Thursday, March 31, 2016



The weather in Chiang Rai seems to be getting warmer again.  Some days it’s hard to tell, it just feels hot.  It would be nice to feel a little humidity in the air.  It would also be nice to feel a little moisture falling from the sky (555).

Looks like the ‘Zany Day’ song still has fans, or at least folks who remember.  The chorus could trigger a memory:
“Well, __ __ is something shocking, when your feet just can’t keep still.  I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will.  Oh, lawdy mama, those Friday nights when Suzie wore her dresses tight and the __ __ was out of sight.”  Hint:  The title is the name of a dance and based on that, I can’t imagine what it would look like, except creepy.

Today was bath day for Daku.  He gave his best sad face during the process, but after it was done he had a burst of energy that had him running across the yard for longer than usual.  Between the cool of the morning and his wet fur, he didn’t get overheated.  He loves it like that.

When Daku was a little boy he and BamBam would try to eat the little seed puffs that float into the yard.  Once they realized there was nothing there, that they dissolved in their mouths, they ignored them.  Here is a photo of what I now know to be the seed of the Silk Floss tree.  Thanks to our friend Pam for the info.

Buying gas in Thailand can bring many surprises.  Yesterday, we pulled into a station for gas and while it was filling, the attendant brought over a trash can to see if we had any trash to get rid of.  After she had finished pumping the gas she told us to ‘wait for water’, and ran across the lot to get a giant bottle of drinking water for us.  When I buy gas in the states, well, you know what you have to do.

On our second lap around the Healthy Market streets we found a parking place.  I expected it to be crowded inside but it wasn’t.  I hadn’t been there in a while and it seemed like time had stood still.  Sometimes that’s comforting to have a place remain familiar.  What changes is the available goods.  As seasons change, the vendors have to change what they sell.  Sometimes it means we don’t get something we might like.  Hmm, life teaches great lessons (555).  We are discovering that the fruit ladies on the avenue that specialize in a few things tend to have better quality than our friend who has everything.  At least it’s been like that lately.  

The first set of treatments on the pool happened today.  Johan, our pool technician, and Na who comes every week, brought bags of salt and some chlorine to jumpstart the water and make it clear.  Saturday they will start the machine that makes the natural chlorine from salt.  The temperature is only 6 degrees below our minimum for swimming, but the air quality will probably keep us out of the water until there is a real change.
It’s nice to have the pool back.  Seeing the water, and the reflections changes the whole ambience of the yard.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Worrying about the future is like
trying to eat the hole in a donut.
It’s like munching on what isn’t.”
~Barry Neil Kaufman

Wednesday, March 30, 2016



Hot again, but that was to be expected.  The air might be a little better, but it’s still very hazy.  Time for a rain dance.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” by Steely Dan.  Time now for a ‘Zany Day’ dance tune.  
“I remember when rock was young, me and Suzie had so much fun, holding hands and skimming stones.  Had an old gold Chevy and a place of my own.  But the biggest kick I ever got was doing a thing called the __ __.  While the other kids were Rocking Round the Clock we were hopping and bopping to the __ __.”  Hint:  It came from across the pond by way of a piano man known for zany glasses, among other things.  

This morning we got up early so Daku could get some exercise before the water truck arrived. The main thing is that they did the job and after nine truck-loads of water the pool is full.  Tomorrow we begin the filtration process and then the saltwater chlorinator will do it’s work.  If the weather continues to be as hot as predicted we might be in the water next week.  

Today’s photo is the water truck finishing it’s days work.

After we got the water guys situated, Blue, Cat, Lisa and I went into town.  It was time to get the van washed and spend some time at Work@Home.  They have a room that can be closed off from the outside air, with air/con, so we sat in there.  Katai, the owner, came in and we had another one of our fun visits.  She told us that there was rain in Phayao, which is not close to us, but it was rain in the region.  We talked a lot about elephants and dogs and the time just flew by. 

As a result of having the water truck back into the yard on the side of the house, we have a new project.  In an effort to miss a big flowering tree they ran over the paving stones that are set in the lawn.  Now we have to get those replaced.  It’s a small price to pay for having a pool full of water (555).

Natcha and Neetchanan have been spending more time visiting in the house.  It’s really nice to see the baby every day.  Watching the changes on a daily basis is really cool since babies grow up so fast.  Even though Natcha is not officially back to work, she helps her sister Fone, and ‘advises’ her about meals.  She and Gong have become part of the family and keep an eye on things when we’re not around.  

It feels like Wacky Wednesday.


“It is good to have an end to journey toward;
but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
~Usula K. LeGuin

Tuesday, March 29, 2016



The weather was almost the same as yesterday.  Today we had wind that brought more leaves and the seasonal ‘seed invasion’.  The trees across the street release little white, fluffy balls that contain a seed in the center.  They float into the yard like snow.  

Congrats to those who quickly remembered this great tune.  ‘Easy Monday’ seems to be just that.  Here’s more:
“You tell yourself you’re not my kind, but you don’t even know your mind.  And you could have a change of heart, __ __ __ __ __, you don’t wanna call nobody else.  Send it off in a letter to yourself.  __ __ __ __ __, it’s the only one you own.  You might use it if you feel better when you get home.”  Hint:  It’s from ’74 and there is a name in the title.  

