Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

There was a change in the weather today.  This afternoon we got a big wind storm.  A tiny bit of rain came, but dried as soon as it hit the hot ground.  Wind and thunder continued to tease us.  Around 5:15pm the lights went out.  Flashlights and candles enabled Fone to cook dinner.  We had just finished our candlelight dinner when the power came back and light rain began.  Now we have the windows open, and we're enjoying the cool breeze. 

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Get Off of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones.  For ‘Old School Friday’ we travel way back in time to 1951.  The artist had the ability to cry during a song and really sell it.  Maybe some of our senior members will be inspired to write back.  “I went walkin’ down by the river, feeling very sad inside.  When all at once I saw in the sky, __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  A possible explanation for rain?

Our one trip outside the walls today was to Makro.  That’s where I took the photo for the day.  Sitting on top of a table with assorted fruit was a battery powered megaphone.  It was playing a loop of a woman’s voice giving the prices for what we assumed was the products on the table.  We’ve see this before in different departments.  After about 2 minutes it becomes very annoying.


Neetchanan just turned 3 months old and already she is about to go on her second road trip.  She and Natcha are going back to Mae Sai tomorrow for a wedding.  We get little visits with her almost every day.  Natcha starts back to work on Monday so we’ll probably get to see Neetchanan even more often.  Gong also starts working at the house on Monday and may be doing some baby-sitting between yard jobs.  Our little village is really maturing (555).

The heatwave we’ve been living with is the longest in 65 years.  Let’s hope that the monsoon season that begins next month doesn’t set a record also.  The whole region needs rain without flooding.  Southeast Asia is very dry this year.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Time for the ‘Funnies’.  In case you’re interested, Formula One is in Russia this weekend.  Zoom.

                    Peace,
                              Danny


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Trust

Hi,

What can I say, it’s getting hotter by the day.  The poor air quality is back, which means we can’t slide into the pool.  It’s been an air/con kind of day.

So the ‘Zany Day’ song was familiar to a few of you.  It’s a fairly early one from a band that’s been around over 50 years.  “The telephone is ringing I say, ‘Hi, it’s me, who is there on the line?’  A voice says, ‘Hi, hello, how are you?’  Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine.  He says, ‘It’s three a.m., there’s too much noise, don’t you people ever go to bed?  Just ‘cause you feel so good, do you have to drive me out of my head?’ Hey you, __ __ __ __ __.  Hey you, __ __ __ __ __…. Don’t hang around ‘cause twos a crowd…”  Hint:  This old band just keeps rolling along, but probably gathering a bit of moss.  

In this hot weather Daku spends less time downstairs.  He hangs with us in the bedroom.  The other day he did something interesting.  He went to the refrigerator and stood there.  Lisa gave him an ice-cube, which is usually what he wants.  This time he dropped the ice on the floor and just stared at the fridge.  He wanted one of his popsicles (frozen water with kibble).  Lisa figured it out, and he was one happy dog.  
 
We cruised into town this morning.  Today was a simple run:  Art supplies, mangos and coffee.  While driving I noticed lots of teens on motorbikes.  We saw several with 3 and 4 to a bike.  School will start soon, but there will still be lots of kids on the street.  When one considers that some of the recent grads will leave school after the 9th grade, while others will not go to college after grade 12, there will be thousands of young people either looking for work, working for family, or just roaming around.  Hmm.  Thailand has a huge population under 30 years old.  Now there’s a challenge.

Today’s photo was taken yesterday at the event downtown.  This is one of the largest looms I’ve seen in Chiang Rai.  They are usually the smaller Hill Tribe looms that wrap around the waist.  


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Trust the timing of your life.”
~Unknown

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Change

Hi,

Yes, it’s still very hot.  Over 100 today and hotter tomorrow.  The low tonight is supposed to be 75.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Little Red Corvette” by Prince.  Here comes that ‘Zany Day’ song again.  This one is from across the pond.  You may remember:  “I live in an apartment on the ninety-ninth floor of my block.  And I sit at home looking out the window, imagining the world has stopped.  Then in flies a guy who’s all dressed up like a Union Jack, and says I’ve won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack.  I say, ‘Hey, you __ __ __ __ __, Hey, you __ __ __ __ __.  Hey, you __ __ __ __ __.  Don’t hang around ‘cause twos a crowd…”  Clue:  Someone wants to be left alone.  

This morning we voted.  Actually, we faxed our ballot to the States.  The whole process was rather painless with the help of our friend Stephan and the staff at Le Meridien Hotel.  While they fed the pages into the machine, we had coffee in the little air/con coffee shop and chatted with Stephen.  He has become a triathlete and has competed in numerous events all over Thailand and in other countries.  We got to hear stories of training and some of his recent races.  We were surprised to learn how big the sport has become in Thailand, and how big bike riding is in Chiang Rai.  When he trains early in the morning, he rides on the access road that we drove on last week.  He sees hundreds of riders out on that road getting a morning ride before work.  There is a sports center in Bangkok where he will do a triathlon training weekend.  Over 1,000 people will participate in this training session.  That’s serious commitment. 

