eye… She says baby everything is alright, __, out of sight….”
Clue:  The main title is one word.  The rest of the title is there in the last line.  Hmm, who does that?

My room at the hospital was a little nicer than our hotel room, and it’s pretty cool.  The kitchen area had a microwave oven, a little fridge, and room for storage.  The view from our window was a garden with trees and grass.  That part was puzzling at first, considering we were on the fifth floor.  The patient rooms are on the fifth floor so they designed the landscape so there was a view of some nature.  After a good night’s sleep and a lazy morning, I got a visit from the doctor.  We discovered that when he came to my room last night, he had come from his home.  I was concerned about some swelling and he made a special trip.  He told us it was his obligation to make sure his patients were comfortable.  He released me from the hospital set up an appointment for Monday morning. 
The nursing staff was very attentive and always entered the room with a smile.  

We’re back at the D2 and I’m realizing that the injections I got from the nurses were managing the pain more than I thought.  They sent me ‘home’ with some meds for the pain, but I’d rather not take them (555).   When I move certain ways, it hurts.  My best solution is to stay very still, which is easier said than done.  

Things are going smoothly at The Big Brown House while we’re gone.  Daku stays with Natcha and Gong at night.  I think he’s getting plenty of love and attention.  When we return, I have to continue with this ‘staying still’ thing for at least a week.  It’s going to be interesting, not being able to drive and move about the house.  

Today's photo was taken from my hospital room on the 5th floor.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.  Don’t forget to ‘Fall Back’.  Reset all those clocks (555).  We don’t do that.


Thursday, October 29, 2015



I’m writing you from my hospital bed.  The surreal adventure continues.  When my mind is able to focus better, I’ll recount some of the highlights.  

There is pain, but that’s to be expected.  I’m not in agony, but it hurts.  The worst part:  it hurts to laugh and I love to laugh.  Enough of this.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song has a few friends out there.  Here’s the last lines of the tune:  “They say I’m lazy but it takes all my time.  I keep on going, guess I’ll never know why.  __ __ __ to me so far…”.  Clue:  Singer once soared with eagles.

Today’s photo is another from The Wanderer.  This ‘yard’ is next to the actual Wanderer property and is used for growing things.  Here you see mostly young lemon and lime trees.  Khan Noot told Lisa there are 200 trees in the yard.  They are all grown organically with no sprays of any kind.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“You can’t direct the wind,
but you can adjust your sails.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2015



Today began with nice traveling weather.  By the time we got to Chiang Mai, it was hot like Chiang Rai.  Forecasts of thunderstorms were just that, forecasts.  The beat goes on.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “We Are The Champions” by Queen.  Here’s a little ‘Zany Day’ number for you:
“I have a mansion, forget the price.  Ain’t never been there, they tell me it’s nice.  I live in hotels, tear out the walls.  I have accountants pay for it all.  They say I’m crazy but I have a good time.  I’m just looking for clues at the scene of the crime.  __ __ __ to me so far.”  Hint:  We’ve done this one before.  It’s a tribute to one of the crazy parts of R&R, so they tell me.
We had the standard 3 hour bus trip to Chiang Mai.  When we arrived at the D2 hotel we were greeted with 'welcome back' by a smiling young man.  

The front desk suggested we allow an hour to get to the hospital.  Our driver used all the alley shortcuts and we arrived very early.  That gave us plenty of time to get comfortable with the staff at Bangkok Hospital.  It's part if a growing chain that we first encountered on Koh Samui.  Most of the staff speak English and made us feel cared for.  The doctor for my consultation is a specialist and answered all of our questions.  At first it was sounding like he would do the surgery next week, but when I told him I'd like to get it over with, he said he could arrange for tomorrow.  I spent the rest of the afternoon being poked, prodded, stuck, and scrutinized.  I’ve been cleared for take-off.  Surgery begins at 1pm Thursday (Thailand time).  Lisa will spend the night with me at the hospital, and I may be able to go back to the hotel on Friday.  This will not be a laparoscopic procedure, which means I'm going to have a longer recovery time.  The hospital will help us hire a mini-van to drive us back to Chiang Rai. 
That’s the story so far.  We’ll get up at 5am, have breakfast, then I have to fast until the surgery.  Check-in is at 9am.  What?

For a little change of mood, here’s another photo from The Wanderer.  The moss on the border grew naturally in this forest environment.  All the borders on the paths and ponds will look like that eventually.

Your Thursday message may be a brief one, if at all.  I’ll be in the hospital and just might be a little woozy.  

It’s a Wacky Wednesday for sure.


“Expect the best, 
plan for the worst,
and be prepared to be surprised.”
~Denis Waitley

Tuesday, October 27, 2015



This weather thing is getting pretty boring.  Almost the same day everyday.  There are some variations on the temp, but it’s all on the hot side during the day.  The evenings are definitely cooler based on the water in the pool.  Those cold nights keep it from warming up for swimming.  

So, I’m sure that more than a few of you know this song.  Look at the chorus to this ‘Easy Monday’ song and write to me.  “__ __ __ __, my friends.  And we’ll keep on fighting till the end.  __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __, no time for losers ‘cause __ __ __ __ of the World.  Hint:  Oh, come on.

This morning Daku was a running thing when we took him out.  He missed his playtime yesterday and he was bursting with energy.  Usually, he will run a few times across the lawn and then settle into a fast trot for the rest of the time.  Today he was really into it for a long time.  This afternoon when I took him out he did his ‘crazy run’ (tears full speed around the yard) for a few minutes and returned with a smile on his face (555).  He’s going to miss his playtime for a few more days this week.

