Friday, July 29, 2016

Thursday on Friday


My deepest apologies to anyone who was planning their activities based on what I tell you in my message.  There have been a few times when I’ve missed a day, or forgot to send the message, but this is ridiculous.  Somehow, leaving the States on Monday, which was actually Tuesday, and arriving in Thailand on Wednesday, which was actually Wednesday, totally threw off my perception of time.  No wonder I became a ball of confusion.  

Thank you to those who were quick to point out the error of my ways.  Frankly, I was mortified.  What really confuses things is that fact that now I have to either give you another song to ponder, or let ‘Old School Friday’ remain for this special Thursday (555).  I think we’ll just let it ride, and those who named the song will get a day off.  So, on with the craziness.

Here’s another verse of the ‘Old School Friday’ song.  “Now the dance that the people do, I don’t know how it started.  All I know is that when the beat brings a feel it’s hard to get parted.  And then the music begins to play, automatically you’re on your way.  Are you ready (are you ready)?  Well, you get yours, ‘cause-a I got mine for __ __ __.”  Hint:  The animal is fond of bananas.  The singer’s first name is a rank of an army officer.

Last night we had a major storm.  There was thunder and lightning in the overnight hours and the rain was beating down hard.  It was the kind of downpour where the sound changed with its intensity; like a machine passing through.  There was another downpour this morning and then it left town.  

Today’s photo was taken at the Bayland nature preserve in Palo Alto.  It’s called the ‘River of Rocks’.  

This afternoon Gong, Natcha and Neechanon went to Makro and did the shopping.  We were very happy about that since they were in the correct time zone.  After they returned it was time for Lisa, Cat and me to take a ride up to her university to see her ‘dorm room’.  It’s actually a room in an apartment building a block from the campus.  When we arrived we met the ‘house parents’ as I call them.  They are a nice couple who are like the managers and also help to maintain the women-only status of the house.  The room is a good size for one person and we made a list of things she’ll need to live there.  As Cat said as we left, “Big changes”.  Sunday will be her last day working at The Wanderer.

Have a Fabulous Friday and a Wonderful WeekEnd (again).   Formula One will be racing in Germany.  Zoom.


“Worrying is like meditating 
on the negative.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Friday Funnies


Meanwhile, back in Thailand, our intrepid travelers are enjoying the humidity, the quiet, the lush green surroundings, and the love of the greatest dog in the world.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “26 Miles (Santa Catalina)” by The Four Preps  I know, kinda corny, but qualified as zany in that special way (555).  This week’s ‘Old School Friday’ is a dance blast from the past.  “There’s a place right across town, whenever you’re ready.  Where the people gather ‘round, whenever they’re ready.  And then the music begins to play, you feel the groove comin’ on i’s way.  Are you ready (are you ready)?  Well, you get yours, ‘cause-a I got mine for __ __ __ (__ __ __).”  Hint:  It’s a dance named after the movement of an animal.  

For those of you who asked, Mr. Lag did stow away on our planes and made it to Thailand without a hitch.  He began the day by forcing a morning nap, then let us know it wasn’t a fluke by bringing a second nap after lunch.  After dinner he’s making it known that he is in control (555).  No, it’s not really funny, I just said that ‘cause he’s watching.

Last night Cat filled us in on all the university things she has to do before classes start.  Freshmen are called ‘Freshies’ and there are various activities for them before August 22, when the work begins.  The big event is on the 17th, when the band ‘Potato’ will give a concert.  Tomorrow she wants us to see her dorm room.

While we were gone it turns out that many things happened at The Big Brown House.  Gong washed the van, which is the first time it’s had a ‘shower’ at home.  Natcha helped Gong in the yard, pushing the lawnmower.  When Natcha went to Maesai to see her family, Gong cooked Blue’s meals and fed Daku, in addition to doing yard work.  Natcha told us that Neechanon loves Daku.  They are quite a team and we’re feeling very grateful.

Last week, as we were leaving the San Jose airport, I noticed this runway worker with ‘style’.  She brings a look that adds a sense of cool to a hot job.  Brava! 

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


Wednesday, July 27, 2016



We are at home in Chiang Rai.  It’s been an extremely long day.  Gong picked us up, Natcha had baked bread and brownies, Blue and Daku greeted us at the door, and later we got a smile from Neechanon.  

I can’t believe that no one remembers the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Here’s another verse that may jolt your memory:
“Forty kilometers in a leaky old boat.  Any old thing that’ll stay afloat.  When we arrive, we’ll all promote romance, romance, romance, romance.”  Clue:  If you do the math, you’ll be closer.

Today’s photo was taken at the Chiang Rai airport.  This youth orchestra playing traditional instruments made our arrival even sweeter.

It’s after 10pm here and sleep is sitting on my shoulders, messing with my eyes.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean, in a drop.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2016



So, here I sit in Taipei, having missed the day called Tuesday.  Yes, it’s Wednesday morning and the airport is still asleep.  Thirteen hours from now we will finally be at home.

