Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Reality

Hi,

Broadcasting from downtown Chiang Mai, where the evening temps are in the mid-80s.  There was a brief rain during our nap.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Girl from Ipanema” as recorded by Astrid Gilberto and Stan Getz.  If you’d like more info on this tune let me know.  The ‘Zany Day’ song is one we’ve visited before.  It’s the 50th anniversary of the release of the album it was on and I thought it would be fitting to get zany with this:  “Picture yourself on a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.  Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, a girl with kaleidoscope eyes.  Cellophane flowers of yellow and green towering over your head.  Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she’s gone.  __ __ __ __ __ __ (x 2), aaaahhh.”  Hint:  Hmm, another song about a girl near water.  A pattern?  

This morning’s drive to Chiang Mai was pleasant.  We listened to more of Harry Potter and the time just flew by.  The countryside is back to it’s beautiful green lush self.  Nothing like a little rain to bring things back to life.  We got to town earlier than we predicted, which gave us time to lunch and browse at Central Festival.  Malls here have bank branches in them, which is very convenient.  At Festival, they are all on one floor at one end of the mall.  It’s like the banking district.  There is a big grocery store on the garage level that we didn’t know about, with lots of things we didn’t know were available in Thailand.  Rice milk is something we hadn’t seen in any of the stores we frequent, but they had it.  We saw many interesting products, but without our resident label translator, Cat, we couldn’t tell what the ingredients were.  The big stores have this nasty habit of putting the Thai ingredient label over the English ingredients.  Why would you do this in a store that is appealing to an international audience?  

When we checked into the D2 after the follow-up appointment, we were greeted with big smiles and eager staff.  We got the same room we were in last week.  

We are not in what would be considered the ‘High Season’ yet, but since it’s summertime in the Northern Hemisphere, there are lots of visitors.  The streets of the Night Bazaar were really busy this evening.  Good for the local merchants.  

Today’s photo was taken by Lisa.  This is a sight not usually seen in the States, but very common here.  Zoom.


Must be Wednesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“Reality leaves a lot to 
the imagination.”
~John Lennon

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Patience

Hi,

A little sun, a lot of rain, and a whole bunch of heat is how I would describe our weather today.  It’s just that time of year.

A few readers got this one right away.  This tune was the Grammy ‘Record of the Year’ in 1965 and introduced the world to a whole new style of jazz.  It is said that it’s the second most recorded song in history after ‘Yesterday’.
“When she walks, she’s like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gently that when she passes, each one she passes goes aah.  Oh, but he watches so sadly, how can he tell her he loves her.  Yes, he would give his heart gladly, but instead when she walks to the sea, she looks straight ahead not at he….”  Clue:  Unrequited love at the beach?
There is a ‘Girl’ involved.

We stayed behind the wall today.  Khun Yee came over and we solidified the plan for a drain pipe from the front yard to the back wall.  It’s going to be a very long trench but it will be worth it to move the water from the yard.  Work begins on Monday, if it’s not raining (5).  

The rain we are getting is nothing like what’s been happening in Bangkok and the surrounding areas.  The Bangkok Post listed 29 locations in the city where there was flooding.  Most of it was what could be called ‘hubcap’ height and there was no real loss of property, but it’s something that’s been happening every year.  

Here’s a bit of news you might not know about:  Harley/Davidson Motorcycles is going to have an assembly plant in Thailand.  It turns out that the import duty on the bikes can be up to 60% of the value, which really inhibits sales.  If parts are assembled it isn’t taxed the same way.  As the region becomes more and more affluent, there is more market for the legendary machines.  Some Thai ‘collectors’ think it may devalue their bikes.  Now you have something to talk about the next time you find your self at a loss for words.

Tomorrow we drive back to Chiang Mai and return on Thursday.  I’m hoping the weather stays dry for the driving portion.   

Today’s photo was taken at ‘White Cup’ coffee shop, the half-way point on the highway.  The Koy fish thought I was going to feed them.


This evening, as we sat down for dinner, Neetchanon was given a potato chip.  She then offered it to Daku.  Lisa stepped in before he realized what was going on.  If he had seen the offering and gone for it, Neetchanon might have been very startled.  It was a sweet gesture anyway.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Adopt the pace of nature:
her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, May 29, 2017

Content

Hi,

There has been rain and sunshine in our weekend weather.  Now that it’s the rainy season, everyone is predicting rain.  Even when it’s a 10% possibility, which really means it’s not going to happen.  It’s warm, but not that blazing hot stuff.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight” by The Spaniels.  This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song should bring summertime images of beaches, etc.  “Tall and tan and young and lovely, __ __ __ __ goes walking and when she passes, each one she passes goes aah.”  Hint:  Think: Soft voice, tenor sax.

We had a mellow weekend here Chiang Rai.  Saturday we went to The Wanderer for coffee and got some of the brownies that Kwan made with the cold brew coffee.  We now have a new favorite dessert.  The best way to describe them is ‘Too Good’.  When we went back on Sunday for lunch with Cat we got one more.  

There is a new eatery on our list of places to go.  It’s called Casa de Tapas and our friends Katai and Thoval took us there Sunday night.  We weren’t sure what to expect, but the chicken dishes were delicious and since it was just the four of us in the restaurant, the ambience was just right.  There is a spontaneity in the conversations that really makes it fun to hang out with them.  We went from dogs to car racing to politics to more dogs.  Their tractor and farming equipment business is seasonal and they have just entered their quite time.  Their clients have the machines they need for the new season so things are slow until November.  We always learn something new when we’re with them.

