Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

This week we’ve been in the high 80s.  Todays forecast of thundershowers didn’t happen, but another one is ‘scheduled’ for later tonight.  All through next week rain is expected.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” by The Beatles.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next:
“I wanna jump but I’m afraid to fall.  I wanna holler but the joint’s too small.  Young man rhythm’s got a hold of me too.  I got the __ __ __ __ __-__ __.”  Clue:  I wish my symptoms had been as gentle as these.  This is a strain that did not show up on the tests (555).  Note: there are two illnesses the singer is dealing with.  The song is from 1957, by a singer whose middle name is the instrument he plays.

I spent most of the day in the house.  I’m feeling a little better, and by next week I’ll be fine   This last year has taught me how to be a good patient, or at least one who follows directions.  (555).

Late this afternoon I took the little family to the bus station for their trip to Mae Sai.  Driving straight through, it’s about 1 hour.  I’m not sure which bus they took, but it might take a lot longer if it stops to let people off and on.  We rode such a bus in our early days here and it seemed like it would take forever.  They will return on Monday.

On our way to The Wanderer for dinner, we passed our motel neighbors.  Now there is a sign in front that cleverly states the name:  Bed Villa.  The clever part is in the design of the letters for the word bed.  Next week I’ll show you a photo to explain.  Bed Villa?  Seriously?

We prepared our ballots today for the November election.  The only offices we get to vote for are President and Senator.  Still, it’s a chance to participate in the process.  What one gets to vote for depends on your residency status.  There are some Americans living and working here who are temporary and they get to vote for more of the ballot.  This led us to think about the fact that most of the young Western people we make friends with end up leaving.  It’s just the nature of the adventure.  

Tomorrow morning we’ll take a ride out to the frame factory.  Lisa has one more piece to frame before the exhibit next month.  It’s hard to believe that October 15 will be here in a couple of weeks.  The hardest part now is the administrative work.  Lisa has been working very hard at making sure all the pieces to the puzzle are in place and names, numbers and translations are correct.  The night of the 15th there will be a big smile and a major sigh of relief.

I leave you with one more set of photos from Singapore.  These pics are of the Singapore Flyer.  Until recently, it was the largest ferris wheel in the world.  It stands 541 feet tall and has 28 capsules that are each about the size of a city bus.  In other words, it’s big.  It takes about 30 minutes for one revolution and it’s suggested that two times around gives you the full effect.  Hmm.   At night it light up with changing colors.
 


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’    Formula One is in Malaysia this weekend.  Zoom.

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Beyond

Hi,

This morning we had rain.  Not a storm, but a steady little downpour to water, not soak, the lawns and trees.  After lunch it looked like a real storm front was moving our way.  It broke up and we are having a clear evening.  

It looks like we have another puzzler with this weeks ‘Zany Day’ song.  Today you’ll get a few more clues.
“She said she’d always been a dancer.  She worked at 15 clubs a day.  And though she thought I knew the answer, well I knew what I could not say.  And so I quit the police department, and got myself a steady job.  And though she does her best to help me, she could steal but she could not rob.  Didn’t anybody tell her?  Didn’t anybody see?….”
Clue:  This tune came out in 1969, by those famous ‘lads’.  The title is only sung in the beginning of the song.  

This morning we went to the hospital/clinic so I could put an end to the madness (555).  We knew we’d be in for a wait, and that’s what we got.  After taking my vitals and tagging me (555), we sat in front of the doctor’s door and waited.  Two hours later after a visit to the lab, the treatment room and two visits with the doctor we were finally done.  Still, it wasn’t all day and it didn’t break the bank.  I think there’s already a change for the better in a few symptoms.  

It was difficult when we first got to the hospital.  I parked near the front entrance and as we went in the door we saw one of the attendants who helped us with Blue the last time we took him.  He’s a really sweet man who always has a gentle smile.  That triggered a cascade of thoughts and memories as we walked through the corridors to the rear building.  So, this is what it’s going to be like for a while.  Buckle up.

For seven years Boot lived in the little apartment and it was perfect for her.  Now we have a family of three and they are accumulating stuff.  To that end, they decided to put some of their stuff in our storage room.  That prompted a conversation about permission and cooperation.  Today, Lisa, Natcha and Gong took things out of the room, got rid of old stuff and put it back together in an orderly fashion.  It looks great and everybody is happy.
The little family is taking the bus to Mae Sai for the weekend, so we’ll be on our own for a few days.  Wow, just the three of us in this big house.  

More random photos from Singapore today.  The first is pretty obvious.  A group of penguins swimming around near the entrance to the bird park.


This next photo is a sticker that was on the window of one of the train cars.  It’s ‘Hush Hush Hanna’, urging riders to turn down their sounds and make folks happy.


