Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Funnies


We are definitely in a daytime warming trend.  This afternoon was warm.  Now, we just need to get the nights to get on board, then things would be great.  As soon as the sun begins to set a chill sets in.  How long?

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Leader of the Laundromat” by The Detergents.   My friend Lane was the only one who knew it.  Time for some ‘Old School Friday’ that you might know.  “I don’t want to lose you, this good thing, that I got.  I will surely, surely lose a lot.  ‘Cause your love is better than any love I know.  It’s like thunder, lightning, the way you love me is frightening.  I’d better __, __ __, baby.”
Clue:  This 1966 R&B hit became a standard for club bands.  The hook is based on a superstition.

This morning Gong came by the house.  He had been at the hospital overnight.  He told Lisa that the baby had arrived at 11pm last night.  This afternoon we all went down to meet her and see how Natcha was doing.  They’re both great, although little Neetchawan was sound asleep.  She is less than one day old.

Mother and baby will come home on Sunday.  They are in a maternity ward that is full.  Imagine a very large room full of mothers and newborns, and some fathers sleeping on the floor.  Natcha said it was difficult to sleep last night.  There are no private rooms available due to the illnesses caused by the cold weather.  To get to Natcha’s ward we had to walk through an outdoor hallway that had beds with patients on both sides.  

It has been a search, but we finally found a couple of hot-water bottles.  Ours developed a leak at the cap, and that’s just not okay on these cold nights.  Most of the pharmacies were sold out.  Today we got the last two from a store downtown.  While we were out we also got a warm infant outfit for Neetchawan.  Natcha comes from a big family and I’m sure they will provide more than enough ‘things’ for the baby.  We do need to make a diaper run tomorrow so things will be ready for their arrival.

There is a big piece of land on the other side of our neighbor.  It has been filled in and vacant for over a year.  Last week we saw a ‘land blessing ceremony’ and this week something is happening.  We’re not sure yet, but sharp eyes are keeping watch.  I’m hoping for a single family dwelling.

Chiang Rai is going to have a balloon festival this year.  It might be fun to see if it weren’t for the traffic it will create on the ground.  Maybe they’ll float our way. 

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


Thursday, January 28, 2016



Today we saw the sun.  It happened in the afternoon.  We danced on the lawn and set off fireworks (555).  Mornings and nights are still cold, but the days are getting better.

The ‘Zany Day’ song has not been named yet.  I knew it was a long shot, but I’m sure someone has an idea.  
“My dad said ‘Find a laundry that’s new’ (find a laundry that’s new).  How can I tell my baby we’re through (tell my baby we’re through).  Gotta drive right into town, I don’t care if my shirts are brown.  I got a date tonight with the __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  I seem to remember a similar song about a pack of bikers.  Hmm.

Our morning adventure consisted of a trip to the ‘Land Office’.  It was time to pay the taxes on the land.  Things have changed a bit and the annual rate, after much confusion, was higher than before.  Even so, it was only $175.  When you think in baht, some things seem very expensive, but comparing it to dollars and past experience, it’s not so bad.

The big news is, we just returned from taking Natcha to the hospital.  She’s having labor pains.  Her little girl will probably arrive tomorrow or Saturday.  The excitement around here was something.  Natcha would call Cat, Cat would run upstairs and relay messages.  Finally, Gong knocked on Cat’s window and said, ‘It’s time’.  The baby will be born at Chiang Rai hospital, which is the government hospital.  Natcha was smart, she took her little heater with her to stay warm. 

The deli section at Big C is where we found this cute little ‘Rice Bear’.  We didn’t buy the meal, but knowing there is such a thing makes me smile.

There is a new ‘Night Spot’ somewhere in the neighborhood behind us.  How do I know?  Live music is flowing into our bedroom.  The band this evening has some nice arrangements of popular songs, but one of the singers is not happening.  We may have to devise a headphone system to block out the various ‘free concerts’ in the hood.

With overnight lows predicted to be in the 40s, we’re still not out of the arctic cold spell, but it’s not as bone-chilling as it was earlier this week.  You know it’s bad when you can see your breath inside the house.  Tonight, no breath (555).

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“One meets their destiny often
on the road they take to avoid it.”
~French Proverb

Wednesday, January 27, 2016



We were supposed to get warmer temps today, but a new cold front from Burma came in and left us wrapped up in extra clothes.  Lots of street vendors selling used, warm jackets.  Small appliance stores are having a run on heaters.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Walk On By”, by Dionne Warwick.  Today’s ‘Zany Day’ song is a parody of an already zany song.  See if you can figure it out:  “My folks were always putting her down (down, down), because her laundry came back brown (brown, brown).  I don’t care if they think she’s bad, I fell in love ‘cause she looked so sad.  I got a date tonight with the __ __ __ __.”  Hint: There’s a bit of role reversal going on here (555).  

This morning the four of us went to Biggie C (Big C) for supplies.  It’s nice when Cat goes with us because we can have her read labels when necessary.  Many products have the ingredients in English, but the stores put stickers with the Thai ingredients over the English and they don’t pull off.  There is a real disconnect going on here.  Anyway, we found an oyster sauce without soy and that’s a big deal when it comes to adding flavor to some things.  Now that I’m enjoying more food, it might as well taste good.  (555)

Today’s photo was taken at Big C, in the sports department.  Who knew that Hello Kitty was such a sportster?

