Wednesday, November 30, 2016



It appears that the cold season has been put on indefinite ‘hold’.  The days are getting warmer and there is no sign of rain.  For some this is good, like the folks harvesting rice.  For those who just planted, it’s not so good without water.  

‘Easy Monday’ was a snap for most of you.  It was The Righteous Brothers singing “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. It’s ‘Zany Day’ again.  “I met her in a club down in old Soho where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Cherry Cola, C-O-L-A cola.  She walked up to me and she asked me to dance, I asked her name and in a dark brown voice she said, ‘__’.  __-__-__-__, __…”  Hint:  The title is a name and these lyrics should be enough for you to get it (555).

During our trip to Chiang Mai, we passed the 30,000 kilometer mark with the van.  Translating kilos to miles over the three years we’ve had the van, it works out to about 6,000 miles a year.  That’s about 4K less than in the States.  Maybe that’s why there are so many older cars that are still in good shape and running strong.  I have no real statistics, of course, just a wild guess.  

Today we made a simplified trip to Big C, meaning we didn’t fill the basket (555).  As we were entering the store we saw one of the younger artists from Art Bridge and his girlfriend.  I really enjoy the energy of the young artists.  We’ve known this guy since the beginning of the Art Bridge era and we’ve watched him grow as an artist.  He recently posted a photo of Lisa and me while we were starting to set up the 'Timeless Harmony' exhibit two years ago.  He titled it ‘Before’.

This was the day we decided to go to the Department of Land Transportation (DMV) and renew our registration.  The system here calls for you to have what they call Government Insurance in addition to any private insurance you may choose to buy.  Ours was due, so we were sent to a window to buy that and then renew.  For about $60 we renewed the registration on the van and got basic insurance.  Not bad considering it only took about 20 minutes.

Gong cooked dinner this evening and Natcha and Neetchanon were hanging out on the floor in the living room.  Neetchanon has learned the basics of crawling and a whole new world has presented itself.  Today’s main point of interest was the bookcase.  She never got there, but that was her focus.  When she’s a little faster she’ll be pulling books off the shelf.  Hmm.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Youth learns, age understands.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016



We had one of those postcard weather days with blue skies, scattered clouds and mild temps.  Can we keep it?

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was easy for a bunch of you.  I’m told that it was also featured in a movie about jets.
“Now there’s no welcome look in your eyes when I reach for you.  And you’re starting to criticize little things I do.  It makes me just feel like crying (baby), ‘cause baby, something beautiful’s dying.  __ __ __ __ __, whoa, that __ __.  __ __ __ __ __ now it’s gone, gone, gone, whoa.”  Hint:  Sung by a duo that was tagged as having ‘Blue-eyed Soul”.  

This morning we went out to Doy Din Dang with our friends Sandy and Ady.  They’ve been here for almost a year, but hadn’t seen the ceramics compound.  After walking the grounds and visiting the gift shop, we had coffee and enjoyed the morning breeze on the hill.  From there we went to The Wanderer for lunch.  We are grateful that we have new friends who enjoy talking and laughing and sharing insights and experiences.  It was definitely a fun, relaxed morning.  

While I was gathering music to listen to on the road I ran across a ‘thumb drive’ with 84 songs on it.  We plugged it in on the way home from Chiang Mai on Sunday and had a great time hearing tunes we haven’t heard in a long time.  One of those little surprises that makes traveling fun.

There is a cat that lives next door.  It finds our yard more inviting that its own and this causes Daku great concern.  Three or four times we’ve had him out on his leash when the cat dashed across the yard.  Daku made an effort to chase it, but was held back.  I don’t think he can catch it, but I’m not taking any chances.  Now, every time we go out, he has to see if the cat’s been in the yard.  This takes up more time than I’d like to spend, but it’s his job to go around smelling things (555).

Today’s photo was taken at 116 Gallery before the opening on Saturday.  This is Ajarn (Professor) Boonrawd in all his splendor.  I just wish we could have had a real conversation.

Gong has been in Mae Sai since Friday, helping his family dismantle their house.  He returned this afternoon and when he appeared at the kitchen door, Neetchanon gave him a big smile and her little fingers opened and closed as if to wave.  It’s so cool to be able to witness moments like these as this little family grows up.  The adventure continues.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Music is what feelings sound like.”

Monday, November 28, 2016



The weather on the highway to Chiang Mai was perfect.  Saturday was cloudy, and Sunday looked like it might want to rain, but didn’t.  When we talked to Cat and Natcha we learned that it had rained hard Sunday morning in Chiang Rai.  No rain since then.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Kansas City”, originally recorded by Wilbert Harrison and then Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson and many others.  Time for a real ‘Easy Monday’ song.  “You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips.  And there’s no tenderness like before in your fingertips.  You’re trying hard not to show it (baby), but baby, baby I know it.  __ __ __ __ __, whoa, that __ __.  __ __ __ __ __ now it’s gone, gone, gone whoa woe.”  Hint:  Really?

Saturday morning there was a mild drizzle early in the morning in Chiang Mai.  We went out mid-morning to stroll the shops in the Tapae Gate neighborhood.  There are lots of unique little shops with everything from silk to statues.  We mostly looked and got gift ideas.  At the Art Cafe they had a sign advertising a turkey dinner for lunch so we made a note to return later.  After a long, windy Tuk-Tuk ride, we arrived at the large Rimping market on the edge of town.  They feature lots of imported items that we can’t get in Chiang Rai.  After our shopping, we took a car back to town for a pretty good turkey lunch.