This morning we went to Makro for a few supplies.  As we approached the intersection where we make the U-turn on the highway, the traffic lights were out.  There was a policeman in the intersection directing traffic, sort of.  He stopped the flow of traffic in all directions and the car in front of us started making his turn.  The officer hadn’t motioned to him, he just figured we’d waited long enough.  We followed, as if we had a green arrow.  Funny how these things work sometime.  

Lisa had called both of our ‘water contacts’ but neither had tried to find water yet.  Then she mentioned our old friend Supat, the man who helped us find our property and much more.  His job is ‘hustler’ and we figured if anyone could find water, Supat could.  He called back in a short time and had arranged the whole thing.  This afternoon a man came over and looked at the pool, guessed how much water and set an appointment for tomorrow morning at 8am.  No foolin’ around.  So, by the end of the day the pool will be filled and things will be on their way to normal.

On a quick stop to the fruit market we did something different.  Rather than drive down the street with all the stalls, I parked on the main cross street and Lisa walked down to the vendor we like.  While I was sitting there, I noticed a street sign sitting on the side of the road.  After I took a photo of the sign I looked up to see if it had fallen.  It had been replaced with a newer one.  Hmm, our photo for today is the ‘old’ sign, which we think would be a nice addition to the Big Brown House (555).

Yesterday we had lunch at The Wanderer with our friend Rachel, who is visiting from the states.  She is the President of The Sold Project and comes over twice a year.  At the end of the meal we ordered a desert we had the  night before.  It’s called Som Chun and it’s known as a "Thai Wisdom" dessert.  The process begins with jasmine water that has soaked overnight and then frozen.  It is crushed and placed in a bowl.  Then thinly sliced fruit is placed on top.  Imagine green and yellow mango, star fruit, a Thai plum, ginger, and fresh and fried shallots and you get an idea of what we experienced.  The jasmine ice leaves a lingering flavor that is indescribable.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“A bit of fragrance clings
to the hand that gives flowers.”
~Chinese Proverb

Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday Funnies


It was actually a little cooler in Chiang Rai today.  Probably in the high 80s/low 90s.  There was wind and some clouds.  If this keeps up we might get some rain in a few weeks (555).

That ‘Zany Day’ song was “Money For Nothin’” by Dire Straits.   Now it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’ and something from long ago.   Fans of Rock-a-Billy will recognize this 1957 hit.  I’m going to give you the last verse since we’ve played with this one before:  “Well, what we gonna tell your Mama?  What we gonna tell your Pa?  What we gonna tell our friends when they say, ‘Ooh la la?’  __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ we gotta go home.”  Clue: It was sung by two brothers.  I paraphrased a bit on the lyrics, but you get the idea.  It’s about a date that went way past curfew.

A distant cowbell tells me that the Friday night carnival has begun across the river.  One thing’s for sure, local bands are getting work.  

I think I’m ready to try driving the van this weekend.  Walking is cool again and that means a trip to the mall.  Oh, aren’t we being ambitious?  Seriously though, it’s time to get back into the routine of life.  

Today’s photo is a close-up of some of the baby mangoes on our tree.  I don’t think these will amount to edible fruit, but at least it’s trying.  Judging by the number of buds, this tree will some day be prolific.  (They’re the little green things)

Tomorrow Cat will go out to her village for a ‘Graduation/Congratulation’ Day to honor all the students in the Sold Project who finished Jr. and Sr. High School.  

Sunday we have a meeting with one of our contractor friends to see about getting a delivery of water for the pool.  Between the two contacts we have made so far, something should turn up.  Or is it ‘pour in’?

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


Thursday, March 24, 2016



It was just another hazy day in the hood.  It was also very hot, of course.  The weekend is supposed to be a little cooler.  We certainly hope so.

A lot of you knew the ‘Zany Day’ song.  I’ll bet some of you have it on the tip of your tongue.  Here’s a little more:
“Now that ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it.  Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb.  Maybe get a blister on your finger, maybe get a blister on your thumb…  Get you __ __ __, get you chicks for free.”  Clue: Examines the ideal life of a Rock star as portrayed by a music video star, as seen from the working man’s perspective.

With all the talk about the ‘burning season’ and the bad air that comes with it, we’re amazed at how many people seem to be ignoring the reality.  There is an expat that we’ve seen for years, riding around Chiang Rai in his recumbent trike.  He’s out there every day, no matter what the weather.  Yesterday I saw him riding down our road.  
We can’t see the hill to our west, there’s just a wall of gray.  This morning we took Daku out for an abbreviated playtime.  We wore masks, but Daku refuses to wear one (555).

The good news is, the thin clouds are back, meaning there is a small amount of moisture in the air, way up high.  We know that by mid-April there will be rain because there is always rain at Songkran, so there.  That’s my weather prediction for this year.  

When we were first planning our move to Thailand we had a ‘dream scenario’ that included a Thai couple that would work for us, taking care of the house and yard.  That dream is coming true.  We had a meeting with Natcha and Gong this evening.  They asked if Gong could come to work for us, taking care of the yard, doing handy work, watching the baby, and eventually driving for us.  He’s been working in a body shop and there is concern about the paint fumes and sanding dust.  Having both of them working here would be ideal for us in so many ways.  Natcha will return to work in June and that’s when Gong will begin his new ‘job’.  Everybody is happy.