Today’s photo shows Daku standing on the deck of the pool.  It’s a new thing he does since we modified the pool.  He walks around and every meter or so he stops and looks into the water.  I don’t now what he’s looking for, but he keeps looking (555).  Maybe he thinks there should be fish in there.  


It seems that most of the ‘events’ that take place in town are centered around food.  This weekend in the town’s new event area, they had what looked like a fruit festival.  We could see the usual rows of tents, each with some kind of edible offering, and people eating in the center of the yard.  It keeps a sense of community alive when people come together like this.  We would see it when we went to the O.T.O.P (One Tambon One Product) festivals.  A ‘Tambon’ is a district and many of them produce one thing, like baskets or wood carvings.  The next time there is an event, it would be fun to check it out.

Have a Great Week.    Oh yeah, it’s French Open time.  

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Everything has its wonders,
even darkness and silence, and 
I learn, whatever state I may be in ,
therein to be content.”
~Helen Keller

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Chiang Rai had a half-and-half day.  This morning it rained until mid-afternoon when it became very cloudy/hot.  They think it will taper off for the weekend and then come back next week.  Oh joy.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “At the Zoo” by Simon & Garfunkel.  That one can sure stick in your head.  Time for some ‘Old School Friday’ to get you remembering:  “__, __, well, it’s time to go.  __, __, well, it’s time to go.  I hate to leave you but I really must say, __, __, __.”  Hint:  That should be enough to trigger a response.  It’s by a group named after a breed of dog.  It was a hit in the mid-50s. 

It’s a good thing we didn’t have anything pressing outside the walls today.  This was our vacation day from the trip.  There is something about being at home to signal the body that it’s OK to relax.  It was a lazy day, the kind where you snooze and don’t realize that’s what you were doing.  Since it was wet and soggy outside, there was no running Daku.  We did take him out later for some exercise, but it was all a little subdued.  

Neetchanon had a fever so we told them take her to the doctor in the van.  When they returned she was trying to be a happy baby, but it flipped from that to ‘I don’t know why I feel like this’ fussy, cranky baby.  When it was time to leave the room she gave us her patented ‘Bye-bye’ and her version of a blown kiss.  

It would appear that we have entered the beginning of the rainy season.  For farmers of certain crops, this is their time.  For others it means coping with flooding.  Building becomes an off-and-on affair.  Most people learn to deal with it the way all elements are dealt with; adapt.  All around town there are little packets for sale.  Inside the packet is a raincoat that folds up nice and neat.  At the first sign of rain it’s fascinating to watch motorbike riders pull over to the side of the road and retrieve their coats from under the seat.  Those who are unprepared just ride soaking wet.   

I’m looking forward to returning to Sawadee Restaurant this Sunday.  We tried to go last week but they were closed.  We ended up at an Indian Fusion Restaurant that came highly recommended.  I don’t know that it will make our ‘A’ list, but it was good in a pinch.  

Today’s photo was taken while I was out with Daku.  I call it ‘A Tiny River Runs Through It’.  Earlier, there was a lake.  


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.      Time for the ‘Funnies’.     Formula One is in Monaco this week, racing through the streets of Monte Carlo.  Zoom.

                Peace,
                          Danny


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Humility

Hi,

On our trip from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai we only had one cloud burst.  The rest of the day was cloudy and bright.  Oh, and don’t forget very hot.

I love it when a bunch of you know a ‘Zany Day’ song.  These guys also sang about someone named Robinson.
“Something tells me it’s all happening __ __ __.  I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.  The monkeys stand for honesty.  Giraffes are insincere.  And the elephants are kindly but they’re dumb.  Orangutans are skeptical of changes in their cages and the zoo keeper is very fond of rum….”  Clue:  I left you one in there.

The observation of the day came at lunch.  We were sitting in the hotel restaurant and Lisa realized that the tables that were being carried to the ‘backstage’ area were part of the morning’s breakfast buffet props.  Every day they set up a special breakfast display and then tear it down at lunch time.  Outside on the street the same thing happens day in and day out.  The Night Bazaar set-up begins around mid-day and is torn down late at night.  There are some sidewalk ‘restaurants’ that are breakfast only and others that only pop up after business hours of the store they sit in front of.  I’m sure this happens in other cultures as well.  The idea that a business does not have to be a permanent structure seems to be quite acceptable.  

The morning ‘check-in’ with the doctor went well.  He did keep persisting in showing Lisa the photo that was taken during surgery, which she told him she didn’t want to see.  I just sat there and looked at the floor.  Other than that, he’s a swell guy (555).  

We had another uneventful trip on the highway.  We stopped for pie and coffee and that’s when I took ‘Today’s Photo’.  What you are seeing is a view of the river from the perspective of the ‘Men’s Room’.  Gives new meaning to the term ‘Communing with Nature’.


When we got home, Daku was having his dinner.  He was so excited to see us, but he just couldn’t leave that bowl of food.  He ran over and said hello, then ran back to his bowl.  He was actually doing a little dance in place as he ate his food.  I should have filmed it.  Once he was done, we got a proper greeting.  Natcha told Lisa that he will not let her brush him.  When she begins, he jumps up and runs off.  Lisa is his groomer and that’s the end of the story.  It’s good to be home.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“Humility is the solid 
foundation of all virtues.”
~Confucius

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Become

Hi,

This morning it rained in Chiang Mai.  It was a light rain and I think it cooled things down a bit.  The weather is now warm and humid as opposed to hot and humid.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Windy” by The Association.  Oh, now you remember (5).  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song is by a duo.  “Someone told me it’s all happening __ __ __.  I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.  It’s a light and tumble journey from the East side to the park.  Just a fine and fancy ramble to __ __.  But you can take the cross-town bus if it’s raining or it’s cold.  And the animals will love it if you do.”  Hint:  About a large place with a living collection.

