Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Smile

Hi,

Mom Report:  Things remain the same, or at least appear to be.  She continues to defy the odds.  

Well, I thought it was easy, but only three of you have responded.  ‘Easy Monday’ is this:  “Your love give me such a thrill, but your love don’t pay my bills.  I need __ (that’s what I want), that’s what I want (that’s what I want)…..”  Hint:  You probably held some in your hand today.  You may have reluctantly taken some out of your pocket and given it to somebody.  

The work at my mother’s house is about to move to another level.  We think we’ve gone through most of the critical paper stuff.  Now it’s on to the numerous folders full of meeting agendas, lists of people for various committees, and more thank you cards from those she helped through the years.  There is also the matter of the garage, which is currently locked and without a key in sight.  We may be in need of some bolt-cutters before the day is done.
We learned that one of the places we’ve been donating things to has some very specific rules about what they can take.  Who knew one had to sort the donations?  We will take the next group of donations to a more appreciative agency.  I’m sure that’s how my mother would want it.

This morning my brother and I will meet with the staff at the convalescent home to discuss what the next steps will be.  More will be revealed I’m sure.

Today’s photo has little to do with the beauty of Thailand.  It’s a sticker for a drum shop.  Looks like Western promotion has found a new platform: The Thai phone booth.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

             Peace,
                       Danny

“Don’t cry because it’s over,
smile because it happened.”
~Dr. Seuss

Monday, May 30, 2016

Discover

Hi,

Mom Report:  Things seem to be about the same.  While there appears to be recognition, most responses to questions are ‘yes’, meaning she’s not actually understanding.  She is comfortable and that’s what’s important right now.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be a cinch:  “The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees.  Now give me __ (that’s what I want) that’s what I want (that’s what I want).  That’s what I want, that’s what I want (that’s what I want).”  Clue:  One word, something that the singer really wants (555).

Saturday morning we had a team of eight working on my mom’s house.  It is a monumental task that we all take on with the spirit of love.  My brother and I are doing the sifting through papers, having to decide what to keep, what to throw away, and what to shred.  In the course of doing this we have discovered that our mother gave to everyone who asked for help.  We had no idea how large her circle of giving was.  My sister-in-law Sheila, Lisa, and Wendy took various parts of the house and started more ‘categories’ of stuff.  I think we overwhelmed the Goodwill.  On Sunday Cousin Eunice, and her son Albert joined the crew and we made big progress.  I realized how each family member brings a different perspective to the task and the understanding.  Over the weekend we also had lots of non-family ‘family’ who went out of their way to help the cause.  There is still a long way to go, but we have a much better idea of what to do.  

Yesterday, after spending 6 hours on the house, we drove back to Culver City and spent time with Jeff, Anna, C-Bass and August.  It’s been weird, being in town and not spending time with them.  Anna BBQ’d delicious turkey burgers and we had a family sit-down dinner.  

Today’s photo is an expanse of rice.  It brings on a feeling of peace and tranquility.


I’m not sure if Mr. Lag is still in town, or if it’s just sheer exhaustion that makes my lids feel heavy around 5pm, but it’s happening.  Wendy pointed out that sorting through papers can be very tiring.  There is a mental and physical stress involved, and in this case, some emotional stuff too.  In the course of going through the house we have uncovered many memories and treasures.  There are family photos that bring us together, along with reminders of family not with us any longer.  Whew.   

Have a Great Week.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“The turning point in the process of
growing up is when you discover the
core of strength within you that 
survives all hurt.”
~Max Lerner

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Mom Report:  Thursday’s visit with Jean was quite different from the day before.  She was more alert and ready for a longer visit.  She had received a few cards and several floral arrangements.  Each time we told her who they were from there was a big smile of recognition.  She smelled the roses and was quite pleased.  This visit lasted 25 minutes and when we left, she was just starting to fade.  She has a room-mate now, but I think she preferred having the room to herself.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Just dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gfa6umSlR8A  Now it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’.  
“When the night has come, and the land is dark, and the moon is the only light we’ll see.  No I won’t be afraid, oh, I won’t be afraid, just as long as you __, __ __ __.”   Hint: This should be pretty easy.

I coming to you from Studio City today.  We spent the night with Valley Cousins Jennifer and Nowell.  A plumbing problem at the Culver City apartment gave an opportunity to drive up the San Diego Freeway in the early evening.  I haven’t had the pleasure of doing that in a long time.  Considering the number of vehicles on the road, it was a fairly orderly group (555). The idea of doing that twice a day boggles the mind.  We never see that many cars on the same road, just never.  As in Culver City, we also have the company of two dogs, Tina and Lucy.  Tina is a chocolate Lab and Tina is a tiny little Shih Tzu.   

The drive from Studio City to Pasadena will be much shorter, which means more time to spend at my mom’s house cleaning and sorting.  My mother will not be returning to the house in Altadena, so everything has to be dealt with in some kind of orderly fashion.  Let me just say, mom loves to preserve memories in random locations around the house.  This will be both challenging and revealing.  Saturday we will have a big ‘team’ working on this.  The current count is set at nine people, mostly family or close to it.

Today’s photo is from 2010.  It was taken at Koh Lanta (an island in Southern Thailand) at that special time of day.  Oh, the colors.


So, this will be a busy weekend for sports fans.  For us, there’s the French Open and the Formula One Gran Prix at Monte Carlo.  Zoom.