Today’s photo is a collection of Chompoo’s artwork on our refrigerator.  Lisa had hung a few and Chompoo did the rest.  It makes us smile.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Love knows no place it cannot go
and no person it cannot bring rest.”
~Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD

Wednesday, March 23, 2016



The hot weather continues with no rain in sight.  Clouds were spotted, and then they were gone.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I Shot The Sheriff” by Bob Marley.  Time once again for a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “Now look at them yo-yo’s, that’s the way you do it, you play guitar on the MTV.  They ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it.  __ __ __ and the chicks for free.”  Hint:  A song that poked fun at R&R bands, even though the group was just that.  Hmm.  

Another day behind the wall, and all is well.  We got word today that we can start filling the pool this weekend.  If the nights were a little warmer the water might actually be useable in a few weeks.  As it is, I have no idea when we’ll be able to swim.  It will be nice to see the water in the pool once again.  

The hot weather combined with the breezes has a tendency to suck all the moisture from the gardens.  We have a greater understanding of the plight of the farmers.  Compared to them, we have a small patch of land.  We’re seeing lots of fields around us that are barren.  Some farmers have opted not to plant because they don’t have access to enough water.  Others have planted small crops that don’t require as much water.  After living in a city for most of my life, my perspective has changed.

The air quality is still a topic of conversation in the news of the north.  We’ve learned that some of the smoke comes from an area north of us, where there are large corn plantations.  When they burn off the waste there’s a lot of smoke.  Other fires are started by farmers who want to harvest a strain of mushrooms that come up in the ashes.  There are also those who believe that there is a nutrient value in the ashes, even though this has been proven untrue, but it is their way.  Curfews on burning may work in some areas, but in others there is a fear of reporting someone because they might all live in the same village.  It is another world.

Today’s photo was taken from the upstairs balcony off of our bedroom.  This tree is very tall and full of tiny, pale pink flowers.

The patient continues to be patient.  After communicating with my doctor, I now understand why this procedure was twice as long and why my recovery is taking longer.  Waiting can be so annoying.

It must be Wacky Wednesday.


“Imagine what a harmonious world it could be
if every single person shared a little of what they are
good at doing.”
~Quincy Jones

Tuesday, March 22, 2016



Well, today was the same old weather story.  The one exception might be that because of the winds yesterday, there was a little blue sky above this morning.  The dirty haze returned as the day progressed.  It’s that time of year and we just deal with it.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was definitely easy, based on the responses.  Here’s a little more of the story:
“Sheriff John Brown always hated me, for what, I don’t know; every time I plant a seed, he said, ‘Kill it before it grow’.  He said kill them before they grow.  And so:  __ __ __ __, but I did not shoot no deputy (no no no)…”  Clue:  It’s got a reggae groove, and it came from a island.

This morning, while we were exercising Daku, he behaved like he always does the day after the yard crew comes.  His whole world changes and there are new smells, and new possibilities.  He kept running to the gate, and then checking out the bushes.  I made the mistake of using my strong, outside voice to get him away from a ‘lizard hunt’. I didn’t realize how much the use of my diaphragm would irritate the area around my surgery.  We live and learn.  The dog will get to be a dog for the time being (555).  Oh, he never did catch the lizard.

Blue and I stayed home today while Lisa and Cat went to Big C for soft foods.  Soon, I will return to the glory days of visiting Big C and walking the aisles (555).  And let’s not forget Makro, the Costco of Chiang Rai.  

The last time we were in town we saw the new police station.  For several years the skeleton of this building was another dormant project.  We’d speculate as to what it was going to be.  The guesses ranged from a parking structure to apartments.  Now we know, and it’s another sign of the growth from town to city.  Compared to the old station that is right up the street, it’s a grand improvement.   I wonder what they’ll do with the old one?

I have a lot of respect for the people who work outside in this heat.  Yesterday it was the yard crew, Sunday it was the women grouting the pool.  Today’s photo shows the creativity displayed by the grouting crew.  They took our patio umbrellas into the pool for a little shade while they worked.  

Cat will no doubt be doing a lot of texting this evening while she recovers from her oral surgery.  It’s not a time for talking.  Wisdom teeth always seem to bring up stories about this ‘right of passage’ that most people go through.  I remember mine.  They put me to sleep for the procedure.  That’s all I’ll say about that.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Your mind is not a cage.
It is a garden.  And it requires
Libba Bray

Monday, March 21, 2016



Sometimes it’s so hot I don’t even want to know the temperature.  It’s 6pm and I just peaked and it’s 97F.  That’s hot enough.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by The Supremes.  I just know you remember this ‘Easy Monday’ tune:  “(__ __ __ __, but I did not shoot the deputy, oh no! oh!  __ __ __ __ but I did not shoot no deputy, Ooh, ooh)  Yeah!  All around in my home town, they’re tryin’ to track me down; they say they want to bring me in guilty for the killing of a deputy, for the life of a deputy.  But I say:  __ __ __ __, but I swear it was in self-defense…….”  Hint:  Like the day implies, it’s Easy.  It’s a confession and that’s all I’m saying.

