Thursday, June 30, 2016



This morning it looked like it would rain all day.  The big nasty clouds went away and Chiang Rai got baked again.  It’s evening and now it’s sprinkling.  We hope for cooler air.

So, we’re gonna give this another try.  A few readers remembered this ‘Zany Day’ song.  How about you?
“__ __ __, you make my heart go giddy-up, you set my world on fire, you are my one desire.  Whoa, __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Clue: Really a kid’s song, nothing deep here.  You’ll feel like a sucker when you learn the title of this one (555).

Last night we went to the dentist and he was very happy with our teeth.  That sounds funny.  Actually, he was pleased that we are taking good care of them.  Me too. I really don’t like dentists climbing into my mouth to repair things (555).  We had a brief conversation, one-sided, about the need for more prevention in Thailand.  He works in a hospital during the day and has his private practice in the evenings.  This is what most doctors and dentists do here.  He went on about how medicine is dispensed, with little attention given on how to keep the problem from happening.  Efforts are being made with regard to certain persistent problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.  Time will tell.

Lisa made a solo run to Big C this morning.  I was feeling a little ‘blah’ so I stayed at home.  I think I much prefer having a symptom I can describe than feeling ‘blah’.  It says nothing yet it is the best I can do.  We think it may be that I’m fighting some kind of ‘bug’, not literally.  This is the season for things to happen.  

The Wimbledon tennis tournament is underway and we’re trying to keep up.  So much tennis, so little time.  Do you have a favorite player?  Do you even watch tennis?  This leads me to my last question:  What sports do you like to watch?

Today’s photo was taken this morning in our front yard.  Daku is getting his reward for running across the lawn.  He gets in about 20 times across, and then plays catch with his orange and blue ball.  Sometimes, he will catch the ball once and then just go home.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“May your choices reflect your hopes,
not your fears.”
~Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, June 29, 2016



We had another blazing hot day in Chiang Rai.  Small rain in the morning hours didn’t make a difference to the heat factor.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “What the World Needs Now Is Love”, originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon, and then Dionne Warwick.  Time to get silly with a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “__ __ __, you make my heart go giddy-up.  You are as sweet as candy.  You’re my sugar dandy…”  Hint:  Key word in the title rhymes with the last word of the first line and usually comes on a stick.  There, that ought to hold you.

Just about the time we would have taken Daku out for his run, it started to rain.  He didn’t like that one bit.  We used the time to order our tickets to Singapore and the Formula One race.  

We began our outside adventures at Art Bridge, where there are two exhibits we hadn’t seen.  Both had some very interesting work and it was nice to have the galleries all to ourselves.  

At Makro there is always something unusual to see.  Today was no exception.  Strolling past the meat section I noticed two women posing for a photo, holding bags of meat.  What?  It wasn’t even pretty meat.  We did find that shopping a little later in the morning meant the lines were a lot shorter at check-out.

Today’s photo is from way back, when we lived in the rental house during our first months in Thailand.  The cows in the photo were used to keep the grass down on vacant lots.  

This evening we got our teeth cleaned.  We noticed that a lot of motorbike riders were not wearing helmets.  The police don’t have night-time check-points unless it’s a holiday and then they’re looking for drunk drivers.  The message is still not getting through that helmets save lives.  Right now they’re a bother.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


“You never know how strong you are
until being strong is the only choice you have.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2016



The morning sky looked like rain was coming soon.  As it turned out, the clouds blew away and we had another super hot day.  Time for more rain please.

Several readers knew the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  See if the first verse rings a bell in your memory.
“Lord, we don’t need another mountain, there are mountains and hillsides enough to climb.  There are oceans and rivers enough to cross, enough to last till the end of time.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __, no, not just for some but for everyone.”  Hint:  Seriously?

I guess it’s no secret that Thailand has a lot of coffee shops.  A lot of coffee is grown here.  That’s why we found it odd to see a commercial on TV for ‘Caffeine Shampoo’.  Really, there is such a product.  For those mornings when you’re running late and there’s no time for a cup of coffee, wash your hair (555).  Unbelievable.

Now that we have a permanent ‘grounds keeper’ we’re realizing that there is always something to do at The Big Brown House.  Gong has things to do every day.  The Plumeria tree by the pool is enough to keep someone busy for a few hours a day.  The leaves and flowers fall into flower beds, the pool, and the little pond.  With the rainy season upon us, the front lawn grows much faster than at any other time of year.  The back one has decided to stay short and stubbly, with only a few tall tufts of grass.  If we left it alone, Daku would take care of that (55).

Lisa and I had lunch at The Wanderer.  As soon as we pulled into the lot we were greeted by Mercy, a beautiful Husky that has the run of the place.  She was very happy to see us and spoke to us as only Huskys can, and then led us to the restaurant.  It was a slow Tuesday morning so our server, Cat, had time to visit with us.  When we arrived the lot was empty.  When we left it appeared that many people were there, we just hadn’t seen them.  Because of the way the place is spread out, and the secluded location of some tables, one could be there and not be seen.  

