Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai went from sunny and hot to windy and stormy in just one day.  It was time for some rain and I’m glad it waited until late in the day before it dropped.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Get Back” by The Beatles.  Congrats to all who remembered.  Time for ‘Old School Friday’ and a song you just might know:  “__ __ can make this world seem right.  __ __ can make the darkness bright.  __ __ and you alone can thrill me like you do and fill my heart with love for __ __.”  Hint:  Group was named for another word used for phonograph record, back in the day.  

We spent the morning running errands with Cat.  It was fun traveling around like the old days.  Also nice to have a translator for several situations.  Before we went out, we went over the various flights for her trip to the States this summer.  It’s become pretty routine for us, but explaining all the things to look out for and to remember put it all in perspective again.  It also gave her a better idea of what we do twice a year.

After the running around we went to The Wanderer for a break.  When we first arrived, Lisa got a big greeting from Mercy.  She didn’t want to let Lisa go inside.  She just wanted to roll around and ’talk’.  Once we got seated, I tried the organic, cold-pressed strawberry juice.  A friend of Khun Noot’s brings it to her fresh from his farm.  Unfortunately, that means it’s not always available, so I decided to try it.  Oh, so good.  I’d never had ‘real’ strawberry juice before.  Cat had a big test in the early afternoon so she had lunch.  It’s been months since she worked at The Wanderer and there are only a few people there that she knows now.  Everything changes. 

Natcha’s niece and nephew came over for the afternoon.  At one point, we looked out and they were on the front lawn with Neetchanon.  They were all running around.  Watching Neetchanon trying to keep up with the ‘big kids’ was very cute.  Her cousins are very attentive and made sure she was having a good time.  

One thing that we’ll never get used to is seeing how casual people are with their kids on motorbikes.  There are days when all you can do is look away and surrender.  Imagine how happy we felt when Gong told us they want to save up and get a car for the sake of the baby.  One of those ‘Ah Ha’ moments.  More will be revealed, but he’s already working a second job at night to raise money.  He’s not my kid, but it makes me proud (555).

Today’s photo was taken from the bedroom balcony.  When I remember that there was nothing here about 8 years ago, it makes me smile.  When I hear all the different birds that live in and around the yard, it brings peace.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Time for the ‘Funnies’.  Don’t forget, Formula One from Russia.


Thursday, April 27, 2017



We’re back to those hot Chiang Rai days again.  There were thunderous rumblings this evening, but rain is not in the forecast (5).  I’d be willing to wait a few days before getting more rain.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was an easy one for a bunch of you.  Sit quietly, let it be, and the answer might come.
“Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman, but she was another man.  All the girls around her say she’s got it coming but she gets it while she can.  Oh, __ __, __ __, __ __ to where you once belonged….”  Clue:  Loretta is being urged to return to a previous location.

This morning the adventure was bold.  We took on three of the largest home improvement stores in Chiang Rai in search of things.  The first store, Thai Watsadu, is huge.  We found the hose for the pool heater project, and a few more odds and ends.  It takes a lot of stamina to shop at these stores because one usually has to go back and forth across the store for each item.  Store two was a short ride away and it’s where we bought the tiles for the pool.  More back and forth, plus some standing and sitting while waiting for something that wasn’t in stock.  At HomePro we walked the length of the store and left with nothing.  The morning as a whole was productive, and now we know more about the differences between the stores.  

This morning we were out by the pool, walking Daku around, when Natcha and Neetchanon came out.  Daku was busy smelling every step that the pool guy had taken around the deck the day before.  He actually stepped up and went to the edge of the water.  He couldn’t do this with the old construction.  We’re sure he won’t go in, but it’s nice to see him curious about something besides bushes and birds.  Neetchanon is also curious and that’s not such a good thing.  She immediately went towards the pool, with Natcha close behind.  She will be getting ’swimming' lessons from our Thai teacher very soon.  Once she learns how to float we’ll all feel better.  For now, it takes a watchful eye.  The relationship between dog and baby is evolving.  Neetchanon is learning to stroke Daku’s fur most of the time.  He is very tolerant and lets her pet his head and push on him.  Whenever he hears her cry he goes to see what’s wrong.  They are becoming buds.

Today’s three photos are all from the New Years Celebration at Art Bridge.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Nothing is impossible,
the word itself says 
‘I’m possible’!”
~Audrey Hepburn

Wednesday, April 26, 2017



We had a day without rain.  It was hot, of course.  To make up for the pleasant day, someone decided to burn this afternoon.  Fortunately, it was just after our swim that we smelled smoke.  The falling ashes were a sign of what was to come.  How dare they?

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts, with an outstanding cover by The Isley Brothers.  Now it’s time for an easy ‘Zany Day’ song:  “Jo Jo was a man who thought he was a loner, but he knew it couldn’t last.  Jo Jo left his home in Tucson, Arizona for some California grass.  __ __, __ __, __ __ to where you once belonged. __ __, __ __, __ __ to where you once belonged.  __ __ Jo Jo, go home.”  Hint:  By a sometimes zany foursome from across the pond.  Someone seems to be lost.