Khan Noot came by today and dropped off a coconut pie she made, using all ingredients from the coconut.  Yesterday we took her brownies made with coconut flour and she’s been studying this new method of baking.  Try not to dive into the screen (555).

Tomorrow morning we take the bus down to Chiang Mai.  The trip is a bundle of unknowns at this point, so we really have to take it one step at a time.  After my 3pm appointment we will find out when they can do the procedure and how long I will have to stay in Chiang Mai.  What this means is, packing our bags is a guessing game.  Oh well, Adventures in Thailand takes on new meaning.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“As for the future, 
your task is not to force it,
but to enable it.”
~Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Monday, October 26, 2015



The weekend in Chiang Rai was just like every other day last week.  There is an odd cloud cover that comes in the afternoon, but it never brings rain.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “So Fine” by The Fiestas.  Here’s a clip:   It’s ‘Easy Monday’ time.  “I’ve paid my dues, time after time.  I’ve done my sentence, but committed no crime.  And bad mistakes, I’ve made a few.  I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come through.  And we mean to go on and on and on and on.  __ __ __ __ my friends, and we’ll keep on fighting till the end….”  Hint:  Although it didn’t start out as one, it has become an anthem for many sports teams.

The weekend activities were basically around art and nature.  Good stuff to be surrounded by these days.  Friday night we went to Art Bridge for an opening of a large group show.  Many in the group were the ‘senior’ members of the art community.  For the sake of balance, they held a workshop for young artists and some of their work was also featured in the exhibit.  In one of the conversations that evening, we learned that the first round of little painted elephants had one showing in Bangkok and then went into storage.  Apparently a company in the U.S. got a copyright on painted elephants and sent a letter to the promoters, warning them of infringement.  What?  How dare they?  There have been lawyers and letters and a lot of blah, blah.  The new ‘999 Elephants’ exhibit is a bit of a protest.  More will be revealed.

Saturday we had a bit of a reunion with our friend Bpooi, who we met at the Night Bazaar when we first arrived in Thailand.  She and her husband Jimmy moved to Australia, but have recently returned to stay.  She has a little tea shop very close to us.  We went back on Sunday with one of Lisa’s paintings and she has it on the wall.  Her mom gave us the baby banana tree that has produced so many new plants.  It’s nice to have her back in our lives.

Sunday morning we went to Chivit Tamma Da and just hung out for a while.  There is something about sitting under huge trees, watching the river that has a calming effect.  

Throughout most of the weekend my mind was occupied with thoughts about a pending surgical procedure that I have to have for a hernia.  Being around friends, and hanging in natural settings has been good.  This morning we went to our local hospital to see a doctor for a consultation.  He confirmed that surgery was needed, but told us that I could have a laparoscopic method performed in Chiang Mai.  They don’t do it in Chiang Rai.  Wednesday we’ll take the bus to Chiang Mai for an appointment at the Hospital there. My mind is more at ease knowing it will be less painful and I’ll have a shorter recovery time.  Sometimes quieting the mind is a full-time job.

This afternoon we went to get our bus ticket, but forgot that they have torn down the bus station.  We got there and found a tiny little temporary ‘box’ for the Green Bus company.  The traffic was intense as buses, Tuk-Tuks, and Song Taews all jockeyed for position on a one lane strip of the parking lot.  Some of the buses are real antiques.  Lisa got the tickets while Blue and I made our way through the lot to the street and back for another round of crazy. 

Our reward for enduring the bus station was a trip to ‘The Wanderer’.  Our Doi Chaang friends are still working on things like the kitchen and the coffee shop, but the ‘forest’ area and the gardens are close to being finished.   It’s like visiting a forest on the edge of town.  Khun Noot took us to another plot of land where she grows fruits and vegetables.  Rows of lemon and lime trees, a tree with giant papayas, and things we don’t know made it feel like we were on a farm.  We met a man who helped Khun Witcha when he started planting the trees 30 years ago.  He is a forester and has been helping Noot with the project.  Today’s photo is an incredible palm of some kind.

Have a Great Week.


“Acquaintance softens prejudice.”

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Funnies


The weather: The same.  Expectations: The same.  This may be the year of the sprinkler system if this is any indication of what El Nino has in store.

Well, the ‘Zany Day’ song was “Act Naturally” by The Beatles, sung by Ringo.  This song was originally recorded by Buck Owens and The Buckaroos.  Our ‘Old School Friday’ song proves that sometimes you don’t have to be a literary giant to write a popular song.  “__ __, __ __.  __ __, yeah.  My baby’s so dog gone __.  She loves me, come rain, come shine.  Oh oh, yeah, __ __.  Well I know she loves me so.  Well I know, because my baby tell me so-oh oh __ __…”  Hint:  The singer is telling us how beautiful his lover is, and how much she loves him.

This morning Lisa and I ran errands while Cat had an English lesson with our friend Brenda.  Brenda was a teacher in the states and has been teaching here as well.  They will be focusing on reading comprehension.  While we were out I made a new ‘friend’.  I stayed in the van while Lisa went into a ‘7’.  The parking lady, waiting for a ticket to put in the window, decided to practice her English on me.  Actually, it was a few English words sprinkled into some Thai questions.  We got along great and now she knows a little more of my ‘business’.  This is something we knew before we came here; ‘You will be asked many questions, some personal, when first meeting some people’.  