The pool is empty and things are on schedule.  Somehow, it looks much deeper without water.  When I stand in the water it comes to mid-chest, but looking at it empty, it looks like it would be over my head.  The magic of perspective.

Last night Lisa picked up Daku’s sweater and asked him if he wanted to put it on.  He jumped up and walked over to her.  He had been wearing it during the day and got used to it.  

We continue to be amazed and surprised by the information we’re getting about our respective family histories.
Our friend Lisa Hamilton at is helping us make sense of the available information and does some real detective work.  From my DNA I know that 63% of me came from Africa and 36% from Europe.  There are lots of specifics that are being discovered and it boggles the mind.  More on this later.

Time for a Wacky Wednesday.


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

Tuesday, January 26, 2016



What can I say?  Today was cold and rainy all day.  It didn’t seem to warm up, though ‘they’ told us it did.  We have resorted to tricks, like using the hot-water bottle to get warm.  

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song has had a big response.  That tells me it’s easy, so sing the next part and write me.
“I just can’t get over losing you, and so if I seem broken and blue.  __ __ __, __ __ __.  Foolish pride is all that I have left, so let me hide the tears and the sadness you gave me when you said goodbye, __ __ __.”  Hint:  Not this time (555). 

Yesterday Cat’s school told them they could wear whatever they needed to stay warm.  Normally, they have to wear their uniforms with no deviation.  Today she was bundled up and fairly warm all day.  

We stayed home all day, trying to hide from the cold that was omnipresent.  Daku missed his morning play because it was raining.  In fact, he didn’t get much outside time because of the constant rain.  People have been posting the temperature and photos of themselves all wrapped up in warm clothing.  Last night the weather site said it was 42F and a ‘feels like’ of 39F.  We’ve been asking the big question:  who is it that tells them what it feels like and how do they know?  Tomorrow is supposed to be slightly warmer, and so it will go for the rest of the week.  

There is a strange phenomenon going on in The Land of Smiles.  People, mostly in Bangkok I believe, are buying large dolls called ‘Child Angels’ that, when blessed, are supposed to bring good fortune.  These dolls are about the size of a toddler.  They have become so popular that several news stories are reporting that the Thai Smile branch of Thai Airways has set up rules for traveling with the dolls.  If they don’t have a ticket, they will be put in the overhead storage.  That’s not all.  With the ticket, the doll is entitled to a drink and snack.  What?  Never a dull moment.

Today, when we went down for lunch, Daku was curled up on his bed, warm and cozy thanks to Natcha and Fone.

Tomorrow our pool is supposed to be emptied so the annual sealing can be done.  If all goes well, the water will get pumped out and Saturday the patching will be done.  Then we hope for a big rain to fill it (555).  Actually, it will take water trucks to fill the pool.  Then we wait for sunshine to warm it up.  Hmm, this may take a while.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“It is better to be loved
than feared.”
~African Proverb

Monday, January 25, 2016



The word most commonly spoken in Chiang Rai this weekend is ‘Cold’.  Sunday we had a significant drop in temperature that left us doubling up on warm clothes again.  This morning we were reminded of the cold spell in Culver City during our recent visit.  The whole region is going through history-making cold.  Brrr.  It’s nothing like what is happening on the eastern part of the U.S., but this is new to most people in this part of the world.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Just My Imagination (Runnin’ Away With Me) by The Temptations.  It’s ‘Easy Monday’ time:  “If you see me walking down the street, and I start to cry each time we meet.  __ __ __, __ __ __.  Make believe that you don’t see the tears, just let me grieve in private ‘cause each time I see you, I break down and cry.  And __ __ __ (don’t stop)…”  Hint:  The singer is not over a breakup and does not wish to see her ex.  Oh, made famous by a woman who had numerous hits and knows the way to a city in California.

Sunday was Daku’s 7th birthday.  He didn’t have a cake, but he got a rawhide bone that didn’t last long.  He received birthday greetings from friends from around the world.  Some of his fans sent photo-greetings from their dogs.  We didn’t realize we were living with a celebrity.  

On our last outing at Chivit Tamma Da this tree trunk caught my eye.  

All day Sunday it looked like rain.  Just as we were preparing to go out to dinner it began.  It was a light rain, but very cold.  We joined Stephan and Claire at Le Meridien Resort for Italian food at La Flavola.  In the past, they have prepared a special meal to accommodate my dietary needs.  This time I ordered straight from the menu, much to their surprise.  As is usually the case, we covered lots of topics in our conversations, and had a great time. 

There is a large part of life that is lived outside in tropical and semi-tropical parts of the world.  Outdoor dining is very normal.  The Healthy Market, many coffee shops, and the evening markets are all outside.  During dinner we pondered what it must be like to have to work outside in these drastically cold temps.  
We live in a rather thick-walled house with windows and doors that are fairly tight.  It’s cold in our house even though we have space heaters in a few rooms.  The people who live in little wooden houses with sheet-metal roofs are having a really rough time in this cold.  Some folks spend the evening around a fire for warmth, but ultimately go inside and sleep on a mat on the cold ground.  There is a whole range of living conditions here, from very traditional to very modern.  The nights are in the low 40F range in the lower areas, and much colder in the hills.  Current forecasts are calling for a slight warming trend the closer we get to the weekend.  