Since we missed Tuesday, and everyone knew the ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Misty” by Johnny Mathis, we’ll move on.
Have fun with this ‘Zany Day’ song.  “__-__ __ across the sea.  __ __ is a-waitin’ for me.  __ __, the island of romance, romance, romance, romance.”  Hint:  This one goes back  a long way.  It’s about a location, and it’s distance.  the second set of dashes are the name of the place, which is in the title (__ __).  

This time the trip across the Pacific was full of extras since we traveled in Business Class.  If you like extra-special attention, then this is the way to go.  Even before we sat down, there was help putting the bags in the overhead bin.  Once seated there was a cool, jasmine scented towel.  Next came the offer of black pajamas for a more relaxing flight.  We didn’t take the Pjs, but I saw them on someone and they were cool.  The meals came in courses with a table cloth and real metal silverware.  Since the seats stretch out it was possible to actually sleep under a thick quilt.  One could get used to this real quick.

Today’s photo was taken on La Cienega Bl. near Jefferson in Los Angeles.  This giant ‘succulent wall’ is very dramatic.  The plants appear to be growing in bags of soil nailed to wooden panels.  

We’ll leave Taipei in a few hours, fly to Bangkok (3 hours and 30 min) and then sit in the airport in Bangkok for most of the day, until our 5pm flight to Chiang Rai.

Time for the ritual changing of the SIM cards and putting away the U.S. money and replacing it with Thai Baht.  

This really is Wacky Wednesday.


“If it comes; let it.  
If it goes; let it.”

Monday, July 25, 2016



It seems like we just did this goodbye thing, but here it comes again.  Bye-bye America, thanks for the memories.
We fly out tonight (technically 1:25am Tuesday).  One last day of last-minute errands, phone calls, etc.  Then it’s pack the bags and go home.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley.  Time for an ‘Easy Monday’ song you’ll like:
“Look at me, I’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree.  And I feel like I’m clinging to a cloud, I can’t understand I get __, just holding your hand.”  Hint:  This is so easy, one word.  If I don’t get lots of mail, something’s very wrong.

The weekend was fairly busy.  Friday we visited with Lisa’s brother Dan.  He had enough time for us to hang out at Dinah’s and have a really good visit.  There we were, three expats sitting in a coffee shop comparing notes about living abroad.  We learned more about his life in New Zealand and we filled in some blanks about Thailand.  Our experiences with Mr. Lag became a topic of conversation with no real conclusion.  We also showed him our little apartment and he got a chance to meet ’The Boys’.  The icing on the cake was the trip to LAX on a Friday afternoon.  I haven’t had the pleasure of driving that chaos in many years.  The visit was well worth what ever effort was involved.

I ended up back at Dinah’s for an early dinner with my long-time friend Michael.  It seems that 4pm is the magic hour when the place is practically empty.  A perfect time for conversation without the dull roar of a crowd.  

Saturday was a little less hectic.  After a morning meeting, I had lunch with my friend Christopher.  We always have fun comparing notes on the state of everything.  We ate at a place I’ve noticed for years.  Hurry Curry always made me smile, and I have a new appreciation for a small aspect of Indian cuisine.  

Sunday was our last day to take care of big stuff.  We went to Pasadena to move my mom’s car from where she lived  in Altadena, to our friend Irene's house until it can be sold.  We talked a bit and then met Irene’s mom, who was fun to talk to about travel.  Then lunch with Frank and Linda at a very nice restaurant I’d never known about.  Good food, good company and plenty of laughter.  Who could ask for more?  

The last of our out-of-town visits was with our friend Debby, whom Lisa has known since they were 13.  She has been caring for her two grandsons who are almost 3 and 5.  We managed to get in some talking in between attempts to capture our attention.  I love watching kids work on their sense of humor.

Back in Culver City, Anna grilled turkey burgers for dinner and we had a ‘sit down’ dinner that was not only delicious, but a nice way to end our stay.

I’ll be writing you from Taipei again as we make our way home.  I’m not sure what time you’ll get the message, but you will get it (555).

The photo for today was taken in Palo Alto on our walk with Joe, and features the ‘Pelican Quartet’ soaring in formation through a shaft of light.  They were riding the thermals, something we’d never seen pelicans do before.

Have a Great Week.


“Be strong enough to let go,
and patient enough to wait for
what you deserve."

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Funnies


Blue skies and moderate temperatures is the best description of the weather up north.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “One Night In Bangkok” by Murray Head.  The ‘Old School Friday’ tune might be easier.
“Well, since my baby left me, I’ve found a new place to dwell.  It’s down at the end of lonely street at __ __… I get so lonely, I could die.”  Clue:  It’s from 1956, when the singer was just 21 years old.  There are no bellhops at this joint.

