Tuesday, January 31, 2017



We began the day with clouds.  It had that dark overcast feeling like rain was on the way.  A little late morning sun and the clouds were gone.  Hot in the sun, mellow in the shade.  Hmm.

So, a couple of readers have named the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Surely you know this song of gentle seduction.
“Though you don’t know me well, with every little thing only time will tell.  If you believe the things that I do, then we’ll see it through.  Life can be short or long.  Love can be right or wrong, and if I chose the one I’d like to help me through.  I’d like to __ __ __ __.”   Clue:  He wants to be with her, it’s just that simple.  Easy.

Today was the big day.  This morning the tree was delivered.  For now, it’s being called ‘Blue’s Tree’.  That alone brings up so many memories.  They brought it on a big truck with a hoist.  We are very fortunate that Eric is a landscape architect and this is what he does.  He had a whole check list of things to consider when we were choosing the spot for the tree.  There was the sight-line from the Spirit House, whether it would hide the power pole, and would it grow into other trees, etc.  We are very excited about the final result.  It’s still a young tree but it’s already quite beautiful, with bright red flowers.  Blue would have enjoyed it.

After the workers were gone and the tree was watered, Eric, Brenda, Lisa and I sat down and had a long chat about making friends in Chiang Rai.  Eventually, the conversation came around to Blue and it was good.  It’s been a low-key, emotional day.  Now that it’s almost over, it’s catching up with me.  Time for some diversion.

Neetchanon has a new thing she likes to do.  Natcha plays a lively song on her phone and Neetchanon walks around holding the phone, stopping occasionally to do a little dance.  One time, she was leaning against the front window with one hand, holding the phone with the other, and doing deep knee bends to the music.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The only thing worse than being blind
is having sight but no vision.”
~Helen Keller

Monday, January 30, 2017



The Chiang Rai weather is basically the same as last week.  Some evenings are a little warmer than others.  It’s all quite pleasant.  Now, if we could just do something about the smoke.

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “There Goes My Baby” by The Drifters.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be a snap.
“Hey, have you ever tried really reaching out for the other side?  I may be climbing on rainbows, but baby, here goes.  Dreams, they’re for those who sleep.  Life is for us to keep.  And if you’re wondering what this song is leading to, I wanna __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  This 1970 hit was by a group whose name is something you use to make toast.  Now, wasn’t that easy?

The weekend of Chinese New Year is over.  Except for the nightly music show, it was fairly quiet in our area.  Not a lot of fireworks.  Across the river, in town, there was lots of traffic.  Traditionally, people who celebrate the holiday travel to be with family.  Generations of families with Chinese ancestry converge on Chiang Rai Province to be with the senior members.  

Tatt arrived from Bangkok early Saturday morning, much to the delight of Daku.  They were good friends when Tatt lived with us and the bond is still solid.  As a result, Daku followed him around all weekend.  Tatt is in his third year of college, studying chemical oceanography.  Here’s a shot of Tatt and Daku

At The Big Brown House, it was Neetchanon’s first birthday.  Both sides of her family were well represented.  It was a big family party.  Neetchanon is now walking with confidence, answering in her own language, pointing to things she wants and sometimes just picking up what’s within her grasp.  There are now endless stories of the amazing 1 year old.  Today we discovered that she has figured out how to go up the stairs.  Time to put up a gate.  

On Sunday after my meeting, Lisa, Tatt and I went to The Wanderer for lunch.  We had a lot of fun this weekend with Tatt, his conversational English has improved, and he’s learning Italian.  That part, the Italian, was fun because he’d just burst out with something and then tell us what he said.  It was always relevant.  After lunch we went to the Blue Temple, a new ‘attraction’ in Chiang Rai.  Tatt explained that it is Lanna architecture, which is a very old style.  I’ll post some pics later this week.  

Tomorrow morning our friend Eric is having a big tree planted in our yard in memory of Blue.  All we know right now is that it will require a truck to deliver it.  Looking forward to this bittersweet event.

Have a Great Week.


“Nothing is more despicable
than respect based on fear.”
~Albert Camus

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Funnies


This morning we woke up to a heavy cloud cover.  There was no forecast for rain, but it sure looked like it.  By late morning it was all but gone and we had a sunny afternoon.  Weather.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Camp Granada” by Allan Sherman, from 1963.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZxmWosG2iU  Congrats to all who knew this funny song.  Time for a dose of ‘Old School Friday’.  Remember this?  “__ __ __ __, movin’ on down the line.  Wonder where, wonder where, wonder where she is bound?  I broke her heart and made her cry.  Now I’m alone, so all alone.  What can I do, what can I do?  __ __ __ __, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, __ __ __ __….”  Hint: Wave bye bye.  Maybe she’s up on the roof, or down on Broadway.  

We did a few light errands this morning and, after picking up a flower bouquet, went to the south of town to see our friend Alberto.  He and his wife have just opened a little coffee shop in the night club district.  It’s still being finished, but the coffee machine and some furniture are there and it was nice.  His assistant, Mix, brewed some great coffee and we hung out.  Bert is from the Philippines and he told us of his future plans there.  He is the manager of the Hill Tribe Museum in town and has taught us many things through the years.  There was a moment during our visit when we talked about Blue and it was both sad and refreshing.  Even though the shop is in the middle of the night life ‘action’, they plan to be closed during those hours.  As he put it, ‘There’s just too much glass here’, meaning the walls of his shop.  We all laughed about that.