Last night the patient did pretty good.  Her companion, however, did not do his research and neglected to look in the closet for things to make a comfortable bed.  As a result, I slept on a leather couch with just a towel for a blanket and a T-shirt for a pillow case.  It wasn’t until after breakfast that I discovered all the comforts were in the closet.  If there is a next time, I’ll know.  The doctor came by for a ‘clearance exam’ and when he was done with Lisa, he asked if he could check out his work on me from last year.  He was happy with what he saw, in fact, at first he couldn’t find the scars.  Checking out of Bangkok Hospital is an adventure.  The bill was carefully explained, as well as the refund we would receive for the overpay on the deposit.  How nice is that?  Then the pharmacist came out and sat at a little table and explained each medication that would be taken and what it does.  As we were leaving they asked us to wait until a nurse from the room could deliver a phone charger we had left in the room.  Everyone was so nice, it was like saying goodbye to friends.  We go back tomorrow morning for one last doctor check and then return in one week.  

This afternoon we had coffee at a Starbuck’s that overlooks a place called Tha Pae Gate.  The remains of the gate are part of a wall that once protected the city from foreign armies from the north.  Many cities in Thailand have saved parts of the walls and gates as historical reminders.  From our second floor table we watched tourists feeding a massive flock of pigeons.  There are locals who walk around selling grain or slices of bread to the tourists.  Actually, bread is the last thing birds need, since it expands and is not healthy for them.  If you stand with your arm(s) out and food in your hand, the birds will land on you.  People were doing this and having their photos taken.  Hmm, I don’t think so (555).

This evening, after dinner, we went to the mall and bought the one thing we went for and then left.  What?  On the way we rode with a bilingual cab driver who spoke Thai in a slow, careful manner so we could understand him.  Lisa had a long conversation with him and I was keeping up with most of it.  I guess we really are learning something.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer last Sunday.  It’s the cold brewing device in action.  The very top contains ice.  As the ice melts it drips into the coffee sitting in a filter.  Then, when it collects enough, a drop goes  into the larger vial, spirals down a tube and drips into a container.  The dripping is regulated and the rate is changed at certain times.  The whole process takes about 24 hours.  This batch was not the ‘good’ coffee, though the process takes out all bitterness.  It will be used in cooking brownies and other menu items that have coffee essence as an ingredient. 


As always, the staff here at the Dusit D2 have been very friendly and helpful.  We miss home, but there are things about this place that I will miss, at least for a few hundred kilometers.

Time for Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Doors

Hi,

To say Chiang Mai is hot would be a gross understatement.  Today we missed the heat since we were inside the whole time. 

So, a few of you got the song right away.  Let’s take it to the bridge, it might help you remember:  “And __ has stormy eyes that flash at the sound of lies.  And __ has wings to fly above the clouds, above the clouds.  Who’s trippin’ down the streets of the city, smiling at everybody she sees?  Who’s reaching out to capture a moment?  Everyone knows it’s __.”  Hint:  The name in the title is derived from the air that blows through the trees.  Hmm.  Recorded by a six-member group who had me as a groupie back in the day.

Last night I went for a ride in an electric Tuk-Tuk.  The driver just said it was not as stinky, but he should have mentioned that is was also not as noisy.  We took off with nothing but the faint whining sound of the electric motor.    I could feel that it was lighter than the standard Tuk-Tuk by the way it accelerated.  Zoom, want one!

The patient is doing well.  When we checked into the hospital this morning we had a chance to talk to the International Concierge, who we first met when I was a patient there.  Part of his job is teaching English classes and communication skills to members of the staff.  While an admissions rep went over some papers, he sat behind her and listened to her presentation.  It was interesting to hear his critique after she left.  We also learned more about the Bangkok Hospital that’s being built in Chiang Rai.  It’s supposed to be finished at the end of 2018.  It won’t offer some of the specialized services like Chiang Mai, but it will be a great addition to the healthcare options up north.

Today’s photo was taken at the hospital.  Our friend got his phone case hand painted in Bo Sang village.  It cost 100 Baht ($3.00) and only took a few minutes.


Last week the rains were so heavy in Chiang Mai that they had some flooding.  There has also been flooding in Bangkok.  The government is now trying to coordinate the opening of dams in order to relieve the pressure in some areas. The rainy time of the year makes it all worse.

Tomorrow we return to the D2 hotel for one more night in the city.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“The doors of wisdom
are never shut.”
~Benjamin Franklin

Monday, May 22, 2017

Canvas

Hi,

Coming to you from downtown Chiang Mai, Thailand, where it’s so hot the hotel pool feels like a hot-tub.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Night Train” as written and performed by James Brown.  There have been many 12 bar blues with the same title, but his was just a simple list of cities on his tour and it became very popular.  
Time for ‘Easy Monday’ and something you may remember.  “Who’s peeking out from under a stairway, calling a name that’s lighter than air?  Who’s bending down to give me a rainbow?  Everyone knows it’s __.”  Hint:  The title is a name, and it’s by a very large vocal group in the 60s.

This morning we drove down to Chiang Mai.  The main purpose of the trip was for Lisa to have a consultation with my doctor at Bangkok Hospital.  As a result, we’ll be staying until Thursday.  Tomorrow she will have a procedure done and the doctor wants her to stay overnight.  I will stay with her at the hospital and we’ll just hang out.  We’ll spend Wednesday night back at the D2 and come home Thursday afternoon.  