We are back in Culver City after our NorCal trip.  Most of Thursday was spent with Lisa’s dad, Joe.  We had breakfast and then went to the wonderful ‘Baylands’ area where he goes for walks with two of his friends.  They usually walk around part of the nature preserve that borders the southern part of the San Francisco Bay.  We saw Canadian Geese, Pelicans, and Ducks.  It was a very tranquil setting.  From there we went to Joe’s studio and he showed us some of his latest work.  He still continues to amaze us with his creativity and productivity.  He has an exhibit of recent works coming up in the Bay Area.  

Today’s photo shows part of the Baylands, east of Palo Alto.

For some reason, the trip up north felt like a weekend.  I know now that it wasn’t.  The weekend is coming up.  Today is Friday and we will be spending some time with Lisa’s brother Dan, who has a layover here after a flight from New Zealand.  He’ll be flying out later today for a conference in Poland.  We haven’t seen him in a few years so this will be a treat.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.  Sunday, it’s Formula One time again.  This time from Hungary.


Thursday, July 21, 2016



So, we had a beautiful travel day to Northern California.  Everything was going great until we tried to check in for our return flight.  The Southwest computers were down and all flights were cancelled, leaving us wondering what would happen today.  Rather than run the risk of not having a plane to catch, we’ll try to book another airline.  Whew.

Now, the ‘Zany Day’ song has not been identified as yet.  I’m sure somebody out there remembers this ‘narrated’ hit song.  It’s actually a spoken word piece with singers on the chorus.  “__ __ __ __ and the world’s your oyster.  The bars are temples, but the pearls ain’t free.  You’ll find a God in every golden cloister, and if you’re lucky then the God’s a she, I can feel an angel sliding up to me.”  Hint:  Some time, somewhere in the Land of Smiles.

We arrived at LAX with time to spare.  It didn’t make much of a difference since our plane had been delayed by bad weather on it’s way to L.A.  When we finally got to San Jose we were running late for our lunch in San Leandro.  Fortunately, the lady inside Google Maps guided us using the fastest route and we were only 15 minutes late.  The Cousin’s Lunch was really cool.  Lots of discussion of the various dynamics going on at the memorial, life in Thailand, and family history.  Good stuff.

Our next destination was our Air BnB house in Redwood City.  It’s a little bit north of Palo Alto and Ms. Google got us there easily.  We were greeted by two dogs (a good start).  One was very friendly, the other very shy.  Our room is a small bedroom with a private bath across the hall.  It appears to be a family of four and they’ve been renting the room for about 6 months.  After a rest, it was time to drive south to Menlo Park for dinner with Joe and Karen Jo.  We sat on the roof-top patio of the restaurant and though I’ve never been to Italy, I’m told it’s just like being there.  There were grape vines growing on the sides and it really gave it a touch of authenticity.  Dinner and the company were wonderful.  

Today’s photo shows the grapes of Menlo Park.  

What happens with our travel experience will be something to write about, if nothing else.  We did get tickets on another airline so we’ll get back to town tonight.  There’s that happy ending we were looking for.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“The best view comes
after the hardest climb.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2016



Another warm SoCal day.  It was a good day for motoring around town, taking care of business.  Clear blue skies are a welcome sight.  Next week it will be rain clouds most likely, since we’ll be back in Thailand.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Drive My Car” by The Beatles.  Here’s a ‘Zany Day’ song for you:  “__ __ __ __ makes a hard man humble, not too much between despair and ecstasy.  __ __ __ __ and the tough guys tumble, can’t be too careful with your company.  I can feel the Devil walking next to me.”  Clue:  You won’t get bored with this board.

Our Tuesday morning began with nearly an hour at the bank.  We had to close out my mom's bank account, which looked like it was going to get complicated.  One of the bank officials helped make it easier and though it took a long time, it wasn’t painful at all.  

It’s interesting how some credit cards were easier to cancel than things that didn’t involve money.  The Auto Club was someplace that surprised me in that they required a copy of the death certificate, yet department stores did not.  

We had lunch at Emerald Thai with cousin John and his son Etienne.  It was the first time in many years that we have had an opportunity to sit and talk.  There was a lot of family history discussed, as well as stories from childhood.  We all learned something and it was our first time meeting Etienne, who is 19 and about to start college in Colorado.  

After lunch we took August up to Century City to meet some friends. We used Google Maps and had fun seeing if the ‘voice’ was going to get us there.  In the beginning she predicted our time of arrival.  She was exactly right about when we’d get there.  We used it again getting to the Marina and again, she timed it perfectly.  Hmm, how do they do that?  Now, if it will work in Thailand I will be totally impressed (555).

Today’s photo was taken outside of the bank yesterday.  A sign of the times?  Notice that she’s playing on a tablet.

Today was the day we made our traditional visit to Ross.  It was semi-productive, but there are more locations if we feel the need (555)  On our way home we got dinner at a place we used to frequent when we lived here.  The Empanada Place was like going back in time.  The place hadn’t changed a bit.  

