Monday, November 30, 2015



It’s safe to say that northern Thailand is hot.  The degree of hot has a range, but it’s hot during the day.  Chiang Rai seems to be cooling down sooner than Chiang Mai.  Our low tonight is supposed to be 65F.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Born Too Late” by the Poni-Tails.   Two people knew this song:  Denny and Trudye.  Hmm.  Time for ‘Easy Monday’.  Here’s a tune from 1980 that was also the name of a hit movie.  “Baby, look at me and tell me what you see.  You ain’t seen the best of me yet.  Give me time I’ll make you forget the rest… Remember my name.  __!  I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly”.  Hint:  So easy it hurts (555).  Many people seek this.

The Saturday ‘Thanksgiving’ lunch we went to was fun.  The turkey was cooked to perfection and the company was a small gathering of old and new acquaintances.  There were a lot of kids who all eventually ended up in the pool.  It began when our host, Gary, offered them one Baht per leaf if they went in and collected them off the bottom.  That started it and then it was 1 and 5 Baht coins.  I think the money got recycled, but they were happy. 

Sunday morning we drove down to Chiang Mai for my Monday morning doctor appointment.  The big news is that we stopped at Charon Gardens and I had some pie.  It would appear that the surgery has had a positive effect on my digestion that I wasn’t expecting.  I was told that it might make a difference by the surgeon.  In the past month I have ‘sampled’ a few foods that caused problems in the past, with no ill-affects.  The pie gave me hope.  Sunday evening we went to  the mall, which was next door to the condo complex.  I had a dinner that I haven’t had in a year and nothing bad happened.  Could it be that I can soon go out and eat with the rest of you?  

One interesting thing we noticed at the Central Festival Mall was the abundance of Japanese restaurants.  Since it’s the biggest mall in the northern part of the country, it makes sense that marketeers with a sense of the future would target this metropolitan city.  There are also trendy treat kiosks with everything from mango smoothies to fried bread covered in chocolate.  

The condo where we stayed is an investment device.  This is another ‘trend’ we discovered on our trip.  There are many units in the complex that are owned by people who use AirBnB or other online reservation services, with the idea of income property.  We were in a two-bedroom, two bath unit with a mini-kitchen.  It was very clean and very convenient for our visit.  The owner kept in touch, making sure we were comfortable.

The doctor was happy with my progress and answered my questions and explained things carefully.  I will be returning for a second surgery hopefully in early March.  The staff today was as friendly and attentive as usual.  

Today’s photo shows a new development on the road near Chiang Mai.  There was a large sign warning of sharp curves and slippery surfaces.  The color really gets one’s attention.  It lasted for about 100 yards.

On the way home we stopped and split another piece of pie.  I’ve reach my quota for now.  I have not gone off the deep end by any means, but there are some things that are special treats.

Have a Great Week.


“Serenity isn’t freedom from the storm;
it’s peace within the storm.”

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday Funnies


Well, apparently there was a little rain today on the other side of the river.  Our sky looked like it wanted to rain, but it all went south (555).

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles.  ‘Old School Friday’ time:
“__ __ __ for you to notice me, to you, I’m just a kid that you won’t date.  Why was I __ __ __?  __ __ __ to have a chance to win your love.  Oh why, oh why was it my fate, to be __ __ __?  Hint:  Late 50s lament of a younger girl with a crush.

This morning we got our annual bill for the trash pick-up.  The amount was 120 Baht ($3.35).  It used to be an occasional pick-up when they felt like it, but now it’s pretty regular and the price has stayed the same.  Amazing Thailand.

Today I stretched out a bit.  For the first time in over a month I went to Central Plaza with Lisa and Blue.  It was nice to see that part of town, drive the highway, and cruise for parking.  The place was jumping with shoppers.  The main floor featured a display by the local MG car dealer.  We saw models we didn’t know they made.  There was also some kind of health fair sponsored by an insurance company.  It was very busy.  While we were on the upper floor we spotted a little Christmas scene.  There was a mantle with socks hanging, and other decorations.  There was also a big red velvet chair.  Hmm, is Santa coming to the mall?  We need to know.  We got our smaller luggage today and it’s pretty cool.  Both suitcases are purple, so they’ll be easy to spot on the baggage carousel.

On the main floor of the mall there was a major holiday lighting installation.  That’s our photo for today.

Saturday we have been invited to Jago’s house by his dad Gary.  It’s going to be a Thanksgiving luncheon.  There will be a collection of expats from England, Australia, America, and possibly Holland and Sweden.  Gary and his wife Ban have been hosting this party for years and we always have a good time.  

Sunday morning we will drive to Chiang Mai for my final follow-up appointment with my surgeon.  We recently learned about AirBnB and checked out the listings in Chiang Mai.  We will be staying in an apartment next to the Central Festival Mall, about a mile from the hospital.  The owner is very nice and is going to meet us to give us a parking sticker and make sure we’re comfortable.  It’s also much more reasonable than a hotel and there’s a kitchen and pool.  We will return home on Monday afternoon.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Time for some ‘Funnies’.   This is the last race of the Formula One season this weekend.  Zoom.


Thursday, November 26, 2015



Clouds gathered this morning and it looked like it might rain.  A few hours later it was back to sunny and warm with a slight breeze.  At least it tried.

It seems like a lot of you remember this ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Here’s a little more to take you ’there’ (555). 
“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.   __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, Aaaaahhhh.”  Clue:  There are precious stones involved.