On our trip to the big city we made our regular stop at Charoen Gardens for pie.  Delicious as usual.  In general, the highway was rather calm, considering it was a Monday morning.  Not a lot of big trucks going south, and not a lot of crazy rushing.  I did notice a lot of construction along the way.  

We tried something new this trip.  I found an mp3 version of Harry Potter and we started listening as soon as we left town.  I think it really helped pass the time.  It’s read by Stephen Fry and is very entertaining.  

For some reason, Daku did not respond to the suitcase the way he used to.  He didn’t get upset or anything.  I think it’s because it was just one small case and it was only on the floor briefly.  When we left, he was laid back.  Guess he was waiting for us to leave so he could party with the baby sitters (555).

Today’s photo shows Gong, Neetchanon, Natcha and Daku as we left on our trip.


Have a Great Week.

            Peace,
                      Danny

“This world is but a canvas
to our imagination.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

It didn’t rain today and that made us happy.  It was pretty cloudy this morning so we postponed Daku’s bath.  This made him very unhappy (555).  It warmed up, but not too hot.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran.  ‘Old School Friday’ is an exercise in geography.
“All aboard, for the __ __.  Miami, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Raleigh, North Carolina…. And don’t forget New Orleans…”  Clue:  It’s not the only song with this title, but this version was done by The Godfather of Soul.  

We went to the bank this morning and got a welcome surprise.  There was basically no waiting.  For a Friday morning it seemed unusual.  There were familiar faces with big smiles of recognition and before we knew it, we were done.  On Bus Station Street we did notice a higher volume of traffic than in the past.  

While visiting at Work@Home we witnessed a beautiful gesture by our friend Katai.  There was an accident across the street from the shop, and an older woman was knocked off of her motorbike.  Katai raced out to talk to her about any injuries and prevented the driver and others from trying to make her stand.  Katai stayed with her for a long time.  Finally an ambulance arrived.  She told us that there are lots of accidents at this intersection and they keep a first aid kit handy.  The mechanic at the Honda dealership next door also helps out.  We were all moved by the fact that this woman lives alone with her dog and had no one to call.  The other vehicle was a pick-up truck so the police had the driver take the woman’s motorbike to the police station.  Very interesting.

Schools are back in session and that means more traffic at certain times.  Fortunately, we’re usually not out there when the school traffic is at it’s height.  I just remembered that at Cat’s school there were over 2,000 students.  If that is multiplied by at least 5, well, you get the idea.

Our friend Sandy and her daughter Dylan came over with bags of clothes Dylan had outgrown.  Natcha was very grateful and Neetchanon fell in love with a bag full of socks that she dragged around the living room.  

Today’s photo was a moment Lisa captured as Neetchanon was coming out from behind the couch.  


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

              Peace,
                        Danny

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Friendship

Hi,

The rain continued through mid-morning.  It was not spectacular, but the kind of rain that totally saturates the ground.  Very deceiving when you step on the grass and realize you’re a little underwater.  It’s been cloudy and warmer today.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ tune struck a chord for many.  See if you can remember this ode to teen work habits.
“A-well my mom and pop a-told me, ‘Son you gotta make some money, a-if you wanna use the car to go a-ridin’ next Sunday.’  Well I didn’t go to work, told the boss I was sick, ‘Now you can’t use the car ‘cause you didn’t work a lick’.  Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do.  But there ain’t no cure for the __ __.”  Clue:  There is a season in the title.  When things aren’t going well, one is said to get the __.  Hmm.

It wasn’t hard to dress for the funeral this morning.  Black has been such a staple in our lives that it was just a question of ‘which black’ to wear.  The directions we were given were exactly right and when we arrived the service was in progress.  The temple is in the village where Johan lived.  His son told me that all the people at the service were from the village and knew and liked Johan.  That made it even more special.  We listened to the monks chanting, which can become hypnotic.  It is very rhythmic, with a syllable on every beat and a bit of syncopation when another monk takes over the ‘lead’.  It’s my favorite part of any service.  After the service the monks were fed and the guests stood around and visited.  I had a conversation with our friend Baan, who told me how she and her husband Gary motorcycled around Laos.  She saw villages that reminded her of when she was a child.  They were simple, with no Western intrusion.  Deep stuff indeed.  We’re hoping to be able to spend some time with Ronald and Linda, Johan’s children, before they return to Holland.  Lisa printed a photo we have of Johan and BamBam hanging out and they were surprised that their dad was relating to a dog.  It brought smiles.

When we left the house we had no idea when we would return, so we told Natcha not to fix lunch.  We finished right about our lunch time, on the road.  Oh, what to do?  Had lunch at The Wanderer, of course.  The misting system used to cool things off is on a timer.  That means that sometimes they come on when they are not needed.
Today’s photo was taken on one of those days.  It was cloudy and humid and it created a very eerie landscape.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“Be slow to fall into friendship;
but when thou art in, continue
firm and constant.”
~Socrates

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Strength

Hi,

The word of the day is: Rain.  All day there was some degree of rain.  In addition to the wet, the storm must have come from the north because it was cold all day.  What’s going on here?

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Rockin’ Robin” by Bobby Day.  Now it’s time to get crazy with the ‘Zany Day’ song.
“A-I’m a-gonna raise a fuss, I’m a-gonna raise a holler.  About a-workin’ all summer just to try to make a dollar.  Ev’ry time I call my baby, try to get a date, my boss says, ‘no dice son you gotta work late’.  Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do, but there ain’t no cure for the __ __.”  Hint:  This Rock-a-Billy hit from the 50s became a very loud, pre-heavy metal hit in the 60s.  Something about working during vacation not being so much fun.

