Wednesday, August 31, 2016



It was a beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  We started out with lots of clouds, but no sight of rain.  Daku got a much needed bath and then it sprinkled.  That was all the water from the sky.  The rest was warm with patches of blue.  Last night I actually saw stars in the night sky.  

‘Easy Monday’ was  “Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song is pretty crazy.  Remember?
“There’s a man in the funny papers we all know (__ __, __, __, __-__).  He lived ‘way back a long time ago.  He don’t eat nothin’ but a-bear cat stew.  Well, this cat’s name is-a __ __….”  Clue:  This one goes way back in time (555).

One of our latest projects is to create a play area for Neetchanon in the back yard.  There is a fenced off area by the back door that used to be used by the dogs.  They didn’t like it much and now it’s just waiting for someone to hang out.  We went out this morning in search of the foam squares that link together for flooring.  We rode up and down the Super Highway without finding the ‘Kid Store’ we’ve seen in the past.  We have another section of road to check.  She isn’t crawling yet, but it’s only a matter of time.  It would be nice for her to be able to be outside and active.  

This time of year it seems that fruit is either in town or it’s not; t least when it comes to mangos.  Yesterday we couldn’t find any good ones, today they were in abundance.  We stopped at Work@Home and had coffee and Katai came down from her office and hung with us.  We had a fun time as usual.  While thumbing through one of the many car magazines in the shop, I discovered that there is a Lamborghini Club of Thailand.  Hmm, I did not know that.

Speaking of Lamborghinis, on our way to Chiang Mai, while winding through the mountains, one came swooping around a curve and both of us said, ‘Oooooo’ at the same time.  It was there and then it was gone.

This afternoon we got to spend a lot of time with the baby.  We think she’s teething and she’s been a bit fussy, but  whenever Daku comes into the room she stops fussing.  He’s like the pacifier dog.  She spent some time in her little circle chair listening to nursery rhymes while Natcha made lunch.  This evening Natcha brought her upstairs to visit.  She was preoccupied with Daku and when Natcha put her close enough to pet him, she grabbed his fur.  Then she did her favorite thing; she put her face into the fur.  He’s becoming more and more tolerant, which is good. 

Today’s photos are basically Neetchanon and Daku.  The first one is the two of them hanging out.  The second is the ‘Face plant’ into the fur.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


"The most valuable possession you can own
is an open heart.
The most powerful weapon you can be 
is an instrument of peace.”
~Carlos Santana

Tuesday, August 30, 2016



After yesterday’s ‘driving rain’, today’s occasional showers were refreshing.  There is thunder in the distance.  Who knows what it will bring?

So far, three readers know the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  I’m guessing more of you know.  Maybe these words will help:
“She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere.  So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair.  I sat on the rug, biding my time, drinking her wine.  We talked until two and then she said, ‘It’s time for bed’.  She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.  I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath…. isn’t it good __ __?”  Hint:  This tune by those four lads could have been a ‘Zany Day’ song.  Should be easy.

Even though we were only gone for one night, Daku missed us.  He followed us around Monday night as if we’d been gone for weeks.  In the past, when we were gone, he slept in what was Cat’s room.  Now that she’s gone he sleeps in the kitchen.  Probably enjoys the cool tile floor.  I’ll bet if the door had been open to the guest room, he would have stayed in there.  

It’s hard to believe that next week will mark nine years since we moved to Thailand.  That must be why certain changes here seem so pronounced.  Remembering some of the early days as we travel certain roads, some of the changes are bitter sweet.  I keep reminding myself that everything changes.  The things I love the most haven’t changed and that’s important.
There are a couple of expat sites devoted to Chiang Rai.  On these pages one can get help, find things in English, and discover places to eat and do business.  Between that and riding around, it’s pretty clear that this place is moving into another level of sophistication.  At least part of it is.  The beauty is that it can only change so much, since the majority culture still has it’s own ways.  I like that aspect, progress with limitations.  There will always be local markets, food stalls, and bamboo ladders (555).

This morning we did Big C, and then lunch at The Wanderer.  The U.S. Open tennis tournament has started so we’ll be torn between that and normal ‘programming’.  

Today’s photos are from Doy Din Dang.  The first pic is a large pot.  The image inside the rim is a reflection of what’s above.  The pot is filled with rain water.  The second pic was taken in the tiny coffee shop where we sit and chat with the owners and look out on a large pond.  Surreal.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Facts do not cease to exist
because they are ignored.”
~Aldous Huxley

Monday, August 29, 2016



We back in Chiang Rai after our overnight road trip to Chiang Mai.  Weather-wise, we experienced everything from sunny skies to torrential downpours.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Respect”, written and originally recorded by Otis Redding in ‘65 and made popular by Aretha Franklin 1967.  Both versions are excellent.  ‘Easy Monday’ time, and a song you may recall:  “I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.  She showed me her room, isn’t it good, __ __?  Hint:  A furniture song?

Saturday evening we attended the violin concert at Art Bridge.  It was held in the upstairs gallery to a packed house.  Tonoi played for an hour and the audience was very appreciative of it’s 'Hometown Hero'.  He will begin his third year of college as a performance major.  When we asked if he likes Paris he said, 'I'm beginning to'.  Hmm.

