Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Silent

Note:  If you want to keep receiving this message, please let me know by March 10 and I’ll keep you on the list.  If you already wrote back, just know that you will stay on the list.  

Hi,

Chiang Rai is definitely in that 'hot day cool night' groove.  We managed to survive ‘a day without air’ (power off all day) and we’re happy it’s over.  The power returned at 4:55pm.  

I happen to know that a bunch of you love this ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Maybe you were too stunned by the Oscars (5).
“Everybody seems to think I’m lazy.  I don’t mind, I think they’re crazy.  Running everywhere at such a speed, till they find, there’s no need (There’s no need).  Please, don’t spoil my day, I’m miles away, and after all __ __ __.”  Clue:  When I’m not awake….

We have been avoiding HomePro since our bad experience with no service after our big purchase.  Today we broke down and returned to buy a couple of plastic rakes.  Gong uses them daily and sometimes you just have to go with what works.  We saw some tiles that caught our eye, but couldn’t get any help in English or even a price.  They will stay on the ‘avoid’ list.

The Wanderer was the perfect place for lunch.  We met our friends Aey and John for a fun, interesting visit.  They have a masseuse that comes to their home, and today we got the contact number.  It will be nice to have the benefits of massage again.  

So, the power just went off.  I’m typing in the dark.  It’s 8:30pm and this is not good.  Maybe the juice will come back in 30 minutes or so.  If something that they did today has fallen off a pole, or broken in the night, this will be a night to unremember.  This morning we were prepared for the outage.  There was water in the tub, extra drinking water, and we could see what we were doing.  Time to breathe.  

Isn’t this fun?  It’s the little unexpected things that make life interesting (555).  In the past, when the power went out and it was time to send this message, I would drive into town, go to Doi Chaang Coffee and use their WiFi.  Now, through the wonders of modern technology, I can use my phone as an internet hub and never leave the house.

Wonder of wonders, the power is back in just under 30 minutes.    

Today’s photo was taken at Charoen Gardens on the way to Chiang Mai.  I took this one on the way home on Sunday.  The light in the afternoon is much better for this water feature.  Now, where’s the pie?


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“Our lives begin to end 
the day we become silent
about things that matter.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Strength

Hi,

Note:  If you want to keep receiving this message, please let me know by March 10 and I’ll keep you on the list.

We’re back in Chiang Rai, just in time for another hot, cloudless sky.  It’s going to be like this until at least mid-April.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Donna” by Richie Valens.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ tune from you know who:
“When I wake up early in the morning, lift my head, I’m still yawning.  When I’m in the middle of a dream, stay in bed, float up stream (Float up stream).  Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me, leave me where I am, __ __ __.”
Hint:  I just went 2 days without a nap.  

Our weekend in Chiang Mai was good.  The convention was a big success and I got to see friends from around the world that I hadn’t seen since last year’s event.  There were 38 countries represented and at times, walking around felt like being at the U.N.  

Today’s photo was taken on Saturday night, on our walk back to the hotel.  We’d seen the Hard Rock Cafe from the main road, but never like this.  One of these days I’d like to go inside.  We could hear the band from the street and they were good.


The drive home had a later start than usual, but the traffic wasn’t too crazy.  With no special time to be home, we just went with the flow.  There were fast sections, and then the ones where I’d just say ‘Oh well’.   Over the years we have seen a lot of little villages along the highway mature into small towns.  Most of these areas are agricultural and I guess the big farms have had an influence.

When we got home, Daku reacted as if we’d been away for 2 weeks instead of two nights.  He finally calmed down and went back to being his lovable, sweet self.  He had spent the nights with his buddies Gop and Champoo, in Cat’s room.  I wonder how much sleep all those kids really got (555).

We had a Big C morning and a Thai lesson afternoon.  In between, I got to see the lights that will go in the new pool.  They have little LED bulbs and change colors.  It will be interesting to see four lights changing colors in a very dark blue pool.  We’ll know in 6 weeks.  Work begins Wednesday on this ‘dive’ into unknown territory.  Hmm, a pool within a pool.  

Tomorrow we will be without power from 9am to 5pm.  We have a lunch date with John and Aey at The Wanderer, and then we’ll have to find a cool place to hang out.  I should say, ‘a cool place to take a nap’.  

Have a Great Week.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“There are two ways of exerting
one’s strength: One is pushing down,
the other is pulling up.”
~Booker T. Washington

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Note:  If you want to keep receiving this message, please let me know by March 10 and I’ll keep you on the list.

It’s late here in Chiang Mai.  We’ve been out to dinner with a couple of friends.  Now it’s time to write to you and then do battle with the email gremlins that want to block my group mailings.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “One Night In Bangkok” by Murray Head.  Time for ‘Old School Friday’.  “I had a girl, __ was her name.  Since she left me I’ve never been the same.  ‘Cause I love my girl, __, where can you be?  Where can you be?  Hint:  The pain of teen love gone bad.  Title is a name.   

On with the show.  The drive to Chiang Mai was a little busier than usual, but we didn’t let it bother us.  Made the coffee/pie stop and took our time.  As it turned out, our timing was perfect for a meeting at the gallery of Lisa’s last exhibit.  