This morning we will fly to the San Jose Airport, then drive up to San Leandro for our Cousin’s Lunch.  We will be joined this time by our friend Rachel, the president of The Sold Project.  The original plan was for her to bring Cat with her, but Cat’s trip was postponed.  It will be fun to see Rachel and for her to meet The Cousins.  After lunch we’ll drive south to Mountain View, which is near Palo Alto.  We’re staying at an AirBnB location that’s in a house.  This will be a new experience.  I’ll be writing to you from there.

It’s gonna be a Wacky Wednesday.


“The art of knowing is
knowing what to ignore.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016



The hotness has begun.  Add a bunch of humidity and it will start to feel like Chiang Rai (555).

Quite a few readers knew this ‘Easy Monday’ tune.  Here’s the last verse, just in case you’re not sure.  
“I told that girl I can start right away.  And she said, ‘Listen baby, I got something to say.  I got no car and it’s breaking my heart. But I’ve found a driver and that’s a start’.  Baby you can __ __ __, yes I’m gonna be a star.  Baby you can __ __ __ and maybe I’ll love you.  Beep, beep’m beep beep yeah….”  Hint:  1965, from one of their more popular albums.   

Monday morning is, from memory, a heavy traffic time on the freeways of SoCal.  We had a 10am appointment in Northridge, which meant riding the 405 northbound.  Fortunately, most of the morning traffic had either calmed down or was going the other way.  Our friend Alan, who does ‘Healing Touch’ massage therapy, gave Lisa a massage.  While that was happening, I had a long conversation with a cousin that I hadn’t talked to in years.  This seems to be a time when reconnecting is just what I need.  

While traveling, we used a couple of applications we just heard about.  One is called Wayz, the other is Google Maps.  What we found to be fun was the little voice that warned us about events that were coming up.  It would say things like ‘Watch out, there’s a hazard up ahead’.  We need something like this in Thailand, but in English.  Getting directions in Chiang Rai would be pointless since almost nobody uses the street names.  It’s all about landmarks that everybody knows.  Hmm, I can just imagine how that would work here.  Oh, it happens already (555).

Our friend Claire sent me an article on Jet Lag that is very interesting.  There are things that can be done to ‘soften’ the blow.  I’m going to study this a little more and see if I can try something before we head west next week.  There is a relationship between the direction of travel, exposure to light, and adjustment of schedule.  A lot of research has gone into this phenomenon.  It’s a real thing.  I guess Mr. Lag is reveling in his celebrity about now.

When Lisa went downtown with Anna, Jeff, and August to see Clifton’s, they also visited ‘The Last Bookstore’.  Inside this giant bookstore were several book sculptures.  Today’s photo is one of them.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“It always seems impossible
until it’s done.”
~Nelson Mandela

Monday, July 18, 2016



The weather here in Southern California is going to get progressively warmer each day this week.  Maybe near the end of our stay we’ll get to the beach.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Just My Imagination” by The Temptations.  Time for a bit of ‘Easy Monday’.
“Asked a girl what she wanted to be.  She said baby, ‘Can’t you see?  I wanna be famous, a star on the screen, but you can do something in between”.  Baby, you can __ __ __.  Yes I’m gonna be a star.  Baby you can __ __ __, and maybe I’ll love you.”  Hint:  Might even qualify as zany, a song referring to four wheels by four lads from Liverpool.

Sleep has been very strange on this trip.  Normally, it takes about 3 to 4 days before we can safely say that Mr. Lag has left the building.  This time it’s hard to tell whether he’s gone or not.  We both wake up around 4am, and the afternoons bring on the urge to close the eyes.  Even after 6 days, it still feels like Mr. Lag is still messing with us.  I’m thinking that maybe the 3 week turnaround has something to do with it.  I’m curious to know how people who go back and forth across the Pacific and Atlantic manage to keep it together.  Flight crews must know some tricks that they’re not sharing.  Hmm, calls for further investigation (555).

Saturday, Lisa went with The Family on an expedition to Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles.  This place is one of those landmarks that has been around since the 1940s.  In it’s early days it was a place where anyone could get a meal, regardless of race.  It became a ‘special’ place for members of the African-American community.  I remember going there for a birthday party for Blue, when he was a little boy.  It’s been ‘remodeled’ but still maintains an ‘old school’ overdecorated vibe.  

We still have some loose ends to tie up concerning ‘Mom business’, so our second week in town will a mix of business and pleasure.  Our NorCal trip will be Wednesday and Thursday, where we’ll spend time with Joe, Lisa’s Dad, and the Oakland cousins.  

Today’s photo was taken in early July.  Neechanan is wearing an outfit from her aunt.  Let the ‘dress-up’ days begin.
Daku can be seen getting in on the pose.  They definitely have a relationship forming.  

Have a Great Week.


“The past is a place of reference,
not a place of residence.”