This restaurant menu really caught my eye as a unique way to present their food.  It’s made of soft leather.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“We need to go beyond looking
for the good and bad in each other
and see only the good and good.”
~Rumi

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Become

Hi,

According to the weather gurus, this 'looking like rain without rain’ thing is going to last all week.  We like the overcast mornings because it keeps Daku from getting overheated during playtime.  It is time for things to get watered though.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Daddy’s Home” by Shep & The Limelights.  They are the same personnel as The Heartbeats, who sang “A Thousand Miles Away”.  Pretty clever, huh?  In ‘The Old Days’ a group might write a tune in answer to another group's R&B hit, or the original group might write one themselves.  Sometimes it went back and forth, with the fans being the real winners, along with radio DJs.  A fun time.  But wait, it’s time for another ‘Zany Day’ song.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __, protected by a silver spoon.  But now she sucks her thumb and wanders by the banks of her own lagoon.  Didn’t anybody tell her?  Didn’t anybody see?  Sunday’s on the phone to Monday.  Tuesday’s on the phone to me.”  Hint:  Oh, what?  I have no idea how to give you a hint about this one.  There is a window and possible thievery involved.

I’m getting that ‘Groundhog Day’ feeling.  Each day feels like a loop of the day before.  I wake up and the fever is gone, I feel great and then after lunch it’s back.  Tomorrow I won’t get fooled again.  Even if I feel great, I’m going to see the doctor.  Now, who wants to do some research on the phrase: 'Mark my words’?

We went into town this morning.  I almost felt like a tourist.  ‘Oh, look at that.  When did that open?’  There is a very steep hillside opposite the golf course, across the bridge from us, and it’s been like a jungle for years.  Apparently there have been some mud slides so it’s been cleared of much of the foliage.  There is a plan, but it’s not clear.  I just hope they do something before the next big storm.  

One thing we noticed this morning was the extremely light traffic around town.  It felt like something was going on and nobody told us.  Hmm, a special holiday, a disaster drill.  We still have questions.  Or is this the new look for Wednesday mornings in Chiang Rai?

Closer to home, we found out that the strange little complex down the road from us will be a ‘short time motel’.  One hour to one day is what they told our friends.  Hmm, I usually don’t wish for businesses to fail, but in this case, maybe they’ll find another use for these little rooms.  It opens in a couple of months.

Today we continue with more random shots from Singapore.  The first photo is part of a larger mural in the train station, made up of drawings by school children.  It’s a great idea that could be used many ways.


This next photo is a giant Dragonfly sculpture in a lagoon inside the "Garden by the Bay."  There are two of these dramatic insects.


This last photo is the Super Trees.  They are designed to provide shade for the plants on the ground, collect rain water, produce solar energy, and be a structure for plant life.  The big one in the center has a restaurant.  You can see the walkway between them.  At night they are very colorful.  We missed that, maybe next time.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                      Peace,
                                Danny

“As you get older, you will start to 
understand more and more that in life,
it’s not about what you look like or what you own.
It’s all about the person you’ve become.”
~Unknown

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Freedom

Hi,

Chiang Rai had another ‘Fake Out’ day.  Looked like rain this morning, but by afternoon it was sunny and blazing hot. So what’s new?

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was easy for a few of you.  For those who need more help, here’s another verse and bridge:
“How I’ve waited for this moment, to be by your side.  Your best friend wrote and told me you had teardrops in your eyes.  __ __, your __ __ to stay.  It wasn’t on a Sunday (Monday and Tuesday went by).  It wasn’t on a Tuesday afternoon (all I could do was cry).  But I made a promise that you treasured, I made it back home to you…. __ __ to stay.  I’m not a thousand miles away.”  Hint:  It’s what used to be called an ‘Answer song’.  Hmm.

Woke up this morning with no fever, not much coughing during the night, and declared myself healing.  My sneaky fever had a surprise for me.  This afternoon it was back, spiking higher than before.  Going into the ‘shop’ for a checkup tomorrow, regardless of my temp or how I’m feeling.  

We went to The Wanderer for coffee this morning.  That was fun since the place was empty when we arrived.  We talked to Kwan and learned that they had a sick tree that had to come down, but it’s in the middle of the main area. Normally, a truck with a crane would be the thing to use.  Since that’s impossible, scaffolding was erected and one of the staff started taking the tree down, from the top.  We discovered a new treat: Apple cake.  It’s like a cake filled with chunks of apple and raisins and some kind of icing.  Yum.

This afternoon we learned of an interesting way to make money here in Thailand.  A friend is teaching English over the internet, to children in China.  It’s an opportunity to keep her visa intact, by not working, but still make some money.  Work permits are very complicated things here.   

Lisa went to an exhibition opening at Art Bridge this evening.  She was among 100+ artists who had contributed very small paintings in honor of Tawan Duchanee, one of the pioneers of the Chiang Rai art movement.  I stayed at home and respected my limitations (555).

For the next few days I’m going to post some random memories from Singapore.  Things I found to be unique or interesting.  Enjoy these murals.



After dinner, Neetchanon’s aunt held her over Daku as if she were riding him.  It looked cute, he cooperated but she looked puzzled.  She just wanted to grab his fur and bury her face in it.  Kids.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“The freedom to be human begins with 
the understanding that we need not act
out all the inclinations arising within us.”
~A. Olendski

Monday, September 26, 2016

Control

Hi,

It may have rained near Big C today, but it never reached our area, north/west of town.  Lisa reported big puddles on her shopping trip this morning.  I stayed in for another day.  More on this later.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “A Thousand Miles Away” by The Heartbeats.  Tell me about this ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Extra ‘Cool Points’ if you know who recorded this and why it’s special.  “You’re my love, you’re my angel.  You’re the girl of my dreams.  I’d like to thank you for waiting patiently.  __ __, your __ __ to stay.”  Hint:  How is Monday related to Friday.  Has someone returned?

During the second half of the Singapore Grand Prix I noticed that my throat was getting sore.  A week and a day later, that’s gone but I have a fever that comes and goes.  It’s like the flu with a nasty, messy cold mixed together. I don’t like it one bit and if nothing has changed dramatically by morning, I’m going to see a doctor.  Wow, how brave was that little speech?  The symptoms are similar to when I had bronchitis.  Maybe I’ll get the same bag of medicine and take only two of them.  There is a tendency here to prescribe more than is necessary.  We’ve been told by doctors that “Thai people like to take pills”.  Non-doctors have told us the same.  We always look everything up on the internet to see what it is before swallowing.  

Yesterday (Sunday) was my first time out of the house in a week.  We went to The Wanderer for lunch.  It’s a short trip and driving wasn’t a problem.  Our friend Rachel, from the US, is in the country with a film crew working on projects for The Sold Project and we ended up eating with her.  We had a nice lunch and mixed conversation.  I say mixed because some of it was academic, some was humorous, and some got emotionally heavy.  Rachel knew Blue from her previous trips and they talked photography, and Thai culture.  She was at the service at the house and we talked about how difficult it is, moving on with two empty rooms down the hall.  More healing.

Today’s photos are from our last morning in Singapore.  The first pic is the pool at Claire and Stephen’s apartment.  We never got in the water since it was a bit chilly, but it provides for extra long laps.


The airport had a TV lounge that was a circular affair with three different screens.  There were News, Sports and Children’s programing.


The Chill area was pretty cool.  There’s place to plug in a device for music, alarms, or charging.  Cool idea.


Time for me to rest my eyes from typing and just relax.  Trying to find the right temperature to be comfortable is not being easy.  I heat up, I cool down, sounds like a song.

Have a Great Week.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“The goal of meditation isn’t
to control your thoughts,
it’s to stop letting them 
control you.”
~Unknown 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The weather today was a carbon copy of yesterday.  It was very hot, with clear skies and partial morning and afternoon smoke, clearing around dinner time.  

Our ‘Zany Day’ song was “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles.  Since this has been a difficult week tune-wise, here’s an ‘Old School Friday’ song that’s easy.  “You’re __ __ __ __, but I still have your love to remember you by.  Oh, my dar-ar-ar-arling, dry your eyes.  Daddy’s coming home soon.”  Hint:  Your mileage may vary. Easy.

When most people hear of Singapore, they think of clean streets, and no chewing gum.  There’s so much more to it than that.  It is a very diverse country a population that is mostly Chinese, then Malaysian, Indian and other South East Asian cultures, as well as a Western Expat community.  I still don’t know what a native Singaporean looks like and that’s the beauty of it all.  We learned that cab drivers must be citizens, and that everyone has a chance to buy an apartment in a clean neighborhood. There are many religious faiths practiced in Singapore and they work side-by-side to have a harmonious community.  That’s pretty cool.  Being an island, everything comes from somewhere else, so it’s very expensive.  Even so, what a unique experience.

Sunday afternoon, after the bird park, it was short nap time.  Stephan and I had an appointment with some racing cars.  We were so tired, we finally agreed to miss the first two ‘warm up’ races.  Using the trains, we got very close to the race course in the Marina Bay district.  After going through the security gate, the excitement began to build.  We could here the Porsche Carrera race getting underway.  Once in our seats, we got to see them blast by, trying to time the movement of our heads with that of the cars.  We finally got it, but it was weird.  There was no one selling refreshments in the stands, so we had to leave the grandstand and go out to the food area for stuff.  After the Porsche race the real crowds started coming in.  Some people may have been there, but in another area watching a live music show.  We got to watch part of a set by Pentatonix and they were awesome.  Over the three days of the event, there was music for every taste and age group.

Back in the grandstands we waited for the Formula One cars to make their entrance onto the track.  There’s a lot of activity before the race actually starts and we got to see it all.  Our seats were on the start/finish straight.  I thought the Porsches  were loud (555).  They were just a whisper compared to the Formula One cars.  It was like a pack of wild animals were out there barking at each other.  When the race began they were a blur.  Every time they would come around, our heads were snapping back and forth.  The big screens above the track provided a view of other parts of the course, the same thing I usually see on TV.  When they went into the pits to change tires, all we could see was a crowd of men scrambling around the car, then stepping back as the car roared off.  The whole process is under 3 seconds.  We had a great time at one of the most spectacular venues in the season.  After the race there were big fireworks, the trophy ceremony and then the filing out into the night.  As we left the park, all of the usher crew were standing on either side of the exit, waving goodbye with big smiles on their faces.  

Here are a few photos from my Formula One experience.  



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

             Peace,
                       Danny


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Words

Hi,

We had a rain-free day in Chiang Rai.  The downside of clear, dry days is the invitation they send to those wanting to burn plant waste.  The farmers behind us got rid of lots of little piles of corn waste, sending plumes of smoke into the air.  Fortunately, the wind was blowing west so we missed most of it.  Mr. Flu continues his visit.  I think I’m getting better, but remain mostly miserable.  While we were in Singapore, Cat got it and now Natcha, along with her niece, seem to have the same early symptoms.  It’s the season.

The ‘Zany Day’ song had a few hits.  I’m pretty sure it’s familiar to most of you so here’s a little more:
“Cellophane flowers of yellow and green towering over your head.  Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she’s gone.  __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, Aaaahhh…”  Clue: After 49 years, there are still theories about the nature of this song.  At this point it hardly matters.  Enjoy the song.

In Singapore we took a taxi to the Jurong Bird Park.  Imagine going to a giant zoo that is dedicated to birds.  We had breakfast in a little fast-food place.  The first photo is the creative kiddie chairs.  There was a tram that we rode through the park.  We got off at several stops to view birds up close.  They claim that almost every species of bird is represented somewhere in the park.  It would have taken a full day to see everything, but we had a lot of fun, learned things, and found it very relaxing walking among the trees and waterfalls.  There is a Wiki page with photos of many of the featured species. 
 
I wanna eat at the kids table.


Ahhhh


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“Raise your words not your voice.
It is rain that grows flowers
not thunder.”
~Rumi
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Good

Hi,

Last night’s storm brought the usual flooding in the yards, it cleared up by mid-day.  Today we had beautiful weather, though I didn’t get to go out into it.  Mr. Flu is still here.  It’s going through whatever it has to go through, and sometimes I feel like I’m just a passenger.  Hoping to be well by the weekend so I can go outside and play.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Reminiscing” by The Little River Band.  Oh well, here’s a ‘Zany Day’ tune that’s a little easier:  “Picture yourself on a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.  Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, a girl with kaleidoscope eyes.”  Hint:  It was only fitting that the biggest band in the world would have a psychedelic song in 1967.  

And now we return your programing to the Singapore adventure.  Saturday afternoon we went into the center of things and had a fantastic dinner at a little place with a curious menu.  I guess you could call it ’Singapore Fusion’.  Claire and Stephen know a lot about food things since he’s been in the hotel business for a long time.  Before I forget, we also sampled, on another occasion, the most popular dish on the island:  Chicken Rice.  Oh, so good.  If you’re ever in Singapore, try some. 

After dinner we went mall hopping.  There are several high-end shopping areas that are fascinating for many reasons.  I like to people watch, check out who is shopping, and who is looking, and also price things.  That’s when the fun began.  We started pricing clothes and decided we liked our clothes just fine.  Then Stephen and I went watch shopping.  We found a watch that cost $145,000 Singapore dollars ($106,800 US).  What?  In one of the shops someone was being fitted by a clerk who was wearing gloves.  Oh, and once they pass a certain price range, some shops call them ’time instruments’.  Who knew?

Today’s first photo is from an underground mall where the not so rich and famous shop.  The fountain gives off positive ions that were immediately noticed. 


The photo below had me wondering for a moment.  There were no zebras, only a crosswalk with striped lines.  Oh, and I was looking forward to seeing zebras.
 

Tomorrow we’ll visit the giant bird park.  It’s going to be fun.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“We must train the mind to 
always see the good.”
~Unknown

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Islands

Hi,

I was just about to tell you how it was a typical cloudy day in Chiang Rai when the wind came up and now it’s storming.  The rolling thunder tells me this may come in waves.

I was sure this week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was one you would get quickly.  We’ve ‘sung’ this one before.  
“Hurry, don’t be late.  I can’t hardly wait, I said to myself when we’re old.  We’ll go dancing in the dark, walking through the park and __.”  Hint:  This should be easy.  Imagine thumbing through old, happy memories.

Based on real science, I have the flu.  The science included elevated temperature, achy joints, nasty cough, etc.  There is also that wandering mind thing, but that happens even when I’m not sick (555) so I didn’t include it in the science.  

All I can tell you about life outside is that the corn field next door finally got plowed under.  Big news in the hood:  Gong went to the fruit market today and got a bunch of mangos and watermelon so we’re set for a few days.  Daku has been bugging me to take him outside and doesn’t understand why we’re not doing our boy thing.

Friday night in Singapore, after we got settled at the apartment, Claire and her two little dogs took us to the pet supply store.  Some treats were found and I ended up walking Ginger home from the store.  Rosy is the other dog and they are Dachshunds.  Feeling a little dog like that pulling on a leash is a lot different from trying to manage Daku when he wants to pull.  We all got along great for the whole weekend.

Singapore is a very clean, orderly place.  We had seen a documentary a few days before we went, but it didn’t prepare us for the feeling we got.  There was a calm, polite vibe that took a minute to get used to.  On our train ride into the center of town Saturday morning, as soon as we got on the car a young girl jumped up and gave her seat to Lisa.  It happened a few more times.  The kids are taught to do this in school.  The train system is very efficient and we rarely had to wait more than 3 minutes.  We had brunch at a little cafe that played very cool music and had good food.  

The major adventure for Saturday was the big park complex, called Gardens on the Bay, near the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino.  There is a little zoo inside the park and lots of walkways through nature.  Singapore prides itself on its green space.  Trees, gardens and little forests are everywhere you look. The hotel is an iconic structure with three tall buildings (2,561 rooms) and a large shelf-like structure going across the top of all of them.  We didn’t get to see it from up there, but there is a swimming pool that appears to flow over the side.  
 
Today’s first photo is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino.


This next photo is an overhead shot of Gardens by the Bay.  The orange structure on the bridge is made of fabric with lights inside.  We didn’t get to see it at night, but I can only imagine.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“We are life islands in the sea,
separate on the surface but 
connected in the deep.”
~William James

Monday, September 19, 2016

Beauty

Hi,

The last three nights spent in Singapore were filled with windy, thunderous storms.  The days were dry, hot and very humid.  It’s nice to be back in Chiang Rai where it’s just hot and humid.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Venus” by Frankie Avalon.  For this week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song see if you remember this:  “Friday night, it was late, I was walking you home, we got down to the gate and I was dreaming of the night.  Would it turn out right?  How to tell tell you, girl.  I wanna build my world around you.  Tell you that it’s true.  I wanna make you understand, I’m talking about a lifetime plan.”  Hint:  This one is from ’78, the title is one word.  Looking back, fondly.

There is so much to tell you about our weekend in Singapore.  Most of it will have to wait until tomorrow.  After a 10 hour travel day, and fighting off a cold, I’m a little wiped out.  I will tell you this:  We went to a bird park, ate local food, rode trains and taxis, and watched some very loud, fast cars up close.  

Today’s photos are from Singapore.  The first is a street in the center of the city that still maintains an earlier form of architecture, including mall shops, shophouses and a mosque in the distance.  The second pic is part of the ‘arrival card’ that must be filled out.  The warning is pretty specific.



Have a Great Week.

            Peace,
                      Danny

“Beauty surrounds us, 
but usually we need to be
walking in a garden to know it.”
~Rumi

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

We sampled weather in three cities today.  Early morning in Chiang Rai was cloudy with a chance of sunshine.  Bangkok was hot and humid at mid-day.  Singapore was warm and humid when we arrived late this afternoon.  There is a chance of rain everywhere.  Hmm.

Well, a few of you knew the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Congrats to you.  It was “At The Zoo” by Simon & Garfunkel.  It’s ‘Old School Friday’ time and I know you know this one from 1959:  Hey, __, oh __.  __, if you will please send a little girl for me to thrill.  A girl who wants my kisses and my arms, a girl with all the charms of you.  (Bridge)  __, Goddess of love that you are.  Surely the things I ask, can’t be too great a task….”  Hint:  Too many clues in the lyrics.  Don’t want to give it away (555).

Things were going great this morning.  We got up a little early, finished packing, had breakfast, Gong packed the van and we left for the airport.  As we were standing at the ticket counter I realized I had left the F1 tickets at home.  What?  Lisa called Natcha, who went upstairs and located the package.  When Gong returned home, she sent him back to the airport with the tickets and all is well.  Whew.  The hour flight to Bangkok was the usual, except the view from the sky was blankets of green landscape.   

Flying to Singapore requires going through Thai immigration in order to exit the country.  We go through this every time we fly to the States.  Today, for some reason, there were tons of people leaving and the lines were incredibly long.  The two hour flight to Singapore felt short for an international flight.  We watched a documentary on the island nation on the way there so we were ready.  Another round of immigration on arrival and we connected with our friend Claire.  She has been here few about 3 months so she knows the routine and how things work.  We got SIM cards for our phones, some Singapore dollars and took a cab to her condo.  

I will have much more to tell you about our adventure next week.  We lost an hour in the traveling and had no nap, so sleepy time has arrived.  

Today’s photo was taken at Chivit Tamma Da last week.  It’s called a Butterfly Plant.


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

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Family

Hi,

We had another rain-less day in Chiang Rai.  Reports of a big storm system heading our way were apparently misguided, or the winds changed.  We are headed for hot and muggy this weekend in Singapore.

I’m a little surprised that no one knew the ‘Zany Day’ song.  It’s from 1968, 
“Something tells me it’s all happening __ __ __.  I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.  The monkeys stand for honesty, giraffes are insincere, and the elephants are kindly but they’re dumb.  Orangutan are skeptical of changes in their cages, and the zoo keeper is very fond of rum…. What a gas, you got to come and see __ __ __.”  Clue:  It’s in there.

Today we both felt drained.  Yesterday was both emotionally and physically taxing.  I was ready for a nap after breakfast, and again after the afternoon nap.  What?  Even so, we pressed on and took care of things like grown-ups.  Nothing like an early visit to Big C to start your day.  We went to Work@Home and had coffee and a visit with Katai’s sister, who was very fond of Blue.  It seems like everywhere we frequented, there is a sense of loss.  Sometimes we don’t realize the ripples we create.  Blue obviously created some good ones.

Tomorrow morning we are off on an adventure that was planned weeks ago.  Now it seems to have an added purpose.  A diversion is just what we need right now and Singapore will fill the bill.  Our friends Claire and Stephen are there and we will stay with them.  Claire already has activities planned for Saturday and Sunday.  On Sunday afternoon Stephen and I will go to the Formula One Grand Prix, which is quite a spectacular event in Singapore, with the race being run on a street course.  It’s mostly at night, so there will be some dazzling light shows in addition to the race itself.  This is what you might call a ‘Bucket List’ item for me.  I’ll be sending you the Friday message from the tiny island.

The photos today are some of the flowers from yesterday.  



Last night we had a visit from Nurse Pay, her husband and son.  It was a perfect way to spend time with them.  The house was peaceful and quiet and we could just be together, mostly focused on the little one and some apple pie.  She was a big part of Blue’s hospital visits and always made sure he was taken care of in the best way possible.  She became part of our family.  

Well, the suitcases are on the floor and the lids are open.  Daku is still rather calm.  Tomorrow morning when we close the cases, that’s when he’ll get upset.  Cat is going to stay at the house at night while we’re gone, so Daku won’t have to be alone.  How sweet is that? 

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

            Peace,
                      Danny

“Family isn’t always blood.  
It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs.
The ones who accept you for who you are.
The ones who would do anything to see you smile,
and who love you no matter what.”
~Unknown

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Love

Hi,

The weather in Chiang Rai started out drippy, but turned into a beautiful, cloudy day.  A perfect day for a gathering of friends.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I Can See Clearly Now”, by Johnny Nash.  ‘Zany Day’ is up next.  What could it be?
“Someone told me it’s all happening __ __ __.  I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.  It’s a light and a tumble journey from the East side to the park.  Just a fine and fancy ramble __ __ __.  But you can take the cross-town bus, if it’s raining or it’s cold.  And the animals will love it if you do.”  Hint:  It’s by a duo from NYC about animals and stuff.

Today was the day we paid tribute to our friend Blue.  Everything worked out perfectly.  People and things arrived on schedule and you could feel the love in the room.  Five monks performed the ceremony.  I didn’t realize that, as the head of the house, I would be asked to participate in the service.  Most of what I had to do was explained in English, in advance.  The most awkward part of it was having to sit in the front row next to the lay person who started some of the prayers.  He was my only reference as to what to do.  It actually wasn’t much, just sit with my hands in a low wai position.  Some of the chants were rather interesting in terms of rhythm and variations in tone.  Blue’s son Ming got to watch some of the service from New York via Facetime on his phone.  That was cool.

There were 30+ guests in total and more food than we could eat.  Everyone there had some connection to Blue.  There were artists from Art Bridge who came because of their connection to us, and the fact that an artist had passed.  There were people there who hadn’t ever met Blue, but had heard his music and spoken to friends that had met him.  And then there were those who had frequent interaction with him over the two years he lived here with us.  I think he would have liked the mix, the diversity of friends, and the genuine nature of it all. 

Natcha, Gong, and various friends and relatives pitched in to make sure things ran smoothly.  Daku spent the morning upstairs, but had lots of visitors.   

This photo gives you a good idea of how our living room was transformed this morning.  I think Blue is happy.


It’s feeling like a Wacky Wednesday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“In every religion there's love,
yet love has no religion.”
~Rumi

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Looking

Hi,

Chiang Rai had a day without rain.  Not even a little sprinkle.  It made it easier to be out in the streets running errands.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song has got to be more popular than for just a few people.  Maybe you didn’t read your Monday mail (5).  "I think I can make it now, the pain is gone.  All of the bad feelings have disappeared.  Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for, it’s gonna be a bright, bright sun-shiny day.”  Clue:  Seeing is believing or something like that.

Cat came over this morning and the three of us went into town.  Our first stop was a photo studio that was making a large print of a photo of Blue.  When we got there the place was closed.  A phone call to the photographer was all in Thai so Cat handled the call.  It was good that she was with us because we discovered that the prints were at the Coffee shop across the gas station from the studio.  How would we know that?  The woman at the coffee shop was expecting us, so I guess this happens from time-to-time.  

On Fruit Street we had an interesting encounter.  Lisa told the couple where we buy fruit about Blue.  Cat explained in Thai and the woman started crying.  This, of course, got me all emotional.  They can’t come to the service, but she gave us an envelope with some money.  This is a tradition, giving money to help pay for the monks at the service.  Down the street, we ordered a wreath that we will pick up early tomorrow.  Cat helped write out the inscription in Thai for the banner on the wreath.  Our last stop was to get little gifts to give to those who attend.  They look like little coin purses with a little fan attached.  Hmm.

Gong and Natcha got the yards cleaned up while Cat’s sister Toy was cleaning inside the house.  Daku was supervising.  We had lunch at Chivit Tamma Da with a bunch of new friends.  It was a fun time, a good distraction, and there’s a menu item I can eat and it’s really good:  Pineapple fried rice with prawns, yum.

Today’s photo is the lunch from today.  The whole thing is inside of a pineapple.  


This afternoon we hung more of Blue’s Hill Tribe photos and moved furniture around.  I smiled when I realized we still call Blue’s room ‘Blue’s room’ and Cat’s the same, as if they are still here, which they are. 

Have a Happy Tuesday.

             Peace,
                       Danny

“Sometimes what you’re looking for,
comes when you aren’t looking at all.”
~Unknown

Monday, September 12, 2016

Care

Hi,

The weekend weather was a combination of scattered showers, steady drizzles, and light rain.  So much fun, I just can’t begin to tell you (555).  We haven’t bothered with a forecast in days.  We just look outside and guess.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “The Glory Of Love” by The Velvetones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-prFT-eLxY  The third letter always knocks me out.  OK, it’s time for something that’s ‘Easy Monday’ material.  
“__ __ __ __ __, the rain is gone.  I can see all obstacles in my way.  Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sun-shiny day.”  Hint:  Really?  A hint?  It’s easy.

Emotions are still fragile here at The Big Brown House.  We got the call at 2:45am Saturday that Blue had passed.  There are so many reminders and routines that keep Blue’s presence at the front of our minds.  Daku is still adjusting to the fact that there is no ‘Breakfast Club’ anymore.  Around the house it is tough and we’re all feeling it.  Saturday we went for coffee at The Wanderer and the server asked, “Only two?”.  It’s times like that it seems to smack me in the face.  There were so many daily things we did together.  Here in Chiang Rai, the places we frequent take note of who is who.  It’s a Thai thing that we like.  So, there will be little dramas from time to time until everyone ‘gets it’.  

Wednesday morning we’re having a memorial service at the house.  Sutheera, who is a dear friend of Blue’s, has arranged for three monks to come and do a ceremony, then we will serve a lunch and have an open house for the rest of the day for anyone who wants to stop by.  The response to this has been incredible.  As soon as we mention it, we are asked where and what time.  I don’t know how many people will actually come, but people have expressed a desire to pay their respects.  I don’t think he realized what an impression he made on folks in Chiang Rai.  

As we have observed in the past, there are many customs and traditions in this part of the world that differ from where we came from (understatement).  This weekend we learned that many people take their loved ones home so people can come and see them.  Then they go to the temple for various nights of prayers and chanting.  This is followed by cremation and a party.  When we were confronted with the many questions, we just followed what Blue told us to do and they had to honor that.  It’s complicated enough when a foreigner dies outside of their country of origin.  We’re dealing with it as it comes and things are working out.  

Life goes on and we’re living it.  We visited Art Bridge so Lisa could submit a small painting for a group exhibition, went to Makro at the height of Saturday shopping, basically kept the ball rolling.  Today we went out to the country to pick up Lisa's cast acrylic prints that will be in the Chiang Mai show.  What a relief to be among the rice fields and just take in the green.  On the way home we tried out the new highway going south.  So much fun, even with light rain, just straight, rolling road.  

Today’s photo was taken at Work@Home.  It’s another one of Katai’s playful rings.


Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Self-care is not selfish.
You cannot serve from 
an empty vessel.”
~Unknown

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The rain paid us a giant visit at lunch today.  It was a major downpour that lasted at least 40 minutes and soaked everything.