First thing Sunday morning, we hit the road for Chiang Mai.  We made a pie stop about 45 minutes into the trip and took an extra piece for an evening dessert.  The scenery was the total opposite from the last time we traveled south.  Last trip, everything was brown and dry.  This time it was all lush and green.  From the expanse of rice fields in the valleys to the dense mountains, it was incredibly beautiful.  Along the way we noticed that there has been a lot of development in some areas.  Tiny towns are becoming bigger towns and coffee shops are popping up in the middle of nowhere.  There was a definite sense of progress.  

Everything we needed to do in Chiang Mai, got done.  The artwork is at the gallery, we met with the printer and his family, and we had appointments with our chiropractor.  We also got a chance to go to Rimping market to buy a few items we can’t find in Chiang Rai.  It was a very productive trip considering it was so short.  We got our usual warm greeting from the crew at the D2 hotel.  We learned from our friend Stephen, that part of their training is to remember guests.  The D2 crew was well trained because they always remember us.  Of course, what’s not to remember (555)? 

The weather was fairly kind to us while we were in town, but the ride home was another thing.  On the way home we stopped for coffee at a new place called ‘The Rabbit Crew’.  It’s in the mountains, off the highway and it seems to be part of a farming complex.  The shop is made from a shipping container.  The coffee was great and sipping it under a tree was a nice touch.  Just as we finished it started to sprinkle.  Back on the road we could see a very large, black storm front ahead.  We drove right into it and it was one of the strongest storms I’ve driven in since we’ve been in Thailand.  I could barely see the truck in front of us.  It was nice to have a sense of where we were by following lights.  Back in clear air, we stopped for pie and headed home.  Later in the week I’ll have some photos from this adventure.

Today’s photos are from Doy Din Dang last week.  The first pic is a small section of the woods, with various pots and sculptures.  The second is a carved log that has become covered with moss.

Have a Great Week.


“Waking up to who you are
requires letting go of who you
imagine yourself to be.”
~Alan Watts

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Funnies


It was another beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  At times there were signs that looked like it might rain, but by the afternoon there was plenty of sunshine.  We actually went in the pool today.  

Our ‘Zany Day’ tune this week was “Wake Me, Shake Me” by The Coasters.  Now it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’.  This one may not be as old as some weeks, but we need something everybody knows (Yea).  “What you want, baby, I got it.  What you need, do you know I got it?  All I’m askin’ is for a little __ when you come home (just a little bit).  Hey baby (just a little bit) when you come home….” 
Hint:  It’s something everybody wants.  Some earn it, some don’t.  Hmm.

This morning we went on another adventure to the north of town, this time Blue went with us.  At Todd’s Factory we took photos of Lisa work that’s being framed, and strolled around snapping more pics of the grounds.  Then it was off to Doy Din Dang again for coffee and conversation.  Blue mentioned an outdoor museum in Japan and it set off a whole thread of conversation. Tamiko told us about an island in Japan that is full of museums and how it began.  She also explained that the whole country is full of museums, even small towns.  We got quite a history lesson.  All this while sitting among trees and plants, feeling a cool breeze.  Next week I’ll share pics from the visit.

Tomorrow evening we’re going to a violin concert at Art Bridge.  The soloist, Tonoi, is a young man we’ve known since we first got here.  He has been studying in France for several years and will be returning there in about a month.  He has matured into an excellent musician and we enjoy his performaces.  It will also be a chance to get together with the art crowd.

Today’s photos are from ‘Morning at Todd’s’.  The young monk amongst the trees caught my eye first, and then I ran across the two ‘teen elephants’ hanging out (555).

Sunday morning we are leaving town early for a drive down to Chiang Mai.  The primary purpose it to deliver half of the work to the gallery for Lisa and Joe's October exhibit.  We’ll also visit our chiropractor.  We will return on Monday.  Of course, there will be the traditional pie stop on the highway.  

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


Thursday, August 25, 2016



This morning we had light rain.  We didn’t even bother opening our umbrellas.  The afternoon cleared up and it was blue skies.  The predictions get wetter as we move to the weekend. 

The ‘Zany Day’ tune has one friend so far.  Here are the lyrics from the bridge; maybe it will bring back a memory.
“I had a dream, I had a dream, I said, I looked over yonder and what did I see?  Two big garbage trucks, comin’ after me.  Pickin’ up cans, I said, side by side, why don’t you swing down sweet garbage truck and let your buddy ride?  Why don’t you __ __, __ __?  Don’t let me sleep too late……”  Hint: Human alarm is what he’s depending on to make it to work.  Hope his roommate isn’t Charlie Brown (555).

We circled the parking lot at Makro looking for a space near the door just in case the rain got heavy.  The discovery of the day was the center aisle, which has a cover all the way to the front door.  Brilliant.  Now we know what to do when it’s really storming.

The short street that leads to Healthy Market has assorted shops on one side and nothing but fruit stands on the other.  It will be known from now on as ‘Fruit Street’.  Today we scored some delicious mangos and pineapples.  It just may be that the fruit seasons have changed and our favorites are back in the groove.  