We hid from the heat for most of the day.  There was a special event downtown in honor of the Princess’ birthday and Art Bridge had a small exhibition.  Lisa has a piece in the exhibit so we went to the ‘Prison Park’, as it’s called, to participate.  The park is on the site of what used to be the Chiang Rai Prison.  A portion of the wall still stands, as is the custom in some cities.  The new prison is now located out-of-town.  At 5:30pm it’s just past the hottest time of day, so the whole thing was a little overwhelming.  We didn’t realize it was a whole community ‘thing’, with a giant stage, lots of booths with crafts and food, and dignitaries.  We saw lots of artist friends, took photos with people, and managed to duck out just as the ceremony part was starting.  Had it been cooler, we might have stayed, but we were melting.

Today’s photo was taken at the event this evening.  The man is weaving a chicken cage, like the ones on the right.  It’s a very portable device that keeps the birds contained, anywhere in the yard.  


There is a new artist group that has spun off from Art Bridge.  It is a Women’s Art Collective and Lisa became a member.  Apparently this is the first time something like this has been done in Thailand.  We’re very excited about it.  The art world has historically been run and controlled by men.  That is about to change.  More will be revealed.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change.
I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
~Dr. Angela Davis

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vision

Hi,

We are back in a ‘heat wave’.  Tomorrow is supposed to be 104F, and then 106F on Thursday.  We saw some clouds today.  They had dark bottoms like rain clouds.  They blew away.

A few of you knew the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  This could be called an ‘ode to a wild child’.  Here is the alternate chorus:  “__ __ __, honey you got to slow down.  __ __ __ ‘cause if you don’t you gonna run your __ __ __ right in the ground.”  Hint:  It’s not really about the car at all.

I can’t say that we’re getting used to the heat, but we are functioning as if it wasn’t this hot.  Water helps and so do loose, lightweight clothes.  Our air/cons are having a tough time keeping up with the higher temps.  What used to be cold on the remote setting feels like nothing is happening.  

After a little research I discovered that here in Thailand monks can use what is called a ‘receiving cloth’ to prove that he is not touching a woman.  There are definite exceptions to this rule.  Things like medical emergencies are acceptable situations for monks to be touched by a woman.  We just keep learning.

Today’s photo was taken at The Healthy Market.  This is the abundance I mentioned yesterday.  


The pool was just the thing to distract us from the afternoon heat.  It keeps getting better and better.  Today’s yard appreciation centered around the fact that we’re going to have to put a fence around the water before too long.  There will also be the matter of baby-proofing the little apartment and parts of the house.  This is new territory, but very exciting.

Natcha and Neetchanan returned this evening from Mae Sai.  They’ve been on a little holiday, visiting a big part of Natcha’s family.  They are happy to be at home.  I know Gong is glad they’re back.  

Lisa and I had dinner at The Wanderer with a couple from Mae Sai.  He is an American and she is Thai.  I met him when we first got here, but we haven’t spent much time together since they spend half the year in the States and half in Thailand.  

Tomorrow we will fax our primary election ballots to the proper county office.  It’s quite a procedure, but we want to make sure it gets there in time.  Should be interesting, faxing so many pages.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“A different language is a
different vision of life.”
~Federico Fellini

Monday, April 25, 2016

Smile

Hi,

Oh, it’s so hot here.  The air is a little better thanks to the winds, but the heat is the big topic of discussion around here.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Purple Rain” by Prince.  Nice that you knew it.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be just that:
“I guess I should’ve known by the way you parked your car sideways, that it wouldn’t last.  See you’re the kinda person that believes in makin’ out once.  Love ‘em and leave ‘em fast…. __ __ __, baby you’re much too fast.  __ __ __, you need a love that’s gonna last.”  Hint:  The title would have you think it’s about a car.  Hmm, isn’t it? (555)

Saturday we went for a swim.  It was wonderful to finally be in the water after such a long wait.  I have to take it easy for awhile, but being able to use my muscles was great.  The cool water became comfortable the longer we swam.  We went in again today.  The air is still not perfect, but acceptable.  Things are looking up.

Earlier in the day we stopped by The Wanderer for coffee and tea.  Blue and I ended up having pancakes.  They’re hard to resist.  Three little fluffy pancakes with assorted fruit makes a great mid-morning snack.  

Sunday we returned to The Wanderer for lunch.  We all ordered the grilled chicken and Blue and I requested grilled potatoes.  When the food arrived there was something else on our plates that we didn’t recognize.  Khun Noot came to our table to explain that she was out of potatoes so she picked some baby pumpkin from her garden and grilled that instead.  It was delicious.

This morning we were at The Healthy Market doing our Monday shopping.  At the fruit stand there was a Burmese monk sitting and taking with the owner.  Lisa had a conversation in Thai with him about where we were from, etc.,  
then he reached into his bag and brought out a gold plated bracelet.  We have understood since our first visit in 2001, that monks are not permitted to come in physical contact with women.  How was this monk going to put the bracelet on Lisa’s wrist without touching her?  Well he did it, and apparently there was a slight touch but no big deal was made of it.  It was a generous gift from a traveling stranger.


I found it interesting this morning, while looking at all the produce, that even though we are in a drought there is still an abundance of food.  

Cat came by the house today.  She has been staying in her village, with her sister.  She will get her passport tomorrow and then apply for a visa to the States.  After her boyfriend goes into the army on May 1, she will return to The Big Brown House.  Life goes on and we do our part.  She told me she and her nephew went swimming in the river near her village.  I asked her if it was dry like the one near us.  She said there is a dam in the river so they had a lot of water, though it was very cold.  Dams are popping up in the region and some are helping local farmers, but others are causing shortages of water downstream.  Water management is becoming a new challenge in the north.  Still hoping for rain.

Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Because of your smile, you make
life more beautiful.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

It’s still hot here in Chiang Rai, but a big wind blew all afternoon and this evening the sky looks a bit cleaner.  We look for any little signs of progress.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Dang Me” by Roger Miller.  This week’s ‘Old School Friday’ isn’t really ‘Old School’, but more of a recognition of the departure of a musical genius.  “I never meant to cause you any sorrow.  I never meant to cause you any pain.  I only wanted one time to see you laughing.  I only want to see you laughing in the __ __.”  Hint:  There is this song and a movie with the same title.  The ‘Artist’ is the star of both and there is a color involved.

I’m sure I wasn’t alone in my reaction to the news that Prince had died.  It was a jolt that was something I was not prepared for at all.  I am feeling sad and happy at the same time.  Sad because he’s gone, happy because he was here and gave so much of his talent and energy.  So many memories.  Time to watch and listen and be amazed once again.

We can always tell when school is about to start again in Chiang Rai.  All over town there are school uniforms on sale.  In the Talat the other day we saw families getting ready, buying the lavender shirts, black skirts or pants, the shoes and socks.  School is anything but free.  Uniforms are worn to school all the way through university.  There seems to be some room for personal touches after high school, but before that there are inspections to make sure students comply.  Everything is checked, including skirt length, fingernail length, and the shine on the shoes.  Teachers have been known to cut student’s hair right there in the classroom.  Hmm.

Today’s photo was taken at The Healthy Market.  What you are seeing is a rather large Jack Fruit.  I have no idea who Jack was, but you can tell this one is large next to the coconuts.


This evening the sky seemed almost blue when looking up above the horizon.  Could it be that the wind made a difference?  The air is still very hot and the pool feels great.  We might be able to swim this weekend. 

A new ‘eating place’ has sprung up near the corner of our street and the main road.  We now have a little restaurant row in our area.  We have never eaten at any of them.  It’s all traditional ‘home cooked’ type Thai food.  Most of it is spicy and a lot of pork is used.  One thing is for certain, there is no shortage of inexpensive food.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

Life’s Important Questions

What is the speed of dark?

When you’re sending someone styrofoam, what do you pack it in?

After eating, do amphibians have to wait on hour before getting out of the water?

What’s another word for synonym?

Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?

Why do you need a driver’s license to buy liquor when you can’t drink and drive?

Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?

Why is it that when you transport something by car, it’s called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it’s called cargo?

Why isn’t 11 pronounced onety-one?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Anger

Hi,

Last night we got some rain.  Not a drizzle, but a real rain.  It was not enough to completely clean the sky, but it watered the yards and cooled things down for the morning.  By the afternoon it was hotter than ever.

The ‘Zany Day’ didn’t fool a few of you.  There’s a definite country twang to this tune.  The lyrics are kinda spoken.
“They say roses are red and violets are purple, sugar is sweet and so is maple surple.  Well I’m the seventh out of seventy sons, my pappy was a pistol I’m a son of a gun.  __ __, __ __, they oughta take a rope and hang me….”  Hint:
The main character is well aware that he’s a scoundrel (555). 

There is an interesting thing that happens right before Songkran:  Young people dye their hair.  Not all of them, but enough so it’s something one notices.  The colors are mostly greens and shades of reds.  We saw a couple of guys on a motorbike with a great burgundy tone, and orange is another popular color for guys.  Pink and green seemed to be hits with the young women and we did see a few purples.  I have no idea how this came about, or what it means.  I guess I’ll have to ask around and see what the folklore reveals.  

Yesterday I mentioned the young women who string marigolds to make garlands.  Today, while we were at the Healthy Market, they let me take a photo.  Those white containers are all full of marigolds.


This afternoon we had a visit from our friend Pete and his 4 year old son Charles.  Pete’s mom, Supalak, and her husband own the art supply/stationary store downtown.  She sent us some mangos from Northeastern Thailand.  Little Charles has met Daku before, but starts off very cautious.  Today he did the same, but then ramped things up and got bold.  By the end of the visit he was calling Daku, petting him and running across the room hoping Daku would follow.  Every conversation these days turns to the burning and the bad air.  Today we learned that some farmers were given a deadline for when they had to stop burning.  What?  I know.

This evening we had dinner at The Wanderer.  While we waited for our food, Khun Kwan sat with us and we had a great time talking about lots of different things.  When we left, it was nearing closing time (8pm) and walking through the trees that were illuminated by the garden lights was magical.  We must do this more often.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny
 
“Anger begins with folly, 
and ends in repentance.”
~Pythagoras


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Movie

Hi,

Chiang Rai had a little cooler day today.  We had a big wind last night that seemed to change things.  The air wasn’t clear today but it didn’t stink like before.  More wind please.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Tax Man” by The Beatles, from their 1966 ‘Revolver’ LP.  Time to get crazy with the  ‘Zany Day’ song.  “Well, I sit here gettin’ ideas, ain’t nothing but a fool would live like this.  Out all night and runnin’ wild.  Woman sittin’ home with a month old child.  __ __, __ __ they oughta take a rope and hang me.  High from the highest tree, woman would you weep for me?”  Clue:  This one is by request/suggestion from my zany brother.  The artist was recently featured with another of his zany creations.  The first word in the title is an old slang term.

This morning the yard crew came for the last time.  Starting next month, Gong will be maintaining the yard.  When they arrive we usually leave so we don’t have to listen to the weed-wacker noise.  