The tiny little organic store we visit keeps getting interesting products.  Today we stopped by and they had a line of laundry products, and a new salad dressing flavor that I tried at lunch and liked.  There is a growing organic industry in Thailand.  On the farming side, the north is the leading region for organic vegetables.  This is good news when one considers how much big farming is being taken over by companies like Monsanto.  Now we have more choices when it comes to food. 

Right now, live music is blasting from somewhere out there.  It started out with Karaoke, and now there’s a band playing.  Not bad, if you want to hear that.  Hmm, sound like a grumpy old man.  OK, they’re working hard and they sound good.  It’s a holiday weekend. 

Tomorrow is Neetchanon’s birthday and preparations are already underway.  This afternoon, Natcha’s sister Fone and her two kids came over to help.  When Daku was outside, he went over and sniffed around Fone’s bike and when he got to her helmet, his tail started wagging like crazy.  After dinner, Gong and Natcha were in the kitchen making cookies.  They sent Shampoo and Gop, Fone’s kids, upstair to bring us samples.  Oh, so good.  The whole clan will be here tomorrow for dinner and celebration. 

Tatt, who some of you will remember, will be here tomorrow morning for an overnight visit.  He’s attending university in Bangkok and needs a new computer.  Tatt is a very hard working student and has stayed in touch with us through the years.  We’ll do some sight seeing and take him to The Wanderer, of course (555).  Cat is due back in town sometime Saturday after a trip to another province to be in a speech presentation contest.  She had to deliver a paper in English on the future of teaching.  Hmm, this weekend we’ll have all our ‘kids’ together.

Today’s photo was taken on the street in Chiang Mai.  Yes, that’s a TV monitor under that guy’s arm on the back of the motorbike.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.       On to the ‘Funnies’.


Thursday, January 26, 2017



Chiang Rai is still benefitting from the rains that came while we were in the States.  The golf course is still green, the trees are filling out, and it doesn’t have the usual brown tone that comes this time of year.  Maybe later we’ll get winter.  Hmm.

“All the counselors hate the waiters, and the lake has alligators, and the head coach wants no sissies, so he read to us from something called ‘Ulysses.'  Take me home, oh Mudda, Fadda, take me home, I hate __!  Don’t leave me in the forest where I might get eaten by a bear…”  Clue:  This reflection on childhood experience is set to the music of Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours”.  I’m sure that will help.

This was another ‘stay-at-home’ day for us.  I had a meeting this morning with our friend Johan, to discuss various plans for the pool modification that seems inevitable.  There is a slow leak that has been going on for years, since the earthquake.  We patch the cracks and it lasts for about a year.  The latest solution to solve many little problems would be to build a pool within the pool.  We’ll lose a little of the area size, but the whole thing would be sound.  We spent an hour going over the two proposals, and then brainstorming with a new idea that came to Johan as we looked at the pool.  Now we wait for the cost estimates and the timing of all of this.  

We learned a lot of interesting things about Thai culture during our language lesson today.  It’s the first session after the holidays, but we remembered many things and learned even more.  Khun Awe shared some things that are passed down through generations and it helped us see aspects of Thailand from a different perspective.  We also got our introduction (again) to the Thai alphabet.  We began by going over the Thai consonants.  There are 44 of them, so this may take awhile.  Then there are the vowels and the tone markers, etc.  It’s a good thing we’re studying with someone who is patient and willing to go at our pace.  The goal is to learn how to read and write, which apparently makes verbal communication much easier.  Everything in the language is prescribed by letters and symbols for tone.  When you learn the ‘system’ you can articulate the sounds.  Sounds easy, right?

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  The pink tips caught our eye.  There’s always something new to see in the woods.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017



We’re in that phase of weather when the temps have a range of about 30 degrees.  Waiting for the firecrackers to begin piercing the quiet evenings.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “It’s Too Late” by Carole King, with notable covers by The Isley Brothers and Gloria Estefan.  Now it’s time for another ’Zany Day’ song.  “Hello Mudda, hello Fadda, here I am at __ __.  Camp is very entertaining.  And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining.  I went hiking with Joe Spivy, he developed poison ivy.  You remember Leonard Skinner, he got ptomaine poisoning last night after dinner.”  Hint:  It’s the name of a place.  

Here in Chiang Rai, the celebration of Chinese New Year began today and will continue until Sunday.  I had seen the dates on a poster, but it wasn’t until we set out to run some errands that we realized what all the traffic was about.   On some streets it felt like we were in Chiang Mai.  We skipped several stops because it was just too congested.  
This is the year of the Fire Rooster.  The actual day is January 28.  About 14 % of Thais are of Chinese heritage so it’s a big deal in Thailand.  In the north, the percentage may be even higher due to this region being where the first Chinese settlements were formed.  It will be interesting to see just how many people abandon the black clothes they’ve been wearing and put on red this Saturday.  Apparently red clothing is important because it scares off the mythical monster Nian.  Now you know.  