I had a pretty active weekend, considering.  We did The Wanderer three times, a trip to the Night Bazaar, and dinner last night at Art Bridge.  I’m at the stage now where I really need to pace myself.  The mind is feeling like I can do more, and I can, but there seems to be a little price to pay afterwards.  Not a bad thing, just an awareness that things are not normal yet.  Hmm, what’s that?  

On one of our Wanderer runs I took this photo of the construction two lots down from us.  It looks like some kind of barracks.  There are small rooms with their doors facing the center of the lot.  More structures are in progress.
Maybe we can get them to plant some thick bushes along the front (555).

One of the fascinating and sometimes puzzling things about living here is the way so many belief systems are intertwined.  The earliest system in this part of the world was animism, the belief that everything has a spiritual essence.  When Hinduism and Buddhism came to Thailand they were not kept exclusive.  Parts of each are found in the others.  Today there are Hindu deities with Thai Buddhist names, and threads of animism mixed into all of it.  In villages where Buddhism is the prevailing system, people still practice rituals to either satisfy or expel ghosts.  We just learned of one today.  As time goes on we will learn more about this rainbow of beliefs.

Sunday morning a crew of women came to work on the pool.  They are the grout specialists, and they came to save our pool (555).  They did a very systematic job that came out looking great.  We can add water next week, if we can find some.  Our job will be to ask various friends if they know anyone who can get us a couple of tanker trucks full of clean water.  It’s not the sort of thing everybody knows about.  

The fairgrounds are buzzing with the big OTOP Festival (One Tambon One Product).  We have been to them in the past and it can be very interesting.  The nights are filled with music that has been the dull soundtrack of our lives.  

Tomorrow afternoon Cat has to have two wisdom teeth removed.  She and Lisa are going shopping in the morning to get ‘soft foods’ while she heals.  

Have a Great Week.


“Compassion brings us to a stop,
and for a moment we rise
above ourselves.”
~Mason Cooley

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Funnies


We’re gearing up for the super hot weekend.  Not a lot of outdoor activity on the books, it’s going over 100F, so they say.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Whip It” by Devo.  Check it out:      
‘Old School Friday' is next and I think you all know this one:  “Set me free, why don’t you, baby?  Get out my life, why don’t you, baby?  ‘Cause you don’t really love me, you just __ __ __ __… And there ain’t nothin’ I can do about it.”  Hint:  Really?  This is so easy it hurts.

I spread my wings a little wider today.  The van had gotten very dusty and it was time for a wash.  Lisa, Blue and I took it to the car wash and then walked up to Work@Home for a coffee/tea break.  While we were there we visited with our friends who own the place.  Khun Koi, sister of Khun Katai showed us photos of the brownies she made using the recipe Lisa gave her.  She had ‘decorated’ them with a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of powdered sugar and a strawberry.  They looked very ‘gourmet’.  Then Katai joined us and we had one of our stimulating conversations.  We learned that because the drought this year is worse than last year, it’s having a major affect on farming and all of the related industries.  Later this summer her husband Towan is going to participate in a car rally that will start in Russia and end in Beijing.  That should be a wild experience.  When we asked her if she was going, she laughed and said, ‘No way.’  

This morning I had another visit from our friend Sutheera.  She and Lisa were going out to lunch and she spent some time talking with me before they left.  It’s nice to have a friend who will come by and chat.  

I got to see more of Chiang Rai as a result of our little excursion.  Things are starting to look dry, several building projects have made big progress since I last saw them, and the fair grounds across the river have lots of tents set up for a big event.  The music is about to begin.

Now that school is out we often have Khun Phone’s kids around the house.  Gop, her little boy, manages to occupy himself outside a lot, and Shampoo, who is older, helps her mom around the kitchen.  Shampoo has been watching Lisa feed Daku, sometimes helping.  This evening Lisa asked Shampoo if she’d like to feed him by herself.  With a little encouragement she did the whole job and was very proud afterwards.  She also completed a new drawing that went up on the refrigerator.  Natcha comes into the house a couple of times a day with Neetchanan.  

Today’s photo was taken right after we purchased our land.  This is the space before The Big Brown House, December 2007.

Don’t forget to check your local listings for the opening weekend of the Formula One season.  Zoom.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Now it’s time for the ‘Funnies’.

Creative Puns 

1. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.  He acquired his size from too much pi.
  2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned  out to be an  optical Aleutian.
  3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
  4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
  5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in  his work.
  6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
  7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
  8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
  9. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Thursday, March 17, 2016



The air was hot, and the wind was strong.  It was as if we had a Santana in Chiang Rai.  This weekend temps will top 100F.  Mr. Sun is very strong in these parts. The odd thing is, the mornings are rather cool.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song has a few friends out there.  Just in case you need a little more memory prodding, here’s this:
“When a good time turns around, you must __ __.  You will never live it down unless you __ __.  No one gets away until they __ __.  I say __ __, __ __ good!  I say __ __, __ __ good!  Hint:  What do you do to cream before you put it on top of something, like hot chocolate?  I have said too much.

