Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Funnies


It was a stormy morning in Chiang Rai.  You could say it was that pesky ‘lake effect’ rain.  When it comes to hard and fast, there’s just nowhere for it to go.  It just looks at us for awhile and then slowly drains.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was our old friend “Lola” by The Kinks.  Here’s an ‘Old School Friday’ that I’m sure you know:  “When the night has come and the land is dark, and the moon is the only light we’ll see.  No, I won’t be afraid, oh, I won’t be afraid, just as long as you __, __ __ __.”  Clue:  From 1961, by a drifter of sorts.  All about support.

As a result of the big rain, we stayed behind the wall all day.  We had a visit from Neechanon this morning.  She didn’t go to her aunt’s today so we got to spend some quality time with her.  Once she warmed up, she started talking a-mile-a-minute.  Natcha said she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but she is clearly expressing some thoughts.  Today a different learning toy was on top of the pile.  Natcha began handing her alphabet letters.  Neechanon said, ‘A, B’ and surprised us all.  She is building a vocabulary of words. 

Since it was raining and we didn’t want to go out, we did a workout based on some of the new things we’ve learned recently and routines from our ‘gym days’.  It felt good to go through the exercises and it left me with a feeling of accomplishment.  

There comes a time in every young man’s life when he must clean out his side of the closet (555).  Today was that day.  With three options for each garment, I began work.  The piles are ‘keep’, ‘store’, and ‘give away’.  One thing I realized today is how many things I had kept for sentimental reasons.  Hmm.  The container for the ‘store’ group is almost full.  I’ll need another to do this right.  Hmm, or maybe give away more.

Today’s photo was taken in our front yard.  These green ‘oranges’ will remain green.  That’s the way they are here.  We don’t know if they will actually mature or just stay like they are, hard as rock.  It may take another season to have viable fruit.  This kind of orange is super sweet and the English translation means ‘Mixed with honey’.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.  Oh, and Formula One this weekend will be in Malaysia for the last time.  It’s sure to be a special event.


Thursday, September 28, 2017



Last night we had a clear, star-studded sky.  Today is was partly cloudy at times, but mostly a beautiful blue sky.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song must have found you scratching your head.  I don’t know why.  We ‘sang’ this one not that long ago.  Two readers responded so far.  Here’s a little more:  “Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls.  It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, except for __, _ _ _ _ __.”   Hint:  Those little dashes are for the first syllable of the title/name.  

This morning our main adventure was right here at the house.  We went to The Wanderer very early to get a few pastries.  We were expecting our friend Pete and a business associate around 9:15.  All we knew was that he was affiliated with a paint company and wanted Lisa to try some paints.  Pete and Tom arrived and we had coffee and got to know each other.  We learned that he oversees a paint factory in China and supervises production and marketing.  We went up to Lisa’s studio and Pete gave her 4 tubes of acrylic paint to be sampled.  While Lisa was mixing and blending and experimenting with the paint, we learned more about the factory and their goals.  In the end, the paint was a hit and Tom and Pete were encouraged.  

Gong and Natcha are still going to their ‘spot’ every night, setting up their little kitchen and selling food.  They work very hard, loading all of the elements into their truck, unloading and setting up, and then packing it all in at the end of the evening.  Some nights are OK, and others are not so good.  We don’t really know what that means, but they have to stay consistent or people will think they have left.  I guess it starts with a presence and then you build a clientele.  Small businesses here have their own way of doing things and it usually doesn’t include a business plan.  Our friend Sutheera based her doctoral thesis on why small and medium enterprises fail.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Today’s photo is the last from the Maiiam Museum.  This scooter riding guy sits in the restaurant.

We had a good skype visit today with our friend John, who lives in Bali.  He’s not too near the volcano, and is planning to stay.  A clothes and food drive is underway for the people who live on the mountain.  They had to evacuate and John and many of his friends are donating to the relief effort.  If the volcano actually erupts, nowhere on the island will be safe from the ash.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t ‘blow’.
Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“When the power of love
overcomes the love of power
the world will know peace.”
~Jimi Hendrix

Wednesday, September 27, 2017



Chiang Rai had a pretty nice day, weather-wise.  Lots of clouds, a little rain, and not as hot as the last few days.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Somebody To Love” by Jefferson Airplane.  Oh, now you remember.  Time for a ‘Zany Day’ tune to brighten your week.  “I met her in a club down in old SoHo, where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola, C-O-L-A cola.  She walked up to me and she asked me to dance.  I asked her name and in a dark brown voice she said, ‘__’ __-__-__-__ __,….”  Hint:  We’ve played this song before so it should be easy.  The title is a name.

This morning I went out and checked on the hive situation.  The wasps are mostly gone, but the bees are still here.  I don’t think the guys knew what to do with them since there wasn’t an actual hive structure.  The bees were doing something interesting while I watched them.  A group was gathered around the opening in the rocks and they seemed to hover and then quiver in unison.  They did this several times.  I didn’t stick around to watch the rest of the show.  Now we have to find someone to take them away and then fill the hole in the rocks.  Wild Kingdom lives on.