We seem to be having the best ‘luck’ when it comes to checking into hotels in Chiang Mai.  Today was no exception.  An upgrade to a suite again and it’s nice having the space.  Whatever will we do with two TVs?  After check-in we had a nice lunch and a short nap.  

Technically, the ‘Season’ is over and all the tourists have gone home.  (5)  The streets of this city are crawling with visitors and the locals are lovin’ it.  We didn’t do any Night Bazaar shopping, but the Indian restaurant where we ate was across the main street of the Bazaar so we had to briefly deal with the massive crowds.  

Today’s photo was taken at 116 Gallery in Chiang Mai.  It was carved from one piece of wood.


Tomorrow will be a full day.  Fortunately, most of the day will be spent in the hotel going to meetings and workshops.  It’s very hot outside and it doesn’t cool off until late at night.  We’ll drive back to Chiang Rai on Sunday afternoon.  

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

                   Peace,
                             Danny


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Issue

Hi,

I hope everyone received the Wednesday message, “Plow”.  It took several tries at sending the message and I finally had to send it to four addresses at a time before it seemed to work.  If you missed it, let me know.

It seems like the decree on burning is having an effect.  There was a hint of smoke this morning but it quickly went away.  Folks are behaving themselves.  Off in the distance I see a low-level haze that is not a good sign, but as long as it blows away, it’s all good.  Did I mention that it’s hot?

So far, the only correct answer is from New York City.  What happened to the Westside?  It’s really a ‘Zany Day’.
“Time flies, doesn’t seem a minute since the Tirolean Spa had the chess boys in it.  All change, don’t you know that when you play at this level, there’s no ordinary venue.  It’s Iceland or the Philippines or Hastings or, or this place.
__ __ __ __ and the world’s your oyster.  The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free.  You’ll find a God in every golden cloister.  And if you’re lucky then the God’s a she.  I can feel an angel sliding up to me.”  Clue: Board game in Southeast Asia.  This should easy. 

The adventure this morning consisted of taking the ‘plunge’ and buying the new tiles for the pool.  They are a very dark blue and will give the pool a new depth (pardon the play on words).  It took awhile to get it right, but with the help of a staff member who spoke some English, and her sharp associate, we got the tile we needed at a good price. Did you know that black tiles cost twice as much as the blue?  Oh well.  Work begins next Wednesday, building the framework for the concrete, etc.  A house is never finished.

Neetchanon did a new thing with Lisa this afternoon.  She ran up to her and put her arms around Lisa's leg.  Lisa picked her up and she put her head against Lisa’s. 

Tomorrow morning we will drive to Chiang Mai for a convention weekend.  Friends are already arriving from various parts of the world.  It should be quite a celebration this time.  It’s the 10th anniversary of the Thailand Convention.

Today’s photo was taken in the back yard.  This is the tree our friend Atom gave us in memory of Blue.  I’m calling it ‘Blue’s Jasmine’.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“The right of every American to 
first-class citizenship is the 
most important issue of our time.”
~Jackie Robinson

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Plow

Hi,

The weather today was beautiful.  Cool morning that turned into a hot day.  Another day without fires and we’re so happy.  We had another power outage due to upgrades in the giant lines along the main road.  Next Tuesday we will be without power from 9am to 5pm.  At least they gave us a warning this time.

Those of you who said the ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles, were correct.  If you knew it, but didn’t say anything, I’ll just assume you didn’t know.  If you know this ‘Zany Day’ song, speak up, drop me a line, or something.  “__ __ __ __ makes a hard man humble.  Not much between despair and ecstasy.  __ __ __ __ and the tough guys tumble.  Can’t be too careful with your company.  I can feel the Devil walking next to me.  __, Oriental setting , and the city don’t know what the city is getting.  The creme de la creme of the chess world in a show with everything but Yul Brynner…”  Hint:  There is a location involved, and it takes place over a specific time period. 

This morning we got a late start on our marketing, which meant that the Healthy Market district was really jumping.  There seems to be a mid-week thing in Chiang Rai.  I must admit to enjoying the busy of it all.  Standing still with no focus, just the movement is very interesting.  Can’t do that for too long though (555).  

We left the market with a bouquet of birthday flowers for our friend Kwan.  While we were at The Wanderer I got into a conversation with her mom, Noot, about a bean pie she makes.  I forgot that bean pie doesn’t like me.  She’s going to make a sweet potato pie with no butter.  I’ll be waiting on that one.  We’re also trying to arrange a play date between Daku and Mercy, their Husky.

Today’s photo is a close-up of Blue’s tree.  In the first photo you can see the buds of a new set of flowers that will soon open.  Above and to the left you can see how they first begin.  The second photo shows the open flowers.



The tradition of the ‘Wai’, holding both hands together in front of you, is a long-standing part of the culture.  It’s taught to boys and girls from a very early age.  I don’t know what the average age is, but Neetchanon learned to do it this week and it’s adorable.  When she hears you say ‘Sawadee Ka’ or Kup, she whips her hands up and says ‘Ka’, the female greeting.  Hopefully, I can get a shot of that.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“Those who profess to favor freedom,
and yet deprecate agitation, are men
who want crops without plowing up the ground.”
~Frederick Douglass

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wanted

Hi,

There was a change in the weather today.  Oddly, there was no smoke.  Maybe the notice about fines and prison time has been circulating.  That would be so wonderful.  There was actually some blue above the horizon.