In the afternoon our friend Nine, who is an architect and gallery owner, came over with two staff members and two students.  We had asked her to look at the pool area and give us some ideas about fencing it off in preparation for a more mobile Neetchanan.  They immediately began measuring the whole place and contemplating the possibilities.  We want to fence off the pool without losing to much of the esthetics of the scene we’ve created.  She understood and we can’t wait to see the ideas.

Today’s photo is, of course, the pool.  It’s the thing that cools us off in the afternoons these days.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our
circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures 
and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.”
~Albert Einstein

Monday, June 27, 2016



The temps here in Chiang Rai are still staying in the 90s, but feeling like 100+.  We’re still getting occasional rain and things are incredibly green and lush.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Silhouettes” by The Rays.  Now, on to some ‘Easy Monday’.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __, no not for some but for every one.”  Hint:  I know, ranks up there with the longest titles ever.  You should remember this one.  Written by B&D, sung by many.

The warm, sunny afternoons have found us in the pool every day.  Last week, Lisa gave Daku one of his treats that we’re now calling a ‘Pupsicle’, and it’s become part of our swimming ritual.  When we go downstairs to swim Daku goes into the kitchen and stands in front of the refrigerator and just stares.  He has us well trained.  It’s a simple treat consisting of water and some of his kibble frozen into it.  When he’s done he relaxes by the back door and watches us.

The river has come up a bit and we can hear the sound of the long-tailed boats again.  For a time it was very quiet on the water because the boats would hit too many sand bars.  They still need more rain to be able to do their thing without worrying about running aground.  Sometimes the drivers have to get out and walk the boat around the shallow parts.  That’s how little water is in the river.  Hmm.

It’s interesting to note that some of the fields around town have not been planted in this rainy season.  We’re not sure why, but many lots are just overgrown with grass and weeds instead of the usual corn.  The lot to the west of us was partially planted, with the plot right next to us left untouched.  Well, they did put a string and stick border around the property.  I hope they haven’t sold it.  The last time we heard their asking price it was more than our house cost to build, including the land.  In a few months we’ll probably see corn sprouting up again (555).

We have been having discussions with Cat about what will happen to her room when she goes to college.  She will be living in what they call a dorm.  It’s actually an apartment house near the campus and the new students have to stay in campus approved units during their first year.  Her room has quite a collection of stuffed animals, books and assorted acquisitions made during the last few years.  She doesn’t have to empty it out, just make room for a possible guest in the future.  We expect that she will stay with us from time to time.  

Sunday night we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner.  We met our friend Stephan and had our usual good time.  His wife Claire is working in Singapore and they have invited us to come and visit.  We are planning on going in September, which happens to be when the Formula One GP will be there.  The current plan is that Stephan and I will go to the race and Lisa and Claire will see the sights.  The hard part now is deciding where to sit so we can get the tickets.  Wow, this might actually happen.  Zoom.

Today’s photo was taken in March of 2013.  It was the day everyone got the word that there were fish in the mystery inlet near our house.  

Over the weekend we went to 4 different pharmacies looking for aspirin and no one had any.  How does this happen?  Is aspirin out of season like mango?  We haven’t been able to find any sweet mango either, only the green, which is sour.  Oh well, eventually both items will return and we will forget this ever happened (555).

Have a Great Week.


“Be there for others, but 
never leave yourself behind.”

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Funnies


It seemed like a cooler day today, by maybe one degree.  The pool was cooler, which means it was probably cooler last night.  No swimming today, brrr.  The late afternoon rain was pleasant.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was right on the tip of your tongue.  It was “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Bob Dylan.   ‘Old School Friday’ may be familiar to many since I’ve used it before.  It’s a 1957 gem:  “Took a walk and passed your house late last night.  All the shades were pulled and drawn way down tight.  From within, a dim light cast two __ on the shade.  Oh, what a lovely couple they made.”  Hint:  These days it’s called ‘stalking’.  Turned out to be a case of mistaken location.  

The hose broke on our cool little Samsung tank vacuum so we went down to Sinthanee this morning to see about getting a replacement part.  After a few in-house phone calls, one of the young women returned to the counter with a photocopy of the part we needed, and a price.  She knew my name, which caught me off guard, but since we get a lot of our appliances serviced there, it was understandable.  A one week wait probably means it’s coming from Bangkok.  

On our way to the bakery we noticed quite a few Samlors (pedaled rickshaw type vehicles) making their way through the traffic.  It’s nice to see that they are still on the road.  They are one of the last remnants of traditional travel in Thailand and many cities ban them from the central areas because they move so slowly.  Go Chiang Rai, hangin’ onto ‘Old School’.

You may recall that I fell in love with an old abandoned street sign that was left on the side of the road.  Well, it’s still there, back in the bushes.  I guess the city really doesn’t want it.  Hmm, I’ll need a few big guys to lift it into and out of the van, but there’s hope (555).

In our travels we noticed that the ‘Cat ’n’ Coffee’ was gone.  Yesterday Atom told us that they have moved to a better location downtown.  They will get a lot more tourist business in their new location.  Then Lisa mentioned that she’d go into a place that had dogs.  Wouldn’t that be a sight, dogs running around a coffee shop, playing with the customers.  

This evening Neetchanan was in her stroller and after dinner Natcha parked her next to the table so we could visit with her.  Lisa figured out how to make her laugh and we had a delightful time.  There’s nothing like hearing a little one crack up over the silliest things.  Daku was there as well, giving little licks on her feet and face.  