What was it like today?  Just another day on the Ponderosa (555).  ( If you got that reference, you watched TV a long time ago)  This morning I went outside and joined in the exercising of Daku.  I sat in a patio chair at one corner of the yard and we did our usual play.  He had no problem coming to me, taking a treat and then running to Lisa.  This was the progression we used last time, slowly resuming duties with the dog.  When I went back inside he didn’t want to play ball with Lisa.  He kept waiting for my return.  Tomorrow I’ll have to stay in the yard so he can finish his workout.

It has been two weeks since my surgery.  This is when I start thinking I can do things, when in fact, I shouldn’t.  Some things, like having meals at the table, are good to do.  Bending and stooping and acting on impulse are not things to be doing.  Can you tell I’m wanting to get back to ‘normal’?  

Since I haven’t been out lately, there are no new photos, so I’ve dipped back in to the archives for one of my favorite shots taken in 2014.  This is from Wat Rong Khun.

Here in Thailand most people use cash or bank transfers to pay for goods and services.  Credit cards are growing in popularity, but we never use them here.  Since our arrival we have always used cash, and sometimes we are given treatment that is surprising.  Our house insurance was due in February.  Our agent now works out of Chiang Mai and doesn’t get up here often.  When I called to inquire about our policy he told me he had already renewed it and we could pay him the next time he’s in town.  What?  Yeah, I like living here.

This weekend marks the beginning of the Formula One Grand Prix season.  Australia is the first stop and I’ll be there, in front of the TV, watching the whole thing.  Zoom.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“No one can make you feel inferior
without your consent.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, March 16, 2016



What can I say?  More hot, and more haze is the prevailing weather for today.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts.  It’s time to throw you a little curve with a ‘Zany Day’ tune from 1980.  I’ll bet you didn’t think I knew ‘modern music’ (555).  “When a problem comes along (you must __ __).  Before the cream sits out too long (you must __ __).  When something’s going wrong (you must __ __).  
Hint:  The two word title is an action.  A big record by a group with zany hats.

I have reached that point in my post-surgery rehab where I’m feeling pain that wasn’t there before.  This happened last time and the doctor explained that the ’nerve blocker’ was wearing off.  Our good friend Louise explained that it’s not good to be in pain because it slows down the healing process by constricting blood vessels. So, rather than be brave and endure the pain, I’m going to let my body have a fighting chance to heal faster.  What a concept. So now I have found that I can be comfortable with Tylenol and being still.    Aren’t you glad we had this little talk (555)?  

When Cat got home from the Prom last night she told us they picked 5 boys and 5 girls to be like a court.  Then they chose a boy and girl to be, as she put it, ’the most beautiful or something like that’.  They chose her and we weren’t surprised.  She shrugged it off, which is probably a good thing.  Today she got her grades and she ended her senior year with a B average.  Yea Cat.  

This time of year we get an interesting notice on our TV screen.  Occasionally the satellite company informs us that there may be temporary interruptions due to “Sun Outages”.  What?  We know what they mean, but it still makes us laugh every time.  Yep, the sun may turn off for a few minutes, but it will be back.

This morning Lisa and Cat went to Big C.  I’m not afraid to admit that I miss going to Big C.  I miss the people watching, the sense of wonder when I see very unfamiliar food items, and the cross-section of Thai culture that is present.  I also miss the Talat, the bustling market downtown that has everything under the sun if you can find it.
It won’t be long before all of these things and more will be back in my life.  For now, my daily adventure is going downstairs for meals.  

In recent news, the Chinese government announced that it will release water from a dam in Hunan Province in the southeast region, and let it flow until sometime in April.  This would bring much needed water to Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and Thailand.  There has been much discussion about dam building here in Thailand, with a lot of protesting from local farmers.  One could almost see the writing on the wall.  We’ll give you water for a price.  Hmm.  

Today’s photo is from the archives.  Blue took this during the rainy season in 2013.  Rain falling on the pool full of water.  That’s what I want to see again. 

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of
creative altruism or in the darkness of 
destructive selfishness.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016



Chiang Rai had the same weather today as yesterday.  You know the story by now.  Hot and more hot is how we do it.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song seems to have caught some of you off guard.  Here’s a little more to remind you:
“Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom.  July is dressed up and playing her tune.  And I come home from a hard day’s work, and you’re waiting there, not a care in the world….. __ __, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine of my mind….”  Hint:  It was sung by what was basically a modern folk duo.  The song has had tons of cover versions.  It would be nice to have the title of this song blowing through Chiang Rai this evening.

This was a day to remember.  I spread my wings a bit and left the nest.  We had lunch at The Wanderer.  Lisa drove  while Blue and I heckled.  It was all in fun and the laughter only hurt for a moment.  On the way I got a quick look at the project down the road.  I can describe it in one word: horrible.  So far, there have only been four houses on our Soi and then they build this bunker.  That’s the best description of the concrete-block structure with it’s back turned to the road.  To grasp the whole impact, we’ll have to take a photo.  Early in our residency here, it became obvious that there seems to be no zoning laws when it comes to building.  If you have the land you can build whatever you want, regardless of the ‘tone’ of the neighborhood.  If this were a residential structure it wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s clearly for some other function besides a family dwelling.  The little shanty village further down has more charm than the bunker.  Ok, rant over.