There is a water leak at the Healthy Market and it has made half of the parking lot unusable.  It was a lake a few days ago and it’s still like that.  It makes parking more difficult than usual, but we found a place and handled our shopping.  There is a long table inside the market near the back of the flower stands.  Most days there are 3 or 4 young women sitting on the table making the beautiful garlands that are taken to the temples as offerings.  It’s tedious work that they make look easy.
 
We had a road trip adventure after our stop at Home Pro.  Our destination was Makro, which is north of the city, and we were south of the city.  The new alternate ‘ring road’ on the east of town was our choice in order to avoid the traffic.  It really goes much faster than the Super Highway and before we knew it, we were at the airport and turning towards Makro.  There was a time when the road by the airport was a scary two-lane road with a shoulder that just dropped away.  I love new pavement (555).  We saw a sign that pointed to Mae Sai and now we’re wondering if this new road will take us there.  That would be nice.

In Thailand there are three New Years celebrations.  There is the January first celebration, the Thai New Year at Songkran, and the Chinese New Year celebration.  Songkran is the longest of the holidays.  We get to celebrate two of them, but always miss the first of the year since we’re in the States.  Hmm.

The mangos on our little tree are growing.  We have no idea how big they will get, but they’re starting to look like the real deal.  Daku sampled one last week, but I didn’t get a review from him as to taste and texture.  He just chomped away.  He hasn’t tried anymore so maybe it wasn’t to his liking.  I hope not, since there is a seed in there and he has no discretion when eating things like that.  

Today’s photo is the mango tree, taken by Natcha.  I guess we’re all pretty excited about having another fruit-bearing plant in the yard.


Time for Wacky Wednesday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“Only thing worse than watching a bad movie
is being in one.”
~Elvis Presley

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dreams

Hi,

Well, around dinner time it was still 102F.  That should give you an idea as to how hot today was, and it was cooler than yesterday.  We’ve been hearing thunder all afternoon and had a brief shower just to tease us.  Maybe tonight we’ll get some rain.  It rained in Chiang Mai so why not us?

Just to show you how much I respect the concept of ‘Easy Monday’, I’m going to give you lyrics that are sure to reveal the song (555).  “If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street.  If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.  If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat.  If you talk a walk, I’ll tax your feet, ‘cause I’m the __ __, yeah I’m the __ __… and you’re working for no one by me, __ __.”  Hint:  I hope we’re clear on who this song is about, and the title.  

This morning we faced the hazy day early.  After a brief run/play with Daku we went into town.  Things are definitely back to ‘busy’ and the city was humming.  We have an unsolved mystery:  We keep seeing the big buses, like the ones we take to Chiang Mai, driving down side streets and in parts of town they usually don’t frequent.  I’m sure we’ll get an answer eventually, but for now it seems strange.  

On the Super Highway I took this photo of one of the new light standards.  There are a series of them and they each have 8 big lights.  We haven’t seen them ‘on’ yet, but they look impressive.  


This afternoon Natcha got a chance to hit the pool with Gong and Gop.  They seemed to really be enjoying themselves.  We won’t go in while the air is so bad, but they don’t seem to mind.  

Last night we talked to Cat, who is staying in her village.  She had just returned from a busy afternoon helping with firefighting efforts on a hillside behind her sister’s house.  She and her sister were helping provide water that was trucked up to the fire site.  She also helped with her grandfather and other relatives.  The fire was put out and all is well now.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“The future belongs to those who
believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, April 18, 2016

Lean

Hi,

Right now it’s 7pm in Chiang Rai and ‘They’ say it’s 92F and feels like 95F.  That’s about right.  This whole week will be over 100 degrees.  This will go on until mid-May, when the rain is supposed to come.  Hmm, a trip to an island would be a dream about now.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “A Fool In Love” by Ike & Tina Turner.  So, that leaves us to conquer the mighty ‘Easy Monday’.  “Let me tell you how it will be, there’s one for you, nineteen for me ‘cause I’m the __ __, yeah, I’m the __ __.  Should five per cent appear too small, be thankful I don’t take it all, ‘cause I’m the __ __, yeah I’m the __ __.”  Hint:  This 1966 tune is from the first person perspective of a person some of us paid ‘tribute’ to recently.

In any other time of the year the high temperatures we’re having would make the heat the talk of the town.  It started out like that until the bad air appeared.  Now that’s the main topic of conversation.  Over this weekend it seemed like each day topped the last as the ‘worst day yet’.  We’re not doing any outside things besides walking to the car and into various buildings.  We keep the air filters going in the house and wear masks when out with Daku.  

Songkran is over and things around town are returning to normal.  The weekend seemed weird on the streets.  Blocks of storefronts closed, very light traffic, and not a lot of water throwing around us.  Except for cities where the water and partying in the street is the thing, Songkran was rather subdued throughout the Kingdom.  It was celebrated, but the water thing wasn’t such a focus.  There was a street in Chiang Rai where the kids seemed to gather, but we didn’t see many roving trucks or the multiple ‘water stations’.  With most of the work-force on a ten day vacation, there will be some catching up to do around town.  We have a list of things that were put on hold during Songkran.  Time for the fixing to begin (555).

One of the mainstays of my Recovery when we were in the states, was a Sunday morning meeting.  Now we have one in Chiang Rai and this past Sunday was the first.  It has taken some time for this to evolve, but now that there are two Recovery centers in the area, things are changing.  