Today’s photo shows Daku watching his ‘TV’, which consists of the neighborhood bicycle gang and their dog playing in the vacant field behind our house.  They come every day around the same time and now he goes to the window to watch them.  

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


Thursday, June 23, 2016



It was another hot day in Chiang Rai.  There is thunder in the distance this evening.  Maybe it will rain again.  Hmm.

I’m sure somebody out there remembers this ‘Zany Day’ tune.  Here’s more of the first verse and then the end.
“…You better duck down the alley way lookin’ for a new friend.  The man in the coon-skin cap in the big pen wants eleven dollar bills you only got ten… Don’t wear sandals, try to avoid the scandals, don’t wanna be a bum, you better chew gum, the pump don’t work ‘cause the vandal took the handles.  Look out kid, it’s somethin’ you did…”  Clue:  The title does not appear in the lyrics.  It was written by an artist who declared that he was a poet, not a singer.  Maybe he’s just blowin’ in the wind.  Think underground blues.

This morning we paid a visit to the Talat (main marketplace) in search of material.  After we found what we wanted we went to the tailors stall.  Next week we’ll pick up two shirts and some alterations he's doing.  The sights and smells were something we hadn’t experienced in many weeks.  It was good to be back in that little world.  

A coffee stop at Work@Home gave us a chance to have a ‘catch up’ visit with our friend Katai.  She and her husband Towan have a tractor business and the rainy season is good for them.  It means the farmers can get to work and that means machinery.  Their main business interest is in the city of Pan, a long way from Chiang Rai.  It’s real farm land there.  Towan is also involved in car rallies; the kind that race along tiny roads through the countryside.  He is a navigator and he and his driver just returned from China where they got a new car.  They will take the car back to China in September for a big rally.  It’s fun knowing a car guy here in Chiang Rai.

We met our friend Atom for lunch at The Wanderer.  We always have fun visits whenever we get together and this was no exception.  There has been a larger turnover in the staff since university classes began.  Cat is now an old-timer there.  When her school starts she will work part-time on weekends.  

Since we didn’t have a big storm last night the water in the pool was warmer than the day before.  It’s so nice to be able to swim in the afternoons.  Besides the exercise, the time in the water makes the heat seem like a distant memory.  When we built the pool we didn’t think about the trees that we planted around it.  The Plumeria drops flowers and some of them land in the pool.  It’s beautiful when they are fresh and just floating on the surface.  We have to take them out, but it’s not that much work.  The smell of the tree is great this time of year.  If the breeze is just right, the Plumeria gets blended with the Gardenia and Jasmine and we want to stay in the water forever.

Today’s photo is from way back (Thai time).  On a trip to Chiang Mai we ate at a burger place that had this wall dedicated to Jimi Hendrix.  Our minds were duly blown.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Patience is the calm acceptance
that things can happen in a different
order than the one you have in mind.”
~David G. Allen

Wednesday, June 22, 2016



We look at the forecasts for Chiang Rai and just laugh.  We know what’s going to happen.  The day will be hot with cloudy skies and the rain will come at night while we sleep.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “It’s Too Late” by Carole King.  For ‘Zany Day’ we’re going to the ‘60s.  Do you remember?  “Johnny’s in the basement mixing up the medicine.  I’m on the pavement thinking about the government.  The man in the trench coat, badge out, laid off, says he’s got a bad cough, wants to get paid off.  Look out kid it’s somethin’ you did, God knows when but you’re doin’ it again…”  Hint:  This tune from ‘RZ’ (real initials) will have you scratching your head.  Clues won’t help.  If you know it, you know it.

Last night we heard distant thunder before going to bed.  A sure sign of what was to come.  There was a steady rain for many hours and this morning we had a little lake in the back yard.  When the rain is not monsoonal, the yards tend not to flood.  Steady, medium rain will sometimes overwhelm the one drain in the back.  If the property behind us and to the west ever get developed, we will have to figure out a new way to drain the rain.  Hmm.

This morning it was still raining when we got up.  It kept Daku from getting his morning exercise.  I took Cat to work and she was happy about not having to ride in the rain, even though it’s a short distance.  We love the rain, just don’t like having to do stuff in it (555).

My adventure for the day was a trip to Suzuki for the regular service on the van.  The waiting area is a very sharp contrast to that of Toyota, back when we had the Vios.  At Toyota there was instant coffee in ceramic cups and saucers, at Suzuki it’s instant in foam cups.  The extensive magazine rack is now a few local newspapers.  The great thing about it is that the service begins as soon as they write the order.  I could see my vehicle at all times, and now they have two people who sort of speak English.  

Neetchanan has been spending more time in the kitchen with her mom and we’re enjoying that.  I finally captured a little smile and that’s the photo for today.

I seem to be doing a lot of early morning reflecting these days.  Around 4am I’ll wake up and start thinking about my mom.  Sometimes it’s a memory and other times it’s a collection of things.  Like today I went back in time and remembered all the musical instruments she bought me, and the trips to the piano teacher way back when.  I’m almost looking forward to whatever memories will come next.  

Time for a Wacky Wednesday.