Getting to Big C late, especially during the school break, can change the shopping experience.  Today was no exception.  We got what we needed, but there is more traffic in the store.  That means more carts on the move, more kids on the move, and more aisles blocked with families on an outing.  I guess it’s a sign of the growing population.  I remember when the only time Big C was crowded was on Saturday morning (555).  Our little town is growing up.

Most of the travel arrangements have been made for our July trip to the States.  It seems like a long way off, but this is the time to book in order to get seats together and to get the flights we want.  There’s nothing worse than sitting in different parts of the plane and/or having to race from one gate to the next in order to get a flight.  It always seems like as soon as everything is set, my mind begins looking forward to the trip with anticipation.  Hmm, three months to go and we’re not there yet?

The ‘new’ pool is a little smaller than before since it was built inside the old one.  At first I was a little annoyed with the shallower depth, but now we’re realizing that it takes less sunlight to keep it usable.  That more than makes up for the size thing.  We swam again today and the water was great.  It’s the exercise we’ve been missing.  Not that we don’t get exercise from the stairs and lots of walking.  

This morning, while we were out with Daku, Neetchanon and her grandmother were out on the driveway.  Neetchanon is quite the explorer and decided to see what the grass was all about.  She very cautiously stepped onto the lawn and once she was sure it was safe, took off at a quick pace.  I think she would have stayed longer but her grandmother took her back to the pavement.  Now that she knows what that green stuff is about, I’m sure she’ll be running around every chance she gets.  

On a recent trip to the nursery we bought a large pot.  The shop that sells the pots also sells what could best be called ‘decorations’.  Everything from little ceramic children to dragons to peacocks like the one pictured here.  We joked about getting one for the back wall garden.  Hmm.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017



The climate report is a little odd today.  We started with an overcast sky that looked and felt like rain.  By lunch time the clouds were thinning and it was getting hot.  The soupy sky returned as the afternoon wore on and in the evening there was a brief windy rain.  Another day in the land of 'who knows what the weather will do?'

The ‘Easy Monday’ song came to some of you without hesitation.  Here is the last verse to clear things up:  “See the smile a-waitin’ in the kitchen, food cookin’ and the plates for two.  See the arms that reach out to hold me, in the evening when the day is through.  __ __, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.  __ __, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”  Hint:  This song is from ’71.  It’s about wind that’s not too strong.

It had been awhile since we had been to the big market downtown.  We went looking for light, cool tops and encountered the back-to-school shoppers.  It was early enough in the day so it wasn’t a problem, but every place that had any part of a uniform had parents picking though things.  One thing we’ve learned about shopping at the ‘talat’ is that you have to be in the right mood/mind set or it doesn’t work.  

This was the day that Art Bridge held the Songkran ceremony for the elders.  Some of you may recall that each year the artists gather and receive a sprinkle of water from the older members of the ‘family’.  Lisa and I were included as elders who sat, as artists and friends crawled by on their knees to receive the water.  There were about 100 participants so you can imagine how my fingers felt after dipping them in water for each person.  The experience put each of us in close proximity with everyone in the room, one at a time.  Some of them I’ve known for years, others were new faces.  That part was really special.  Then they passed the mic and we all said a few words to the audience.  I had our friend Bob translate for me.  After all the blessings, there was food.  Cat’s school is not far so she joined us and we sat together.  Then Lisa had a meeting with the women who will be having a group show in July.  It’s been a long evening.

Today’s photo was taken from a clip of this afternoon’s ceremony at Art Bridge.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Love and compassion are
necessities, not luxuries.
Without them humanity 
cannot survive.”
~The Dalai Lama

Monday, April 24, 2017



This weekend saw a weather pattern that disrupted many events in Chiang Rai.  It would be sunny to partly cloudy during the day and then around 7pm the sky would open up and dump on everything.  And so it goes.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “When A Man Loves A Woman” by the late Percy Sledge.   ‘Easy Monday’ should be a snap:  “See the curtains hangin’ in the window, in the evenin’ on a Friday night.  A little light a-shinin’ through the window, lets me know everything is alright.  __ __, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.  __ __, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”  Hint: The title is an element of ideal weather.  Original artists or notable cover are acceptable (555).

Saturday afternoon Cat came over and we talked about the exhibit and hung out.  We got to the gallery an hour  early and set up the food and made last minute adjustments.  Lisa’s three good friends came early and it was like a pre-opening party.  A few minutes before 7pm there was the sound of rolling thunder in the distance.  Two of our friends had to leave before the storm got started.  Tai came on her motorbike and Atom lives out of town.  Then the monsoon hit! Still, a few people showed up and there was hope.  Eventually, we had three waves of art lovers who brought the total to about 25, which is not bad for a rainy night.  It was a chance to have some great conversations with a diverse group of people, some whom we didn’t know.  We left with a feeling of success on several levels.  

Sunday we did our usual lunch at The Wanderer.  This week a few of my friends from the Sunday meeting also lunched there and it was cool.  The air was fresh and cool after the storm and eating in the garden was a nice change from our inside table.  