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Funnies


The local weather folks were right on target when they said it would be a hot one yesterday.  Of course, we knew what to expect.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “No Particular Place To Go” by Chuck Berry.  That means it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’, and I’m pretty sure you know this one.  “Each day through my window, I watch her as she passes by.  I say to myself, you’re such a lucky guy.  To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true.  Out of all the fellas in the world, she belongs to me.  But it was __ __ __, running away with me.  It was __ __ __, running away with me.”  Hint:  Tempted by her charm, he drifted into a fantasy world.  Imagine that.  Original version came out in 1971 by a five man vocal group.

Yesterday’s memorial service for my mother was a huge success.  About 200 to 250 people gathered to pay their respects and share memories.  She was a member of All Saints Church in Pasadena for 44 years and was adored by everyone.  After the service, there were refreshments and fellowshipping   Family members came from far away places and it was wonderful to see them all.  The Pasadena teaching community was in attendance as well as a large group from her sorority.  My brother and I reconnected with many people from our pasts, having grown up in Pasadena.  Thankfully, most of them introduced themselves right away so we didn’t have to guess their identities (555).  

I didn’t realize how much energy had been expended until we finally got back to Culver City.  Mr. Lag took that as a signal to do his thing and we crashed.  

Today’s photo from The Wanderer inspires relaxation.  Orchids growing among ferns, a reminder of home.

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


Wednesday, July 13, 2016



The weather in the Culver City area was perfect yesterday.  Not too hot, not too cool, just right for a few errands.  Mr. Lag invited himself over for a nap in the afternoon.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Yesterday” by The Beatles.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ might not be as easy for some, but that’s alright.  “Riding along in my automobile, my baby beside me at the wheel.  I stole a kiss at the turn of a mile, my curiosity runnin’ wild.  Cruisin’ and playin’ the radio, with __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  Another cool car song from an early R&R giant.

Whenever we come to the States we have local phone numbers that we use.  It’s a simple matter of replacing our Thai SIM cards with ‘Western’ ones.  We’ve had the current numbers for years now, but it hasn’t been easy keeping them.  Every time we arrive we are told by T-Mobile that we have to either change our ‘plan’ or get a new one.  Yesterday we went through another round of ‘how bad do you want to talk on the phone?’.  It has become a ransom situation, with the phone company.  I like my number, I can remember it and that’s important to me (555).  The next time we visit, we may have different numbers, but for now they are as follows:

Danny= (310) 494-1179     Lisa= (310) 227-2351    

We had lunch at Emerald Thai on Venice.  Our friend Nid was surprised to see us again so soon.  It was good to see him and to see the place so busy.  We’ll have to go back when it’s not so crazy, and we can sit and talk.

I was once again humbled and amazed by the amount of vehicles moving in a semi-orderly fashion on the streets of the westside yesterday.  There’s nothing like hitting the streets at 8am on a weekday after driving in Chiang Rai.  We got another Ford Fusion, but this one is all gas.  After three weeks playing with the pedal to keep it on electric as much as possible, I’m not sure which is more fun.  Staying away from gas stations is big fun, but stepping on the gas and feeling the surge of power is also fun.  Hmm, like Sly said: “The nicer the nice, the higher the price.”

Many years ago I learned about the persistence of nature.  Today’s photo was taken in our front yard and is a perfect example.  Grass sprouting from a rock calls for lots of persistence.    

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Your mind is your instrument.
Learn to be it’s master and not 
it’s slave.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2016



Back in the U.S. of A., to borrow from a song, sort of.  We arrived late Monday night, wide awake and hungry.  Even with all the food they threw at us, there’s something about flying that sparks the appetite.  

There’s still time to tell me the title of the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  It’s from those four lads from across the pond.
“Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.  I said something wrong, now I long for __.  __, love was such an easy game to play.  Now I need a place to hide away.  Oh, I believe in __.”  Clue:  Somethin’ about the day before.

 Our apartment was warm and welcoming when we finally arrived.  Things couldn’t have been better.  There was a parking place in front of the house, breakfast favorites were on the shelves, and even though our hosts are on a mini-vacation, their warmth was present.   

I  usually don’t post photos of food, but this plate full is an exception.  Our favorite airline made a real effort to produce sometime I could eat.  It’s supposed to be some kind of chicken dish, we’re not sure what we’re looking at.  What looks like shredded chicken is hard and chewy.  Underneath was a boiled rice mistake.  I didn’t eat it.  

The mission, for the next few days, will be keeping Mr. Lag at bay.  I think we got this, but that’s the time when he decides to pounce.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Smile at the obstacle,
for it is a bridge.”

Monday, July 11, 2016



If it’s Monday night, we must be in Taipei, Taiwan.  Things have gone rather smoothly this trip.  Hmm, seems like we just did this.  Oh yeah, we did (555).  All of the typhoon business was gone when we flew in so it was a smooth flight.