“Learn from yesterday, live for today,
hope for tomorrow.  The important thing
is to not stop questioning.”
~Albert Einstein

Tuesday, June 21, 2016



Big thunder woke us up somewhere between 4 & 5 in the morning.  It rained of course, but by the time we took Daku out it was long gone.  We were able to hit the pool again and the water was warmer.

So, ‘Easy Monday’ really is easy, but only one person told me the answer.  Here’s the second verse and chorus:
“It used to be so easy, livin’ here with you.  You were light and breezy, an’ I knew just what to do.  Now you look so unhappy, and I feel like a fool.  And __ __ __, baby now, __ __ __, though we really did try to make it.  Somethin’ inside has died, and I can’t hide, and I just can’t make it.  Oh no, no.”  Clue:  Time has run out.

This year we have been put on the migration route of tiny, yellow butterflies that love our orange flowering plants.  We don’t know what they are or where they’re headed, but they are everywhere.  It’s fascinating to see the activity in the yard.  

This morning at Makro I heard someone speaking Thai at the counter, but the only person I saw was a big foreigner and his Thai wife.  It turns out this man, wearing a Jimi Hendrix shirt, was British but fluent in Thai.  Hearing Thai with a foreign accent is always interesting.  

Today’s photo was taken in 1940-something.  Me and mom goin’ out on the town.  I think it was on 52nd Pl. in Los Angeles.

This evening we went to dinner at The Wanderer.  We were joined by Noni and Bob.  Noni is a pre-school teacher who has her own school outside of town.  She has 13 children, all under 4 years old.  Bob is from Canada and is an artist.  He has been here for 27 years.  They have two grown sons and we always have interesting discussions about art and politics.  Cat got off early so she joined us.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Our journey is about
being more deeply involved in life
and yet, less attached to it.”
~Ram Dass

Monday, June 20, 2016



The new weather pattern in Chiang Rai seems to be super hot days and rainy nights.  Thanks to the hot air, the rain is not that cold.  We actually swam today after a heavy rain on Sunday night.   

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Gee Whiz” by Carla Thomas.
Now you know.  Time for ‘Easy Monday’ and a song we all know:  “Stayed in bed all mornin’ just to pass the time, there's somethin’ wrong here, there can be no denyin’.  One of us is changin’, or maybe we’ve just stopped tryin’.  And __ __ __ baby now, __ __ __ though we really did try to make it…”  Hint:  Really?

We seem to be back in the groove of things here at home.  Over the weekend we went to the Healthy Market, went to The Wanderer for Sunday lunch, and had our usual dinner at Sawadee Restaurant in the Night Bazaar.  Coming back this time is bitter sweet when I realize how many times we have to tell people here about why we were gone.  It seems like reality has somehow been misplaced.

The ‘woods’ at The Wanderer have really filled in since the rainy season started.  It’s now more lush than ever and has become a true oasis in the city.

Driving around Chiang Rai after being away for 3 weeks, it’s easy to notice what has changed as far as small businesses.  I suppose the same thing is true anyplace, but here there is already a rather transient nature to it all.  There is less to do to start a business, so they spring up overnight.  Sometimes they appear to be doing well and then, in the blink of an eye, they’re gone.  Some of this is due to the economic climate that hangs over the country. Those with money are not investing like they used to, and good ideas don’t pay bills.  Noodles are one of the cheapest food items to sell, yet the 99 Baht buffet (less than $3) we watched for months has closed.  It always looked like it was crowded with customers, doing big business.  We went away for a few weeks and now there’s just an empty shell.  Hmm.

Daku and Neetchanan are establishing a little relationship.  They are both curious about the other.  When he’s in the kitchen or living room her eyes follow his every move.  He gives her little feet tiny ‘hello’ licks and today, while she was in her stroller, he just relaxed nearby.  

Have a Great Week.


“Intelligence plus character;
that is the goal of true education.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Funnies


Today our weather experience went from hot and muggy to cool and stormy.  Nothing like the rainy season in Chiang Rai.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya” by Dr. John.
Now we move on to ‘Old School Friday’ and a slow jam from 1961.  “__ __, look at his eyes.  __ __, how they hypnotize.  He’s got everything a girl could want.  Man, oh man what a prize…  There are things we could do, I could say ‘I love you’.  But all I can say is __ __.”  Hint:  The two word title is an exclamation of surprise or amazement.  

This morning we got real brave and went to Big C.  Blue, Lisa and I had not been there in over three weeks and though it hadn’t changed much, it was still a little overwhelming.  Blue and I spotted a new store on the outer area that brought a smile.  There is now a tiny little musical instrument shop selling guitars and beginner keyboards.  It’s a nice touch to see this on a row featuring clothing and handbags.  They sell guitars inside Big C, but they’re not as cool as the ones he has.  I wish him luck.

We’ve been doing pretty good in our battle with Mr. Lag.  So far, after lunch is when he finds us most vulnerable.  His timing is off because that’s nap time anyway (555).  Take that you villain.  

I had a long talk with my brother this morning and things are shaping up for the memorial for our mother.  We’re expecting a very large turnout considering her long-time community involvement and the many organizations she’s been a part of through the years.  She has been an active member of her sorority for 50 years.  Amazing.