The way the rain has been coming, the afternoons are cloudy but warm and just right for a dip in the pool.  The water isn’t that perfect temperature, but it’s good for swimming.  The new pool seems to be maintaining the warmth from the sun since we did away with the underground ‘surge tank’ system.  With the addition of the little solar project, we should be swimming more than ever.

Sunday evening we went on an eating adventure.  Our friend Atom had told us about a fairly new restaurant south of town on the bypass road.  Lisa had visited the Facebook page and it looked interesting.  We drove ‘out of town’ and found Okra Restaurant sitting about 75 yards off the highway in the middle of nowhere.  It’s operated by a young Thai woman who studied culinary arts in Sydney, AZ and has worked in several major hotels.  We were the only patrons that evening and we had a delicious, custom cooked meal.  As we were finishing our food, she came to the table and we had a long conversation about her career.  During the right season, there is a vegetable garden in front and you can go out and pick your own salad.  It was a special experience and we will definitely be returning.

Have a Great Week.


“We live in a society exquisitely
dependent on science and technology,
in which hardly anyone knows anything 
about science and technology.”
~Carl Sagan

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Funnies


The day began with the blue sky thing again.  By afternoon it had a dull gray look and this evening we got hit by warm wind and then a rain storm.  

The ‘Zany Day song was “Whip It” by Devo.  Here’s their zany video:   For ‘Old School Friday’ we’re going way back (555) to 1966.  See if you recognize this oldie:
“__ __ __ __ __ __ can’t keep his mind on nothing else.  He’ll trade the world for the good thing he’s found.  If she’s bad he can’t see it, she can do no wrong.  Turn his back on his best friend if he put her down….”  Hint:  This could be called a song of devotion.  It also is a little dated, but still a great sentiment.  Progress has been made.

This has been a very busy day.  This morning Gong loaded the artwork into the van and the three of us went to the gallery and hung the show.  I’m minimizing what actually happened, but that’s basically what we did.  This evening we went to Big C to get refreshments for the opening on Saturday.  Just as we were checking out, the lines started growing longer.  It’s that time of year when parents come to do back-to-school shopping.  Parents had their kids trying on clothes in the aisle, and the stationary/school supplies section was busy.  As we were leaving the upper level, two men were setting up the fancy sewing machine that embroiders student and school names on uniform tops.  When we walked through the doors to the parking lot, a warm wind swept across the lot and Lisa commented that she felt a raindrop.  As we pulled out, the rain began to fall with hard purpose.  

We weren’t done with our evening adventure yet.  Across the highway we found inside parking at Central Plaza Mall. You remember that place (5).  Many people at the mall arrived when the weather was warm and dry.  Now it was storming and we could see people sitting around, waiting for the rain to clear before they got on their motorcycles.  When we got home Gong unloaded the van, Natcha helped put things away, and Neetchanon provided the entertainment.  What a team.  

Today’s photo was taken recently, on a lot next to The Wanderer.  Some day we’ll have a tree like this.

There are still things to do before tomorrow’s opening.  Hopefully, we can relax a tiny bit before show time.  I’ll be taking photos and you know I like to share.

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


Thursday, April 20, 2017



That blue sky I told you about yesterday was gone this morning.  It looked like one giant cloud.  The temperature was just as hot so it seemed a little weird.  One never knows.

Only a few of you knew this ‘Zany Day’ song right away.  Maybe the second verse will bring clarity (555).
“When a good time turns around (You must __ __), you will never live it down (Unless you __ __).  No one gets away (Until they __ __).  I say __ __, __ __ good!  I say __ __, __ __ good!”  Clue:  A play on words with so many possibilities.  

Daku knows all the signs of ‘Bath Day’.  Normally, when it’s time to go out for morning play he is more than ready.  When he sees certain items, like the shampoo and big rinse bottle he goes to his bed.  This was one of those days.  He doesn’t like it, but when there is nowhere to run he just gives us these pitiful, tortured looks.  He’s clean now and we are happy.

This morning we drove up the highway in search of flowering trees for the yard.  Every year we see the ones we wish we had and never seem to find the right nursery.  Today we had success.  The nursery owner had photos on her phone to show clients various plants.  When Lisa described what we wanted, the owner showed us the kind of trees we were looking for.  Now we have two baby trees that will yield beautiful pink flowers that almost look like cherry blossoms.  It will be a few years, but we hope we got the right trees.  Now we have to decide on where to plant them.  

Khun Yee and his assistant finished laying the new tile on the patio.  Tomorrow they will put in the grouting and we’ll have a whole new look out back.  Daku will also be happy because he’ll get his yard back.  We have to keep him on his leash while the workers are in the yard.  He’s so friendly it freaks some people out.  He appears to be a bigger dog than he is with his fluffy coat.  Most Thai dogs are smaller in size and have short hair.

Tomorrow is also the day we hang Lisa’s exhibit at The Factory.  It will be the first art exhibit in the space so there will be some trial and error involved.  The room has windows that we’ll have to work around creatively.  It will be a warm, intimate experience.

