Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday Funnies


There was more rain last night.  This time I heard it.  It was like a dull roar in the background, behind the sound of the air/con.  Daku had another morning without his usual exercise routine.  He did get some outside time this afternoon.  Things are growing fast all around us.  The little ‘Baby Jungles’ are getting dense and green is the dominant color.

That ‘Zany Day’ song no one responded to was “Let’s Go Get Stoned” by Ray Charles.  Give a listen, and be sure and read the notes under the video, interesting.  I think we need an ‘Old School Friday’ that’s familiar.  This song had two lives as a hit.  You know I always prefer that you tell me about the original, but in this case, the cover artist will do.  “__ __ __ __ (__ __ __ __ __).  Ooh, baby, I needed the shelter of someone’s arms, and there you were.  I needed someone to understand my ups and downs, and there you were.  With sweet love and devotion, deeply touching my emotion, I want to stop (stop) and thank you baby.  I just want to stop and thank you baby, hey now.  __ __ __ __ (__ __ __ __ __).”  Hint:  A song of gratitude.  

Our morning activities were all conducted under light to moderate sprinkles, depending on where we were.  It just didn’t stop.  We didn’t let that keep us from our appointed rounds (555).  South of town, on the highway, we went to Sinthanee to pick up a new air/con remote and then headed north on the new bypass road.  With almost no other cars on the road, it was an easy trip to the frame factory in the country.  We used the same road to get us closer to town.  On the way home we stopped at The Wanderer for some of their fudge brownies, but they were out.  The chocolate cake is a very good substitute.  

Today’s photo was taken as we were leaving the frame factory.  What you are seeing is newly planted rice.  Next week I’ll show you a more mature rice field. 

With all the rain we’re having, the yard has been very mushy.  There are some areas where bare mud is exposed.  Mr. Daku has managed to walk in all of it.  Today, after lunch, Gong noticed the area around the dining room table was especially muddy.  Even when I wipe his paws off, he still leaves tracks across the floor.  There’s nothing like the rainy season with a dog.

On Sunday we may get a visit from Tatt.  He is in the middle of a very full summer before his final year at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.  He just finished an internship at a Sea Life exhibit, where he tested water daily, fed animals such as baby penguins, and guided visitors.  Later this month he will become a monk for two weeks and then get ready for school.  

Riding around town, it’s fascinating to see the different ways people deal with the rain.  There are those who carry a raincoat in the storage compartment of their motorbikes, and others who just deny that it’s happening.  I am still curious as to how the people who are soaking wet deal with that when they reach their destination.  Hmm, maybe they keep a change of clothes at work, school, etc.  Or maybe they just stay wet until it dries.  Somehow, the beat goes on.

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


Thursday, June 29, 2017



Most of the morning and early afternoon we had light sprinkles.  Just enough to require the slowest speed on the wipers.  It was probably more annoying for the motorbike riders.  I don’t even look at the forecasts anymore.  

I am surprised that no one remembers the ‘Zany Day’ song.  We’ll give it another try with these lyrics:  “When you work so hard all day long, and everything you do seems to go wrong.  Just drop by my place on your way home, __ __ __ __.  It ain’t no harm, you’re takin’ just a taste, but don’t blow your cool and start messing up the place.  It ain’t no harm, you’re faking just a nip, but make sure you don’t fall down, bust your lip.  __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __.  Hint: The singer was told to hit the road, and drowned in his own tears. 

Last night it rained.  Apparently there was a big storm that I slept right through.  Hmm, didn’t hear a thing.  This morning it was still dripping so we didn’t take Daku out for his exercise.  He decided that he needed to run and brought his ball and wanted to play.  At one point he ran across the room and jumped on his mat.  This always causes the whole thing to slide.  It doesn’t take the place of ‘Lawn Diving’ but he made his point.  A little later I took him out and just let him roam around.  

After sifting through the many choices of things that we could have done this morning, we settled on going to the hardware store, Art Bridge, and Shong Cafe.  That was more fun than the other stuff, which was all in the ‘Grown up’ category.  While I was in the store shopping for wire mesh to put over the drain opening, Lisa went to the original Browney’s to get pet supplies.  My part of the stop was a bust.  They wanted to sell me a whole roll of mesh and all I need was enough a little bit.  When we got to Art Bridge they had just opened.  While we waited for our contact, we browsed in the gallery, taking in the ceramics exhibit.  It’s so different when there is no one else around.  

A short drive north, through the community of Bandu and we were at the base of the campus of Chiang Rai Ragabhat University (CRU).  That’s the full name of Cat’s school.  We met her at Shong Cafe, the little place we’ve grown to like.  We got our usual black coffee with honey and Cat ordered Honey French Toast.  I had a picture in my mind of what this should be but I was way off.  Cat works in a ‘Milk Shop’ where they make lots of menu items based on a piece of toasted bread.  When her order came it was a big block of toasted bread that had been dipped in honey and drizzled with chocolate syrup.  The center had been carved out and a big scoop of ice-cream inserted.  On the side was a pile of whipped cream.  Today’s photo is Cat ready to dive into her morning dessert.