This afternoon we went swimming.  Yea.  The water wasn’t exactly warm, but it wasn’t freezing either.  Once the initial shock wore off it was quite enjoyable.  Should I thank El Nino now or later?  (555)

Today’s photo is one leg of the giant elephant.  It features a Vespa motor scooter (Italian) and a Tuk-Tuk (Thai).  There are a lot more Vespas in Thailand than there are Tuk-Tuks in Italy.  There are big clubs here, dedicated to the Italian scooters.  

We had a visit after dinner from Noot and Kwan from Doi Chaang Coffee.  We had told them about our baking adventures with coconut flour and the use of the coconut oil.  Noot bakes all the items at the coffee shop so she decided to make up a recipe for a special treat.  They wanted us to try it and brought over a big plate of her new dessert.  Oh my, it’s so good it will probably disappear in one day.  I think it will be a hit at the shop.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd. Time for the ‘Funnies’.  Formula One is in Austin, Texas this weekend for the US Grand Prix.  Zoom.


Thursday, October 22, 2015



Chiang Rai had another hot day.  Whoever keeps predicting thunderstorms needs to be taken outside and forced to look at the sky.

“Well, I’ll bet you I’m gonna be a big star.  Might win an Oscar, you can never tell.  The movies gonna make me a big star, ‘cause I can play the part so well.  Well, I hope you come and see me in the movies.  Then I know that you will plainly see.  The biggest fool that ever hit the big time, and all I gotta do is __ __.”  Hint:  The lads let the drummer sing this one.  One might say he’s a natural.

This morning the ‘Fearless Foursome’ went to Art Bridge to check out the big elephant.  The project is huge, literally.  Artists are working from morning into the night to complete their parts in this giant mural that will travel to Bangkok next month to be in the exhibit titled ‘999 Elephants’ at the Central World mall.  After the exhibit, the colorful giant will then go to Italy for an exhibit.  One side features classic Italian artworks as depicted by Thai artists.  On the other side there are scenes from Thai history as well as iconic attractions.  I thought you might like to see the work in progress.

After lunch we had to take Daku back to the vets so they could re-run his thyroid test.  He was not happy about it, but he behaved.  One nice thing that came out of it was an encounter with a 9 year old Golden.  They had a cordial doggie greeting and the other dog left.  His owner spoke English and told us her dog was lonely.  Hmm.

This afternoon we took Cat to Dr. Nan for the monthly adjustment on her braces.  While that was happening we went to the Talat and picked up my new shirts.  The tailor did a great job, which means I’ll be looking for more material to expand my wardrobe.  It was around 4pm and we were curious to see who was still open.  Normally, we only visit the big market in the mornings.  We were surprised to see so many vendors still open for business.  

I guess this was the day for unusual shopping adventures.  After dinner Lisa and I went to Central Plaza.  Normally, the four of us would go and browse the place.  Cat and her friend Pawn were running, and Blue didn’t want to go.  The two of us took our time and got the important things we went to get.  The mall was really crowded at 6:30.  Lots of families either eating dinner or strolling after their meal, school kids wandering and chatting, people shopping after work.  I keep forgetting that there is a theater on the upper level called ‘Major Cinema’ that features first run Thai and English speaking films.  We have yet to go to our local theater.  Hmm, add that to the list of 'things we must do' (555).

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Art flourishes where there is
a sense of adventure.”
~Alfred North Whitehead

Wednesday, October 21, 2015



Morning in Chiang Rai was covered with low clouds.  Great for dog play, but it didn’t last long.  It turned into a scorcher.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Money” by Barrett Strong.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song is from across the pond.
“They’re gonna put me in the movies.  They’re gonna make a big star out of me.  We’ll make a film about a man that’s sad and lonely, and all I gotta do is __ __.”  Hint:  The singer will play a role as himself.  Hmm, method?

Today was the day for the bug spray re-do.  This time they also sprayed upstairs in our bedroom.  This meant a lot more preparation was involved.  Outside they used a more powerful spray that had that familiar odor.  Daku stayed in the kitchen with Natcha and we left the house.  As we were heading downstairs to leave, one of the guys came up the stairs with a light on his head and the sprayer ready.  He looked very intimidating.  

The timing of our morning couldn’t have been more complicated.  The plan quickly fizzled when we realized there was no way to go to the mall and be home by lunch time.  We settled for a run by the fruit stand and coffee/tea at Work@Home.  Considering how the morning had been, a little time to relax was a good thing. 

We did go to the Talat to pick up my new shirts but the tailor was still sewing on the buttons.  As we left we passed the table with every shellfish available.  This guy has it all, neatly divided and arranged.  

Meanwhile, back at the compound, we found out that we could not go into our bedroom for another hour after lunch.  What?  That’s where we go after lunch.  Instead, we had plenty to do, putting things back together around the house.  Daku was confused about all the activity and about why he couldn’t go outside.  I guess we were all a little confused.  After lunch we did our regular nighttime ‘tick check’ in the dining room.  Why send the dog upstairs with his little friends attached?  He was not happy, but dealt with us.  

Tonight we’re still getting back to normal.  Tomorrow is another day, likely to bring more adventures.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“You can tell whether a person is clever
by their answers.  You can tell whether 
a person is wise by their questions.”
~Naguib Mahfouz

Tuesday, October 20, 2015



We seem to be back in the hot season here in Chiang Rai.  The low tonight is forecast for 70F and the highs for the rest of the week will be 89/90F.  So confusing this year.  