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  I took it a few weeks ago but just realized it has a twisted trunk like the one on Koh Lanta.  Next time we’re at The Wanderer I will ask about this tree.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“In any given moment we have two options:
To step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”
~Abraham Maslow

Wednesday, April 19, 2017



This morning the sky was absolutely clear.  No clouds, no smoke, just a beautiful blue.  Needless to say, we had a very hot day.  It will continue like that for the rest of the week.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Help” by The Beatles.  Here comes a ‘Zany Day’ tune you may remember:  “When a problem comes along (you must __ __), before the cream sits out too long (You must __ __).  When something’s going wrong (You must __ __).  Now __ __ into shape.  Shape it up, get it straight.  Go forward, move ahead, try to detect it, it’s not too late to __ __.  __ __ good!"  Hint:  This should be easy.  

This morning we were holding court at our favorite table inside The Wanderer.  First, Khun Kwan came over with her 5 month old nephew.  When he saw Lisa he gave her a giant smile.  A few minutes later Mercy the Husky came inside.  She spotted Lisa, spoke a few words in Husky and dashed directly to our table.  What a nice visit.

Tonight is the first night since the end of Songkran that we have heard the sound of a thumping bass.  I was hoping we’d get more of a break.  Sometimes it sounds like someone practicing.  If there are other instruments it would be nice to hear them.  Wait, what did I just say?  Never mind.  

Today we did not go to the mall.  (555)  We did go to the fruit market, where I witnessed another daily ritual that I hadn’t seen at this location.  At the main market in the center of town, around 4pm every day there is a procession of cars and bikes lined up to get pre-cooked food to take home.  Everything from sauces, meat dishes and vegetables, to soup in a bag.  At the fruit market the same thing was happening.  We were one of the double-parked vehicles shopping the stands for fresh fruit to go with dinner.   

In keeping with the ’nature’ of today’s quote, here are a few recent photos.  The orchid was spotted this morning at The Wanderer and the seed pods are a gift from Khun Noot.  They fell somewhere in the woods and she said the kids use them as toys.  You toss them into the air and they come down like tiny helicopters.  Cool.

It’s time for Wacky Wednesday.


“In every walk with nature
one receives far more than 
he seeks.”
~John Muir

Tuesday, April 18, 2017



Considering the drama of the weekend weather, today was a good day.  There were clouds, but no rain.  The temps came up in the afternoon and it was a normal Chiang Rai day, whatever that is (555).

The ‘Easy Monday’ song came to many of you without my help.  It should be noted that it was also a movie.
“(Now) But now these days are gone and I’m not so self assured.  Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the door.  __ me if you can, I’m feeling down, and I do appreciate you being ‘round.  __ me get my feet back on the ground.  Won’t you please, please __ me?”  Clue:  Assistance is needed.

All around town the big trees are blooming.  There are pink ones, yellow ones, purple and orange along with white and red.  In our yard the fragrant trees and bushes are blooming.  On the west side of the house it’s like a corridor of sweetness.  Next to the pool, in the rear of the house, there are gardenia and jasmine together.  Wow.  Wish I could send it to you in an email.

Lisa has an exhibit opening on Saturday at a place called The Factory.  The gallery is the latest addition to the things that happen there.  The main focus has been on food and music in the evenings, and various lessons for kids after school.  Lisa’s will be the first art exhibit and will feature watercolor paintings and cast acrylic prints.  In an effort to promote the show we’ve been taking small posters to various shops we frequent and of course social media.  Hmm, what an interesting term.  Anyway, it looks like there will be a nice turnout for the opening of this two-week event.

To the casual observer, it might look like we are 'mall rats’.  We’ve been frequenting the place lately.  Today it was on our list of things to do.  We had postcard size announcements of the show made, and then had lunch.  Just as we were finishing lunch, the couple two tables over also finished.  We were approached by a tall Texan who wondered how we met, where we were from, etc.  His Thai wife teaches marketing at a university and they seem nice.  After some small talk it was time to go.  We gave them a card for the event on Saturday.  Maybe they’ll come.  

Today’s photo is my new head, so to speak.  It’s a work in progress.  Where it will end up is anybody’s guess (5).

Tomorrow work begins on the back patio.  New tile will be installed.  This time it really is ‘no-slip’, which is important when leaving the pool or when it rains.  The first time around, nine years ago, there wasn’t much to choose from when it came to textured tile.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The best way to cheer yourself up
is to try to cheer somebody else up.”
~Mark Twain

Monday, April 17, 2017



Songkran is known by some as the ‘Water Festival’.  This weekend the weather turned out to be the biggest thrower of water.  We had rain off and on all weekend.  Some of it was that crazy, windy, run and hide rain.  Today we had some showers and tonight we had a small storm.  This is all way too early.  Something has changed.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke.  I’ll be you’re ready for a truely ‘Easy Monday’ song.  
“__!  I need somebody.  __!  Not just anybody.  __!  You know I need someone, __!  When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody’s __ in any way…”  Hint:  There, is that easy enough (555)?

There were enough gaps in the rain for many people to have fun 'playing water’.  Video clips were posted of young and old throwing water at each other and passers by.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some kids tossed water in the rain.  Then there were those who didn’t have fun at all because it was just too much.  It rained in Cat’s village and when they did go out, the rain was cold.  It just wasn’t the same.  