It seems that there are some younger readers who have been keeping up (555).  ‘Easy Monday’ can be fun.
“And when I touch you I feel happy inside.  It’s such a feeling that my love I can’t hide, I can’t hide, I can’t hide.  Yeah, you’ve got that something.  I think you’ll understand.  When I say that something, __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  You know, four guys, not 'The Who’, and guitars became the thing.  Oh, and lots of hair.

This morning we picked up our new bedspreads from the seamstress.  It might seem like a small thing, but it can really change the ambience, especially when you spend a lot of time on said spread.  This one’s a cool dark brown.  

After dropping off one of Lisa’s cast acrylic prints to be framed for a charity auction, we went in search of tiles.  Those of you who followed the building of The Big Brown House will remember the torment we went through, searching for tiles for various rooms.  With the pool reconstruction coming up, we have to pick some tiles.  We began at a suggested outlet with lots of choices.  We found something we could swim with, but we’re still looking.  Pool tile is not the sort of thing one approaches without consulting the bank (555).  We have time to decide so we’ll take our time and be happy with the decision.  Closer to home, Khun Naa came today and began emptying the pool.  We had hoped the water would go outside of the property.  The water was pumped into the back yard.  The flood is reseeding, and the pool is almost empty.  

This is the time each year when the giant Teak trees across the road shed their leaves.  The last two days have had strong breezes from the south, which means the leaves blow into our yard.  This morning Gong raked them all up.  This afternoon there was a new batch waiting for him.  


Natcha had a talk over the wall with our neighbor.  Oy wants to have the Teaks cut down.  Her reasoning is that the leaves fall and get burned and it creates smoke.  Hmm, true, but cutting down the trees is not really the solution.  She asked the city and they said that everyone in the neighborhood would have to agree.  Well, we don’t agree with cutting them down.  It’s a bother, but they are very old, stately trees that give us and many birds great joy.

Today’s quote brings back memories.  My paternal grandmother was put on a train when she was a young woman.  Her destination was Tuskegee Institute.  Her mother told her not to come back until she finished.  One of her teachers was George Washington Carver.  She was very proud to tell that story.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“I wanted to know the name of every
stone and flower and insect and bird 
and beast.  I wanted to know where it 
got it’s color, where it got it’s life, but 
there was no one to tell me.”
~George Washington Carver

Monday, February 20, 2017

Threat

Hi,

We’re reluctantly settling into the hazy/smokey season.  The days are getting hotter, but I can’t say the same for the nights.  Weird.  There is usually a guarantee of rain by Song Khran, so mid-April we should see a change.  We’ve been watching the storm coverage in California, hoping everyone is alright.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “I Only Have Eyes For You” by The Flamingos (1953).  Give it a listen, it’s beautiful.
https://www.youtube.com/watch annotation_id=annotation_1892616559&feature=iv&src_vid=63nlhoda2MY&v=Pn8SFdyOA_M  Now it’s time for a new week and a clean slate.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ for you:  “Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something, I think you’ll understand.  When I say that something, __ __ __ __ __.  Oh please, say to me, you’ll let me be your man.  And please, say to me, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  The year was 1964, and this 6 word title started a musical invasion from across the pond that lasted for years.  Some youngsters might not know this song (555).

Saturday we went to the home of John and Aye for a morning snack and a visit in their garden.  Their home and yard are unique and there was much to see.  When they built their home, they planted mature trees, the kind that have to be brought in by large truck.  It gives the feel of a space that’s been there for years.  The land was an organic farm so the soil is very plant friendly and it shows in the thriving vegetation.  In the patio we had fresh fruit and croissants and learned more about their house project.  Where many Thai houses have a water tower with a tank at the top, John and Aye chose to use the space between the ground and the tower for two floors of living/work space.  The top floor houses the tank and an observation area.  More about this fun place later.

Today’s photos were taken on our Saturday outing at John & Aye’s.  The yellow flowers cover the yard for a few weeks.  They last several days in water after they have fallen from the tree.  


Saturday was a day for more graduation exercises around town.  The trade and technical schools held ceremonies and on the street outside of the campus the vendors were on hand to provide gifts for the grads.  This photo is part of what was on both sides of the street.


On Sunday we had lunch with Cat at The Wanderer.  We learned more about her school schedule this term, and how some of the tests are conducted.  She’s getting excited about her July visit to the States.  

This afternoon Gong planted the tree that Atom gave us in memory of Blue.  It’s in the back yard near the pool.  

Later in the day, Sandy and her daughter Dylan came by to bring us treats for Daku and me.  No, we don’t eat the same treats.  He got some little chew sticks that he loves and I got two boxes of halva, both direct from Israel.  Her sister came for a visit and Sandy had her bring some for us.  So cool.  And how interesting to have another item that I love with a label that I cannot read.  
 
Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Injustice anywhere is a threat
to justice everywhere.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The weather today was basically a repeat of yesterday.  Things will be different next week.  Just letting you know there may be whining about how hot it is (555).

Congrats to all those who knew that “Come Together” by The Beatles was the ‘Zany Day’ song.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next:  “(intro) My love must be a kind of blind love, I can’t see anyone but you.  Sha bop sha bop. Are the stars out tonight?  I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright.  __ __ __ __ __ __.  The moon may be high, but I can’t see a thing in the sky.  __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  The R&B group who sang this song was named after a beautiful, long-legged bird.  This song was a ‘blue light’ song at house parties.   