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

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Doing

Hi,

Mom Report:  Yesterday we went to Pasadena for our first visit with my mother.  She was sleeping so we gently woke her and she greeted us with a big smile.  She whispered a few words, smiled a lot and had many different facial expressions to let us know she understood.  After about 3 or 4 minutes she went back to sleep.  We asked the staff to make sure they put some sports on her TV, like the Dodgers or Lakers since she’s a big fan.  We’ll go back again today and visit.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was familiar to a few readers.  If I told you that the lead singer went on to became a country star would it help?  “I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then I followed it in, I watched myself crawlin’ out as I was a-crawlin’ in.  I got up so tight I couldn’t unwind, I saw so much I broke my mind.  I __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  Some say this might have been the result of psychedelics.  Hmm, the singer was checking in on himself.

Our travel adventure would not be complete without telling you what happened after we got the car on the road.  Since our favorite Polo Loco was closed, we got a snack at Del Taco, which is not the same at all, but when you’re hungry it works.  Opening the door to our little apartment in Culver City was a pure delight.  Anna had fixed the place up with lots of warm touches that made us feel most welcome.  There were things we like in the fridge, and on the shelves.  

It seems like every time we come back to the States there have been big changes in the landscape in the area where we used to live.  Turn a corner and a landmark is gone, turn another and a giant shopping complex fills the skyline.  Driving around town becomes a sight-seeing tour.

We’re getting along with the hybrid Fusion just fine.  In fact, it’s kinda fun trying to operate it to maximum efficiency.  So far I seem to be using and replacing the ‘energy’ in the battery in a way that has really kept the gas usage down.  Yea me.  There are times when you just have to step on the gas and go, and that’s when my plan fall short, but overall, it’s a cool experience.

So, you know I like cars so it should come as no surprise that today’s photo is something I could see myself traveling with, even though I’m not really a ‘kid’.  We saw these at Central Plaza Mall in Chiang Rai.  


Oh yes, our old friend Mr. Lag showed up yesterday around 3:30pm and even with a nap, we couldn’t get him to go away.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Real generosity is doing something nice
for someone who will never find out.”
~Frank A. Clark

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wind

Hi,

We made it to America.  I’m hoping there’s a change in the weather.  If last night’s temps were any indication, this is another Winter visit (555).

If you’d like to get in touch with us:  Danny (310) 494-1179    Lisa (310) 227-2351.  Lisa’s number should work after today.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Groovin’” by The Young Rascals.  Later they changed their name to The Rascals ‘cause they grew up (555).  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song is from 1968 and was sung by a group that featured an artist who went on to have a huge solo career.  It also has one of the longest titles in popular music with 11 words.  “I woke up this mornin’ with the sundown shinin’ in, I found my mind in a brown paper bag within.  I tripped on a cloud and fell eight miles high, I tore my mind on a jagged sky.  I __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  The singer is paying a visit to himself, a reflection on a certain kind of experience.

Our flight from Taipei to Los Angeles was pretty routine.  We didn’t have our usual window seat, but we did get a seat on the aisle.  For years, as we approach the final hours of the journey, the cabin crew hands out little forms for everyone to fill out.  They are from the U.S. Customs department.  This year, when we went through the post-landing procedures, no one wanted the little form.  It turns out they don’t use them anymore now that they have the new, sophisticated computer kiosks.  The new system is really smooth and helps moves the lines along.  Now someone just has to tell the airline not to pass the forms out when landing at LAX.

There was another travel experience that I want to share with you.  In Bangkok, when a plane is about to go to the runway for take-off, the ground crew workers line up and wave goodbye.  

Last night, when we arrived at Hertz to pick up our car, we went to the stall that was assigned to us and discovered a beautiful Ford Fusion.  I don’t know much about them, but the name implied there might be some mix of gas and electric.  We loaded our things into the car, but couldn’t make it go.  We searched high and low for a button to push, even pulled out the manual.  Finally, I went to the office and a young man came out and showed us what to do.  It was easy, the car was already on, but not ‘running’ because it’s electric, so it was silent.  Hey, where’s the zoom?  So quiet, and yet so fun. The Hertz guy explained how we could get great mileage with the car so we’re going to give it a try.

Today’s photo was taken in Taipei, in the men’s room.  It’s one of those fancy toilets, unfortunately, all the instructions were in Chinese so I didn’t push any buttons.  


This is definitely a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“When everything seems to be going against you,
remember that the airplane takes off against the wind,
not with it.”
~Henry Ford

Monday, May 23, 2016

Success

Hi,

As some of you heard over the weekend, Jean woke up on Saturday.  When her nurse entered the room and saw her awake, she greeted her and Jean said, ‘Hi’.  Cousin Wendy and our friend Ruthie went to visit her and she was smiling.  She sleeps a lot, but when she is awake, she is aware of her surroundings.  Sunday she was moved to The Californian, a convalescent hospital in Pasadena.  Smiles all around.

We’re in the ‘Weather Dance’ where it’s cloudy/sunny during the day, with rain overnight.  Last night’s rain crept in so quietly we didn’t hear it.  It’s still warm, but quite bearable.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Gee Whiz” by The Innocents.  For ‘Easy Monday’ let’s pretend it’s Sunday:
“__ on a Sunday afternoon.  Really, couldn’t get away too soon.  I can’t imagine anything that’s better, the world is ours whenever we’re together.  There ain’t no place I’d like to be instead of __…”  Hint:  We finally have a really easy one for today.  You got this.