‘Easy Monday’ is still waiting for your response.  It has survived for decades, so I know you know this tune.
“Your love give me such a thrill, but your love don’t pay my bills.  I need __, (that’s what I want) that’s what I want (that’s what I want).  That’s what I want, yeah, that’s what I want.  __ don’t get everything it’s true, but what it don’t get I can’t use….”  Clue:  It’s carried in wallets, pockets and purses.  A lot of it lives at the bank.  There, that should make it real easy.

One of the major appliance stores we deal with is called Sinthanee.  We have had a relationship with the store since the days of the rental house when we bought our first TV.  Our friend Jan introduced us to the owner, who is in her Karaoke group, and then we met her son.  They have given us the best service after sale of any store in Chiang Rai.  Today we took our ailing vacuum cleaner to them and they fixed it while we waited.  The fact that they have a service center with trained technicians is a plus.  Just another perk of living in a small ‘city’.  

There is a woman who does minor alterations that we met through the fabric store in the talat.  Today we went to pick up some pants that she had to re-do and she didn’t charge Lisa for the work.  There are many shop owners who take pride in what they do and they want you to be happy.  Once we find them, we hang on to them.  Tomorrow we will find out if the new tailor is someone to hang on to when I pick up my new shirts.

Today’s photo and digital magic is from Blue.  He calls it ‘Evening at the Big Brown House’.  We love it.

Last night we picked up Cat from the airport.  Even though she was tired from her travels, and sick had a cold, she was still enthusiastic about her adventure in Hua Hin.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“If you wanna fly, 
you gotta give up the 
stuff that weights you down.”
~Toni Morrison

Monday, October 19, 2015



Chiang Rai had a dry, hot weekend.  Unfortunately, the pool was too cool for swimming.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Lonely Teardrops” by Jackie Wilson.  A few people got it.  I guess we need a real ‘Easy Monday’ song.  This one should fit the bill.  “The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees…”  Hint:  Really?  It’s one word and most of us use it everyday.  Oh, and sometimes more is better.

Saturday morning we took the van to the carwash and then hung out at Work@Home.  Our friend Katai was there and she sat and visited with us.  We learned a great deal from her in that visit.  While discussing the number of apartment and condo projects around town, she told that one condo has 400 units and has only sold 40.  This is not a good sign if you’re in that business.  It may take a long time for these giant structures to fill up.  Farm equipment sales are down because of the lack of water.  The farmers who operate near the river are in better shape, but others have had to delay planting until we get substantial rains.  This effects the whole economy in some regions.  The north has no industry outside of agriculture.  
We treated ourselves to a Sunday morning at Chivit Tamma Da.  This time Joakim and his wife were both there.  The place was very busy, but we got to spend a little time talking with Joakim about some of his antiques.  He likes old things, regardless of what they are.  He told us about his 1940 BSA motorcycle that he actually rides, and then got excited while showing us his giant antique camera.  It was made in Japan and in the photo below, you can get an idea of size, especially compared to the camera Blue is holding.  Times have certainly changed.

Today we went to the Healthy Market.  We are such regulars there that whenever I am looking for Lisa, one of the women vendors will point her out to me.  They know that when I’m alone, looking around, that’s who I’m looking for.  It’s cute how they watch us and take care of us.  (555)

After our food run we took Daku to the vet.  Even though he’s shedding like crazy, his tail is looking thin like before.  We wanted to get his thyroid checked again.  Dr. Arnon wanted to test all his vital organs, which meant taking enough blood for three tests.  Daku was not in the mood to be stuck with a needle and it took three tries to get an adequate amount.  He was appropriately pitiful afterwards.  This evening we got a call that they needed more blood.  We’ll wait until Wednesday to subject him to more torture.  As it stands, everything looks good, but we want the thyroid test to be done in Bangkok, since the lab will do it specifically for a dog instead of a human.  We’ll take him while the yard and bedroom are being sprayed.

Cat is returning home tonight.  She called from the plane so we will be waiting at the airport.  The last few days have been rough for her.  It sounds like she may have the flu.  Flying won’t be fun.  It brought back memories of us coming home from Koh Samui.  

Have a Great Week.


“When you are born in a world you don’t fit in;
it’s because you were born to help create a new one.”

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Funnies


In spite of the forecasts for thunderstorms we had another beautiful blue-sky day.  Oh, and it was plenty hot too.
More on the weather later.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Mother-In-Law” by Ernie K-Doe.  If you’ve never heard it, here’s your chance:   Now it’s time for another dose of ‘Old School Friday’.  This tune begins with sounds that are not words.  “Shoo bee doo bop, bop, bow (repeat 2 times).  My heart is crying, crying.
__ __, my pillow’s never dry of __ __.  Come home, come home, just say you will (say you will).”  Hint:  The singer’s face is leaking.

 Cat arrived in Hua Hin last night and got settled in her hotel room.  All of this is a first for her.  This morning she went to the campus for registration and her response so far was that it looked like a high school, not a university.  Hmm.  She does have one friend there, so she doesn’t feel completely alone.

There are many people in Thailand who have come from other countries in the region.  Things that irritate me, like traffic and driving habits are probably not an issue for them.  Based on how things move or don’t move in other countries, this place is very mellow.  I will remember this when I feel that tension mounting (555).

