Monday, July 31, 2017



What a joy, to have days and nights with no rain.  It’s also nice to have a break from the motorbikes.  Feeling grateful to be here.  Give me a few days and I’ll be begging to go home (555).  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “A Thousand Miles Away” by The Heartbeats.  See if you know this ‘Easy Monday’ tune:  “You’re my love, you’re my angel, you’re the girl of my dreams.  And I’d like to thank you for waiting patiently.  __ __, your __ __ to stay.”  Hint:  It’s related to Friday.  So easy.   

Friday morning we did some basic ‘first day’ things.  The most important thing was to get new phone numbers.

Danny= 1-323-287-4295     Lisa= 1-323-354-1782    We really haven’t moved to Huntington Park, I promise.

The rest of the day was rather predictable.  Do a little food shopping and surrender to the grip of Mr. Lag.  I knew it was coming, but it’s never like you anticipate.  So there it was, the long nap and half the afternoon was gone.  I managed to keep my eyes open for dinner and a meeting.  It was a good day.

We had a bit of a reunion on Saturday.  Lisa made an appointment with our former chiropractor, Franco Columbu.  We haven’t seen him in almost 10 years.  There was a lot of catching up on life and then a treatment.  It was fun seeing him again. 

Sunday we had a wonderful lunch with some of the Valley Cousins.  Nowell and Jennifer met us at Tender Greens, where we shared ‘life updates’ photos.  There never seems to be enough time.  In the evening we had dinner with Paul, Joy and Lelani at Thai Boom Restaurant.  This is a tradition that began before we moved and we always have a great time.  

I’m being amazed by all the building that’s going on in the Culver City area.  Most of the building that we see in Chiang Rai is happening on land that has been converted from filled in farms.  Here, things get knocked down so new, bigger things can be built.  I’m still trying to imagine a hotel next to a train station in Culver City.  

This trip is only 2 weeks long.  It’s impossible to fit everything we do during the Winter Trip (3 weeks) into the Summer Sprint, even though we try.  Family visits are taking precedent, with shopping for essentials running a strong second.  Even as Thailand progresses in certain areas, there are still products that we can’t find in Chiang Rai.  Because we can no longer ship consumables into the country, we have to take them back with us when we return from these visits.  Oh, the life of an expat.  

Today’s photo is something we miss.  You know where this is?  (answer below)

Entrance to The Wanderer

Today our adventures take us to the San Gabriel Valley.  

Have a Great Week.


“Because of your smile,
you make the world more 
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Funnies


It’s our first morning in Culver City, California and the weather couldn’t be better.  Sunshine, not too hot, and no water from the sky.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was that old favorite, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” by The Coasters  It’s Friday where I am so it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’.  “You’re __ __ __ __ but I still have your love to remember you by.  Oh my darling, dry your eyes.  Daddy’s coming home soon.”  Hint:  This song got a lot of milage back in the day.  It has an ‘answer’ song that we’ll examine next week.

Our arrival at LAX was a little different than the last time.  We thought we were walking to a terminal as we exited the plane, but we ended up getting on a bus.  The bus then drove a long time around the airport.  The cool thing was, we ended up walking right into the immigration area.  When more than one plane lands and unloads hundreds of passengers, the room fills up quickly.  It looked like a nightmare at first, but they kept the lines moving and we got through the three stages in pretty good time.  Our last officer got chatty when he discovered we lived in Thailand. He was stationed there for military exercises, blah blah party blah blah.  It made for smooth sailing.  When we got to the baggage area, the first person we saw was our ‘regular guy’, the guy who takes our bags to the street and always looks out for us.  With our changed airline status, our bags were waiting in a separate area so we didn’t have to hunt for them on the carousel.  It got better as we continued.  The Hertz bus waited for us and when we got on, someone gave Lisa a seat.  The driver took a short cut and missed a lot of airport traffic and then a nice woman helped us get our bags off the bus.  One of our coolest arrivals yet.

Time to get out there and take care of business.  Things like SIM cards for our phones and a trip to Trader Joe’s.
This morning Jeff and Anna, our ‘host family’, left for Japan.  We’ll see Jeff before we leave but Anna will still be there, doing hair for the ‘Fuller House’ TV show.  It will be us and the boys for the next two weeks.  

We talked to Cat, in Oakland, and she’s fine.  She has a placement test this morning and then she’ll probably see some sights.  

Here are some of the sights from the Taipei airport.  The first photo is, of course, the Hello Kitty house.  The second is an interesting tribute and history of the music industry in Taiwan.  It’s a waiting area by one of the gates.  Many of the international gates have themed waiting areas.

Have a Wonderful Weekend.    On to the ‘Funnies’.   The Formula One Grand Prix from Hungary is happening this weekend.


Thursday, July 27, 2017



Thursday morning in Chiang Rai was absolutely beautiful.  Too bad we won’t be there to enjoy the weather.  It was raining in Bangkok when we arrived, and Taipei is clear.  So goes the travel weather portion of our programming.