This rain we’re having is quite persistent.  Sure, we’ve had rain before, but it’s usually on and off and much warmer.  By some standards it might be viewed as not so cold, but coming from 90+ highs for weeks, when it drops to the 60s it’s time to wrap up.  Tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy with no rain.  I’ll wait on that one.  In the meantime, I’m actually wearing a warm, long-sleeved shirt and feeling comfortable.  

We toyed with the idea of going out into the world today but considered the rain and the traffic and stayed inside. Daku wasn’t happy about the weather either.  In the afternoon he got a chance to go outside and he did his crazy run just to blow off steam.  He seemed happy after that.  

Today’s photo was taken at B2S, a stationary, art supply, book store in the mall.  Just when you think you’ve seen everything you see something new.  To go with your scented ball-point pen and marker I give you the scented eraser.


Wednesday afternoon is massage time at The Big Brown House.  It took Khun Jin a few minutes to warm her hands before we began.  They felt icy cold at first.  We laughed, she rubbed them together and then used a thin towel until they were warm.

I got a chance to spend some time with Neetchanon today.  When she saw me, the first thing she wanted to do was touch my hair.  A new routine.  She had a tablet that Natcha has dedicated to baby stuff.  It’s full of children’s songs and nursery rhymes.  Some are in English and some are Thai.  What I didn’t realize was that Neetchanon already knows how to change songs.  She uses her thumb to swipe the nearest icon.  If she doesn’t want to hear something, she just thumbs it away.  Hmm, still digesting the pros and cons of tech at this age.  Time to surrender to the new order (555).

Tomorrow we will go to the village where Johan lived to attend part of the funeral services.  They have had services every night.  We will attend some of the morning service and leave before the cremation portion.  Johan made many friends during his years here and I’m sure we’ll see some of them tomorrow.  

Time for Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny  

“You have power over your
mind, not outside events.
Realize this and you will find
strength.”
~Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Impossible

Hi,

It appears that we’re in a week long storm cycle.  Two rains yesterday, rain today and more due tonight.  All the weather people agree on this to a certain degree.  Today’s rain wasn’t anything major, just steady water from the sky.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song has lots of friends.  Many of you know the song but not who sang it.  That’s OK. 
“Every little swallow, every chick-a-dee, every little bird in the tall oak tree.  The wise old owl, the big black crow, flappin’ their wings singing go bird go.  __ __ (Tweet x 3), __ __ (Tweet, tweedle-lee-dee).  Go __ __ ‘cause we’re really gonna rock tonight.”  Clue:  It’s easy.  Is that a clue?

We stayed home all day today.  Some days are like that.  On our Big C run yesterday we got a few things to fortify us when the little flying things arrive.  The electric rackets don’t seem to last more than one season, so we got a few more.  We also got an electronic device that has a light that attracts the bugs and then zaps them.  Sounds harsh, but when they fly into your face, it gets pretty creepy.  I must admit, we are at the opposite end of the scale when it comes to these little ‘flying ants’, for lack of a better term.  Some people consider them a delicacy and go out and scoop them up, fry them and, well, you get the picture.  They seem to bloom on a certain night after the rains.  All over town, people huddle under street lights, in front of motorbike headlights and any other light that attracts them.  We don’t do that (555).

Gong and Natcha worked in the yard again today.  When it began to rain they continued to work.  Natcha finally gave in, but Gong stayed out there in the rain, operating the weed-wacker, cutting the grass on the hilly contours of the lawn.  Neetchanon spent the day with her aunt again today.  This evening she was cuter than cute.  She learns from everyone and having the opportunity to spend time with different family members is part of her early education.  This evening she was playing with two little packets that were identical.  She would offer one and keep the other.  Then she would trade.  Of course, this goes on forever.  At one point she offered one to Daku.  Then she realized that my hair was different than hers and her family’s, so she pointed and said something.  I let her feel my hair and then she wanted to feel Lisa’s hair.  

Today’s photo was taken adjacent to Cat’s university.  I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this building.  I was first attracted to the large black structure.  Then the name really clinched it.  It’s a coffee shop, school supply store, with living quarters for the owners on the top.  


It’s raining again, just like they said it would.  They missed the time by almost an hour, but hey, it’s raining.   

Have a Happy Tuesday.

              Peace,
                        Danny

“I love those who yearn for 
the impossible.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, May 15, 2017

Rainbow

Hi,

All weekend we were teased with the idea of rain.  This afternoon it finally came.  Lots of thunder and rain.  Just what we needed, I think.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “At Last” by Etta James.  This ‘Easy Monday’ song is old, but covered a lot:
“He rocks in the tree tops all day long.  Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and a-singin’ his song.  All the little birds on Jaybird Steet, love to hear the __ go tweet, tweet, tweet.  __ __ (Tweet x3), __ __ (Tweet, tweedle-lee-dee).  Go __ __ ‘cause we’re really gonna rock tonight.”  Hint:  It’s about a bird (555).  

Saturday evening we went to Art Bridge for the opening of a multi-artist exhibit.  There was a huge crowd and lots of speeches.  It was both exciting and draining since the gallery was very hot, and the noise level was high.  Mid-way through the evening we got a call from our Thai teacher that our dear friend Johan had passed.  He had been ill for some time but we didn’t know to what degree.  We have known him since the early days of living in The Big Brown House.  He rescued us from the original construction problems with our pool.  He’s been like our pool ‘guru’ ever since.  We got to be friends and spent lots of time just talking about life.  BamBam took a liking to Johan and became the first dog that he cared about.  Whenever he came to the house she would go nuts.  Once she calmed down, they would sit together like old friends.  His son and daughter are here from Holland to handle his affairs and there will be a service later in the week.  Another tough one to embrace.