Sunday we lunched at The Wanderer and had dinner at the mall.  We ate at Sizzler and this time we saw lots of friends who were also dining there.  One couple has a coffee shop we used to frequent.  We hadn’t seen their twins since they were toddlers, so it was a surprise to see them at six years old.  On the way home I thought about the people we have met here and the families we’ve seen grow up.  A lot has happened in 8 plus years.

Today’s photos show a contrast in air quality.  The first pic shows blue skies over Chiang Rai.  The second was the sky this morning.  …a thousand words.




Have a Great Week.

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Chiang Rai is still in the grip of triple digit heat with no let-up in sight.  ‘They’ say we might get a thunder storm but that could just be a lot of noise (555).  The Songkran celebration will probably continue through Sunday night.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Chug-a-Lug” by Roger Miller.  Now we’re going back to my senior year in high school, 1960, and this early tune from a singer and her husband.  “Oh, there is something on my mind.  Won’t somebody please, please tell me what’s wrong?  You’re just a fool, you know you’re in love.  You’ve got to face it to let it explode…. You know you love him, you can’t understand why he treats you like he do when he’s such a good man.”  Hint:  The title is never actually sung, but the words are there, just scattered around (555).  She finally left him and had a giant career, nylons and all.

We went into town this morning.  Maybe I should say we went into the ‘Ghost town’, since the streets were pretty empty and most of the shops were closed.  It was a little eerie.   Then we went to The Wanderer for coffee and snacks.  They were doing a brisk business before lunch.  I asked Kwan if she had played Songkran (thrown water) and she said no, but she noticed some of the staff brought squirt guns to work.  Hmm.  

Something happened today that we had never considered.  Boot called to say hello and later Lisa realized that she has no family in Chiang Rai.  Songkran is all about connecting with family so we invited her to come over for a visit.  It never occurred to us that she might be a target for water play while riding on her motorbike.  A little after the time she was to come over, Rudi called to say that she had to return to the house because she got soaked on the way to see us.  Today is the last ‘official’ day of Songkran so hopefully she can make it over without incident tomorrow.

During this heat wave we have tried to keep the trees and flowering plants watered.  As a result, we have lots of fragrant flowering bushes in the backyard and beautiful colors in the front.  Today’s photo shows just how much the bougainvillea plants love the heat.  


The festivities across the river began this afternoon.  There was a lot of local music until this evening, when a pro band took the stage.  We can usually tell by the arrangements and the vocals.  There’s also less of the repetitive drumming and relentless cowbell.  When we crossed the bridge this morning the crowd didn’t seem as big as last year.  Our guess is that the heat is playing a big part in that.  It’s just too hot, even by the river.  We had a big wind this afternoon but it did little to cool things off or clear the air.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.   The Formula One Grand Prix is in China this weekend.  
Zoom.

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Listen

Hi,

So far, we’re staying at about 100F every day.  To say one gets used to it might be true over time, but I don’t want to find out.  It’s that heavy heat that feels like it’s pushing you into the earth.  Ready for rain.

Only a few people remembered the ‘Zany Day’ song.  There’s still time to make a stab at it.  Here’s verse one:
“Grape wine in a Mason jar, homemade and brought to school by a friend of mine.  ’N’ after class, me and him and this other fool decide that we’ll drink up what’s left.  __-__-__, so we helped ourself.  First time for everything, mm, my ears still ring.”  Hint:  I think the song speaks for itself.  The three word title describes an action.  Oh my.

Right before going to bed last night there was a notice on my phone from Facebook stating that there had been a major 6.9 earthquake in Myanmar.  It had a map with a circle showing the potential harm area.  Chiang Rai was in the circle.  There was also a button to report if one was safe.  I pushed the button.  The fact is, we didn’t feel a thing.  Most of the force was quite a bit northwest of us.  I believe most of the quake was felt in Myanmar, India and Nepal.  Anyway, nothing to see here.

This morning we learned that Big C had no shortage of customers the day after Songkran.  The place was busy and we were doing our part.  People were still stocking up on Songkran essentials like little buckets, water guns, and flower shirts.  We watched a family pour small cups of water over a large seated Buddha, one of the more reverent things to do this holiday.  On the other end of the observance scale there were the pick-up trucks roaming around with squirt guns and the roadside water tossers.  Chiang Rai is quite tame compared to some of the larger cities, especially the ones with big tourist numbers.  This link is from the Bangkok Post and it shows Songkran celebrations in different parts of Thailand.  http://www.bangkokpost.com/photo/photo/932301/songkran-2016

Our friend Sutheera came over to take Lisa to lunch, but before they left we all hung out and talked about Songkran, the weather, and our changing city.  Lisa and Sutheera went to The Wanderer which was very crowded.  They had decided to stay open through the Songkran week and it looks like a good decision.  Blue and I lunched at home and went down memory lane talking about our early days in music, among other thing.  Good times.

This afternoon we heard that splashing/laughter sound again.  Gong, Gop and Chompoo were playing in the pool.  Earlier, Gong did some trimming on some bushes and worked on his vegetable garden.  I think it’s going to be great when he’s working here full-time.  Being able to have the yard attended to as it needs it instead of once a month will keep it looking nice all the time.  

This ice rink at Central Festival in Chiang Mai would be the perfect place to hang out these days.  Just looking at it makes me feel better (555).