Have a Great Week.


“The greatest discovery of my generation
is that human beings can alter their lives
by altering their attitudes of mind.”
~William James

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Funnies


We had another hot day in Chiang Rai.  The word on the street, and in the forecasts, calls for rain on Sunday and Monday.  That would be so cool.  There is also talk of a drastic temperature drop.  Hmm, I’d rather have the rain.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” by The Coasters.
I realize that it’s an old tune, so here’s one for ‘Old School Friday' that’s newer, for you youngsters (555).  “Ooo, each day through my window I watch her as she passes by.  I say to myself, you’re such a lucky guy.  To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true.  Out of all the fellas in the world, she belongs to me.  But it was __ __ __, (__ __ __ __).  It was __ __ __, (__ __ __ __).”  Hint:  The first three words are the most important as far as naming the song.  A ballad by an R&B quintet from the motor-city music pool that gave us last week’s old school song.  It’s a daydream thing.

Today was Lisa’s birthday in Thailand.  Technically, she has another day to celebrate on U.S. time (555).  This morning Lisa, Blue and I went to Chivit Tamma Da and hung out in the garden.  Sitting in the warm morning sun with coffee, tea, and English muffins, plus a great deal of laughter was a perfect way to start the day.

On our way home I stopped to take the photo for today.  We first noticed this dead bamboo earlier in the week.
We don’t know why, but several large bamboo plants in the area all died.  There is an eerie, beautiful contrast that I couldn’t resist.

This evening we went to a wine tasting at The Legend Boutique Hotel.  There were people that we knew, and we ended up making two new friends.  One has lived in Chiang Rai for 14 years, and the other is a doctor from Bangkok who was here teaching at a university.  We had a lot of fun talking with them.  I think meeting new people in these settings is why we go.  Hopefully we’ll see them again in the future.

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


Thursday, January 21, 2016



Our heatwave continues, but the forecast is calling for rain on Sunday night.  Since we’re in a drought, that would be very nice.  In Central Thailand there has been a call for water-rationing.

“Her chair was there right next to mine at __ __ __.  A chill was running down my spine at __ __ __.  I could smell the sweet perfume, she smiled at me my heart went boom, then everybody in the room at __ __ __.  They said, ‘Man be careful, that chick belongs to __ __.”  Hint:  So, two of the blanks are a name and the third is the place.  

This morning when I took Daku out, we had a little surprise.  The tallest stalk of one of our banana trees had crashed to the ground from the weight of its fruit.  Here’s what it looked like.

We started our day outside the walls with a dose of art.  We had not seen the Art Bridge exhibit that opened while we were in the states.  With 250 works of art on display, it was a little overwhelming and we didn’t have time to ‘savor’ everything, but there were some pieces that stood out, like Lisa's.  We will go back and spend more time in the near future.  Another project was just announced and it has Lisa in her studio.  This time it has to be a drawing.  No painting is allowed, only a medium used to draw, outline or sketch, like pen, ink pencil, chalk, etc.  It should be another interesting exhibit.  

Makro is right across the highway from Art Bridge so that was our next stop.  They had an unusually full supply of vegetables so we stocked up, now that our big refrigerator is back.  Shopping in this way will cut down on trips to the various markets.  There were things I had never seen before, which is always fascinating.  

Today was Fone’s birthday, but she didn’t make it to work.  The four of us went to the Night Bazaar for dinner.  When we arrived, it was still early and some vendor stalls were still being stocked.  By the time we finished eating the whole place was in full swing.  The aisles were packed with ‘visitors’ and it looked like people were buying things.  
While we were waiting for our meals, Cat pointed out a typo, in Thai script, on the menu.  The word for fish is spelled ‘Pla’.  On the menu the ‘P’ was missing and ‘La’ means donkey.  Hmm, not a good mistake to make.  

We have to get a new toy basket for Daku.  A few days ago he went to get a toy and his current basket fell over.  It startled him to the point that he won’t reach in and get a toy unless Lisa holds the basket.  I guess he has his standards (555).

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


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

Wednesday, January 20, 2016



I’m happy to report that it may be warming up a tiny bit.  Cold mornings into hot days requires careful dressing (555).

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Sherry” by The Four Seasons.  Let’s get to the ‘Zany Day’ song and see what happens.
“One day while I was eating beans at __ __ __, just sittin’ diggin’ all the scene at __ __ __, a chick came walkin’ through the door that I had never seen before, at least I’d never seen her down at __ __ __.  And I started shakin’ when she sat right down next to me.”  Hint:  The title is the name of a place where food is served.  It’s also the name of a hit musical based on many the songs this group sang.