Quite a few of you recognized the ‘Zany Day’ song.  That makes me smile.  Here’s a little more of this fun song from a group known for their zany performances.  “Her knees were almost touching mine at __ __ __.  A chill was running down my spine at __ __ __.  I could smell her sweet perfume, she smiled at me my heart went boom, then everybody in the room at __ __ __, they said, ‘Man be careful, that chick belongs to __ __.  From behind the counter, I saw a man.  A chef hat on his head and a knife in his hand.  He grabbed me by my collar and began to shout….”  Hint:  You can hear the whole song tomorrow, if you don’t know it.   

We actually had all of our bags ready when Gong came up to get them.  All of the essentials were remembered.  Only two things got left behind:  Popcorn and a hoodie.  Not bad considering all the things going through our heads.  The three of us got checked in without any hassles and we saw our friend Nine in the waiting area.  We had seen her husband outside and he told us she was on the way to Bangkok.  Their son, Tonoi, is performing in a concert with other Thai musicians who have been studying abroad.  He will return to France next month.  The visit helped the time pass.  

In Bangkok, we had some time before our next flight so we stopped by the airline desk to see if we could check in early.  In the past, it would not have worked, but this time they checked our bags and gave us our tickets and lounge passes way before the normal time.  I think it’s because we were upgraded to Gold status last trip.  Anyway, it made moving around in the airport easier since we didn’t have a cart full of suitcases to push.  Sitting in the middle of the giant airport with headphones on, I listened to a very tranquil track by Dori Caymmi called Tres Curumins.  What a beautiful contrast. 

After lunch we went to the EVA Lounge, with comfortable chairs, lots of food and drink, and plugs for charging things.  We hung out, the time passed and it was check-in time for the flight to Taipei.  Flight was delayed due to the late arrival of our plane.  Eventually we got into the air for the 3+ hour flight.  

As I was browsing through the music on my phone, listening to old tunes I’d recently transferred, something happened.  I got a little misty hearing voices that are gone, but whose music lives on.  That can be a drawback of liking old music, or is it?

Today there are three photos.  First, the morning sky in Chiang Rai today, about 5:40am.  Second, Chiang Rai from the air.  Last, but not least, an airport ‘selfie’ right after we landed in Bangkok.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“You have to dream before
your dreams can come true.”
~A.P.J Abdul Kalam

Wednesday, July 26, 2017



Chiang Rai had a beautiful day today.  Mostly blue skies with occasional clouds and warm temps.  It was so nice we gave Daku a bath and went for a swim.  What?

The ‘Easy Monday’ tune was “What A Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers.  Time for more ‘Zany Day’ music.  
“One day while I was eating beans at __ __ __.  Just sittin’, diggin’ all them scenes at __ __ __, a chick came walkin’ through the door that I had never seen before.  At least I never saw her down at __ __ __, and I started shakin’ when she sat right down next to me….”  The title is a place, as if you couldn’t tell.  It became the title of a musical about many of the hits by this zany group. 

I think we are exceptionally calm considering this is the eve of another trip to the States.  The bags are semi-packed, instructions have been given for Daku’s care, and it seems that we may know what we’re doing.  Gong washed the van, which is nice because we wouldn’t want to arrive at the airport in a dirty, muddy van (555).  

This marks the 22nd round trip.  That puts a different spin on the whole thing.  This is why we haven’t done a lot of traveling in this region of the world.  Twice across the ocean each year takes a chunk of our travel energy, plus, we like being at home.  

By now you know the routine.  When we get to Taipei I will send you a message.  I don’t know what time it will be, or even what day.  It will be early in the morning there so it will probably be in the afternoon in the west and early in the east.  When we arrive in L.A. (Culver City) it will be late Thursday night.  I’ll try and get on track with a Friday morning message.  Mr. Lag usually has me up anyway (555).

As a parting nod to Chiang Rai, today’s photo is a view of the northern part of the outskirts of the city (where we live) from the 25th floor of the Guan Yin monument.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.   See you from Taipei, Taiwan.


“In a gentle way, you can 
shake the world.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, July 25, 2017



There was no rain during the daylight hours so Chiang Rai had a day to dry out.  It looked like rain was coming in the late afternoon, but so far it’s a false alarm.  The forecast is for rain for at least two weeks.  

‘Easy Monday’ is by what appeared to be brothers but wasn’t.  “But __ __ __ __ he sees.  No wise man has the power to reason away, what seems to be is always better than nothing, and nothing at all keeps sending him…  Somewhere back in her long ago, where he can still believe there’s a place in her life.  Someday, somewhere, she will return…”  Hint:  Believing does not make it so.  Hmm.

Countdown mode is in full effect at The Big Brown House.  You know the deal.  Lists are made, checked and executed.  Extra provisions for Daku, and a stroll down Bus Station Street for odds and ends of things to make the trip more comfortable seemed to be enough for one day.

Considering how long we will be doing nothing once we begin our trip, a few busy days will have their reward.  It will be a ‘day of rest’ (555) before we hit the continent and become visitors.  