This morning we made an early run to Big C.  It’s so peaceful in there when the day is just starting.  One of the things that fascinates me is the morning ritual at the gold shop.  After the employees ready their stations, fix their hair and make-up, they all line up and do a little chant, complete with choreography.  Then they take a selfie of the group and begin putting the gold items in the showcases.  All of this takes place in a very tight space and there is a real family vibe to it all.  I’ll have to take some pics next time.

On the way home we stopped at one of the fantastic ‘Everything Stores’ that are all over town.  We named them that because they seem to have everything one might need.  Dishes, pots, pans, tubs and racks of all sizes, electrical gadgets, wooden and steel utensils, you name it, it’s there.  As usual, we didn’t find what we wanted (a large tray) but we left with a small plastic table and chair set for Neetchanon’s play area, reading glasses, and butane lighters for candles.  So even if you don’t see what you came for, you’ll leave with something.  They get us every time.

This evening we went to a farewell dinner for a friend.  It was at a restaurant near the Clock Tower that we had never been to before.  The menu is lots of Thai dishes, but toned down for western tastes.  They do a lot of business with the visitors who go to see the light show at the Clock Tower.  Very smart business move.  We probably won’t eat there again, but it was a fun experience and a chance to get to know a couple of new people as well.

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  What you’re seeing is an Ice Drip Coffee Maker.  According to Kwan, it takes 24 hours to brew with this system since ice water drips at a rate of a drop every second and then has to seep down through the coffee.  We had a chance to sample some and it is very different from hot brewed coffee.  Cold brewing does not release the acid in coffee, so you get a very smooth taste.   


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

                   Peace,
                             Danny


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Conductor

Hi,

Today we awoke to the smell of ‘bad smoke’.  This is, smoke that comes from the burning of plastic, rubber, or the wire casings used as insulation.  It has a distinct odor that says ‘Stay inside’.  It cleared out just in time for Daku to have his bath.  He was not happy.  The day warmed up and the sky took on the familiar haze.  

Nice to see we’re getting back in the groove with the song thing.  Lots of responses to this ‘Zany Day’ song.
“He bag production, he got walrus gumboot, he got Ono sideboard, he one spinal cracker.  He got feet down below his knee.  Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease.  __ __, right now, over me.”  Clue: Assemble as a unit?

Here in Thailand, we don’t use credit cards, and checks don’t seem to exist.  We use cash for daily life and when we buy something from out-of-town, we transfer funds online.  It’s a very cool way to do things.  The only thing is, you have to go to an ATM to do the transfer.  This morning we went out to do a transfer and I realized that it’s all about knowing the location of the ATMs and the parking during the day.  Fortunately, we’ve got a pretty good memory of where the money is (555).  

About 4 years ago we invited a traveling couple from Denmark to spend a few days with us.  We became fast friends and we’ve stayed in touch over the years.  They’re coming back to Thailand in July, along with their little boy who we’ve never met.  We’re really looking forward to seeing Louise, Jesper and Rasmus.  

Neetchanon has an adoring extended family.  Her dad Gong, has three sisters who come over to help out when needed.  Of course this means that the little one is the center of their attention.  Today she spent time with (sister) Gope. When Neetchanon came into the house I heard her before I saw her.  She was wearing little silver anklets with bells on them.  As fast as she is becoming, it’s good to know where she is (555).  She also had a pink hair-tie on the top of her head.  That didn’t last long though.  Trying to take photos of her is getting difficult, now that she understands the wonders of the smart phone.  It plays music, cartoons, and tells stories.  When I aim mine at her, she approaches with one thought in mind, seize the phone.  I did manage to get this shot today.


This afternoon we bravely went into town.  A parking spot was waiting for us and traffic breaks allowed us to cross the busy street fairly easily.  We were having our mailbox name card laminated.  It was time to change it from four names to two.  Another one of those bittersweet tasks.  While we were waiting, we strolled down the small street that becomes the Night Bazaar in the evening.  Our friend the ‘Scarf Lady’ was sitting in her shop and called out to us.  It turns out she’s there all day and all night.  We talked a bit, I bought some cheap sunglasses and she referred to us as her good friends.  Feeling grateful.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“I was the conductor of the 
Underground Railroad for eight years,
and I can say what most conductors can’t;
I never ran my train off the track and
I never lost a passenger.”
~Harriet Tubman

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Service

Hi,

This morning the sky looked closer to it’s natural blue than the day before.  It was a pleasant day, but temps will be rising soon.  Friday it’s going up to 90, and next week it may reach 98.  That’s hot.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “On Broadway,”originally by The Drifters.  It was later done by George Benson.  Now it’s time for some kind of ‘Zany Day’ madness.  I think this one qualifies, and you still might know it:
“Here come old flat top, he come grooving up slowly, he got joo joo eyeball, he one holy roller.  He got hair down to
his knee.  Got to be a joker he just do what you please.  He wear no shoe shine, he got toe jam football, he got monkey finger, he shoot Coca-Cola.  He say ‘I know you, you know me’.  One thing I can tell you is you got to be free.
__ __ right now over me.”  Hint:  It’s another from the Fab Four in 1969.  Please don’t ask me to explain it (555).