When we arrived at The Wanderer there was a handful of cars in the lot.  Walking slowly down the entrance path we were greeted by a colorful parrot.  There were a few couples scattered in the woods having coffee.  The T-shirt that the staff wears says:  The Wanderer, Cafe in the Woods.  We ask them to seat us inside, where it seemed a little cooler.  Lisa and I had a delicious chicken dish and Blue had the apple pancakes.  I meant to bring some of those home with me (555).  Khun Noocha, the older daughter, joined us and told us about how things have been during the first week.  Based on the photos people have posted on Facebook, the place has been very busy.  It is becoming a destination for coffee, food and photos.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  This beautiful creature lives there.

Tonight is Cat’s Prom.  She and a few friends went to a salon in the afternoon to have their hair and make-up done, and then dressed for the evening.  Lisa took Cat and a classmate to the hotel.  They took some photos and I’ll just say it’s a long way from how they looked in their school uniforms.  This is their ‘Grown Up’ night.  

Living here has taught us many things.  One of those things is how to approach situations with individuals so they don’t have to lose ‘face’.  Its a very big thing in this part of the world.  When someone makes a mistake, we try to find a way to relate the issue by asking for their help, rather than blaming them.  It becomes an exercise in tact and compassion.  Good lessons to learn.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


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

Monday, March 14, 2016



True to the forecasts, it got hotter.  I don’t know why we’re so surprised.  It does this every year.  The real surprise will come in a few months if the rain doesn’t come.  In the meantime, air/cons rule.

‘Old School Friday’ took us back to “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke.  That leaves us no where to go but ‘Easy Monday’.  “See the curtains hangin’ in the window, in the evenin’ on a Friday night.  A little light a-shinin’ through the window, lets me know everything is alright.  __ __, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.  __ __, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”  Hint:  A seasonal soft wind.  Hmm.

I spent a quiet weekend at The Big Brown House.  I don’t know what happened around here, except that the farm behind us was also quiet and I didn’t hear any construction sounds down the road.  It’s been so hot that I wouldn’t be surprised if the workers didn’t work.  Friday night music from across the river almost drove me out of my mind.  They played a tune that went on forever and all I got was the cowbell, on and on and on.  When it ended it was as if a great silence came over us.  Whew.  

Daku has decided that I’m really well enough to take him out in the afternoons.  It’s the only time he gets insistent.
I am getting better, but not to the point of chasing a dog around the yard.  This evening I went downstairs for dinner.  It was nice to see the other half of the house.  I didn’t go far, but still it was nice.  

Sunday night Lisa, Blue and Cat went to Sawadee Restaurant in the Night Bazaar.  They brought home one of my favorite dishes, sweet and sour shrimp.  It was almost like being there.  (555) 

The gang is still buzzing about their visit to The Wanderer.  There is a Facebook page with lots of photos, and a video made from the opening evening.  As we predicted, it is being very well received, and I suspect it will continue to grow in popularity.  Tomorrow we’re going there for lunch. I will walk very slowly and soak in all the good vibes.

Today’s photo was lifted from Facebook, but it gives such a nice overview of The Wanderer that I just had to share.

Have a Great Week.


“The irony is, the more you
try to control life and others,
the more out of control you feel.”

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Funnies


The weather in Chiang Rai has gone from hot to hot and unhealthy.  Somewhere there are fires burning and it’s consuming the whole place.  All you can see is a gray haze, which almost looks like overcast sky.  The nose knows what it is and it’s not happy.  

That ‘Zany Day’ song you almost remembered was “Big Boss Man” by Jimmy Reed.   You can hear ‘Mama Reed’ singing in the back of the studio.  Time for some ‘Old School Friday’, and a easy one to make up for the last one (555).   “Darling __ __ __, I know __ __ __, darling __ __ __ honest you do, honest you do, honest you do, whoa.  You thrill me, I know you, you, you thrill me.  Darling you, you, you, thrill me.  Honest you do.”  Hint:  We haven’t played with this one for a long time but it's so easy.  

It’s Friday night and there is music coming from across the river.  All I’m hearing right now is bass drum and cow-bell.  Not the mix I’d choose, but it’s all they’re giving me.  Where did I put my headphones?

I had another pleasant day in the bedroom, in the bed.  As I recall, it was about this time after the last surgery that I began to go a little stir crazy.  I may get to go downstairs on Sunday or Monday, but I’m not pushing.  

The pool drama continues to distract me a bit.  Today Johan, our pool guru, came over with the man whose company makes the grout.  They are doing a test to see if the problem was in the application of the grout, or the grout itself.  I will wait for the outcome before getting all crazy.  Too many possibilities to ponder.

Today’s photo is our ‘Orchid Tree’, the place we hang most of our flowering friends.  There are three of them blooming at this time.

In other news, Cat got a new dress for her prom.  That led to my realizing that this ‘Class Prom’ thing was pretty cool.  There will be none of the prom night ‘stuff’ that I so vividly remember.  There have been no requests to go to after-parties, stay out all night, and no boyfriend.  A sigh of relief could be heard throughout the valley.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.        Hang on for the ‘Funnies’.