In local Thailand news it seems that the Pokemon Go craze is quite alive and well here.  We know it’s happening in Chiang Rai because a friend of ours was tricked into taking her brothers for ice cream, which turned out to be the location of several monsters.  In Bangkok the police are citing drivers who are playing while operating their cars.  Oh my.

The earthquake in Myanmar caused the collapse of around 60 pagodas in the ancient city of Bagan.  There are 2,500 temples and pagodas in Bagan and they date back to the 10th and 14th centuries.  There is a daily ritual where locals as well as tourists climb some of the Buddhist monuments to watch the sun set over the city.  That must be quite a sight.
Today’s photos from ‘Morning at Todd’s are both from the main walkway.  The first is what it looks like leaving the gallery and the second is a shot of the artist’s studio, which is still under construction.  We can’t wait to see the finished studio.  The whole thing is very tranquil and conducive to creativity. 

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Open your mouth only if
what you are going to say 
is more beautiful than silence.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016



Late last night we got the storm of the season, so far.  It rained overnight, and early this morning it got very intense.  Thunder and lightning were right overhead, rain beating down flooding the yards, it was epic.  We have not had a storm like this in a long time.  

‘Easy Monday’ was a song many of you know, or so I thought.  It was “Woodstock” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.  It was written by Joni Mitchell who also recorded it after CSNY.  On to the ‘Zany Day’ song and a tune from a group that was known for it’s zaniness.  “Why don’t you __ __, __ __?  Don’t let me sleep too late.  Gotta get up in the morning, about a quarter to eight.  (Don’t you know I’m bound)  I’m bound to my job.  (My boss)  My boss is a big, fat slob.  Can’t even be a minute late or the boss will blow his gate.”  Clue:  The focus is on not being late for work. 

You may see an item in the news about an earthquake in central Myanmar that was felt in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.  We didn’t know it happened until we read it in the news.  We’re fine up here in the north.

We spent the entire day at The Big Brown House.  What a concept.  The big adventures involved going into the yard with Daku and keeping him from walking in the deep water and the mud.  This was, of course, after the rain had stopped.  He wanted to go out when it was pouring, only because that was on his schedule of things to do, but I had to put my foot down and say ‘no’.  

It will take some time getting used to calling the guest room what it is, and not ‘Cat’s Room’.  We were in there today, making the bed and seeing what got left behind.  There was a bag of hats that I had stored in there and forgot about.  It was a little memory bag.  I found a hat that I bought on our first visit to Thailand in 2001.  Blue had taken us to the Hard Rock Cafe in Bangkok and I still have the hat.  It will be great for going out with Daku in light rain.  There were also several years of BluesFest hats, which hold special memories.  

Today, from the series ‘Morning at Todd’s’, we see the big pond on his property, with the beginning of the additions to his house in the background.  

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Act without expectation.”
~Lao Tzu

Tuesday, August 23, 2016



The storm we thought had missed us was just waiting for us to go to bed.  It happened and was gone by the time we woke up.  My kinda storm.  Today was beautiful with blue sky and scattered clouds.  

The last verse of the ‘Easy Monday’ song may bring it back to you.  The event was a weekend of music and mud.
“By the time we got to __ we were half a million strong, and everywhere there was song and celebration.  And I dreamed I saw the bombers riding shotgun in the sky, and they were turning into butterflies above our nation.  We are stardust, we are golden….”  Clue:  It’s actually a place, and the name of a character in ‘Peanuts’.  Yes, that was a clue.

While shopping at Makro this morning we saw the husband of the couple that sells fruit at Healthy Market.  It was one of those awkward moments when I guess we both felt betrayed somehow.  We were, after all, in the fruit and vegetable section.  He glanced into our cart to see what we’d picked up.  The closest thing to betrayal was some sliced cantaloupe.  He didn’t have a cart so I guess we’re all cool (555).  

Mid-morning coffee at The Wanderer is always a treat.  Today we tried a new item from the bakery section: pumpkin pie.  Oh my, so good.  We got one piece just to check it out and we couldn’t stop eating it.  Next time we’ll get two slices.  Khun Noot keeps coming up with some winners.  It’s a good thing I can’t eat most of it because of the milk and butter.  I prefer to avoid the consequences.

Apparently Neetchanon has started ‘talking’.  She refers to Daku as ‘Ku’.  I don’t know what else she says, but he’s obviously one of her favorite people (555).

Today’s photo from ‘Morning at Todd’s’ is the pathway from the road to his gallery.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“You can close your eyes to the things
you don’t want to see,
but you can’t close your heart to the things
you don’t want to feel.”

Monday, August 22, 2016



The giant storm we were waiting for never arrived.  We did, however, get plenty of rain on Saturday.  Sunday was beautiful and people were out and about enjoying the day. 

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Since I Fell For You” by Lenny Welch.  Hmm, how did that one get by you all?  Oh well, maybe this ‘Easy Monday’ song will make it better:  “I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road, and I asked him, ‘where are you going and this he told me.’  ‘I’m going on down to Yasgur’s farm, I’m going to join in a rock ’n’ roll band.  I’m going to camp out on the land, I gonna try and get my soul free.  We are stardust, we are golden and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”  Hint:  Historical gathering, 1969.  