When we read about the impending ‘El Nino’ that is supposed to hit the West, it strikes an opposite chord here on this side of the world.  It means there will be a severe drought.  Of course, we’re hoping that doesn’t happen, but it could.  We are at a higher elevation than many cities and we tend to have more moderate weather.  I can’t imagine carrying buckets of water from the river to water the gardens.  We may have to invest in some cactus and other succulents.  It would be extreme, so don’t count on it.  The point is, the thing that drives the ‘El Nino’ sends a different air flow our way.  

Today’s photo was taken at Wat Rong Khun a few years ago.  Some sights are worth seeing more than once.

Tomorrow we will definitely get the van washed.  We tried today, but the place was jammed with customers with the same idea.  The sight of clear skies means it’s time to wash off all the mess left by the rain.  Besides, we can’t pull up to the art exhibit on Saturday night in a dirty vehicle (555).  

Right now the bass guitar and bass drum are thumping their way into the house.  It’s the regular Friday Night Fair across the river.  

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


Thursday, October 15, 2015



The weather did a complete turn around today.  It was verging on hot.  The jacket has been temporarily put away and the light shirts are back at the front of the closet.  Yea.

So far, only one person has identified the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Here’s the last verse of this ode to a ‘visitor’.
“I come home with my pay, (__-__-__), she asks me what I made, (__-__-__).  She thinks her advice is a contribution, but if she would leave that would be the solution.  And don’t come back no more, (__-__-__).”
Hint:  You should be able to fill in the blanks and figure this out.  The clues are there.

This morning I took Lisa and Cat to the airport.  It’s the first time Lisa has flown to Bangkok without me.  Cat’s first flight went well, with no real problems.  There was a little queasiness on the approach to Bangkok because the plane makes sweeping banked turns.  They lunched in the airport, got foot massages, and Lisa showed her where to check in for her flight on Monday.  I returned to our humble little airport this afternoon and picked up the commuter.  

As I was driving away from the airport this morning I stopped to take a photo of an unusual building.  When a country has an architectural style that has been maintained like Thailand’s has, new styles tend to stand out.  This building is really outside of the box.  It is the home of a company that builds giant monuments and statues.  

Whenever I return to the house without Lisa, Daku gets moody.  He saw the three of us leave with a suitcase.  This usually means we’ll be gone for a long time.  When I returned alone he went into a funk.  All day he just laid around downstairs, in a melancholy sort of way.  When we came home this evening he gave Lisa a greeting like he does when we’re gone for weeks.  Hmm, a mama’s boy for sure.

During my afternoon drive I saw a sight that might be called ‘culture clash’.  While passing the Ban Mai market I spotted a long, sleek Mercedes-Benz pulling into the parking lot.  It looked so out of place, but maybe it’s the changing face of Chiang Rai.  I’m sure there were lots of curious stares from the regulars.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Serenity comes when you trade
expectations for acceptance.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2015



Chiang Rai experienced a beautiful day.  Things warmed up after the morning chill.  Mostly blue skies with puffy clouds.  The overnight temps will be like the daytime was during the cold snap.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Stayin’ Alive” by The Bee Gees.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ adventure was suggested by my brother, as a companion song to last week’s ‘Zany’, “Get a Job”.  “The worst person I know (__-__-__, __-__-__) she worries me so.  If she’d leave us alone we’d have a happy home.  Sent from down below __-__-__.”  Clue:  This song is about the perils of living with a relative from another family.  It’s three words. 

After spending a cold day behind the walls yesterday, we ventured out this morning for ‘provisions’.  The warmer air felt good.  Lisa turned in her elephant at Art Bridge and now we wait to see what will happen with it and the other ones.  Across the highway, we couldn’t resist the famous Makro.  We got what we could from our list, but it became clear that we would have to venture down to ‘Biggie C’, our new name for Big C (555).  The balance of our needs were met there.  Some days we have to go to Healthy Market to fill in the gaps and get the best fruit around.  

While we were shopping the spray people came.  The solution they used left no smell in the yard, which is a nice change from before.  Now we just have to be patient and see if the stuff works as claimed.  It’s hard to imagine not dealing with things like ticks and other pests.  Daku is fortunate that he has not received typical village treatment.  It saddens us when we see the local dogs sitting in the street scratching, sometimes with patches of fur missing because of mange.  He truly is a lucky dog.

Tomorrow Cat will go on a big adventure.  She will go to Hua Hin for a ‘Camp’ at a university where they have a course of study for careers in the airline industry.  Lisa will fly to Bangkok with her since she’s never flown.  They will have lunch, Lisa will show her the airport and take her to the bus that leaves from the airport, and then Cat will have a three hour ride.  Hua Hin is a resort town on the eastern side of the peninsula in the Gulf of Thailand.  Cat will return to Chiang Rai on Monday.  Lisa will return tomorrow afternoon.  

Today’s photo is one of the many variations on the potato chip.  I haven’t tried the Hot Chili Squid Chips and don’t think I ever will.  (55)

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Education is the passport 
to the future, for tomorrow belongs
to those who prepare for it today.”
~Malcolm X

Tuesday, October 13, 2015



We didn’t have rain today, but it was one of the coldest days since the last cold season.  I believe the cold spell was brought by the storm.  Tomorrow the forecast is for hot weather.  Crazy times in weather central.

Congrats to all of you who were transported to that special time, and the man in the white suit.  It’s 'Easy Monday’.
"Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother, you’re __ __, __ __.  Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’ and we’re __ __, __ __.  Ah, ha, ha, ha __ __.  Ah, ha, ha, ha, __ __.”  Hint:  The song was in a film, and played during the opening.  A young man is on his way to the disco.  Movie magic.  