It is with a sad heart that I must report that we took Blue to the hospital this morning and he is not expected to be with us after tomorrow.  His low key battle with leukemia has taken it’s toll.  When he came to Thailand this time, it was to be in a place he loved dearly when the time came to leave this life.  Mission accomplished.  We will miss him.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones and later, Aretha Franklin.  This week’s ‘Old School Friday’ tune was a favorite of Blue’s.  “You’ve got to give a little, take a little, and let your poor heart break a little.  That the story of, that’s __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  This should have been on Monday, it’s easy.  Extra Cool Points if you know who did the 1951 R&B hit version. 

Not much to tell you about today.  We spent most of the time worrying about Blue, knowing the signs didn’t look good.  This message is going to be short, my mind is spinning with memories, things that must be done, and sadness.

Today’s photo was taken during Songkran last year.  Blue and me mugging at Top’s Market in our only selfie.


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Truth

Hi,

It looks like the weather report will be a broken record, repeating itself day after day.  The rainy season is like that.  So far, the days have only had drizzles, leaving the heavy work for overnight.  Whew.

The ‘Zany Day’ tune was recognized by a few of you.  Some of you should know this (555).  “I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag.  I was schooled with a strap right across by back.  But it’s all right now, in fact it’s a gas.  But it’s all right, I’m __ __ __, it’s a gas, gas, gas.”  Hint: It’s by some elder-statesmen of R&R.  A troubled youth makes good?  

This morning we had a little drizzle that we thought would keep us from playing with Daku.  It stopped in time for him to get in a good workout and he was happy.  When he doesn’t get to run and play he gets bored around the house and then he wants to play inside.  We’ve found that mental stimulation can ease his boredom and calm him down.  

On our way to our first adventure we stopped by Browney Pet World.  There is a line of dog food called: ‘Dr. Love’.  Cracked me up.  There is also one called ‘Money’.  Don’t ask me why.  I learn so much at the pet supply store.

We had a coffee and snack date with our new friends Sandy and Ady, who we met at the party on Saturday.  We were greeted by their little dog Corti, who is very friendly.  It’s always interesting to meet people from other countries and share experiences, noting similarities and differences in culture and how we’ve adapted to living in Thailand.  When conversations flow from one topic to another and and it all makes sense, it’s very cool.  Our coffee cups were hand-painted by Sandy and Ady and next time we visit, I’ll have to take some photos.  We already have a date for next week to hang out at our house.  Looking forward to that.

After a trip to the bank it was time for lunch.  We decided to try eating at Melt In Your Mouth.  We haven’t been there in a long time for a meal.  At the party we noticed that they had a bigger menu.  When we arrived, the parking lot was empty.  That meant we’d beat the lunch crowd.  The dish I wanted was listed as ‘spicy’ and I asked the waiter if they could alter it.  A few minutes later the chef came out and she told me she could do it.  My guess is, it was made from scratch, based on how long we waited for our meal.  We both ordered strawberry smoothies with no dairy and we almost filled up on the drink.  The food was great and we’ll probably return.  

Today’s photo is the entrance to Melt In Your Mouth.  On the other side is the patio and the river.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“The truth you believe and cling to
makes you unavailable to hear anything new.”
~Pema Chodron

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Bridge

Hi,

Last night we had another ‘Storm of the Century’ (555).  Seriously, it rain so hard we had the usual lakes and a lot of soggy ground.  By mid-morning it was basically gone, but it returned in the afternoon for an encore performance.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yca2BCwAnBQ
It’s time to put on your ‘Zany Day’ hats and tell me what this is:  “I was born in a crossfire hurricane.  And I howled at my ma in the driving rain.  But it’s all right now, in fact it’s a gas.  But it’s all right, I’m __ __ __, it’s a gas, gas, gas.”  

Today was one of the busier days we’ve had lately.  After the morning routine and a great call with Lisa’s dad Joe, we gathered all our paperwork and went to immigration.  When we got there it was totally crowded so we went with plan ‘B’ and headed for the mall.  Lunch and a little shopping took just enough time to return to immigration at 1pm.  The office crew showed up late from their lunch, but in a very happy mood.  This was good for us.  When our number was finally called we got all of our business taken care of and it only took an hour and a half.  

This afternoon DHL delivered the tickets for the Formula One event in Singapore.  I was expecting a small envelope with two paper tickets.  Shows you how much I know.  When I opened the package there was a whole presentation.  In addition to the two passes there was a card for a free month of the F1 app, which will allow us to follow the cars around the track and see the order of the drivers throughout the race.  Pretty snazzy for a car race.



When we were at the mall this morning, we got coffee.  On the receipt they printed the WiFi password.  I thought this was a great idea.  You pay for coffee, you get the password.  Or, to put it another way, you want password, buy something (555).

After dinner we went to Big C for things we needed.  We were expecting the place to be empty but it was jumping.   Driving through town after the rain, we encountered various puddles.  On one stretch of road it was obvious that more work needs to be done on the drainage system.  It makes it rough for the motorbikes when the puddles are too deep.  

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“Love is the bridge between
you and everything.”
~Rumi