Last night the festival atmosphere could be felt across the river at The Big Brown House.  Lisa and Daku went out to the front yard to watch the lanterns and fireworks.  I watched from upstairs.  The sounds of multiple music sources, the sight of the lanterns streaming up and then being caught by the current of air, and the fireworks all added up to magic.  Because of the air currents we didn’t get any ‘ghost lanterns’ in the yard or on the house.  I call them ghosts because by the time the fire burns out inside, the smoke has turned them a strange gray color.

This evening we had our version of a Thanksgiving dinner.  Lisa baked chicken and potatoes, and made a special gravy.  It was delicious.  Cat didn’t know about the holiday so we explained it to her.  She told us about her adventures at Boon Rawd Farm last night.  Apparently there were so many people at the concert and celebration that they had to shuttle folks back to their vehicles at the end.  It took them 2 hours to get out.  It was still a fun time and the music was good.

Tonight the energy from the festival is markedly lower.  People in the village are still setting off various things that pop and whistle, so it won’t be a totally quiet evening, but it’s not the war zone of last night.  I’m sure Daku is happy about this.

Tomorrow we’re going to the mall.  It will be my first time there since my surgery.  It’s been a month and the discomfort is gone.  Now it’s a matter of building up stamina.  For my first ‘malling’ I have figured out where to park in order to not have to walk too far to get to the stores we need.  Deviously brilliant.

Today’s photo was taken on our front lawn.  This beautiful, lone mushroom was a nice surprise.

Have a Thrilling Thursday


“Worrying often gives a small thing
a big shadow.”
~Swedish Proverb

Wednesday, November 25, 2015



Chiang Rai had another ‘post card’ day, weather wise.  ‘Un-Accu’ had the nerve to predict thunderstorms this afternoon.  Apparently no one looks outside before posting their forecasts. 

This week’s 'Easy Monday' song was “Michelle", by The Beatles.  The ‘Zany Day’ song is just as 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.  __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, Aaaaahhhh.”  Clue:  There’s a name in this title.  Lots of rumors about the title.  Who really knows.  

Last night someone set off a couple of very loud firecrackers at 2 or 3am.  Not cool.  I think I was the only one in the house that heard the noise.  This evening the pace has picked up.  Tonight is the night of the Full Moon and all that comes with it.  We will not be going to the river this year, but running to the window from time to time to see the massive streams of lanterns floating up, and the display fireworks.  Cat and her boyfriend went out to Boon Rawd Farm for a concert, and fireworks.  

This morning, while we were out with Mr. Daku, I shot this photo of the new members of our front garden.  The Morning Glories returned and brought along Birds of Paradise.  We have ‘Birds’ that hang from big palms, but these are growing from the ground.  

Later in the morning we met our friend Michelle at Le Meridien.  She and Scott leave tomorrow, heading to Australia and then the new job on Fiji.  We like to pass along a video series called ‘The Baby Human’ to new moms and dads.  Baby Harriet, who was getting over a night on the town, just watched and listened (555).  Michelle and Scott went to Bangkok recently and saw the ‘999 Elephants’ exhibit.  She said Lisa’s elephant was in the front as you walk into the Central World Mall.  That’s pretty cool.

There seems to be a real fascination with blowing things up, or at least the noise that goes with it.  There are groups across from our house and behind the house, exploding things.  Some villages actually have contests that pit groups against each other to see who can make the biggest explosion.  The rocket festivals make a lot more sense, but then one has to actually make something.  Now, where’s that missing fuse?

Time for Wacky Wednesday


“Love is a fruit in season
at all times, and in reach of
every hand.”
~Mother Teresa

Tuesday, November 24, 2015



Blue skies are the order of the day.  The cold overnight weather not only means winter is coming, it means that it’s flower time in Chiang Rai and the north.  Around town we can see the beginnings of the big bloom.

Most of the regular players have written with the name of this song.  Here’s a little more just to remind you.
“I need to, I need to, I need to, I need to make you see.  Oh, what you mean to me.  Until I do I’m hoping you will know what I mean…. I will say the only words I know that you’ll understand, my __.”  Hint:  Really now, this is so easy.  What was her name?

The party across the river continues.  This afternoon the firecrackers and explosives began.  By that I mean things that make big noises.  Daku does not like these noises.  When they explode he comes over to one of us and has a desperate look, very agitated.  It seems that the older he gets, the more sensitive he has become.  It’s going to be a long week.

Several airports in Thailand, including ours, have canceled flights that occur during the times when people will be celebrating in the evenings.  This is to prevent problems with the lanterns that will be streaming upward into the night sky.  Last year there was an attempt to restrict the hours that one could launch the lanterns, but not everyone gets that kind of message.  It just doesn’t work.  As a result, this year hundreds of flights, both local and international, are either being canceled or rescheduled.  Amazing Thailand.

Today’s photo was taken last year during Loi Krathong, at Wat Jetyod.  Yes, there was a parade.

This is that fun time of year when we count vitamins to see what we need to bring back from the states.  We have found 3 outlets here in Thailand that carry things we need, but others are just not sold here.  It’s also renewal time for many aspects of our lives.  Tomorrow we’re going to the Department of Land Transport, known in some countries as the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Registration for the van is coming up and we wouldn’t want to miss that.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Silence is a source 
of great strength.”
~Lao Tau

Monday, November 23, 2015



As the nights in Chiang Rai get cooler it can mean only one thing.  The Cold Season is on the way.  We still haven’t had any appreciable rain recently and it’s looking like our Rainy Season isn’t really coming.