Neetchanon has a new name for Daku.  Now she calls him ‘Too Too’, and the tone goes up at the end.  For a while she was calling him Daku, sort of, but as she learns new sounds she’s using them where she wants.  Daku really loves her and knows her name.  Yesterday, Lisa told him to ‘go see Neetchanon’ and he took off and went straight to her.  She’s still learning how to pet him and doesn’t always understand the concept of gentle.  Today she grabbed a handful of fur on his head and pulled it up and held on, which he totally ignored.  So cute to watch the two of them.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“As long as you live, 
keep learning how to live.”
~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Wednesday, June 28, 2017



Chiang Rai experienced a mixture of cloudy, sunshine, and rain.  The afternoon was a bit stormy, then turned into an endless drip.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Sailing” by Christopher Cross.  Congrats to all who knew that one.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song comes with a disclaimer.  The management does not condone the behavior presented in this tune.  Oh, there was a time, but that’s another story.  “__ __ __ __, __ __ __ __.  When your baby won’t let you in, got a few pennies, a bottle of gin.  Just call your buddy on the telephone, __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  An invitation to go over the edge?

There was a story in the Bangkok post today about a village in the Amnat Charoen province whose district chief made an official request for protection from a ghost.  The village is apparently being haunted by ‘Phee Pob’, a legendary ghost who has the villagers living in fear.  The police sent officers and volunteers to patrol and lift the morale of the locals.  They were beginning to blame each other for things like animal deaths and illnesses contracted by villagers.  The police chief made it clear that they were not going to drive out the ghost.  That was a job for the monks.  Welcome to Thailand.

Meanwhile, in Chiang Rai, we went to Big C, and then the mall.  It was very early when we got to the mall, so we did our thing and got coffee to go and then sat in the van and listened to Harry Potter.  We had to handle some TV business and figured if we got there when the mall opened we’d have a better chance.  Little did we know that a lot of people had the same idea.  Some of the customers at the True TV desk were just paying bills.  Others were ‘shopping’ for a new phone number.  All cell phones are unlocked in Thailand.  You buy a phone and then you buy a SIM card from the carrier of your choice, that has the phone number.  You can sort through stacks of SIM cards and pick a number that appeals to you.  Some look for their lucky numbers, others want one that’s easy to remember or good for a business phone.  They took the longest.  We finally got our chance to speak to someone and it didn’t take long.  It’s amazing how fast such a large place can come to life in the morning.  

Today’s photo is the new garden that will eventually hide the drain entrance in the lawn.  When the jasmine bushes fill out, the drain will be hidden from sight.

It’s feeling like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Depth of friendship does not 
depend on the length of 
~Rabindranath Tagore

Tuesday, June 27, 2017



What season is it?  The rainy season.  Of course it is and that’s why it rained again today.  It rained several times today.  Nothing dramatic, just more water from the sky.  It’s a little cooler with the rain, but not enough to turn off the air (555).

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song seems to be a big success.  It’s more fun when you know the songs.  Here is more:
“It’s not far to never-never land, no reason to pretend.  And if the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again.  Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see, believe me.  __ takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be….”  Clue:  A boat, some cloth, a little wind...

Yesterday was one of those days when everything was aligned with whatever things get aligned with (5).  It began with a successful swing through the fruit market, and our favorite vendors.  Then we went to Work@Home for coffee.  While we were enjoying the morning, Katai returned from yoga and we had a special visit.  We had told her and Thovan about Okra restaurant and that we’d like to take them there.  They went to check it out and liked it so much they went back the next day for breakfast.  We laughed about that.  We talked about dogs and how much they miss Jonathan, their English Retriever.  She showed us a drawing she made, motivated by a friend’s loss of her dog.  It was very much like the little dog, but we could see Jonathan as well. Then the rain came hard and we went home for lunch.  

I ate at home and Lisa had lunch at The Wanderer with our good friend Tai.  The two of them are very close.  Tai and her family just returned from a vacation in Turkey and she had stories to tell.  We met Tai during our early days in Chiang Rai.  Our former housekeeper, Boot, introduced us and Tai steered us around town, introducing us to people and answering questions in English that we could understand.  

The end of the perfect day came when the installation of the air/con was completed and it worked.  Gong helped us move everything back to our room and life returned to normal.  Sometimes it’s the little things that seem to make the difference.

We had a rather mellow Tuesday.  After wandering over to our favorite place for coffee, we went to the nursery and got some little jasmine bushes and some flowering plants to put in front of our new lawn drain.  Lisa is working on a big piece for an exhibit next year.  Afternoon rain was mild and cleansing.

Today’s photo was taken at Big C.  I see this motorcycle there all the time.  It’s a “Stallion" and, as you can see on the second photo, it’s a Thai brand.  Very interesting.  When you consider all the two-wheeled vehicles here are made somewhere else, it makes sense to throw a home brew into the mix.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Life has its own hidden forces
which you can only discover by living.”
~Soren Kierkegaard

Monday, June 26, 2017



We had a mild, rain-teasing weekend.  Sunday gave us a preview of things to come.  Today we had two storms.   It is definitely the rainy season.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “I Wish You Love” as sung by Gloria Lynne  Time for an ‘Easy Monday’ tune to start the week:  “Well, it’s not far down from paradise, at least it’s not for me.  And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility.  Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.  Believe me… __ takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be.  Just a dream and the wind to carry me, and soon I will be free.”  Hint: One word title that involves water, usually.  It’s from ’79/80.

We continued our weekend in the guest room.  It wasn’t so bad once we transferred everything we needed downstairs.  Daku quickly got the hang of it, although he missed ‘his’ room upstairs.  He would go in and check it out, but it was so hot he quickly came out.  Today our upstairs unit was reinstalled and so far it’s cooling the room.  It will take a really hot day to see if it’s up to the task.  What is cool is the fact that they didn’t charge us for any of the visits, or the coil repair and reinstall.

Sunday morning the early light in the front yard said ‘Take my Picture’, so I did.   On the right, in the distance, you can see ‘Blue’s Tree’.  It really likes the rain.