Cat came over for dinner this evening.  She’s getting seriously excited about her upcoming adventure.  We have tried to think of everything we can to make her first trip across the water a good one.  She will stay with us tomorrow night and then Gong will take us to the airport for the morning flight to Bangkok.  In the afternoon we will fly to Taipei.  We’ll be in separate compartments, but there will be a few hours in Taipei to hang out together.  Then we take separate planes to America.  Cat will land in San Francisco and we go to LAX.  

Today’s photos are from the massage experience last weekend.  The first photo is the foot soak.  Yum.  The second shows Louise and me just relaxing in the fruit and flowers.  

Time to start sorting and trying to decide what to take.  This is the part that hurts the brain.  The clothes I choose never match the weather, regardless of the attention to forecasts.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Education is the key to 
unlock the golden door of freedom.”
~George Washington Carver

Monday, July 24, 2017



We had a rather full weekend.  There was the art exhibit opening, visits with friends, rain every day and a major storm on Sunday night.  The Denmark Crew left for Chiang Mai and now the house is empty.

Only one person, Cousin Trudye, knew that the ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Don’t Let Go” by Roy Hamilton.  Oh well, on to ‘Easy Monday’ and a tune you just might know:  “He came from somewhere back in her long ago, the sentimental fool don’t see, tryin’ hard to recreate what had yet to be created, once in her life.  She musters a smile for his nostalgic tale, never coming near what he wanted to say, only to realize it never really was.  She had a place in his life.  He never made her think twice.  As he rises to her apology anybody else would surely know.  He’s watching her go.  __ __ __ __ he sees….”  Hint:  Don’t be fooled by what you see.

Saturday morning Louise, Lisa and I went downtown for a foot massage.  We decided to try one of the fairly new ‘spas’ for a change.  It was, in a word, wonderful.  The decor, the atmosphere, and the treatment were all just what we wanted.  Rather that just wash your feet in a tub of water, they have you soak your feet in a built-in bowl that had flowers and cut fruit floating on the surface.  The lighting was low in the chair room where we had our massage.  We’ve had a lot of foot massages over the years, and I’d say this was right up there with the best.  They did little things that made it special.  The head, neck and upper-back treatment was very thorough.  When it was over, we all wanted a nap.  We’ll be going back for sure.  

After our massage, we met Jesper and Rasmus at Work@Home.  They had to turn in the motorbike, so we had lunch there.  Katai and Towan returned home while we were there.  Someone mentioned Katai’s Porche Boxster and they invited Rasmus to come and see the car.  He and Louise went out and got a ‘tour’ of the little car and Rasmus got to sit in the passenger bucket seat.  He was beyond excited when the engine was started and revved.  Boys and toys.

The opening of “In Her Eyes” at ArtBridge was a big success.  Lisa’s work was well received and she sold two pieces.  Cameras were working overtime, capturing the many artists and their fans.  The restaurant was turned into a giant buffet with lots of main dishes, snacks and desserts.  We saw friends we haven’t seen for awhile, and met some interesting new people.  

Sunday morning it was time to say goodbye to our visitors.  We tried to keep it to ‘So long’ instead of a sad goodbye thing.  Rasmus got to say ‘Bye-bye’ to his new playmates as well as the pool, one of his favorite things about their visit.  We all have some great memories.

That evening we got home just before the big storm arrived.  This may have been the biggest yet.  When Daku and I went out at around 9pm, the front and back yards were giant lakes.  The water was ankle deep on the front lawn.  Daku wanted no part of it.  Tonight we’re hearing thunder in the distance.  Hmm.

Our TV service provider, True Visions, has created a public service announcement trying to get people to stop dumping trash improperly.  It features a rap trio dressed as trash collectors schooling the public, while people with cans as their heads walk around dumping the contents of their heads along the roadsides and on city streets.  Great concept, hope it works.  We have a dump site down the road from us and it’s not cool.

Today’s photo shows our friends from Denmark at Wat Rong Khun.  

Have a Great Week.


“A leader is a dealer in hope.”
~Napoleon Bonaparte

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Funnies


All day long it fell from the sky.  Oh, there were moments of bright sky and dryness, but they were short-lived.  This afternoon there was a major downpour in just one part of town.  ’Tis the season.

The ‘Zany Day’ song that only one person responded to was “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, by Bob Dylan.  It has been covered by a wide variety of artists through the years.  Now for another dose of ‘Old School Friday’.  We’ve done this song before, so it might seem familiar:  “Hear that whistle, it’s ten o’clock (__ __ __, __ __ __).  Come on baby, it’s time to rock (__ __ __, __ __ __).  I’m so happy I got you here (__ __ __, __ __ __)  Keeps me grinnin’ from ear to ear (__ __ __, __ __ _).  Oooh-Weee, this feelin’ is killin’ me.  Aaaaa-shucks, well, I wouldn’t stop for a million bucks, I love you so.  Just hold me tight and __ __ __”.  Clue: The title is obvious.  That’s your clue (555).

This morning it was raining.  That was no surprise, but it did change the day a bit.  Instead of motoring around town visiting temples, the Denmark Crew went to Big C and the mall with us.  We had a good time, picked up supplies and went into stores we don’t usually see.  The amount of black clothing being stocked in most of the mid to high end shops was very interesting.  I notice when other people wear black, but I never thought about where they were buying it.  One of the many trivial thoughts that sometimes run through my head.  When Jesper asked me what I was wearing to the opening tomorrow night he wondered if it would be ‘Black’.  He has my number.  