Today’s photo is the front yard at The Big Brown House, after the rain.  The giant Teak trees across the street have filled out nicely.  Later in the year the leaves will become Daku’s ‘chips’ that he loves to munch.

This afternoon we went to The Wanderer for coffee.  The sky was looking threatening, but we went anyway.  Cat was our server and just as we got our coffee it started to rain.  There was bright lightning and cracking thunder.  All of the outside tables were already covered in preparation for the storm.  We hung out, enjoying the rain and all the greenery around us.  This was something I’d been waiting to do for three weeks.  What a nice distraction.

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


Thursday, June 16, 2016



The weather here in Chiang Rai is HOT.  There hasn’t been any rain for several days so the cooler air is gone and the sun is baking things again.  Clouds that looked full of rain just drifted away this afternoon.  

“Got many clients, come from miles around, running down my prescription.  I got medicine to cure all yawl's ills.  I got remedies of every description.  __-__ __ __ __ hey now __-__ __ __ __ hey now.  If you got love trouble, got a bad woman you can’t control.  I got just the thing for you, somethin’ called ‘controllin the hearts get together drops'….”  Hint:  There’s some voodoo in the mix.  

Last night when we went to bed we fully expected Mr. Lag to wake us up in the middle of the night.  There were a few disorienting ‘wake-ups’, the ones where you don’t know where you are, but it wasn’t a get up at 4am wide awake thing.  Daku made sure we got up on his schedule and the day began.  Natcha got a call from the spray people that they would come late morning.  That meant we needed to get more of the special tick spray from the vet.  Oh no, we had to leave the house.  We gathered ourselves (another odd phrase) and got the powder to make the spray.  That was all we could manage for the day.

Daku has made a point of getting us into his routine whenever the occasion arises.  He’s also let us know that he hasn’t forgotten how to be the devoted, loving friend that he is.  We knew we were home when he spent time on the floor next to both of us even before the lights went out.  His way of saying ‘Good to have you back’.

There are moments in the day when I’ll remember something about my mom and I’m practicing holding on to the good thoughts.  She was fun to travel with because she was easy-going and never complained.  

Today’s photo was taken here at the house by Lisa.  Neetchanan was sporting her Akha tribal hat.  That face makes everything better.

If you have written to me, please know that I appreciate it and will try to respond when I can.  It’s difficult to respond right now because I am easily moved to tears.  Kindness can do that.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“There is a magnet in your heart that will 
attract true friends.  That magnet is 
unselfishness, thinking of others first;
when you learn to live for others, 
they will live for you.”
~Paramahansa Yogananda

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Just Be


It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of my mother’s passing.  This will be a short message, for obvious reasons.

We just landed in Taipei and the first email I read was the news from my brother.  As he said, even with all the preparation and expectation, it’s still a shock.

Regenia Payne Moses was 94 and still active.   This was taken by Blue @ her 90th birthday party. 


“Everything comes and goes.
Nothing lasts forever, emotions, thoughts, people.
Do not become attached, just be.



We’re finally back home in Chiang Rai.  What a long, strange trip it’s been.  We didn’t experience the outside Thailand weather until we got to Chiang Rai.  It’s hot here.  Oh, and Daku was very happy to see us.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Help” by The Beatles.  The ‘Zany Day’ song should be an easy one if you’ve been following along.  “They call me, Dr. John, I’m known as the night tripper.  Got my sizzling __ __ in my hand.  Day trippin’ up, back down the bayou, I’m the last of the best.  They call me the __ __ man.”  Clue:  The artist has been named and half of the title.  

I would like to thank you all for our tremendous outpouring of love and support.  It is greatly appreciated.  We had several email exchanges with my brother while we were in Taipei.  I must say that it was very surreal trying to be cool while typing and later talking about my mother.  As reality begins to set in, memories come rushing in and then it begins.  Sometimes it’s a feeling of overwhelming sadness, other times it’s a sense of relief that the suffering is over.  

The memorial celebration for my mother will be at 10am on July 14 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena.

In the category of travel weirdness:  The plane that brought us from Los Angeles to Taipei was the same model as all the rest on the trip, but this one had no foot-rest or any way to elevate the feet.  As a result, puffy ankles appeared.

Today’s photo was taken in L.A. on Venice Bl. in front of a pizza place.  The ‘mural’ is made up of many small shapes and colors.  We all know who this is, right?

Have a Wacky Wednesday.


“One should never remember a kindness done,
and never forget a kindness received.”
~Kentetsu Takamori

Monday, June 13, 2016



Someone tried to tell me that the rain followed us from Thailand.  Ha, that was no rain, it was a heavy mist.  On top of that it was cold outside.  When it rains in Chiang Rai the air is still warm.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be just that.  
“__, I need somebody.  __, not just anybody.  __, you know I need someone, __.  When I was younger (so much younger than today) I never needed anybody’s help in any way.  But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured.  Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors…”  Hint:  From the movie of the same name.  A little assistance please.