We ended up at the mall twice on Sunday.  In the morning we went to get a file printed, but the format was wrong.  In the evening we returned for another try and had dinner while we waited.  The place was very busy.  It was the last evening of the holiday and families were strolling and enjoying the last of what may have been a vacation.  We went back again this evening, for more printing, but left because we couldn’t find parking.  There must have been some event we weren’t aware of because it was madness.  There was double-parking on most of the aisles and long processions of cars searching for that one magic spot.  On top of that, we drove through a major downpour on the way.  

Now that we’re getting all this rain, it’s time to track down the flowering trees we’ve been wanting.  The trick is to find a tree nursery with the desired trees in bloom.  We may end up with our own private forest yet.  

Today’s photo was taken at the Central Plaza Mall.  When we saw the sign we burst into laughter and just had to share this with you.

Now that Neetchanon is more mobile, and eating some solid food, she has recently been enjoying the concept of walking and eating at the same time.  Today she had a piece of bread, strolling through the kitchen.  Daku spotted her and the bread and began to make his move.  His attempt at bread theft was foiled, but it put all of us on alert.  They get along great, but food is food.  He’d never hurt her, but it might freak her out if he grabbed her food.

Saturday marked the end of a little era.  I had my ‘stylist’ cut off my mohawk.  Oh my, photos to follow.

Have a Great Week.


“Peace cannot be kept by force;
it can only be achieved by 
~Albert Einstein

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai had a little more rain today, but it waited until the revelers had a chance to throw water.  By early evening things were getting back to normal, and we have a Friday night ‘party’ going on across the river.  From the looks of photos being posted, Songkran is not lacking in water play.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Little Egypt” by The Coasters.
For this week’s ‘Old School Friday’, try this:  “Darling __ __ __, I know __ __ __, darling __ __ __ honest you do, honest you do, honest you do, whoa.  You thrill me.  I know you thrill me.  Darling you thrill me.  Honest you do.  At first I thought it was infatuation, but woo, it’s lasted so long.  Now I find myself wanting to marry you and take you home, whoa.  __ __ __ I know __ __ __…..”  Hint:  This classic R&B ballad is easy.  Singer had a very smooth voice.

This morning on our way to Makro, we spotted preparations for water tossing.  At two separate locations we saw guys filling what looked like 50 gallon drums with water.  They each had 3 drums.  That’s a lot of water.  It would be interesting to know just how much water is thrown during the holiday.  Hmm.

Makro was super busy.  Since it rained so hard yesterday, today was a big shopping day.  After our shopping we went to The Wanderer for coffee again.  After the big rain everything looks so refreshed.  The same is true at the house.  With all the dust washed away you can see the vivid colors of all the plants.

This afternoon we got a video call from our friends in Denmark.  Louise, Jesper and their son Rasmus called to catch up and chat.  It’s always great to hear from them.  Louise mentioned that it had been 6 years since we met them.  They are coming to visit in July and we’re all excited about that.  

Natcha and Neetchanon came upstairs for a visit after dinner.  Neetchanon seems to have favorite things to do in each room.  In the bedroom she likes to play with at least two of Daku’s toys.  Today it was a cloth animal and the blue ball.  Those are her favorite things upstairs.  She is intrigued by our laptops, partly because her mom has one.  She knows there are things to press and a screen to watch, but she never gets to ‘play’ with ours.  The phrase ‘bye-bye’ is now a part of her vocabulary, but she’s a little unclear on the concept.  She will say it, but then follow you around.  

Today’s photo is the little charmer.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    It’s time for the ‘Funnies’ and also Formula One from Bahrain.  Zoom.


Thursday, April 13, 2017



Today was the day.  Rain was predicted for 8am.  At exactly that time it started to sprinkle very lightly.  Hmm, hope?  It stopped, but remained cloudy.  Later in the morning the storm of the year began pounding Chiang Rai with thunder, lightning, wind and rain.  It was just what we needed, but not the way for Songkran to begin.

The ‘Zany Day’ tune has at least one fan out there.  The song comes from the vast collection of a very zany group.
“She had a ruby on her tummy and a diamond big as Texas on her toe, wo wo.  She let her hair down and she did the hoochie-koochie real slow, wo wo.  When she did her special number on a zebra skin I thought she’d stop the show, wo wo.  Singing yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah (a-gitcha-gitcha-gitcha) yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah…”  Hint:  The group name is a vehicle that is powered by gravity.  The title is a name of the ‘dancer’, who may have been small in stature.

Our only plan for going out today was to get fruit, have coffee and go home.  It all worked out great.  One of our friends at the fruit market has pineapple and mango and we can pull up to her stand and she’ll bring things to the car.  It was too early for the water-tossers so we didn’t even think about them.  At The Wanderer the morning was just getting started.  While we were waiting for our coffee I raised my glass of water and wished Lisa a Happy Songkran, and then imagined tossing the water, and she doing the same.  Then, in our fantasy, we’re in a fancy restaurant and it turns into a water fight with all the patrons.  Someday we’ll make a clip of this (555).

This morning Lisa made a new friend at The Wanderer.  This little bird was found and rescued.  It was injured and too young to set out in the world, so it lives in a cage by the kitchen.  