Our lunch at The Wanderer was without rain, which was great.  There is always something to be learned when we hang out with Cat.  At her university they do a form of hazing that, while less harmful, still has a demeaning effect on Freshmen.  She went through it last year and rebelled against some of the things they wanted her to do.  She was right and it was interesting to hear her stand up for what was right, even though she was trying hard to ‘belong’.  Now she is a ‘Second year’, which means she has to be a part of the team that whips the Freshies into shape.  She hasn’t been going to the meetings and is willing to pay a fine not to attend.  It’s going to be a very interesting time when school starts.  

Lisa is one of 26 women artists in Art Bridge who will be presenting an exhibit that will open on July 22.  The title is ‘In Her Eyes’ and a lot goes into planning something like this.  Sunday afternoon they had a meeting to work on various aspects of the exhibit.  Cat met us there and served as a translator for Lisa and a Dutch artist.  I sat on the sidelines, catching a few phrases and comments as they did their thing.  Progress was made and it’s an exciting thing for the art community in Northern Thailand.  Just as we left, it began to rain.  We had a quiet dinner at the Night Bazaar with no rain and an evening of art and Formula One.   

Have a Great Week.


“It is through gratitude for
the present moment that the 
spiritual dimension of life opens up.”
~Eckhart Tolle

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Funnies


The probability of rain falling was low, but the clouds said otherwise.  All day long it was dark, then sunny, then back again.  In the end, it didn’t rain.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley.  For this week’s ‘Old School Friday’ we’re going to look at a ballad that began life in 1942, in France.  The English version has had numerous covers.  I’m humming a 1964 version that became the signature song for a singer with a great voice.
“(Intro)  Goodbye, no use leading with our chins, this is where our story ends, never lovers, ever friends.  Goodbye, let our hearts call it a day, but before you walk away, I sincerely want to say:  I wish you bluebirds in the spring to give your heart a song to sing.  And then a kiss, but more than this, __ __ __ __…”  Hint:  A bittersweet love song.  

It’s looking like we’ll be camping in the guest room for the weekend.  Unless the unit got repaired and can be reinstalled tomorrow, we’ll have to wait until Monday.  We miss our bedroom, and so does Daku.  Today he went upstairs while Lisa was working in her studio.  He wanted to go to his favorite place and hang out but the heat was too much for him.  He came out pretty quick and hasn’t asked to return.  

This morning we went to the little cafe near the university for mid-morning coffee.  We sat in a different part of the place and got another view of the whole operation.  The staff was sitting at a table near the back, cutting the long string beans and other vegetables, preparing for the lunch menu I guess.  We like this place because they bring you a little tray with your coffee, some little crackers, and a cup of tea.  

A few minutes south of our coffee stop was Makro.  While cruising through the produce section I noticed an interesting looking plant part, but there was no sign of what it was.  I took today’s photo and later found out from Natcha, that it is bamboo root.  Yum.  

This evening Neetchanon discovered she could throw her ball if she threw it behind her, over her head.  She did this a bunch, with accuracy.  When Daku decided he wanted to play tug-o-war (with her ball) like we do upstairs, Neetchanon had a fit.  They both have identical balls, but Daku’s lives upstairs and her’s stays in the kitchen.  He had stolen her ball and it was not ok.  It didn’t take long to get the ball back to her.  Of course, she just threw it away.  It was the principle of the thing.  Kids.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.  Thank Alan for the laugh.  It’s a Formula One weekend in Azerbaijan.  Maybe you should watch, just so you can say you’ve seen F1 from Azerbaijan.


Thursday, June 22, 2017



It rained today.  We finally got to watch it fall from the sky.  It waited until we had finished our outside adventures, which was great.  Later in the afternoon the sky was clear and the swimming was good.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has a bit of science fiction comedy involved.  A lot of  you already responded to this:
“Well, he came down to earth and he lit in a tree.  I said, ‘Mr. __ __ __, don’t eat me’.  I heard him say in a voice so gruff, ‘I wouldn’t eat you ‘cause you’re so tough’.  It was a __-__, __-__, __ __ __ __….. Sure looks strange to me.”
Clue:  This tune is usually saved for Halloween ‘cause it’s so zany.  They don’t get sillier than this.  Oh, the monster did not live up to it’s name.

We drove out to the edge of town this morning, looking for the farms that sell their organic products by the road.  Since it had recently rained, there was no one out, but we did get to see a part of town we didn’t know about.  Part of our journey took us past what is known as ‘Chiang Rai Beach’.  It’s not really a beach per se.  It’s a collection of picnic areas and food stalls by the river.  During holidays the place is a real attraction.  One day I’ll take pictures of ‘The Beach’.  

Back in town, we stopped to check out an interesting looking new spot.  It’s called "The Mellow Cafe" and in today’s photo you’ll see why it caught my eye.  We tried to get more info but they weren’t open, even though the front door was inviting us in.  Next time we’ll go later in the day.  It might be fun.

Life in the guest room is cozy.  Daku is enjoying the cool tile floors and the fact that it’s where he stays when we’re out of town.  It was Cat’s room for 3 years and he hung out in here a lot.  While we’re in here it gives us a chance to think about little adjustments to make before it’s next occupants arrive.  In 3 weeks our friends Jesper, Louise and Rasmus will be coming from Denmark to stay for a week.  