We had lunch at The Wanderer today.  While we were waiting for our meal we saw the owner of Chivit Tamma Da.  She said she liked to come over for a ‘break’ from her busy place.  

Today I got to spend time with Neetchanon.  Natcha has a very stiff neck after a fall, and while Lisa applied hot compresses, I entertained the little one.  Or should I say, she entertained me.  She is really interested in practicing her walking.  When she’s in our house there are big areas for her to stretch out and she loves it.  There were many new sights in our bedroom.  The bookcase was one of her targets, along with the bathroom.  At one point she figured out how to climb out of the bathroom, which is about 6 inches lower than the bedroom, and then proceeded to find a way to get back down and do it again.  In the kitchen, she picked up one of Daku’s toys and was walking around with it.  He jumped up, walked over and proceeded to take it from her.  Hmm, hasn’t learned to share yet.  We like the fact that Natcha and Gong let her try things on her own, with a watchful eye close by.  

Later, she was outside with her little shoes on walking around.  When Daku and I went out on the lawn, she followed us, like a pro.  She’ll be running soon.

Today’s photo is Neetchanon in the kitchen.  It’s hard to get a photo of this one when she’s constantly on the move.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“The language of friendship 
is not words but meanings.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, January 24, 2017



Well, more of the same gorgeous weather.  I understand California is having a bit of water lately.  

‘Easy Monday’ has some friends out there.  I think there are more, but you need a little refresher.  Here’s the chorus.  “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.”  Clue:  Those words should awaken something inside, or maybe __ __ __.  

Here at The Big Brown House, it’s Birthday Week.  Sunday was Lisa’s b’day, today is Daku’s 8th b’day, and Saturday is Neetchanon’s 1st b’day.  Daku slept 20 minutes later than his usual this morning in honor of the day.  He did not get any cake.  On Saturday there will be a big party for Neechanon.  We’ve been invited to have dinner with the family in our back yard.  Actually, ’The Kids’ consider us family, so it’s perfectly natural that we’d party with them.  Natcha is even going to make something I can eat (555).  Her dishes tend to be on the spicy side.  We went ‘present shopping’ today and exercised great restraint.

Today’s photo is a portrait of the birthday boy Lisa captured this morning.

This afternoon we went to the mall to get our respective eye-wear from the ‘eye shop’.  On the way, we looked closely at the so-called bridge I mentioned yesterday.  There doesn’t appear to be a road on either side of this structure.  Hmm, maybe the bridge will justify a budget for two new roads.  It could happen.

It’s hard to keep up with the mourning protocol after the death of The King.  First it was black for 30 days, then the first 100 days, then one year.  It’s been 100 days and many people, including us, are trying to abide by the wishes of the powers that be.  I’ve always been a fan of black, so it’s no problem to ask me to wear it.  Actually, in normal times it usually meant someone had died so it wasn’t as much of a fashion statement as in the west.  I said all that to say that while we were at the mall, I got more black t-shirts.  Some of the ones I had just didn’t hold up to being worn so often.  One has to be careful to buy quality in some items, or repeat the purchase again and again.  
We also got Neechanon a few things that will stimulate her learning in a fun way.  Next year I’ll get her the little truck (555).  Oh, this evening we watched Thomas the Train on Natcha’s phone along with a very engrossed Neechanon.  You haven’t heard ‘Thomas’ until you’ve heard it in Thai.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Without freedom of thought,
there can be no such thing as 
wisdom - and no such thing as 
public liberty without freedom 
of speech.”
~Benjamin Franklin

Monday, January 23, 2017



The weather in Chiang Rai is gradually getting cooler.  Could this be the onset of winter?  Northern Thailand is the only part that gets a ‘cold season’, as it’s called.  Right now, the south is having a tough time with rain and flooding, while here in the north we’re having beautiful days and cool nights.   

Only one reader knew that the ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Finger Poppin’ Time” by Hank Ballard and The Midnighters.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNi2gY7nzTU   ‘Easy Monday’ will be much kinder.  “Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time.  There’s something wrong here, there can be no denying.  One of us is changing, or maybe we’ve just stopped trying.  And __ __ __, baby, now __ __ __ though we really did try to make it….”  Hint:  I don’t really think you need one.  This is so easy.  

Saturday afternoon we went to Art Bridge.  There was the opening for another ’Small Painting’ exhibition as well as a New Years party for the members.  The party was great fun, with a gift exchange that consisted of a piece of art.  Now everyone who participated has a piece by a fellow member.  We got a chance to talk to friends and be in a room full of creative people.  

Sunday was a big day.  It was Lisa’s Birthday.  We had breakfast at The Wanderer under the trees in the morning air.  There was hardly anybody there so we could enjoy the morning sounds, laugh and talk.  We were back at The Wanderer for lunch with Cat and our friend Rachel, who is in town from Oakland, CA.  Another fun meal that was also a bit of a planning meeting for Cat’s trip to America.  

Back at The Big Brown House, Cat and her sister Toy surprised Lisa with a big fruit basket.  As we were leaving for dinner at Sawadee Restaurant in the Night Bazaar, Natcha came upstairs and surprised Lisa with a cute little birthday cake with candles lit.  