Even with all the rain today, it’s still warm outside, somewhere in the 80s.  Another thing that comes with the rain is flying things.  This is the time of year when two kinds of creatures appear.  Neither is a favorite here so we make sure to keep the screens closed and lights off when possible.   

It’s very quiet across the river.  I’m sure the rain made the ground messy for the campers.  There was music earlier but I’m not sure where it came from.  If I really wanted to know, I’d drive across the bridge and check things out.  
This was just the first day of Songkran, so there’s still plenty of time for all of the merriment.  Sunday is the last day.

This photo is the Santiburi Golf Course from one side.  It’s huge, and has been the site of many major events.  Golf is very big in Thailand and Santiburi is one of the stops when the golf tourists visit The Kingdom.  Imagine that as part of your backyard.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Knowledge will give you power,
but character respect.”
~Bruce Lee

Wednesday, April 12, 2017



It was the day before Songkran and all through the town, buckets were filled, an excuse to cool down.  Well, actually, water-tossing was starting a day early.  It’s so hot that it seems fair to do.  There is a serious forecast of rain but we’ll not hold our breaths (555).  

Today you will be getting a second message from me.  It’s actually a message from Lisa, introducing a new venture.  Her art is now being presented in poster form, so you can enjoy it in your own home.  Stay tuned for the subject:
“Posters of My Prints"

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Summer In The City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.  Time for another ‘Zany Day’ song:
“I went and bought myself a ticket and I sat down in the very first row, wo wo.  They pulled the curtain up and when they turned the spotlight way down low, wo wo.  __ __ came out struttin’ wearin' nothin’ but a button and a bow, wo wo, singing ‘Yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah…..”  Hint: The two word title is the name of a performance artist with a geographical name.

With the exception of coffee at The Wanderer, we had a quiet day behind the walls of The Big Brown House.  Through the rest of the week it will be better to just venture out in the mornings.  The afternoons and evenings will be the time when water will be flying and so will some drivers under the influence.  We know that The Wanderer will be open, and it’s very close.  If we need a meal or a little adventure we can always go to the Cafe in the Woods.

Cat made it to her village without getting wet this morning.  She will go to the temple in the morning and then it will be play time for a few days.  She and her friends usually go to the waterfall and throw water, which is cool because there is no wasted resource.  Of course, they also cruise around in the back of a pick-up truck throwing water at other friends.  

A new law was proposed last week, and then quickly rescinded regarding riding in trucks.  The law made it illegal to have passengers in the bed of a truck.  The public outcry was enormous and the powers-that-be backed down.  Trucks are how people get to work, to market, and sometimes to school.  Many villages have a single pick-up that takes workers to job sites.  People who bring their produce to town bring it in a truck, along with the people who sell it.  It’s not the safest form of travel, but it’s a very dominant mode.

We’re starting to hear fireworks going off nearby.  What this has to do with Songkran is beyond me, but it’s a celebration and you just can’t celebrate without setting off little explosions.  

Here are two photos from our adventure yesterday.  The first is a road that Google Maps told us to take.  Hmm, almost wide enough for two vehicles.  The second is a partial view of the lake from Poui’s back deck.  

It’s going to be a Wacky Wednesday.


“In the practice of tolerance,
one’s enemy is the best teacher.”
~Dalai Lama

Tuesday, April 11, 2017



So, we’re still in this heat wave and it’s not letting up just because the sun went down.  Sometimes the forecast will say ‘100 but feels like 108’.  What?  Let me be the judge of how hot it feels.  Today it felt like 105.  There may be rain on Thursday.  Tonights low will be 82, and tomorrow’s high will be 101.  More pool time will be needed.

Quite a few of you knew the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Most of you couldn’t remember the group that sang this:
“But at night it’s a different world.  Go out and find a girl.  Come-on, come-on and dance all night.  Despite the heat it’ll be alright.  And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity, that the days can’t be like the nights in the __ __ __ __, in the __ __ __ __…”  Hint:  Something about the hottest season of the year.

The last time we visited the States we became friends with Google Maps.  The voice in the program gave us pretty good directions for getting around town.  Here in Thailand, we have used Google Maps a few times.  The average wasn’t good, but we figured she’s new to the area (555).  Today we gave her a challenge.  We had a lunch date at the home of our friends Pouy and Jimmy, who live at Santiburi Golf Estates.  We were taken on an adventure we hadn’t counted on.  We did see a part of the east side of Chiang Rai that was new to us.  We went in several circles, back tracked a few times, and were given directions to drive into the lake.  That’s when I took over and followed my instincts.  We got there in a few minutes.  Lunch in their new house was very good, looking out on the giant lake, we walked down memory lane.  We met Pouy almost 10 years ago when she had a booth at the Night Bazaar selling hand made items.  Her mother gave us our first banana tree.  Photos later this week.

The crowds are settling in across the river in preparation for the coming festivities.  We’ve had nightly music since Saturday night.  Every time we cross the river we see a larger gathering.  Today there were people in the water.  This afternoon, Gong and Natcha went to the river with Neetchanon, but didn’t go in because the water is not very clean.  