While driving around over the weekend, we took note of all the plots of land that have been ‘filled’ and how we just knew something would be built there.  Most of them are still empty, grown over with weeds and bushes.  I guess dirt is the best aspect of the real estate trade to be in these days.  You make your money up front, with no worry if it sells or not.  Hmm, I always wanted a dump truck (555).

Sunday we met our friends John and Aey at Okra for dinner.  It was their first visit and it lived up to our hype.  Aey asked about the smoked salmon salad and Jeab explain that she would smoke the salad at the table.  Hmm.  Most of this was in Thai and I had no idea what was about to happen.  Jeab made a salad and brought it to the table.  Then she brought a little box that was connected to a long black hose.  She explained that she would use Earl Grey tea to create the smoke in the little device and then pump it into the covered salad bowl.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here are two to help you understand what I just said.  What I can’t show you is how good it tasted.  Aey was very pleased with her dinner choice.  I wonder if she could do that with chicken?

The flame is being applied to the tea which is in the box.  

Smoke filled the covered bowl and then the hose was removed.  Four minutes later the smoke was absorbed into the salad.

Have a Great Week.

               Peace,
                         Danny

“Try to be a rainbow
in someone’s cloud.”
~Maya Angelou

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

We had rain again today in Chiang Rai.  In fact, the next five days are supposed to have rain and 85-90F temperatures.  We’ll see.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Bob Dylan.  Time for another ‘Old School Friday’ tune.
“__ __, my love has come along.  My lonely days are over, and life is like a song.  __ __, the skies above are blue, my heart was wrapped up in clover the night I looked at you.”  Hint:  This ballad from 1961 became the signature song for a very powerful woman of the blues.

The sky looked a lot like rain when we exercised Daku.  Our hope was that the rain would wait until we finished moving the artwork from The Factory to the house.  With Gong’s help, we packed up the show and had it home in less than an hour.  A few minutes after our return the rain started.  It was heavy at times and everything got a good soaking.  

It was very quiet on our road today.  No dump trucks or tractors.  The big project across the road looks like it might be four major parcels.  At this point, we’re just happy that phase is over and we can return to how it was.  The road itself is still busy with traffic at certain times, but there is an ebb and flow that we’re used to.
 
Yesterday Lisa had lunch with our friend Sutheera.  We learned that the Chiang Rai Bangkok Hospital is being built north of town, just south of Maefarluang University.  That’s very good news.  Having been in their care on two occasions last year, they are tops in my book.  There is a whole ‘corridor’ of construction north of town on the Super Highway that will change the overall perception of Chiang Rai.  

Tomorrow morning we’re going to Cat’s university to see her newly decorated ‘dorm room’.  Her room-mate has not returned to school yet, so Cat has been enjoying a larger place lately.  

Today’s photo was taken on a path at The Wanderer.  Sometimes you just have to look at the ground.
 

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.       It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.     Formula One is in Spain this week.  Zoom.

                   Peace,
                             Danny    



Thursday, May 11, 2017

Calculate

Hi,

A few times today it looked like it might rain.  Not far from us it did.  Nothing like tropical weather to confuse and confound.

I just knew somebody would remember this ‘Zany Day’ tune.  We’ve played with it before and only 3 players have vaguely responded.  ‘I know the singer and the song, but not the title’.  Ooops, that won’t do.  Second half of the first verse:  “Look out kid, it’s somethin’ you did.  God knows when but you’re doin’ it again.  You better duck down the alley way lookin’ for a new friend.  The man in a coon-skin cap in a big pen wants eleven dollar bills, you only got ten.”  Hint: The title refers to the place under the surface of the earth, and longing for one's place of origin.

Gong talked to the people across the road who count the trucks full of dirt.  We think today was their last day.  The giant piece of property has been marked off with stakes and lots will be for sale.  Meanwhile, work was done on the lot next door to us.  This is getting a little strange.  Dirt-play all around as a tractor was spotted on the property behind us late this afternoon.  I tell you, it’s a conspiracy (555).  

As speculation becomes the name of the game, it’s a real gamble in this crowded market.  There are plenty of lots that have been filled and are now jungles of weeds.  It seems that certain areas are popular for development and others become cold.  The major highway project in Chiang Rai is called the ‘Ring Road’ because it provides a way to bypass the city going north and south.  In Chiang Mai it looks like a ring around the city.  I still haven’t seen the whole project here, but it’s the same idea.  Property along the ring road is being developed like crazy.  Hmm, who has a few extra million Baht?  

This afternoon we went to The Wanderer for coffee and to test a new cake recipe that Noot was trying.  It had rained there, just a few minutes from our house.  We thought we were going to sample a slice of cake but instead, we ended up with six slices all packaged up.  While we were enjoying our afternoon ‘snack’, Mercy came in and greeted every table.  She spent extra time with us, hoping that we might give her a ‘sample’ of the new cake.  When she realized we weren’t going to comply, she was off to another table.  

Tomorrow is another holiday here.  It’s The Royal Ploughing Ceremony and it marks the beginning of the sowing and planting season.  In folklore, it is very important because it encourages all the farmers.  The Royal Oxen will be paraded around and then offered seven bowls with various things to eat.  What they chose will have a prosperous harvest.  The whole thing is steeped in ancient rituals and tradition.  It is televised and many people take the day off to watch the ceremony in order to plan for the next season.  