When I take Daku out after his breakfast, it’s still dark outside.  I have noticed that we have a new creature living on the grounds.  I call him Mr. Frog and he’s always in the same spot at the same time.  The only reason I see him and Daku doesn’t is the little flashlight I take with me.  While Daku is scanning the ground with his nose, I’m checking things out with the light.  I make sure Daku doesn’t see Mr. Frog.  He’s on a leash, but he’d want to investigate and return to the spot over and over again.  Frogs have a defense mechanism that can sting dog’s eyes.

This morning we went to Central Plaza Mall.  I thought the Robinson department store still opened at 10am.  We had coffee at Starbuck’s, which has an outside door, and went to Robinson, only to find that they don’t open until 11am with the rest of the mall.  The lower level, featuring Top’s Market was open so we went there.  There’s always something in there that we can’t get at Big C.  The food court was going strong and the aroma from various vendors filled the air.  

It will be interesting to see just how long this town can continue to operate with mostly two-lane streets.  The volume of vehicles is growing and one lane in each direction can only work for so long.  I have no solution, except maybe a rapid transit system using electric buses.  Of course, this would bring on the wrath of the Song Taew community and their army of little pick-up trucks that haul people around.  Still, they add to the congestion.  Hmm, where did all that come from?  I’m done.

Today’s photo is one of many that Blue took at The Wanderer.  He had a great ‘eye’ for nature shots and this is one we really like.


The study of the Thai language has helped us understand the sounds of many words, and their prescribed tones.  It has also confirmed that some things just can’t be explained.  I have told you about the use of the ’n’ sound on words ending with ‘l’.  Today, while working on pronunciation, a program presented the word ‘Ball’.  When it was time for the voice in the program to say the word, it said: ‘Bon’.  We have surrendered to footbon, appun and all the rest of the words we used to know.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“Service to others is the rent
you pay for your room here on earth.”
~Muhammad Ali

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Rebellion

Hi,

Standing in the middle of the yard, it is apparent that the smokey season has started early.  The blue is gone, the hill is just barely visible, there is an overpowering urge not to breathe. 

“They say that I won’t last too long __ __ (__ __).  I’ll catch the Greyhound bus for home they all say (__ __).  But they’re wrong, I know they are, I can play this here guitar.  And I won’t quit till I’m a star __ __ (__ __)…”  Hint:  The first hit of this song was by a group, the second by a solo artist who could really play ‘this here guitar’.

This morning, while traveling across town, we noticed a very long line of cars going in the opposite direction.  I hadn’t noticed an accident, so it must have been something with the traffic light.  Sometimes the police mess with the timer at a certain time of day and don’t reset it.  The other possibility is that there was a caravan of important people rolling through town.  When that happens, traffic is stopped so they can proceed.  We later learned that the Princess was in town to pass out diplomas at two of the universities.  That can stop traffic.

We had coffee today at Work@Home.  As you know, this is always a delightful time.  We don’t get to see our friends Katai and Thovan over the weekends because their business takes them out of town.  This is the season for selling tractors and their territory is a long way from home.  We got caught up on life in Chiang Rai, talked some politics and had a lot of laughs.  

This orchid was a birthday gift from our Thai teacher, Kru Aor and her boyfriend.  It sits on our balcony and we can see it all day.  


Last night we watched most of “Anna and The King”, the remake of "The King and I”.  Each time we watch it, we understand more of the subtleties about the culture that were written into the story.  More of the little comments make more sense having been here long enough to understand what they really mean.  

I don’t usually take photos of food, but I had to share this one of my ‘Birthday Breakfast’ that Lisa prepared.  Beautifully delicious.  The organically grown strawberries were a gift from our new friends Robert and Bee.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“The thing worse than rebellion
is the thing that causes rebellion.”
~Frederick Douglass

Monday, February 13, 2017

Life

Hi,

Sunday morning it almost looked like rain.  The cloud/haze burned off and it was another Chiang Rai day.  The only thing we have to add to the weather report is the smoke haze that is starting to color the sky.  Sad.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “In The Still Of The Night” by The Five Satins.  Here’s an easy ‘Easy Monday’:
“They say the neon lights are bright __ __ (__ __).  They say there’s always magic in the air (__ __).  But when you’re walkin’ down the street, and you ain’t got enough to eat, the glitter rubs right off and you’re nowhere."
Clue:  It’s about life along a famous street in a famous city.  Either famous artist that made this song famous will do (555).

Saturday was the day we celebrated my 74th birthday.  It was quite a day.  The party was a big success, with about 30 guests throughout the afternoon.  There was more than enough food, lots of desserts, two cakes, and a beautiful day that didn’t get too hot.  The crew at The Wanderer made a chocolate cake that was incredible.  Some of the guests were people we’ve known for years and a few we just met.  It turned out to be a magical mix of people who either knew each other or made instant connections.  

Today’s first photo is the wonderful cake that Kwan and Kern brought to the celebration.  They also brought some of their mom’s coconut pie.  Yum.


Our dear friend Atom arrived with a small tree.  It wasn’t until she had left, and the party was almost over that I learned that the tree was to be planted in memory of Blue.  One of those bittersweet moments.  We are looking for a good location for the Night blooming Jasmine tree.  