This is the night we pack the bags for our journey to the States.  We leave Chiang Rai at 9am and fly to Bangkok.  There we will hang around for three plus hours until we board the first of two flights that will take us to LAX.  As usual, you will get a message from Taipei.  Planning for the 3 week trip can be challenging when you just have a few days to get things together.  Several check-lists later, we think we’re ready for lift-off.  Food in the house, gas in the van, money for bills, and treats for the dog, not to mention clothes in the suitcases means it’s alright to leave.  

This morning we went to the mall, among other stops.  Our priority was to sort out issues with Lisa’s iPhone.  While standing at the counter, we saw today’s photo.  I think they made their point.


I had another driving session with Gong this afternoon.  Since he is going to bring the van home from the airport tomorrow, we did a trial run.  I drove us to the airport and he drove us home.  I think he’ll be fine since he’s a bit overly cautious, rather than bold.  I’ll have to encourage him to take little trips around the area while we’re gone so he can build his confidence.  

For the second morning this week, Daku witnessed ‘The Cat’ dashing from our yard, over the fence and home.  Now, he saw the cat disappear, but he had to check every inch of grass where the cat might have been.  It’s what dogs do.  I tried to reason with him but it did no good.  He finally decided the thing was gone and agreed to join the regularly scheduled program.

We will miss Daku of course, and the other people in the house.  We have become used to seeing Neetchanan every day, usually in the kitchen around dinner time.  She was especially cute this evening.  Hope she doesn’t grow too much while we’re gone (555).

Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Success is the sum of small efforts,
repeated day-in and day-out.”
~Robert Collier

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The latest word on my mom is that there is nothing the doctors can do.  She will be moved to a hospice care facility in Pasadena, near all her friends.  It will be a chance for those who wish to, for a last visit.  Thank you to those who have been in touch.  It means a lot.

Chiang Rai had one of those ‘Looks like it’s gonna rain but it didn’t’ kind of days.  We’re almost at that point of saturation, so I’m hoping it doesn’t rain hard over night.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh.  Walsh was a member of The James Gang in the early 70s, and later he joined The Eagles.  Now those hints make sense.  Time for some ‘Old School Friday’.  See if you remember this:  “__ __, I can’t believe that you love me.  I can’t believe that an angel like you, could fall in love with me, so tenderly.  __ __, why do I thrill when you kiss me?  My heart stands still when you’re holding my hand, the feeling is oh so grand.”  The title is an exclamation, as in ‘Oh my’.  This was around 1960.  

Today was another unusual day.  We basically stayed on this side of the river.  Our first little outing was to The Rimkok Resort, which is about 3 minutes from our house.  We went to check out a ‘previously owned’ iPhone 5s that Lisa saw on Facebook.  The seller runs two cashmere shops and had an extra phone.  The guy who was tending the store was a little unclear on the concept and we had to wait a bit.  That gave us a chance to look at some of the products in the shop.  I could shop there; it was filled with beautiful fabrics.  We finally got the phone, but need to go the mall for SIM card adjustments and other things.  

We had lunch at The Wanderer.  Of course Cat came over and took our order.  It’s neat to see her in action, running around, taking care of business.  While we were waiting for our food I looked out the windows and realized what a nice view it was, even from our table.  That’s your photo for the day.


Near the end of our lunch, Khun Noot came to our table.  She wanted to tell us about an idea she had for a mango pie.  She knows my diet restrictions and has been trying different things so I can have a Wanderer dessert.  It sounded like she was getting close.  After we returned home we got a call from Noot.  She wanted us to come back for some mango pie.  Blue, Lisa and I returned to The Wanderer at 2:30, ready for pie.  Kwan presented us with three bowls.  After one bite we all declared that they had a winner.  It was actually like a cobbler, which I love, without all the butter and sugar.  She used honey and olive oil as replacements and got it right.  Afterwards, we wanted to take a photo, but learned that they only made enough for us to test the recipe.  We left feeling flattered and full.  More pie please.

Meanwhile, back in the jungle, ‘The Kids’ are having a small dinner party outside on the deck.  Earlier today, Natcha’s brother came by and gave her a small oven.  It fits right next to the clothes dryer.  If things work out, we might be having turkey this winter.  That would be amazing.  Not to mention all the other things I’m sure I could eat from an oven (555).

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

               Peace,
                         Danny


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Road

Hi,

The days are gradually getting cooler.  We had a storm last night and another this afternoon.  It looks like we’ll be having daily rain for at least a week and a half.

The ‘Zany Day’ song is from a guy who has flown with eagles, and rode in a gang.  Some of you know this tune.
“My Maserati does one-eighty-five.  I lost my license, now I don’t drive.  I have a limo, ride in the back.  I lock the doors in case I’m attacked.  Lucky I’m sane after all I’ve been through (Everybody say I’m cool) (He’s cool).  I can’t complain but sometimes I still do, __ __ __ to me so far.” Hint:  Rumor has it that this song is a true story.  Hmm.   

Our day (Thursday) started off with us being thrown for a loop.  I got a message, from my Cousin Wendy, that my mom was in the hospital.  After phone calls with my brother, who is in Colorado, we finally found out that Jean had a stroke.  We don’t know when, but she was found by the Sheriff’s department after a friend of hers called them.  She is breathing on her own, but has not gained consciousness.  The prognosis from the doctor at Keck Medical Center is not good.  They specialize in stroke patients.  