Cat came over and spent the day at the house.  After dinner we went swimming.  There is something about hanging out in the pool and talking.  We stayed in as the sun set.  One of the topics that came up was the dying of hair this time of year.  Cat explained that it’s a summertime thing.  Kids can do it because there is no school in session, but have to make it all black when they go back to class.  Adults not in school just let it fade away.  Now we know.   

Today’s photo was taken this evening.  This is the blue phase of the ever-changing lights.  They also go to green, red, and mixtures that make for interesting effects in the water.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Art is not a treasure in the past
or an importation from another land,
but part of the present life of all 
living and creating peoples.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, April 10, 2017



The heat thing here has gone too far.  We’ve been having super hot, triple digit weather.  The whole country is boiling.  One day this week it may dip into the 80s.  The pool is refreshing.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Hearts of Stone” by Otis Williams & The Charms.  (also: “Hearts Made of Stone)   One reader knew it.  Congrats to Cousin Trudye.  I think we all deserve a really ‘Easy Monday’ tune so here goes:  “Hot town, __ __ __ __, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.  Been down, isn’t it a pity, doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city.  All around, people looking half-dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.”  Hint:  The groups' name is part of a line from a blues tune.  The song is about the weather in Chiang Rai (555).

Saturday morning Cat came to the house and the three of us drove up to her campus.  She and one of her class-mates want to share an apartment next term and she wanted our opinion.  They refer to them as ‘dorms’, but they are actually private apartment buildings very close to the campus.  They all have curfews and visitor restrictions just like some dormitories.  Actually, most if not all of the ‘dorms’ at her school are ‘same sex’ dorms.  The room they want is bigger than what she has now, with room for cooking and study.  Since they are both in the English Teacher department, they will have the same classes and homework.  It will be another chapter in growing up.   Cat is getting excited about her trip to America at the end of July, and we talked a lot about that.  

There is an interesting custom that has evolved during Songkran.  We don’t know exactly when it began, but the dying of one’s hair is quite a fad.  Considering that most Thai hair is black or a very dark brown, the dyed red, pink and shades of blonde offer a big contrast to the norm.  This year there is something new:  Blonde on top, fading into pink.  We also saw a young woman who had changed her hair to gray.  It’s fun seeing the variations as well as the matching dye jobs that seem so obvious.  We saw two teen boys on a motorbike with the same tone of burgundy. 

Sunday we had lunch at The Wanderer with our friend Atom.  They have installed a whole network of misters and it is very effective in keeping the temperature a little lower in the outside areas.  When we returned home, the little family was in the pool.  

The Songkran holiday officially begins on Thursday, but it’s clear that excitement is growing all over town.  At Big C this morning the crowds arrived earlier than usual, even for a Monday.  We went to Central Plaza, across the highway, to have coffee and go to Top’s Market.  The Mall doesn’t open until 11am, but Starbuck’s and Top’s open at 10am.  While we were at Starbuck’s, we watched as a crowd began gathering at the entrance we were near.  Not only were there shoppers and visitors to Chiang Rai, but locals who came to beat the heat.  In fact, one of the announcements over the P.A. mentioned coming to the mall for just that reason.  We had to return this afternoon and the place was crazy busy.

Today’s photo shows Daku making sure Neetchanon is OK.  This is the closest he will get to ‘going in the pool’.

Have a Great Week.


“I object to violence because
when it appears to do good, 
the good is only temporary; 
the evil it does is permanent.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday Funnies


We have moved into another season of boring weather reports.  It will be HOT for the foreseeable future.  Grab a cool drink and enjoy the ride.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa” by Napoleon IV.  Here’s the music clip:  So, it’s Friday and that means ‘Old School Friday’ is next.
“__ __ __ __, will never break, for the love you have for them, they just won’t take.  You can ask them please, please, please, please break.  And all of your love is there to take… But they’ll say no no no no no (etc.) everybody knows.  I thought you knew, __ __ __ __.”  Hint: It’s from ’54 and the title is also listed as having only three words.   I’m hoping this isn’t a stumper.  

All day today we kept thinking it was Saturday.  Consider yourselves fortunate that I snapped out of it and remembered to write.  We finally got the internet back around mid-day.  That 9am appointment was just a fantasy. It was fixed remotely, just as I was about to call again.  

This afternoon we tackled a task we had been putting off for a bit.  We went down to Blue’s room and sorted through the clothes, papers and memories.  At times it was surreal, last Tuesday would have been his birthday.  Some things had strong vibes that took us back to a specific place, others were reminders.  One of the most difficult things to run across was a card from my mother to Blue, thanking him for his gift to her and wishing he could have made the trip back to the States for the holidays.  He left us an iPod of music and when we got upstairs I was scrolling through it.  His friend Larry Williams has an instrumental recording of the tune “Calling You” and as we listened, the feelings were overwhelming.  I’m sure this is not the end of this saga by a long shot.

Natcha has an older sister who is going to visit for 5 days.  Lisa asked if she spoke Thai and Natcha told her she speaks Akha, Burmese and Chinese.  Her husband is Chinese.  We will learn how to say ‘Hello’ in Akha and do our best to communicate with her.  We discovered that Neetchanon understands some Thai already.  While we were sorting, Natcha and Neetchanon joined us.  It was the first time Neetchanon had spent time in the room and there was lots to see and do.  At one point she was helping her mom by bringing things to her.  Then she wandered over to a low table with glasses of water on it.  Lisa called her in Thai to come to her and she responded.  Life is not dull.