There is a lot of road work being done around town.  On the Super Highway, one of the major intersections with the east side of the city is basically blocked on one side.  This means that traffic has to do some major detouring (is that a word?).  I suspect it has had an impact on the small businesses that rely on a steady flow of locals.  We don’t know what the schedule will be for the proposed house next door.  If they let the dirt ’settle’, then it will be a few months before they begin work.  They started building a bridge near the Dusit Island Resort near us, and then they stopped.  It’s been years since they worked the dirt and installed the pillars.  Today there was activity around the site.  We still haven’t figured out why there is a bridge in the first place.  In a way, it’s fun having these little mysteries around town.  One never knows what’s coming next.

Today’s photo was taken in our yard.  It’s a purple thing.  Not something we planned, but it worked out beautifully.

Have a Great Week.


“Don’t cry because it’s over.
Smile because it happened.”
~Dr. Seuss

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai weather was perfect again today.  It would have been a great day to get out there and do stuff, but that didn’t happen. 

The ‘Zany Day’ song was  “My Boy Lollipop” by Millie Small.  You should have known that (555).  It’s Friday again, and time for ‘Old School Friday’.  Here’s a tune from 1960 that should have you movin’ all weekend.  “(Hey now, hey now, hey now, hey now) It’s __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __.  I feel so good, and that’s a real good sign.  Hey now, hey now, hey now, hey now, hey baby, come along with me.  Hey, hey baby, come along with me.  We’re gonna shake it ’til it breaks, just wait and see.  Hey now, hey now….”  Hint:  The title is actually only three words, but sung like four (what?).  It refers to something done with the digits of either hand while dancing.  Oh, now you get it.

As far as I can tell, we don’t have any more travel plans until the latter part of February.  That should be enough time to get over this recent ’season of busy’.  The trip to Chiang Mai was only for one day, but it seems to have taken its toll.  We stayed at home all day, feeling drained.  I’m beginning to think that there is a direct correlation between the kind of travel energy expended, and the aftermath.  If it’s a pleasure trip, and the mind is open and relaxed, one can feel refreshed.  If there is ‘working’ involved either mentally or physically, then there is a higher drain on the energy reserves.  Ha, killin’ ‘em with science.  All of this is based on personal experience and has no basis in fact, but it makes sense to me.  This last trip had timing concerns, and a friend waiting to hear the outcome of some medical testing.  It had just been one week since our return from the States and our friend, Mr. Lag, had just left.  I rest my case, and my head.

Today’s photo was taken at Charoen Gardens (the pie place) on the way to Chiang Mai.  This water feature is a new addition to their massive renovation project.  The cool morning air created the wonderful mist.

Neetchanon has been learning new things.  She has her own version of a wave that she uses to greet and also say goodbye.  Natcha has taught her to blow kisses, which is cute/funny.  She has been enjoying her ABC book and seems to have preferences when it comes to plastic utensils to play with.  Her walking is getting better each day and as she approaches her first birthday, she can travel across the living room on her own.  This evening we discovered that she likes to dance and sort-of sing along to rhythmic music on Natcha’s phone.  

The big news around here is that the big lot next door will be a house.  They played in the dirt again today and that phase seems to be done.  The tractor guy moved the last of the dirt around and smoothed it all out.  Now we wait to see if we can figure out who’s house it is.  Meanwhile, our new neighbors down the road come up on my WiFi options as “Bed Villa 555”.  That says it all.

Tomorrow is the annual Art Bridge meeting, this time with a gift exchange.  Everyone has been encouraged to bring a piece of artwork.  Sunday is Lisa’s birthday, and Tuesday is Daku’s.  

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


Thursday, January 19, 2017



The weather in Chiang Mai is always warmer than Chiang Rai.  That is not to say that it doesn’t get cold there.  We just didn’t experience it.  We did feel the cooling off that happened this evening in Chiang Rai.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has some fans out there.  At least they remembered it.  Here’s the second verse of this literary masterpiece:  “Whoa oh, __ __ __, never ever leave me, because it would grieve me, my heart told me so.”
Hint:  Don’t let giddyup fool you.  It’s not about horses, it’s about candy (555).  Really.

Today we had a few adventures.  Nothing earth-shattering, but new for us.  We had our first Uber encounter coming home from the U.S. Consulate office.  We got a ride in a little Mitsubishi Mirage, which isn’t a luxury car, but comfortable, and the woman driving was very polite and got us to our hotel for very little cash.  We’ll do it again next time we’re in Chiang Mai.  The business at the Consulate was routine, but still required the ‘routine’.  Filling out a form, paying some money, and raising my hand and swearing it was all true.  When Lisa asked if the staff would be different with the new president, she was told that there would be no changes.  Apparently the northern office is not important enough.  That’s fine with us.  Their service and concern has been pretty consistent and we like it.

At the art gallery, we were able to load all 25 pieces of art into the back of our little van.  I was surprised, Lisa was sure it would work.  With the van full of art, we went back to the mall for lunch before hitting the road.  We parked near an entrance, and asked one of the attendants to keep an eye on the van.  When Lisa offered him 100 Baht, he  looked around nervously and shook his head.  I understood what he meant and as we left him, Lisa shook his hand and the deal was struck.  Oh, those devious Westerners.  Inside, I saw a shirt on a mannequin that read: ‘Bad Influence’.  