Just as we were getting ourselves together to go into the world, the service guys from TrueTV arrived.  They were scheduled for tomorrow, and just showed up.  It worked out fine.  This is the third visit within about 6 weeks and we’re hoping they fixed the problem.  For now, we have our link to the sporting world and major world news.  

Our coffee this morning was served at Shong Cafe in Ban Du.  It sits on a street that becomes the entrance to the university (CRU) and at times it feels like you’re in a bustling town.  There are various service businesses, like laundries, phone shops, printing shops, and a variety of food options.  Most of the traffic is of the two-wheeled variety and it adds to the uniqueness.  

Today’s photos are from the exhibit at Maiiam in Chiang Mai.  These pieces were featured in the Muslim Art Exhibit.

It’s feelin’ like a Wacky Wednesday.


“I have decided to stick with
love.  Hate is too great a burden
to bear.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017



Rain was the order of the day.  It rained overnight, and off-and-on all day.  A break may be coming this evening.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song seems to have eluded most of you.  Maybe you should go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.
“Your eyes, I say your eyes may look like his.  Yeah, but in your head, baby, I’m afraid you don’t know where it is.  Don’t you want __ __ __?  Don’t you need __ __ __?  Wouldn’t you love __ __ __?  You better find __ __ __.”  Hint:  You’ve had enough hints.  

The Saga of the Bees was the focus of our Monday.  While having afternoon refreshments at The Wanderer, we mentioned to Khun Kwan about the bee/wasp situation and the need to have the nests removed.  She introduced us to a young man who apparently knows about how to do this.  To our surprise, he and another worker followed us to the house and took a look at both hives.  They told us they’d be back at 7pm to deal with it all, at no charge.  That evening the young man arrived with two other men with flashlights and what appeared to be a form of broom.  This is where things went a little different than imagined.  I had been told that the giant wasp nest needed to be cut down while inside a bag, so as not to upset the hive.  Peaking from inside the house, I saw a small fire on the end of the ‘broom’.  It turns out they were smoking the wasps out so they could have the empty hive.  Gong approached them about keeping the hive and they refused to give it to him.  They are valuable, some kind of delicacy.  It is added to a soup and Gong and Natcha were hoping to make some extra money from it’s sale.  This morning there were a few wasps flying around where the hive had been.  There were also some lingering bees behind the waterfall.  I’m waiting a few days before passing judgment, but it’s not looking like the bee people did a very good job.  

I guess the forecasters have it right this week.  Starting last night we got rain and the sound of it woke me up.  I remember hearing two waves of heavy rain, like someone turned up the volume.  Then later, distant thunder.  This morning the rain faded in time for us to exercise Daku, and then it poured.  It stayed dry for our trip to Big C and back, then started again.  I should point out that the temperature was very hot, near 90F.  It’s not so bad compared to other places that have rain that washes things away.  Watching the way people deal with the rain has changed how I think about it.  The locals prepare and deal with it.  It’s just water.  I am still puzzled as to what people do when they are not prepared and show up someplace wet.  There is no way to ride a motorbike in the rain and not get wet, unless you have a raincoat. Hmm.

Today’s photos were taken in front of Maiiam Museum of Contemporary Art.  The ‘Mirror Wall’ has become a landmark.  The first photo is the wall.  The second is what happens when you take your picture while looking at the wall.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Nobody made a greater
mistake than he who did
nothing because he could do
only a little.”
~Edmund Burke

Monday, September 25, 2017



Chiang Rai is having the very hot cloudy day cycle right now.  It looks like it might rain but it just stays hot.  Rain is in the forecasts for this week so we’ll see.

The ‘Old School Friday song was “Silhouettes” by The Rays.  Turns out he was on the wrong block.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be easy for all you songsters out there:  “When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies.  Don’t you want __ __ __?  Don’t you need __ __ __?  Wouldn’t you love __ __ __?  You better find __ __ __.”  Hint:  Ah yes, it was the Summer of Love and the airways were filled with wonderful music.  Lead singer of this flying machine had a pretty slick voice.

Saturday morning in Chiang Mai we slept late.  Without Daku there was no need to get up early.  I must say, it was nice.  We had breakfast at the cafe around the corner from the hotel.  I met with my friend Ali in the lobby and we had a good visit.  At RimPing Market, which is a chain that carries a lot of Western food, we looked for coconut flour.  Our  usual source has been out.  We didn’t find any, but Lisa found wax paper, which is a necessary part of her process in making cast acrylic prints.  It hasn’t been in Chiang Rai for a long time so we stocked up.  

We had one more place to look for coconut flour and that was the super market at the Central Festival Mall.  I can’t recall ever going there at the height of the lunch hour on a Saturday, but that's what we did.  It’s the first time we’ve actually had to go to an upper level in the parking structure.  There were a lot of people in that place.  They didn’t have the flour, but we had lunch and hit the road.  

The highway was moving pretty good, the road was dry and there were no long processions of cars.  About an hour into the trip we hit another little isolated downpour that started and stopped within 3 minutes.  It was good to get back to Chiang Rai.  Daku gave us his usual ‘Where have you been, you’ve been gone forever’ greeting and that always makes us feel good.

Sunday was a mellow day.  A day for recharging the batteries and relaxing.  We stayed close to home, having lunch and dinner at The Wanderer.  

Today’s photo was taken at Maiiam Museum in Chiang Mai.  Two life-like sculptures offered light-hearted relief.  Many selfies were snapped.

Have a Great Week.


“There is nothing noble in 
being superior to your fellow
men.  True nobility lies in being 
superior to your former self.”
~Ernest Hemingway

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Funnies


Weather on the road to Chiang Mai was mostly sunny, with a brief, torrential downpour.  Chiang Mai is hot as usual.
This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Mother’s Little Helper” by The Rolling Stones.  Here is your dose of ‘Old School Friday’:  “Took a walk and passed your house late last night.  All the shades were pulled and drawn way down tight.  From within a dim light cast two __ on the shade.  Oh what a lovely couple they made…”  Clue:  A story of jumping to conclusions. 

We got on the road this morning a little after 9am and had an easy drive to the ‘pie place’.  We had a little meal before the pie, since lunch would be a little later.  Most of the trip was routine, except for noticing changes in the landscape in a few places.  About 2/3 of the way I noticed a couple of motorbike riders at the side of the road putting on their raincoats.  Then I saw a car with their wipers going.  A few drops on our windshield and all of a sudden we were in a storm.  It lasted for about 4 or 5 minutes and then it just stopped, like someone had turned off a faucet.  

We lunched with our friend Marty and his girlfriend Asu at a little Indian restaurant near our hotel.  Marty just returned from 4 months in NYC.  It was good to see him again and hear about his trip.  

When is was time to go to the Maiiam Museum, the hotel couldn’t find us a cab, so Lisa used an app on her phone, called ‘Grab Taxi’, and we had a car within 5 minutes.  It was actually a Toyota Vigo luxury pick-up that was just as nice inside as a car.  The presentation of the exhibit was given by the French Ambassador to Thailand.  It was standing room only and we could barely make out what was being said.  We went into the gift shop and got a catalog, signed the guest book and then watch the crowd move toward the exhibit.  They were being led by four dancers who had just finished a modern piece set to electronic sounds.  

The artist, Lalan, was a multifaceted Chinese artist who spent most of her life in Paris.  She took on the name Lalan and created some beautiful abstract work.  Most of what we saw was paint on canvas.  There were about 200 guests at this after-hours opening.  We also saw two other exhibits.  One was by mostly contemporary Thai artists and the other was a collection from Thai Muslim artists that was very moving.  Our friend Khun Aom, who invited us, asked us to stay for dinner in the museum restaurant.  If we were consumers of spicy pork dishes it would have been an interesting meal, but we’re not.  There was fun conversation with people we didn’t know and that was cool.  When we got back to our ‘neighborhood’ we went to a little cafe and got some food.  

Today’s photo was taken at the Lalan exhibit.  

At the dinner tonight I sat next to an expat who has been here 36 years.  Upon introducing himself, he told me he exported spiritual items.  My mind pictured statues of Buddha, etc.  Then, with a big chuckle he revealed that he is a distiller of alcoholic beverages.  He was a funny guy.  

Saturday we go home.  Daku will be happy since he had to spend the night alone.  If it’s not storming we may just be able to get in a swim.  It’s the little things.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.


Thursday, September 21, 2017



This morning looked like rain, the dark clouds crept in just as we started Daku’s bath.  We were all happy they blew away.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was easy for a bunch of you.  It was done by what is now one of the oldest bands in history.
“Things are different today, I hear ev’ry mother say, cooking fresh food for a husband’s just a drag.  So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak and goes running for the shelter of a __ __ __.  And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day.  Doctor please, some more of these.  Outside the door, she took four more.  What a drag it is getting old.”  Hint:  Something to assist the maternal unit.

Our workout today was another variation on the theme.  It seems like we never do the same thing twice.  Each workout we are taught something new so it never gets stale.  This morning I did more than I have in the past.  The key seems to be the long warm-up.  Most of the hour is spent stretching and warming all the muscles.  The last part of each session, Lisa has us do three exercises in a rotation, without stopping.  Today I could do the whole thing, which included things I couldn’t do in the beginning of all this.  Progress is being made, even with all the moaning and groaning.  Fun? 555

The road to the gym on Buffalo Hill is full of pot-holes.  The kind that jar the vehicle and the body.  It’s like driving an obstacle course to avoid them.  Today, after our session, we decided to try taking the road down the other side of the hill to leave.  We drove and drove and ended up in a familiar part of town, far from where we thought we’d be.  Needless to say, we either missed something or it’s just not a shortcut.  It was a nice ride through some different neighborhoods I’d never seen.

Gong found a place that sells a kind of grass that grows in the shade and is tough.  He’s slowly planting sections in the backyard that tend to get muddy due to lack of plant life.  This grass was originally introduced into our back lawn by the wind.  We never planted it but somehow it just started growing.  Eventually it would be nice to have all the lawns and side yards covered with this grass.  Hmm.

Yesterday we returned to Browney Pet World and we were surprised to see these fancy pet strollers on display.

Time to pack the tiny overnight bag for tomorrow’s trip south.  I will think about all of my pie-loving friends when we pull into Charoen Gardens.  We’ll be back in Chiang Rai on Saturday afternoon.  Getting out of town may be a good thing, since thunderstorms are in the forecast.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Sometimes the heart sees what is
invisible to the eye.”
~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017



Just out of curiosity, if you got yesterday’s message, ‘Answer’, could you let me know?  Email gremlins may be at work again. 

Chiang Rai had another of those cloudy morning, sunny afternoon days.  It actually got hot today.  Hmm.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield.  The writer was Steven Stills, later part of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and then Young.  Now you know.  Time for another round of madness and a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “What a drag it is getting old.  ‘Kids are different today,’ I hear ev’ry mother say, mother needs something today to calm her down.  And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill.  She goes running for the shelter of a __ __ __, and it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day…”  

This turned out to be a very busy day.  After our weekly conversation with Lisa’s Dad Joe, we went to Shong Cafe for coffee before tackling Makro.  While we were in the vegetable section we saw Aye of ‘Aye’s Restaurant’.  We hadn’t seen her in a long time.  Part of her catching us up on her life included trying to cope with tourism and the rules about serving liquor.  There are certain times during the day when one cannot serve or buy alcohol.  Sometimes customers want a drink with their late lunch and she has to deny them.  It gets political from there, but it is becoming a problem for many merchants.  Just as the conversation was winding down, Cat walked up.  She lives close to Makro and came to get a few essentials.  We ended up shopping together and as we checked out, we realized her boyfriend was working at the front exit.  

This weekend we are going to Chiang Mai for the opening of an art exhibit at a fairly new Contemporary Museum.  We wanted to raise our ‘chic level’ a bit so this afternoon we went to the mall for some new ‘black’ for the affair.  While we shopped, we were having some large format printing done.  When we returned to the printers, it was wrong and had to be done over.  This gave us some sit-down time.  It felt strange to just sit and watch all the people, waiting.  The second run was correct and we finally left the mall.  On the way home, in the rush-hour traffic, we stopped at a place that sells remotes for everything under the sun.  Our fan remote worked fine when they tested it, of course.  The streets are a lot different at 5pm than they were 10 years ago.  It’s still amazing to watch a town growing up.

Today’s photo is a ‘bird couple’ that have lived on our roof for years.  In this shot they are surveying their world.  

This evening, after dinner, the power went out, then came back, and went out again.  It was hot so we moved downstairs.  Opening the windows would just let in warm air and the smoke of a newly lit fire.  The power finally returned and life returned to normal.  We really feel for those affected by the hurricanes, who are living without power for days/weeks at a time.  

This could be a Wacky Wednesday.


“The true measure of a man is
how he treats someone who can 
do him absolutely no good.”
~Samuel Johnson

Tuesday, September 19, 2017



The weather today was partly cloudy with a large quantity of sunshine.  A few dark clouds came and went and we stayed dry.

I got a lot of responses to the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  I should point out that the title is not in the lyrics of the song.  
“There’s battle lines being drawn.  Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.  Young people speaking their minds, getting so much resistance from behind.  It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound?  Everybody look - what’s going down.
Clue:  The writer of this song went on to be a member of a very successful group that often went by it’s initials.

This morning’s workout was another good one.  The focus is more on stretching and form, with most of the strength work on the legs.  This offers challenges and solutions that will eventually improve the quality of life (555).  It all sounds good until we get home and I climb the stairs.  The first time is the hardest.  We can tell we’re improving by the work we can do in the gym and how it’s getting easier.  We now have a couple of ‘rollers’ that are great for massaging tight places.  One of them looks like a torture device, but is actually very soothing.  

During the rainy season everything grows fast.  Little jungles pop up along the roads and bushes and trees flourish.  It also means that the lawn grows faster.  Today Natcha and Gong did a big part of the lawn-cutting.  The flat part was mowed and raked.  Tomorrow Gong will use the weed-wacker to cut the contours and little hills.  He’s cutting it close, so maybe it won’t need cutting too soon.  

Today’s photo was taken last week.  The morning sky was so vivid and the greens of the yard were so rich that I just had to take a photo.

The water in the pool is such that we can once again have garden appreciation from the water.  Today we decided to take out one of the plumerias.  It has never been happy where it is and it just drops leaves in the pool.  It’s cuttings will continue to thrive in the strip in front of the house, by the road.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“At the center of your being 
you have the answer; you know 
who you are and you know what
you want.”
~Lao Tzu

Monday, September 18, 2017



We were having nice weather until Saturday, when we got a piece of a typhoon.  Let’s just say we got dumped on.  Sunday evening there was more.  I guess just because the rainy season is winding down, it doesn’t mean we can’t get rain.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Guided Missles” by The Cuff Links.  Here’s the ‘Easy Monday’ tune for you: “There’s something happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear.  There’s a man with a gun over there telling me I got to beware.  I think it’s time we stop children, what’s that sound?  Everybody look - what’s going down?”  Hint:  The year was 1966, unrest in Hollywood inspired this song.  Group name derived from a steamroller.

We had another visit to the ‘gym’ this weekend.  Each time, we review what we did and learn a few new things.  Lisa and I both have certain things we can and cannot do.  It’s great to have a trainer who understands and finds alternate ways for us to continue the workout.  We go back tomorrow for more.  

Today’s photo is at one of the forks in the road on the property where we go to the gym.  When I get the story, I’ll tell you.

Sunday lunch was interesting.  We went to The Wanderer as usual, with Cat and our good friend Sutheera.  The interesting part is that Sutheera is a professor at Chiang Rai Rajabhat University, and Cat is a student.  We got to hear about the world of CRU from two different perspectives.  

During the afternoon, when the rain started, things were a little touch and go with our TV feed.  This reminded me of two weeks ago when it was time for the Formula One race and the picture just went away.  This weekend it came back in time for the race.  Singapore was celebrating the 10th anniversary of hosting an F1 weekend and they had a lot of special events.  I’m still a little concerned that our dish is so sensitive to the rain.  Hmm.

We are almost at the end of the last chapter of the last (audio) book in the Harry Potter series.  It has been our companion in the van when driving around town, while sitting in airports, and in some coffee shops.  Time to find another book to listen to that will take us away on a new adventure.   

Have a Great Week.


“If you cannot do great things,
do small things in a great way.”
~Napoleon Hill

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Funnies


Our day began with a heavy cloud cover that burned off by the time we took Daku out to play.  There is a storm due tomorrow.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “High-Heeled Sneakers” by Tommy Tucker.  Give a listen to this old-school blues hit.  This week’s ‘Old School Friday’ comes from 1956, so I’ll excuse anyone who may not know it (555).  “(Zoom) __ __, (Zoom) __ __ (Zoom)  __ __, aim at my heart.  Down to destroy me, tear me apart.  __ __, none of them true, now I know the enemy is you… You weakened my defenses with your tender kisses, you knew when you loved me I never could resist…”  Hint:  Title is something that flies through the air and is not very nice.  Group name is a device that hold shirt-sleeves together.

It was a slow day at The Big Brown House.  We went out in the morning and had coffee at Shong Cafe, by the campus of Chiang Rai Rajabhat University (CRU).  We hadn’t been there in about a week so it was fun.  

We went to Browney’s Pet World initially to get insect repellent that is chemical-free.  We started looking at grooming combs and little balls for massaging our muscles and ended up with a bunch of stuff.  I hope Daku doesn’t think the balls are for him (555).

Driving south on the Super Highway, we passed a police check-point that was mainly looking for out-of-date registration and anyone on two-wheels.  Since the registration has to be visible from the passenger side of the windshield, they can wave cars through unless they see the wrong year displayed.  All bikes get pulled over so they can ask to see everything.  There is usually a line of riders waiting to pay their fines.  Hmm.

Today’s photos are our friend Lisa's gym where we’ve been learning some Cross Fit routines.  The first photo shows the view looking out from the gym.  The second shows the interior and some of the ‘stuff’.  Having nature right outside adds a unique aspect to the idea of working out.

This weekend is the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix.  This time last year we were in Singapore, visiting our friends Claire and Stephen.  Stephen and I went to the main race and as I watch the Friday practice, it’s bringing back memories of a fun, interesting time.  Zoom.

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


Thursday, September 14, 2017



We had another beautiful day here in Chiang Rai.  The afternoon clouds looked like it might rain, but they blew away.  A tropical storm in Viet Nam may send some ‘moisture’ our way this weekend.

Well, it seems we have some lovers of the blues in our midst.  This tune has been covered by tons of artists.
“Put on your __-__ __, wear that wig-hat on your head.  (repeat line)  I’m pretty sure now, baby, ‘cause you know, you know you’re gonna knock’em dead.”  Hint:  Really?   

This morning we went back to our friend Lisa’s for another workout.  It felt good to work specific parts of the body.  She showed us some ways to work out tightness in muscles.  I discovered some places that didn’t hurt until I tried what she showed us.  We learned lots of new stretches that are good for general health.  

This afternoon we swam again and the water was warmer than yesterday.  We took it easy, considering our morning workout, but it felt good to move in the water.  

Over the years we have gotten used to the idea of booking plane tickets months in advance.  With international flights it’s almost essential in order to get a seat that’s not in the middle section.  We do have our priorities.  As of this evening, our flights to the States are booked for the Winter Visit.  We’re trying a different flight on ‘our’ airline, that will get us to LAX in the morning instead of at night.  It might even have an effect on the Jet Lag.  Just the psychological aspect of having breakfast and then landing in daylight just might throw Mr. Lag for a loop. 

As a footnote to the booking of tickets, it brings back reflexes and memories.  We always called my mom to tell her when we’d arrive, and there are so many people that we won’t see again.  It’s been a rough year.

Today’s photo is the scene down the road from us.  The large rocks in the pile are apparently being placed on the road to the river, making it more sturdy.   The small pile of boulders looks like it’s blocking the road temporarily.  The mystery continues.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Tact is the art of making 
a point without making an
~Isaac Newton

Wednesday, September 13, 2017



Chiang Rai went all day without any rain.  This evening, at 6:30pm, the entire sky was dark blue (the sun was setting).  The water in the pool this afternoon was perfect.

The ‘Easy Monday’ tune was “Walk On By” by Dionne Warwick.  Time for another ‘Zany Day’ song.  Here’s one from the same year as the last one, 1964:  “Put on your red dress, baby, ‘cause we’re goin’ out tonight.  Put on your red dress, baby, ‘cause we’re goin’ out tonight.  Better wear some boxin’ gloves, case some fool might wanna fight…”  Hint:  The title is three words on the topic of footwear.

On our way to the immigration office we stopped for coffee at The Wanderer.  We were greeted by Mercy, who ‘talked’ to us and wanted to play.  One of the staff gave her a command in Thai and she stopped what she was doing and trotted off towards the kitchens.  We had just finished our coffee when Khun Noot came out with warm samples of another bread project.  This batch was delicious.  It was whole wheat with various seeds, and a dash of honey.  I could munch on that for a snack.

Our third visit to immigration resulted in them issuing us new retirement visas for another year.  It only took three visits to get everything straight.  It will forever remain a mystery as to what is the right and true procedure.  Every time it’s different.  For 10 years, we have surrendered to the system, whatever it is. 

Since Natcha and Gong have started their little side business, we don’t see Neechanon much anymore.  She goes to her aunt Gope’s house.  Maybe we’ll have to arrange for Gope to bring Neechanon over for a visit.

Today’s photo was taken in our kitchen.  I don’t know the name of this fruit, but it was given to us by Khun Noot.  It’s a kind of lemon, at least the outer skin is.  She said that you can peel a bit off and put use it for seasoning.  Hmm, need to find out more about this. 

Tomorrow we are scheduled to have another Cross Fit workout.  Knowing that I can abbreviate as needed, I’m looking forward to some stretching and flexing.  Wow, can’t believe I just said that.  (555)

Looks like a Wacky Wednesday.


“What is discord at one level
of your being, is harmony at
another level.”
~Alan Watts

Tuesday, September 12, 2017



The weather today was cloudy with big patches of sunlight.  What?  Yeah.  But last night we had a major thunder storm.  Those big, giant thunder claps that feel like a bomb went off.  There was also rolling thunder that seemed to roll across the sky from east to west.  Needless to say, there was also rain.

A few of you remembered the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  It was written by the very successful team with the initials B&D.  "I just can’t get over losing you and so if I seem broken and blue.  __ __ __, __ __ __.  Foolish pride, that’s all that I have left so let me hide the tears and the sadness you gave me, when you said goodbye.  __ __ __, __ __ __…..”  Hint:  The singer knows the way to San Jose.

Yesterday we left the immigration office with a homework assignment:  Get the bank pass book updated along with a new letter of guarantee.  This morning we went to our bank and got things corrected.  We also had to deal with some other business.  We received a letter from the bank stating that Blue’s account was almost out of money.  This was one of those things we did not know how to deal with, since we had no official paper work regarding his death, and we are not next of kin.  Our bank manager told us it was no problem.  The account would be closed after a certain number of months of inactivity and no funds.  Still, it took me back to the day when he opened the account and started to settle into his new ‘home’.  

Natcha’s brother Ghee came over this morning to fix part of the roof.  He also took photos of a strange hive that is hanging in our pine tree by the pool.  The creatures that live within are large, black flying things with an orange stripe.  They’re cool looking, and apparently mean.  Ghee said they call them ‘Tiger Bees’, but they look more like something from the hornet family.  He has a friend who wanted to see the size of the hive before they set out to do anything about it.  

Today’s photos are of the big hive.  These insects are very skilled at their craft.  There was a definite intention with the patterns.  

We got a delightful surprise this afternoon after checking the pool temp.  It was swimmable and so we did.  I thought it might be too cold after the recent rains, but the sun has been out and warmed it up.  It has been awhile and it felt good.

Natcha and Gong sold some food last night and are feeling hopeful.  They had to change part of their menu because apparently the spicy salad is not something people order in the evening.  This is according to other vendors and their own experience.  Tuning the menu shouldn’t take long.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“There is a moral obligation
that those who have should 
give to those who don’t.”
~Audrey Hepburn

Monday, September 11, 2017



It’s the rainy season.  We’ve been having rain.  It comes in the afternoon, the evening, and overnight.  Nothing like the hurricane rains in other parts of the world.  Perspective has been gained, cannot complain about the rain.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Money” by Barrett Strong.  Time for a really ‘Easy Monday’ song.  “If you see me walking down the street, and I start to cry each time we meet.  __ __ __, __ __ __.  Make believe that you don’t see the tears, just let me grieve in private ‘cause each time I see you I break down and cry.  __ __ __(don’t stop)  __ __ __ (don’t stop) __ __ __.”  Hint:  ’64 recording by a woman with a long string of hits.  There are clues in the lyrics.

Saturday evening we went to 9 Art for the opening of an exhibit by the Mae Lao Artist Group.  There are about 14 artists who get together and have art outings.  The current exhibit is the result of them going to a village in Burma for 3 days and absorbing the surroundings and then presenting the results of their inspiration.  There were the usual disciplines represented: oil, acrylic, and pencil.  Several artists as well as guests told us we have to go to this village.  Based on the paintings, it looks like some place I’d like to see.  Our friend Sompong told us it’s like Chiang Rai used to be a very long time ago.  The modern era hasn’t arrived yet.

Sunday morning we learned that a dear friend of 24 years had passed.  It put a damper on the day, with memories flooding my mind at will.  After my morning meeting we went to The Wanderer with Cat.  When we got there we saw that the parking area was blocked off with ‘Reserved’ signs.  There was a special terrarium workshop being given to the BMW dealership.  Employees and family members had taken over the ‘Glass Room’ for the craft event, and the air/con room seemed to be where the execs were hanging out.  There were 6 brand new BMWs in the lot and we are still wondering who is buying these cars.  

During our lunch conversations we always learn little cultural things from Cat.  This time we learned that people in villages, like the one she is from, consider teachers to be the leaders, the ones with the answers.  They are highly regarded by the adults and children.  In the city, teachers are just teachers, without the same status.  In a village clinic, doctors and nurses are all considered ‘doctors’.  As Cat put it, anyone in a white uniform is a doctor.  

Even though our TV system is working, we recorded the US Open finals.  Most of our attention has been on the storms in the States. We don’t usually watch televised news so this has been an interesting experience.  

Natcha and Gong began a new enterprise this evening, selling food on the big road near our house.  They are selling BBQ chicken wings and spicy, green papaya salad.  They plan to do this every evening from 6:30-9:30.  We went by to see their stand and wish them well.  

I couldn’t post a photo of Gong and Natcha, and not post a current pic of Neechanon.  

We returned to Immigration this afternoon.  Without going into details, we have to go back yet again on Wednesday.  A few little changes in procedure can really mess up ones day.  Eventually, it will all be right and we’ll get a visa for another year.  After 10 years, what?
Have a Great Week.


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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Funnies


We seem to be in a new weather pattern.  Afternoon storms are becoming a regular thing.  Today we had a strong downpour for about an hour. 

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” by The Kinks.  The time has come for ‘Old School Friday’.  We all know this one:  “The best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees; now give me __, (that’s what I want) that’s what I want, (that’s what I want)…. Your lovin’ give me such a thrill, but your lovin’ don’t pay my bills.  I need __ (that’s what I want) That’s what I want….”  Hint:  Often called the root of something.

While reading the morning email, I noticed something from the Chiang Rai Expat Club.  It was announcing a visit from the U.S. Consulate office from Chiang Mai at Le Meridien Hotel today.  Among the services being provided was the notarization of documents.  We got dressed without exercising Daku since the start time was 8:30am.  When we arrived at Le Meridien Hotel there were 12 people ahead of us.  Apparently they started at 8am.  We went to the coffee shop and multi-tasked.  We watched tennis on the big screen while listening to Harry Potter through headphones, and discovered some of the tastiest cookies in town.  Near the end of our ‘coffee’, we met the current manager of the hotel. 

Back in the library, where the consulate was meeting people, we still had to wait, but it was shorter.  Everything was going well until they informed us that they no longer take cash for services, only bank drafts.  That meant a trip to our bank and then back to the hotel.  We got it all done before lunch and now we don’t have to go to Chiang Mai next week.  We can renew our visas on Monday.  Yea.

The expat community in Chiang Rai is growing.  One way I can tell is by the number of restaurants opening around town with a ‘western’ motif.  Not western as in cowboy, but non-Asian, either American, English, or some Euro  format.  There is also a migration of expats from other parts of Thailand where the pace is faster.  I have met several people in the last month who have stated that they'd had enough of the beach life.  We also happen to be the only part of the country with a cool season.  Everywhere else the seasons are just hot or hot and rainy.  Chiang Rai rocks.

Today’s photo was taken in our front yard.  Until recently, we didn’t realize that a tree Gong planted months ago is a Papaya tree.  If you look closely, you can see two medium sized fruits along the trunk.  There is also several more right below the branches.

We’ve been trying to keep up with the hurricane news as well as the various fires in the States.  Not as much is being reported about the fires, but we know that Montana and California are having a very difficult time.  We watch a bit at a time so as not to become overwhelmed. 

This weekend is the finals of the U.S. Open (tennis) from New York.  We’re pretty jazzed that the TV is fixed and that we can watch it, and that the Women’s Final is two Americans that we’ve been following for several years.  Play on.

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


Thursday, September 7, 2017



We woke up to an almost cool morning.  There was heavy cloud cover; the kind that Daku likes.  We had a late afternoon rain with sunshine.  Somewhere there was a rainbow.

The ‘Zany Day’ song has a couple friends, but I know there must be a few more.  Here’s the second verse:
“And when he does his little rounds, ‘round the boutiques of London Town, eagerly pursuing all the latest fads and trends, ‘cause he’s a __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  Two brothers ‘fronted’ this band.  Some might say they were well respected men.

This morning we met Sandy and Ady at The Wanderer for coffee and snacks.  It was our last time hanging out with them.  Later this month they will leave Thailand for a visit in Israel and then settle in Cape Town, South Africa.  We covered a lot of territory in our visit.  Ady and I have very stimulating conversations that I will miss. 

Today’s photo was taken this morning at The Wanderer.  When is a rock more than a rock?  When it’s covered with ferns and moss and becomes a work of art.

After lunch, just as we were settling into our nap, the repair techs from True TV arrived.  That meant we had to sit up, pretend to be alert, and wait while they diagnosed the problem.  They found the problem and fixed it though I don’t know what it was.  The main thing is we get to see the semi-finals and the finals of the U.S. Open.  I mean, some things are important (555).  We also discovered that an equestrian meet from Spruce Meadows in Canada is going to be televised.  We used to watch those all the time, back in the days in the States, when we had a giant analog dish. 

The excavation down the road is still a mystery.  There is a giant mound of small boulders by the side of the road leading to the river.  There is another pile of rocks on that end.  Right at the entrance they have made a bed of rocks, like pavement.  I guess this will help the trucks when it’s rainy.  Something’s coming.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“We shall never know all the good
that a simple smile can do.”
~Mother Teresa

Wednesday, September 6, 2017



This morning the yard was relatively dry.  Mr. Rain came in early afternoon.  It was brief, but powerful.  There was lots of sprinkling after that.  Not really what you’d call a stormy day, just ‘some rain’.

‘Easy Monday’ was The Beatles singing “All You Need Is Love”.  See, I told you, you knew it.  ‘Zany Day’ is next:
“They seek him here, they seek him there, his clothes are loud, but never square.  It will make or break him so he’s got to buy the best, ‘cause he’s a __ __ __ __.  Hint:  It’s mid-60s from across the pond.  Band had lots of ‘kinky’ songs. 

We went on a hunt for fiber-board this morning.  Ultimately, we found everything but what we wanted.  At Global House we did see lots of interesting things so the morning wasn’t a total waste (555). 

The big adventure today was our trip to Immigration to renew our visas.  On our way, we stopped at The Wanderer for coffee.  Khun Noot had called us earlier and said she made some whole wheat bread for us using only healthy ingredients, meaning no milk, butter, sugar, or soy.  When we arrived she held out a whole loaf of the bread and included a jar of jam for good measure.  So thoughtful.  We’re always discussing things she could bake that we could eat so she tries different recipes.  After our coffee stop we went to immigration.  Things were going great until they saw the date on a document from our consulate regarding Social Security.  It was over 6 months old, which means we have to get another one.  Monday we will travel to Chiang Mai for a Tuesday appointment with the US Consulate for a new document.  Lovin’ the red tape.

This morning, during our ‘yard walk’, I glanced up and noticed some green above the roof line.  A second look revealed a tall stalk of grass growing out of the roof.  What?  A picture is worth….

This evening Natcha and Neechanon came over while I was finishing my dinner.  Neechanon inched her way over to the stairs and stayed at the lower steps for a long time.  Then she made her move, climbing a few and looking back.  Eventually she had us all upstairs.  Something different happened this time.  She started across the room and then turned and ran to Natcha.  We didn’t know what was wrong until Natcha explained that Neechanon was reacting to the wooden Geko we have on the wall.  There is a real Tokay, a large variety of Geko, that was in their house and scared Neechanon.  Lisa took our Geko off the wall and that seemed to calm Neechanon down.  She went back to her circuit of things to do upstairs and was happy.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“It does not matter how slowly you go
as long as you do not stop.”

Tuesday, September 5, 2017



We woke up to a dry yard.  There was dancing in the hall.  It rained all afternoon.  The dancing stopped.

Only a couple of readers recognized the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  The holiday is over, I know you know this one:
“Nothing you can make that can’t be made.  No one you can save that can’t be saved.  Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time, it's easy.  __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, __.  Love is all you need.”  Hint: I case you haven’t figured it out, I just gave it away.  Shuffle the words and you’ve got it.

Some of you may have noticed that yesterday’s message came via ‘Gmail’.  It seems that I have been forgiven and it’s OK to resume sending my mail the old fashioned way.  I don’t know how long it will last, but at least I learned an alternate route in case of disaster (555).

I go on everyday about the weather here, but those of you in other parts of the world are having your share of extremes as well.  We’ve been following the fires in Montana and California along with the floods in Texas.  Today we learned from Joe, Lisa’s Dad, about the very high temperatures last week in Northern California.  What we go through is mild by comparison.  Hang in there.

This morning’s trip to Big C was interesting.  We usually get there fairly early, but today was different.  Business was going full speed ahead when we got there.  The place was buzzing with activity.  Big C and the bank branches are upstairs in the complex.  There were crowds around the entrances to the banks and this was curious.  As I looked closely, I realized that the banks were open and the crowds were just waiting for their turn to go inside.  The branches are very small so they either take names or give numbers and only let a few folks in at a time.  In contrast, we had just come from a main, stand-alone branch of our bank where there was no waiting for services, and lots of chairs if things got busy. 

Today’s photo was taken at Big C, in front of the check-out lines.  Who can resist a Hello Kitty umbrella during the rainy season?

We spent part of the afternoon looking at the walls, trying to decide places where we can hang more of Lisa’s artwork.  There comes a time in every artists life when storage becomes an issue.  The time has come.

After dinner we heard Neechanon fussing very loudly and learned that she wanted to go in the pool.  There was a compromise and she and Natcha sat on the steps so that Neechanon could be in the water.  Lisa joined them by the side of the water and they had a meeting (555).  The little one was happy and that made everyone else happy.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“One good thing about music,
when it hits you feel no pain.”
~Bob Marley