About half way into the party we realized that with so many interesting guests, you end up having half a conversation with most of them.  Things start off, get intense, and then you’re pull away to meet someone, answer a question, or be introduced and that original vibe just fades away.  Such is the life of ‘party talk’.  Still, it was a wonderful afternoon and now there will be follow-up lunches, etc. for weeks to come.  Life is not boring.

Sunday afternoon we were going to go to the mall and just stroll, and take in the ambience but we were too tired from the party.  We just lazed about.  What better way to spend one’s actual birthday?  There was good food and plenty of cake left over from the party (555).  

This has been a holiday weekend in Thailand.  It’s Macha Buka Day, a Buddhist holiday and a Thai National holiday.  This morning we drove through the market and it was so busy that sometimes we’d have to stop and just watch the foot traffic in the middle of the street.  It really felt like the country, and reminded us of one of the reasons we came here.

Have a Great Week.

                      Peace,
                                Danny

“Education must not simply
teach work, it must teach Life.”
~W.E.B. Du Bois

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Well, same weather, different day.  We enjoyed some of the morning at The Wanderer, having coffee under the trees.  And then there was the visit from Mercy the Husky.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song that only a few were humming was “Life's Been Good” by Joe Walsh.  Here is one of many versions of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8ocviQ3ux0
That means it’s time for more ‘Old School Friday’.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ I held you, held you tight.  ‘Cause I love, love you so, promise I’ll never let you go __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  It’s an R&B makeover of a Hoagy Carmichael/Jo Trent hit from way, way back.  The title refers to a special time.

Before our coffee adventure we went to Grace’s Bakery to get some treats for my birthday party on Saturday.  My actual birthday is on Sunday the 12th.  We had planned to run another errand but it would have caused us to miss The Wanderer, so, cancel my morning.  (555)

At first it was just going to be a few close friends, but in a small community like this, the number grows beyond a few.  It will be an afternoon affair with snacks and treats.  I’ll miss my nap, but you don’t turn 74 very often.

Late this afternoon we had an unexpected visit from our friends Somluck and Tamako, of Doy Din Dang Ceramics.  They thought the party was today so we hung out a while and then invited them to stay for dinner.  Natcha had made a big batch of her yummy spaghetti.  We had some wonderful conversations over dinner and learned some interesting history.  They are also big fans of Chareon Gardens, the pie place.  The woman who started it began baking in Bangkok, after visiting California.  Many years later she relocated in the north and the rest is history.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer, but it’s not a tree.  This little car is a TATA, made in India.  We think it belongs to one of the staff.  Every time we see the rear window, we laugh.  Hmm, translations as entertainment.


It’s Friday night and that means an evening of the throbbing bass drum from a distant stage.  

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

                   Peace,
                             Danny


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Truth

Hi,

Today’s weather was more of the same, minus the smoke.  The corn field across the road is dry and shriveled and many wild areas are beginning to get that drought season look.  The daylight hours were basically smoke-free in our area.  I caught a whiff of something foul this evening, but it was nice to not have to hide from the beautiful day.

Our ‘Zany Day’ song has had a couple of ‘friends’ chime in, so far.  “My Maserati does one-eighty-five.  I lost my license, now I don’t drive.  I have a limo, ride in the back.  I lock the doors in case I’m attacked.  I make hit records, my fans they can’t wait.  They write me letters, tell me I’m great.  So I got me an office, gold records on the wall.  Just leave a message, maybe I’ll call.  Lucky I’m sane after all I’ve been through.  (Everybody says I’m cool) (He’s cool).  I can’t complain but sometimes I still do.  __ __ __ to me so far…”.  Hint:  The singer is pleased with his existence. 

Today we took a little trip to Makro.  Right now it’s an uncertain journey due to road work.  One never knows which lane will be open, if any are open, or whether you should have taken a detour.  This morning it all worked out fine.  On the surface, as we arrived at the highway, it looked like we should have gone another way, but looks can be deceiving.  We breezed right through to our destination.  Thursdays at Makro seems to be the beginning of weekend shopping for small stores and restaurants.  We encountered lots of the rolling platforms that the merchants use.  Sometimes it’s difficult to negotiate the aisles if there are several of these in the wrong spot.   I like to glance at what they’re buying, just to see what kind of shop they have.  Fascinating.  

On the way home the traffic slowed for a police check.  The officer manning our lane left his post to direct a small truck to the side of the road for further scrutiny.  This meant we just drove right through.  We think they were checking for registration, which can be seen in the front window of every car or truck.  If they don’t see it, or it has the wrong year they pull you over.  So happy we comply.

We are taking the plunge (pun intended) and getting a major overhaul on our pool.  Due to missteps in the original construction and the earthquake of 2011, we have had a series of slow leaks that have become headaches.  After several consultations and possibilities, a new pool within the old pool will be the solution.  The construction will resist quakes and settling, giving us a solid bowl for the water (5).  The plumbing will be less complicated and there is a plan to incorporate a solar heating system into it.  That part is my favorite.  I’ll keep you posted once things get started.  The estimate is for 6 weeks of work.  I’m guessing that it will be 8 before the final refill is complete.  We will see.