Today’s photo was taken a Central Festival Mall.  It’s me with a display consisting of floral chickens for the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster.   

Having driven Highway 118 to Chiang Mai and back many times now, I have concluded that the morning drive to CM is light because most of the traffic is going towards CR for the day.  The big trucks are making deliveries and the tour vans are carrying day-trips.  The traffic feels lighter in the afternoon going towards CR because the vans are going back to the big city (CM) and the big trucks are doing the same.  There are still pockets of slow vehicles, but it’s not long parades like we see going in the opposite direction.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“We all have to live together,
so we might as well live
together happily.”
~The Dalai Lama

Wednesday, January 18, 2017



The weather here in Chiang Mai is warm.  Not a surprise, just interesting that it stayed so warm after the sun set.  
The drive down was the usual grind, but not difficult.  We did stop for pie and it was so good.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Never My Love” by The Association.  The ‘Zany Day’ tune is next.  Dig deep and tell me:
“__ __ __, you make my heart go giddyup, you are as sweet as candy, you’re my sugar dandy…”  Hint:  Yep, you guessed it, totally silly song that was a hit in some circles.  I’d be a sucker if I gave you the obvious clue (555).

Because of the rain that happened while we were gone, the countryside is lush and green.  We stopped at Central Fiesta Mall for lunch.  The first thing I noticed was the number of two-wheeled monsters in the ’Super Bike’ parking area.  So, it’s not just high-end cars rolling around Chiang Mai.  

On the ninth floor, facing the Night Bazaar street, we can hear a band playing somewhere out there.  Oh joy.  It’s just an overnight stay.  That’s what I keep telling myself.  You’re tired enough that you won’t hear it.  Hmm, we’ll see.  In the evenings, the hotel has a trio of musicians set up on the front steps and they play to the passing parade of tourists.  Some of them are quite good.

Today’s photo was taken from the air, just after we left Bangkok, heading for Chiang Rai.  The collection of farms give the effect of a giant stained glass window.

Tomorrow we go to the U.S. Consulate for verification of our Social Security.  Then we’ll load up the art and head back to Chiang Rai. 

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Talk sense to a fool
and he calls you foolish.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2017



It felt like summer today.  The day got warmer a little earlier, and stayed that way a lot later.  This is unusual weather for this time of the year.  It’s usually much cooler.  Me, I’m not complaining one bit.

I’m surprised that only a couple of you remembered the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Think, lush harmonies and sharp suits.
“What makes you think love will end, when you know that my whole life depends on you (on you)? __ __ __, __ __ __.  You say you fear I’ll change my mind and I won’t require you.  __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Clue:  Something is not going to happen.

Mr. Lag has a new trick this time around:  Make him sleepy way before bedtime.  I’m not falling for it, though my head nods from time to time (555).  The days have been very productive, even with the waning symptoms.  

This morning we went to Art Bridge so Lisa could submit a ‘small painting’ for the next exhibition.  We also got to see the annual ‘Artist Exhibition’ with the late King as the focus.  There was a wide range of experience and skill represented.  Some of the artists have been painting the King since they were small children.  Others have studied photo realism, and some of those pieces were stunning.  Lisa’s work in the exhibition was sold before it was hung.  

We made our first stop at Makro since our return to Thailand.  Now we’ve been to all of our regular stores.  In the course of our travels around town, we’re seeing changes and progress on structures that seemed to have stalled.  The little ‘motel’ down the road is open for business and has banners along the road.  Work has restarted on the lot next to us.  I guess they were waiting for the dirt to settle a bit and the rain to finish.  The parade of dump trucks was constant today.  There is a big metal fence around the corner where Doi Chaang Coffee and the car wash once lived.  It continues to be a sad sight.  

The Wanderer was the lunch location today.  We met our friends Sandy and Ady for a major ‘catch up’ session.  We talked about so many things, it was like a blur.  

This evening I had yet another new experience.  Going to a new doctor at his evening clinic.  I have an infection of some kind in my eye-lid and it wasn’t getting better.  Our friend, Nurse Pay told us about this doctor so we went to see him.  His clinic is near the location of the small flower show, which is still open.  We were tempted to check it out, but the flowers look so much better in the daylight.  You will get a photo update when we do visit.

Tomorrow morning we head down to Chiang Mai.  We’ll pack up ‘Timeless Harmony II’ and bring it home.  When we took the exhibit to Chiang Mai, we did it in two trips.  It will be interesting to see just how many art pieces we can fit in the little van.  We’ll have some relaxing time before we leave on Thursday.  
Today’s photo was taken by Lisa in our front yard.  This is one from the current bloom of orchids.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“We may have all come on different ships,
but we’re in the same boat now.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 16, 2017



It’s good to be back in weather that agrees with me.  The nights and mornings are cool, and the days are warm, but not hot.  No rain in sight.  Interestingly, it rained most of the time we were gone.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations.  The ‘Easy Monday’ song came out in 1967 and should be one you know.  “You ask me if there’ll come a time when I grow tired of you.  __ __ __, __ __ __.  You wonder if this heart of mine will lose it’s desire for you.  __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Hint:  A beautiful declaration of love from a very large vocal group.