One of the surprises we got on our return to Chiang Rai was a new set of lights on our bridge.  This may sound like a small thing, but when you’re traveling over a bridge at night, it’s nice to have a bright, clear view of things.  Even though it’s a short bridge, the lane closest to the center was a little dim.  Sometimes motorbikes don’t have taillights and you don’t see them until you’re very close.  The new side of the bridge has new, fancy lights and the old side has plain lights with a pinkish glow.  I vote for having the same lights on both sides.  Hmm, who listens to me?

Daku is not only a talented, interesting dog (555), but he’s also deep.  For most of his life he has been into meditation.  At first we thought it was a random action, but over the years it has been a very deliberate action.  Here’s a photo of a typical session where he might go for 10 to 15 minutes without moving.

We are still having a problem with ticks even though we’ve changed spray services and tried numerous non-poisonous sprays on the dog.  Tomorrow they will spray the yard again, hopefully with something more powerful.  We thought the ticks would leave when the cold weather came but they’re still here.  Part of life in the country I guess.

Time to check in on day 3 of tennis from Australia.  
Feels like a Wacky Wednesday


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; 
only love can do that.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016



We had a little break in the weather today.  That is, if you consider wearing two shirts and a jacket a warming trend.  The morning was chilly, but didn’t have that ‘face biting’ chill and the afternoon was sunny and warm (one shirt).  

A few readers recognized the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  I’m sure today’s hints will help your focus.  It’s a fun song.
“(Why don’t you come out) With your red dress on, (come out) Mmm, you look so fine.  (Come out) Move it nice and easy.  Girl, you make me lose my mind.  __, __ baby.  __, __ baby….”  Hint:  Four guys from Jersey, their story took them all the way to Broadway.  Group name relates to summer, fall, winter, etc.  What are those?

This morning, after a trip to The Healthy Market, we stopped by Doi Chaang Coffee.  It was a bold trip to see if they had any pie.  While they were packaging my purchase for ‘take away’, one of the waitresses said hello to Lisa by name.  She had looked at her gallery on Facebook at the recommendation of her art teacher.  She had been studying in Chiang Mai, and had also been to the latest exhibit at Art Bridge.  This was all a surprise for our artist in residence.  

At the Talat (market place) we walked down one aisle that had tons of red and gold decorations for Chinese New Year.  When we got home I looked up the date and it falls on February 8 this year.  One can’t start too early preparing for the celebrations.  Thailand has a very deep Thai/Chinese population that goes back to the late 40s, not to mention immigrants who have been here for generations, maintaining old country traditions.  It is very apparent in the North so we’ve become used to it.  It makes for more celebrations and cultural variations and that makes life interesting. 

Natcha has started her maternity leave, but can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen.  Her sister is handling the house work and is supposed to be doing the cooking, but Natcha is there giving tips, helping cook and ‘watching’.  We think she gets bored in her apartment.  It’s nice having them in the house.  There is the feeling of a big family, which is what they are used to anyway.  Daku also loves having them around.

Today’s photo shows you the setting for the mini-exhibit of Lisa’s work on display at Chivit Tamma Da coffee house.

Thankfully, we seem to be out of the grip of Mr. Lag.  We no longer have uncontrollable urges to sleep at inappropriate times, and no more waking up at 5am, ready to start the day.  Whew.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“No person has the right to 
rain on your dreams.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 18, 2016



It would appear that the cold air in California followed us to Thailand.  This morning, while we were out with Daku, it was 48F.  That’s just wrong.  We did get a forecast from Accuweather over the weekend that we would have ‘delightful’ weather.  What?

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Stop! In the Name of Love” by The Supremes.  ‘Easy Monday’ might be easy.
“….__ can you come out tonight?  (Why don’t you come out, come out) to my twist party.  (Come out) where the bright lights shine.  (Come out) We’ll dance the night away.  I’m gonna make you mine.  __ baby (__ baby) __ can you come out tonight.”  Hint:  Title is a name, also a type of wine.  

Saturday morning I took Cat to the bus station for her big adventure.  She went to Thammasat University in Lampang, which is four hours away, to take entrance exams.  It’s the first time she’s gone that far and stayed overnight by herself.  The campus is not in the city, but in the country.  The nearest ‘7’ is 3k from the school.  Hmm, how do they top-up their phones? (translation of the last sentence: The 7-11 is 1.8 miles from the school.  ‘Topping up' one’s phone means putting money on it for more talk-time)  

Lisa has another ‘mini-exhibit’ at Chivit Tamma Da.  It’s a very casual thing with six pieces on display in the solarium.  The work looks great in the setting.    

While we were out getting a supply of coffee we saw our friends Stephan and Claire at Doi Chaang Coffee.  They’ve been in Australia and we haven’t seen them in over a month.  Lisa and Claire had lunch today, and the Fearless Four will meet them for dinner on Sunday.  Getting back in the groove.

Note-To-Self:  Do not go to the Healthy Market on Saturday morning.  We tried it and it was a nightmare.  The traffic into the area got snarled by a big pick-up truck whose owner decided to just leave it and shop.  Cars in both directions were trying to deal with one lane and it wasn’t working.  We never did get what we went for, we just left.

Even though there hasn’t been rain for some time, a lot of Chiang Rai still has a very green look.  The view behind our house is still beautiful, due in part to the big trees with their deep roots.  There is also the heavy overnight dew that may be helping a little.  

It would be an understatement to say that Daku makes friends easily.  Everyone seems to love him and he loves them.  Today’s photo is Daku and his new friend Gop, Natcha's nephew.  They seem to be investigating the lawn.  It’s a 'boy thing’.

This ‘winter’ seems like it’s the coldest since we’ve been here.  It makes me wonder how the people who live in ‘open’ houses get by.  Many traditional Thai houses are not very weather proof when it comes to cold air.  There is no glass in the windows, just a little door.  Windows don’t seal tight even when they are closed, there is lots of room for air to come in.  Considering the very warm weather most of the year, it doesn’t make sense to be too concerned about sealing things tight, but these new winters are something else.  

The Australian Open Tennis Tournament has begun and the DVR is running.  Oh boy.  We’ve also become American Football fans, sort of, so there’s also that.  We get to see the football without all the commercial breaks and that makes the game more fun to watch.  The latest development here is Netflix making their streaming service available worldwide.  It may just be a ‘game changer’  (555).

Have a Great Week.


“It is better to walk alone,
than with a crowd going in the
wrong direction.”

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Funnies


We’re slowly getting used to the warm days/cold nights pattern here in Chiang Rai.  Long sleeves and socks in the morning feels weird, but necessary.  I won’t be long before we’ll be wishing it was cool again (555).

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie.  It’s time for ‘Old School Friday’, from back in 1965.
“__, __ __ __ __ __ before you break my heart.  Baby baby, I’m aware of where you go, each time you leave my door.  I watch you walk down the street knowing your other love you’ll meet.  But this time before you run to her, leaving me alone and hurt.  (Think it over) haven’t I been good to you?  (Think it over) haven’t I been sweet to you?
__, __ __ __ __ __….”  Hint:  This song is by a trio of young women from that place where they used to make cars.  The singer is urging her boyfriend to cease his current behavior.  

This morning we made our first trip to Makro since our return.  Friday morning is hardly the best time to do this since everyone is shopping for the weekend.  The place was very busy, but we got what we needed.  Some things never change, especially at the vegetable pricing counter.  I was quickly reminded just how orderly shopping can be in the States.  As with driving, there are situations where taking turns seems to be out of the vocabulary.  Blue and I were setting our bagged vegetables on the counter so the staff person could weigh and price them.  Other shoppers would walk up and just stick their bags in front of ours, or hold them so the checker had no choice but to take them.  A similar things happens in the meat department.  We just shake our heads and wait.  Hmm.  

Today’s photo was taken on the bluff overlooking Santa Monica beach.  There were many trees like this.  Nice memory.

Natcha’s baby is due next month and her sister, Fone, has been learning her job so she can take over at that time.  
Today, after school was out, we met Fone’s daughter Shampoo (means Pink).  She and Daku became buddies quickly.  Lisa took her some drawing supplies and she loved that.  Awhile later her little brother, Gop arrived.  He and Daku had already met, so now Daku has two new playmates for at least 3 months.  He’s great with both of them.

This evening we went to the reopening of NorThai.  It was good to see friends and get back in the ‘groove’.  

Sometime this weekend we will try to see the little flower show in town.  Mr. Lag is in charge of our activities so who knows what will really happen.

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


Thursday, January 14, 2016



Let me just start by saying that the weather in Chiang Rai is noticeably warmer than in So. California.  It’s cool in the overnight hours, but from mid-morning until sundown it’s very comfortable.  There has been no rain in over three weeks, so it looks like we’re in the El Nino ‘drought effect’.

Some fans have jumped on the ‘Zany Day’ song quickly.  Here are my favorite lyrics in this song.  Not really zany, but oh well.  “If you say run, I’ll run with you.  If you say hide, we’ll hide, because my love for you would break my heart in two, if you should fall into my arms and tremble like a flower.”  Hint:  This artist was bold enough to present himself in many disguises or personas.  This song represents a more ‘earthly’ chap.  See how I got that clue in there, he was from across the pond.

So, day one of the return and Mr. Lag definitely had a seat on the plane.  He followed us all the way home just to make sure we got here safely (555).  He’s also here to reek havoc.  Today’s nap could have happened at 10am, but we held off until after lunch.  What a tyrant.

Our first order of business in the streets of Chiang Rai was to check on our refrigerator.  We had a suspicion that there was a misunderstanding about when we wanted it delivered and we were right.  It was ready and scheduled to be delivered today.  We wanted it at the house as soon as it was done, but all they heard was the date of our return.  Anyway, it’s here at the house and everyone is happy.

It was good to be out on the town today.  Blue went with us and that’s one of the things I missed while we were gone.  We always laugh and come up with some of the craziest things.  Today, while Lisa was buying fruit, Blue noticed a bunch of fake-fur jackets hanging in the outdoor used clothing store.  That turned into a whole scene, complete with animals picketing because the fur didn’t look authentic.  The van needed washing so we hung out at Work@Home while that happened.  The staff gave us a warm welcome and it was nice to be there.

For years I have been fascinated with the artistic ’stacking’ of merchandise displays.  Today’s photo from Big C is an example of such stacking.  Want a cookie?

Mr. Lag says to say goodnight.  Ok then, good night.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Happiness is something that you are,
and it comes from the way you think.”
~Wayne W. Dyer

Wednesday, January 13, 2016



We are back in Thailand.  We are also tired, happy, and ready to get back into our routine.  Tales from the road coming soon.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Never My Love” by The Association.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ tune is from an artist who did a lot of zany in his career.  “__ __, put on your red shoes and dance the blues.  __ __, to the song they’re playin’ on the radio…”  Hint: The title could be described as an invitation to make merry, trip the light fantastic.

When we arrived in Chiang Rai we were sent to International Baggage, since our bags flew from the states.  That seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing.  Then they wanted us to put each bag on the conveyor belt for x-ray.  What?  The bags were studied before they were put on the first plane, and have been out of our custody for the whole trip.  Anyway, they went through a machine and they let us out (555).

Rudi was waiting for us at the airport and I drove home.  That felt great.  I was sleepy on the plane, but being back in CR and seeing ‘new’ sights revived me.  

Lisa called Cat and had her put Daku in the pen behind the house.  Needless to say, he was very happy to see us.  He raced around and gave us a greeting like he thought we weren’t coming back.  It took awhile, but he finally calmed down.  He did, however, manage to let a bunch of his little friends into the house while we were gone.  We’re getting sprayed tomorrow.  Has to be done.

Today’s photo was taken in the airport in Bangkok.  The garden gets a seasonal update and is always a favorite photo-op.

Eyelids are drooping.  Time to give in to the sandman.

Have a Wacky Wednesday.


“If you have to choose between 
being kind and being right, choose
being kind and you will always be right.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2016



So, we’re in Taipei, it’s 6am and cold.  The airport is just waking up.  Our flight across the water was 14 hours of mostly smooth air.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was recognized by quite a few readers.  Here’s more, starting from the bridge:  “What makes you think love will end when you know that my whole life depends on you (on you)?  __ __ __, __ __ __.  You say you fear I’ll change my mind, and I won’t require you.  __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Hint: Three words, so easy.  

Our afternoon and evening were very pleasant.  We hung out with C-Bass and August, and spent time with Anna.  When it was time to go, August picked up the suitcases like they were empty.  That was really cool, not having to struggle.

At the car rental shuttle bus, a guy from Australia helped us put our bags on the bus, and then apologized because he’d be getting off before us.  When it was time to exit the bus, another stranger helped us.  

A new discovery was made as we settled into the Star Alliance Lounge.  There was a semi-private room by the front entrance that we could use.  It was like having our own space.  Something to remember.

Today’s photo was taken at the County Museum.  It’s an installation of street lamps.  The more you walk around it, the more interesting it gets.

Have a Happy Tuesday, what’s left of it. 


“Leap and the net will appear.”
~Zen Saying

Monday, January 11, 2016



Today is the day we leave sunny, rainy, cold Southern California.  Actually, don’t fly out until late at night, but the process of leaving begins much earlier.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “In the Rain” by The Dramatics.  I guess we need an ‘Easy Monday’ tune to start this week.  “You ask me if there’ll come a time when I grow tired of you.  __ __ __, __ __ __.  You wonder if this heart of mine will lose it’s desire for you.  __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Hint:  This 1967 declaration of love was recorded by a six-man group known for their lush vocals.  

As I write this, it’s late Sunday night and we’ve basically packed our bags already.  We wanted to see if everything would fit in the two bags we brought with us.  Yea, it worked.  There was a remote possibility that another small bag might be needed.  

Our weekend had a nice balance of hanging out and scheduled coffees and meals.  Sunday morning we continued one of our traditions when Lisa and my mother gave me a Recovery cake.  Lunch at Emerald Thai and then back to Altadena.  

While we’ve been here in the U.S., things have been going on in Thailand.  One of Lisa’s friends sent her a photo of her ‘big’ elephant, taken at the flower show.  Today’s photo, taken by Cat, shows ‘Ellie’, as we call her, leading a parade of Art Bridge elephants on a walk by the river.  

Our journey home begins around 7pm, when we say goodbye to our ‘Family’ (Jeff, Anna, C-Bass and August).  Then we head to the rental car center.  From there we will take the courtesy bus to LAX.  After we check in at EVA Airlines, we get to stand in a long line to go through the TSA screening process.  So much fun, taking off shoes, removing the laptops from their bags, etc.  Then it’s off to the EVA lounge to wait for the announcement of our flight.  Even after doing this for so many years, there is still an air of excitement about the whole process.  We will arrive in Bangkok on Wednesday morning, Thai time, which is actually Tuesday L.A. time.  We get to Chiang Rai in the evening around 7pm.  I’ll be writing to you from somewhere out there (555).

Have a Great Week.