Thursday, March 10, 2016



Hot was the weather word again today.  By mid-morning it was time for the air/con and the air filter.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was not a mystery to some.  Here’s another verse:  “Well, I’m gonna get me a __ __, one gonna treat me right.  Work hard in the day time, rest easy at night.  __ __ __, can’t you hear me when I call?  Well, you ain’t so big, you’re just tall that’s all.”  Hint:  The title and main ‘hook’ is three words.  The singers wife was often heard singing with him in the background.  

We had been having fairly clear air up until today.  There was talk that maybe the burning season wouldn’t be so bad this year since the army had gotten involved.  Maybe that’s the case with the large farms burning crop waste, but what we had today smelled like trash.  The air was very hazy, with a definite smoke smell.  It’s time for a good wind to blow things out.

Last year I noticed some devices at one of the appliance stores that intrigued me.  They were negative ion generators for cars.  If they work as advertised, the combination of the recycle mode on the car air system and an ion generator could make breathing rather safe when the outside air is bad.  Something to think about.

My current comfort level is pretty good.  With the help of a Tylenol tablet I can get through the night without any pain.  During the day there are moments, but usually only when I get out of bed or laugh, cough, or sneeze.  Sometimes I feel good and forget to ask for help, then I get scolded (555).  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  The bright red flower is quite amazing in person.  The tree was getting ready to bloom like crazy.

Our friend Cornelis sent me a series of links to ‘Oz’ magazine, from the ‘60s.  He thought it might be something to entertain myself while I’m healing.  He may be right.  If nothing else, the cover art was really intriguing and the articles were controversial.  Hmm.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“The place to improve the world is
first through one’s own heart and hands.”
~Robert M Persig

Wednesday, March 9, 2016



We have moved into the Very Hot portion of our weather show.  Projected temps will be in the high 90s and over 100F this week and next.  Still, no rain in sight.  A dip in the local hotel pool may be in order next week.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was The Beatles' tune that set it off:  “I Want To Hold Your Hand”.  Note that the published title is six words, but in the song lyrics it’s only 5.  Hmm.  Time to get crazy with a ‘Zany Day’ song.  This one is from 1960, sung by a blues singer.  We’ll start with the first verse:  “Got me working, __ __, working ‘round the clock.  I want me a drink of water, but you won’t let Jimmy stop.  __ __ __, can’t you hear me when I call?  Well you ain’t so big, you just tall, that’s all.”  Clue: The man in charge is very large.

My excitement for today was a visit from our dear friends Sutheera and Nukoon.  We hung out for almost an hour, talking and (painfully) laughing.  Nukoon brought up a standing joke that always breaks us up.  Years ago he took Lisa, Blue and me to dinner at a Chinese Restaurant.  Among the various things he ordered was duck feet.  It was all we could do to contain ourselves when we realized it was a real thing.  Only Nukoon ate them, but now, every time we’re together it comes up.  Near the end of their visit, Blue came upstairs and the men discussed Thai politics
and I have no idea what Lisa and Sutheera talked about.  It was a wonderfully thoughtful thing they did.  It definitely perked me up.

Remembering that I’m not sick in the normal sense of the word, but recovering from an invasion of my body, is hard to keep in perspective.  Most of the day I feel great, and then I move.  The key, like last time; don’t move.

The pool completion has been delayed because some of the new grout was applied while the surface was dry.  That’s the short explanation.  So, a whole replacement procedure has to take place before we can entertain any water.  The Rimkok Hotel is less than two minutes away and they have a big pool that we can swim in for less than $1.  With the heat coming on strong, we’ll probably go down there next week and have a swim.  I’ll just splash around, but it will feel good.

Until today, Daku had been pretty cool about asking me to take him outside.  This afternoon he got really insistent and kept bugging me.  Lisa caught this photo of him trying to plead his case.  He also hit the bed with his paw for emphasis.

I miss going down and eating with the rest of the family.  There is something special about eating and laughing together.  It’s also where information is shared about this and that.  Patience is my friend.  Yeah, I keep telling myself.  

Time for a Wacky Wednesday.


“You give but little when you give
of your possessions.  It ’s only when you 
give of yourself that you truly give.”
~Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, March 8, 2016



Even though I didn’t go outside today, I could tell it was a hot one.  It would be nice to sit in the sun, but then I’d have to climb the stairs.  Oh well, next week the sun will still be there.

So, a bunch of you know the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  I could use a little more email since I’m a ‘shut in’ (555).
“Oh please, say to me, you’ll let me be your man.  And please, say to me, you’ll let me __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __.  And when I touch you I feel happy inside.  It’s such a feeling that my love I can’t hide, I can’t hide, I can’t hide…"
Hint:  Terms like ‘mop top’ come to mind.

There is not a lot to tell you about sitting in one room all day.  I know that lots is probably happening outside.  The construction crew down the road is making progress on whatever it is that they’re building.  Some farmers are struggling with their crops while others have plenty of water, and a ton of kids are done with school for the year.  In fact, many are done with school for life.  That means there are more motorbikes on the streets being driven by young adults with underdeveloped frontal lobes, making poor decisions out there.  Oh my, it’s nice to be inside.