I was so frazzled and desperate to stay on schedule that I didn’t tell you about our homecoming.  Gong met us at the airport, and when we got inside the van, there was his sister Gope holding Neetchanon.  She immediately reached for Lisa to hold her.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  

Our little friend stowed away in our bags again.  Mr. Lag never seems to get spotted by Customs.  This trip seems to have given him new inspiration to reek havoc. There’s also a mental thing going on that makes you feel like, well, stupid.  I keep forgetting things, drifting off in distant thought, etc.  The sleep pattern is off, but that is to be expected.  Ain’t travel fun?

Saturday morning we went to The Wanderer for coffee and a little 'Forest First-Aid’.  What a nice reminder of why we live here.  Natcha informed us that it was ‘Children’s Day’ and a vague memory of this came back.  All over the Kingdom there were special events, programs, and outings paying tribute to the children.  At our house, Natcha’s sister Fone came over with her two kids, Shampoo and Gop, and brought Neetchanon a little traditional Chinese outfit.  We all sat on the patio and watched her practice walking, clapping and waving.  

Today we got crazy/brave and went out twice.  Big C in the morning and Central Plaza Mall in the afternoon.  We actually got things accomplished.  The mall looked like it was a Saturday morning with super sales or something. 

It always takes a few days to get used to the volume of motorcycles here, as compared to the L.A. area.  It adds to the need for heightened awareness.  It gets easier after Mr. You-Know-Who goes to sleep.

Have a Great Week.      The Australian Open (Tennis) began today.  We’re happy.

“We can easily forgive a child
who is afraid of the dark; the real 
tragedy of life is when men are 
afraid of the light.”

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Funnies


I have to make this quick.  Mr. Lag has me in his grips and it is difficult to force my eyes to stay open.  What you’re getting here is the bare bones of ‘adventure’ (555).

The ‘Zany Day’ song was The Coasters singing “Idol With The Golden Head”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELvB4Ul58pQ  For ‘Old School Friday’, here’s something that maybe more people know.   “I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go.  If I have to beg, plead for  your sympathy, I don’t mind ‘cause you mean that much to me.  __ __ __ __ __, sweet darlin’….”  Hint:  I’m tempted to give you easy clues for this song by a motortown quintet.

Today’s photo is an orchid garden at the airport in Bangkok.  They were also working on a ‘wall garden’ in the arrivals section.

In this year of change we also noticed things gone or different when we returned.  It’s safe to say that everything is still changing in the world.  My job is to get over it.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   And now, the ‘Funnies’.




Well, the best laid plans, blah, blah, blah.  Our long flight from L.A. to Taipei didn’t begin for a long time.  The airport was jammed up with planes and we had to wait.  By the time we got to Taipei, there was no time to go to the lounge and write my daily message.  Now we’re in Bangkok with a little breathing room, so I’m writing this brief message.

The ‘Zany Day’ song had a couple of correct ‘bites’.  Here’s more of the story:  “The __ eye’s began to wink and blink (great big __ __ __ __ __), he said, ‘Hold on, give me time to think (great big __ __ __ __ __).  The lightning flashed and the __ did speak (great big __ __ __ __ __).  He said, 'you big foot May, she’s down at Catfish Creek, rockin’ ’n’ a-rolling…..”  Hint:  Very superstitious; could this be magic?

The first thing we wanted to do after the 18+ hours in the air was get a massage.  Our long-time friendly massage spot was gone.  We were told there was another one in the basement we searched and found it.  An hour later we were better.

At the check-in counter for Bangkok Airways, we saw our friend Pete, who was also returning to Chiang Rai after he and his family got visas for a trip to Switzerland in the spring.  

Today’s photo was taken at a new place for us in the Marina called Wahoo’s.  This skateboard art of Jimi Hendrix knocked me out.

So it’s about 12:30am in America, on Friday.  There will be a special edition coming later, with the ‘Funnies’ and the weekend song.

Have a Thrilling Thursday on Friday.


“Life is what happens while
you’re busy making plans.”
~John Lennon

Wednesday, January 11, 2017



This is it.  This is the day we return to Thailand.  Actually, it’s tonight, but it’s still today (555).  A lot has happened over the last three weeks.  Now we must return to our home.  If you’re in the U.S., I bid you farewell.  If you’re in Thailand, see you soon.  If you’re in another part of the world, why not come and visit (555). 

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Good Day Sunshine” by The Beatles.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song is a ‘golden oldie’.
“Bought myself an __ __ __ __ __ (great big __ __ __ __ __).  Put it on a shelf right above my bed (great big __ __ __ __ __).  Got down on my knees and began to pray, I said, __, tell me where’s my big foot May (great big __ __ __ __ __).”  Hint:  Mystical things are about to happen.  There’s a hint in my intro.  Title is 5 words.

Yesterday turned out to be another five event day.  Our final outing was dinner with ‘The Boys’ at Mitsuwa for Japanese food.  

This visit has provided us with new adventures, old friends, and a bit of culture shock for good measure.  Imagine my surprise when we drove to the location of a gas station we always used, only to find that it’s gone.  So many things are different this time.  I’m still getting used to pumping my own gas when we’re here.  Returning every six months or so, we can see the constant rise in the number of homeless people on the streets.  Sometimes, when things are seen every day, the changes aren’t as obvious.  Traffic is different, there are trains crossing streets, and it seems like it’s always rush-hour.  We love L.A.