Neetchanon continues to be the cutest kid ever.  Now she’s doing this thing where she walks over to Lisa and gives her a big, gentle hug.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“There is no way to happiness.
Happiness is the way.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2017



As I write to you, we’re getting our evening rain.  It’s just starting so I don’t know whether it will be a sprinkle or a downpour.  I can tell you that there has been thunder and lightning, so it could also be a storm.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “My Girl” by The Temptations.  Congrats to all who got it.  ‘Zany Day’ is next, with this:
“Well I saw the thing coming out of the sky, it had one long horn, and one big eye.  I commenced to shakin’ and I said, ‘Ooh-wee’.  It looks like a __ __ __ to me.  It was a __-__, __-__, __ __ __ __ (repeat 2x). Sure looks strange to me.”  Hint:  Some kind of crazy monster. 

Our day began with a trip down the road to The Wanderer.  They supply us with Doi Chaang Coffee and it was time to refill the cupboard.  While we were there we had a cup of coffee (555) and a visit with Khun Kwan and Mercy.  With the current moderate rains, the woods are very green and lush.  

Down in town we went to the main market to look for bedspread material.  We didn’t see or feel anything special, but had a visit with our friendly fabric merchant.  The business district is a lot busier than it used to be.  So busy that the parking lady never collected her 4 Baht ($.12) from us.  There is a parking lot that provides space for a lot of cars, at 20 Baht per car.  We use it if the street is crowded.  

Today’s photo is the future home of the downtown Chiang Rai Bus Station.  It also looks like a major parking structure that will take a lot of pressure off of the streets in the area.  If an orderly flow of traffic can be achieved it will make life better for the long-time merchants in the area.  Right now, many businesses lose clients due to lack of parking, and the street gets congested from double parking.  Some shops put a chair or cone in front of their business to save a place for patrons.  

For the next few days we will be camping out in the downstairs guest room.  The air/con crew was back again and determined that the coil needed to be taken to the shop to see if it is the problem.  If it can’t be corrected, we’ll have to get a new unit.  We’ve been here before, but not for this long.  Gong helped us move most of the things we’ll need for a few days.  That will help with running up and down the stairs.  Hmm, Adventures in Thailand.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Mastering others is strength.
Mastering yourself is true power.”
Lao Tzu

Tuesday, June 20, 2017



We seem to be going through a weather pattern that likes to tease us all day, and then rain late at night.  There are signs, some mornings, that this has happened.  Today we got dark clouds, the tell-tale breeze, and then bluish skies.  Someplace is getting the rain.

It’s nice to have an ‘Easy Monday’ tune that almost everyone knows.  Here is the second verse of this favorite:
“I’ve got so much honey, the bees envy me.  I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees.  Well, I guess you’d say, what can make me feel this way?  __ __ (__ __, __ __), talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  Hint:  What?  You still need a hint?  Well, it’s by 5 guys from the motor city.  Just trying to avoid the simple 2 word title (555).

I can always tell when another holiday is coming by the displays at Big C.  This morning there was a table with very large, carved candles and an assortment of gift sets for monks.  After a quick check, there will be an observance of Asahna Bucha Day on July 10.  It marks the day when Buddha delivered his first sermon in India over 2500 years ago.  

After Big C, we made the U-turn on the highway and went to Starbuck’s at the mall.  I discovered a little parking section with a sign saying ‘reserved for Starbuck’s patrons’, so we parked.  Someone read my mind (555).  

This afternoon we had a second visit from the air/con crew from Sinthanee.  The unit seemed to be struggling to get cold enough during this heat.  It’s almost 10 years old and we wanted to make sure it was done before we got a new one.  Yesterday they did a few things and told us they’d be back to work on the compressor today.  They did a deep cleaning and removed almost everything that makes it an air/con unit.  There were parts all over the place.  Fortunately, all that took place outside.  There was a big build-up of dog hair that may have been stressing things.  After all that they did, it’s still not feeling as cold as it should be.  Hmm, it just may be time to say goodbye.  

Today’s photos are from the exhibit at Art Bridge.  The pieces are by different artists and show some of the diversity in the show.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Tears come from the heart and not 
from the brain.”
~Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, June 19, 2017



The weather in Chiang Rai is still hot.  It’s trying to be rainy, but it’s only managed ‘rainy a little bit’ as they say here.  I’m not missing the monsoons at all.  Overnight downpours are fine with me.

‘Old School Friday’ was “Born Too Late” by The Poni Tails.  Now it’s time for an ‘Easy Monday’ sing-a-long:
“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.  When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.  I guess you’d say, what can make me feel this way?  __ __ (__ __, __ __) talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  Hint:  Too easy.  Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday we changed our plans and went to the exhibit opening at Art Bridge instead of the comedy show.  We gave our tickets to our Thai teacher and her boyfriend and they had a good time.  The exhibit was amazing.  It was a multi-artist affair focused on sculptures that ranged from ceramic bowls and vases to dragons, and traditional to experimental.  Most of the Chiang Rai art community turned out and it was a great chance to connect and catch up with friends.  

We’ve been swimming every day and it’s been a wonderful break from the heat.  The rain has been mostly at night while we’re sleeping.  During the day it looks all threatening, but never delivers.  Even with the frequent cloud cover, the pool has stayed at a very nice temperature.  Occasionally, I’ll wonder why I sometimes feel a little stiff and then I remember the water workouts.

Sunday evening we ended up at the mall for dinner.  Imagine our surprise as we walked along and saw a little BMW dealer, right there on the main floor.  I guess this means Chiang Rai is ‘coming up’ in the eyes of the ‘Bangkokians’. We’ve had a specialty dealer that sells custom imports, but this is the first time a branch of a major dealership has come to town.  There is a growing middle and upper-middle income population here and it’s beginning to show in the form of things you can spend your money on (555).  In contrast, in the morning I saw a early 50s Chevy pick-up that had been lowered and customized, including a surfboard on the roof.  What?  Felt like Venice, CA.  I only wish I could have snapped a pic for you.