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“There is a voice
that doesn’t use words.
Listen.”
~Rumi

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Box

Hi,

The Chiang Rai temps were somewhere around 107F.  The pool looked so inviting, but the air said ‘No’.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Summer In the City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.  Our ‘Zany Day’ song this week is a crazy one.  “__-__, __-__, make you want to holler hi-de-ho, burns your tummy, don’t you know.  __-__, __-__.”  Clue:  We’re not talkin’ about chili peppers.

On this first day of Songkran we spent the entire time at home.  It was quite pleasant since the neighborhood was quiet.  We were a bit surprised that there was no music from across the river during the day.  There were occasional large fireworks explosions with the first going off at 6:20 this morning.  This evening there is music, but it’s not as loud as the concerts.  It sounds more like a small system by the river.  

The kitchen had a personnel shuffle today. Fone didn’t come to work, which is understandable on Songkran Day, so Natcha and Gong pitched in to make lunch and dinner.  At one point during lunch Gong brought Neetchanan to the house because she wanted to be with her mom, so he ended up doing some cooking and the clean-up.  This evening, after dinner, we had a chance to visit with the baby.  I got some serious staring and Lisa got a really strong smile. 

Today’s photo is an ‘Oldie’.  It’s a ‘wishful thinking’ pic and a reminder that blue skies are coming, eventually.


I suppose we’ll have to venture out tomorrow for supplies, with the windows up of course.  

It’s going to be a Wacky Wednesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“No need to think outside the box,
simply realize there is no box.”
~Unknown

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Abundance

Hi,

It seems to be getting hotter, as predicted.  Today was the worst air in a long time, and the water-play began.

The ‘Easy Monday’ tune must have been easy based on responses.  Here’s a little more, just in case you missed it:
“But at night it’s a different world, go out and find a girl, come-on, come-on and dance all night.  Despite the heat it’ll be alright.  And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity, that the days can’t be like the nights in the __ __ __ __”  Hint: The band that sang this considered themselves a ‘Jug Band’, but had some major radio hits.  This was not a winter song.

The day before Songkran was very interesting.  We went out this morning to get vegetables and fruit.  The area around the Healthy Market was jam-packed with shoppers.  It was as if the whole town was in preparation mode.  For many households there will be guests from out of town, family visits, as well as the knowledge that a lot of shops will be closed until next Monday.  

After we stocked up on veggies we went to the car wash but it was closed.  We stopped at Work@Home for coffee and tea.  While we were there Katai came to the air/con room and hung out with us.  She told us about one of her employees who is from ‘the mountains’.  She went home to be with her family for Songkran, but returned after two days because there was no water because of the drought.  Everyone in her village had to go to the stream to bathe, and the water was cold. She decided to stay in town.  Katai said she told her she is now a ‘city girl’.  We discussed the drought, Songkran, and a lot more.  Today’s photo is one of her cool rings.


During our morning travels we didn’t see anyone throwing water, but this afternoon was a different story.  We went to Immigration for our 90 day check-in.  The place was empty so it was a quick stop.  On the way home we ended up at the mall for ‘fun food’ supplies.  We passed Big C and the line to get into the lot was one of the longest we’d ever seen.  The mall wasn’t so bad.  We’ve been looking for unpopped popcorn but didn’t find any.  We did find some chips we like and saw things we don’t eat, like lots of cockles (tiny little clam-like things).  They're very popular here and people take them from the river.  On the way home we saw a few ‘water stations’ with kids and adults throwing water at passing cars.  We rode behind a pick-up with two little kids who were just getting into it.  The boy had a long squirt rifle device that sent out a long stream of water.  Near our house there were groups going at it like this was Songkran Day.  We will spend tomorrow at home and let the mayhem go on without us.

When we got home, Gong and Gop were playing in the pool.  I love hearing the sound of laughter and splashing.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“It is when you are grateful for what you have
and able to share it with others
that you are living in abundance.”
~Unknown

Monday, April 11, 2016

Choice

Hi,

We’ve been living in 100+ temps for the last few days and it’s not stopping soon.  They say ‘101F, feels like 110’ and stuff like that.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “The Book of Love” by The Monotones  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIfuNPbBaaA   Now we move on to ‘Easy Monday’.  “Hot town, __ __ __ __, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.  Been down, isn’t it a pity, doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city.  All around, people looking half dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.”  Hint: The weather had me singing this song all day.  Hmm.

Saturday was another hot day but we had a brief, heavy rain in the early evening.  We got all dressed up and went to Rai Mae Fah Luang Park for the special event.  It turns out it was the 20th anniversary of the death of the Princess Mother (The mother of The King).  When we arrived, our host spotted us and threw his arms up and shouted ‘Oh, how beautiful’.  He was so pleased that we came in Lanna attire.  Most of the guests wore some kind of traditional outfit and it was a sight to see.  There were a lot of familiar faces, even some whose names we remembered (555).  The evening began with a ceremony and tribute gifts for the members of the Board of Directors.  The park has many activities and events centering around the preservation of Lanna culture.  At the end, a monk gave a blessing to the audience by walking down the center aisle sprinkling water.  As he began, so did the rain.  

Inside the main gallery we were meeting and greeting, checking out the exhibit when suddenly the lights went out.  People just turned on the flashlights on their phones and it all continued.  The next phase of the evening was a buffet dinner with musical entertainment.  Most of the food was pork-based so we didn’t eat much.  We had a good time talking with our friend Chalit and his girlfriend Sin.  There was a small ensemble from Chiang Mai consisting of piano, cello, violin, various flutes and two vocalists.  They were very good.  There was also a dance performance by a couple who did what I’d call a blend of Lanna/Contemporary, accompanied by a solo Thai instrument.  There must have been 100+ guests and we were part of a handful of expats.  It was a memorable experience.