The main event of the weekend was, of course, the opening of "Timeless Harmony II" at the 116 Gallery.  We got there early, but since the show was already hung, there wasn’t a lot to do except wait.  The presenter arrived and Lisa had a chance to explain the cast acrylic print process with him.  I hung out with Ajarn Boonrawd, who performed a special ceremony in honor of The King.  He was quite a character as you will see in a photo later this week.  A photographer from Chiang Mai City Life newspaper took photos which appeared in the paper the next day.  Our friends Eric and Brenda from Chiang Rai were there and it was nice to see familiar faces.  There was a very positive response from the attendees and lots of interest in the demonstration Lisa gave on ’The process’ of cast acrylic print making.  The exhibit will be open until the end of the year.  

Sunday morning we went back to the street with all the shops.  In a different part of the block we found some really cool spots.  Today’s photo was taken at a place that featured essential oils and natural cosmetics.  The first photo was a mural on the outside of the building and the second was on the floor of the entry way.

On our way out of town, we stopped at Central Festival Mall for lunch.  Sunday at lunch time at this mall, especially during High Season, is a real cultural mix.  We drove straight home, not even stopping for pie.  Hmm,

Have a Great Week.


“Be someone that makes you happy.”

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Funnies


Our trip to Chiang Mai was nothing but blue skies and green countryside.  For most of our drive the traffic was light.  We’re supposed to have good weather for the opening of the art exhibit tomorrow afternoon.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “She Can’t Find Her Keys” by Paul Peterson.  Here’s a clip of the song as performed on ‘Shindig’, a show many of you may remember:  We finish this week with another episode of ‘Old School Friday’.  This is an oldie you’re sure to remember ‘cause it’s so easy.
“Going to __ __, __ __ here I come.  Going to __ __, __ __ here I come.  They got some crazy little women there and I’m gonna get me one.  I’m gonna be standing on the corner, 12 street and Vine.  I’m gonna be standing on the corner, 12th street and Vine.  With my __ __ baby and a bottle of __ __ wine.”  Clues:  The title is the name of a city.  There are alternate lyrics that read:  'They got a crazy way of livin’ there…’

When we checked into our hotel we were told that the room had been ‘upgraded’ to a Junior Suite.  The first thing we noticed in the large room was two twin beds.  After a call to the front desk, we were given another room, and another upgrade.  The new room is a real suite.  There is a living room, a breakfast area, two TVs, a large bed, and a dressing room.  Wow, let’s have a party (555).  

We spent a rather lazy afternoon in our room.  Before I went to my meeting we hit the Night Bazaar.  The front door of our hotel is right in the middle of it, so it’s easy to go shopping, or at least looking.  The High Season is in full swing in Chiang Mai.  There are lots of tourists buying things to take home.  In the middle of our wandering I spotted the photo for today.

This extended Tuk-Tuk is a yogurt cart.  It’s pretty cool the way they took the novelty of the stretched trike and made it an attraction for the yogurt.

Tomorrow we’ll be out in the city doing things.  The opening of Timeless Harmony II is at 5pm.  Next week I’ll have tales to tell.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     Time for the ‘Funnies’.    Don’t miss the exciting conclusion to the Formula One season (555).


Thursday, November 24, 2016



The weather people missed a bunch of clouds today.  It was basically the same thing as yesterday with the addition of a thin cloud cover.  It has cooled it a bit, and we may get a break in Chiang Mai but who really knows?

The ‘Zany Day’ song seems to have stumped all but my friend Michael.  Who else remembers this silly song?
“I give up, go home and go to sleep, but the next night my date with her I keep.  Walk her home, we start to kiss and then it starts happening again, she says just a moment please, __ __ __ __ __… She pulls out gumdrops, glasses, magazines and tangerines, but __ __ __ __ __.  Presley records, hair spray and jelly beans, but __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  It goes on and on like that.  What’s missing?  Why can’t she go inside?

Lately, at Big C, the clerks have been extra friendly.  We notice it in the produce and cooking sections the most.  We get a big smile and a warm greeting on a consistent basis.  The guys in the fish department just holler out their specials in Thai, which falls on our deaf ears, but we smile and keep walking.  I think they know we’re not understanding them, and it probably makes it entertaining for them.  There is a corner shop space downstairs that seems to be for seasonal, short-time vendors.  First it was a consignment seller, with everything from cars to furniture.  Recently, there was a big sale on used warm jackets and new shoes.  Now it’s a notions shop full of hair accessories.  What will be next?

Gong spent part of the day fixing up the play area with some safety touches and decorations.  Since the three of them live in a tiny apartment, the outside enclosure is like Neetchanon’s room.  Yesterday, Daku walked in when no one was there and checked everything out.  Today he went in to visit and picked up a stuffed toy.  He had every intention of leaving with it but Lisa stopped him.  Hmm, now he has to learn that they are not his toys.  The baby’s feeling better, at the expense of Natcha, who carried her around the house all day and night.  They all need a rest.

Today’s photo is a cool little centerpiece that Khun Kwan made for the wedding at The Wanderer.  