“The difference between what we do
and what we are capable of doing
would suffice to solve most of the world’s 
~Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, January 8, 2016

Friday Funnies


It was great having a day without rain.  With all the time spent ‘out and about’, doing it dry was very cool.  The word is that Chiang Rai weather will be in the mid 80s during the day and mid to low 50s overnight.  I can handle that just fine.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven”.  For our ‘Old School Friday’ song we’re going back to 1970, which is rather old school for a lot of you.  “I wanna go outside __ __ __.  It may sound crazy but I wanna __ __ __.  ‘Cause I, I think I’m gonna cry, and I, I don’t want you to see my cry.  I wanna go outside __ __ __.  It may sound crazy, but I wanna go outside __ __ __.”  Hint:  That’s the chorus to a song about a man who wants to hide the tears with the water from the sky.  

Last night I felt like a kid from the country, walking down the street looking up at the sky.  There were so many flying machines up there.  In Chiang Rai there are a couple of evening flights and they don’t fly over our house, and I’m grateful for that.  There is one helicopter that flies over on rare occasions and mostly during the day.  It took a minute to look past the planes and appreciate the stars that were visible.

Thursday was what we call ‘Marina Day’.  The day when we visit with some of the people that Lisa worked with.  There were three ‘coffees’ and a lunch.  On our way we noticed that a nursery we used to buy plants from is gone.  The site is a vacant lot.  Another familiar corner is now the home of a large apartment house.  Oh, the changes.  

In the meanwhile, back at the ranch department, Natcha’s sister has been working at the house, learning the ropes.  She will take over most of the everyday duties when the baby arrives, which is supposed to be next month. It will be challenging because she speaks no English, though Natcha will be close by if we need help translating.  

Today’s photo is another one from the flower show.  An ocean of tulips.

I have purchased gas three times since we’ve been here.  The prices were all very different, with the most expensive being on Robertson Bl. in West Hollywood.  That was no surprise.  Altadena came in second, and for some strange reason the cheapest gas was right outside Marina del Rey.  Hmm.  The prize for the best name for a gas station goes to ‘Fuel Depot’.  Still not used to pumping my own gas.  Thailand has spoiled me on that one.  Last week we approached the math necessary to compare the price of gas in both countries.  Here’s the dilemma:  In Thailand we use Baht per Liter.  In the U.S. it’s Dollar per Gallon.  Lisa was working it out without paper and pencil, saying what we needed to know and then she paused and said, “And then you do something.”  We had a good laugh and let the whole thing go.  If you care to take a stab at it, go for it.

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


Thursday, January 7, 2016



Wednesday was clearly the big ‘rain day’ of the storm.  We had the ‘pleasure’ of being out in it.  It really wasn’t so bad.  We had lots of good luck finding close parking to all of our stops, and Anna provided a nice big umbrella.  Let it rain.

A few of you knew the ‘Zany Day’ song right away.  Here’s the second verse of this outstanding taste of early R&R.
“You know my temperature’s rising and the jukebox’s blows a fuse.  My heart’s beating rhythm and my soul keeps singing the blues.  __ __ __ and tell Tchaikovsky the news.”  Clue: The second part of R&R is in the title, and the name of a famous composer is also there.

It’s not unusual, when in Thailand, to click on a video story and get a message that the content is not available in our region.  Imagine our surprise when that message while in L.A.  The story was from Australia (555).  I guess they didn’t want us to see it.

Another thing that is unusual in Chiang Rai is to see fire trucks racing to an emergency.  We do see ambulances (vans with lights and sirens) on emergency calls.  Because of the design of our ‘small town’, there is no room to pull over and let them pass.  There is not much to be done about this, and it will surely become a bigger issue as the population increases.  Hmm, what to do? 

Yesterday we had lunch with our former doctor.  He was planning a trip to South East Asia and wanted to know about Thailand.  When he wrote, he thought we were in Thailand.  It was a treat for all of us to be able to sit down and talk after so many years.

We made our third trip to Dinah’s and had coffee with our cousin Wendy.  One thing we talked about was the importance of keeping in touch with the remaining cousins of our generation.  

Today’s photo was taken by Cat at the annual flower show.  This is a pretty clever presentation.  I call it ‘Pouring Flowers’.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Humility is not thinking less of yourself,
but thinking of yourself less.”

Wednesday, January 6, 2016



Listening to the radio in the car this morning, I was wishing we had a weather and traffic report in Thailand.  You look at the sky, judge the wind, and take a chance on the traffic. 

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters.  Time for a ‘Zany Day’ song.  
“Well gonna write a little letter, gonna mail it to my local D.J.  It’s a rocking little record I want my jockey to play.  
__ __ __ I gotta hear it again today.”  Hint:  This is classic from the master of R&R.  He’s sure this will stir a classical master.

The first day of the big storm series created a lot of problems in Southern California.  It’s amazing how much damage can be caused by a steady rain.  We’re used to those dramatic, monsoonal events that blow sideways for about an hour and then leave.  I don’t know which is worse.  Either way, you get wet and stuff gets broken.

There are parts of this big city that look completely different from one year ago.  When things happen, like rebuilding or remodeling, the work seems to be done quick.  Driving on Sawtelle north of Olympic, I was blown away by the change in ‘the look’ of some of the buildings.  It was quite impressive.  If you haven’t seen it yet, the Peterson Automotive Museum at Wilshire and Fairfax is a dramatic sight at night when it’s all lit up, although I miss the racing car hanging off the side of the building.