We talked to Natcha this evening and she told us it’s been raining every day in Chiang Rai.  What?  Everybody’s fine, but it’s been raining every day (555).  Daku and Neetchanon are doing good and tonight, through the wonders of the digital age, we got to watch her take her first steps.  This is new territory and it’s exciting.  It’s been a while since I’m posted a ‘baby pic’, so here’s the most recent photo of Neetchanon.

Now you see one of the reasons we can’t wait to get back home.  I’m not so happy about returning to rain, but it will be a good excuse to just stay inside and relax.  This is not a vacation when we come to the States.  It’s like a working trip.  It takes a lot of energy and commitment to maintain relationships, even in close proximity.  Long distance stuff takes effort.  If we missed seeing you this trip, we’ll be back this summer.  Raise your hand if you want to hang out (555)?

As usual, I’ll be sending you a little something from Taipei.  I don’t know what time it will be (too lazy to figure it out), but it should be your Thursday in the U.S.  Cousin Eunice, in Oakland, asked how many miles we travel each way.  I finally got the numbers: 8,805 air miles from Los Angeles to Chiang Rai, Thailand.  

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the
barriers within yourself that you have
built against it.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2017



The big rain came and went.  The area where we are seemed to come through it without problems.  More is predicted, but I hope we’ll be on our way back to Thailand.

A lot of you know the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  If you’re in doubt, it’s from across the pond by those Liverpool lads.
“__ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __.  We take a walk, the sun in shining down, burns my feet as they touch the ground.  __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Clue:  A phrase one might say after a big storm has passed.

Monday morning we drove out to Playa Vista and I got a chance to see what the fuss in all about.  Oh my, it’s a little city.  It was almost like a movie set, so neat and tidy.  Maybe on our next visit we’ll actually get out of the car and walk around.  The drive through was enough for now.

During this visit we’ve had several meals at Emerald Thai on Venice Bl. in the Culver City area.  Our last time there was unique in that we had back-to-back visits with friends.  Nid, the owner, found this to be very amusing when he realized what was happening.  We had lunch with Kathie, and coffee with Alan while Nid fed our parking meter.  

After our Emerald marathon we met Cousin Wendy at Dinah’s for coffee, tea and lots of family talk.  It was a special visit as we remembered Jean. 

In the late afternoon, we braved the post-office and mailed several boxes, one of them going to Thailand.  The clerk was a little surprised when he realized that we were sending it to ourselves.  Our latest practice is to send clothes we won’t need when we arrive back in Thailand, and use the suitcase space for vitamins.  

Today’s photo was sent to us by Cat.  It’s from the flower show in Chiang Rai.  You know, the one we never get to see because we’re here in the U.S.  The statues of two Hill Tribe women look at their new crop, while in the background we see giant opium poppies.  Not sure what the message was.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Remember always, that you 
not only have the right to be an
individual, you have an obligation
to be one.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, January 9, 2017



By the time you read this, Southern California will either be on the brink of washing away, bright and sunny, or somewhere in between.  Between Max Doppler, and Super Duper Doppler 10 Thousand (555), the major storm has probably passed by and wet things up.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “I Can’t Help Myself” by The Four Tops.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be just that, with this oldie but goodie:  “__ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __ __.  I need to laugh, and when the sun is out, I’ve got something I can laugh about.  I feel good in a special way.  I’m in love and it’s a sunny day.  __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Hint:  I can see clearly now.  Big warm thing.  Works best when it's not raining.

Our Friday was a full day, which included a breakfast, a lunch, and a meeting.  Saturday was equally busy.  It was what I call a ‘travel day’.  I went to a meeting in Culver City, we had lunch in Pasadena, a visit in Alhambra, and a dinner in Mar Vista.  Another meeting in Culver City completed the day.  Whew.  Sunday was easy, a meeting in the morning and a dinner in the evening.  Going back to Chiang Rai will be like going on vacation.

In Thailand news, there has been flooding in provinces south of Bangkok.  The Navy is distributing ‘water-propelling’ boats to help displace some of the water.  I’m not sure what kind of boat they’re talking about, but they unloaded 50 of them from a ship, then loaded them onto trucks for delivery to the various villages.  In Chiang Rai there is no rain in sight and the temps are in the high 70s to 80s.  That will do just fine.

You’ve probably guessed that the anticipation is starting to build.  Two more ‘sleepings’ as August used to call them, and we’ll be headed home.  

Traveling to Pasadena over the weekend, this photo of downtown LA was taken by Lisa, in between bounces on the freeway.  

Have a Great Week.


“Appreciation is a wonderful thing:
It makes what is excellent in others
belong to us as well.”

Thursday, January 5, 2017



Rain or shine, doesn’t matter today.  It’s my 27th Recovery Birthday.  

I realize that the ‘Zany Day’ song is a bit ‘out there’, but it was a song on the radio by a real person (that makes it legit).  “…I know you can do it, so baby get to it.  Aww, you’re workin’ with it now.  You got me feelin’ so good, just look to the sun now baby…”  Clues:  Remember, the title is four words and the first one is ‘baby’.  Oh, now I’ve given it away (555).