This is the first time in several years that we haven’t had a Thanksgiving party to go to.  It was Thanksgiving here today, and it was just another day.  We may be able to have a turkey dinner in Chiang Mai, or not.  One of the small ‘Western’ restaurant chains is serving dinners for a couple of days.  There is a very large expat population in Chiang Mai, and many of them Americans.  

Time to start packing the bag and making final decisions on what’s going in the van.  I also have to set the DVR to record all the parts of the final Formula One Grand Prix of the season.  Oh my and Zoom.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Whatever words we utter
should be chosen with care
for people will hear them and 
be influenced by them for 
good or ill.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2016



The weather here is the same as yesterday, almost.  It was colder last night.  The early morning air is starting to have that bite that makes the eyes water.  Here we go again.  

So, ‘Easy Monday’ was “Love The One You’re With” by Stephen Stills.  It was covered by The Isley Brothers with great success.  On to the ‘Zany Day’ madness.  This tune is from 1964 and, well, it’s pretty silly.  “When I take my baby home at night, I can’t wait to kiss and hold her tight.  But by then the time begins to drag when she starts searching through her bag.  She says (spoken) just a moment please, __ __ __ __ __.  And here’s what happens while he’s waiting for his squeeze.  She pulls out lipstick, powder, bubble gum and bobby pins.  __ __ __ __ __ __.  Curlers, tweezers, cold cream and candy bars, __ __ __ __ __ __...”  Hint:  The answer is clear.  Something in her purse in needed.  Hmm.

Our morning was a busy one.  It definitely made up for yesterday.  The first stop was the talat.  The parking on the block where we enter was full, so I drove around several blocks before returning to where I started, just in time to see Lisa exiting with her purchase.  Down the Super Highway, past the reconstruction of pavement, to the Amway store.  This is always a challenge because even though it’s never crowded, it takes a long time to leave.  I didn’t have my ‘member card’, which meant the clerk had to do a search with my passport number, etc.  Then the entering of codes for each item, even though they were scanned, and finally it was over.  My card had expired because we only go there about once a year for the filters in our air cleaner.  It’s crazy, but the only game in town.

Today’s photo was taken last week after Daku had a bath and play time.  He knows there’s a treat in Lisa’s hand and he’s being very patient.

There are some things in life you just have to do, without too much planning.  After our nap, we went to Overbrook Hospital and got flu shots.  Our friend, nurse Pay, had us come to the treatment room for check-in and then took us to the doctor for the prescription.  It had been a long time since we’d been to the hospital and, ironically, the doctor we saw was the same woman who treated Blue in the last few months of his life.  After we saw the doctor we waited at the pharmacy windows.  The first window takes payment and the second gives you your medicine.  In our case, it was a little plastic envelope with the vaccine and a syringe.  We took that to Pay and she gave us our shots.  She’s an expert in painless injections and that makes us happy.

Neetchanon’s fever came back so they took her to the doctor after dinner.  They didn’t ask, but seemed relieved when we told them to take the van.  They got some medicine and said she would be fine, and that’s about all we know.  Babies catch stuff.  Even though she didn’t feel good, she still had smiles and was vocalizing this afternoon.  

Tomorrow is ‘serious get ready day’ for our weekend in Chiang Mai.  For us, two nights away from home needs preparation and supplies (555).  Hmm, what shall I wear?

It Feels Like a Wacky Wednesday.


“When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be.”
~Lao Tzu

Tuesday, November 22, 2016



Clear skies and moderate daytime temperatures are the weather song of the week.  Very cool morning today, requiring a shift in the closet.  The winter clothes are being moved to the front of the line (555).

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ tune has lots of friends out there.  It also inspires lots of opinions about what’s right.
“Don’t be angry, don’t be sad.  Don’t sit crying over good times you’ve had.  There’s a girl right next to you, and she’s just waiting for something to do.  Well, there’s a rose in a fisted glove and the eagle flies with the dove.  And if you can’t be with the one you love, __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  May be too easy for a hint.

I spent the day at The Big Brown House.  Sometimes it’s nice to not be out in the world.  Lisa had a coffee date at The Wanderer this morning and the painters came and did their work.  That was the excitement around here.  

It looks like the weather will be in our favor for the trip to Chiang Mai this weekend.  The anticipation is beginning with less than a week until the opening of the Timeless Harmony II exhibit.  There will be lists of things to do, things to pack, and things to bring back from Chiang Mai.  The big city is always in the back of our minds when we can’t find something in Chiang Rai.  

Daku has figured out that there is a difference between people who come to the house to visit, and those who come to work.  He showed no interest in ‘visiting’ with the painters this morning.  When we went out this afternoon, he ignored them.  He did, however, spend a lot of time smelling the tires of their pickup truck (555).  If we greet someone at the front door and sit down, it’s an invitation for him to be his overly friendly self.  He settles down after a few minutes and enjoys being close.  

The bus station in downtown Chiang Rai has been under reconstruction for many months.  It has remained the central point of arrival and departure for most of the buses going to neighboring cities and provinces.  For a time  was a tight squeeze using one narrow driveway and some parking stalls as a depot.  Last week they moved everything to a vacant lot one block away.  There is a booth to buy tickets and a shelter with rows of plastic chairs for waiting.  It just goes to show what a little ingenuity can do when you need to keep things rolling.  The new station is still a long way off, but the buses are running and that’s what counts.