I’ve gone from wearing light loose-fitting cotton shirts and shorts, to jeans and a thermal top.  It’s been that cold.
We haven’t used the air/con in three days and there’s been talk of bringing the heater in from storage.  What we have survived is the Thai equivalent of a Nor’easter.  Going from the high 90s to the mid-60s is quite a jolt to the system.  Everybody’s talking about the weather.

In Thailand there are crocodile farms.  I have taken photos of the packages at Makro, but it’s just not something I would ever partake of. This is another world.  There was heavy rain in the Southern province where they are raised and one of the ‘pits’ where they keep the crocs got flooded and a bunch escaped.  There are still a few missing, hmm. There was an order to make the pits deeper.  Well, that might help.  There is a lot more to the story with a whole international issue about endangered species.

Lisa finished her little elephant today.  I think it’s really cool.  It stands 18” tall at the top of it’s ears.  Tomorrow she has to turn it in to Art Bridge.  The medium is acrylic on paper mache.

Our friends Susan and Noy told us about how they got rid of the ticks in their yard.  They referred us to the pest spray service they use and they came today.   While they were inspecting the yard they mentioned that they had been to our house when it was being built.  It turns out they installed the special tube that runs around the foundation.  It has something in it that repels rodents and snakes.  It has needed a refill but we didn’t know who to call.  Now we know.  We were told that it might take 2 months to totally eliminate the ticks.  Anything will be better than what’s going on now.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Healing doesn’t mean the damage
never existed.  It means the damage
no longer controls our lives.”

Monday, October 12, 2015



Chiang Rai got another ‘Storm of the Century’ on Saturday night.  This one turned both yards into lakes.  The back had so much water that I had to coax Daku to go into it in order to reach higher ground (lawn) on the other side.  Then, when it was time to go back he was afraid of the ‘deep’ water.  We both got home safely eventually (555).

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “My Blue Heaven” as sung by Fats Domino.  That brings us to another ‘Easy Monday’.  “Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk I’m a woman’s man: not time to talk.  Music loud, and woman warm, I’ve been kicked around since I was born.  And now it’s all right, I don’t care, and you may look the other way.  We can try to understand The New York Time’s effect on man.”  Hint:  Big one from the disco era, by three brothers from down under.  Once, they started a joke.

 The Art Bridge opening on Saturday night was fun.  We arrived after the long presentation portion so we were able to go straight to the exhibit.  All of the ‘regulars’ were there along with friends we hadn’t seen in a long time.  Next weekend there is another event at a new gallery up the highway.

The more we live with a teenager, the more we realize that we live in a different era.  One aspect that I find interesting is the use of the phone.  Aside from the internet and all that brings to the fingertips, basic phone use has changed.  Cat will come into the room with a question, or have a short visit with us and as soon as she turns to leave she is talking to someone who has been on the line the whole time.  They just sit and wait, and listen, even though they don’t know what’s being said since most of her friends don’t speak English.  It might be 30 seconds or it might be 3 to 5 minutes.  With one half of her headphones on you never know if she’s on the phone or not.  Hmm.

Most of this weekend’s activities related to prep for the birthday party. This morning Blue and I went to Makro to get a few last minute things for the party.  While we were eating lunch we joked about the large package of small napkins we bought.  Way too many for this event.  The conversation abruptly turned to the fact that here in Thailand, toilet tissue is used in restaurants in place of paper napkins.  We could have just put a roll of that on the table and it would have been acceptable, maybe.  Still being amazed.

Some of Cat’s friends came early and helped her decorate.  She had a vision of what she wanted the balloons to look like and it wasn’t working.  A little pouting, help from her sister and a solution was reached.  The ice-cream arrived before the food, so they had that before the Thai food.  It did not spoil any appetites.  We left them to do whatever they wanted, checking in from time to time.  A lot of invited guests couldn’t come because it looked like rain all day and they would be on motorbikes, but the party was a success.  Daku got to visit a little bit and was a perfect gentleman.  

Today’s photo is the front yard after the big rain on Saturday night.  You will notice the reflection of the wall lights on the water, like a pretty lake (555).

Have a Great Week.


“Lean too much on the approval
of other people, and it becomes
a bed of thorns.”
~Tehyi Hsieh

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Funnies


It looks like our dry spell is over.  Late last night we had an intense storm that lasted about an hour.  This evening another one showed up and lasted for a couple of hours.  Daku likes walking on the soggy lawn.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Get A Job” by The Silhouettes.  Here’s a video from American Bandstand  ‘Old School Friday’ may take a few of you way back.
“When whippoorwills call, and evening is nigh, I’ll hurry to __ __ __.  You turn to the right, you find a little bright light.  That leads you to __ __ __.”  Hint:  It’s place, there’s a color involved, and it was sung by a chubby man back in 1956.

The big carnival is over and it’s so quiet.  There might have been the regular Friday night affair but I guess the rain made a mess of the field.  Whew.  Last night Cat won two gold fish.  The boyfriend kept them overnight and was going to bring them over today but Cat decided she didn’t want to deal with them.  He’s going to keep them.

This morning we did the Makro thing and while we were at the register I noticed a sign with a photo of the new general manager.  It’s the first time that I’ve noticed a large operation like this with a woman in charge.  This is good for Makro and Chiang Rai.

From Makro we went to the Immigration office for our 90 day check-in.  It was a simple procedure with no paper work and lots of smiles.  Those are the ones I like the most.