Today’s photo was taken on Monday, looking out on Santa Monica Bay.  It was a perfect day to observe the ocean and the coastline, but way too cool for a stroll on the beach.  

It’s time for Wacky Wednesday.


“We can choose to see life as a series of
trials and tribulations, or we can choose to 
see life as an accumulation of treasures.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016



Sorry this is so late.

Monday in the states and we have one week left.  The rain never appeared, so we’re waiting for the big storm that’s supposed to last all week.  By the looks of the sky, it may be late.  I know rain is needed, but I won’t be disappointed if it waits until next week (555).

The ‘Easy Monday’ song came easy for a lot of you.  “Before the risin’ sun, we fly.  So many roads to choose, we’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run.  And yes, __ __ __."  Hint:  Original hit by a brother/sister team.

Today’s photo was taken in the parking garage of an unnamed business.  The ‘Out of Order’ sign isn’t much of a confidence builder.

The last time we were here we decided we’d take a day and see some sights.  Well, the schedule’s a little tight for that, but we did get in a little detour.  We drove west on Wilshire Bl. to the end and parked.  Walking along the Pacific Palisades bluff, looking out on the Pacific ocean was a real treat.  I’ll share pics tomorrow.

Imagine our surprise when we entered the ‘Fox Hills Mall’ parking lot and discovered that there were a lot of cars there.  I thought it would be nearly empty on the first day after the holiday break.  I guess ‘malling’ is a universal past time.  We were on a hunt for some kind of footwear to protect us in the big rain that was forecast.  We came up empty, but had a delicious lunch.  

There are many attractions in a city like Los Angeles and we usually don’t get to see many of them.  This evening we went to the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art for dinner with Valley Cousins Jennifer and Nowell.  We got there early and visited the gift shop.  It’s been a long time since we were there and it was interesting.  Not much we could buy besides pencils (555).  Our dinner was good and the company was great.  Lots of catching up and ‘life sharing’.  When we finally left the restaurant we went over to see The Rock.  It was dark, but we still got to see how big it is.  The jury is still out on that one.  Next trip we’re going to try and see more galleries.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Don’t stay where you are tolerated.
Go where you are celebrated.”

Monday, January 4, 2016



The ground outside is wet, which is a clear indicator that it rained a little bit.  The forecast and the sky say it’s going to rain today and storm tomorrow.  On the bright side, it’s not quite as cold.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was, of course, “My Girl” by The Temptations.  Here’s the first ‘Easy Monday’ of 2016:  “__ __ __ __ to live, white lace and promises.  A kiss for luck and we’re on our way. (__ __ __ __)  Before the risin’ sun, we fly.  So many roads to choose.  We start out walkin’ and learn to run.  And yes, __ __ __.”  Hint:  An obvious love song that could also be about starting a new year, project, or adventure.  

For the first time in many years, I missed seeing the whole Rose Parade, and totally missed the Rose Bowl football game.  Things change.  We had a great visit with my mom, and that was the focus of the day.  As we left Altadena we did see the ‘stealth’ bomber flying across town.  I guess it had made a ‘fly over’ for the start of the football game.  Not to start any controversy, but what do the two have in common? 

Today’s photo was taken on New Years Day at the Baja Market in Pasadena.  Who has a cactus recipe? 

Before leaving the San Gabriel Valley, we stopped in Alhambra, where we had a warm visit with our friend Debby.  We got a chance to meet her youngest grandson and put a toy together (following instructions).  

Sunday evening we were having dinner with some of the Valley Cousins and I had a revelation.  We basically live in the country, on the edge of town.  When we come to the States, we are in a neighborhood, in the city.  In Thailand, when we go into town, there is a distinct line we cross that takes us to our ‘turf’.  The Kok river is our buffer between country and city.  

I can’t wait to see the completion of the train to the beach.  We keep seeing tracks, stations and signs of something coming.  Will you ride the train to the west when it’s finished?

Venturing out on this almost rainy day will be interesting.  We’ve had the luxury of reduced traffic until now.  It is a time for patience.  

Have a Great Week.


“You might not know what  you lost
before it’s gone.
On the other hand, you might not know what you’re missing
until it arrives.”

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 'New Year' Funnies


Welcome to the New Years Day edition of ‘Adventures In Thailand’.  This will be short and sweet.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Sympathy For The Devil” by The Rolling Stones.  Please remember, it’s just a song.  So, let’s start 2016 with an easy ‘Old School Friday’ tune:
“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.  When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.  I guess you’d say what can make me feel this way?  __ __, talkin’ ‘bout __ __.”  Hint:  Male singer’s friend makes everything right.  So easy.

Yesterday we had one of those ‘Only in L.A.’ moments.  With the morning chill still in the air, a small two-seater sports car pulled into a parking lot, the top was down and the driver was wearing her black fur coat.  What?  

Today’s photo was taken by Blue on New Years Day, Thai time.  The Big Brown House on the first day of the 2016.

The weather in that photo reached somewhere in the low 80s.  Oh, that sounds so good.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.  May the new year bring all the things you 'need', and a few of your 'wants’.  May you be prosperous and drama free, and be awakened by the Blue Bird of Happiness.  (555)  Time for a ‘Funny’.