The weekend was full of heavy clouds and light rain, which wasn’t very motivating.  Lisa spent time in her studio working on some new cast acrylic prints.  The excitement in our little world was a pick-up truck that somehow ended up head first into trees and bushes on the wrong side of the road, just past the bridge.  First I saw the truck, and a guy walking around talking on his phone.  The next time I passed, there were five trucks parked nearby and a committee of men pondering the truck.  Later in the day it was gone, there was just a big hole in the bushes and some broken limbs.  
Sunday was the day Cat finished moving out of her room.  A friend with a truck helped her and we managed to sleep through the whole thing.  It was probably better that way (555).  We now have a guest room again.  So ends another chapter in our lives, and a new one begins for Cat.  She had her first class today.  Hmm.

So, we’re down to a trio on our road trips.  Blue, Lisa and I went to The Wanderer for lunch.  We got there right before the noon rush.  There were some high school kids at one of the patio tables, and I suspect they were playing Pokemon Go.  That’s been happening at some popular spots.  We’ve learned that companies pay to have their GPS info put into the game to draw customers.  Our lunches were great and Blue and I tried the new mango tart.  It was good, but not like the first mango experiment.  I must request that again.

We hadn’t been to the Night Bazaar in a few weeks and it was nice to get back to Sawadee Restaurant. Sitting above the Night Bazaar, watching the vendors unpack their goods and set up their displays was another vivid reminder of how hard some people have to work each day.  When we left for home we stopped by the Healthy Market for fruit.  We didn’t know if there would be many vendors open, but to our surprise, the place was jumping.  It’s not uncommon for the fruit vendors to spend over 12 hours a day, seven days a week at their stalls.  

Today’s photo begins this week’s series ‘Morning at Todd’s’, the framing factory.  This photo is what we saw as we drove off the main road.  The expanse of rice on both sides of the road is impressive.  It’s almost mesmerizing.

Have a Great Week.


“Wear gratitude like a cloak,
and it will feed every corner 
of you life.”

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Funnies


We had a cloudy, warm day today.  As I write to you I can hear thunder rolling across the sky.  The storm is coming.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Fixing A Hole” by The Beatles.  Now, let’s get down to some ‘Old School Friday’ memories (maybe).  “You made me leave my happy home.  You took my love and now you’re gone, __ __ __ __ __.  Love brings such misery and pain.  I guess I’ll never be the same, __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  Biggest version of this song was in 1963 by a male singer.  His life is in ruins and it’s all because of her?  Hmm.

This was a real adventure day for us.  We began by driving up the Super Highway for a bit, and then east to rice country.  On our way we saw the end point of the eastern bypass road that runs north and south allowing one to avoid driving through Chiang Rai.  When we got to the ‘frame factory’, we got a warm greeting from Khun Todd, who took us around to show us the many changes he’s made on his property.  We saw his gallery, which is made up of work from local artists, and his private gallery featuring some of his work.  Next week I’ll have photos for you.  

The next stop on our little ‘tour’ was Doy Din Dang, about 10 minutes away and still in the same area.  It’s like driving into a forest when visiting the ceramic making complex.  We hadn’t seen Khun Somluk and his wife Tamako in quite a while so it was a reunion.  We had coffee and visited the gift shop.  Today is our 46th anniversary so I insisted that we get something special and we did.  Doy Din Dang is someplace we will have to visit more often.  The whole atmosphere leaves you feeling relaxed and happy.  

There’s nothing like returning home and finding the youngest resident of The Big Brown House in her new ‘ring toy’, being cute by the pool.  One of her aunts was taking photos of her and I couldn’t resist joining in.  

Today we saw lots of changes along the highway and in the countryside.  We don’t travel north of town much so we missed the beginnings of things like giant apartment structures, the new bypass road, not to mention all the changes at the ‘factory’.  The whole area is growing rapidly so I guess it would be good to keep up (555) and stay in touch with the changes.

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


Thursday, August 18, 2016



We have been given fair warning that a major storm is on the way.  We know it’s going to happen because we got the van washed today (555).  The show begins late tomorrow night.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song from 1967 has another memorable verse:  “I’m painting my room in a colorful way, and when my mind is wandering, there I will go.  Ooh, ooh, ooh, ah, ah.  Hey hey hey hey.”  Clue:  Leaky roof?

This morning was one of the mellowest yet.  We took the van to the carwash and walked a few doors to Work@Home for iced coffee.  It’s called Work@Home because the owners live in a house behind the coffee shop.  They run their tractor business from above the shop, so they’re always at home.  Today we noticed Thowan returning home in their Mini.  A few minutes later he was walking down the driveway.  Then he returned with the station wagon.  I went out to say hello and we had a fun conversation.  His wife, Katai, says he spends most of the day driving something.  At the end of our little talk he told me he was taking his bicycle to get noodles for his mom, then driving the Porsche to her house for lunch.  I think Katai is right (555).