Today’s photo was taken in the backyard.  Neetchanon was walking around with her aunt Gope, and discovered the little elephant that Lisa is painting.  She kept returning to it, touching it and talking about it.  I think she has a new friend.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“In a controversy, the instant
we feel anger we have already
ceased striving for the truth, and 
have begun striving for ourselves.”
~Buddha

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Silence

Hi,

Chiang Rai had another blue sky day, with scattered smoke and mild moderate temperatures.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Taxman” by The Beatles.  Time for another episode of ‘Zany Day’.  This week we revisit a tune that has zany written all over it:  “I have a mansion, forget the price.  Ain’t never been there, they tell me it’s nice.  I live in hotels, tear out the walls.  I have accountants pay for it all.  They say I’m crazy but I have a good time.  I’m just looking for clues at the scene of the crime, __ __ __ to me so far.”  Hint: The title is far from zany. The artist traveled in a ‘gang’, soared with eagles, and hurt a lot of hotels in the process.  

This morning we had a power outage.  It was to be the first of two today.  I discovered later that the power boys were playing with the wires on the main road.  Another sign that the city is encroaching on our so-called ‘country’ village.  More people want to plug in more stuff which calls for more wires.  

We went to The Wanderer mid-morning for coffee and a dose of trees (555).  There were cars in the little parking lot, but when we got into the garden it was empty.  That’s the beauty of the place, you don’t always see the other visitors.  So, we had coffee and treats under a tree and enjoyed the morning air.  As we were leaving, Lisa was about to take my picture and a man offered to take a photo of both of us.  His name is Robert and he’s been here a couple of months.  We had a conversation about Chiang Rai and made a new friend.  


Yesterday I ranted and raved about the burning nearby.  The fact that they kept lighting new fires made it even worse than usual.  I present to you the source of my upset.  One reason we love to escape to The Wanderer.


The annual Balloon Festival is coming to Chiang Rai at Singha Park, also known as Boonrawd Farm.  We were there the first year it was held and haven’t been back.  Our friend Sandy told us they have improved the parking and have a shuttle system to get people to and from their cars.  Hmm, not sayin’ we’re going, but the first time it was a gas to see.

It’s a Wacky Wednesday

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Silence is a true friend
who never betrays.”
~Confucius

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fear

Hi,

We’re in that dry, warm time of year.  No rain in sight, temps in the hight 80s to 90s, and it feels like summer.  The only thing that spoils it is the burning.  Today the air near us was polluted by a massive fire that lasted all afternoon.  

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song has to do with money.  I think more of you know this song.  Let me know if you do.
“If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street.  If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.  If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat.  If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.  __!  ‘Cause I’m the __, yeah I’m the __… And you’re working for no one but me.”
Clue:  For those in the U.S., the date ‘April 15’ is probably the biggest, easiest clue yet.

Last night we made one of our famous 'Big C after dark’ runs.  For some reason, it's different at night.  Even though there were lots of cars on the lot, the store was very mellow.  We don’t usually venture out that far from ‘the hood’ at night so it was fun to see what’s going on out there.  There doesn’t seem to be a specific time for eating here, so dinner time can be as late as 9pm.  The road near Mengrai Square is alive with diners in the evening.  Some sit down in restaurants, while others stop at the food carts for ‘take away’.  Many of the ‘restaurants’ on Clock Tower Street in the evening are set up as the sun goes down.  All it takes is a few tables, some plastic chairs, a few pots of pre-cooked food and dinner is served.  

Lisa had an ‘over-the-fence’ chat with our neighbor, Khun Oy, and learned that there will be a house and a restaurant on the property west of us.  I’m hoping the farthest piece of land is the restaurant.  It looks like the city is moving in and there’s nothing we can do about it.  The solution will be more trees near the wall, with a healthy dose of bamboo.  At least it’s not another hotel/resort as Oy calls Bed Villa.  

We had a meeting this afternoon in town at a place called ‘The Factory’.  It’s a multi-use building that is becoming a community center and is run by an English expat.  It’s located across from Cat’s old school and the center has after-school things for kids to do, like learn music and dance.  They have had a few art exhibits there and Lisa was invited to consider the space.  It’s a lot different than going into an established gallery, but it has a charm and a purpose that is intriguing.  We’ll see.  

Sometimes the corner of the eye can spot the coolest photos.  That’s what happened yesterday morning while out with Daku.  An eerie light in the corner of my eye almost startled me.  What was that?  I turned to confront the alien glow and discovered it was the morning sun shining through a morning glory flower.  Hmm.  Click.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“Fear defeats more people
than any other thing in 
the world.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, February 6, 2017

History

Hi,

We have gone from rather static weather to the 40 degree spread.  The days get very hot in the afternoon, then it drops to cold at night.  At least that’s how it feels going from 90 to 50, for example.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “What’s Your Name?” by Don & Juan.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be easier for some of you.  “Let me tell you how it will be.  There’s one for you, nineteen for me.  ‘Cause I’m the __, yeah, I’m the __.  Should five percent appear too small, be thankful I don’t take it all.  ‘Cause I’m the __, yeah, I’m the __.”  Hint:  It’s by those four lads from across the pond and it getting close to the time when the title will be on everyone’s mind.  

The yard next door looks a little strange these days.  The dirt they moved from the rear of the lot is now piled up along the western edge, then there’s a deep trench, and then more level dirt.  Surveyor crews have been measuring and pointing and things.  The well diggers came and may have struck water.  Oh, and here at ‘Speculation Central’ we have a new motto:  ‘We Don’t Know, We Guess’.