While the sun was shining this afternoon, I took Jesper and Louise to Immigration to check on their departure status next month.  The high point of the visit was the ticket for the window service.  At the top was a large number 58.  Below that, in small print were the words “Wait for 57 numbers”.  What?  Instructions lost in translation.   

When we got to the bus station downtown to buy their ticket to Chiang Mai, it started raining.  The temporary bus station sits on a dirt lot, with shelters for ticket selling and a big awning with chairs for waiting for buses.   In the rain it looked like chaos, but it was actually working out.  As I sat waiting, I noticed a number of blue and white buses that apparently go to outer districts.  Most of the passengers getting on these buses were high school students.  I know that there are students who live in special apartment houses in town, away from their families.  Now I’m wondering if these students I saw today were going home for the weekend.   

On the way home the rain got very intense.  We could see the wind whipping the rain, making it swirl in the air before it reached the ground.  About a block past the Clock Tower it stopped.  The street was just damp and it was as if a faucet was turned off.  It had not rained at the house at all.  Storm clouds continue to lurk.

Today’s photos are of Guan Yin.  The first one shows the exterior of this giant monument.  The next two are from the 25th floor.  It was like a little magical room.  The walls are made of sculpted and shaped cement, with little jewels adding the only contrast.  Note the elevator button in the third photo, and the hand ‘holding’ it.

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


Thursday, July 20, 2017



We had a wonderful weather day.  There was no rain during the morning adventure time.  Nap-time rain was right on time, leaving nearly dry streets for the remainder of the day.  It might rain tonight by the looks of the sky.  Hmm.

The ‘Zany Day’ song only has a couple of friends out there.  Here’s the last verse.  Maybe that will spark something.
“I started out on burgundy, but soon hit the harder stuff.  Everybody said they’d stand behind me when the game got rough.  But the joke was on me, there was nobody even there to bluff.  I’m going back to New York City, I do believe I’ve had enough.”  Clue:  The singer is feeling blue and it has him feeling small, I think.  

This morning the big adventure was a visit to Wat Huay Pla Kang.  This is a temple complex a few minutes north of our house where the giant statue of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Caring and Compassion resides.  I posted photos last year of the construction process.  Today we went into the temple and saw giant wooden sculptures and then went inside the Guan Yin structure.  There is an elevator that takes you 25 floors to the top.  From there you step into an amazing white, sculpted room that feels like a fairy tale.  There are small windows offering an amazing view of the countryside, even in the cloudy weather.  

Today’s photos are from the adventure.  The first is the main temple, which is lighted at night and can be seen across town when landing at the airport.  The second is Rasmus inside next to the giant carving of The Buddha.  Tomorrow I’ll show you the inside of the top floor of Guan Yin.

Jesper pointed out that one of the reasons he doesn’t like riding the motorbike in the rain is the potholes that become invisible.  When the water covers the street, the holes disappear and when you roll into them it’s a sudden jolt that can potentially cause loss of control.  Makes sense to me.  Fortunately, he hasn’t had to ride in the rain for a few days.  

The reality is settling in that we leave in one week for our Summer Visit to the States.  The essentials are handled, like all the tickets and reservations.  Now comes the fun part: What to wear while we’re there?  One answer is: Pack light and visit Ross Dress for Less (555).  But seriously folks, we’ll be checking the weather forecasts and probably just take what we wear here.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017



We had a beautiful day until about 4pm.  That’s when the rain began teasing us with sprinkles.  By 5pm it was raining.  It’s been in storm mode for a few hours now and looks like it might be a long night.  The rainy season.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Rain” by The Beatles.  Here a ‘Zany Day’ tune from the mid-60s.  I know somebody knows this:  “When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez and it Eastertime too, and your gravity fails and negativity don’t pull you through don’t put on any airs.  When you’re down on Rue Morgue Avenue they got some hungry women there and they really make a mess outa you.”  Clue:  Somehow related to a very tiny mythical person.  

The morning weather was good for all of our activities.  The Denmark family had a great time with the elephants in the sunshine.  We traveled up and down the highway from ArtBridge to the mall and later back to ArtBridge, with no rain.  Lisa’s portion of the exhibit is set.  The young men who hung the art are very good at what they do and, as artists, they care about the presentation.  We got to see some of the other artists' work and we hung out for awhile.  The link below is to a profile and interview with Lisa, conducted by ArtBridge staff.  All of the women in the exhibit were filmed and the videos will be presented during the evening.

Today we had lunch at the mall.  I spotted this tray of sandwiches as soon as they put them on the counter.  Just had to share with you.  They’re all the same kind of sandwich, but the bread is the thing.

We’re in an odd time of the year when it comes to my favorite fruit.  Mango season is just about over.  What’s left is not quite right and that means I have to eat other things.  Oh, poor me.  There is an overabundance of pineapple this year because of a cancelled order from China.  Thailand was literally left holding the bag full of the fruit.  The price is very low and it’s very sweet.  So that’s my go-to fruit when there’s no mango.  

Daku, Rasmus and Neechanon are an interesting play group.  None of them speaks the language of the other, they are of different ages and sizes, yet they have fun together.  Hmm.

Could it be a Wacky Wednesday?


“Nothing great in the world 
has ever been accomplished
without passion.”
~Georg Wilhelm Hegel

Tuesday, July 18, 2017



It’s time for the 'broken record’ weather report.  There were showers all day with sporadic downpours.  

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was easy for a lot of you, based on your rapid replies.  It’s a weather song.
“I can show you that when it starts to __, everything’s the same.  I can show you, I can show you.  Can you hear me, that when it __ it shines, it’s just a state of mind.  Can you hear me?  Can you hear me?  __, I don’t mind….”  Hint:  Really, we need a hint?

The weather changed this morning’s plans for Jesper and Rasmus.  The plan was to go by the Talat and then on to the mall for some special items, and then to The Wanderer for lunch.  As we pulled out of the driveway, Jesper and Rasmus had on their raincoats just in case.  Then it started to rain.  They followed us to the Talat and Rasmus declared that he did not like riding in the rain.  His dad agreed, so they left the bike downtown and we all continued in the van.  The great thing about it was that nobody had to talk the little one out of riding in the rain.  He still wants to ride, but in the dry weather only.  

Jesper made dinner for us this evening.  We had shrimp with an original sauce, rice and a big salad.  He has been cooking since he was young, and is now an official visiting chef at The Big Brown House.  He also cooked last time they were here.  Bravo.

After dinner I got to spend another evening with the dentist, so you can imagine how happy I am about now.  The left side of my lower jaw is numb.  Friday is supposed to be the last step in this process, and I’ll have my new crown.  For some unexplainable reason, every time we go to the dentist it rains.  

Yesterday, after a vigorous morning exercise with Rasmus, Daku was pretty laid back.  You know a dog is tired when a small child can take all his toys and arrange them in front of his face and he does nothing.

Tomorrow morning the family is going to the Chiang Rai Elephant Sanctuary.  There, they will walk with the elephants, and watch them in their natural habitat.  There are six elephants and they are not ridden and do no tricks.  They just live in a respectful setting.  These types of sanctuaries are being established in other areas of Thailand as well.  It will be a wonderful experience for the three of them, especially Rasmus.  He is so excited.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“A warm smile is the universal
language of kindness.”
~William Arthur Ward

Monday, July 17, 2017



We had a 50/50 day today.  The morning was cloudy but dry and the afternoon was a constant state of sprinkle, with an evening downpour for good measure.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Let the Good Times Roll” by Shirley and Lee.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be a snap if you’ve been following the weather in Chiang Rai.  “If the __ comes they run and hide their heads, they might as well be dead.  If the __ comes.  When the sun shines they slip into the shade, and sip their lemonade.  When the sun shines, when the sun shines.  __, I don’t mind.  Shine, the weather’s fine.”  Hint:  It’s a weather condition sung by those four lads from Liverpool.

Saturday morning we went to Big C and the mall with The Denmark Crew.  We had lunch at the mall and Cat joined us so she could meet the family.  They ate at McDonald’s, since they don’t have one at home.  Rasmus got a little Transformer and was thrilled.  There were scattered sprinkles that didn’t amount to much, but it did lead to a great discovery, and that is our photo of the day.  

The first photo is the device that puts a plastic bag around your umbrella so you can go into the mall and not get things wet.  The second photo show how to do it.

In the afternoon we took Jesper to Work@Home so he could rent a motorbike.  Weather permitting, they plan to do a little exploring on their own.  Rasmus is totally into the two-wheel thing and loves to ride.  Saturday night they went to Walking Street and had a great time.

We attended an exhibit opening at Art Bridge where we connected with friends and also met the U.S. Consul General from Bangkok and his wife.  We had a conversation about our life here in Chiang Rai, the art community, and the upcoming women’s exhibit.  One of the board members pointed out that we were the only American members of Art Bridge.  We hadn’t realized that.  Cat had met us at the exhibit and she met them and discussed her teaching goals.  

Sunday, after the morning meeting, we all went to The Wanderer for lunch.  Rasmus was fascinated by the indoor waterfall.  It still fascinates me.  In the evening we went to Sawadee for dinner.  

Today was Wat Rong Khun day for us.  Lisa worked at home on her art while I took the crew for a look at the lastest version the temple grounds.  It’s constantly changing so it’s very different from what they saw years ago.  One of the highlights of the trip was when they got to meet Chalermchai, the creative force behind Wat Rong Khun.  

Jesper and I had a ‘Boy’s night out’ at the dentists.  Yeah, big fun.  I got more work done on my root canal and he got a filling repaired.  While we were there it rained very hard.  We were both happy we were inside.

Have a Great Week.