Today’s photos give you the vehicular contrast that lives in Chiang Rai.  The first photo is the front of a new restaurant.  The two old trucks sit there looking like the equivalent of Nagas or dragons, protecting the place.  The second photo is the BMW shop in the mall.  

This morning, Natcha’s brother Gee (pronounced with a hard G as in good) came over to discuss some work on the yard.  We have a couple of areas where there is no grass and this time of year it gets muddy when it rains.  We had pondered what to do about it and this morning the consensus was to put grass over all of it.  By the time we got back from our morning in town, Gee and Gong had almost finished putting in the sod.  If it takes root in the rain, we may have a new side yard.  We like dealing with Gee because he has a lot of experience and his English is quite good.  

Neethchanon is still the charmer.  Today she was working on her laugh.  She’s got the idea, she’s just not always sure why we laugh.  Hmm, are we sure we know?  She still heads for the stairs whenever possible, even knowing that she’ll probably get picked up or turned around.  

Have a Great Week.


“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul;
wisdom is better than silver or gold.”
~Bob Marley

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Funnies


Well, the storm predicted for today did not happen.  We had a beautiful day with blue skies this afternoon.  More rain due on Sunday, or so they say.  Meanwhile, it’s hot.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was that old favorite, “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” by The Beatles.  This week’s ‘Old School Friday’ tune is an old ‘Pop’ song you may remember:  “__ __ __ for you to notice me, to you, I’m just a kid that you won’t date.  Why was I __ __ __?…. __ __ __ for you to care, now my heart cries because your heart just couldn’t wait.  Why was I __ __ __?”  Hint:  By a ‘Girl Group’ named for a hair style, it’s an age-old lament.

We can’t seem to stay away from the gold shop.  Actually, we went back for an upgrade on my ring. The shops in the business district have open fronts and you just walk up and look at the glass cases.  Most have some sort of guard lurking nearby, but you don’t feel intimidated at all.  The whole thing is still curious to me.  There must be 6 or 7 shops within a 1 block radius.  At Big C there are 3 shops right together and they still seem to coexist just fine.  Amazing.

Since we didn’t have any short trips to make today, we went to Starbuck’s at the mall, took our coffee to the van, and had a Harry Potter listening party.  The men who handle the parking lot security have this weird task.  Every evening, at closing, they block off all the lanes within the parking lot with 3 inch wide cloth that looks like striped caution tape.  They loop it through metal gates and make it impossible to park until they take it all down.  In the morning they have to undo it all.  Meanwhile, cars are permitted on the lot at 10am, but with only a few stalls open, until 11:00 when the mall opens.  Most frustrating when all you want to do is get some coffee and listen to a book.  Next trip inside the mall I’m searching for the suggestion box (555).

I had a little bowl of mango with my dinner, which is my usual ‘dessert’.  What I didn’t know was, it was from the tree in the yard.  The one mango that survived (See Below).  Some of it was a little tart, but it was mostly very sweet.  Now I have to wait a long time before there’s another one.  It's good to know that the tree has potential.

Last evening Lisa went into the kitchen and Natcha and Neetchanon were each eating a piece of ice.  When Lisa arrived Natcha was just giving Daku a piece.  So there they were, the three of them chomping on ice, having a grand old time.  Neetchanon is saying Daku’s name very clearly now.  This evening, while they were upstairs, she said, ‘Daku ball’ as she handed it to me.  She picked up his bone to try and get another game of chase, but he was too relaxed to care.  

Tomorrow (Saturday) will be a busy one for us.  In the morning we’re going to the monthly meeting of the Expat Club to hear our friend Joakim talk about the early days of Chivit Tamma Da, that he created with his wife.  It has turned into a major success as a coffee shop/restaurant and a 'destination attraction' for tourists.  In the evening we’re going to The Factory to see a comedian who is on a tour of Southeast Asia.  We watched him on YouTube and he’s funny.  It’s the first time an event like this has happened up here, as far as we know.  

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


Thursday, June 15, 2017



A light, stealth rain came in late last night and soaked everything.  All morning a very light mist followed us up and down the highway.  Welcome to the new rainy season.

Glad to see that this week’s ‘Zany Day’ song lingers in your memories.  Here is the rest of the song, just for fun.
“She said she’d always been a dancer.  She worked at 15 clubs a day.  And though she thought I knew the answer, well I knew what I could not say.  And so I quit the police department, and got myself a steady job.  And though she tried her best to help me, she could steal but she could not rob.  Didn’t anybody tell her?  Didn’t anybody see?  Sunday’s on the phone to Monday, Tuesday’s on the phone to me, oh yeah.”  Hint:  The title is only in the first verse.   This one came from across the pond, by you know who.  

Our drive to the country this morning was very pleasant once we got out of town.  The left-over rush hour traffic is not my favorite thing in any country.  As we approached Khun Todd’s property I was hoping to see oceans of green rice fields.  Instead we just saw the nondescript beginnings.  The sunken land had furrows for planting, and low puddles of water.  It all just looked like some organized dirt.  It’s too early in their planting cycle.  We’ll have to go back later to catch the beauty of rice.  There is an event called the Chiang Rai Games and one of our artist friends was at the frame factory cutting out part of the decorative sign for the event.  I’ll have to find out more about this when it gets closer.