‘Old School Friday’ was “Dancin’ in the Streets” by Martha and The Vandellas.  I think you know this ‘Easy Monday’ song:  “__, ma belle.  These are words that go together well, my __.  __, ma belle, sont des mots qui font tres bien ensemble, tres bien ensemble.”  Hint:  Those four lads from across the pond singing in French? What?  Title is a name.

It’s easy to tell that a holiday is coming soon.  There are fireworks going off and the music is thumping from across the river on a Monday night.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, marks the beginning of the Festival of Loi Krathong.  Wednesday is the actual Full Moon and the official day of the celebration.  There is another holiday celebrated at this time called Yee Ping.  That is the lantern celebration, when the sky is filled with the big paper lanterns powered by the heat from a tiny fire inside.  Loi Krathong means ‘floating basket’, which is a literal description of the floral arrangements that are placed in the river.  There are many meanings given to this holiday, dating back to Indian mythology.  Thailand is a culture that has, over the years, adopted rituals and icons from other lands and made them their own.  The festival began in Thailand 150 years ago.  I don’t know if we’ll get down to the river tomorrow night, but it will be filled with krathongs made from banana leaves woven into a little platform with floral arrangements and a candle and incense in the center.  It’s an amazing sight to see the river ‘glowing’ with hundreds of krathongs flowing on the current.  

Tonight we had a full table for dinner.  Our long-time friend Rachel, president of The Sold Project, is in town.  She came over with a woman who will stay in the country for about a year, working on various ways to track the progress of the children and young adults who are helped by the project.  We had a fun time comparing notes about what it’s like to live here and then go back to the states.  Sold is about to open a center here in town for the kids who are living in the city and going to school.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer last month.  What you are seeing are papayas, very big papayas.

Have a Great Week.


“Good humor makes all things
~Henry Ward Beecher

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Funnies


Our cool mornings/hot days pattern continues.  We’re in need of a serious rain, but there is none on the horizon.  It’s as if we’re going to go into the cold season without a true rainy season.  Time to seed some clouds?

The ‘Zany Day’ tune was “I’m A Hog For You Baby” by The Coasters.  Here’s a clip, just in case you never heard it:   Now it’s that ‘Old School Friday’ time and it’s easy:
“Callin’ out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat?  Summer’s here and the time is right for __ __ __ __.  __ in Chicago (__ __ __ __), down in New Orleans (__ __ __ __ ), in New York City.  All we need is music, sweet music, there’ll be music everywhere….”  Hint:  It’s by a motor city ‘Girl Group’ with a string of hits.  The song is a celebration of sorts and has been covered numerous times.  

My adventure outside the wall today consisted of driving across town and back.  Our friend Cornelis needed to get one of his art pieces to the frame shop.  He lives outside of town in what used to be a beautiful ‘community’ of two-story euro type houses.  Some of the homes have been refurbished, but a lot are abandoned.  The frame shop is near the Super Highway so we had lots of time to talk about life in Chiang Rai.  He told us stories about his life and his many occupations.  His home town in Holland wants to have an exhibit in his honor.  A real homecoming.  

While we were sitting in traffic I noticed the subjects of today’s photo.  They are making a money tree for their temple.  These can be seen in different shops around town, not always collecting for the same temple.  Since many of the smaller ones are community centers, the neighborhood supports these collections.  Sometimes volunteers will walk door-to-door with silver bowls asking for donations.  

This afternoon our friend Atom came over.  She recently returned from a five day trip to India with her family.  They visited three cities that are pilgrimages for most Buddhists going to India.  They began at the birthplace of Buddha, then the location where he gave his first teaching to his disciples, and finally to his burial place.  We asked her about the Cat ’n’ a Cup’ since she had told us about it.  She’s been there and said it gets busy in the afternoon with school kids and families.  They dress the cats up in costumes for the guests.  Hmm.

Next Wednesday, November 25, is Loi Krathong.  The festival begins on the 24th and ends on the 26th, but for some, it starts tonight.  Major holidays are usually celebrated for a week and this is one of the biggest.  Cat went to her village tonight for a party in honor of the holiday.  This year we will try and find a good spot to set our ‘baskets’ into the river.  More on this next week.

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


Thursday, November 19, 2015



A sunny day was what we got today.  Just like yesterday and the day before.  The forecasters are predicting cooler nighttime temps.  We may see dips into the 50s.  Time to break out the thermals and the socks.

Only one reader knows the ‘Zany Day’ song, so far.  Maybe the second verse will ring a bell. “One little piggie ate pizza, one piggie ate potato chips.  This little piggie’s comin’ over your house, gonna nibble on your sweet lips.  ‘Cause __ __ __ __ __ __, can’t get enough of your love.  When I go to sleep at night it’s the only thing I’m dreamin’ of.”  Clue:  The key word in the title has three letters.  

This was a stay-at-home day for me.  I missed a trip to the post office, Makro, and Browney’s.  What a bummer.  Well, it’s not like there won’t be a thousand other opportunities to visit these exciting places (555).  