Atom came over this afternoon to help Lisa with names and translations for her newest artwork.  The exhibit isn’t until mid-October but the prep starts now.  Tomorrow morning we will take the new work out to Khun Todd for framing.  It will be nice to go out into the country.  We haven’t seen the expanse of rice since the rains began.  The magical Doi Din Dang is not far from the frame factory so we’ll drive there for a walk around and coffee.  The ceramics in the gift shop are always a treat to see.  It’s also a great place to take photos of nature.

Today’s photo is the last in the ‘Morning at the Mall’ series.  I noticed the composition while riding down the escalator.  I had to go back upstairs and ride down again with my camera ready in order to bring you this shot of a food table waiting for the lunch crowd.

Neetchanon got some shots today and it left her in a very cranky, ‘what’s happening to me?’ mood.  There were no smiles, just some whimpering.  She’ll probably be fine tomorrow, but it’s hard to see her like that and not be able to do something.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Shallow waters are noisy;
deep waters are silent.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2016



Chiang Rai was treated to a day off weather-wise, at least on our side of the river.  We had an obligatory cloud burst this afternoon, but it hardly qualified as rain.  It was just to keep us on our toes (555).

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Can I Get A Witness?” by Marvin Gaye  Now is the time for a little ‘Zany Day’ fun.  “I’m __ __ __ where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering where it will go.  I’m filling the cracks that ran through the door and kept my mind from wandering where it will go.”  Hint:  Perfect song for this time of year.  Pretty easy one from those guys across the pond.

The big adventure today was Big C and Healthy Market.  It seems like we do this all the time, and we do, but it’s never exactly the same.  When we first walked into the store there was the usual car on display.  This time it was a Nissan Almera.  We’ve been getting a kick out of some of the car names and this was no exception.  I mentioned that every time I see an Almera my mind goes to the song ‘Guantanamera’.  That became the joke of the day.  In the vegetable section at Big C, Blue and I wondered about some little food items that were being steamed, bagged and weighed.  They looked like giant white corn kernels.  I took something to be weighed on the scale and noticed the readout and got our answer:  Steamed Water Chestnuts.  Haven’t tasted that yet.  As we left the store, as if to pay honor to ‘Zany Day’, the white SUV next to us had a little sticker that read:  ‘This car is black’.  Right.

We are about one hour from the Golden Triangle and surrounding communities.  There was news today that the Maekong river was rising and threatening some towns.  Measures are being taken to prevent this.  Rivers in this part of the world are very important to many aspects of life.  Lately they have become manipulated in such a way as to endanger local life and the rivers themselves.  Hydroelectric plants, dams, and the runoff from GMO farming are all things that are finally being addressed.  Communities are being educated and there is hope that they can save the environment around the rivers.  Rant over.

Through various sources, we are continuing to get bits and pieces of the Olympic Games.  I have given up on waiting to see events without knowing the outcome.  It’s still something to watch it happen, even when I know who will win.

Today’s photo from ‘Morning at the Mall’ features some of the tools used to make yarn and thread.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


“Interrupt anxiety with gratitude.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2016



The weather seems to think we like the afternoon storms.  We had another one today and it was welcome.  The power was off and the heat was up.  Read on.

The ‘Easy Monday’ tune has many friends.  Here is the last verse, just in case you’ve heard the whole song.
“Everybody knows, especially you girls.  Love can be sad, but I have a love that's twice as bad.  Now all you chicks agree that this ain’t the way it’s supposed to be, let me hear you, let me hear you say yeah, yeah….__ __ __ __ __?”.  Hint: The singer of this song once asked the musical question: ‘What’s Going On?’  

Last week we received a flyer in our mailbox telling us that the power agency was going to be working in our area today.  We forgot that this was the day and at 9am, everything just turned off.  We were right in the middle of watching some Olympic track and field on Thai TV, which is rare.  We have learned how to adapt in cases like this.  Lisa had a Skype call scheduled with her dad Joe.  Just as they were resigned to talk on the phone, I remembered that she had Skype on her phone.  Problem solved.  

With no power, we have no water, no internet, no air/con, and no electric gate.  Oh my.  We spent part of the morning at immigration for Blue’s routine check-in.  We learned that the government has a new form.  Really?  We’ll have to fill it out when we renew our visas.  It asks a lot of questions that delve more deeply into the lives of the ‘foreigner’.  

By the time we finished at immigration it was time for lunch.  We went to our usual spot since it was cool in the ‘woods’.  The Wanderer crew is getting used to our orders and they’re learning our ways (555).  We hung out a bit after we finished our meal and then headed back to The Big Brown House.  

Our afternoon nap began a little later than usual, but the heat of the day was building and it slowed us down.  Normally, I get up after the nap and take Daku out and then make coffee.  Well, no power, no coffee.  There was no escaping the lack of air/con so we just dealt with it.  The power was due back on at 4pm.  We could last until then.  The only problem was, the power didn’t come back.  When it got closer to dinner time we decided to stay in and have a light dinner that could be made without cooking.  

After dinner we collected candles and portable lights just in case we had to camp out.  The power returned at 6:15 and there was rejoicing in the hood.  As Blue put it, ‘it’s so easy to take electricity for granted’.  We spent a day ‘off the grid’ and we don’t like it much.  Once again, the need for a portable generator for back-up power is on my mind.