Back in town, we had a fun visit with Katai at Work@Home.  We were having coffee and she had coconut water, fresh from the fruit.  That started a conversation about coconuts and the fact that we have three trees but don’t take advantage of the fruit.  She told us that her neighbor across the street used to have many coconut trees on her property, near the perimeter.  She had to get rid of all of them due to the fruit falling on cars parked on the street.  It got too expensive, paying for damages caused by her trees.  Katai had us laughing, saying that coconuts know not to fall on peoples heads (555).  Thankfully, ours are not in a normal walking ‘zone’.  I’m going to have Gong prepare some coconuts for us so I can start drinking the water.

Today’s photos were taken at The Big Brown House.  The first photo shows the coconut and banana trees in the back yard.  The second is a small batch of coconuts fresh from the tree.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Love all, trust a few,
do wrong to none.”
~William Shakespeare

Wednesday, June 14, 2017



After days of rain predictions, it finally happened today.  Late afternoon we got water from the sky.  It was still stifling hot even with the rain.  More is supposed to be on the way.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Handy Man”, originally by Jimmy Jones and successfully covered by James Taylor.  Here’s a ‘Zany Day’ tune you might remember:  “__ __ __ __ __ __ __, protected by a silver spoon.  But now she sucks her thumb and wanders, by the banks of her own lagoon.  Didn’t anybody tell her?  Didn’t anybody see?  Sunday’s on the phone to Monday.  Tuesday’s on the phone to me.”  Clue:  It’s about a dramatic entrance. 

This morning’s coffee adventure took place at ’The Dark’.  That's the big black building that was a featured photo  recently.  The first floor is a well stocked stationary store and the second floor is a coffee shop and restaurant.  We sat in big, high-back leather chairs as we gazed around the black interior.  There are lots of windows so it’s not as dark as it could be.  The coffee was strong and I’m sure that’s fine with the students who frequent the place.  They serve lots of desserts and also have a food menu.  We may go back for further ‘study’.

Today’s photos are from yesterday’s bone encounter between Neetchanon and Daku.  The first photo is titled ‘The Chase’.  Note the expression on Neetchanon’s face.  The second I call ‘Polite’ since Daku is being very tolerant and polite, so close to his bone.  

In local news, we learned a new term today.  There was a big bust of a ‘Click Farm’.  This is what they’re calling a set-up with over 400 phones and about 3,000 phone numbers all being used to boost business presence on a Chinese site called WeChat by texting.  The phones automatically post comments on the social media site in an effort to promote products.  Hmm.

Tomorrow we will drive out to the country to the frame ‘factory’.  It’s been awhile since we went into the countryside north of town.  Lisa is preparing for the Art Bridge Women’s Exhibit “In Her Eyes”, that will feature 26 women artists from the collective.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017



High heat and humidity makes for a very tropical environment.  It rained overnight, which is my favorite time for it to do that. It was dark in the afternoon. Swirly, dark clouds hang overhead keeping the threat of more rain alive.  

So a few of you knew the ‘Easy Monday’ song and that’s good.  Maybe more of you will join in after these lines:
“If your broken heart should need repair, then I’m the man to see.  I whisper sweet things, you tell all your friends, they’ll come runnin’ to me.  Here is the main thing I want to say.  I’m busy 24 hours a day.  I fix broken hearts, I know I really can…. That’s me, I’m your __ __.”  Hint:  A very confident romancer.

This morning we did something a little different.  We went to The Wanderer for coffee before our errands.  The place was almost empty.  After coffee and a little conversation with Khun Kwan, we went into town for fruit and then across town to Munich.  Picture a warehouse sized building full of shelves, racks and bins containing everything for teaching school.  This is the major supply depot for one-stop shopping.  We got a puzzle for Neetchanon, and some art supplies for our little friend Dylan.

There’s nothing like a quiet walk in the woods in the morning.

We had another visit from Natcha and Neetchanon this afternoon.  Lisa had set the new puzzle for Neetchanon on the floor in front of the bookcase she always goes to.  Sure enough, she spotted it.  As soon as Natcha and Lisa pulled out a few pieces she got to work.  New things are great, but there were some standard things that needed her attention.  The toy basket was next.  There is a bone that she loves to take out and walk around with, and it always gets Daku’s attention.  Today he wanted it, but she kept moving away.  At one point he was chasing her around the room, in the gentlest way possible, almost reaching it.  Finally, she gave it back, but expected him to give it back to her, like we do when she gives us stuff.  A brief meltdown and it was out of her mind.  She has a big book that she likes to carry around.  That’s good sign.

We went to a little dinner party this evening at the home of Sandy and Ady and their daughter Dylan.  Another couple, Katrina and Steve were there and we had lots of interesting conversations.  One of the many topics was the popularity of teaching English via Skype to people in other countries.  We knew about tutoring long distance, but one-on-one English lessons is something expats are getting into.  Katrina and Steve are from England, but we shared the common experience of going to the movie theater on Saturday mornings as kids and watching cartoons and serials and Westerns.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Friends…they cherish one another’s
hopes.  They are kind to one another’s
~Henry David Thoreau

Monday, June 12, 2017



There were many false starts on the storm front last week.  Saturday made up for all of them.  We had a giant storm that briefly flooded the front yard.  Our new system worked great.  We’re still having off-and-on sprinkles, but that’s OK.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “No Way Out” by The Allman Brothers, originally by Elmore James.   It’s ‘Easy Monday’ time: “Hey girls, gather ‘round, listen to what I’m puttin’ down.  Hey babe, I’m your __ __.  I’m not the kind to use a pencil or rule, I’’m __ with love and I’m no fool.  I fix broken hearts, I know I truly can.”  Hint:  This is not the sort of thing that’s taught in shop class.  Extra Cool Points for the original artist.  