Saturday we went to Central Plaza for a few things.  One of them was a ‘white board’ for our Thai lessons.  Today we used it for the first time and it was cool.  Khun Awe could demonstrate certain letters and how to write them.  I’m beginning to think that studying the language after being here is helping with my cultural understanding of certain observations.  When some words are explained, there is a social level attached to their use and this gives us a deeper awareness of the strata of the population.  Learning combinations of letters and what sound is produced will give us a better guide to pronunciation.  Or so they tell me (555).

Natcha has been coming upstairs with Neetchanon a few evenings a week.  They come and visit, she gets to explore, and it’s a happy time.  This afternoon she walked into the dining room and made a sound, then realized how big her voice sounded.  This led to the famous vocal experiments all small children conduct when they hear their voice bounce.  She also discovered a bookcase with a few delicate things that are now headed for a higher shelf.  

This morning we watched the Super Bowl.  It came on at 6:30am so we watched the first quarter and recorded the rest for later in the morning.  Later we watched the commercials on Youtube, since the feed to Thailand doesn’t include them.  We also got to see the half-time show.  

Today’s photo was taken last week when the Lion Dancers were in the neighborhood running down the street.  Daku and Lisa are totally engrossed watching them.


Have a Great Week.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“History, despite its wrenching pain,
cannot be unlived, but if faced with 
courage, need not be lived again.”
~Maya Angelou

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

OK, the weather was a little different today.  This afternoon was hot.  I know, not much of a report, but we’re in that time of year where not much happens.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Willie & the Hand Jive” as made famous by Johnny Otis.  Here is a video demonstrating how to do the Hand Jive.  Study it and ‘Wow’ your friends (555).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIozjNOgrm8
“Hand Jive came out in 1958, which is pretty old school, so this week ‘Old School Friday’ will stop off in 1962 for an old favorite:  “__ __ __?  I have seen you before.  __ __ __?  May I walk you to your door?  It’s so hard to find a personality with charms like yours for me.  Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-wee.”  Hint:  The title is a fairly obvious opening line.  It’s a duet by two guys.  

Our big adventure today was a trip to The Wanderer for coffee with our friend Atom.  We had a lot of catching up to do.  We hadn’t seen Atom since before the holidays.  While we were there we saw Mercy, the house Husky.  She was in a playful, talkative mood.  We’re thinking of setting up a playdate with Daku.  He hasn’t had a friend since the days of Jago, the Saluki.  

This afternoon we heard the sound of heavy equipment next door.  It was the big steam shovel, or something like that.  It was moving dirt from the rear of the lot to one side.  The closest thing I could figure is that they went too far in the back and had to move the dirt off of some farm land.  Ooops.  I was fascinated by the soft touch the operator used when smoothing the dirt in one area.  We have become Speculation Central when it comes to our neighborhood (555).

Last weekend there was a big party at Central Plaza Mall.  We saw the set-up during the day and I knew it was going to be loud.  So loud that driving past a sound check, we could feel the bass in the chest 50 yards away.  Two of my favorite bands were performing.  Body Slam and Potato are major players in the Thai music scene, but I think I’d rather enjoy them in a more controlled environment, like the car stereo.  Rock on.  We get enough live music on the weekend evenings as it is.  They’re thumping away somewhere south of us.

Today’s photos were taken today at The Wanderer.  The first is a tree with tiny mushrooms starting to grow on the bark.  I’d never seen this before.  Atom said they will be big.  The second photo has a butterfly in the center.  It’s red and black and almost looks like a face.



Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.       It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.

             Peace,
                       Danny


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Dreamer

Hi,

Another day, another photo-copy of the day before.  Without any rain, things are starting to get dry around town.  

So, a few correct responses to the ‘Zany Day’ song, but where’s yours?  This tune created quite a fad in it’s day.
“Mama, Mama look at Uncle Joe, he’s doin’ that __ __ with sister Flo.  Grandma gave baby sister a dime.  Said, do that __ __ one more time…”  Hint:  Some of you may be old enough to remember the artist’s radio show.  I will look for a video of the ‘action’ the song is about.  

The first part of our day was pretty routine.  This afternoon it got interesting at our Thai lesson.  We started our first steps, again, to learn how to read and write.  Don’t expect a letter in Thai anytime soon (555), but it’s exciting to see how the system works and the possibilities.  

This evening we went to an exhibit opening at 9 Art Gallery.  The artists were print makers from Australia and Chiang Mai.  We saw friends we haven’t seen in months, and met some interesting artists and enjoyed their work.  

This afternoon some vans pulled onto the empty lot next door.  As they unloaded I realized it was the ‘Lion Dancers and Drummers’ arriving for their annual performance across the road from us.  There must have been four or five teams, plus their friends.  First, they ran down the road and did a performance, complete with firecrackers.  We think they were at Bed Villa.  It’s the only possibility.  Then they went to the big house and did the complete show.  When we left for 9 Art, they were going strong.  

Today’s photos are from our Sunday visit to Wat Rong Sear Tean aka ‘The Blue Temple’.  



Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Every great dream begins with 
a dreamer.  Always remember, 
you have within you the strength,
the patience, and the passion to reach
for the stars to change the world.”
~Harriet Tubman