Today’s photo is the new play pen for Neetchanon.  It’s still a work in progress, but you can see that it’s already being used.  Daku was invited in for a visit.  He surveyed the toys and animals and left after Neetchanon grabbed him.  She’s still learning how pet the dog.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Make the most of yourself,
for that is all there is of you.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, November 21, 2016



After a false start, it looks like the cold season is trying to creep into Chiang Rai.  This morning was very cold, to us.  The temperature was 59 degrees, after a day in the mid 80s.  More of the same all week according to the forecasts.  It’s time for long pants and light jackets in the mornings and evenings.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was recognized by a few people.  It was “Miss Otis Regrets”, performed by numerous artists through the years.  The earliest recordings were by Alberta Hunter and also Ethel Waters, both in 1934.  The performance by Nancy Wilson in the 60s was the reference for Cousin Trudye, Brother Denny, and me.  Here’s more about this unique song:  Here is a wonderful reading by 
Ella Fitzgerald  Now that we’ve had our history lesson, it’s time for ‘Easy Monday’.  “If you’re down and confused, and you don’t remember who you’re talking to.  Concentration slips away, because your baby is so far away.  Well there’s a rose in a fisted glove, and the eagle flies with the dove, and it you can’t be with the one you love, honey __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  Not the most spiritual advice.  By an artist who became a part of a trio, then a quartet that gave us much music.  We’ve played this one before.

The Friday night candlelight event at the Clock Tower was a major success.  There were thousands of people and there are photos to prove it.  Apparently, drones were used to capture the image from high above.  

Our friend Natty and her family have a noodle shop right in the middle of all that.  They served free food and were quite amazed by the crowd.  

Sunday morning I got a call from the Apple Service Center telling me my ‘new’ phone had arrived.  Needless to say, our day change a bit and after running a few errands, we ended up at the Mall.  When we got home I carefully put all of my ‘stuff’ on the new phone.  While I was without it, using an old phone as just a phone, I had moments of contemplation on the nature of attachment and how it applied to said device.  How times have changed.

Neetchanon was introduced to her new play area this weekend.  Natcha put the foam squares down and she and the little one played with some of her toys.  She has discovered that she can make a big sound by pounding on the plastic sheets that line the enclosure.  There is more to be done with the area, but it’s already proving to be a great  way for Neetchanon to play outside safely.

Tomorrow we’re having the guest room painted.  We’ve never liked the original color we chose so we found something that is more neutral.  A lighter color will also make the room feel more open.  Of course, you’ll never know unless you come for a visit (555). 

Have a Great Week.


“Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living in better conditions.”

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Funnies


We had postcard weather again today.  The morning fog was a surprise.  It rolled in around 6:30am and burned off as the sun came up.  Looking forward to a dry weekend and probably next week as well.  The cold season is not in sight.

The ‘Zany Day’ curve ball was the tune “Itchycoo Park” by The Small Faces.  Here’s a link to the record:   There’s nothing left this week except an ‘Old School Friday’ song that you may have heard before.  “__ __ __, she’s unable to lunch today, madam, __ __ __, she’s unable to lunch today.  She is sorry to be delayed, but last evening down in Lover’s Lane she strayed, madam, __ __ __, she’s unable to lunch today.”  Clue:  This song was written back in 1934 and has been ‘covered’ by hundreds of artists.  It’s about an apology of sorts.  

Chiang Rai planned an event of major proportions for this afternoon and evening.  The idea was to assemble thousands of people around the Clock Tower, have music, probably speeches, and then a candlelight photo-op.  This morning we talked to our friend Pete, who operates a stationary/art supply store with his parents just north of the traffic circle in question.  They were told to keep the street clear after 3pm.  Restaurants and food vendors were asked not to sell food, but give some away.  We’re not sure how this all worked out, but we were told that school children were being taken to the area to be a part of the crowd.  If I find any photos of the event, I’ll share them with you.

Our van was in serious need of a good cleaning, so we took it to the car wash next to the now-closed Doi Chaang Coffee Shop.  We walked over to peak inside, for one last visit and to say ‘Goodbye’.  It was sad to see it gutted of it’s charm.  For nine years it has been a source of coffee, a meeting place that was easy to find, and a late-night WiFi connection when ours didn’t work.  The car wash closes December 1 and that will change a few things a well.

Natcha and Gong put together a very colorful lunch today.  Natcha’s dear friend Lynette and her friend were the guests of honor, along with Natcha’s brother and his wife.  She made us a special plate of food we could eat while the rest of them enjoyed six spicy dishes that were mostly Akha recipes.  It was a great time, sharing stories about experiences in Chiang Rai and travel tales.

Most of the Krathongs that are placed in the river have a base of foam, which takes a long time to break down.  Every year efforts are made to change the way they are made.  Tradition wins, but there are those who keep trying to make a difference.  Today’s first photo shows basic Krathongs (on the right) made from dough that can be decorated and placed in the river.  They dissolve and are biodegradable.  The second photo is Lake Phayao and it’s Nagas.  At night, flood lights shine on them.

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


Thursday, November 17, 2016



It was another beautiful day in the neighborhood.  It won’t be long before we’re begging for rain again.  The lawns need watering (555).

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song seems to be a stumper.  Here’s the second verse:  “I feel inclined to blow my mind, get hung up, feed the ducks with a bun.  They all come out to groove about, be nice and have fun in the sun…. (What will we do there?)  we’ll get high, (what will we touch there?) we’ll touch the sky, (but why the tears there?) I’ll tell you why.  It’s all too beautiful….”  

As far as activities go, today was a light one.  After a brief and frustrating trip to the talat, we drove north on the highway to Art Bridge.  Lisa just finished a large piece in honor of The King for an exhibit opening on 25 December. It’s the annual ‘artists exhibit’ for all the Art Bridge members.  She’s been invited to submit a piece for another exhibition being presented by Art Bridge and one of the local temples.  It will also be a tribute to The King.  Another canvas is needed and the gallery is giving a discount to members.  While we were there, we saw a large graphic print made up of photographs showing the making of the mural that hangs in front of the building.  It’s neat to see all the background activity that it took to create the giant piece.  

When we got home Neetchanon was scooting around the kitchen in her little ring thing.  She understands the buttons on the dashboard and starts music on her own.  When we left the room, she tried to follow us, but the molding at the door kept her little wheels from going any further.  She let everyone know that she was not pleased with that.  Once out of sight, I had to laugh.  

In our Thai lesson this afternoon we learned that the days of the week are actually based on another language and are the names of planets.  I think it will make it easier to learn certain things when more background is given and cultural aspects are understood.  After the first of the year we will begin learning to write and read the Thai language.  This will help with our understanding of tones and pronunciation since the writing dictates the exact way a word is spoken.  It will also be nice to become literate in the world we live in. 

The 116 Gallery in Chiang Mai has reset the opening date for Lisa and Joe’s Timeless Harmony II exhibit for 26 November, which means we’ll be traveling next weekend.  The show must go on! 

Today’s photos are from Monday's road trip.  They were both taken at Wat Sreekomkam in Phayao.  The seated Buddha surrounded by Nagas (dragon protectors) is very impressive.  In the second photo, you see a fountain covered with offerings.  It is not uncommon to see bits of food and sweet drinks as offerings to various spirits.  Sometimes a plate with a whole meal will be offered.  The fountain, along with most of the stone work at the temple, is very old.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Act the way you’d like to be and
soon you’ll be the way you act.”
~Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, November 16, 2016



This morning started off looking like another beautiful day.  An hour later the fog rolled in and it stayed overcast until the afternoon.  The temps are staying in the mid 80s so regardless of the sky, it’s pleasant weather.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Smooth Operator” by Sade.  It’s crazy time again and another ‘Zany Day’ song it coming your way.  This psychedelic tune came from across the pond in 1967.  “Over bridge of sighs, to rest my eyes in shades of green.  Under dreaming spires, to __ __, that’s where I’ve been.  (What did you do there?) I got high, (what did you feel there?) well I cried, (but why the tears there?) tell you why.  It’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful.”  Hint:  The title is a place.  What is something that makes you want to scratch?

Chiang Rai abided by the rules of celebration, for the most part.  The revelers at the main festival grounds refrained from setting off explosives, but our friend Sandy reported that in her neighborhood things were going ‘Bang’ in the night.  We didn’t see any lanterns going skyward here, but in Chiang Mai the Yee Ping Festival saw hundreds of lanterns floating into the night sky.  There seems to be a looseness with the so-called rules this year.  

This morning we went to the talat with our friend Sandy.  She was looking for waxed thread for a children’s art project.  We knew of a fabric store that has everything anyone could want with regards to sewing and crafts.  We found the thread right away and then went to Work@Home for coffee and conversation.  

After Natcha started working for us we discovered that she had worked for an American family we met here in Thailand.  They were very close and even took Natcha for a visit to the States.  Today her friend and former employer came to visit.  Natcha’s brother and his wife, brought the friend and her companion to the house for a reunion.  They have been in touch through the years and it was nice for them to see each other and get to meet Neetchanon.  We’ll be having a lunch together on Friday.  

Today’s photos are from the big temple in Phayao.  The first photo is a roof ornament that was on the end of all of the gables on one building.  The detail and workmanship were amazing.  The second photo shows the temple dogs that greeted us when we arrived.  

It looks like another night of throbbing bass and thumping drums.  I’m sure the crowds are smaller, but the fun will go on as long as the lights are on and the ferris wheel is turning (555).

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“The pessimist complains about the wind;
the optimist expects it to change;
the realist adjust the sails.”
~William Ward

Tuesday, November 15, 2016



What a beautiful day for a road trip.  The thing that made it extra nice was being able to take in the countryside as a passenger.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song used to be so easy for most of you.  Think: Sultry singer, exotic video, smooth rhythms. 
“Coast to coast, L.A. to Chicago, western male.  Across the north and south to Key Largo, love for sale.  No need to ask, he’s a __ __, __ __, __ __.”  Clue:  The artist was known by one name.

As soon as the van arrived for our language road trip, I knew my mind was about to be tested.  Inside the van were some young people who introduced themselves in Thai, and as we traveled the short distance to The Wanderer, they began asking questions in Thai.  What?  Wait, slower please.  What was the word for that?  It was comforting to discover that I wasn’t the only one with language ‘stage fright’.  The caravan of two vans finally got on the highway heading south.  We have seen the road to Phayao, but never taken it.  Today we saw more of the beauty of the Chiang Rai Province.  Once we arrived, we spent some time at a very large Buddhist temple complex that covered a hillside.  It was like we were taken to another land.  Not many people were there and it was very peaceful.  More questions, more vocabulary, and the realization that more study will be needed.  Tomorrow I will begin sharing photos from the trip.