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Up On The Roof” by The Drifters.   ‘Easy Monday’ should be a cinch, whatever your musical bag.  “__, all my troubles seemed so far away.  Now it looks as though they’re here to stay, oh, I believe in __.”  Hint:  Seriously, you don’t know this?

In Bangkok, there is a recorded voice at the end of each segment of the moving walkway, announcing ‘End of the walkway’.  I noticed that the conveyor belt actually has a name.  I couldn’t resist taking a photo for you, so you’ll believe it.

After a couple of hours here in Taipei, we’ll board the plane for the long flight to the States.  I had another airport  revelation this trip.  International airports offer a great opportunity for sellers of extravagance.  At the three airports we visit on the overseas trip, there are business strips near the major entrances that give one a chance to spend tons of money on fragrances, alcohol and jewelry.  At the height of traffic, the cloud from the perfume vendors is overwhelming.  The booze merchants, along with others, invite shoppers with ‘Duty Free’ signs.  Apparently it works.  

Time for some snacks before heading off for our flight that will undoubtedly serve a late dinner.  It will be our second of the evening.  So glad we brought along some home-made brownies and coconut-flour bread.

Last but not least, Neechanan was working with her eyebrows on Friday.  Practicing raising them, making frowns, and squinting.  We’re really enjoying being present for this evolution.

Have a Great Week.


“If one desires to receive,
one must first give.
This is called profound
~Lao Tzu

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai seems to be in a new weather pattern.  I’m calling them ‘Drippy Days’.  Today was just like yesterday, off and on light showers with occasional sunshine.  Oh yes, and it’s still hot.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran.  For ‘Old School Friday’ we’ll take a look at a tune from an R&B group that went on for years with tons of hits.  “When this old world starts getting me down and people are just too much for me to face (__ __ __ __).  I climb way up to the top of the stairs, and all my cares just drift right into space (__ __ __ __).  __ __ __, it’s peaceful as can be, and there, the world below can’t bother me…”  Hint: Recorded in 1962, refuge on the top portion of a building.

On the main road near our house there is a new shop.  From what we saw from the street, it’s a Hill Tribe clothing shop featuring wedding dresses and fancy jackets.  We’ll have to investigate more, but it looks interesting.  From the patterns I saw I think they are Akha.  Most of the other businesses on the road are things like coffee, food, and repair shops.  

It’s getting down to that time when decisions have to be made about what to pack for the trip to the States.  For me, it always happens that I take more than I can wear.  That’s because I always imagine it’s going to be hot and it’s not, at least by Thai standards.  I’m making a mental note to not take so many light shirts (555).  

We received computer renderings of what our pool area might look like with the fence design by our friend, Khun Nine.  If one has to have a fence around a pool, it might as well look nice.  This plan calls for removable sections so when we’re entertaining there can be access from the whole side of the pool.  A new deck is also in the works.  We’ve grown very tired of the terrazzo, which is hard to keep clean.  

Today Neechanan decided to go back to her smiley face, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.  She is a very happy baby.  When Natcha is working in the kitchen she sings to her and we can hear Neechanan responding.  Definitely brings a nice vibe to our lives.

This morning I drove up to the container construction site, got out and walked around.  You will see from the photos, that it’s a pair of two-story structures.  I still don’t know what kind of business it will be.  Many projects don’t identify what is coming.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

This weekend will be busy with packing, last minute errands for the household, the Wimbledon finals, and the Formula One British Grand Prix.  Whew.  

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


Thursday, July 7, 2016



The rain has decided that it’s alright to do its thing during the day.  It’s what we call ‘small rain’, but it's still water from the sky.  It means that the yard is getting soggy at times and the areas under the trees gets muddy.  At least the drought is over for us.

Quite a few readers knew the ‘Zany Day’ song on the first try.  Here’s the second verse in case you need to get in the mood:  “A-well my mom and pop a-told me, ‘Son you gotta make some money, if you wanna use the car to go a-ridin’ next Sunday’.  Well, I didn’t go to work, told the boss I was sick, ‘Now you can’t use the car ‘cause you didn’t work a lick.  Sometimes I wonder, what I’m a-gonna do, but there ain’t no cure for the __ __.”  Clue:  That special time of year when a job gets in the way of fun.

On my way to Makro this morning I noticed that progress had been made on the collection of cargo containers that have been set up on a lot north of town.  They were arranged in a fashion that looked like something was coming.  Today I saw sliding glass doors at the end of one of them, and lots of activity in the yard.  There is a unique concept unfolding.  Maybe I can get some photos to share.

I was shopping ‘cone dio’ (alone), armed with lists and it went well.  We seem to be in the season when celery and mango are in short supply.  This has happened before and there’s not much to be done about it.  Things grow when conditions are right for them, not me (555).  When I finished checking out, the clerk sent me to the ‘promotions’ counter where I was due a gift.  My receipt was looked over and the man behind the counter took out a packet of ten, individual laundry detergent portions.  They were the same brand I had bought.  This doesn’t happen often and it’s usually something we don’t use or eat, so this was special (5).   