Today’s photo shows a big loom in the mall display.  As you can see, it’s a very involved process to complete a length of yardage.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Questioner: How are we to treat others?
Ramana Maharshi: There are no others”

Monday, August 15, 2016



After a pleasant but drippy weekend, the big one arrived today.  We had two giant, daytime downpours that darkened the sky and made it look like evening.  Very eerie.  More rain on the way this week.

By now, many of you have seen news about bombings in Thailand.  Let me put your minds at ease and let you know that none of them were anywhere near us.  They were mostly in the south, and part of a long-time issue.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “I Only Have Eyes For You” by The Flamingos.
Oh my, it’s ‘Easy Monday’ time already.  Do you know this one?  “Listen everybody, especially you girls.  Is it right to be left alone while the one you love is never home?  I love too hard, my friends sometimes say, but I believe, I believe that a woman should be treated that way.  But it hurts me so inside to see her treat me so unkind.  Somebody, somewhere tell her, it’s unfair.  __ __ __ __ __?  Hint: The singer needs someone to testify on his behalf.  Easy.

The weather has been a rather dominant player in our lives recently.  It hasn’t caused any damage but the yards are at a point where they are soggy even after a light rain.  Saturday was cloudy all day, but cleared a bit for the Walking Street crowd.  Sunday afternoon and evening we had a steady, light rain that eventually flooded most of the back yard.  When Daku and I went out at 9pm, I stepped on the grass and sank into about two inches of water.  It’s not much, but when you don’t expect it, it’s a shock.  The other thing about this rain is the temperature.  It’s cool.  The weather has been cooler and so has the water from the sky.  

Sunday morning while I was at my meeting, Lisa met with Sutheera to work on the Thai wording for the latest art exhibit poster.  Not only does the translation have to convey the same thought, the correct type fonts must be used.  Getting the fonts from one computer to another and having them work, is no easy task but they were successful.

The restaurant at Art Bridge has been under renovation and recently reopened.  We decided to check it out for our Sunday lunch.  There is a brand new menu of mostly Thai food, divided by regions.  There were, of course, lots of Northern Thai dishes.  We don’t eat these dishes because they are very spicy.  Blue and I had what was labeled as spaghetti with chicken.  It was very good, even though it was pasta instead.  We visited the current exhibit, cruised the gift shop and got home before the rain.  In the evening we went to The Wanderer again.  We can’t seem to stay away.

Today’s rain was so heavy that it knocked out the TV reception for a while.  Daku bugged me to go outside around 4pm and another big storm cell had just begun to dump.  We stood at the dining room door and looked out.  I think that changed his mind.  He just curled up on his bed in the kitchen.  Daku doesn’t like heavy rain in his face.

Today’s photo is part of a series I’ll call ‘Morning at the Mall’.  First we have a young man who was part of a Hill Tribe exhibit featuring fashions.  He is stitching gold thread into this piece of of silk, and is about to bring the needle up from underneath. 

This evening we had dinner with our friend Stephen at Le Meridien.  This is his last week as manager of the hotel.  He will be relocating to Perth, Australia.  We will see him again in September when we go to Singapore for a weekend of sight-seeing and Formula One.  

Have a Great Week.


“Today, forgive yourself 
for what you think you did
or didn’t do.”
~Doreen Virtue

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Funnies


The monsoon we were waiting for turned up this morning in the form of light sprinkles.  It stayed like that for most of the day.  Just enough to use the wipers, but not enough to really wet things down.  There’s always tomorrow.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Taking Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.  Congrats to those who remembered.  Time for another episode of ‘Old School Friday’.  “My love must be a kind of blind love, I can’t see anything but you (shoo bop, shoo bop).  Are the stars out tonight, I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright.  __ __ __ __ __ __ dear.  The moon may be high, but I can’t see a thing in the sky, __ __ __ __ __ __”.  Clue:  It’s from 1959 by a group named after a big pink bird.  Very dreamy, atmospheric production for R&B at that time.

This morning the gongs from the temple reminded me that this was Mother’s Day.  Schools were closed and many offices as well.  We went to Big C and made it just before the crowds arrived.  As we were leaving we could see the traffic lined up down the road to the entrance.  This is a family day in Thailand.  Lots of activities and meals taken together.   

Cat came over this afternoon and went to dinner with us.  We had ‘The Band’ on the road again.  She said it felt different being at The Wanderer and not working, but being served.  After dinner she went and visited with her former co-workers.  She will spend the night and return to school after a ‘braces’ appointment.  We’re going through withdrawal in a way.  We used to visit with Cat every night before she went to bed.  When she stayed at her sister’s, she would call to say goodnight.  Now, if she doesn’t call, it’s hard to know whether we should call her or just wait.  Her life is getting very busy and classes haven’t even started.  This is that thing called ‘letting go’.
Before dinner I wandered around The Wanderer and took some photos.  The plant life has really filled in during the rains.

During the course of the day I have had thoughts about my mother.  We used to talk to her about the Thai Mother’s Day and tell her our observations and thoughts.  It also struck me that for the first time, none of us at The Big Brown House has a mom.  It brings a different awareness.  It also brings much gratitude for what was and still remains.