“Wherever you go, no matter 
what the weather, always
bring your own sunshine.”
~Anthony J. D'Angelo

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Funnies


Our weather was cooler than previous days, with lots of threatening clouds.  It didn’t rain, but the thunder this evening tells me we might get an overnight rain.  Hoping for dry days for awhile.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Y.M.C.A.” by The Village People.  A few of you revealed the characters you’d be.  I expect to get photos next Halloween (555).  ‘Old School Friday’ is up next.  This tune goes way back to 1956, and was later featured in a film.  “Come on baby __ __ __ __ __, come on baby let me thrill your soul, come on baby __ __ __ __ __.  __ all night long.  Come on baby while the thrill is on, come on baby let’s have some fun, come on baby __ __ __ __ __, __ all night long.  Feels so good when you're home.  Come on baby rock my all night long….”  Hint:  It was by a male/female duet.  What partners with ‘rock’?  That’s a hint.

The Denmark Crew has arrived.  It was great to finally meet Rasmus in person.  He was sitting on the baggage cart holding his big teddy bear, beaming.  Jesper and Louise were happy that the travel ordeal was over and ready to relax.  When we got to the house, all Rasmus could talk about was getting in the pool.  He doesn’t speak English, but some things are easy to figure out.  He told Louise that he would tell her things and then she could tell us in English.  Pretty good thinking for a 5-year-old.  Before he could get to the pool, he and Daku made friends.  Daku remembered Louise and Jesper so he was really revved up.  

When we got ready to go out for coffee at The Wanderer, I noticed the van was in the driveway.  Natcha had washed it.  Gong joked that she didn’t do a good job and he’d do it over.  It looked great to me.  At The Wanderer they got a chance to meet Mercy, Rasmus took photos of the fish with his camera, and he had a bowl of ice-cream.  Before they left Denmark he was concerned as to whether there was ice-cream in Thailand, so he was one happy kid.  Even with the language ‘gap’ it’s not that hard to tell what he’s trying to convey.  He has a very open, confident personality and we’re all doing just fine.  

Our next stop was Big C.  Friday afternoon is not the best time, but we kept our focus, kept track of the little one and managed to get a fast check-out line.  The other day we had been discussing the difference between ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ in English with Cat. For native Thai people, it’s difficult to distinguish between these sounds in English.  There is a T-shirt at Big C that reads:  ‘I Love You So Mush’.  Needless to say, we didn’t buy the shirt (555).

As soon as we got home Rasmus went outside, took off his clothes and put on his swimming trunks.  He was ready for round two.  In Denmark it was cold and rainy when they left.  Arriving here in the warm humidity has been a shock.  Mr. Lag is about to join the party.

Today’s photo expresses the excitement that was overflowing as Rasmus prepared for his first dip in the pool.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   On to the ‘Funnies’.   The Formula One Grand Prix is in England this weekend, and so are the Wimbledon finals.  


Thursday, July 13, 2017



There’s is simply no way to dry out after a major storm if it sprinkles all day for the next few days.  Some parts of the yard lose the water faster than others, but the ground is saturated.  It’s evening now, and it’s started up again.  More than a drizzle. 

The ‘Zany Day’ song has been around here before.  Since a lot of you know it, but don’t participate in ‘The Game’, tell me which character in the group you would be.  For those still wanting more lyrics, here is the second verse:
“Young man, there’s a place you can go.  I said young man, when you’re short on your dough.  You can stay there, and I’m sure you will find many ways to have a good time.  It’s fun to stay at the __ __ __ __, it’s fun to stay at the __ __ __ __….”  Hint:  Each member of the group that performed this hit song wore a different costume depicting a member of society.  The dashes are actually initials for a place.

The back yard drained overnight, almost.  I’m thinking we need a bigger pipe at the lowest point, like in the front.  Puddles are not good for several reasons.  They can become nesting places for mosquitos, and Daku likes to walk through them and that tracks water and mud all over.  There is a light trail from the back door to the stairs.  

This morning we went to Big C for supplies.  At the entrance there was a great fruit display.  That’s is the photo for today.

When a young man goes into the monk-hood, it is regarded by many to be an act of devotion and reverence.  That definitely seems to be the case with Tatt.  Today he shared photos of some ribbon art that was sent to him by his high school teachers here in Chiang Rai.  There are boxes of balls made from ribbon that are hollow inside, looking a lot like ornaments.  There are also little origami style creatures.  

There are still some last minute touches that I need to attend to around the house before our company arrives.  Mainly, all the cords and devices that are spread out all over the floor of my studio.  I’ve been experimenting and it gets a little crazy.  We’re making the room available for 5-year-old Rasmus so he can have his own room.  We have never met him except on Skype, so this will be a special occasion for all of us.  It’s also time to make the list of excursion destinations.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Wisdom is not wisdom when
it is derived from books alone.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017



This afternoon we had the current record-holder for the ‘Storm of the Year’.  It started at 2:30pm and rained hard for at least an hour, then tapered off.  Both yards were flooded.  It even temporarily overwhelmed our new super drain in the front yard and created a huge lake.  