Saturday we made our last visit to my mother’s house.  Our good friend Alan met us there and packed up my CDs and boxes of ‘Gratidude’ T-shirts.  Another friend, Irene, also came to the house to help.  Ironically, both of them stayed at The Big Brown House on separate occasions.  After we locked up the house we went to a restaurant Irene knew and had coffee and hung out.  Lisa and I then turned in all the keys to Jean’s friend Barbara, her landlady.  We had a nice visit with her and then went to see my mom.

When we entered mom’s room at the convalescent home she was lying on her side, awake.  She said “hi" and we talked to her and read a few of the greeting cards that had been left by friends.  Then she was off to sleep again.  It felt good to be there.

Today’s photo is something I usually don’t do.  It’s a photo of a typical breakfast in our little apartment.  Lisa produced this with a hotplate and a toaster.  You will notice the Doi Chaang Coffee cups.  They were a gift from Blue years ago.  A little reminder of home.

For the three weeks we’ve been here we thought we were leaving on Tuesday night.  Saturday evening Lisa looked at our email from the airline and realized our flight leaves at 12:50am on Tuesday, which means we have to be at the airport on Monday night.  Oh my, one less day to do the things on our list.  

In our travels this weekend we went to two stores where we had to exercise lots of self-control.  The first was Rainbow Acres Health Foods on Washington.  So many clever kitchen things and food we can eat.  There are finally lots of products without soy and dairy that we would love to take back to Thailand, but they are a bit pricey.  Oh, and then there’s the weight thing.  The second store was Bed, Bath and Beyond.  We purposely went in, got the sink screens we needed and headed for the checkout.  That place is too much fun.

As usual, you can expect something in your inbox from Taipei.  Then I’ll try to get back on the Thai schedule (555).
It’s going to be 27 hours door-to-door.  

Have a Great Week.


“I am not this hair,
I am not this skin,
I am the soul that lives within.”

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday Funnies


This morning I saw a 5” TV, a cassette player, and newspaper clippings featuring my mother that I’d never seen.  Oh, the rewards of ‘Garage Diving’ (555).

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Telephone Man” by Meri Wilson.
‘Old School Friday’ will hopefully be much easier.  “Deep down in Louisiana close to New Orleans, way back up in the woods among the evergreens, there stood a cabin made of earth and wood, where lived a country boy named __ __ __.  Who never ever learned to read or write so well, but he could play a guitar just like a-ringin’ a bell.  Go, go, go __ go, go, go __ go…. __ __ __.”  Hint:  It’s someone’s name (first, middle initial and last).  By one of R&Rs founding fathers.

Thursday was another early drive to Altadena.  The payoff was major progress.  The garage is completely empty.  The guy we hired came with his stake-sided truck and a helper.  After looking at the job, he left to get a bigger truck.  They worked very hard and filled the bigger truck.  He also called a friend to take away some metal items.  We are very happy with the way they left the place too.  They swept the floor and cleaned up the driveway.  Just a few more odds and ends and we’ll be done before we have to leave town.  Yea.

I went down to The Hat to pick up lunch.  This time I ordered one sandwich for Lisa and me to share.  The folks behind the counter have gotten used to our turkey sandwich orders and today one women commented, ‘Only one today?’.  We all laughed since we started out last week ordering eight.  

One of our many tasks is turning off various utilities and services.  When we called AT&T to cancel my mom’s cellphone account, they wanted a document proving that she was in the convalescent home.  What?  I explained that she’d had a stroke but they wanted proof.  Very strange.

In the early afternoon we went to The Californian, where my mom is and Lisa went to see her while I talked to the staff about getting ‘the document’.  The last time we visited she didn’t look so good and it was painful to see.  This time she was doing better.  There seemed to be a response from having her hand held.  We left with smiling faces.  When we first went into the room, her room mate was not there.  When she returned we could hear her telling her friend about my mother, that she was the first Black elementary school principle in Pasadena and how she had so many people coming to see her.  

Today’s photo is another from the ‘Countryside Serenity’ series that I seem to be collecting.  This is part of Boon Rawd Farms taken from the hillside restaurant.

I think when we get back to Thailand we will need a vacation with several massages and some home-cooked food.  A bowl of Mango Pie would also be a nice distraction (555).

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Hang on for the ‘Funnies’ and Formula One from Canada on Sunday.  Zoom. 


Thursday, June 9, 2016



The weather forecast for Chiang Rai calls for a high of 86F (feels like 89), with rain likely.  Hmm, that’s a new one.  That’s why the night-time temps (62) feel so cold here, at least to me.  Oh well, it won’t be long before we’ll be running the air/con in the rain (555).

‘Zany Day’ is not a bust.  Cousin Trudye remembered.  Here’s more of the first verse, it may help you at least figure it out:  “You just show me where you want it and I’ll put it where I can.  I can put it in the bedroom, I can put it in the hall.  I can put it in the bathroom, I can hang it on the wall.  You can have it with a buzz, you can have it with a ring and if you really want it you can have a ding-a-ling.  Because, hey baby, I’m your __ __.”  Clue:  There is a specific utility involved.  

The Wednesday ‘call’ in Altadena was 8am.  The drive wasn’t as bad as I expected and we got there in good time.  The men we were waiting for didn’t show up, but we still got a lot accomplished.  