Needless to say, my concentration has been less than focused, although we (Lisa) found airline tickets available for the near future.  Denny is on his way to Los Angeles and will meet with the doctors this afternoon.  It is a very helpless feeling to be on the other side of the world during a crisis like this.  

Today’s photo was taken last night.  Daku decided he wanted to snooze, but the light was too bright.  


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“If you don’t know where you are going,
any road will get you there.”
~Lewis Carroll

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dreams

Hi,

We’ve moved into that time of year when I tell you it was a beautiful day in Chiang Rai, that we had rain last night and there will be more tonight.  Hang on folks, we may encounter some bumpy redundancy.

Our ‘Easy Monday’ song was “On The Radio” by Donna Summer.  Next up is what I think is an easy ‘Zany Day’ song:
“I have a mansion, forget the price.  Ain’t never been there, they tell me it’s nice.  I live in hotels, tear out the walls.  I have accountants pay for it all.  They say I’m crazy but I have a good time.  I’m just looking for clues at the scene of the crime.  __ __ __ to me so far.”  Hint:  This came out in 1978.  The singer has been part of many popular bands.  One person’s ‘zany’ is another’s reality.  Hmm.

This morning True TV sent a couple of technicians out to fix our satellite.  They had to recalibrate the dish and it looked like something got cleaned or replaced.  We now have a strong, clear picture and that’s what counts.  

Neetchanan and Daku had a real bonding session today.  She is now spending more time in her carriage device and Daku visits her.  He gave her several tiny little dog licks.  She just looks at him now, but as soon as she figures out how to use her little hands, well, there will be petting.

When we first started shopping with the ‘Egg Lady’, she had a small table stacked with eggs.  Her business has grown and she appears to be a distribution point in our neighborhood.  


Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“The best way to make your dreams come true
is to wake up.”
~Paul Valery

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Friends


Hi,

There is no official date or proclamation when the rainy season begins, but I declare that it has begun.  We had more rain last night.  We slept through most of it, but by the looks of the yard it was moderate.  All the living things are so happy.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song got a few ‘hits’ and I just know that more of you know it.  There was a major clue in yesterday’s hints.  In fact, I gave it away (pretty clever).  Here is the last verse:  “If you think that love isn’t found __ __ __.  Then tune right in, you may find the love you lost.  ‘Cause now I’m sitting here with the man I sent away long ago, he found it really loud, they said it really loud __ __ __ whoa, oh, oh, oh, __ __ __.”  Clue:  The singer was the Queen of the Disco in the 80s, with a string of dance hits.  

This morning Daku was totally distracted by the new smells in the yard.  When we have rain it’s thrill time for dogs.  The same grass smells different when it’s wet, there are wonders that have been flushed from the rain gutters, and sometimes you find something you can’t resist trying to eat.  He likes to run when the air is cool, so he has been getting good exercise, when he pays attention (555).  Lately, he has been dictating the ball play.  He may catch a few and then turn for home (the back door).  That means he’s done.  We comply.

Our friend Claire, who lives in the US, identified the red flower from yesterday.  It is a Grape Leaved Passion Flower.  Thanks, Claire.

Gong fired up the lawnmower today and tried it out on the back lawn.  He did a great job, nice and even with no gouges.  When it was being cut with the weed-wacker, we’d have a lot of irregular grass until it grew out.  He worked very hard today.  Late in the afternoon he loaded up the little trailer with all the recent yard waste, then he and Natcha hauled it off to the place they take such things.  


Our afternoons are pretty cool these days because Neetchanan hangs out in the kitchen.  She has become pretty comfortable in her baby buggy and when she’s not sleeping, she’s ‘talking’ and smiling a lot.  Daku likes that she is closer to him and he can check her out.  

Rain is in the forecast almost every night.  Hmm, not minding the night rain at all.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                       Peace,
                                 Danny

PS  Here is the photo from Monday's post.  It is a Grape leaved Passion Flower.


“Friends are like walls.  
Sometimes you lean on them and 
sometimes it’s just good to know
they are there.”
Unknown

Monday, May 16, 2016

Light/Love

Hi,

The big heat wave is not completely gone, but temps in the 90s seem bearable.  The rains have done a lot for the air quality, and the overnight temps are much cooler.  We think we’re in the rainy season now.  

The mystery ‘Old School Friday’ song has been revealed.  Trudye, Frank and Lane all wrote to tell me it was Little Willie John singing “Talk To Me”.  Give a listen:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEwk6V2zKVY
It’s time for another episode of ‘Easy Monday’.  “Someone found a letter you wrote me __ __ __, and they told the world just how you felt.  It must have fallen out of a hole in your old brown overcoat.  They never said your name, but I knew just who you meant…. They said the heard it __ __ __ whoa, oh, oh, oh __ __ __…”  Hint:  The year was 1980 and this song was a disco hit, also being played on the radio.  Yes, dancing in cars was big back then (555).

Friday night we had a major storm.  The thunder was big and loud.  The power went out and when it returned we discovered that our TV satellite system had lost it’s connection.  The call center is in Bangkok and they told us they could send someone out on Wednesday to look at it.  What?  Didn’t they realize it was a Grand Prix weekend?  Didn’t they know there was tennis to keep up with?  Apparently not.  We will wait until then.  It’s not like there’s nothing to watch.

We went into town with Gong on Saturday and bought a lawnmower.  After three stores, I now have a clearer understanding of what you need to know before buying one.  First off, they are not what they seem.  The engine may be a Honda, but the base, with the blade and all, will probably be by someone else.  The Honda engine could be from Japan or Thailand.  There are also engines from China.  The bases all seemed to be locally made.  We ended up getting a U.S. made Briggs & Stratton, a name I remember from my youth.  What are the odds?  Today Gong fired it up and cut the back lawn.  Things are really moving along with our yard maintenance plan.  

This morning, while cruising the aisles at Makro, I spotted the ‘Essence of Chicken’ display.  I see it all the time, but sometimes it strikes me a certain way and I get silly and curious.  They sell these tiny little bottles of a liquid that Lisa said is almost tasteless.  The people on the display are all smiling, like something wonderful has happened to them.  What?  Blue said it sounded more like a cologne.  That brought heavy laughter from the three of us.  Must find out more.

Today's photo could not be uploaded.  Google Goofed, so, tomorrow you will see it.  

Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

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

Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

It’s 7:15pm, Friday night here in Chiang Rai and it just started raining.  Here’s hoping it’s not a flash in the pan.  The whole region needs a whole lot of rain.  The Maekok, the river near our house, is so dry that you can walk across and it’s only ankle deep.  In Chiang Mai, some restaurants are setting up tables in the river so customers can dangle their feet in the water.  Other parts of the country have lakes and rivers that are absolutely dry.  Let the rains begin.

The ‘Zany Day’ song got no response from any of you, and we’ve played it before.  It was “Politician” by Cream.  You may recall that last week’s ‘Old School Friday’ song went totally neglected by some of the sharpest minds.  That song is back again this week, with a very helpful clue.  “The many ways you speak of love, I’ve heard before, but it sounds so good ev’rytime.  Please say the part I love just once more.  Darling, I’m so glad you’re mine.  __ __ __, __ __ __ hold me close, whisper low.  __ __ __, baby can’t you see?  Darling I, I love you so.”  Clue:  The 3 word title is a phrase used when asking someone to converse with you.  Part of the singer’s name hints at his being short.

Right now the thunder is very dramatic.  It seems to be focused northwest of us and sounds like the sky is being ripped open.  Maybe the air temps will cool off after this.  Today it was so hot that in the afternoon while we were downtown, our eyes could feel the heat - like when you open the door to a hot oven. 

Today’s photo was taken at a traffic light on the highway.  Neatly stacked vegetables always look like they’ll taste good.


Cat went on an adventure after work with a bunch of co-workers.  They are currently sitting out the storm at Maefarluang University, where they were to go swimming.  After 15 minutes in the pool, the rains came.  It sounds like the storm may be moving away.  

The water department has a giant storage tower on the big road near us.  Lately we have been seeing lots of tanker trucks as well as pick-ups with tanks on the back, all coming to fill up to deliver water to those without.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.       Time for the ‘Funnies’.    This is a Formula One weekend from Spain.  Zoom.

                     Peace,
                               Danny


Let’s plant some catnip, she said.  It’ll be fine, she said.  What’s the harm?
Then the addicts moved into the neighborhood and she begins to see the results
of her foolish ways.  Could be worse, I suppose.  They could be alcoholics.
 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Character

Hi,

And the heat just keeps on comin’.  Today’s temps ranged from 100 to 104, depending on who you believe.  The low is forecast as 76, in the middle of the night.  Right now it’s 97F and it’s dark outside.  The air/cons are being pushed just to keep it pleasant inside.  And to think, not long ago we were wishing for warm weather.  

Well, looks like we have another memory gap.  This ‘Zany Day’ tune is by the first ‘Power Trio’ and came from across the pond.  “I support the left, though I’m leaning, leaning to the right.  I support the left, though I’m leaning to the right.  But I’m just not there when it comes to a fight.  Hey now baby, get into my big black car…..”  Clues:  I wish I could put more sunshine on this.  The lead guitarist had a ‘slow hand’.  Hmm, I think you know these guys.

Our bank recently went through a remodeling and the result is really cool.  Sometimes it’s the little things that can get you excited.  The waiting area now has comfortable chairs instead of slightly padded stools.  Just sitting in a cushy chair with a backrest made this morning’s visit a new experience.

At Big C, many of the vegetables have to be taken to a station for weighing and pricing.  This morning, Lisa asked the veggie lady how she was doing and it set off a whole conversation.  She talked about the heat, how she couldn’t sleep, etc.  Getting that ‘local’ treatment means a lot.  It’s another level of acceptance.  

Today’s photo was taken in the boys department at Big C.  I was walking by and this image just jumped out at me.  The big question:  How did this shirt get here?  Venice Skate Park is a long way from Chiang Rai.  Cost: $6.


This morning Cat drove herself to work.  This evening a new friend from work came home with her and they went for a swim.  It’s nice to see the work experience expanding her circle of friends.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“Every human being is intended to have 
a character of his/her own; to be what no 
others are, and to do what no other can do.”
~William Henry Channing

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Art

Hi,

And the heat goes on, and on, and on.  It’s 7:30pm and it’s apparently 95F and feels like 103F.  The low will be 76F at 6am.  Oh, and it’s going to get hotter every day.  What?  Tomorrow may have rain, but it will be hot water at this rate.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “We Are The Champions” by Queen.  I think this ‘Zany Day’ tune is timely (555).
“Hey now baby, get into my big black car.  Hey now baby, get into my big black car.  I want to just show you what my politics are.  I’m a political man and I practice what I preach.  I’m a political man and I practice what I preach.  So don’t deny me baby, not while you’re in my reach.”  Clue:  What is this man? 

Some of our days follow a bit of a routine, others are rather fluid.  Today was one of those fluid days and we just went along for the ride.  This morning the plan was to go to the bank, and then stop for coffee at Work@Home.  Just before we left, Cat called to say she was done with her orientation at Chiang Rai Rajabhat University (CRU).  At first she thought it was an all day thing, but she was done by 10am.  We decided to go and get her.  The campus is north of town, in the Ban Du district.  Once on the campus we missed a turn, saw some sights, and then found the area where hundreds of new students were milling around.  We had coffee and stuff at a cool cafe we’d been to before in the village below CRU. 

On the way home we stopped at Browney Pet World for Daku's goodies.  When we stepped out of the van, a mass of wires caught us by surprise.  One of the concrete poles is broken, probably from the wind.  I’d hate to be the guy who has to find a specific wire in that mess.


One of the things on our long-term agenda has been to help Cat get a motorbike.  It took some time but we came around (555).  Now that she’s working she needs transportation.  This afternoon we went out to see what the price range was for a used Honda Scoopy.  After a few stops in town we were directed to the big Green Wing dealership where she got her training and license.  Cat now has a slightly used black Scoopy with gold trim.  What’s funny is that Lisa told her the same thing I told her a few days ago:  You can’t take it to your room tonight.  She laughed when she heard that for the second time.  There will be a few ground rules, but now she can take herself to places she needs to be.  She also knows that she has to pay for it.  What?

Neetchanan and Lisa have a very special relationship.  When Lisa talks to her and makes little faces, Neetchanan smiles at her and ’talks’ in the cutest way.  This evening they went on for a few minutes with this and of course, I had no camera handy.  Maybe next time.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Art has no enemy except ignorance.”
~Latin Proverb

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dance

Hi,

This weather thing is getting tired.  Today was so hot it felt like it was at the limit, couldn’t get any hotter.  The additional haze didn’t help matters.  We stayed in all afternoon, didn’t even get to dip into the pool.  It’s just not right.  Several forecasts are predicting the start of the rains next week.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song did wake up a few of you, but I thought I’d hear from more readers.  Here’s more:
“I’ve taken my bows, and my curtain calls.  You brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it.  I thank you all, but it’s been no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise.  I consider it a challenge before the whole human race and I ain’t gonna lose.  And we mean to go on and on and on and on…. __ __ __ __ my friends.  And we’ll keep on fighting till the end.  __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ no time for losers ‘cause __ __ __ __ of the world.”  Hint:  A planet with the same name as the singer just flew by the sun.

Lisa and I hit the street early this morning, in an effort to beat the heat.  That was a silly thought, considering that it’s hot at 9am.  We had some time to kill (interesting phrase) before Top’s Market opened so we decided to check out some new stores on the south end of the Super Highway.  Two of them were duplicates of existing stores that sell home supplies and appliances.  The third was interesting.  It was mostly frozen meats and some vegetables.  They had stuff I didn’t know people eat.  We cruised the aisles and ended up buying a couple of packs of straws.  Blue and I like straws.  Today’s photo is packages of frozen bugs.  There were lots of them.


Central Plaza Mall, where Top’s Market is located, doesn’t open until 11am on week days.  The market opens at 10am, but access to the mall parking lot is restricted.  I still haven’t figured out a logical reason for this, except to irritate me as I drive around the whole lot to gain access to a row near the entrance.  Inside, I discovered something I’d never seen before.  There, in the egg section I saw Partridge eggs.  They were beautiful brown and white art pieces that didn’t seem real.  I had no idea anyone even had partridges, except in a pear tree (555).

Our arrangement with Natcha and Gong, or as we call them, The Kids, keeps getting better every day.  With Gong helping in the kitchen, he’s always nearby when we return from shopping.  As soon as we pull into the carport, he’s there to bring in the groceries.  Yesterday a banana stalk fell over from the weight of a new bunch.  By the afternoon it was all cleaned up.  The yard is raked and watered in the morning so it looks like a park all day.  Tomorrow Gong will begin driving lessons in town.  It’s a 30 hour course, with most of it in the classroom and about 10 hours of behind-the-wheel training, and then his license.  We will all benefit from his being able to drive the van.  

When I picked Cat up from work today I asked her how it was to be working in the heat.  The answer was obvious, but she said it hadn’t been too busy so that helped.  Then we pondered how it would be to wait tables when the rains come.  She just laughed.   

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass,
it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
~Unknown

Monday, May 9, 2016

Life

Hi,

What constitutes a ‘heat wave’?  When does one begin and when does it end?  We have been told that another heat wave is coming, but it’s over 100F every day.  Signed: Curious.

This week you will notice a little change.  I am not going to give you the answer to the ‘Old School Friday’ song because nobody knew it.  We’ll revisit it next Friday.  Maybe by then it will have come to you (555).  So, it’s time for ‘Easy Monday’ and a song that really needs no introduction:  “I’ve paid my dues time after time.  I’ve done my sentence, but committed no crime.  And bad mistakes, I’ve made a few.  I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come through and we mean to go on and on and on and on… __ __ __ my friends and we’ll keep on fighting till the end….”  Hint:  This song is dedicated to all the winning football teams in England and Europe.  I’m sure their fans are still singing.

We find ourselves moving a little bit slower in this oppressive heat, but we’re still moving.  Saturday evening we went to Art Bridge for an exhibit opening.  The ceremony was held in the gallery foyer where it was stifling.  We sat in the restaurant for that portion of the evening.  It was still hot, but the big evaporative coolers took the edge off.  Inside the gallery I think the initial excitement of seeing new works and old friends made it tolerable, but soon we found ourselves outside.  It was nice to see the ‘regulars’ from the art community.  It had been a long time since we’d been to a gathering.  

Sunday we had lunch at Art Bridge, with a couple that we only knew by name.  It’s a long story, but we knew his mother for many years and she was a big part of Lisa’s father’s art career.  Anyway, we hit it off and found many common interests.  They are settling in Bangkok after years of commuting between Bangkok and London.  After lunch we showed them our house and then took them to The Wanderer for coffee.  It was the first time we’d been there since Cat has been working there, and she was our server.  She got everything right and I think it made her day.  We returned our visitors to Art Bridge and went home for a brief break.

Sunday evening we had a ‘Family Dinner’ at The Wanderer.  We took Blue, Natcha, Gong and Neetchanan, and Cat met us there.  It was the first time we’d done something like this and they had a good time.  The baby was very mellow, checking things out until she went to sleep.  

Today’s photo was taken on the road into town.  The motorbike on the right is ‘pushing’ the bike on the left.  We don’t know where they’re going, but we followed them for a long time until they turned onto another big street.


The annual Ploughing Ceremony was held last week and the two Sacred Bulls predicted that Thailand will have lots of rain this rainy season.  This will supposedly guarantee a bountiful rice crop.  Normally, the rains begin in the middle of this month and peak around August or September.  Right now, there is no rain in sight.  We watch the skies.

Have a Great Week. 

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“Life is an endless series
of experiments.”
~Mahatma Ghandi

Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

We had another beautiful, hot day in Chiang Rai.  It was 82F at 8:15am so it probably exceeded the 92F forecast.  Next week we’re having another heat wave.  Oh my.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “I Am the Walrus” by The Beatles.  ‘Old School Friday’ is here already.  This week we go way back.  “__ __ __, __ __ __, um-mm, I love the things you say.  __ __ __, __ __ __, in your own sweet gentle way.  Let me hear, tell me dear, tell me ooo-you-ooo, love me so.  __ __ __, __ __ __, tell me what I want to know.”
Clue:  This hit happened in 1958 and the singer probably said these words after he got over his fever.  It’s alright if you don’t know, but I figured you could use a challenge after this ‘easy’ week (555).

Every time we go to Makro, we pass quite a few brand new shop-houses, apartment buildings, and condos.  All of them have been empty since completion and we continue to wonder when they will be occupied.  Someone spent a lot of money building these ‘income’ properties.  There was a giant speculation that swept through the region.  It told of mass migration to the city that would be the northern hub of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) activity.  Then things changed and business prospects became less inviting.  

When we returned from our Makro ‘run’, Gong already had a cart full of yard waste ready to go to the place he takes such things.  This afternoon he put together his device for cutting down coconuts and managed to bring some down.  The tree is very prolific and they just sit there, until they decide to drop.  That could be dangerous so we asked him to cut down the very ripe ones.  He used to work on a pineapple farm, and that got us thinking.  No, I don’t think we’ll start growing them, but it is one of our favorite fruits.  He also taught us about banana trees and how they work. 

Our afternoon swim was cut short by a little rain break.  About half way through our workout it began.  It didn’t last long, but a little rain every day is perfect.  This evening Gong, Natcha and his sister went for a swim.  The pool is getting plenty of use these days and that makes us smile.

Today’s photo was taken on the Super Highway.  What you’re seeing is a statue of The Buddha being transported.  I have tried to find out if there is a specific reason for the coverings, but all I have learned is this:  A monk usually says some prayers and then it is covered in cloth similar to a monks robe, to protect it.  


When I picked Cat up from her first day of work she was tired, but very happy.  Working with mostly young people near her age makes it pleasant and they are all treated with respect.  When I asked her about lunch, she told me they provided food for the staff.  That’s pretty cool.  

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

                    Peace,
                              Danny


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Love

Hi,

Last night we had a major rain storm.  With the small rain we’ve been getting and the recent big rain, the front lawn is actually turning green already.  It doesn’t take much to wake up the plant life around here. 

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song had a few friends.  Here is the second verse.  Maybe you can make some sense of it.
“Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come.  Corporation tee shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday man, you been a naughty boy, you let your hair grow long.  I am the eggman, they are the eggmen, __ __ __ __, goo goo g’joob.”  Hint: The title is actually a large aquatic animal, in a manner of speaking (555).

We had an adventurous and productive morning downtown.  Gong, Cat, Lisa and I went into town to buy yard tools for Gong.  It took several stores to find the things he needed, but we got it all.  We got a Honda weed-wacker, and things to trim bushes, and a pruning tool.  He also got something he thought would cut down the coconuts but it may not do the job.  Most of our looking/shopping was on Bus Station street, where there are numerous stores with all kinds of small machinery.  Gong used some of the tools this afternoon, trimming plants that were blown down in the wind.  

Our friend Kwan posted a photo of the clean-up at The Wanderer after the big wind storm.  With all the trees and foliage, things got a little wild.  Tomorrow morning Cat will report to The Wanderer for a probationary week at her first job.  She’s very excited about this and probably won’t sleep much tonight.  

Today’s photo was taken downtown this morning.  We’re not exactly sure if the sign is clever, or a mistaken translation.


There is another ‘plus’ to our new household arrangement.  Gong likes to cook, so he comes in and helps Natcha with lunch and dinner.  His sisters spend most of the day at the house taking care of Neetchanan.  Today they got a stroller and now the baby is cruising around the yard.  At first she didn’t like it.  She was not happy unless Natcha held her, but she finally got used to the idea and seems to like her new ride.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“Love is of all passions, the strongest,
for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart,
and the senses.”
~Lao Tzu

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Living

Hi,

We seem to be edging closer to the rainy season.  Clear sky in the morning, afternoon cloudburst, thunder in the evening.  Predictions for ‘the season’ are mid-May.  Time to plant something and watch it grow (555).

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” by Otis Redding.  Time for another dose of the crazies with a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.  See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly.  I’m crying.  Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come…. I am the eggman, they are the eggman, __ __ __ __, goo goo g’joob.”  Hint:  Those four guys from across the pond back in ’67.  This should be easy.

This morning we got the van washed.  After hanging out at Work@Home until it was done, we headed down to Big C. I have devised an alternate route to get there while construction continues on the Super Highway.  Slow detours and lots of dust have become old news.  The store was crowded, like it was a Friday.  There was obvious back-to-school shopping, which meant there were lots of cute little kids running around.  

Normally, we would leave Big C and make a U-turn on the highway and head back to town, but the traffic was heavy so we drove down to the next big intersection.  Today was ‘Police check day’ and they were out in force.  Both sides of the highway had police slowing traffic, pulling motorbikes over for complete checks of registration, insurance, and of course helmets.  There were long lines of people waiting to pay their fines.  When we turned the corner it was the same thing on the cross-street.  It pays to keep everything in order if you’re on two wheels.

Weather update:  Wind joined the thunder and now rain is coming down.  Maybe the forecasts were wrong.  This is the kind of storm that says ‘Hi, I’m your rainy season’.

Part of the Super Highway that was being redone is finished and it’s concrete.  At first I was a bit surprised because it’s not as smooth a surface as the asphalt.  We think they used concrete because it stands up to the intense heat better than asphalt.  With all the heavy trucks, there were ripples in the asphalt near each intersection from when the trucks would apply their brakes.  Potholes are another problem with asphalt, especially when they don’t get filled properly.  Hopefully, this new paving will last longer even though the ride isn’t as smooth.  

So, what’s the first thing a teenager thinks about after they get their license?  A vehicle, of course.  Cat has her eye on a motorbike.  She wants a Honda ‘Scoopy’.  Tomorrow she will go on her first job interview.  I guess you can tell where that conversation went (555).  

Today’s photo was taken yesterday across from Cat’s orthodontist office.  While she was having her last two wisdom teeth removed I snapped this pic of what looks like a pretty slick barber shop.


This could be a Wacky Wednesday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable.
It would be wise to use that time adoring our families,
cherishing our friends, and living our lives.”
~Maya Angelou

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Compassion

Hi,

It was a beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  Various forecasts called for everything from sunny skies to wind and hail, but it was just another great day.  Afternoon clouds had us guessing for a while, but they just kept on going.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was recognized by a lot of you.  It’s a classic R&B tune, a sad song delivered with lots of emotion by the writer.  “Left my home in Georgia, headed for the Frisco Bay.  I had nothin’ to live for, looks like nothin’s gonna come my way.  So I’m just gonna __ __ __ __ __ __ __ watchin’ the tide roll away.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, wastin’ time.”  Hint:  Now that you have the location, this should be a snap.

When we took Daku out for his morning exercise, Gong was already at work, watering the trees and flower beds.  We are extremely happy with the way things have turned out.  Both Gong and Natcha are smart, have initiative, and take care of business.  It’s nice to know that things will get done as they see the need, rather then us always having to direct everything.  

We had a rather interesting morning.  The Fantastic Four started out at Chivit Tamma Da, so Cat could see about getting a job.  For the first time ever, we were the only patrons in the place.  It was pleasant, sitting by the river, no servers rushing around, no chatter at the next table, just a quiet morning in the garden.  

After a routine run at the Healthy Market, we stopped for mangos and pineapple from our favorite new vendor.  Lisa also got a fruit basket to take to the bakery, our next stop.  The last time we were there the owner confided in Lisa about health problems.  Today when Lisa walked in, she ran up with a big smile and told her she didn’t have cancer.   It was nice to have a connection with a person we thought was just grumpy.  It turns out there was something going on.  It just goes to show, we might never know unless we practice compassion.

Our last stop was a trip to Boot’s house to deliver some mail.  We had a really sweet ‘driveway visit’ with Boot and BamBam.  Bam was so excited to see us all.  She kept going around to all of us, but mostly Lisa.  As you can see in today’s photo, her coat has changed a bit and now she has a dramatic blonde streak on her head.


Last week Cat and her sister took an all day motorbike riding class at Green Wing Honda.  Cat has been riding since she was 12, but this was in preparation for the test to get a license.  The next day they took the test and passed.  She also finished the paperwork to get her Thai passport, which is in preparation for a possible trip to the States later this summer.  

Back at The Big Brown House, we replaced a big stationary window in our bedroom with sliding glass so we can create more airflow on cooler days.  It was impressive, watching the way they handled the giant panes of glass with suction cups.  The whole job was finished in about half a day.  Now we just need some cooler air to test this out (555).

In case you’ve lost count, this message is number 2300 since I began posting this as a ‘blog’ back in 2007.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~The Dalai Lama