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


Thursday, August 11, 2016



Right now the weather liars are telling me it’s 86 degrees and feels like 96.  Oh, and a thunderstorm will be here in 5 minutes.  Somebody forgot to go outside and feel the air and look at the sky.  It’s cloudy, but 5 minutes?  Come on.  This is day three without rain.  Hmm.  There is a monsoonal trough north of us that’s suppose to wreak havoc through next week.  Stay tuned.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song didn’t get by a couple of readers.  I think the end of this verse should tell the tale:
“…And if the train’s on time you can get to work by nine and start your slaving to get your pay.  If you ever get annoyed, look at me, I’m self-employed.  I love to work at nothing all day.  And I’ll be __ __ __ __ every day, __ __ __ __ every way.  I’ve been __ __ __ __, it’s all mine.  __ __ __ __ and working overtime.”  Hint:  Easy, think ‘TCB’ and you’ll have it.  I’ve said too much.

What is it that makes dogs want to eat mud?  After the last big rain the back yard took a few days to completely drain.  As a result, there was a big patch of mud that took some time to dry out.  Daku found a three inch area in the mud irresistible.  We had to take him out on the leash just to keep him from trying to bite the mud.  Once he was in the front yard there were more things to occupy his mind, but in the back, it was all about the mud.  It’s dry now, but he still wants to see if it smells the same, or something.  Dogs.

This morning Blue, Lisa and I went to the Healthy Market for veggies and fruit.  There are several husband/wife teams that sell things and while we were at one table I realized something.  There is a lot of math going on in each transaction.  The sellers have a price per kilogram for each vegetable or fruit item they sell.  Most customers are buying a fraction of a kilo.  They all seem to figure that out in their heads, then put the amount into a calculator and move to the next product.  Some vendors will weigh everything and do it all in their head.  That makes my head hurt thinking about it.  Just one of the many thoughts that goes through my mind while at the market (555).

After our ‘exhausting’ stint at the market, we chilled at Work@Home for a while.  We saw a friend we hadn’t seen in a long time and learned that he’d been teaching a special course at Maefarluang University.  The class was made up of American pre-med students and they learned about medical practices in other cultures.  I hadn’t thought about the fact that there are different cultures and practices within the many Hill Tribes.  

This evening Natcha got a bit enthusiastic with dinner and served us heaping plates of spaghetti with a chicken/spinach sauce.  While it was quite good, none of us could ‘clean our plates’.

The clouds in the night sky will prevent us from seeing a meteor shower.  Somewhere in the world it can be seen.  It’s now 8:45pm and that thunderstorm still hasn’t arrived.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Maybe the journey isn’t so much
about becoming anything.  
Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything 
that isn’t you so you can be who you were
meant to be in the first place.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016



Today marked the second day without rain.  I can’t begin to consider this a trend, based on the clouds that lurk in the sky all day.  Somewhere it rained today.  This afternoon we got that wind that says it’s about to rain, but the big dark clouds just blew away.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Stormy Weather”, first recorded by Ethel Waters in the film “Cotton Club”, 1933.  I’ll bet you can’t wait for another ‘Zany Day’ tune, so here it is:  “You get up every morning from your ‘larm clock’s warning, take the 8:15 into the city.  There a whistle up above and people pushin’, people shovin’ and the girls who try to look pretty….”  Clue:  That’s the first half of the first verse.  It’s from 1973, but still relevant.  All about what it takes to ‘get it done’.  Title in four words.

So, last night our Olympic coverage just failed.  They didn’t show anything.  Fortunately, we had diving to watch, procured through alternate methods.  We’re beginning to think we’ll only see events that feature Thai athletes or sports that are popular here.  We have been able to see archery, weight-lifting, rowing, and beach volleyball (not a favorite).  You can be sure that they will broadcast badminton and table tennis, but the rest is a guess right now.

At the fruit market things are looking a little slim when it comes to some of our usuals.  Luckily, our vendors are honest with us and will tell us if things are not sweet or fresh.  The pineapple lady knows that we like them sweet.  Today she let Lisa know they were not sweet.  Some people like tart fruit so they continue to sell.  Lisa picked out some mangos despite their outward appearance and they were delicious.  

Today’s photo is from Sunday at The Wanderer.  Our new little friend Lee Loot (His mom spelled it: Ruerith.  Ls for Rs and Th is T).  There is still some confusion as to how to pronounce it.  As you can see, he was liking the pie.

Tomorrow Gong will go to Mae Sai and visit his mother until Friday, which is Mother’s Day here in Thailand.  Chiang Rai is beginning to put up special decorations and large photos of The Queen in honor of the day, which is her birthday.  This evening Natcha and Neetchanon brought Lisa a garland of sweet-smelling flowers.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Those who are happiest
are those who do the most
for others.”
~Booker T. Washington

Tuesday, August 9, 2016



There was a break in the weather today.  No rain all day and the evening looks promising.  It was a beautiful day, with everything sparkling in the sunlight.  

A few of you recognized the ‘Easy Monday’ tune as a standard sung by many vocalists.  With this one, any singer is fine.  “Life is bare, gloom and mis’ry everywhere, __ __, and I just can’t get my poor self together, I’m weary all the time.  So weary all the time.”  Clue:  Has something to do with intense precipitation.