The one thing we knew was in the garage that we wanted was some of my CDs, “Gratidude Is Powerless”.  I was a little overwhelmed when I realized how many were still there.  Let’s just say there’s more than we can take back to Thailand.  I have twenty smallish boxes that are in need of a temporary home.  If you have any space please let me know.  The whole experience was like walking into a giant room of mystery.  There were so many different things to see and wonder about.  I am exercising incredible restraint (555).

After we were sure that no one was coming to the house, we visited with our friend Dianne, who lives in Altadena.  We ended up at a family-owned Thai/Korean restaurant near downtown, where we had a wonderful lunch and connected with one of the Thai daughters.  It was our first Thai meal since we’ve been here.

Today’s photo was taken during our stay with the cousins in Studio City.  It’s ‘Tina’, the lovable Chocolate Lab.  

Today’s ‘call’ is another early one so we’ll get to travel the freeway system once again.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Have patience with everything unresolved 
in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.
It is possible to live and not know.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, June 8, 2016



On this side of the world many young people are going to the beaches and enjoying the moderate weather.  On the other side it’s raining like crazy.  What’s weird is that I actually miss the rain.  What? 

The ‘Easy Monday’ tune was “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” by The Temptations.  Sometimes it takes two days for everyone to get it, but you got it.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song is from 1977.  “I rented my apartment on a Monday at one, singin’ doo-lolly-lolly, shakey-bum, shakey-bum.  Started movin’ in it on a Tuesday at two singin’ doo-lolly-lolly, shakey-bum, shakey-bum.  Wednesday at three I called the phone company singin’ doo-lolly-lolly, shakey-bum, shakey-bum.  Thursday at four he came a-knockin’ at my door singin’ ‘Hey baby, I’m your __ __…”  Hint:  It’s really pretty easy to figure out the two word title.  Oh yeah, it wasn’t much of a radio hit (555), but fun.

Yesterday morning we went on a little adventure.  We drove down to El Segundo to the main offices of EVA Airlines.  The mission was to transfer some of my miles to Lisa so we can upgrade to Business and sit together (hopefully).  After taking one elevator out of the parking lot, and an express elevator to the 16th floor.  We got all the business handled and now we have to wait until we get to LAX next Tuesday night to see if we get the seats we want.  We generally don’t have any reason to travel to the area south of the airport and were amazed at all the restaurants and fast-food places.  It’s the place to go if you’re looking for food and don’t know what you want.  It could drive one crazy.  Too many choices.  

It’s funny how things can just pop up when you least expect them.  Like the day last week when we got a reminder of home in a little Chinese burger joint.  In the rear of the place we found a photo op that reminded us of Chiang Rai.  

Today is going to be a full one.  We have to be at the house in Altadena at 8am for a crew that will take the rest of the furniture for donation.  Then a medical supply company will pick up some equipment, plus various other folks who will stop by to get things.  It just occurred to me that there will be no place to sit after the couches leave.  Hmm.  

The garage will be the last thing to be dealt with and it will require a big truck and some strong workers.  The only thing we’re keeping is boxes containing my CDs.  That’s right, I still have some left (555).  All kidding aside, if you have an empty corner, I have a way to fill it.  Drop me a line.  (There’s another one of those sayings whose origin I’m curious about).

We have been taking a lot of the medicine of laughter during these tense times.  There are phrases used in Thailand that come up on a daily basis that crack us up.  When asked how far something is, the reply is usually, ‘It’s not far’.  If you ask for directions it comes out:  ‘Over there’, with a wave of the hand in no specific direction.  We’ve been doing that a lot lately.  

It’s going to be a Wacky Wednesday.


“What good has impatience ever brought?  
It has only served as the mother of mistakes
and the father of irritation”
~Steve Maraboli

Tuesday, June 7, 2016



Traveling between the valley and the Westside means taking flexible clothing to deal with temperature changes.  It should be noted that we could not see the Foothills above Altadena on Monday.  Thought I was in Chiang Rai in March.  Is the bad air following us around the world or are crops being burned in the L.A. basin? 

The ‘Easy Monday’ song has a few friends out there.  Is it just my imagination or have we played this one before?
“Now I’ve heard a cryin’ man is half a man, with no sense of pride.  But if I have to cry to keep you, I don’t mind weepin’ if it’ll keep you by my side.  __ __ __ __, sweet darling, please don’t leave me girl (don’t you go).  __ __ __ plead, baby, baby.  Please don’t leave me, girl (don’t you go).  Hint:  Not afraid to set his pride aside.

Yesterday was a problem-solving day.  We overcame some logistical issues and ended up with a nice day.  We have to ship our clothes back to Thailand and this time we decided to get some real professional boxes.  In the past our things arrived, but the corners were bent, the boxes were sagging, and sometimes about to fall apart.  We now have sturdy boxes that should survive the trip in good shape.  

By the time we got to my mom’s house it was already nearing lunch time.  In a monumental move, we decided to eat somewhere other than The Hat.  Everyday, while we were sorting and tossing, Denny and I would drive into town and get turkey sandwiches for everyone.  Lisa and I returned on our own and discovered their turkey burgers were good too.  Yesterday we drove across town to Hastings Ranch in East Pasadena.  In the course of our journey we passed many landmarks from my youth.  The most memorable was Longfellow elementary school where I spent 6 years.  Many places are gone now, and I can’t even remember what was there before.  We lunched at a place where we’ve had dinner with my mother several times.   