At a traffic light on the highway there were two men selling jasmine garlands.  I didn’t buy one but thought about how hard it must be to stand on the side of this busy road all day, walking between the cars when the light is red, breathing exhaust for what would amount to a few dollars.  You do what you gotta do sometimes.  

Now that schools are back in session there is less traffic in the mornings.  Passing by the high school near us, the familiar block-long line of motorbikes reminded me of how mobile the young people are.  When I was in high school it was a big deal to have a car.  There weren’t small motorbikes at all.  The times they are a-changin’.  

Today’s photo is another strain of mushroom growing at The Wanderer.  These are amazing looking.

We posted on an expat forum, searching for an electrician.  A reply came from an American who came over this afternoon.  After explaining the problem with lightbulbs turning off on their own, he examined the socket construction and offered a possible solution.  During the course of our visit I learned that he’s from Chicago, has built custom lighting, and has two Labrador Retrievers.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

"Even in darkness,
it is possible to
create light.”
~Elie Wiesel

Wednesday, July 6, 2016



That overnight rain I predicted never came, but appeared today in the form of occasional showers.  The temperature has been a bit cooler, but still requires the air/con.  Everything outside is growing very fast.

‘Easy Monday’ was “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder.  It’s time for another dose of ‘Zany Day’ music.  The year was 1958:
“I’m a-gonna raise a fuss, I’m a-gonna raise a holler.  About a-workin’ all summer just to try to earn a dollar.  Ev’ry time I call my baby to try to get a date, my boss says, ‘No dice son, you gotta work late.’  Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do, but there ain’t no cure for the __ __.”  Hint:  This is probably one of the easiest ‘Zany’ tunes yet.  It’s a seasonal thing.

It was a quiet day around The Big Brown House.  Gong cut down some coconuts, I ran some errands, and Neechanan has learned to make an interesting face.  Lisa managed to get a little smile this evening, but it was mostly a thing where she sticks her bottom lip out and looks real grumpy.  Who knows what tomorrow will be?

My first stop this morning was at the Egg Lady, but she wasn’t open.  Later I thought about all the people who have little businesses like hers, who operate them by themselves.  When they get sick and cannot work, there is no income for that day.  Sometimes she has help, but they are not ‘employees’.  I guess this happens all around the world.  Somehow they make it work.  Then my thought shifted to the number of ‘university’ graduates that are working in coffee shops or as counter clerks.  I wonder it they have a plan or is this going to be their lives?  What did they major in and are there even jobs in Chiang Rai?  Some days I wonder a lot.

One thing I am realizing is that here in Thailand, aspirations are not necessarily the same as in the West.  Survival is not nearly as expensive and there doesn’t seem to be a ‘conditioned competition’ between peers.  Maybe this is a calmer way to approach life.  Live each day, do no harm, and smile a lot.  Hmm.

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  These mushrooms are growing by the side of the entrance path.  Tomorrow I’ll show you another variation.

This afternoon I got the news of the passing of a friend here in Thailand.  He was one of the first expats who visited from Chiang Mai.  Over the years we became good friends and he will definitely be missed.  This led to Lisa and I having a conversation about how to keep all of this in perspective.  There have been three people in my life who have ‘moved on’ in the past month and it can get a little heavy on the heart.  We have to be patient with time, and take time to be patient.  The healing will come.  

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Sometimes the best way to solve a problem
is to first let go of the idea that there is a problem.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016



Clouds blocked the sun for most of the day.  It looked and felt like rain would come but it never did, even though the forecast called for 100% rain.  Probably tonight, which is better anyway.

“Sneaking out the back door, to hang out with those hoodlum friends of mine.  Greeted at the back door with, ‘Boy thought I told you not to go outside.’  Tryin’ your best to bring the water to your eyes, thinkin’ it might stop her from whoopin’ your behind.  __ __ those days could come back once more, why did those days ev-er have to go.  __ __ those days could come back once more… ‘Cause I love them so.”  Hint:  The key word is sometimes done upon a star.

This morning we got to Big C about 15 minutes after they opened.  Nothing like an early start on the supply shopping.  We parked ‘inside’, which is actually under the building.  Getting a spot by the door insured that we would not get blocked by a ‘lane parker’.  It’s common practice when lots get full, to double park in the aisle.  When cars and trucks were all stick-shift it was simple enough to leave it in neutral so it could be moved if necessary.  These days, most newer cars can’t be put in neutral and remove the key.  We almost had the store to ourselves.  No waiting at check-out, and on the way home in no time.  The real trick is getting there early.

In the afternoon I heard the sound of hammering or chopping.  When I went downstairs I saw Gong in the backyard chopping some branches with his big blade.  I thought it was all going onto the cart to be hauled away.  Later, when I took Daku outside I saw that Gong had made ’T’ shaped structures by each hose and had wrapped each hose on one of these.  This put them off the ground and possibly easier to manage.  With all the rain and the mud around the faucets, it just might be a great idea.  We’re enjoying the fact that both Gong and Natcha think about things and do things without having to be asked.  They are creative in their own ways and it’s great.