We had a rather active weekend.  First, there was the French Open: we had to watch the Women’s and Men’s Semi-Finals, and then the Finals.  Then it was off to the Montreux Volleyball Women's Masters to watch the Thai team.  That takes a lot out of you.  After a brief break, there was the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.  I think it was the Saturday swim that really did us in (555).  But seriously, there was a lot of good stuff going on while it rained.

Sunday morning Cat came over and she and Lisa hung out for a long time.  She got her grades for her first year of university and she finished with a strong B+ average.  To say that we’re proud of her would be an understatement.  The three of us met our friend Atom at The Wanderer for lunch.  We had a fun time hearing what it’s like to learn English from the two of them.  They had us laughing with their difficulties dealing with making certain sounds that are completely foreign to their mouths.  Realizing that we’re not the only ones whose mouths can’t make certain sounds or hear certain differences.  While we have trouble with words beginning with ‘Ng’, they had trouble with ‘Ch’ and ‘Sh’ and ‘Th’ words.  It really put things in perspective.

Neetchanon has decided that our bedroom is the place to be.  When she comes up with her mom, she has certain things that she does, or should I say investigates.  There is the book case, with things that are easy to pull out, and Daku’s toy basket with it’s odd contents.  She recently discovered a low shelf by my side of the bed that contains an assortment of random things like adapters, cords, and tools.  She’s going to force me to get a new tool box and clean out the shelf.  Today, while we were having our Thai lesson, she and Natcha were in the room.  Neetchanon clearly was ‘working’ on the shelf because I noticed several items had been placed carefully out of reach.  Only one reason for that to happen (555).  

This is the time of year when the road to our house is especially beautiful.  Wish you were here.

This evening we went to dinner with our friends John and Aey.  They told us about some farms near us that sell freshly picked vegetables every day.  The farmers have small tables in front of their fields and you can buy direct from them.  There is also a farmer/teacher who sells a special blend of potting soil.  Guess where we’re going tomorrow?

Have a Great Week.


“Conformity is the jailer of 
freedom and the enemy of growth.”
~John F. Kennedy

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Funnies


Once again ‘they had it wrong’.  A big storm was supposed to begin at 4pm.  There was some booming, a light sprinkle and then the sun came back.  We’ll try again tomorrow. 

The ‘Zany Day’ song had a few friends after all.  The tune was “Buick ’59” by Vernon Green & The Medallions.  Here’s a clip:   Since that was pretty Old School, this week’s ‘Old School Friday’ tune won’t be quite so old (5).  “Ain’t but __ __ __ baby, Lord I just can’t go out that door.  Ain’t but __ __ _ baby, and Lord, I just can’t go out the door.  ‘Cause there’s a man down there, might be your man, I don’t know.”  Hint:  This song was originally from the ‘60s, and then became a big hit in the 70s by a Southern Rock band with a strong sense of the blues.  It rocks in any era.  The singer is presented with a real dilemma.

Sometimes it takes a stroll through the pages of The Bangkok Post to find out what’s going on here.  The current big news to us is the popularity of ‘Masked Singers’ style TV shows.  Apparently, celebrities put on masks and sing Karaoke style and compete.  The studio audiences vote on the performances, not knowing who the singers really are.  There are several versions of this going on at the same time and it’s the biggest thing going on TV in Thailand right now.  We’ll have to watch.

We had coffee in Bandu today.  That’s the name of the village where Cat’s university is located.  It turns out the coffee shop is in the Jaz Center, but has another name.  The coffee and service are both great and they bring little crackers to go with the coffee, and tea to cleanse the palate when you’re done.

This evening we went to the Night Bazaar to make sure that Sawadee would be open on Monday.  After confirming their hours, we strolled through, just seeing the sights.  The ’New Old Bus Station’ construction is moving along and they have blocked one of the walkways of the Night Bazaar.  This came as a big surprise.  Most of it is still there, but there is more walking involved.  We parked right in front of Watch Guys shop, so on our way to the van we stopped in to say ‘Hi’.  We knew he would be watching the French Open.  As soon as we got inside he said, ‘Sit down’ and pushed chairs out.  We sat and chatted about the matches and the state of things.  He speaks very little English so you can imagine how fun it was to communicate basically using players names and smiles and nods of recognition.  It was a fun little visit.  

Today’s photo was taken last night during Neetchanon’s visit upstairs.  Emptying Daku’s toy basket is hard work, but fun.

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


Thursday, June 8, 2017



This morning we had sprinkles that never turned into rain.  It would start, then stop, then start again.  It was nice, but not the rain we were looking for.  Tonight we’re supposed to get a storm and then rain through the weekend.  Hmm.

Nobody has submitted an answer to the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Well, one more day to figure it out.  Here are some important (5) lyrics that may jar your memory, if  you’re old enough.  “Got an eight cylinder motor and jet propelled overdrive (__ __ , __ __) (repeat).  Got two carburetors and a super charger on the side (__ __, __ __).  Veroom, Veroom, Veroom, Pop, Pop, Pop, Rrrrrrrr….”  Clue:  Group name is the lead singer plus something that is pinned on a lapel or collar.  Zoom.

Sometimes it’s like a scavenger hunt trying to find a part for a project that’s being modeled after something made in another country.  Availability becomes an issue.  My floating pool heater project has become a greater challenge than when I first saw it.  Today we went to HomePro looking for ‘elbow fittings’ for the tubing I’m using.  They didn’t have them so we went to Thai Watsadu, the place where I got the tubing.  They had nothing either.  I’m going to try and make a giant loop to avoid crimping the tubing.  It all seemed so simple when I saw it on YouTube.     The tiny pump is a solar-powered submersible number so it will definitely need sunshine. Eventually, it will be completed and there will be sunshine to see if it works (555). Fun and games in the Land of Smiles.