Last night Cat told us how she and her friends had to wait for 20 minutes while a caravan of cars, trucks and vans drove through town.  Today we found out that the daughter of the Crown Prince is visiting Chiang Rai and that was her entourage.  They were on the streets again this evening.  

This afternoon we had a visit from our friend Pete and his 2.5 year old son Charles.  We have known Pete for years through his mother, who owns the art supply store in town.  We have not had a real visit since he and his wife returned from Scotland, where he was studying for his degree in economics.  We learned more about Thai life, listening to his tale of returning home to run the family store after learning about economics and business.  His son Charles is a bright, curious little boy and was a delight to be around.  He has picked up a lot of English on his own and at school.  At his age, languages are easy for children to learn.  At some time in the future we will have a big family dinner.

Tomorrow will be a new experience.  We’re going to Biggie C.  I may shuffle around a bit and then sit and wait until Lisa finishes shopping.  After that we’re going to help our friend Cornelis take one of his works to a frame shop.  It will be a busy morning.

Today’s photo is a bit of a throw back.  It was taken at Boon Rawd Farm months ago.  The farm started out as a plantation for the growing of hops used in making Singha beer, the most prominent brand inThailand.  Now they grow teas, promote community activities, provide a peaceful place for families to hang out, and even have giraffe and zebras.  We don’t know why.  There is also a wonderful restaurant with views of the valley.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“A sure way to lift oneself
is by helping to lift someone else.”
~Booker T. Washington

Wednesday, November 18, 2015



Chiang Rai had another clear, sunny day.  We’re in that 20 degree spread from day to night, so the nights and mornings are cool and the days are hot.

The ‘Easy Monday’ tune was “War” by Edwin Starr.  ‘Zany Day’ is from a familiar group.  Show your I.D. on this one.
“One little piggy went to London, one piggie went to Hong Kong.  This little piggie’s comin’ over your house, he’s gonna love you all night long.  ‘Cause __ __ __ __ __ __, can’t get enough of your love.  When I go to sleep at night that’s the only thing I’m dreamin’ of.”  Hint:  An odd tale of the three little pigs?  No,  What do you call a pig that wants it all?  Hmm, ask Charlie Brown. 

This morning we exercised Daku, with me in my chair.  He got a little distracted by a tasty plant that’s growing through some bushes.  He nibbles the leaves of the plant and with much gusto.  He never touches the bush.  When it was time to play with his ball he showed a special enthusiasm today.  Almost like ‘put me in coach’.  Made me laugh.

On our trip into town today I realized more things about living in Thailand.  While negotiating the traffic it struck me that there is no one to enforce the ‘rules’. While most folks seem to follow the basics, that doesn’t mean  you can't improvise when you feel it’s appropriate or necessary…  like driving down the wrong side of the highway on your motorbike to get to the dirt path to the correct side.  When there are no parking spaces and cars have a 1/4 inch to pass, it seems logical to just double-park and wait.  I did that today and it felt weird until I noticed several other vehicles doing the same thing.  The one ‘custom’ that is still not Ok with me is turning in front of oncoming traffic.  That’s just dumb, like playing ‘chicken’.  These things work in Chiang Rai ‘cause we’re still a little country town.

Traveling around town today was pretty comfortable for me.  I didn’t get out of the van the whole time.  I do notice the bumps and potholes in the road though.  Since nothing seems to linger past the jolt, things must be getting better.  So ends the patient report for today.  (555)

Today’s photo was taken by Lisa during her visit to Doi Chaang Coffee.  The pond gets rearranged from time to time and the current motif is simplicity.  

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


“It is not enough to have a good mind;
the main thing is to use it well.”
~Rene Descartes

Tuesday, November 17, 2015



Well, true to the forecast, it was a hot day with no rain.  With ‘High Season’ in full swing, I’m sure that makes the visitors happy.

Quite a few of you had no problem with the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Here are more lyrics in case you didn’t get it.
“__, it ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker.  __, friend only to the undertaker.  Ooooh, __, it’s an enemy to all mankind, the point of __ blows my mind… __, what is it good for?  Absolutely nothin’…..”  Hint:  __ is on a lot of people’s minds these days.  

I stayed in and took it easy today.  Listening to one’s body and respecting the signals seems to be the key.  This is not a situation where it is noble to work through the pain.  I’m beginning to think that alternating active days with rest days may be the best method for now.  Two active days in a row was not such a good thing.  Tomorrow we’re going into town and I’ll just drive.  That should be enough.

This morning I helped exercise Daku.  I sat in a chair and gave him his treat when he ran to me.  It’s the same running routine we always do, I’m just sitting.  He doesn’t seem to mind as long as he gets his treat.  The boy will work for food.  It was nice being outside in the brisk morning air.

Blue and I had lunch together while Lisa went on another lunch date in town.  She met with our friend Caty, mother of the twins, at Doi Chaang Coffee.  While she was there she saw Kwan and Kern.  They have been working on getting The Wanderer together.  They’re having an outdoor orchestra concert, but we will miss it because we’ll be in the States.  Oh well, I’m sure there will be more.

In today’s photo you can see one of the resident cats at ‘Cat ’n’ a Cup’.  After I took this photo another cat showed up.  Not sure how many cats live there, but I’m sure they love having the run of such a big indoor playground.

During her lunch today Lisa learned that one of our favorite online vitamin distributors is shipping to Thailand again.  That will mean that we might not have return home loaded down with vitamins.  We going to try getting two smaller suitcases and take less clothes.  What?  We just might be able to manage things that way.  This twice a year journey always has it’s challenges, and each time we seem to rise to the occasion.  More will be revealed.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Harmony makes small things grow,
lack of it makes great things decay.”

Monday, November 16, 2015



Chiang Rai is still in ‘Hot Season’ mode.  There was isolated rain yesterday, but not near us.  The forecast calls for 90s this week and no rain in sight.  There are warm jackets for sale on the road to town, but I doubt if they’ll make any sales this week.

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “In The Still of the Night” by The Five Satins.  Time for an ‘Easy Monday’ break:
“__ huh yeah!  What is it good for?  Absolutely nothin’.  __, yeah, what is it good for?  Absolutely nothin’.”  Clue: A three letter word.  

It’s hard to believe that the time is getting close for our Winter Visit to the states.  All of the reservations are done and we find ourselves wrestling with a new twist on travel.  When we arrive, we will require help with our suitcases.  I used to man-handle them out of the car, but that has become a forbidden move.  So, I’m sending out an S.O.S. in an effort to find a strong person to meet us in Culver City on the night of December 23, around 9:30pm for lifting duty.  Assistance will also be needed on January 11 for the same duty.  Email me if you’re up for it.

I have been outside the walls two days in a row.  Still trying to pace myself and not overdo it.  We had dinner at The Bistro Sunday night.  The fun part about going out to eat is the observations we make getting there and back.  I have the same meal every time so the thrill is gone on that count.  There is a little dog that is the mascot for the CondoTel.  He greets people and is willing to take bits of food as payment from the outside diners.  Sunday must have been a busy day for him because when we got there, he was asleep on a bench.  I should have snapped a photo.

This morning we took the van to the carwash and hung out at Work@Home.  We hadn’t seen Katai since the surgery so there was lots of talk about that and hospitals, etc.  We had a lengthy discussion about reincarnation and that got deep.  It’s always a pleasure to visit with her and get her point of view on various topics.  She thinks about things in a refreshing way.  

On the way home from our morning outing we stopped by the Clock Tower circle to get a photo of the new coffee shop.  Today’s photo is the front window of ‘Cat ’n’ a Coffee’.  There really are cats inside.  The reflections in the window are from across the circle.  Blue had us cracking up, imagining a health department inspector walking in and writing them up.  

Our Cat had a great time with the elephants on Saturday, and then on Sunday she went to her village to celebrate her nephew’s  13th birthday.  We are constantly reminded of the strong family ties here in Thailand.  

Have a Great Week.


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it
is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
~William Arthur Ward

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Funnies


We had a beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  I’m liking the one day rain, one day sunshine thing.  If only the nights would warm up a bit, for the sake of the pool.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was no stranger, “Y.M.C.A” by The Village People.  I couldn’t resist this ‘Old School Friday’ tune:  “__ __ __ __ __ __ I held you, held you tight.  ‘Cause I love you, love you so, promise I’ll never let you go __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  The song is by a group named for a very smooth, shiny fabric.  The background parts would have given it away so I left them out (555). 

This was a crazy day at The Big Brown House.  We were expecting HomePro to bring something to fix the fridge, the air/cons were to be serviced, and Nung, our fixer guy was coming to do lights.  The problem was, we didn’t know when most of this was going to happen.  Lisa and Cat shopped in the morning and all the ‘action’ commenced in the afternoon.  The guys that came to do the fridge brought no part, but said they would have to take it away.  What?  It might take 1 to 2 days, or if it was difficult, a week.  Not cool.  After a phone call to the boss, the air/con guys finally came right before dinner, along with Nung.  Most of the afternoon was spent trying to decide what to do about keeping the food cold.  In the end, our friend Caty had a small fridge she loaned us and Nung picked it up for us.  No more bags of ice or foam coolers.  Just a little bit closer to normal.

Tomorrow Cat is going on an adventure to the Anantara Resort near the Golden Triangle.  A group of kids from The Sold Project are going to ride the elephants.  They have done this for the past several years and had a ball.  Cat is really excited about it and during dinner we compared notes on various aspects of the experience.  I learned that the commands the Mahouts (attendants) use is not Thai.  It’s a dialect that came from Northeastern Thailand a long time ago and became the standard.  The resort has a refuge for the mahouts and their families. It looks like a village and is a safe alternative to trying to make a living with the elephants in the city (which is illegal).  Most of these families lived in the forests and made money moving teak logs with their elephants.  When the harvesting of teak was outlawed, they had nowhere to go.  Their families included their elephants.  Anantara has been a great solution for the people and the elephants.

Last night, after dinner, I was reflecting on my surgery recovery and realized that most of the internet sites I’ve seen were basing it on a younger person. Today my doctor said that some of the things I was concerned about should be gone after 4 more weeks.  Hmm, it’s just a little over 2 so I’ll chill (555). Blue said something about not having seen many 72 year olds here and then we started laughing.  The laughter got crazier when I said something about us being the oldest people that I’d met in Thailand.  Then we decided we needed a title, and maybe a small throne...

Today’s photo was take at a house warming last year for a dear friend of ours.  This country trio had the genre down.  Did not speak English, but sang American country songs with drawls and all. 

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.       On with the ‘Funnies’.    Formula One is in Brazil this weekend, Zoom.


Thursday, November 12, 2015



The forecast got it right today.  An afternoon rain cooled things down.  For tomorrow we’ve been told that a storm would be ‘nearby’.  I don’t look at those sites much anymore.  

A few of you remembered this ‘Zany Day’ anthem.  It was big in the discos, bars, and the concert circuit.
“No man does it all by himself.  I said, young man, put your pride on the shelf, and just go there, to the __-__-__-__.  I’m sure they can help you today.  It’s fun to stay at the __-__-__-__….”  Hint:  Let’s see, there was a cowboy, an Indian, a policeman, and a construction worker.  Hmm.  No, not the Stones (555).

Today was one of those special days.  The morning was different than most Thursdays.  Cat is off school for two days, so she and Lisa exercised Daku and he thoroughly enjoyed it.  Cat kept changing things up and moving around and Daku likes that in his play.  He was out there, running the lawn with the two favorite women in his life, what could be better?  The next thing on the agenda was a run up the highway by Cat and Lisa.  They went to the post office and Makro.  

One of the perks of Lisa now driving around town is the ability to make dates with friends and be more independent.  She had a lunch date today with our friend Claire, at Chivit Tamma Da.   

We got more rain this afternoon.  It was one of those storms that comes in, sits for about an hour and then leaves.  Everything got a good soaking so watering won’t be necessary.  

This time of year there is something that happens 120K southwest of Bangkok that I didn’t know about.  Whales come to feed.  What?  Yes, there are whale watching opportunities in Thailand.  We won’t get there, but it’s nice to know it happens.  

I’m still staying mostly upstairs, taking it easy and listening to my body.  All of the input I get from people in my life is telling me that it’s OK to take the time needed to heal.  Sometimes it feels like I’m just loafing, but I rarely get sick and really don’t know how to be a good patient unless I’m slammed to the bed with the flu.  It takes a village…

Your photo for today was taken by Lisa.  The pink flowers on the front wall have returned, along with the beginnings of the Morning Glories.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Nothing is good or bad,
but thinking makes it so.”
~William Shakespeare

Wednesday, November 11, 2015



There was a forecast of rain and it looked possible for a short time.  Then it turned into a beautiful, hot day.  'Same as it ever was.'

‘Easy Monday’ was “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles.  It’s time to get ‘Zany’ with a song from 1978.  Remember this?
“Young man, there’s no need to feel down.  I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.  I said, young man, ‘cause you’re in a new town, there no need to be unhappy…. It’s fun to stay at the __-__-__-__, it’s fun to stay at the __-__-__-__.”  Clue: Each dash is a letter.  There, I’ve given it away (555).

Today was an inside day.  Well, almost.  I drove Lisa to a couple of errands this evening and it was nice to get out.  On Clock Tower street I got to see the hustle and bustle of dinner time.  There is one very long city block with a combination of sit-down restaurants, take-away shops, and food carts.  On one corner of the Clock Tower circle the "Cat Coffee" place has opened.  We just got a glimpse, so we really don’t know if there are cats inside or not.  Closer inspection from outside will be necessary.  I say ‘outside’ because I am deathly allergic to cats, so I won’t be tasting the coffee.  

The ‘High Season’ has just begun and the evening traffic shows it, at least on the streets with attractions.  When I’m a little better we’ll have to go down to the Night Bazaar.  We haven’t been there in ages and it’s time to go ’shopping’.  In the meantime, local merchants will benefit from the influx of visitors.  

The bug-spray people came today and we learned that it usually takes four treatments to get rid of ticks.  That means there is hope.  We were hoping that the combination of spraying and a good rainy season would give us and Daku a break.  Now it’s up to the spray since the rain seems to have forgotten us.  He still brings his little friends in the house, but it’s not as bad as it used to be. 

I’m not a fan of cigar smoking, but I found it interesting that the menu at Chivit Tamma Da has half a page devoted to a selection of Cuban cigars.  

You might say it’s a Wacky Wednesday.


“Don’t go through life,
grow through life.”
~Eric Butterworth

Tuesday, November 10, 2015



The rains came today.  It started with a pleasant, light rain and turned into a wonderful downpour.  Just enough to wash everything down and irrigate the plants.  

It’s still ‘Easy Monday’ on Tuesday and this is the chorus to the song we’re working with:  “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?  All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”  Hint:  Those pesky lads from across the pond doing something heavy back in 1966.  The title is a first and last name of a woman. 

Last night we got a call from our friend Gary.  He and Jago wanted to come over for a playdate.  Every time he drives by our house, Jago gets all excited and wants to stop.  They came over today, along with Bamboo, a little dog that Gary rescued last year.  Jago wore Daku out running around the yard.  They had fun and Daku crashed as soon as they left.  Doggie good times.

This morning Lisa and I went into town.  This was my first real daytime excursion out of the house in about a week.  After picking up a new handle for our vacuum, one that provides ’turbo boost’, we went to the bakery, Doi Chaang, and then the vet.  It took most of the morning and I think I did pretty good.  Still not up to a lot of walking or driving it turns out.  Progress is being made, slowly.

Missing a week of Chiang Rai gave some of the building projects a chance to grow.  I was surprised at some of the work that had been done.  The rice in one of the fields we pass had been partially harvested, with more getting close.  The big fence that hid a construction site near the main road through town has been removed to reveal an almost complete apartment/shophouse complex that has a very modern look.  I like to keep up (555).

While gazing out on the back yard, I noticed the farmer behind us.  My focus was drawn to the neat rows of vegetables he has planted this season.  The variations in colors were different than past plantings so I thought I’d share of photo with you.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

“A mentor is someone who allows you
to see the hope inside yourself.”
~Oprah Winfrey

Monday, November 9, 2015



The sun continues to shine brightly on Chiang Rai.  Our seasons are so twisted right now it’s not funny.  Hot days, cool nights have been the pattern.  There has been a forecast (555) for several days of rain.  We’ll see.

‘Old School Friday’ was “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” by The Temptations.  Congrats to all who remembered.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be a snap.  “Ah, look at all the lonely people.  Ah, look at all the lonely people.”  __ __ picks up the rice in the church where the wedding has been, lives in a dream….”  Hint:  So easy.  The title is a name.

We had two nights of loud music from across the river this weekend.  There was the usual Friday night party, which was just a distant annoyance.  Saturday night must have been a special concert.  I could tell because there were afternoon sound checks and they were loud.  There was one group that I enjoyed, the rest was difficult to digest.  We have the benefit of several walls between us and the sound when we’re in our upstairs bedroom.  Blue, on the other hand, gets the full force of the sound waves from his downstairs room.  Sunday morning we compared notes and we all agreed that it was one of the worst ever.  From time-to-time during the evening I had to remind myself that the people at the fairgrounds were having a good time and enjoying it all.

I am still taking it easy recuperating.  Last night (Sunday) we went to Le Meridien for dinner and I drove.  Now that was a strange experience.  Oh, I still know how to drive, it just felt funny.  Some of the harsh bumps and holes in the streets were not very kind to me, so that’s something to remember.  It was good to get out; I might even say ‘liberating’.  Our dinner was special because we got to meet little Harriet, who is 4 1/2 months old.  She is the daughter of Scott and Michele.  Scott works for the hotel and has helped order my meals every time we eat there.  They announced that they will be leaving Thailand and going to Fiji, to another major resort.  They are from Australia and Fiji is closer than Thailand.  We will miss them.

The outing last night might have been a little more than I was ready for physically.  I have to pace myself and not let my brain’s enthusiasm override my body’s healing.  Lunch and dinner downstairs today were accomplished with slow, careful moves.  Baby steps.

Today’s photo was taken at Chivit Tamma Da.  I don’t know the whole story on this old bike, but the next time I see Joaqim I will be sure to ask him.

Have a Great Week.


“The things we have in common
are more important than
our differences.”

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Funnies


We had another hot day in Chiang Rai.  The farmer behind us was very busy in the blazing sun, doing what farmers do.  The temps drop around 20 degrees at night, so we’re not getting a warming benefit in the pool.  Hmm.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Short Fat Fannie” by Larry Williams.  Cool Points to Trudye and Stuie.  You will note that this week’s ‘Old School Friday’ is from a more recent year than in the past.  It seems that ‘Old School’ is not as old to some of you as it is to me.  We’ll see if 1972 goes back far enough to be considered ‘Old School’ (555).
“…Mama just hung her head and said, ‘Son, __ __ __ __ __, where ever he laid his hat was his home'.  And when he died, all he left us was alone.”  Hint:  It came from the motor city, by five singers.  The story of an absentee, deadbeat dad set to a groove.

This morning Lisa made a solo run to Big C and Top’s Market at the mall.  I’m seriously impressed.  Next thing you know, I’ll be asking if I can borrow the van.  

I think my sentence upstairs may be coming to an end.  The area of pain has been shrinking on a daily basis.  Today was the last day the doctor said I should stay put.  I can move around, slowly, with very little discomfort.  This evening I dressed for dinner and went downstairs.  Whoa!  It’s nice down there (555).  Having a conversation with a meal is really nice, and missed.  I will continue to take it easy until the pain is completely gone.  I don’t want to mess anything up thinking I’m done with all this.

The Friday Night thing is happening across the river and they started at a high volume this week.  I guess there’s nothing like a weekly carnival.   

Since I haven’t been out and about, my collection of recent photos has grown small.  Today’s photo is from a few years ago.  Daku is jumping to catch the ball.

I’m looking forward to getting out in the world.  There are things happening out there that I know you’d like to know about.  I would too.  We may be going to Le Meridien Resort on Sunday for dinner with our friends Stephen and Claire.  If my endurance is back, it’s on.  Now that Lisa is driving, I can be a passenger if it’s too much.  I have not been behind the wheel since October 27.  Hmm.

Have a Wonderfull WeekEnd.    On to the ‘Funnies’.


Thursday, November 5, 2015



From what I could tell by looking out of the windows, it was a beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  It was hot, with no sign of rain.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has two fans so far.  Let’s see if anyone else remembers this crazy oldie. 
“One day while I was visiting at Heart Break Hotel, that's where I met __ and she sure looked swell.  I told her that I loved her and I’d never leave.  She put her arms around me, gave me fever.”  Hint:  Remember, the title is three words, the first two are descriptive and the last is a name.

Day three living upstairs on bed rest seems a little more comfortable.  At least it is when I’m in a static, reclining position.  One good thing that has come from this is the option of catching up on American football.  They show a lot more of it here than in the past.  It’s a game I kind of understand.  I’ll say this, it’s a lot easier to follow than cricket or rugby, although I’m getting vaguely familiar with rugby.  I also know who won the World Series and the World Rugby Championship.  