Sunday morning, when we went out with Daku, he dashed over to a tree just as a bird flew out.  I thought that was what had attracted him but on further inspection I discovered a little owl that was stuck.  It was out of Daku’s reach.  Lisa held him while I cut a piece of twine that was wrapped around his leg, and then he flew off.  We had never seen an owl here so it was a big treat.  That’s the photo for today.  His face is in the shadow of the tree.


Have a Great Week.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“Choosing to live your life by your own choice is 
the greatest freedom you will ever have.”
~Shad Helmstetter

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

There is really no point in looking at any forecasts.  It just stays hot.  We are supposed to get a thunder shower Saturday afternoon.  That would be nice since it would cool things off for our evening out.  Full report on Monday.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix.  Hey, here comes ‘Old School Friday’.
“I wonder wonder who, oouu who, who wrote __ __ __ __.  I, I love you darlin’, baby you know I do.  But I’ve got to see this __ __ __, find out why it’s true.  I wonder wonder who, be-dooo, who, who wrote __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  This might be found in the library, but I doubt if the author was ever revealed.

This morning we decided to leave Chiang Mai early and just come home.  There was nothing to do except hang around the hotel and then eat lunch at Central Festival.  The big mall is always attractive, but there’s always something there that will want to come home with us (555).  We had breakfast, and then packed up and left.  At the front desk the usual routine is for the attendant to call upstairs to see if we’ve taken anything from the mini-bar.  This time she just asked us and took our word for it.  Both check-in and check-out were simplified, like old friends who came to visit.  I like that.  

Once we cleared the morning traffic, the first half of our trip was very smooth.  With no stop for pie, we made excellent time back to Chiang Rai.  Along the way we saw some amazing photo opportunities that we didn’t take, but appreciated.  Imagine a drought-dry hillside with one bright green tree right in the middle, or a stoney stream winding through the landscape next to the highway.  One of these days…

On Thursday we had an encounter at the hospital that I thought I should share.  After we paid the bill, the clerk said, “Have a nice day, please”.  It sort of surprised us at first, no one ever adds ‘please’.  Hmm.

Today’s photo was taken from our hotel window.  I think what we’re seeing is an old rain collector that filled the big tank.  Someone planted a ‘garden’ in the collector, but without rain it just dried up.


Our little household was surprised to see us so early.  We called ahead and told them we’d be home for lunch, but we usually don’t come back until late afternoon.  Daku responded as if we’d been gone for weeks.  It’s always good to be back home.

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

                  Peace,
                            Danny


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Progress


Hi,

I’m ‘broadcasting’ live from Chiang Mai, where it’s hotter than Chiang Rai (555).  It will be good to get back to the cool country.  Who am I kidding, it’s just a few degrees cooler.

The ‘Zany Day’ song is actually a rather sad/zany tune if there is such a thing.  Your responses tell me you still like it.  “A broom is drearily sweeping up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life.  Somewhere a queen is weeping, somewhere a king has no wife.  And __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  Something stronger than a breeze and a name.  Yeah, that’s a hint.

The only big difference in our drive to Chiang Mai this morning was the state of the landscape.  The dry weather has taken its toll on a lot of the brush and many small trees.  This trip we saw brown where there used to be green. The region really needs some rain.  We stopped for pie and I was surprised at how dense the air was.  The smell of smoke made hanging out an afterthought.  

The main point of the trip was to see the doctor for my follow-up and see if things are healing properly.  Based on the guidelines, I’m doing fine. So, it’s slow progress, but progress just the same.  I am relieved.

Riding around the city and not having to drive gives me a chance to see things I would miss while concentrating on the road.  We passed an auto supply store that had a big tire in front with what looked like snow chains.  What?  We decided that they might be used for driving in the mud.  We’ll leave it at that.  

There is a coffee stand near the hotel that offers a cup of good black coffee a lot cheaper than the hotel.  On our last trip that was where Lisa would go.  She went back this afternoon and the guy apologized for not being there on the Sunday of our last trip.  He had told Lisa he’d be open but he didn’t make it.  It’s been 5 weeks and he remembered.  Amazing Thailand.  

Today’s photo is the menu at the coffee stand.  It’s interesting to see how strong the desire is to post signs in English, even without the benefit of a ‘proof reader’.


The hotel staff keeps asking me how I’m doing now, and if I’m feeling better.  It seems we have made some real connections with these young people.  I honestly think it has a healing affect.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Never discourage anyone who continually
makes progress, no matter how slow.”
~Aristotle

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Balance

Hi,

The weather started out like any other day, and then something happened.  Wind happened, lots of wind that blew away some of the smoke and brought a few drops of water.  More on this later.

‘Easy Monday’ was “You’ve Got a Friend” as sung by James Taylor.  It was also written and sung by Carole King.  Now we get busy with this week’s ‘Zany Day’ song.  It’s from 1967, by an American icon who was in England at the time, so I guess you could say it came from across the pond.  “After all the jacks are in their boxes, and the clowns have all gone to bed.  You can hear happiness staggering on down the street.  Footprints dressed in red.  And __ __ __ __.”  Clue: If you followed R&R during this era, you probably know this song.  It’s a purple hazy reflection on something that happened and there’s crying involved.