When we drove across the Santa Monica Freeway in the morning, the west bound lanes were very congested.  We thought we might encounter heavy traffic on the way home, but for the first time in many days, it was light and we got home in early afternoon.  In the late afternoon, we went to a concert/talent show put on by the private high school that August attends.  He plays keyboard in the Jazz Band.  Fortunately, they had food before the evening began and it was a chance to hang out with Jeff and Anna.  We saw presentations from different departments, although we were really only there to see August.  It was interesting.  The Jazz Band was the best musical unit of the show and not just because of the keyboard player (555).  

Today’s photo was taken from the car on the freeway as we crept through downtown Los Angeles.  The cranes have nested on the tall buildings (5).

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Water is the softest thing,
yet it can penetrate mountains and earth.
This shows clearly the principles of softness overcoming hardness.”
~Lao Tzu

Monday, June 6, 2016



The weekend gave us an opportunity to have two kinds of weather.  Blazing hot temps in the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys, and cool weather in the Culver City area.  What a contrast.  From light cotton to thermal in one weekend.  Whew.  Meanwhile, in Chiang Rai, lots of rain continues to fall. 

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Be Sure My Love” by The Dubs.  Nobody got it.  You can give a listen here:  So, on to ‘Easy Monday’ and an R&B hit from the 60s.
“I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go.  If I have to beg, plead for your sympathy I don’t mind ‘cause you mean that much to me.  __ __ __ __ __ and you know it, please don’t leave me girl (don’t you go)….”  Hint:  I’m tempted to give you big clues but that would give it away.  Five man vocal group from the motor city.

Saturday morning we watched as furniture and nicknacks were carried out of my mom’s house and loaded into a truck.  It was truly an exercise in ‘letting go’ to sit still as memories passed through the door, never to be seen again.  Some things are just things, but others have a story.  I can keep the stories for as long as I like.  

I suppose it is a quirk of human nature to feel the need to associate with someone’s ordeal.  In the case of the decline of a loved one, we are hearing everyone’s stories of what happened when (fill in the blank) was stricken by dramatic illness or accident.  There is a need to let us know that they have been ‘there’, as a form of comfort when actually, it seems to me that it’s a form of unfinished grieving.  Knowing that someone is about to tell their story makes it easier to deal with.  So ends today’s observation.

We stopped by the convalescent home after we finished working at the house.  It was a very uncomfortable time for both of us to witness the gaze that seemed to look right through us.  Things have definitely changed.  Even though we knew this would happen, it’s still a shock to see.  We take refuge in the memories.

On the brighter side of things, we said our goodbyes to Jennifer, Nowell and their dogs, grateful for their hospitality and the love.  We returned to Culver City and our cozy apartment.  Anna and Jeff made it look as if there had been no repair work done at all.  We remain grateful having them as a constant in our lives every time we return to the States.  

Today’s photo is one of the memories that marched out of the house this weekend.  Motorola called it a “Digital Personal Communicator”.  Today it’s an antique cellphone.

Have a Great Week.


“Ideally, the ultimate retreat is to 
retreat from the past and the future,
to always remain in the present.”
~Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday Funnies


In Chiang Rai there was big rain last night.  The Big Brown House came through with flying colors.  The yard is at it’s greenest and all is well.  Meanwhile, here in Studio City we’re in a heatwave.  Culver City will feel cool after this.

Day 2 of our ‘Zany Day’ adventure really got you going.  Many responses to “Love Potion Number Nine” by The Coasters.  ‘Old School Friday’ is from 1957 and may be a little harder.  The group had a big hit wondering about magic (that’s a hint).  This record begins with a solo by the bass singer.  “__ __ __ __, __ __ you love me before you tell me your love is mine.  __ __ __ __, __ __ there’s no other, for I’ll have no other to take the place in my heart.”  Hint: The singer is looking for reassurance.  The first two words of the title are very important to him.  
Back in the day this was a ‘Slow Jam’ that was always played at house parties.

Just as we thought we had finished with all the paper sorting at my mother’s house, we found two boxes in the garage.  Hmm, other than that, things are going great.  We got a lot done today and now it’s a matter of having the furniture hauled away.  That begins early Saturday morning.  Much of our busy work will be canceling things, and making sure all the loose ends are tied (555).  We have learned a lot about trucks, labor and dump fees in the last 24 hours.  It’s different than in Thailand.  You ask if it can be done, they say yes, you get a price, you haggle, the job gets done.  This is our 9th day at this and we’re beginning to feel it, but the end is in sight, he said.

Since we’ve been here, I have put in more traffic miles than at any other time in the 8 years that we’ve been coming back to the States. Usually, we time the trips that require freeway driving to hours when congestion is light.  This trip we are in the thick of it every day.  It does move, so that’s something to be grateful for.  The sheer number of vehicles covering all the lanes seems impossible.  Take me back to the country (555).

Today’s photo was taken while eating pie at Charon Gardens on the road to Chiang Mai.  Another tranquil scene for reflection.

It’s so weird to have that Jet Lag feeling over a week later in the middle of the evening.  Then again, a week without naps can do that to you.  

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