There is a giant condo project on the highway that we have been keeping up with since they started.  It’s 8 stories tall and has been ‘masked’ by netting until recently.  Today we saw what it’s going to look like.  It’s basically gray and white with lots of windows (555).  It sits on the corner of a 3-way intersection and we’ve been trying to imagine what the traffic impact will be when it’s finally occupied.  With projects like this, they sell units long before construction begins, so we know there will be people living there, however, there are many small projects that have been completed and are now sitting empty.

A few days ago our handyman Nung came over to fix a problem with our water tank and pump.  In the process, he had to shut off the water.  The valve is in front of the house and he noticed a pinhole leak from a pipe that belongs to the water department.  He had me take a photo of the leak and told me to go to the office and show them.  They have to fix it.  Today we went to the water place with Cat.  We took a bill to show them our address and prove we lived there.  They thought we had a problem with the bill, which made the visit longer than it needed to be.  We finally communicated the real issue and they will fix it.  

Tomorrow evening we’re going to an opening at Art Bridge and Monday is the big party for Cat.  It will be a busy weekend.

Today’s photo was taken at the big nursery near us.  The little ‘biker’ was waiting while her mom bought plants.  Kids here grow up on motorbikes and that’s how a two-wheel culture is sustained.  I guess she’s dreaming of the day when she will operate a bike.

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


Thursday, October 8, 2015



I’m happy to say we had more rain last night.  Most of the day was sunny and cooler.  There is a storm front looming in the west, threatening the last night of the carnival.  Oh, what a shame that would be.

It’s nice to see this R&B oldie still lives in many minds.  See if this verse gives you the title.  It’s easy.
“And when I get the paper, I read it through and through.  And my girl never fails to see if there is any work for me.  And when I go back to the house I hear that woman’s mouth, preaching and a-crying, tell me that I’m lying about a __  that I never could find.  Sha na na na - sha na na na na….”  Hint:  It should be pretty obvious by now that he’s out of work.  What does she want him to do?  Ah Ha.

Our luncheon today with Susan and Noy was a smashing success.  We all had a great time and we learned a lot in the process.  Their lettuce farm produces mass quantities of seven different kinds of the veggie in a rotating manner.  It takes 6 weeks from seed to harvest and they have to time it so they can deliver to customers on a weekly basis. Susan said they have a spreadsheet that allows them to predict how much they will have on future dates.  Tomorrow they will deliver 80 kilos of lettuce to various customers.  Have you any idea how much lettuce that is?  I don’t know, but considering how light lettuce is, it would be a lot.  We also learned that there are people living in Thailand who are restricted to a certain geographic area because of their ethnicity.  If they go out of that area they can be detained.  Amazing.

The main elements for Monday’s birthday party for Cat have all been confirmed.  The food, coconut ice-cream and balloons will be delivered, which is an added bonus.  Tomorrow we will go to Makro for all the paper goods we’ll need.  It’s been a long time since we’ve had a party at The Big Brown House.  

If you follow world news, you may have heard about the fires burning in Indonesia.  Smoke from Sumatra Island is drifting over the six southern provinces of Thailand causing problems.  The biggest problem area is Phuket, sometimes called the ‘Golden Beach of the South’.  Flights have to be diverted and the haze carries health problems as well.  It is hoped that rain will help ‘knock down’ the smoke and improve air quality down there.  We are still months away from our so-called ‘Burning Season’ so it’s possible that the air will be clear for those who travel south to escape the smoke from that annual affair.

Today’s photo is another from our weekend adventure at Chivit Tamma Da.  When I saw the hanging chairs I couldn’t resist going over to try them out.  There isn’t enough room to really swing, just sort of drift back and forth.  For about 30 seconds it was fun, until I realized that they were still wet from the rain the night before and I was getting wet.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“If you want the truth,
I’ll tell you the truth:
Listen to the secret sound,
which is inside you.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2015



Overnight we got rain.  This afternoon we had a little more, and tonight it’s supposed to start a three-day run.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Girl” by The Beatles.  The backgrounds alone qualify this next tune as a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “Sha na na na - sha na na na na (repeat 4 times), dip dip dip dip dip dip dip dip. mum mum mum mum mum mum, __ __ __.  Sha na na na - sha na na na na.  Every morning about this time she gets me out of my bed a-crying __ __ __.  After breakfast every day she throws the want ads right my way and never fails to say: __ __ __.”  Clue:  There is an employment issue here.

Late last night the rain finally came.  It rained hard for about an hour.  That’s the kind of rain I like.  I slept through the whole thing.  This morning, as we left the house, it started to rain with those big drops.  Once we crossed the bridge it tapered off to nothing.  So strange how that happens.  As a result, the van has big spots where the drops hit the dust.  This afternoon we watched the clouds, trying to figure out which way they were moving.  The forecast said they would come from the east.  If the music from across the river stops, then we’ll know it’s raining.

The award presentation that Cat went to was for 76 people who were of service to the community.  Needless to say, it lasted a while.  

The ‘Tick Wars’ have been a nightly thing.  We spend almost an hour every night going through Daku’s heavy coat, pulling little monsters off of him.  Most of the time he’s pretty docile, but he doesn’t like us messing with his feet or his tail.  We got a new product today in hopes of ending this siege.  In the meantime we’ll have another session tonight and do our best.

Today’s photo was taken at Chivit Tamma Da.  This is what our view was like directly from our table.  Beyond the foliage is the river.  It brought on a very peaceful feeling.