Most of the industrial machinery around town is either yellow or orange.  What a trip to see this purple back-hoe.  I know what you’re thinking:  Cue Jimi’s music now.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“I can calculate the motion of 
heavenly bodies, but not the
madness of people.”
~Isaac Newton

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Waste

Hi,

Today the rain came.  It wasn’t a heavy storm, but light rain for most of the morning.  The thunder was a different story.  By the sound of things, you would have thought we were getting beat up pretty bad.  As it was, it washed the sky, watered the lawn and cooled the pool.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Hey Nineteen” by Steely Dan.  Oh well, on to the finer things, like the ‘Zany Day’ song.
“Johny’s in the basement mixing up the medicine.  I’m on the pavement thinking ‘bout the government.  The man in the trench coat, badge out, laid off, says he’s got a bad cough, wants to get paid off.  Look out kid, it’s somethin’ you did…”  Hint:  A classic zany from R.Z. aka B.D.  The title is not in the lyric.  Don’t know what to tell you.

After a morning of walking round the house, theorizing about the flow of water, searching for pipes and leaks we think we may be out of the proverbial woods.  Khun Daeng, a contractor we’ve used before, changed a switch on the pump and he and Gong had long conversations.  Then Khun Cheurn, who did the pool work, came over and searched and explained, mostly in Thai, and found a slow leak behind some bushes.  Neither one of them would accept any compensation for their time.  

In the middle of the ‘water wars’ the bug spray people arrived.  What?  They know that it’s pointless to spray when it’s raining.  It would just wash everything away.  Hmm.

Today is Visakha Bucha Day.  It is the celebration of the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.  It is considered one of the most important celebrations in Thailand and is a National Holiday.  That may be why the trucks were not hauling dirt today.  

Cat came over this morning.  Originally, she was going to help with the moving of Lisa’s exhibit but that got postponed. She ended up translating the discussions about the water meter, the leaks, and solutions.  When all the drama calmed down we sat around and talked.  She will be doing an activity project at what is called a primary school later this month.  I got curious when she used the term ‘City School’ when describing where she might be going.  I asked her to tell us the difference between a City School and a Village School.  Her school was a village school from grade one through nine.  There were 260 children in the school.  She told us that since it was made of wood, it leaked and had insects.  In the hot and cold seasons it was extreme.  They had one old computer for every 3 kids and no internet.  When she came to high school in the city it was a totally different experience which required a major adjustment on her part.  I must say, she came through with flying colors.  Only three students from her primary school graduating class passed the entrance exams for high school.  It also must be said that without the support of The Freedom Project (formerly The Sold Project), none of this would have been possible.  
 
Today’s photo was taken on a recent trip to our local nursery.  


Daku knows a lot of words and phrases.  Today I realized another phrase that he has tuned into.  Lisa went into the kitchen and said, ‘Is there a little girl in here?’  Daku, who was lying beside me at the dining room table, immediately jumped up and hurried into the kitchen.  Lisa uses that phrase every time she greets Neetchanon and it always gets a big smile.  

It’s time for a Wacky Wednesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“Wanting to be someone else
is a waste of the person you are.”
~Kurt Cobain

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Future

Hi,

The forecasters called for rain.  We got a two minute cloud burst.  They probably celebrated a win (555).  The only part they’re getting right is the hot part.  

Only one person has identified the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Here’s the second verse of this jazz influenced tune:
“__ __ that’s ‘Retha Franklin.  She don’t remember The Queen of Soul.  It’s hard times befallen The Soul Survivors.  She thinks I’m crazy, but I’m just growing old.  __ __, no we got nothing in common, no we can’t talk at all.  Please take me along when you slide on down.”  Clue:  Hmm, I wonder if her name was Peg and if she drank Black Cows?  This tune was probably popular with the 'just under 20’ crowd when it came out.

The procession of dump trucks continues across the road.  The drivers are very careful about yielding the right of way to on-coming traffic on our narrow road.  That’s a nice touch, considering how much they are changing the pattern of driving in the area.  There is a water truck that comes through during the day.  It leaves a heavy stream of water on the path of the trucks, keeping the dust down a bit.  

This morning we wandered over to The Wanderer for coffee before going into town.  The place was almost empty so we got immediate service and a very warm greeting from Mercy.  Khun Noot came out with a handful of jasmine flowers that she had soaked overnight.  They will be a part of an exotic dessert she prepares.  She left a few at the table and it was a nice touch.  We talked about her cooking and she mentioned making an apple cake with coconut flour and honey.  A few minutes later she returned from the kitchen with a fresh croissant and some organic jam.  A little later she came back to the table with half of a Turkish mango that a friend had brought her.  She said the fruit is heart-shaped.  It definitely had a distinct taste on top of the familiar mango vibe.  Hmm, where can I get more of that without going to Turkey?  Thursday afternoon we will go back to sample the new apple cake.  

Just before we sat down for lunch, we had a visit from a man from the water department.  He had our very large bill in hand and told us our meter was spinning day and night.  It was nice of them to send someone to tell us and take a look at what might be wrong.  The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to figure out what was happening.  The investigation will continue tomorrow.  Meanwhile, we may have to turn off part of the system overnight.  There is an answer to all of this, somewhere.

We have been swimming every day.  There is a common rite of passage when reentering the world of exercise.  Muscles wake up and say ‘Hi, remember me?’  Stiff and sore become part of the mental mantra of getting up or walking around, or bending over, or….