Yesterday we went to school.  USC to be specific.  We had lunch with our good friend Irene, from the credit union.  Lisa has known her for over 30 years.  Irene has been invaluable in our ability to manage certain business from so far away.  We had lunch at the University Club, which is a far cry from Mickey D’s.  She told us about her New Year’s day adventures at the Rose Parade and then the football game.  I would have needed a nap (555).  Irene visited us in Thailand and part of our conversation was filling her in on the lives of the people she met there.

Driving back across town, we went to The Box store.  There has got to be someplace closer to Culver City that sells cardboard boxes.  If you know a place, let us know.  Every trip we send at least one box back to Thailand.  

‘They’ said it was going to rain last night, but all it did was sprinkle.  We went to Santa Monica for a dinner with an old friend from Lisa’s ‘work days’.  Richard is a computer guy and a lover of the ballet.  That’s where we connected.  We had a fun dinner at Thai Dishes, hearing all about his latest adventures in books and ballet.  

Today’s photo was taken at Thai Dishes.  There were about 5 of these puppets hanging around.  Each one is about 2 feet tall.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“The only way to make sense
out of change is to plunge into it,
move with it, and join the dance."
~Alan Watts

Wednesday, January 4, 2017



So, the consensus is that it’s still cold.  Not as cold, but still in the realm.  The weather in Chiang Rai is 73F with a 70% chance of rain.  The low will be 65F.  Culver City’s forecast is for a high of 59F and a low of 55F with a 40% chance of rain.  That about wraps up the weather portion of our show (555).

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Walk On By” by Dionne Warwick.  I heard this week’s ‘Zany Day’ song on the radio and it stuck in my head.  It’s an oldie you might remember (555).  “Aww, I’m itchy, and I don’t know where to scratch.  Come here __, __ __ __.”  Hint:  That’s just a bit of this zany blues by a man who’s nickname (two words) has to do with his build and his musical instrument.

Tuesday was a great day.  We traveled to Altadena for lunch at the home of Frank and Linda.  I’ve known Frank since childhood and he and Blue were in a band together.  He’s also a ‘car guy’.  It was great, going back in time and comparing notes about this and that.  When we first walked into their house, the fireplace was warming the living room and it set a nice tone.  Frank mentioned that he and I are the only people we know from our era that had similar musical references, and that are still around to talk about them.  We’ll probably be talking more.

On our way home, we stopped in downtown L.A. for a visit to Saigon Plaza.  It used to be our favorite place for shopping.  When we went to the shop of a family we’ve known for years, she reminded us that we were there last summer.  It’s always nice to be remembered.  One section of the plaza felt like the talat and made us a bit homesick.

During all of our travels around town, we have yet to be stuck in a traffic jam.  This is a good thing.  We’ve been using Google maps to tell us how long it will take to get places and it’s very accurate for that.  

Today’s photo was taken by Lisa as we crept through the downtown area this morning.  Taking pics from the car is very difficult when there are tall buildings involved.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Not all who wander are lost.”
~J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, January 3, 2017



The daytime temperatures in Culver City and surrounding areas seem to be rising.  They say the nights are also warming but I’m still not buying it.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song is really easy.  The second ‘holiday’ must have been the reason some of you didn’t respond (555).  I did get a few correct answers.  Maybe this will help:  “I just can’t get over losing you, and so if I seem broken and blue.  __ __ __, __ __ __.  Foolish pride, that’s all that I have left so let me hide the tears and the sadness you gave me when you said goodbye.  __ __ __, __ __ __, __ __ __.”  Hint:  The singer of this song said a little prayer, asked for directions, and vowed to never fall in love again.  

I basically spent the whole day at ‘home’.  It was ‘Rose Day’.  We started with the parade in the morning, and I watched the Rose Bowl football game in the afternoon.  I didn’t realize that U.S.C. was playing until they announced it during the parade.  I’ve been a big fan since I can remember.  By the time it was over, the day was gone.  

A few days ago I was all excited about the government deciding to put a stop to the burning.  More information was published and apparently it applies to forest areas.  The fastest way to illegally clear a plot of land for planting is to set it on fire.  This happens in the forests and jungle areas.  This basically means that the local burning will probably continue.  Oh well.

Lisa and Anna went shopping yesterday and she told me about a couple of places we have to visit.  I haven’t seen the Playa Vista development, so that will be on the list of things to do in our ‘spare time’.  We do a lot of running while we’re here, but we’re slowly taking time for ourselves.  It seems really important lately.  

Today’s photo was taken Sunday night while we were with the Valley Cousins.  The ‘Fruit Basket’ is mostly fruit, but there were also brownies thrown in for good measure.  It’s a very creative presentation.

There are 9 days remaining on this ‘Winter Visit’.  This is our 19th trip since we moved to Thailand.  Each trip involves 8 airplanes (including the trip to Northern Calif.) and about 10 hours of sitting in airports.  I thought you might like a bit of travel trivia.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“As you grow older, you will discover
that you have two hands.  One for helping
yourself, the other for helping others.”
~Audrey Hepburn