Tomorrow we are having our friends Susan and Noy over for lunch.  They are the couple who grow the wonderful hydroponic lettuce.  We haven’t seen them in a long time so it will be a time to catch up on life stuff.

Right now there is a band playing and it’s rather musical.  What a refreshing change from the thump, thump, whine of some of the other groups.  In addition to the music there are lots of carnival type things to do.  We won’t be going, but we got a pretty good account from Cat as to what’s there.  It’s a nice diversion for many people.

It’s going to be a Wacky Wednesday


“To lead people,
walk behind them.”
~Lao Tzu

Tuesday, October 6, 2015



We had a brief, moderate rain happening today.  Just enough to get things wet, but not enough for a soak.  It could still happen, nearby.  (555)

I’m impressed by the number of readers who identified the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Here’s the second verse:
“When I think of all the times I’ve tried so hard to leave her she will turn to me and start to cry.  And she promises the earth to me and I believe her.  After all this time I don’t know why.  Ah, __, __…”  Hint:  A one syllable word referring to the ‘she’ in the lyrics.

If you receive this message through Yahoo mail and it seems like it’s been coming late, it’s them not me.  For two days the messages have ‘bounced’.  When I resend them individually they seem to go through.  Just thought you’d like to know.

The Fabulous Four hit the market circuit this morning with gusto.  We’ve figured out who has the best of certain items and that makes our shopping more effective.  Each of our ‘main’ stores offers something the others don’t and based on our needs, we choose where we’ll shop.  Today Big C won the toss because they have zucchini and ground chicken.  The fruit lady and her husband have some things we buy, but mangos and pineapple are best from a stall on the entrance road. 

For some reason, today did not feel like a Tuesday.  It might have been the amount of traffic on the streets, or the fact that the yard crew came today and they usually don’t come on Tuesdays.  For whatever reason, it was a strange day.  

It’s vacation time in China, and Thailand has been getting a lot of visitors.  The estimate is that over 1 million Chinese tourists will visit The Kingdom in the next few weeks.  This is not the normal ‘High Season’ in Chiang Rai so the cash flow will help local merchants.  Places like the Night Bazaar, Walking Street, and shops and restaurants will hopefully have a better year.  

Cat will receive a special award tomorrow for all of the volunteer work she has done.  It will take place in a place called Turn, which is east of Chiang Rai, near the border with Laos.  She’s going with members of the staff from The Sold Project.  It’s a wonderful thing when the efforts of a youngster are recognized by the adult community.

Today’s photo was taken on the Soi leading to Chivit Tamma Da.  I had to stop and capture this image partly because it was so ‘out’, and also because no words could describe it.  You have to see it.  I think it’s a food truck that is towed to locations since the side window is painted over and it’s sitting like there is no engine.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The greatest gift you can give another
is the purity of your attention.”
~Richard Moss

Monday, October 5, 2015



In spite of all the predictions of rain on a daily basis, we haven’t had any.  Now we’re told that there is a major system moving to Northern Thailand, bringing lots of rain.  We’ve been told we’ll have a thunderstorm ‘in the area’, ‘in spots, and ‘a stray one’ for good measure.  Hmm.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “I Can’t Help Myself” by The Four Tops.  ‘Easy Monday should be just that.  The title is one word, and it’s from across the pond.  “Is there anybody going to listen to my story, all about the girl who came to stay.  She’s the kind of girl you want so much it makes you sorry.  Still, you don’t regret a single day.  Ah, __, Girl.”  Hint:  The title is sung in the verse.  How’s that for making it easy?

Saturday morning we braved the Talat (big market).  We were in search of material for a bed spread.  On our way to our favorite fabric shop we passed a store with a mascot.  You might say it’s ‘Fabric Dog’.  

We found some material for our spread and the owner of the shop took us through the maze that is the Talat and introduced us to a new tailor.  He will make shirts for me at a very reasonable rate.  Our new spread, made by the woman who sits in an alleyway, was ready to be picked up on Sunday morning. 

From the depths of the market we drove across the river to Chivit Tamma Da for coffee, tea, and a frappe.  Lisa had the coffee, I had tea, and Cat had a strawberry, white chocolate, ice cream frappe.  Teens on vacation can eat anything they want to in the morning (555).  One of the owners came by and visited with us since it wasn’t very busy.  Lisa mentioned that Cat would be looking for a part-time job at the end of the school term and our friend is going to keep a spot open for her.  It’s a great atmosphere, happy staff, and a chance to use her English.

The story about the internet ‘Firewall’ has created quite a stir in Thailand.  The powers-that-be have now announced that it was just an idea they were floating around and there is nothing officially happening.  The message from the people was received:  ‘Don’t mess with our internet’.

The carnival/concert thing across the river is just about half-way through.  While there are usually two bands per evening that are interesting, most of it feels like an assault.  To make matters worse, they play until midnight, instead of 11pm.  Cat has been there twice.  I asked her after the first night if she liked the music.  She said only a couple of songs.  She’s not into dance music, as she called it.  

The big news from the Big Brown House is that Natcha and Gong are going to have a little girl in February.  In minor news, our resident teenager got grounded for the first time.  Being home by 9pm means just that.  Tonight she had to stay at home, and no visits from the boyfriend.  It was accepted with dignity and no pouting.  There are lessons to be learned.

Have a Great Week.


“Have patience with all things,
but chiefly have patience with yourself.”
~St. Francis De Sales