A lot of you knew that the ‘Easy Monday’ song was MacArthur Park, as recorded by Richard Harris.  It was written by Jimmy Webb, originally for a cantata.  Now it’s time to get silly with this ‘Zany Day’ song from the disco days of 1978.  I just know this tune still has ‘friends’.
“Young man, there’s no need to feel down.  I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.  I said, young man, ‘cause you’re in a new town there’s no need to be unhappy…. It’s fun to stay at the __ __ __ __, it’s fun to stay at the __ __ __ __.  They have everything for you men to enjoy, you can hang out with all the boys…”  Hint:  It’s a place.

This was what I would call a mellow day.  We went to The Wanderer for coffee and visited with Kwan and Mercy.  I had an afternoon massage to the sound of the storm.  Lisa also had the same soundtrack for her massage and the rain was gone by the time Khun Jin was done.  It’s was a good thing, since she has a long drive to her house.  

Natcha and Gong must have known it was going to storm.  They did the heavy yard work this morning.  Their routine now consists of taking Neetchanon to her aunt’s house so both of them can concentrate on the work.  Natcha runs the lawnmower and Gong handles the weed-wacker.  They make quite a team when it comes to that aspect of the yard work.  

Today’s photos will give you an idea of what it looked like at The Big Brown House after the storm.   

Front Yard

Back Yard

I had to put on my tall rain boots and wade into the back yard in an effort to find the drain hole.  The water was just standing there for hours.  It went down a bit, but not as efficiently as the front ‘lake’.  If it’s still there tomorrow we’ll try to pump it out over the wall.  The farm has been quiet lately, so a little more water won’t make much difference.

One more day and our visitors from Denmark arrive.  Jesper, Louise and Rasmus will get to Chiang Rai at 9:15 Friday morning.  We’re all getting excited.

It’s going to be a Wacky Wednesday.


“Humility is the solid
foundation of all virtues.”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017



Chiang Rai got a chance to dry out today.  The morning looked like it might rain, but it faded and by afternoon there was scattered sunshine.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song has quite a few fans.  Here’s the second verse.  Maybe you do know this amazing song:
“There will be another song for me, for I will sing it.  There will be another dream for me, someone will bring it.  I will drink the wine while it is warm and never let you catch me looking at the sun.  And after all the loves of my life, after all the loves of my life you’ll still be the one…. __ __ is melting in the dark all the sweet green icing flowing down.  Someone left the cake out in the rain, I don’t think that I can take it ‘cause it took so long to bake it……”
Hint:  Wilshire Bl., downtown L.A., CA.  There are trees and a lake.  Lovers stroll there sometime (remember, it’s the late 60s).  What am I?

This morning we went to the home of Sandy and Ady for coffee, fruit and dessert.  We had some catching up to do.  They recently returned from five days on an island in the Andaman Sea.  It sounds like somewhere we’d like to go someday.  Ady told us about a ‘Gibbon Experience’ he’s going to take in Laos, where you spend three days in the trees.  There are zip lines that go through the canopy, and tree-houses for overnight sleeping.  Not sure if I’m up for that much ‘adventure’ (555).  We had good coffee, fresh melon, and a slice of coconut pie from The Wanderer.  Sandy had asked the staff what desserts we liked and that was what they told them.  Yum.

Lisa got a bunch of messages from Tatt today.  We were a little surprised to be hearing from him.  It’s half-way  through his novice monk initiation at the temple.  He got to go home to wash his clothes and robes and he’s allowed a little communication.  Next weekend we’ll probably get more info and some photos.  

I’m still recovering from my ordeal at the dentist last night.  There is occasional soreness from all the shots and pulling, etc.  Mostly, I’m doing fine.  Natcha made soup for lunch and fish for dinner, so my mouth didn’t have to work too hard.  So grateful.

It just starting raining.  We’re glad it waited until after the sun went down.  Gee and Gong were working on the pipes for most of the day.  This downpour would have stopped the progress they’re making.  Oh well, ’tis the season.

Today’s photo was taken on Sunday at The Wanderer.  As we were leaving we started taking shots of ferns, trees and the general greenness of it all.  Then Lisa said, ‘Stand over there and smile’.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“No problem can withstand
the assault of sustained

Monday, July 10, 2017



Our weekend weather was mostly sprinkles that went on and on.  We did have some stormy weather as well.  Nothing too dramatic, just a lot of water.

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Bring It On Home To Me” by Sam Cooke.  Time for an ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Try this one:   “Spring was never waiting for us girl, it ran one step ahead as we followed in the dance.  Between the parted pages that were pressed, in love’s hot, fevered iron, like a striped pair of pants.  __ __ is melting in the dark, all the sweet, green icing flowing down.  Someone left the cake out in the rain, I don’t think that I can take it, ‘cause it took so long to bake it, and I’ll never have that recipe again.  Oh, no!  Hint:  This was first recorded in 1968 by an actor from across the pond.  It’s about a place and love that’s gone.

This evening I had an unexpected procedure at the dentist.  I survived the first half of a root canal and the injections are just starting to wear off.  It’s never been my favorite place to go (555).  Fortunately, our dentist is very aware of patient pain and does his best to keep you comfortable.  Still, after an hour with my mouth open and people hovering, I’m done for the night.  