This afternoon we went into town to pick up Lisa's outfit for the dinner event on Saturday.  We made a couple of stops on the way home and then we had a weather experience like no other.  The sky had been looking darker than usual, but there were no rain clouds.  In fact, the sky was a blank gray slate.  As we made the turn onto the long road that leads to our bridge we saw tiny leaves swirling around and it seemed like a big gust of wind.  As we passed the golf course we were surprised that anyone would be out in what was more of a wind storm than a gust.  Over the bridge, in our neighborhood, it was really blowing and all of the merchants were closing their open-front shops.  The dust was flying and tree branches were being tossed around.  A few drops of water landed in the pool to let us know that it ‘rained’ briefly.  The end result of all of this was light trash in the pool and cooler, better smelling air.  The weather sites said it was a 38 mph wind from the north.  We actually opened the windows and let it in.  We haven’t done this in a long time.  

Cat spent the day with a friend and her family up in Chiang Sen, near the Golden Triangle.  When she called she told us they had a big wind storm.  Hmm, same wind working it’s way south.

Natcha has been bringing Neetchanan over for a visit every afternoon.  It’s great because we get to see the daily changes.  She is very alert and responds with little smiles and vocal sounds.  This evening Lisa got to hold her and they had a nice communication.  

Today’s photo is more wall art from the new shop downtown.  Based on the graphic, I’m guessing they’ll be serving drinks and snacks.


Time to start deciding what to take on our overnight trip to Chiang Mai.  It seems like it’s harder to pack for the short trips than it is for the long ones.  Oh well, most of the time will be spent in the car so it really doesn’t matter (555).

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Life is a balance of
holding on and letting go.”
~Rumi

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Nothing

Hi,

Hot and hazy drives me crazy.  That’s the rhyme for today.  The weather sites either underestimate or exaggerate in their forecasts.  In the end, the little rhyme covers it (555).

The ‘Easy Monday’ song has had many cover recordings.  Any one you pick will be fine.  I took the lyrics from a male singer who had an early hit with this song.  “You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am, I’ll come running to see you again.  Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  Everybody needs one.

In the past, we have had birds collide with our big windows upstairs, mistaking the reflection for the actual sky.  They are usually stunned and then fly away.  Yesterday two birds hit the dining room window and didn’t make it.  We had Gong clean up the mess.  When it happened there was a loud ‘boom’.  This morning we heard that sound again but didn’t see the bird when we went downstairs.  Gong had taken the pigeon out of it’s misery and his mother had plucked the feathers.  It was going to be breakfast.  Life in the ‘Village’ is certainly different.

As of yesterday, I’m following doctor’s instructions for bronchitis.  Coughing is not a friend of the healing abdominal muscles and it seemed to be getting more frequent so we went to our local hospital and saw a doctor.  One look at my throat and she knew what it was.  Antibiotics, cough medicine, cough suppressant are helping tone things down but it doesn’t help the energy level.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.  For someone who doesn’t like to be sick, this is the pits.

The kids took to the pool this afternoon.  Unfortunately, Champoo and Gop went in before Gong got home from work.  We had to set some ground rules for the use of the pool.  Welcome to new territory once again.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  This was part of the scene walking in and I had to whip out my phone and catch the beauty.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“Nothing is permanent in this world,
not even your troubles.”
~Charlie Chaplin

Monday, April 4, 2016

See

Hi,

The weather managed to get hotter over the weekend.  This week we’re in the triple digit zone.  The pool temperature is rising accordingly and that’s nice.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Twist and Shout” by The Isley Brothers.  For those who said The Beatles, they did it 2 years later.  Actually, the Isley’s version was a cover of a very bland original.  That’s your history lesson for today.  It must be time for ‘Easy Monday’.  “When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand, and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.  Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there to brighten even your darkest nights.  You just call out my name…”  Hint:  I’m pretty sure you know this one.  Yep, that’s our hint.  Or is that a clue?

The Songkran ‘Village’ on the river bank is in place and people were playing in the water over the weekend.  The excitement is building.  The big question in our minds is whether it will be just one day or one week.  In Bangkok there is a water throwing curfew in certain tourist areas.  They’re trying to put an end to the night time street parties.  Here in the north, there isn’t much talk about cutting back on the water play.  One thing that will happen is the music from across the river.  Hmm,

We did some clothes shopping this weekend for a special event we’ve been invited to on Saturday.  Rai Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park is celebrating their 20th anniversary as well as the birthday of Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn and the attire is formal Lana Thai.  We get to play dress up for the evening.  

Sunday evening we went into town for our regular dinner at Sawadee Restaurant.  A few weeks ago I recorded the Thai band that plays in the Night Bazaar.  They had a great groove going and I wanted to capture it.  Blue used part of the recording in a ‘remix’ with some other music and came up with a fantastic track.  He gave the band CDs of the final mix.  Unfortunately they were on stage performing so we won’t know their reaction until we return to the Bazaar.  On our way back to the car after dinner, I noticed some wall art inside a shophouse that was under renovation.  That is the photo for today.


Today was Blue’s birthday so we took him to Central Plaza for lunch.  This evening we surprised him with a special blueberry cheesecake made by our friend Noot at The Wanderer.  As our dinner was winding down, Gong and his nephew Gop went in the pool.  They had fun together and of course, the basket of pool toys is now in rotation again (555).  

Have a Great Week.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“People see only what they are 
prepared to see.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson