Wednesday, November 22, 2017



We woke up to clear blue sky this morning.  It was one of those days that yelled, ‘Road trip’.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers.  Yeah, see?  You knew it.  Here’s an easy one for ‘Zany Day’:  “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.  Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your head.  Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she’s gone.  __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __…”  Hint:  The title is a person’s name and location.  

Since the day called for a road trip, we took one.  We drove out to the country to the ‘Frame Factory’.  Khun Todd had finished with Lisa’s large, four panel cast acrylic print.  Rolling along on the two-lane road, taking in the scenery was a nice change from 24 hours ago when I was riding on trains through Bangkok.  When we arrived, the first thing we did was look at Lisa’s artwork.  They did a great job of putting the four pieces together, forming one large art piece.  Lisa decided to have him change the color of the frame, and we concluded that they would have to deliver it. It’s just too big for the van.  Then Todd took us on a tour of some new rooms he’s created.  On the way to his private painting studio, we went through a room that hold his collection of very old radios, and a model car collection.  I had no idea he collected such things. 

Natcha and Neechanon came to visit this evening.  When Lisa got out the big container of plastic Lego-type toys, she was content to play with just two pieces the whole time they were upstairs.  Natcha told us that Neechanon can now count to ten in Thai.  For a little one with a fever, she was very happy.  

Those pesky bees that have been living in the rear of the waterfall have now decided that the end of the pool near the house is their new ’spa’.  Nothing disturbs their groove.  We tried washing the tiles and spraying organic insect repellant.  Neither effort made them go away.  Folklore says that they will leave when their ’season’ is done.  We’re not sure about that.  If it is true, we’ll close up the hole in the waterfall while they’re on vacation.  The Wild Kingdom lives.  In the meantime, we’ll talk to some of our friends who live in the country and see what they have to say.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Let us be grateful to people
who make us happy, they are 
the charming gardeners who 
make our souls blossom.”
~Marcel Proust

Tuesday, November 21, 2017



The weather today in Bangkok was warm, but not crazy hot (87F).  There was some humidity in the mix and that made it feel a little hotter than it really was.  

I expected to hear from more of you about this week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song.  I think this will help your memories.
“Wonder this time where she’s gone, wonder if she’s gone to stay.  __ __ __ when she’s gone, and this house just ain’t no home, anytime she goes away.  And I know, I know (repeat 27 more times).  Hey, I ought to leave the young thing alone, but __ __ __ when she’s gone…”  Hint:  The singer needs someone to lean on.

I’m back from my crazy day of flying through the air and riding the rails.  My trip to Bangkok took a bit of doing, but it was a big success.  It started at Chiang Rai International Airport when I discovered that my tickets were for the next day.  They had room on the flights I needed so I had to buy two more tickets.  After an hour in the air, I got lunch in the airport and went searching for the Airport line.  It’s a train that goes from the airport to the city. The beginning of the line is in the basement of the airport.  Even though it’s the beginning of the line, the train was almost full when I got on.  Hmm.  So I stood for the trip to the end of the line, and then transferred to the Skytrain that goes into the heart of the city.  When the doors opened for that one, it was solid people.  I managed to get into a car that had enough room for me to hold onto a pole for half the trip.  The rest of the way I was able to lean on a plastic barrier and relax a bit.

I knew I was getting close to my destination when I saw the big glamor malls like Siam Paragon flying by.  Nana Station is very close to a seedy part of Bangkok nightlife.  In the daytime it’s just busy.  A two block walk and I was at Yoga Elements, where Juan, the Osteopath, conducts his practice.  He treated me for almost 2 hours and taught me some things to do at home.  We talked about aikido practice and he told me he’s been doing it for 15 years.  He began in Spain and he was drawn to Thailand to go deeper into his studies.  He is part of a large community of practitioners.  While we were talking, he was loosening various muscles using a yellow cream with a very distinctive smell.  I left the studio reeking of this stuff, but since it’s widely used in massage therapy, I don’t think I offended anyone (555).  

The reverse trip to the airport was a little better, except when I missed a stop and had to double back.  On the last part, the airport line, I got to sit down.  What a relief.  It was very interesting to be in the giant airport with no luggage.  I could take everything I needed in my ‘everyday’ bag.  The flight home had lots of empty seats, which meant that I had no ‘seat mate’.  Our little airport was very busy when the plane arrived.  There was another group of passengers being directed to the international section as we were herded to the baggage area.  There was a line of traffic waiting to exit the airport.  I’ve never seen that before.  When I got to the main road, all three lights on the traffic signal were lit.  What does one do when confronted with red, yellow and green at the same time?  I crept into the intersection, noticed that the cross-traffic was stopped, and proceeded quickly.  I was on my way home.

I didn’t take any photos on this little trip.  Instead, I leave you with a couple more photos of Neechanon.  The first pic is that joy that little kids get when they discover some simple little thing a toy can do.  The second is a bit of a statement.  That tin holds some little sweet crackers and she likes them.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“It doesn’t take a lot of
strength to hang on.  It takes
a lot of strength to let go.”
~J.C. Watts

Monday, November 20, 2017



This weekend the weather was HOT.  Even with morning clouds and the threat of rain it still ended up being very hot and dry.  There is supposed to be something coming from China, but it’s already a day or so late.  We need one good rain to water things and clear the air.

Yes, ‘Old School Friday’ was indeed Elvis Presley singing “Heartbreak Hotel”.  I swear this ‘Easy Monday’ song is easy.  “__ __ __ when she’s gone.  It’s not warm when she’s away.  __ __ __ when she’s gone, and she’s always gone too long, any time she goes away.”  Hint:  See, I told you, easy.

Our weekend was mostly spent around The Big Brown House.  Sunday was the fun day.  After lunch at The Wanderer we were just about to leave when Khun Noot came out from the kitchen.  She and Lisa had a warm greeting and then we asked her about some round loaves of bread on display.  Noot told us it took a total of seven hours to make the bread and it was just flour, water and yeast.  I resisted some interesting looking desserts and we left with the bread.  It is delicious.  We had some with breakfast this morning and with soup at dinner.  I think another loaf is in order.  

Sunday evening we had more visits with our friends at the Night Bazaar.  Some of it was about the weather, but most of it was about the nature of the tourist season.  There seems to be more people at this time, but they just look and leave.  It’s too early to tell, but it’s the first thing the vendors want to talk about.  

The new bus station is in operation to a certain degree.  The buses are now loading in the new station, but the parking structure is still blocked off.  It won’t be long before the whole thing will be running smoothly and Bus Station street will be less congested.  I say that with positive anticipation.

We have been having wonderful visits with Neechanon lately.  She is learning how to play and share and it’s making it so much fun.  Here are some photos from few days ago.  She is such a charmer.

Tomorrow will be a big adventure day for me.  I’m going to fly to Bangkok and get a treatment from Juan, the osteopath.  The work he did a few weeks ago really helped my knees.  I did something that undid what he corrected in my back so I’m going to see him at the studio where he works.  After the flight to BKK I will take the Airport Train into town then transfer to the Skytrain for the final leg of the journey.  I will be a few blocks from the studio and I won’t have to sit in the traffic.  This will be my first solo flight to BKK.  Did you know that it’s also called ‘City of Angels’, just like Los Angeles?  I’ll be back tomorrow night and tell you all about it.

Have a Great Week.


“Forgiveness is a virtue 
of the brave.”
~Indira Gandhi

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai had another outstanding day.  The high was in the low 90s, going down to the low 70s.  It’s enough to spoil me.

So, the ‘Zany Day’ song was “Get Off of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones.  There’s nothing left but ‘Old School Friday’.  This one should be easy:  “Well, since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell.  Well, it’s down at the end of Lonely Street at __ __.  Where I’ll be, I’ll be so lonely baby, well I’m so lonely.  I’ll be so lonely, I could die.”
Hint:  It’s from 1956, but some of you will still know it.  The title is a place.  The singer was in his prime.

This morning, while we were playing with Daku, Natcha and Neechanon hung out after the morning kitchen thing.  Neechanon was experimenting with different ways to walk and run.  Then she discovered the joys of jumping down the incline in the lawn.  It’s only about three little jumps, but it’s different than doing it on a flat surface.  Hearing her little laugh in the morning is a great way to start the day.

The excursion for the day was a trip down the Super Highway to the Amway store.  We only go there for one thing: filters for our air purifier.  It always ends up being some extended thing when we go there.  Since it’s usually over a year between visits, we have to renew our membership to get the discount.  Today the cashier couldn’t find the product in the catalogue.  Eventually, we got what we needed and went home.  

This afternoon Khun Jin came over and Lisa got a long massage.  I went to the mall and met a friend for coffee.  I can’t remember being in the mall on a Friday afternoon on a sunny day.  It was packed with shoppers, tourists, and school kids.  Luckily, we had a table at Starbuck’s and didn’t have to negotiate the interior of the mall.  From where we sat, we could see that a big food faire was being set up outside in the parking lot.  There’s always something happening there.

Today’s photo was taken at Work@Home coffee shop.  It’s Katai modeling her new white tiger ring. 

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


This ‘Funny’ photo was taken at Central Plaza Mall this morning. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017



We seem to be in that boring, redundant, same same weather pattern.  Oh, it’s beautiful, but how many times, how many ways do I tell you?

The ‘Zany Day’ song still has some friends out there.  “The telephone is ringing, I say, ‘Hi, it’s me, who is there on the line?’  A voice says, ‘Hi, hello, how are you?’ Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine.  He says, ‘It’s three a.m., there’s too much noise, don’t you people ever want to go to bed?  Just ‘cause you feel so good, do you have to drive me out of my head?’  I say, Hey!  You! __ __ __ __ __….”

This morning Mr. Daku got a bath.  He did his usual resistance routine, but got bathed anyway.  During the final rinse, Neechanon and her parents came inside the yard after their morning street kitchen adventure.  Neechanon was quite surprised to see her furry friend getting the hose put on him.  When Natcha explained that he was dirty and needed a bath, she seemed to understand.  She doesn’t like dirt.

After coffee at Work@Home, we went to one of the local helmet shops and got a helmet for Natcha.  We have been after her to wear a helmet, and when Gong told us that the one she had was no good, well…  Now we have to get them to put one on Neechanon, even if she fusses.  

It’s that time of year when the registration on the van had to be renewed.  That meant a trip to the Thailand Department of Land Transportation.  First, we had to purchase the Compulsory Insurance, kind of a liability policy.  Then we went to a window where things were stamped, more money was given, and that was it.  We were there for about 15 minutes and it was all done.  In order to get there and back, we had to drive on that newly paved road with the awful drain dips.  Today it looked like they were working on making the lids of the drains even with the road surface.  Maybe in a few weeks it will be useable again.

Natcha sent us a video clip of Gong’s sister, who takes care of Neechanon during the day, teaching her little ‘student’ to pronounce a series of words.  Gope would say a word and Neechanon would repeat it.  She really paid attention and repeated until she got distracted.  For an almost 2 year old, she’s doing great.  

Today’s photos are from Siam Paragon in Bangkok.  The blue patterns you see are water.  Somehow, the water is released in such a way that it can create many different shapes.  I stood there for a long time trying to understand, then just enjoyed it.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“To affect the quality of the day,
that is the highest of arts.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, November 15, 2017



We had another day of postcard weather here in Chiang Rai.  Now we just need some overnight rains to water the lawns.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “A Hard Days Night” by The Beatles.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song comes from the same era, and also from across the pond.  I’ll bet you remember this:  “I live in an apartment on the ninety-ninth floor of my block.  And I sit at home looking out the window, imagining the world has stopped.  Then in flies a guy who’s all dressed up like a Union Jack, and says, I’ve won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack.  I says, Hey! You! __ __ __ __ __ (repeat 2x), don’t hang around ‘cause two’s a crowd…”  Clue:  The singer is feeling crowded by the outside world.

This morning Gong and Natcha set up their portable kitchen on the driveway apron in front of The Big Brown House.  We went out to be ‘customers’ just as Natcha was cooking up the egg-fried rice that was the main dish, for their first sale.  She put it in a foam container and the young man drove off on his motorbike, with his breakfast.  Lisa ordered a plate and while Natcha was cooking it up, Gong brought out a little table and two chairs.  It felt strange to be sitting right on the edge of the busy road, in morning traffic, watching Lisa eat.  I didn’t have any because they use soy oil and sauce.  I can tell you that it smelled delicious.  We’re hoping it catches on and they can build up a regular clientele.

Our adventure today was a drive to the country and a visit to the frame factory.  Lisa has a four panel art piece that will be one image when it is framed.  It was nice to see the countryside.  It’s rice harvesting time, which means the great expanses of green are gone.  The rice is now a yellowish-green color and we could see where they started cutting and stacking the shafts.  There was a lot of activity at the factory.  Khun Todd and Lisa went over the details of the framing and we’ll pick it up next week.  It will be in her solo exhibit next May at 9 Art Gallery.

Since we were in the ‘neighborhood’, we went to Doy Din Dang for coffee.  This is the ceramics complex of Khun Somluck.  He wasn’t there, but we had a nice visit with his wife, Tamako.  We had an interesting conversation about ‘art business’ and it’s complexities.  

On our stop at Browney’s Pet World for kibble and treats we saw a big display of assorted cages.  It’s an uncomfortable thing to see, but I guess some animals have to be confined at times.  With the rise of apartment/condo living some pets can’t be left to roam the house all day.  Hmm.  

Here’s a bit of trivia for the next dull moment:  During the Loy Krathong festival this year in Chiang Mai, 78 airline flights were canceled over a two day period in order to avoid collisions with the lanterns that are released into the night sky. 

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“How wonderful it is that
nobody need wait a single
moment before starting to 
improve the world.”
~Anne Frank

Tuesday, November 14, 2017



The Chiang Rai weather was about the same as yesterday.  It was very warm in the afternoon, with a new batch of puffy clouds and a vague promise of rain.  

For some, this really is an ‘Easy Monday’ song.  For others, it happened many days and nights ago.  Here’s verse 2:
“You know I work all day to get you money to buy you things.  And it’s worth it just to hear you say, you’re going to give me everything.  So why on earth should I moan, ‘cause when I get you alone, you know I feel OK.  When I’m home everything seems to be right.  When I’m home, feeling you holding me tight, tight, yeah.  It’s been __ __ __ __, and I’ve been working like a dog….”  Clue:  There was a clue given already. 

This morning, after our normal routine around the house, we had coffee at The Wanderer.  Technology has a funny way of making us laugh sometimes.  Even though we got our high-speed internet working, we went to The Wanderer because we had to pick up coffee for the house.  We figured we’d just call Joe in Palo Alto while we were there.  It turns out their internet was down, so we called Joe.  His Skype was not working, so we ended up having an old fashioned phone call.  

This afternoon the technicians from our telecom company came and relocated the two devices that make it go.  We wanted to move them out of the room where we spend the most time, just to be away from the ‘rays’.  Apparently, it’s not healthy to be in close proximity with the waves that emanate from such devices.  

Yesterday, at Big C, I was mildly impressed with the stacking job someone did in the rice section.  When bags of rice are not stacked too high, it’s easy to walk by and take it for granted.  When it’s stacked high, and it’s like a little wall, you notice.  Yes, it’s all rice.   

Neechanon has been in a great mood lately.  She has been practicing her jumping, adding the word ‘Tookay’ with every jump, letting us know she’s over her fear of the lizard.  Her waving has also been taken to the next level and actually looks like a wave.  Here is a photo of her as she approached the exercise bike.  It’s still too big, but she’s working on it.

Now that the rainy season appears to be over, the city is repaving and renewing the streets with gusto.  I saw the big asphalt machines on another street yesterday and we have new traffic signals at several key intersections.  Maybe all the lights will shine and there will be no guessing as to what to do.  When everything is finished, it will be fun to ride around (555).  I can give them a list of streets full of potholes if they need something to do.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“We relish news of our heroes,
forgetting that we are 
extraordinary to somebody too.”
~Helen Hayes

Monday, November 13, 2017



The weather is still beautiful.  Blue sky with a border of puffy white clouds and a thunderstorm ‘nearby’.  Yeah, that never happened…again.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Sweet Little Sixteen” by Chuck Berry.  The ‘Easy Monday’ song is from 1964.
“It’s been __ __ __ __, and I’ve been working like a dog.  It’s been __ __ __ __, I should be sleeping like a log.  But when I get home to you, I find the things that you do will make me feel alright.”  Hint:  Title is a great play on words by those four lads from across the pond.  There was a movie of the same name.

Saturday evening we went to ArtBridge for the opening of a watercolor exhibition.  All of the work was landscapes with lots of pastel shades. As usual, we met up with our friends from the artist community and had some interesting conversations.  We learned that there is now a weekly 'art walk' style street fair at Wat Rong Khun.  We’ll be going to check it out on a coming weekend. 

The recent detour to avoid a landslide was set up again, but for one afternoon.  The house that was teetering on the edge has been removed.  Now there’s is just a pile of small boulders at the bottom.  As one drives by, it still looks a little fragile.  

One of the most heartwarming stories this week was about the solo fundraising efforts of a Thai rock and roller.  Bodyslam is one of my favorite Thai Rock groups.  Its lead singer ’Toon’ Bodyslam is running from the south of Thailand to the north, raising money for more hospitals in areas that need help.  He’ll be coming through Chiang Rai sometime in December.  I hope it’s not before we leave.  We want to see him run through and make a donation.  So far, he has raised millions of Baht, with donations from corporations and school children alike.  Here’s a link:

Sunday evening we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner and did some holiday shopping.  The ‘High Season’ has begun and the place was crowded.  Some vendors were doing business, while others were plagued with visitors just looking.  Cruising through the Bazaar, a few of our friends asked us where our daughter was.  They had become used to the three of us on Sunday nights.  It’s quite acceptable in this culture to be nosey about peoples personal lives.  We’ve adjusted to most of that pretty well.  

The Internet drama may be over.  Today we had a visit from one of the fluent English speaking techs who is more like a ‘boss’.  He brought a couple of guys who installed a bigger router.  We now have ‘5G’ WiFi and not only is it very fast, it hasn’t dropped the signal.  The world is changing and we’re trying to keep up.  

We were very surprised to discover that Starbuck’s at the Central Plaza Mall has Holiday decorations up already.  Couldn’t resist sending you some photos of the results.  Since Thanksgiving is not celebrated here, they don’t know the ‘rule’ about waiting (555).  Let me know if your local Starbuck’s is already ‘dressed up’.

Have a Great Week.


“Start where you are. 
Use what you have.
Do what you can.”
~Arthur Ashe

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai weather today was nearly the same as yesterday.  Cloudy, a little warmer, and dry.  It seems like every day is getting a little bit warmer.  Hmm.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Little Old Lady From Pasadena” by Jan & Dean.  Congrats to all  who got it.  See if you know this ‘Old School Friday’ tune:  “They’re really rockin’ in Boston, in Pittsburgh, P.A.  Deep in the heart of Texas, and ‘round the Frisco Bay.  All over St. Louis, and down in New Orleans.  All the cats wanna dance with __ __ __.”  Hint:  There is a number in the title.  

Yesterday we got to important bits of information regarding the land around us.  The lot next door to the west, will not be developed for 3 or 4 years.  That’s great news.  The lot behind us is getting a house, and building begins in January.  That’s not so good.  The owners came visiting yesterday to inform us of the project, and that we will have to change the location of our drain pipe.  We think there is a solution, just have to walk out in the weeds next door and see if it will work.  I hope it’s a little house.

This morning we went to the nursery to get new plants to place on one side of the waterfall.  There are lots of pipes that were hidden by some bushes that got pulled out.  Now it’s time for a cover-up.  Gong did a good job of placing them the way Lisa pictured. 

We went to the mall to complain about our internet...again.  It takes a few tries to convey the message to someone without a full understanding of English.  The customer service rep at the mall seemed to have a better understanding.  When there is more than one problem, if there isn’t complete understanding, the first problem is all that is mentioned to the tech guys.  Today we had two men at the house by the time we got home.  They did some reconfiguring, blah blah and produced very fast speeds.  Now we’ll see if it continues to drop the signal.  That was problem number two.  Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of ‘Internet in Thailand’.

Tonight it is quiet outside.  Not a hint of bass drum, off key singing, or things exploding.  Just a beautiful, still Friday night.  After nine days of music blasting from 6pm to 11 or 12 midnight, it’s refreshing.  I did find out who the singer was a few nights ago.  Cat had a schedule of all the performers and she filled me in.  The band is called ‘Clear’ and I went to Youtube and sampled a few things.  I plan on listening to more.  

Today’s photo was taken from one of the escalators at the mall today.  When the day just started and no one is buying desserts, TV on the telephone is a way to pass the time.  

Natcha informed us that Neechanon calls Daku.  It’s still in her language, but it translates to ‘Daku come’.  She says ‘Koo Ka’.  There you have it.  I suppose only a mother would know, but she understood.  It won’t be long before we’ll all understand what she’s saying.  She is practicing all the time.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Stand by for the ‘Funnies’.  Also, Formula One is in Brazil this weekend.  Zoom.


Thursday, November 9, 2017



We had another overcast day with mild temps.  Late afternoon attempt at rain fizzled.  The yard could use some watering (555).

A few of you knew the ‘Zany Day’ song right away.  It was sung by a duo in 1964, back when car songs were big.
“And everybody’s saying that there’s nobody meaner, than the __ __ __ __ __.  She drives real fast and she drives real hard, she’s the terror of Colorado Boulevard.  It’s the __ __ __ __ __ (go granny, go granny, go granny go!)”
Hint:  The title is a phrase that used to be used to refer to a slow driving senior.  

It was another whirlwind day in Chiang Rai.  We drove up to Ban Du and had coffee at Shong Cafe, then we dropped down the highway to Makro for odds and ends.  Our next stop was in town, at the fruit market vendors and then home.  We ate lunch early so we could be ready for Cat and the film crew.  Things were working out just right.

Cat arrived on her motorbike just ahead of Rachel and the film crew.  The ‘team’ consisted of two documentary film makers and their respective sons.  They already had a concept in mind, so after introductions and a tour of the house, they went to work.  The idea was to show Cat coming home and us greeting her at the door.  Then we walked through the living room and out to the poolside area where we sat and talked.  After they were satisfied with the film shots, they did some ‘family portraits’ of the three of us by the pool.  They were a cool bunch and it’s a shame they had to leave so soon, but they were off to Cat’s village for lunch and a shoot with her sister.  That’s a wrap.

After a brief nap, we went to Immigration for our 90 day check-in.  To our surprise, the place was completely empty.  We handed our friend at the counter our passports, sat down and waited a few minutes, and we were done.  That had to be a record for the quickest check-in.   

On our way to Immigration, the road we normally take had just been repaved.  The asphalt was smooth and it would have been a great ride except for the fact that it was higher than the storm grates that are evenly placed in the road.  This meant that every 20 feet or so, the van would rock from the wheel dipping into the lower level.  When there was no oncoming traffic, I drove down the middle and avoided the problem.  We came home a different way, it was so annoying.

Today’s photo was taken at ‘Napa’s Shoes’, the new store we visited yesterday.  

We contacted our former gardener, Khun Keck, to see if he could help us with the bees that had nested behind the waterfall.  His only suggestion was to kill them.  Still looking for a humane way to deal with them, Lisa sent a photo to our friend Tye to see if she knew anyone who could remove them safely.  She said we should keep them as they are good luck.  So, it looks like we’re keeping the bees.  As long as we give them a wide berth and don’t upset them, all will be well.  Hmm.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.
All things break.  And all things can be mended.
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go.  Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
~L.R. Knost

Wednesday, November 8, 2017



We woke up to a slightly warmer morning than yesterday.  The cloud cover kept the temperature down and we had a very comfortable day.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “It’s Too Late” by Carole King.  That means it’s time for a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “It’s the __ __ __ __ __. (go granny go granny, go granny go)  Has a pretty little flower bed of white gardenias. (go granny, go granny, go granny go) But parked in a rickety old garage is a brand new, shiny red, Super-Stock Dodge!”  Hint: Lives in the city where the Rose Parade takes place.

This morning, after our morning coffee, we went to the flower market to get an arrangement to take to our friend Tye (pronounced Tdie), who just opened a shoe store in her shophouse.  There are lots of places selling shoes in Chiang Rai, but I have to say, this one is very special.  The shoes are beautiful, there is lots of lighting, and the price is right.  Consider an average price of $5 per pair.  She even has a couch in the back room for husbands and boyfriends (555).  We’ve known her since our early days here in Thailand and she has helped us with many things.  

This afternoon we had a visit from Boot (our former housekeeper) and her boyfriend Rudi.  We hadn’t seen them in some time and it was a nice reunion.  The real reunion was between Daku and Boot.  He was beside himself the whole time they were at the house.  They started out in the front yard, Daku running in circles around Boot, then wagging his tail so hard he looked like he might fall over.  Then, inside it was more of the same.  He mellowed a bit, but couldn’t stop giving her all his attention.  It was very sweet.  They have known each other for the first 5 years of Daku’s life so it makes sense.  He hadn’t seen her for at least a year.  We caught up on each others lives and Rudi and I talked about 'the times' a bit.  It was a good day.

Tomorrow will be another adventure day.  Cat, along with Rachel and a film crew from the States, are coming over after lunch to do a segment for “The Freedom Story” (formerly The Sold Project) about Cat’s life at The Big Brown House.  They are filming her life in various locations, including her dorm and classes at the university, life at our house, and at the village where she grew up.  Then they’ll squeeze it all down to a few minutes.  It should be an interesting experience. 

Today’s photos are from the Bangkok weekend.  The first photo is a water-taxi from the Oriental Hotel.  It’s a modern version of an old-school transport, all in carved wood.  It shuttles guests to various riverside locations.  The second photo is one of the many exotic vehicles for sale on the third floor at Siam Paragon.  We saw everything from Minis to Rolls-Royces.  This little Lamborghini Gallardo really caught my eye.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Nothing in life is to be feared,
it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more,
so that we may fear less.”
~Marie Curie

Tuesday, November 7, 2017



After I sent you yesterday’s message, it began to rain.  It was a slow dripping kind of rain that went on for hours.  That’s the best kind, especially when it’s in the middle of the night.  Today was cooler with a few hints of blue sky.

Most of you have already written with the title of the ‘Easy Monday’ song, but there’s always room for more (555).
We’ll skip to the last verse:  “There’ll be good time again for me and you, but we just can’t stay together, don’t you feel it too.  Still I’m glad for what we had, and how I once loved you.  But __ __ __, baby, now, __ __ __, though we really did try to make it…..”  Hint:  Too easy.  

Last night there was music from the river, of course.  The last act to perform was quite different from what we’re used to hearing.  It was a piano-based group lead by a woman singer who had a wonderful sense of pitch.  The songs were very melodic and had beginnings, middles and ends.  The thing that first caught my ear was the obvious nod to gospel music.  I don’t know who they were, but it would be a treat to see them up close, as opposed to just hearing them from across the river.  

This morning we went to The Wanderer for coffee and a Skype chat.  Since we go there because the internet is strong, we finally made a point to go to our provider and discuss the problems.  It seemed like once we told them that Youtube and Skype didn’t work so well, they understood that there was a problem.  They actually use Youtube to test how stable a connection is, since everybody Youtubes.  "Someone will be with you shortly." (555)

Natcha and Gong have changed their approach to selling food.  Gong will be selling in the mornings at a location where there is more of a demand for food.  That means that they will be here more hours and Neechanon will be around more.  This is great, since she’s evolving so rapidly, we don’t want to miss the special times.  Last night she and Natcha came up for a quick visit and Neechanon brought me a couple of toy monkeys.  She handed me one and kept the other and then gave me big smile and began talking.  It seemed like a full minute of non-stop talk.  There were changes in inflection, facial emphasis, the whole bit.  Observant children learn how language works from listening and watching.  

Today’s photos are from Bangkok.  The first is a Hindu Temple on a major thoroughfare.  People of all faiths stop and light incense or leave flowers.  There is also a Buddhist Temple that gets the same traffic.  There is such a mingling of the two that the lines are sometimes blurred.   The second photo is a table made from split bamboo.  The top lifts off to provide storage space.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“No problem can withstand 
the assault of sustained thinking.”

Monday, November 6, 2017



Sunday, the weather in Bangkok was cloudy and looking like rain.  There was mist on the way to the airport.  Tatt told us it was raining where he was.  When we arrived in Chiang Rai it was dry and windy.  It tried to rain today but it didn’t make it.

Well, the ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Get A Job” by The Silhouettes.  This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ tune should be familiar:  “Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time.  There’s something wrong here, there can be no denying.  One of us in changing, or maybe we’ve just stopped trying.  And __ __ __, baby, now __ __ __, though we really did try to make it.  Something inside has died and I can’t hide and I just can’t fake it, oh no no.”  Hint:  Something that is the opposite of early.

Our weekend adventure in Bangkok continued on Saturday morning.  We had scheduled a meeting for 11am at Paragon, one of the high-end malls in a row of big shopping centers.  We arrived a little after 10am and the place was already getting crowded.  This was the first weekend after the cremation ceremonies and also the weekend of Loy Krathong.  Khun Boonrit dropped us off and we found a table at Starbuck’s.  The appointment was with the woman who served as ‘presenter’ for the Women’s Exhibit at ArtBridge.  It was a good meeting and as a result, she will visit us in Chiang Rai and get a closer look at Lisa’s work and the process.  She has contacts in Burma and Bali.  She’s also a dog lover and will probably stay with us.  We felt good about the connection that was made.

Tatt goes to Chulalongkorn University, which is fairly close to where we were so he met us for lunch.  He’s in his final year of degree in marine biology, and super busy.  When we asked him if he was still studying Italian he said he already had 22 credits this semester. Instead he is downloading lessons from the internet, doing the worksheets and then taking them to his professor to have him check his work.  Most of his time is spent in the laboratory working on ways to identify microplastic in micro organisms as a result of pollution.   We went to the ‘Sea Life’ exhibit where he interned last summer.  He stayed with us while we went from floor to floor looking for the bookstore and art supplies.  It was fun.  We kept noticing young people in costumes related to some anime characters.  Tatt told us that the first of each month there is something like that at the mall.  

After the mall Khun Boonrit drove us back to the house.  Once again, the traffic was the topic of conversation.  While sitting at a light I watched people line up at a motorbike taxi station.  It’s really just a place at the curb, but it seemed like an organized ‘thing’.  The drivers wear orange vests with their I.D. in a little window on the back of their vests.  A bike pulls up, they tell him where they’re going and they pull away.  Then another bike appears and so it goes.  It is possible to use several types of transportation to negotiate around Bangkok on a single outing.  Some people use the bike system to get to the train, then take a boat up the river, get in a Tuk-Tuk for part of the ride and then maybe a car taxi for the final part of the trip.  Compared to Bangkok, Chiang Rai is still in the baby stages of transportation.  

Saturday evening James BBQ’d chicken and veggies and we had a wonderful dinner.  Sunday morning I got a real treat.  Normally, James and Nita have a trainer who comes to the house for a workout and physical therapy.  Juan is an Osteopath, originally from Madrid, Spain.  I had been telling them about my lower back and knee and when James had to be away on Sunday, Nita insisted that Juan see me.  I got one of the best treatments I have ever received.  He explained what was happening and did things to correct the issues.  He told me I would feel uncomfortable for a few days but then I’d feel better.  I had no discomfort while traveling home, and today I used the stairs sparingly with no pain.  My new mission is to find an Osteopath in our area so I can continue with this form of therapy.  So grateful.

Today’s photo was taken at Paragon in Bangkok.  It's an example of the creative environments that some of the restaurants offer.  They used driftwood and bamboo to create a tropical vibe.  

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (555) the Loy Krathong musical intrusion continues.  Last night they went until midnight.  They’re back tonight, a little quieter for now but it could get loud later.  Thursday is the last night.

Have a Great Week.


“Feeling Gratitude and not 
expressing it is like wrapping
a present and not giving it.”
~William Arthur Ward

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Funnies


Bangkok had beautiful weather today.  The high was 87F and the low was 73F.  Chiang Rai is going to feel like an icebox when we return.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Summertime Blues” originally by Eddie Cochran and later by Blue Cheer.  For ‘Old School Friday’ see if you remember this:  “(Intro) Sha na na na, sha na na na na x 3, yip yip yip yip yip yip yip yip, num num num num num num __ __ __ sha na na na na na na na na.  Every morning about this time she gets me out of my bed a-crying __ __ __.  After breakfast every day she throws the want ads right my way and never fails to say, ‘__ __ __’.  Sha na na na, sha na na na na na……”  Hint:  Employment crisis in the household.

This morning we were driven to MBK plaza, a five story, giant shopping center.  There were a couple of things we wanted to find, and it’s just a crazy fun place to experience.  We found what we were looking for and also discovered a tattoo expo that was going on.  No, we didn’t get any ink, but we did see some beautiful artwork.  The police have been cracking down on the sale of counterfeit goods and the place was a little different than when we were there 5 years ago.   During our travels we saw a big sign reading: “R & B Karaoke”.  Upon further examination I discovered it stood for Rhythm and Beat.  How could they?

We met Nita at one of the malls after her yoga class and the three of us went to lunch at The Anantara Hotel.  The food was quite good, and they made me a mango ‘pun’ that was perfect.  A pun is like a slushy only thicker, mostly fruit and ice blended into a beverage that one can hardly draw through a straw.  From lunch we went for coffee at The Oriental Hotel by the river.  Nothing like an iced-coffee by the river on a hot day.  The hotel was setting up for their Loy Krathong celebration dinner for the guests.  Before we left the hotel grounds, Nita wanted us to see a jewelry store she likes.  We don’t usually browse in places like this, but it was something to see.  The craftsmanship was amazing.  We didn’t ask about the price on the emerald earrings, but the diamond encrusted purse was going for $25K.  I will just hang on to the memory of what I saw.  Parked outside was a Porsche eHybrid belonging to someone with some extra cash (555).  

The traffic in Bangkok is heavy and intense.  I don’t think I would ever be inclined to drive here unless it was an emergency.  Khun Boonlit was masterful in guiding the SUV through tight spaces and merging in and out of the strangeness.  The abundance of motorbike taxis is mind boggling.  The drivers are mostly men, wearing orange vests and hauling customers in and out of the lanes, beating the traffic.  James and Nita use them all the time.  We’re not that brave, or something.  

Our last stop of the day was Villa Market, which has a lot of Western food.  We picked up some dinner items and finally returned to the house.  It was a fun but tiring day.  

Today’s photos were taken at the two hotels we visited.  The first is a big Krathong in the lobby of The Anantara Resort.  The second photo is in the lobby of The Oriental Hotel.  It also has a Krathong motif.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    The ‘Funnies’ are next.


Thursday, November 2, 2017



The weather in Bangkok is warm and a little humid.  There will be no chilly mornings for the rest of the week.  Temps in the mid 80s will be just right for seeing the city and hanging out.

The ‘Zany Day’ song has three verses.  I’m gonna jump to the third verse in hopes that you’ll figure it out.  A few people already have.  “I gonna take two weeks, gonna have a fine vacation.  I gonna take my problem to the United Nations.  Well I called my congressman and he said quote, ‘I’d love to help you son but you’re too young to vote.’  Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do, but there ain’t no cure for the __ __.”  Hint:  It’s a malady that usually comes on during the months between June and August.

Our flight from Chiang Rai to Bangkok (BKK) left early, was very smooth and allowed us to have more time on our first day here.  Our taxi driver estimated the time to our destination and Google Maps gave us the same number.  They were both right.  We are staying in a little neighborhood that is actually in the middle of the bustling city, but it’s totally quiet.  Our hosts are James and Nita and we know them through Lisa’s Dad Joe.  We first met them in Chiang Rai, where we had lunch at ArtBridge and coffee at The Wanderer.  When we arrived at the house we were greeted by their housekeeper.  Once we got settled, it was time for a late lunch.  Nita and her friend Grace took us to The Commons.  It’s like an upscale food-court with a range of choices from different countries and some specialty shops like the place that featured egg dishes.  Picture this: we ordered a chicken sandwich at a Vietnamese shop, from an American guy, in Bangkok.  There was also Mexican food, very ‘healthy’ food, and a place called ‘Meat and Bone’ which we avoided.  Our food was good, had lots of laughs and then went to Healthy Land for a massage at the most elegant place I’ve ever been.  Nita and James have a driver, Khun Boonlit, who slipped us through the traffic in their Toyota Fortuner.  After the massage we went to a shop full of ceramics and fabrics.  What an afternoon.

This evening, before dinner, I got a chance to visit with James.  They have been away from the States for 30 years.  They have lived in many places and seem to like Bangkok and London the most.  Their house is like an art gallery with artifacts from their travels as an extra bonus.  The house has a pool and it may be warm enough to swim tomorrow.

Today’s photo was taken from our bedroom window.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Strive not to be a success,
but rather to be of value.”
~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, November 1, 2017



Cold seems to be upon us.  At least, what we consider cold.  The lows are in the low 60s and the highs are in the mid 80s.  It will be warmer in Bangkok so that’s some consolation.  Still, it feels strange to be wearing a sweatshirt in the morning.

‘Easy Monday’ was a memorable hit in many minds.  “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor is still a great anthem.  For ‘Zany Day’ let’s see what’s in the bag.  “A-I’m a-gonna raise a fuss, I’m a-gonna raise a holler, about a-workin’ all summer just to try to make a dollar.  Ev’ry time I call my baby, to try to get a date, my boss say, ‘no dice son, you gotta work late’.  Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do, but there ain’t no cure for the __ __.”  Hint:  It’s not the time of year for this tune, but it’s fun and easy.  There’s a season in the title.

This morning we had our weekly Skype call with Joe.  Once again, we called from The Wanderer, where the WiFi was strong, the coffee was good and the background was green and lush.  It’s fun sitting out in the morning air, talking to the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

We had a final list of errands to run before our departure tomorrow and we got everything done.  We had to drive through the flower mart to get to the plastic store and the fruit stands.  The flower vendors all seemed to be doing big business today.  I don’t know the reason, but the traffic in front of the stalls was heavy.

This afternoon Cat came over.  We had a nice visit and she’s going to come and stay with Daku one night while we’re gone.  

After dinner we had a visit from Natcha and Neechanon.  What a treat.  Tonight, Neechanon was completely over her fear of the geko wall hanging.  She wanted to hold it.  After walking around with it and showing us how she was cool with it, she walked out the door with it.  We all laughed and she came back inside.  Tonight she met a new activity collection that we got her at Big C.  It’s a box full of plastic pieces that are similar to Legos, but simpler.  I thought she would forget the other ‘attractions’ but she remembered the alphabet letters and gave them some attention also.  At one point she was saying ‘A, B’ and then going into her language.  She did a lot of talking this evening, every now and then we could pick out a word.  She was definitely talking about things around her and trying to tell us about them.  While checking out the bathtub the word for water in Thai was a big part of the stream of words.  It was a great visit and it will hold us until we get back from Bangkok.

Today’s photo was taken in the kitchen.  Neechanon sat on Daku’s bed and he crawled up behind her and settled, not disturbing her from her ‘work’.

Time to finish packing for the trip.  We haven’t been to Bangkok for about 5 years so this will be an experience.  A lot has changed and we’ll be like real ‘visitors’.  It will be the first time we’ve stayed in the home of friends, rather than a hotel.  There will be lots to see besides the galleries.  The city has grown so we’ll have to pace ourselves.  Someone suggested that we plan on doing one thing per day because of the traffic.  I’ll bet we do more (555).   

It’s a Wacky Wednesday.


“Youth has no age.”
~Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Main Thing


Chiang Rai weather today was cool.  This morning it was actually cold.  I wore my hoodie sweatshirt all morning.  It warmed up a little in the afternoon, but it was not what we were expecting.  The sky was clear as a bell.

You may recall that our ‘Easy Monday’ song was about a breakup.  We join the drama at the end of the third verse going into the chorus:  “…Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?  Did you think I’d crumble?  Did you think I’d lay down and die?  Oh, no, not I!  __ __ __.  Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive.  I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give and __ __, __ __ __, hey, hey.”  Hint:  I think it’s all there.

We went to The Wanderer this morning for coffee and we were surprised to see our friend Rachel, from The Freedom Story, along with Tawee, the local director.  It was a nice reunion and we’ll see her more next week.  

I have been having a continuing problem with my lower back and left knee for several weeks so we decided to see the orthopedic doctor at Overbrook Hospital Clinic.  Lisa had good results with an orthopedic doctor there, so we spent the rest of the morning mostly waiting.  After a consultation, x-rays, and more consultation it was recommended that I stick to swimming, and not put any undo stress on my body until I strengthen some supporting muscles.  I kinda knew that, but it was good to get an explanation of what’s going on and see it in pictures.  The stairs are not my friends right now.  

This afternoon we had coffee at Work@Home and hung out with Katai.  She and Thovan went to Hokkaido, Japan recently and we heard about their trip.  They watched a car rally and traveled around the countryside.  Sounds like somewhere we’d like to go.  We always have fun talking about dogs, art, and life in Chiang Rai.  We made tentative plans for an evening out with dinner and live music.  

The music across the river began this morning.  It was mostly recorded stuff until late afternoon and then the live portion of the thumping started.  I’m sure there are some talented artists performing on the stage over there, but all that gets to us is ‘the bottom’.  This is the first time in one year since we’ve heard big sound like this.  Now that the mourning period is over, we’ll probably get a lot more.  Oh boy.

Today’s photo was taken as we were leaving The Wanderer.  A man and his oxen walking down to the river.  He had four adults and two teens in tow.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The main thing is to keep the
main thing the main thing.”
~Stephen Covey