Today’s photo was taken on the Super Highway north of us, near Mae Sai.  All of the little round things you see are speakers.  We didn’t get to hear it, but I can only imagine.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.  Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.   Formula One is coming from China this weekend.  Zoom


Thursday, April 6, 2017



The storm system seems to have departed and left us with a large dose of hot weather.  Ironically, we have to warm the pool in order to cool off.  Hmm.

Only two people have identified the ‘Zany Day’ song so far.  Here’s your chance to join an elite domain of zany thinkers.  You to can have this song looping in your brain.  Maybe this critical verse will clear things up (555):
“I cooked your food, I cleaned your house and this is how you pay me back for all my unselfish loving deeds?  Ha, well you just wait.  They’ll find you yet and when they do, they’ll put you in the ASPCA, you mangy mutt.  And __ __ __ __ __ __  __-__, __ __ __ __ __ __, __-__, to the funny farm…”  Clue:  Pet lovers, beware.  This could happen to you, ha-ha.

The recent storm knocked out our satellite system.  Today a crew of three came, diagnosed the problem and fixed it.  No sooner had they left than the internet crashed.  I guess you could call this ‘Tech Day’.  Tomorrow morning is the soonest we can get help.  Tonight I’m using the ‘Personal Hotspot’ generated by my phone to send you this message.  Once again, the tethering of technology has become more than apparent.  I remember when….

This afternoon the man who rebuilt our pool came by.  He went behind the waterfall to look at some of the pipes but came running out.  The bees that live in the rocks of the structure greeted him and he didn’t like that.  Years ago a man from the village came and took the bees away.  I guess they like the spot and over time they have re-established the hive.  Gong said not to worry, something about eating but I’m not sure if he meant the bees or their honey.  We’ll have to get that clear.  Don’t eat the bees.  I’d like to have them removed to another location and then cement the hole closed.

There is music coming from across the river tonight.  It mostly sounds like somebody practicing their bass.  The ‘party’ won’t really get started until Sunday, although Songkran doesn’t officially begin for a week.  I’ve started seeing the signs in shop windows, announcing what day they will be closed for business.  The range is anywhere from 3 to 10 days, with some places staying open through the whole period.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  It’s my favorite drink there, a strawberry smoothie without the yogurt.  They always decorate it with either flowers or little berries.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Before we acquire great power
we must acquire wisdom to use it well.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, April 5, 2017



The storm I told you about yesterday continued for hours.  This morning there was an interesting mess in the yards.  Flowers from the big tree in the back were on the ground in the front.  Seed pods from the west side of the house were on the east, and twigs from across the street were in the front yard.  Oh, and today was another hot one.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Good Day Sunshine” by The Beatles.  ‘Zany Day’ is here to tickle your mind.
“Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and begged you not to leave because I’d go berserk?  Well, you left me anyhow and then the days got worse and worse.  And now you see, I’ve gone completely out of my mind and __ __ __ __ __ __ __-__, __ __ __ __ __ __ __-__, to the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time and I’ll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats, and __ __ __ __ __ __ __-__.”  Hint:  The artist has the name of an emperor from a long time ago.  

This morning we went north on the highway to Art Bridge.  A new exhibition is being installed in the main gallery and will open on Saturday.  Our next stop was Browney’s Pet World, which is always an eye-opener.  There are shelves of  plastic bags containing dog and cat food in kibble form.  It’s food that the store has repackaged from larger bags.  I believe this is done because so many customers stop by on their motorbikes and this is easier for them to transport.  For some, it offers them a chance to get fresher food for their pets instead of buying in bulk.  We saw a whole line of ‘Fragrance’ shampoos and rinses for dogs.  I suppose if you have a little dog that sits in your lap that might not be a bad thing.  Daku is much too big to be ‘Fragrant’ (555). 

Before cell phones there were phone booths.  In Chiang Rai there are remnants of the ‘Good Old Days’ in the form of non-working booths scattered around town.  Some of the more glaring ones were removed from downtown, but we ran into one on Bus Station street that is typical of the era.  Since everything is built up to the property lines, the sidewalk was the only place to put a phone booth.  You have to walk out into the street to get around the booth.  

Today’s photo was taken from our front yard.  In one of the tall trees across the street is a large nest.  I noticed it this morning not only because it was there, but it was there after the strong winds that battered everything else.  I don’t know which birds built it, but they did a great job.

Neetchanon is growing up with an opportunity to speak three languages.  Her parents speak to her in Thai, her grandparents speak to her in Akha, and we speak to her in English.  She hears nursery rhymes in English and Thai, and dances to Thai pop music.  She will either be tri-lingual or very confused.  When she verbalizes we’re not sure whether it’s something in Thai or Akha or Neetchanon.  Either way, she’s ready to be talking to us all.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.


“One is loved because one is loved.
No reason is needed for loving.”
~Paulo Coelho