Saturday we went to Big C to get a jump on the holiday shoppers.  When we got to the check-out, we were told that we couldn’t buy the bottle of olive oil we had in our cart.  What?  She pointed to the table with the holiday decorations, like that would explain it.  Finally, I realized that the bottle looked like a fancy wine bottle, so we showed her the label.  Even though she spoke and read no English, we got the message across.  We got to buy the oil.

The first photo is self-explanatory.  The second is the bottle that was mistaken for alcohol.  

Sunday evening at the mall was an experience.  At first we didn’t think we’d get a parking place, but we lucked out.  Inside, the place was swarming with shoppers, strollers, and families enjoying the holiday.  Many businesses observed the holiday on Monday, since it fell on the weekend.  So, it was the spot to be on a rainy afternoon/evening.  We had a nice dinner, came home, and I watched the F1 race while Lisa worked on a large, four panel cast acrylic print.  

Have a Great Week.


“When the best leader’s work is done
the people say, ‘We did it ourselves’”.
~Lao Tzu

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Funnies


Well weather fans, after a warm, cloudy day we got a major storm that started around dinner time.  There was lots of wind, thunder and rain.  Maybe this will give us a pleasant weekend.

A few of you got the ‘Zany Day’ song.  It was “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain.  Just so you know, that’s one of my favorite recordings.  Time now for another dose of ‘Old School Friday’.   “If you ever change your mind about leaving, leaving me behind.  Oh-oh, bring it to me, bring your sweet loving.  __ __ __ __ __ __, yeah, yeah, yeah…”  Clue:  R&B singer with a smooth voice.  This tune from ’62 might bring back memories for some.  Many hints in the lyrics.

This morning we got good news about the plumbing.  The house has no leaks.  There are some minor leaks in the outside pipes and possible underground problems.  Next week Gee and Gong will replace the old pipes and retest the whole system.  Considering we’ve had two earthquakes since the house was built, it’s possible that things underground have been affected.  It will all be better next week.

On our morning run into town, things were going well until we headed home.  It’s been a long time since we’d encountered a parade.  Today was the day.  Traffic was redirected in such a way that we had to make a big detour in the opposite direction of home.  We didn’t get to see much of the parade, but there were floats and lots of marching/walking units.  

This afternoon we went to The Wanderer for coffee and to stock up on the fudge brownies that Kwan makes.  We had a chance to visit with Kwan and Mercy out in the woods near the geese, down by the river.  I should have taken photos - next time.  It was so peaceful and green under the canopy.  Hmm, a comfortable deck chair and it would have been a perfect setting to do nothing at all.

We have a big sports weekend coming up.  Wimbledon continues and Formula One is in Austria.  So glad there are replays of tennis.  Earlier this week I discovered a road-racing series here in Thailand that runs on the street.  Everything from sports cars to pick-up trucks were raced.  Not at the same time, but different classes.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer when we visited with Tatt.  The hot cocoa he ordered came with some very nice artwork.

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


Thursday, July 6, 2017



In Chiang Rai there was rain overnight that left the lawns soggy this morning.  The day was hot and muggy, with threatening clouds for most of the time.    

Well, only two readers have named this ‘Zany Day’ song.  Here’s the second verse of this clever song.
“__ __, if you know what I mean, __ __ she taught me everything.  This lady she asked me if I would be her man.  You know that I told her I’d do what I can, to keep her looking pretty, buy her dresses that shine.  While the rest of them dudes was a-makin’ their bread, buddy, beg your pardon, I was losing mine.”  Hint:  ‘She’ is not what you think.  Remember, there’s a mighty river involved.

This morning Lisa and Tatt had a running conversation via Messenger.  He gave a blow-by-blow of the build-up to his entering the temple for his initiation.  It seemed like a combination of nerves and excitement.  He’ll be ‘off the grid’ for two weeks.  We wish him well on his journey.

Khun Gee and Gong spent hours digging, looking for the main pipe that carries water into the house.  They wanted to do a test to see if there was a problem in the house.  They found the pipe and fortunately, there is no problem with the house, so it has to be something else.  We mentioned yesterday that we couldn’t find anything in the house plans that detailed the location of the ‘plumbing’.  Gee told us that it’s usually not drawn out because with most Thai houses everything is exposed, so you can see where all the pipes go.  Early in our Adventures in Thailand we learned that there is no such thing as a plumber, at least not in Chiang Rai.  There are people who work with pipes.  It’s all blue PVC tubing.  Hmm.

Our trip to Immigration this afternoon was a breeze.  We were there for about 5 minutes and it was done.  I love it when government business is that smooth.

In one week our friends from Denmark will arrive.  We will get to be tourists and discover things we haven’t seen and revisit places that have probably changed.  

Today’s photo is a throw-back from when we lived in Gatong Village in 2007.  These cows were frequently paraded down our street.  Their owner took them to various vacant fields to feed.  One day the front gate to our house was left open and they walked in and discovered a salad bar.  Boot, our former housekeeper ran out with a broom and cleared the yard before they could do too much damage.  Sweet memories.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Without a struggle, there can be
no progress.”
~Frederick Douglass