Today’s photo was taken at our local nursery.  We’ll have to add this place to our coffee adventures.

Most mornings after we make our appointed rounds, we stop for coffee before heading home.  It usually depends on where we are as to where we’ll stop.  It began with Doi Chaang back in the day.  Now it’s expanded to Work@Home, The Wanderer, and Chivit Tamma Da.  Lately we’ve added Starbuck’s at the mall and Jaz Cafe next to Cat’s university.  Of course, that means having to make a decision.  Hmm.  Today we went to Starbuck’s and got our coffee to go.  We sat in the van and listened to Harry Potter while drinking our coffee.  That was fun.  Who knows where we’ll be tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

We had a big dose of Neetchanon’s charm today.  Before dinner she was very entertaining.  This evening she and Natcha came upstairs and even though the little one was very tired, she made sure she enjoyed everything the room had to offer.  Last visit, she discovered the recumbent exercise bike.  Tonight she went straight to it and treated it like an amusement ride.  She stood in front of the pedals and bounced up and down like she was dancing.  She also took all of Daku’s toys out of their basket, pulled out a book, and much more.  Such a joy.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Listen to the wind,
it talks.
Listen to the silence,
it speaks.
Listen to your heart,
it knows.”
~First Nation's Proverb

Wednesday, June 7, 2017



A thunder storm was scheduled for today.  We got plenty of thunder, but no significant rain.  North of us, in Chiang Kong, they got the full force of the storm.  Hmm, maybe tomorrow.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder.  Time for a ‘Zany Day’ challenge.
“Would you like to go ridin’ in my __ __, (__ __, __ __)?  Would you like to go ridin’ in my __ __ (__ __, __ __)?  Well, I’m telling you baby that the ridin’ is mighty fine, (__ __, __ __)”  Hint:  It’s about a car.  This song was released in 1954, about a future car.  The year of the model year of the car is in the title.

The working portion of the new storm drain is finished.  All that's left are cosmetics like new lawn in the area where the trench was made.  There hasn’t been grass on one side of the house for a long time, and when it rains heavily, it gets muddy.  We’re hoping we can get a new lawn going.  It’s difficult when there are tall trees that block the sunlight.  Such a problem; the beauty of tall trees vs a grassy area to walk on.  Hmm, right now I’m goin’ for the trees.  

We went into town this morning to do a couple of errands.  I don’t mind the little trips because it’s a chance to get back into our ‘book’ (555).  It was nice to hang out at Work@Home, even though we didn’t get to see our friends.  When we go for coffee, Lisa pulls out the Thai flashcards and we work on vocabulary.  Next week we start our lessons again.

Daku is having quite a time during the construction.  He wants to go and investigate everything, but he also likes to eat the clay rocks.  He doesn’t understand why we won’t let him run free and just be a dog.  Sometimes being a dog is not in his best interest (5).

Today’s photo is in our front yard.  These baby oranges will hopefully get bigger.  They have  green skin but orange fruit inside.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Intelligence is the ability to
adapt to change.”
~Stephen Hawking

Tuesday, June 6, 2017



Well, today’s predicted thunder storm never showed up.  It was blazing hot today, under a mostly cloudless sky.  A sprinkle would have felt nice.

I was right!  Many of you did know the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Here’s more, just in case it’s on the tip of your tongue.
“You must have known that I was lonely, because you came to my rescue.  And I know that this must be heaven, how could so much love be inside of you?  Whoa oh oh oh,  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, yeah, that’s why I’ll always be around…”  Hint: Something about the light from that big ball of fire in the sky.  Some say he’s a natural wonder.

It’s been a very ‘cosmic’ day.  While still grieving the loss of a young friend, an old friend from the past reconnected, and another old friend passed on .  Somewhere in all that, there is balance and peace.

Getting used to the billing procedure with my cellphone carrier is an ongoing process.  Sunday, when I checked to see if I needed to pay something, I was told that I had a large balance.  Everything was OK.  This morning, while talking to a friend in the States, the call suddenly ended and I was told that I had used my allotted time.  This is on a supposed ‘unlimited’ contract.  Back to the mall and they tell me that I haven’t paid a previous bill.  You pay for last month this month or something like that.  Tried to pay everything on the invoice but was told I have to wait to pay for this month.  Breathe.

The long trench down the west side of the yard is now the home of a lot of blue tubing.  It’s about 3” in diameter and it’s quite impressive.  They did some simple, yet complicated moves to determine if there was enough slope to carry the water to the rear wall.  Here’s hoping it all gets tested before they fill in the dirt.  I’m confident that it will work just right.  Now all we need is a big storm in a few days to see if the front lawn drains.  Imagine that, me wishing for a big rain (555).

Today’s photo was taken at Makro.  You just stand there, waiting for the punchline.

Last night we had a visit from our friend Supalak and her son Pete, on their way home from their art supply store. She had a basket of mangos for us.  Half of them were green (sour) mangos and the others were the yellow (sweet) type.  I’m a yellow mango man.  The greens were gifted to Natcha and Cat.  One never knows what surprises life has to offer.  

Tonight we had dinner at The Wanderer, with Cat and Rachel.  Rachel is the president of The Freedom Story (formerly The Sold Project).  As always, we had a fun dinner with a little serious talk just for good measure.  Cat will be staying with Rachel on her trip to America this summer.  Needless to say, she’s getting very excited.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Do not feel lonely,
the entire universe is
inside you.”