Today’s photo captures a moment of mother-daughter time.


Tomorrow we will go to The Factory and pack up Lisa’s art exhibit.  How fitting also, that in the afternoon we have our massage.  Just the thing after going up and down the stairs, moving out the show.  They say ‘Timing is everything’.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                Peace,
                          Danny

“The future belongs to those
who believe in the beauty of
their dreams.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, May 8, 2017

Answers

Hi,

Chiang Rai was hot again this weekend.  All the talk about rain came to fruition on Sunday night with a light, scattering of moisture that helped clear the air.  More is, of course, in the forecast.  The heat thing hasn’t changed.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Gypsy Woman” by The Impressions.  The ‘Easy Monday’ song is a fairly young one since it’s from 1980 (555).  “Way back when in sixty-seven.  I was the dandy of Gamma Chi.  Sweet things from Boston, so young and willing moved down the Scarsdale.  Where the hell am I?  __ __, no we can’t dance together, no we can’t talk at all.  Please take me along when you slide on down.”  Hint:  There is a number involved.  There may also be an age difference involved.

Saturday morning I heard the unexpected sound of a tractor around 8am.  Looking out, I saw a parade of dump trucks driving into the field across the road.  This job is going to go on for a long time.  Another ‘farm’ bites the dust.  When all you grow is corn that will be used for animal feed, selling at current prices may be the better option.  It seems to be happening all over town.  The real question is:  Will anything be built on the land once it is filled?  There are many lots in our area that have been filled and now are full of weeds.  There is one farm we pass on the way to the highway and they have a purpose.  They posted a big sign in the middle of their rice field stating that they use no chemicals on the crops they grow.  Right on.  

If there was ever any doubt that Chiang Rai is growing up, check out this truck.  I think it’s safe to say that we’re entering a new era.


Our friends John and Aey met us for Sunday lunch at The Wanderer.  They’ve been in South Africa for about a month and had lots of adventures to share.  The national parks are animal sanctuaries where one can drive through and see the animals in their natural habitat.  We got to see lots of photos of flowers, animals and landscapes.  We’re going there in two years and I’m pretty sure this is something we’ll want to do.  We learned that there are four ways to get to South Africa, depending on the airline you take.  Hmm.

The air/con unit in our bedroom has been with us since the days at the rental house.  Right in the middle of this heat wave, it decided to not provide us the cold we’re used to.  It still works, to a point, but it’s just not right.  Today the service manager and a tech came to the house and checked it out.  Wednesday they will return with a new refrigeration unit.  I think we can hold out until then (5). 

Sunday evening we went to Okra for dinner.  Once again, we were the only patrons.  It was a very relaxing experience and the food was excellent, again.  As we drove north on the highway the road was suddenly wet.  It had rained recently, but missed Okra completely.  All the way home we could see signs of a light rain, but never encountered any of it.  Oh, the mysteries of weather.

Have a Great Week.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

“Being at ease with not knowing
is crucial for the answers to come 
to you.”
~Eckhart Tolle

Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hi,

It’s a little after 7pm and ‘they’ are telling me that it feels like 91F and I believe them.  The weekend forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms, mostly in the evening.  Here’s the good part: The chance of rain ranges from 50% to 60%. 

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Flight 505” by The Rolling Stones.  Here’s an ‘Old School Friday’ tune that some of you may remember:  “From nowhere through the caravan, ‘round the campfire light.  Lovely woman in motion, with hair as dark as night.  Her eyes were like that of a cat in the dark that hypnotized me with love.  She was a __ __, she was a __ __ (repeat a few times).”  Hint:  This tune is from 1961 by a group with a long history of love songs and songs of ‘the struggle’. 

This morning’s adventure was a trip back to Thai Watsadu (I love the way that sounds).  Not long after we got to The Kingdom, I found myself needing tool things.  I got a drill at Big C, but it wasn’t what I really needed.  It made holes in stuff, but had to be plugged in and was either fast or off.  Today I got a drill with cool stuff.  We’re getting closer to assembly time on the pool heating device.  These giant stores remind me of Home Depot in the States.  Lots of stuff that you don’t really need, but think you do (555).  

There is a new and improved Google Earth and today Lisa got it.  The second place we ’traveled’ to was our house and it was a bit of a disappointment.  The photo is over two years old.  Things have changed down the street.  Oh well, we know where we live and that’s all that matters.  The 3D part of it, in up-to-date areas is pretty cool.

This day, May 5, would have been my mother’s birthday.  It’s been a difficult day, trying to stay present, but drifting off in thought.  We’re going to do a few things that she would have liked, places we’d want her to see.  Sunday we’re going to Okra for dinner.  I know she’d love the place and the story of the owner/chef.  It’s so interesting that someone who was such a hero to so many would have so many heroes herself.  She loved stories of overcoming and triumph.  

Today’s photo shows Neetchanon and her ‘upgrade’.  That tablet she’s holding is the result of her tossing her mom’s phone one too many times.  She hasn’t learned to type yet, but it won’t be long.


It struck me today, while at Thai Watsadu, that there are a few phrases that Thai people learn, even though they don’t speak English.  It’s just a guess as to whether they understand the answers.  ‘Where are you from?’ and ‘How long you stay?’ are the most frequently asked.  I’m sure the country part is easy, but the length of stay depends on whether you answer in Thai or English.  There are other questions that are a little more advanced, like ‘Do you have Thai wife?’  Note that these questions usually come after the person has declared that they don’t speak English.  I love this place.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.

                    Peace,
                              Danny