This evening Natcha presented Blue, Lisa and me with beautiful, ultra-soft scarves that she crocheted.  She knows we will go to the states in December and her memory is that it’s a cold place in winter.  She visited years ago with an American couple she worked for and they were in the Mid-West.  A warm scarf just might come in handy in the Los Angeles area if past winters are any indication.

The fridge saga got a jolt of energy today when we received a call telling us they would come and remove the motor, presumably for replacement.  We’ll know more in about 3 days.  The ice brigade continues (555).  One of Lisa’s friends wrote to say that nothing unites people like customer dissatisfaction.  Oh yeah.  

Flowers always seem to brighten a mood.  The orchids are back.

Daku now seems to understand that I’m not leaving the bed.  When he comes over to bother me I scratch his throat and he stands there and enjoys it.  That’s become our play time.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Hearing is a gift,
listening is an art.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2015



Morning drizzle is always welcome as long as it doesn’t get in the way of Daku’s play time.  We had a cloudy day that looked like rain, but the early morning was all that got wet.  There could be more ‘nearby’.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers.  It’s time for a ‘Zany Day’ song and this is it:
“I was slipping and sliding with a long tall Sally, peeking and a hiding, duck back in the alley.  Don’t want to rip it up, don’t want to dance with Annie.  I’ve got a brand new lover, name is __ __ __.”  Hint:  The last dash is a name that rhymes with another name in the song.  Extra Cool Points if you know who Annie was, and if you know the other song references.

The big news today is that Lisa took the van for a solo adventure.  She drove herself to Art Bridge, then Makro, and down the highway to Browney’s.  After eight years of not driving in Thailand, she’s doing it just fine.  There are still a few mountains to climb, like downtown, and the loop around the Healthy Market, but they should be a piece of cake.  She was nice enough to check in from time to time, probably realizing I was sitting here like a worried parent or something.  I knew she’d be alright.  So ends the era of me being the only ‘driver’ for the Big Brown House.

Day Two of living upstairs found me wondering what it looked like downstairs.  The pool guy came and I didn’t get to greet him.  I get updates, but it’s not the same as being there, seeing stuff.  I can tell that I’m improving a little bit each day.  Last night it didn’t hurt to carefully turn over while sleeping.  The pain has changed in it’s intensity for the most part, to a milder ache.  I still have a ways to go so I’ll just have to exercise patience and give myself a break.  The mind sometimes wants to move quicker than the body will allow.  Oh, that sounds so pitiful.

Our friend Sutheera is helping with our refrigerator saga.  We may hear something from the manufacturer in a few days.  Meanwhile, we, or should I say ‘they’, are managing the food and keeping things cool.  It means shopping more often for things like vegetables and chicken and fish, but it’s working.

The big elephant has left Art Bridge, presumably on it’s way to Bangkok for the big opening of “999 Elephants” at the Central World mall.  

Today’s photo was taken in our front yard.  I love the way the second plant is growing on the trunk of the palm.

This evening Blue came upstairs to visit.  We had a really good time talking about lots of different stuff.  A few times I was abruptly reminded why I am not to laugh.  It’s hard not to laugh when hanging out with Blue.  That’s what friends are for.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


“In matters of style,
swim with the current;
in matters of principle,
stand like a rock.”
~Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, November 3, 2015



This morning an amazing thing happened.  It rained.  We had light rain off and on all day.  Quite refreshing.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song stirred up a few memories, and I just know that more of you remember this:
“Wonder this time where she’s gone.  Wonder if she’s gone to stay.  __ __ __ when she’s gone, and this house just ain’t no home anytime she goes away.  And I know, I know, I know, I know (there’s 24 more of that phrase).  Hey, I oughtta leave the young thing alone, but __ __ __ when she’s gone.”  Hint:  Hmm, I think you’ve had enough hints.

Day one of living upstairs is almost over.  It’s very odd to be at home, but not be a part of the ‘action’.  It began last night when Daku came to me when it was time to go out for his final trip to the yard.  This morning he looked at me like I had lost my mind.  We always go downstairs together.  When it was time for him to go for his morning run I didn’t go.  And so it went... all day I stayed on the bed, following directions, missing the little things that happen downstairs during the course of the day.  Lisa drove the van last week and got a feel for how it handles.  This morning she wanted to take it to Big C but I didn’t think it was a good idea to go out into town in the rain.  She and Blue took a taxi and took care of business.  Tomorrow she will do some shopping in the van.  Meals are weird since I’m upstairs and, well, you get it.  

We’ve been in refrigerator hell for 3 days.  We got a call in Chiang Mai that the machine was making noise.  Then it stopped keeping things cold, then more noise and heat, and then it died.  It’s less than a year old and has been ‘fixed’ about 5 times.  Now we find out that the store only has a 14 day warranty, even though they wave a one year warranty in your face when you buy it.  That one is from the maker, whose distribution is based in Bangkok.  What?  It will unravel itself somehow, but right now there is food stuffed into Natcha and Gong’s fridge and pots of ice in the ‘new’ one. The wonders of the modern age.  Anyone remember when a truck used to come through the neighborhood and the man would put a block of ice in your ‘ice-box’?  (5)

Today’s photo was taken from the bus to Chiang Mai.  Just one of many jungle scenes that make the trip so interesting.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Apathy is a glove
in which evil slips it’s hand.”
~Bodie Thoene