This morning we had our own little SkypeFest.  At one point Lisa was talking to her dad and I was talking to my cousin John, both in America.  The connections were pretty solid.  It’s nice to know that it’s possible to do that.  

Since there were no shopping runs to be made, our morning was wide open after the calls.  We wandered over to The Wanderer for mid-morning coffee and a big dose of nature.  Even though we were sitting inside, looking out gave us the feeling that we were among the trees.  Our favorite table is a big round, solid piece of wooden furniture and it’s become ‘our table’.  There weren’t many people there and we did some brainstorming on how to promote Lisa and Joe’s upcoming exhibit in Chiang Mai this October.  We agreed that the atmosphere was definitely conducive to creative ideas.  Before we left, Khun Noot came to our table and told us she had made some mango pie and also a taro/coconut pie.  We took a piece of each for after lunch.

There is a lot of discussion in the local news, both Thai and expat, about Sunday’s vote on the ‘referendum’.  Without going into details, it appears that things will remain as they are for at least another year.  We don’t get involved in too much of the ‘conversation’ since we aren’t citizens.  I think that is enough to say.

Yesterday we called a friend, looking for the number of a contractor we had used in the past.  All we had was a name.  We got a number and made arrangements for him to come to the house.  The person who arrived was not the same guy as before.  We showed him the problems and like any good contractor, he told us he could do the job.  Today he arrived and began work.  That’s when doubt began to creep in.  The strip of wood he brought didn’t fit the space under the door.  We may have to continue our search for the original guy.  The adventure continues.

Sometimes a photo opportunity just pops up and I have to respond.  So it was this morning when I saw the front door of the Tesco/Lotus store.  It was almost an illusion, seeing Doraemon standing there.  

Neetchanon has added some new moves to her arsenal of cuteness.  Now she flaps her arms and grins, as if she’s about to take off.  She’s also using her voice more and this evening she got a little bolder with Daku.  He is a good sport, even when she was grabbing his forehead.  After a few times, he politely got up and left.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“You can’t stop the waves,
but you can learn how to surf.”
~Jon Kabat-Zinn

Monday, August 8, 2016



The weather has decided that it wants us to know when and how much water it’s providing so it’s scheduled significant storms for the afternoons.  That’s not to say that we don’t get overnight rain anymore.  That still happens, but we get to witness the heavy downpours in daylight.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “In The Still of the Night” by The Five Satins.  ‘Easy Monday’ will be easy for some of you.  “Don’t know why, there’s no sun up in the sky, __ __.  Since my man and I ain’t together, keeps rainin’ all the time.”  Hint:  If you read the previous paragraph, this song should be a snap.

After a lot of searching, we found the channel in Thailand where we can watch The Olympics.  The broadcast begins at 11pm and goes until 6 or 7am.  Those of you who have been reading this daily message through the years know that we love the Olympics.  The last time around we learned from Tatt that we could watch many sports on Youtube.  I think we’ll have to do this for sure this time.  We get what is called a ‘Pool’ transmission that comes to Thailand from different providers.  The first day of swimming heats had Australian commentators.  The weight-lifting had Americans.  We never know who is going to tell us about the particular sport.  The nice thing about it is that there isn’t a lot of nationalism involved, just the facts about the events.  

Daku may be back to 100%, but we’re still taking him out on the leash most of the time.  With all this rain, it could be hours before he finished smelling all the new smells everyday.  He seems alright with it.  This week we will introduce a little more exercise and see if he can handle running.

With all the rain we’ve been having, Chiang Rai is getting a bit water-logged in some areas.  Certain streets seem to get their big puddles quicker than usual, and today our giant afternoon storm flooded several roads we were on.  Our yard is also showing signs of water overload.  The tiny lakes appear quickly and drain slowly.  

Cat has basically moved to her new dorm/apartment.  That is not to say that she has completely moved out.  There are still boxes of things in her room and stuffed animals waiting for a new home.  Today, at Makro, it struck me that we didn’t have to get certain food items anymore.  Then The Beatles “She’s Leaving Home” crept into my head.  

Sunday afternoon we went to The Wanderer for coffee and treats with our friends Pay and Boy.  Pay is a head nurse at Overbrook Hospital and is in charge of the treatment room.  She is our inside connection for any dealings at the hospital and helps speed things up for us.  Boy teaches electrical engineering at the technical school.  Their little boy, Lee Loot, is 10 months old and was quite the charmer.  That evening we returned to The Wanderer for dinner. Just in case it rained again we wanted to be closer to home.  

Today’s photo is three giant lemons grown by Khun Noot, of The Wanderer that she gave to Lisa.  Hmm, did somebody say ‘Pie’?

Over the weekend Gong had a small backrest installed on their new scooter.  I will feel slightly better about the three of them going places on the new bike knowing Natcha won’t slide off the back.  Still, I will never be comfortable watching families on two wheels.  Now, we just have to work on the helmet thing. 

If you’re into the Olympics, I would be interested in knowing your favorite events.

Have a Great Week.

“Don’t believe everything you think.
Thoughts are just that, thoughts.”
~Allan Lokos