Today’s photo was taken last night at Loy Krathong.  As you can see, I’m placing the Krathong in the river.

When we got home late this afternoon, we learned that Neetchanon had leaned on the screen door of their apartment and fallen out.  She’ll be OK, but it frightened her and she got a little banged up.  By dinner time she had her usual big smile for us.  The resilience of children is amazing.  Daku was overjoyed that we were back.  It was like we’d been gone for the weekend.

While we were on the road, Lisa got a call from the 116 Gallery in Chiang Mai.  The opening ceremony for the Timeless Harmony II exhibit, featuring Lisa and her Dad, will be on December 3.  There will be a special ceremony preceding the opening, in honor of The King.  Life is returning to some kind of normal.

Last night the music across the river went on well after 11pm.  They’re back tonight with more thumping rhythms.  The one big consolation this year is that there is a ‘ban’ on fireworks.  The same ban will be in effect for New Years.  Daku will be so relieved.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Unless someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It’s not.”
~Dr. Seuss

Monday, November 14, 2016



We’ve been enjoying mostly clear skies with moderate to hot temperatures the last few days.  The nights are cool and the flowers are starting to bloom.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Do You Wanna Dance” by Bobby Freeman.  I suppose it’s time for an ‘Easy Monday’  song since only one person knew the ‘Old School’ tune.  “Diamond life, lover boy, he moves in space with minimum waste and maximum joy.  City lights and business nights when you require streetcar desire for higher heights… No need to ask, he’s a __ __…”  Hint:  A player’s player.

This weekend my phone had a nervous breakdown.  When you can’t do a simple function because different applications keep opening, or it starts taking random photos, or it decides not to respond to screen taps, it’s time to ask for help.  Sunday we went to the Apple Service Center at Central Plaza.  I learned that there is something under the screen that goes crazy and causes all this mayhem.  I have to wait 2 weeks to see what’s going to happen.  In the meantime, I have an original iPhone from around 2009 that’s good for getting calls and text messages.  I’ll need help bringing it up-to-date ‘cause 2 weeks without solitaire and email is just too long (555).

Saturday morning we went to the wedding at The Wanderer.  We got there early and had a chance to visit with our friends Somluck and Tamiko, from Doy Din Dang.  They’re fun to talk to and she has a quick sense of humor.  The wedding ceremony was in the air/con room and fortunately for me, they had all of the doors open.  It’s a place where the cats hang out and standing by the door made it OK for me.  After the wedding there was a luncheon in the ‘Glass Room’.  The food was, of course, delicious, and the room was full of happy people.  The bride and groom created picture frames with a big slot at the top.  Each guest was asked to write something on a little heart-shape and put it in the slot.  The hearts stacked up in random order to create an alternative to a guest book.  When they hang the two frames, they will have a constant view of loving thoughts from friends.  

Natcha and Neetchanon returned from Mae Sai Sunday evening.  Whenever they make the trip north, Neetchanon gets an extra dose of family love.  This morning she had the biggest smile ever when she saw us.  Her personality is blossoming and getting more vocal.  I don’t know how, but Natcha still carries her on her back in a sling when doing some housework and around the kitchen.  She sings to Neetchanon and sometimes it’s as if the baby is singing back. What a wonderful sound.

This evening we went to the Wiang Indra Resort, around the bend from our house, for their Loy Krathong Festival evening. The setup was beautiful, with tables near the river and lots of food, buffet style.  We managed to find some things to eat, and enjoyed the ambience a lot.  We saw people we know and that was fun.  The hotel is situated directly across the river from the spot at the fairgrounds where people place their krathongs in the river.  This gave us a view of the many floating lights.  Each krathong has a few sticks of incense and a candle.  The glow from the candles reflect on the water, making them seem bigger that they are.  Loy Krathong is a time to ask the river for forgiveness and also give thanks.  The forgiveness is for all of the things that are done that harm the river.  The thanks is for the benefits the river provides.  This is also the end of the 30 day mourning period and the first chance for many people to get out and do something ‘social’.  When we returned to our house the traffic on our road was backed up for almost 200 meters from the main road that leads to the fairgrounds.  

Today’s photo was taken this evening.  These are some of the Krathong choices.  

Tomorrow we go on our language trip to Phayao (the ‘h’ is silent), about an hour south of Chiang Rai, with our teacher and other students.  We will be attempting to speak Thai all day.  Hmm.

Have a Great Week.


“The enemy is fear. 
We think it is hate,
but it is fear.”

Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai, on our side of the river, had showers overnight.  We had a dripless day and it looks like the evening will be the same.  It’s nice to dry out a little bit.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters.  Let’s go back in time for another ‘Old School Friday’ tune.
“Well, __ __ __ __ and-a hold my hand, tell me I’m you lover man?  Oh baby, __ __ __ __?  __ __ __ __ and make romance?  Squeeze me all through the night?  Oh baby, __ __ __ __?”  Hint:  A request to trip the light fantastic.  There were bongos featured in this tune.  

Across the river from our house the fairgrounds have started the pre-Loy Krathong festivities.  We were a little surprised since there is not supposed to be any celebrating until the 30-day mourning period is over.  Oh well, let the good times roll.  Next Monday is the actual day of Loy Krathong.

The work around the house was finished today.  There are larger gaps where the palms had been, but we’re getting used to it.  Knowing we can put something else there makes all the difference.  The play area in back is done and has a friendlier look thanks to a coat of light brown instead of silver on the fence.  They even put in a rain gutter for the new roof addition.  

Natcha and Neetchanon are in Mae Sai for the weekend.  Gong took them to the bus station in the van, much to Natcha’s delight.  I think they were going to go by motorbike.  There is a culture-clash when it comes to seeing the baby on the motorbike.  

Today’s photo is one of the gaps on the side of the house as a result of ‘thinning’ of our wonderful barrier.  It’s a perfect spot for a nice full bush or maybe some bamboo.  

Tomorrow we’re going to a wedding at The Wanderer.  It’s from 9am to 12n and according to the couple, it will not be a traditional wedding in any way.  Sounds exciting.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Time for the ‘Funnies’ and don’t forget, Formula One is in Brazil this weekend.  


Thursday, November 10, 2016



True to the forecasts, it just keeps on raining.  Not that it rains constantly, but enough to keep the ground wet all day.  

I’m guessing some of you were a little distracted yesterday.  Here’s another verse from the ‘Zany Day’ song:
“Don’t you give me no dirty looks.  Your father’s hip, he knows what cooks.  Just tell your hoodlum friends outside, you ain’t got time to take a ride, __ __ (don’t talk back).”  Hint:  It’s by our resident zany R&B group, if you have experienced the embarrassment of these lyrics, please share.  

This morning we did something different.  We went to The Wanderer for Lisa’s weekly Skype call with her Dad, Joe, in Palo Alto, California.  The connection worked great through their WiFi and Joe got a chance to see a little of the ‘woods’.  That was the extent of our outside adventures today.

Meanwhile, back at the Big Brown House, it was a day for building and cutting down.  Khun Yee brought a crew of workers who started the roof extension over the play area for Neetchanon.  They also started taking down the offending palms   Seeing the side of the house was a little like having a barber turn the chair around after telling him, ‘A little off the top’ and discovering you’re almost hairless.  There are a couple of major gaps that were shocking.  I never knew taking away plant-life could make one feel violated, but that’s kinda how it felt.  We’ll just have to plant something large that won’t go over the wall.  They will return tomorrow to finish up.

While all the work was going on in the back yard, Natcha, Gong and Gope, Gong’s sister were working on a project of their own.  After harvesting many bunches of bananas from our trees, they sliced them very thin, fried them and started putting them in little cellophane bags.  I guess they're going to sell them, not sure.  

After our Thai lesson, Kru Awe met with Gong, who is going to study English.  They discovered that they went to the same high school in Mae Sai.  Gong is 4 years younger, but Awe knew his brother.  Gong will have three lessons a week and I think he’ll enjoy it.  Awe kept telling him not to be worried, just have fun with it.  I wish I’d had more teachers like that in my youth.  

Today’s photo was taken at Doi Chaang Coffee.  This indoor water feature was one of our favorite things besides the coffee.  This was taken last year.  Thomas, the Green Man, maintained it every day and changed it a few time a year.  He now works at The Wanderer, keeping things beautiful.  We’re going to miss this place.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“I think 99 times and find nothing.
I stop thinking, swim in silence,
and the truth comes to me.”
~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, November 9, 2016



Our old friend, the rainy season seems to be back in town.  We had another big downpour and a series of showers today.  More is expected tomorrow.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “All My Lovin’” by The Beatles.  Time to get busy with another ‘Zany Day’ song.  I’m sure you remember:  “Take out the papers and the trash, or you don’t get no spendin’ cash.  If you don’t scrub that kitchen floor,  you ain’t gonna rock and roll no more,  __ __ (don’t talk back).”  Clue:  Chores can be a drag.  

It was another day in Chiang Rai.  We ran a few errands, had a nice chat over coffee at Work@Home, got an estimate on home improvements, and went to dinner with friends.  Oh yeah, and we watched way too much CNN, which threatened our sanity.  

I had a lot of thoughts about my day that I was going to share with you, but they’re all just flying around in my head.  I remember that we were asked about the election, but it was ‘too early to call’.  There were text messages from Thai friends who were feeling sad, and wondered how we were doing.   

While waiting at the fruit market, I thought about how hard life is for so many people here.  It’s one thing to sit at a location all day, selling something, but then to go home and work all evening to make more things to sell the next day must be exhausting.  

The Prime Minister has now requested that everyone wear mourning clothes for a full year.  That means more black, which is fine with me.  I love wearing black.  It’s going to be difficult for a lot of folks, but a black ribbon on the shoulder makes it acceptable to wear something else.  A group of Mahouts brought their elephants to the Grand Palace to pay tribute to The King.  They had powdered them down so they looked like white elephants, which are believed to be sacred.  The all lined up and then knelt and lifted their trunks in a salute.  The visual was very moving.  The way it was accomplished is disturbing.  The ‘training’ of elephants is not gentle or humane.

We passed by Doi Chaang Coffee and the shop is gone.  The end of an era, at least on the corner we’ve known and loved for nine years.  It’s been a landmark for many tourist and locals alike.  The new location is not as close to downtown so it won’t be a short walk for coffee.  We still have The Wanderer and it’s closer than anything else.  

Today’s photo was taken from our bedroom balcony.  The giant palm type plants are what have to be ‘thinned’ so they don’t disturb our neighbor.  They used to be tiny.

Definitely a Wacky Wednesday.


“See the light in others,
and treat them as if that
is all you see.”
~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Tuesday, November 8, 2016



There was a forecast for rain today.  For a while we didn’t believe them…then the clouds came…then the storm came in two big waves.  It was some of the heaviest rain this year, and we got to watch the whole show.  

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is pretty high up on the ‘memory list’.  Just in case you missed it, here’s more:
“I’ll pretend that I’m kissing the lips I am missing, and hope that my dreams will come true.  And then while I’m away I’ll write home every day.  And I’ll send __ __ __ to you.”  Hint:  Judging by the response so far, you don’t need any hints.

It’s a very odd feeling when you arrive at Big C before the doors open.  For some reason I thought they opened at 8:30am, but it’s 9, which meant we had to sit in the van, listen to music and watch the people who were also early.  Entering the building, the first thing that hit us was the smell of fish in the food-court.  It was not a pleasant smell at that time of morning.  We had a pretty clear path to everything we needed and that was fun.  

Yesterday’s trip to the nursery was incomplete and we needed to get more plants for the garden, and some stone slabs to put under the tiny elephants.  After dropping off the groceries it was off to the nursery.  Lisa found more beautiful flowering plants and we picked two irregular shaped pieces for our little ‘pets’.  In an unprecedented bit of bravery, we drove to the talat to check on some sewing.  The lucky parking place meant that we’d be diving into the hustle-bustle of the market.  After holding our breath past the shrimp table, we made it off the main aisle and clean air.  We have to return tomorrow with more material before the work can be completed.  The market seems to be calling us more lately.  

Today’s photo was taken at the nursery.  I have never seen bamboo displayed like this, but it’s interesting.  I’m guessing the red paint is to keep the stalks from growing.  I will search for a deeper explanation (555).   

For those of you in the U.S., this is a special day.  Some of you voted early, others will vote today.  Cherish the privilege.  We get to vote from here, but only for the President and a Senate seat.  Ahh, the life of an expat, no propositions to ponder.  I trust you will carry on and keep the place running smoothly (555).

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.  
These three are your greatest treasures.”
~Lao Tzu

Monday, November 7, 2016



The cold season is slowly creeping our way.  It’s not cold by any stretch of the imagination, but the mornings and evenings are signs that things are changing.  There are also signs on the streets and in the markets that the weather is about to change:  vendors are selling used warm clothing.  

Our ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Since I Don’t Have You” by The Skyliners.   ‘Easy Monday’ should be just that for all you fans of those lads from Liverpool.  “Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you, tomorrow I’ll miss you, remember I’ll always be true.  And then while I’m away I’ll write home every day, and I’ll send __ __ __ to you.”  Hint:  The year was 1963, the invasion had begun, the the title is a total commitment.  Hmm.

We had a ‘Wanderer Weekend’.  Saturday evening we had dinner with a friend from Chiang Mai and introduced him to The Wanderer.  On Sunday we met Katai and Thowan at The Wanderer for lunch.  They loved the place and plan to return.  It was the first time we’ve had a chance to have a meal with them and really talk.  We learned more about them and their backgrounds.  We also learned that they are old friends of the family that owns Doi Chaang and The Wanderer.  They told us how they used to sit around with Khun Witcha (the founder of Doi Chaang) and hear his stories from around the world.  He truly was a wanderer.  Sunday evening we went to Sawadee with Cat for home-cooked Thai food and some shopping in the Night Bazaar.

When we planted the ‘original’ bushes and trees in our yards, they looked like civilized, polite bits of nature.  Eight years later, we have towering trees, full bushes and a row of fan palms that are starting to encroach on our neighbor to the east.  Apparently, through rough translation, when it rains they send extra water into her yard, or words to that affect.  She wants some of them cut back or eliminated.  They are huge, and it’s not a one man job, so Gong is going to need help.  We have a few possibilities of who to ask for help.  They were planted partly for the privacy they provide.  They have gone beyond the job description (555).

This morning we went to our local nursery and got plants for a shady spot in the front of the house.  It’s so difficult to decide, if it were left up to me, which plants to get.  So much beauty, so many variations.  We also got a plant that we’ve seen at The Wanderer.  Theirs has giant leaves that look like big fans.  Ours is a little baby, but in time it will be just as dramatic.  

Today’s photo is from our trip to the nursery.  It appears to be a succulent of some kind.  I love the unique presentation and the surrounding foliage.

We also reserved a table at the Wiang Indra (Rimkok) Resort for the Loy Krathong Festival.  We now have a view of the river without anyone in front of us.  In theory, we’ll be able to watch the Krathongs as they float down the river from other locations.  More on that later.

Have a Great Week.


“Taking care of children has nothing to do with politics.
I think perhaps with time, instead of there being a 
politicization of humanitarian aid, there will be a 
humanization of politics.”
~Audrey Hepburn