The government announced that in some parts of Thailand they will begin seeding the clouds in order to make rain.  That’s fine if you have clouds.  Chiang Rai was not on the list, and this is farming country.  Hmm, maybe it’s going to rain here (555).  

We have reached that point in the year when it’s time to make reservations for our Summer Visit to the US.  I know, it seems like we just did this, but if we don’t get our tickets now, there may not be any seats left.  It took a long time this morning, but we are booked for a July 11 departure and arrival.  While on hold with the airline, Lisa had to listen to the birthday song over the phone.  What?

Cat’s senior class is having their prom next week.  It will be just the kids in her class, 35 students.  Yes, things are different here.  We will be taking Cat and two of her closest friends, Pawn and Oum (pronounced Oom) since they decided to wear dresses and not jeans.

This afternoon Natcha came upstairs to visit me and she brought Neetchanan.  We had a very strong eye contact communication and then she started getting sleepy.  What a treat to see the little one.

Daku is happy to have his routines back in place.  This morning he had a bath and then Lisa and Cat ran him across the lawn.  He is a happy dog.

Today’s photo was taken in our back yard.  It was right before the yard crew came and relieved the trees of their heavy fruit.  The banana tree is one of the babies of the original tree.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“There is no exercise better for the heart
than reaching down and lifting people up.”
~John Andrew Holmes

Monday, March 7, 2016



Well, we traded the hot air of Chiang Mai for the hot air of Chiang Rai.  The nights in Chiang Rai are warming up nicely.

‘Old School Friday’ was “Fever”, originally sung by Little Willie John in 1956.   I should also point out that it was two years later that Peggy Lee recorded her extended version of the song.  Now you know.  ‘Easy Monday’ is up next and that means less thinking, we hope.  “Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something, I think you’ll understand.  When I’ll say that something __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  This song set off a whole wave of music from across the pond by young men with guitars and drums that changed a lot of lives forever.  Ed Sullivan saw it coming.

This morning the doctor released me to travel home.  While I was waiting at the hospital I began wondering about some of the people around me.  There were Thai people, and a lot of foreigners.  Some of them spoke a little Thai, others seemed almost fluent.  I began wondering what their ’stories’ were, how long they have lived here, and what they do in Thailand. 

The trip home took the normal 3 hours, but the time passed quickly while we watched a movie and a TV episode.  It was so nice to get back to The Big Brown House.  I slowly climbed the stairs before Daku was let into the house.  Khun Fone and her daughter Shampoo brought the bags upstairs.  Cat and her boyfriend shopped at Big C and got enough groceries so Lisa won’t have to go out tomorrow.  And so it begins, staying in the bed for ten days and letting myself heal.  The 13th of the month will be the end of the ordered rest, then I’ll have to see how it goes.  

The hardest thing about following orders is that feeling better doesn’t always mean that I am better.  In light of that, I will continue to be careful.  Fortunately for me, when I bend or reach wrong, the pain lets me know it’s time to relax.  

I have been thinking about how nice it will be to go to The Wanderer and chill.  The environment is perfect  to commune with nature and enjoy the stillness.  Today’s photo was taken there, looking up through the trees.

Have a Great Week.


“The little things are
the big things.”

Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday Funnies


From my brief time outside today, I can tell you that it really is hot in Chiang Mai.  Thailand is racing into the hot season for sure.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Poison Ivy” by The Coasters.  Time to go ‘Old School Friday’ on you.  
“Never know how much I love you, never know how much I care.  When you put your arms around me, I get a __ that’s so hard to bear….”  Clue:  A condition of elevated temperature in the body.  Easy.  Oh, Original artist from 1956 please.

Morning in the hospital began with breakfast that I had ordered the night before.  What a relief to get food I wanted to eat.  From the stories I’ve heard, it could have been pretty bad.  Late last night my nurse came to the room for my last dose of pain medication and mentioned that she had been on duty for 16 hours and had 4 more to go.  That’s a long day on any job.  Nurses are definitely underrated and sometimes under appreciated.  This woman was cheery and helpful even after her long day.  She told us that the hospital only had two vacant rooms.  That’s a busy place.

I got the green light from my doctor to go back to the hotel.  I rode downstairs in a wheelchair.  It would have been a long and painful walk otherwise.  The staff arranged for our ride back to Chiang Rai on Monday and I also made an appointment to have an eye exam before we leave.  

The remainder of the day was spent in the hotel bed.  Following doctor’s orders can be a drag, but in this case it was not a problem.  When lunch was delivered to our room, our favorite dining room person came up to make sure everything was alright.   

Last week I neglected to tell you an interesting story.  We finally got new windshield wipers.  Big deal, right?  The place where we went was a complex of auto accessory shops.  The young man who helped us is the son of the family that runs Browney's Pet World and he remembered us.  He said his family told him we were long-time customers.  He also gave us a little discount on the wipers.  Love Chiang Rai.

Some of you may have already seen today’s photo on Facebook.  I couldn’t resist clowning around by the pain chart.  I love the hospital pajamas.  It would be cool to have something like that at home.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.