Last week while we were at the tailor shop in the Talat, I took a photograph of his Singer sewing machine.  You will notice the pedal on the floor.  This makes it go.  This is what most of the tailors and seamstresses use in the Talat.  It’s quite a contrast to the super digital, programmable models they sell in the mall, but it works.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The flower doesn’t dream of the bee.
It blossoms and the bee comes.”
~Mark Nepo

Monday, July 4, 2016



The weekend included sunshine and rain.  We stayed inside for most of it, daytime rain is not that fun for playing.  Today we got new ‘family’ members.   

‘Old School Friday’ was “Rip It Up” by Little Richard himself.  ‘Easy Monday’ will be easy for some.  Memories.
“Looking back on when I was a nappy-headed boy.  Then my only worry was for Christmas what would be my toy.  Even though we sometimes would not get a thing, we were happy with the joy that day would bring.  Sneaking out the back door to hang out with those hoodlum friends of mine…. __ __ those days could come back once more…”
Clue:  It’s from 1976, by another artist who used to be ‘Little’ but grew up.  

One week from today we fly back to the States again.  It will be our normal Summer visit of two weeks.  On July 14 we will have the memorial service for my mom, which actually makes the visit not so normal.  I suspect anticipation is starting to creep in, the mind has been wandering.  

Today’s photo is one of two new creatures in our yard.  We thought they were a trade for art, but they are actually a gift.  There is another, identical elephant in the backyard, in a flower bed.  Welcome to The Big Brown House.

To all our friends in the U.S.A., Happy July 4th.  Over here it was just another day.  In the bigger cities, with large expat populations I imagine there were probably celebrations.  As for fireworks, well, we get those several times a year.  Almost every big holiday is accompanied by fireworks.  There is also the custom of setting things off on the last night of a traditional five-day funeral observation.  The loud noises and colorful displays are meant to ward off evil spirits and light the way for the spirit.  I wonder if the City of Pasadena would let us do something like that (555).

Today was a bit of a red letter day for Cat.  She opened a savings account and now has her own ATM card.  She took a friend from work with her, but she did it by herself.  

This evening Neechanan was in the kitchen while Natcha made dinner.  When I went in to say hello, she greeted me with a big smile and showed me her latest trick:  She can hold her feet.  She seemed so proud.  

Have a Great Week.


“The world is filled with nice people,
if you can’t find one, be one”.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday Funnies


After days of teasing us with the possibilities of rain, the sky finally delivered.  We had a monsoonal ‘storm of the century’ that totally flooded both yards.  The wind was blowing and the trees were bending.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “My Boy Lollipop” by Millie Small
Now you know.  ‘Old School Friday’ should be familiar to some, it’s by an artist known for his incredible energy and outrageous stage show.  “Well, it’s Saturday night and I just got paid, fool about my money, don’t try to save.  My heart says go go, have a time, it’s Saturday night and I’m feelin’ fine.  I’m gonna rock it up, I’m gonna __ __ __, I’m gonna shake it up, gonna ball it up, I’m gonna rock it up, and ball tonight.”  Clue: The first dash is the sound of paper tearing.  Hmm.

Friday morning in Chiang Rai was full of a sense of anticipation.  Lots of traffic, there was ‘busy’ everywhere.  Maybe folks knew the rain was coming and wanted to get things done.  Whatever the case, we were right in the middle of it all.  We started with a quick stop at the local HP computer shop for a minor repair on Cat’s laptop.  Then we dove, head first into the Talat.  There is a tailor we have started using and he had some shirts ready for me and some pants for Lisa.  Remembering where things are takes landmarks.  We entered the market and turned left at the ‘stinky fish’, then right at the next aisle and there he was.  The stinky corner consists of several large tables with all kinds of shell-fish on ice.  

On the Super Highway, which has been in a state of reconstruction for months, was finally open, sort of.  Today they were painting new lines, which meant lanes had to merge.  That’s not done very well here.  The concept of sharing the road in an orderly fashion has yet to be absorbed (555).  After another stop it was time to tackle ‘Bus Station Street’.  It’s customary to double park if you need to go into one of the shops opposite the station.  That’s just what we did today.  It feels so wrong, but there is no one who waves you off.  

A coffee break was in order at Work@Home.  Sitting in their air/con room, away from the city, was a nice ‘pause’.  

Today’s photo is the front yard from upstairs.  The whole lawn is flooded.  It’s been two years since we’ve seen that much water in the front.  The drains eventually got rid of most of the water and Daku enjoyed walking in the low pools that were left.  The back yard also flooded but finally drained.  The house didn’t leak and the power stayed on so it was a good day.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.   Oh, this weekend is Formula One from Austria.  Zoom.