Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Main Thing


Chiang Rai weather today was cool.  This morning it was actually cold.  I wore my hoodie sweatshirt all morning.  It warmed up a little in the afternoon, but it was not what we were expecting.  The sky was clear as a bell.

You may recall that our ‘Easy Monday’ song was about a breakup.  We join the drama at the end of the third verse going into the chorus:  “…Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?  Did you think I’d crumble?  Did you think I’d lay down and die?  Oh, no, not I!  __ __ __.  Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive.  I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give and __ __, __ __ __, hey, hey.”  Hint:  I think it’s all there.

We went to The Wanderer this morning for coffee and we were surprised to see our friend Rachel, from The Freedom Story, along with Tawee, the local director.  It was a nice reunion and we’ll see her more next week.  

I have been having a continuing problem with my lower back and left knee for several weeks so we decided to see the orthopedic doctor at Overbrook Hospital Clinic.  Lisa had good results with an orthopedic doctor there, so we spent the rest of the morning mostly waiting.  After a consultation, x-rays, and more consultation it was recommended that I stick to swimming, and not put any undo stress on my body until I strengthen some supporting muscles.  I kinda knew that, but it was good to get an explanation of what’s going on and see it in pictures.  The stairs are not my friends right now.  

This afternoon we had coffee at Work@Home and hung out with Katai.  She and Thovan went to Hokkaido, Japan recently and we heard about their trip.  They watched a car rally and traveled around the countryside.  Sounds like somewhere we’d like to go.  We always have fun talking about dogs, art, and life in Chiang Rai.  We made tentative plans for an evening out with dinner and live music.  

The music across the river began this morning.  It was mostly recorded stuff until late afternoon and then the live portion of the thumping started.  I’m sure there are some talented artists performing on the stage over there, but all that gets to us is ‘the bottom’.  This is the first time in one year since we’ve heard big sound like this.  Now that the mourning period is over, we’ll probably get a lot more.  Oh boy.

Today’s photo was taken as we were leaving The Wanderer.  A man and his oxen walking down to the river.  He had four adults and two teens in tow.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The main thing is to keep the
main thing the main thing.”
~Stephen Covey

Monday, October 30, 2017



The weekend weather in Chiang Rai was great.  It's is cooling off and the sky is clear.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQQCPrwKzdo  It’s ‘Easy Monday’ time again: “At first I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could never live without you by my side.  But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong and I grew strong, and I learned how to get along.  And so you’re back from outer space.  I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face.  I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave your key if I had known for just one second you’d be back to bother me….”  Clue:  You get the chorus and the title tomorrow.  This long, dramatic reading was a big disco hit in 1978.  If you remember it at all, this should be enough.

This weekend the little family, Natcha, Gong, and Neechanon, went up to Mae Sai to visit family and see a new baby.    It was a little quieter around The Big Brown House, but we did just fine.  We had been wondering what we would do for dinner on Saturday night until Lisa discovered that Natcha had left some tuna salad for us in the fridge.  They returned this afternoon (Monday).

The festivities across the river have begun.  The official day for Loy Krathong is Friday, November 3.  That’s when the moon will be full.  In reality, I can hear the thumping of a bass and drums tonight.  Things are a little different on the bank of the river this year.  The Mae Kok is very full, which means that the area where the temporary village and the paths to the water have been flooded.  Apparently, the whole carnival is farther down the river from us.  This may call for investigation during the day, maybe.  At any rate, people will be taking advantage of this holiday because big celebrations were prohibited during the year of mourning.  

Sunday we met with our trainer/coach, Lisa and her dad Edwin for lunch at The Wanderer.  They have rearranged the furniture and our ‘regular table’ is now in the air/con room where the cats hang out.  That meant we had to find another place for lunch, and every other lunch from now on.  The place was crowded but we found a nice table under some trees and ferns.  It was a lot of fun hanging out with them.  Edwin told us about his ozone water purification system that keeps his pool bacteria-free.  In addition to science talk, he told us about Thailand in the early days of diplomatic relations.  It was considered a ‘hardship’ assignment with extra compensation.  I’ll bet that’s changed (555).  The time flew by and I’m hoping we can do it again.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer during our Sunday lunch.

This morning we went to Central Plaza Mall for a new suitcase, color prints for Lisa’s portfolio, and lunch.  It was a very productive morning.  The main purpose of our trip to Bangkok on Thursday is to visit some galleries and try and find one that might be a place for Lisa to exhibit her work.  It is our understanding that there are some that show foreign artists.  It’s just another wrinkle in being from outside of the culture.  The Adventure Continues.

Have a Great Week.


“Wherever there is a human being,
there is an opportunity for a kindness.”
~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Funnies


We had a mix of weather today.  Cold and cloudy in the morning, hot by mid-day, and hot and threatening rain by afternoon.  No water from the sky yet.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was none other than Gene Chandler singing “Duke of Earl”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQnfooEED8Y   Time for another episode of ‘Old School Friday’.  “I found my thrill on __ __.  On __ __, when I found you.  The moon stood still on __ __, and lingered until my dreams came true.  The wind in the willow played love’s sweet melody.  But all of those vows you made, were never to be.  Though we’re apart, you’re part of me still, for you were my thrill on __ __.”  Hint:  This 1956 recording is by a R&R Hall of Fame artist with a long string of hits.  This was his biggest record.  His nickname was The Fat Man.  

Life began to get back to normal around here.  The cremation observance doesn’t end until Sunday, but shops are open and the rhythm of Chiang Rai seems to be quickly getting up to speed.  We did a morning ‘loop’, starting with coffee at Shong Cafe, a stop at the post office and then Macro for supplies.  The place was packed with shoppers, which makes sense considering that the weekend is coming and many small shops probably sold more yesterday than usual.  

ArtBridge was our last stop of the morning.  Lisa needed to get a canvas for the annual Member Exhibit in December.  This event opens the evening of the day we leave for our Winter Trip to the States, but Lisa will still submit artwork.  Our friend Jan was there getting her canvas.  I commented on a unique logo on her black T-shirt, featuring the Thai number 9 and a tiny profile of The King.  Then we all mentioned how it will be nice to wear some colorful clothing again.  

Late last night we watched proceedings from Bangkok.  There were traditional puppet shows, classical dancing and what looked like an ancient opera.  This morning they showed a review of yesterday and it became clear that they didn’t broadcast the actual cremation.  The Bangkok Post did publish a photo.  There was more ritual, chanting and merit making today.  

Today’s photo is a closer look at the base of the crematorium, which I posted yesterday.  The people on the steps are some of the many dignitaries that met with the family receiving line inside.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Hang on for the ‘Funnies’.   This weekend Formula One is in Mexico.  Zoom.


Here’s a little humor from the mind of Steven Wright

“If a word in the dictionary were misspelled, how would we know?”

“All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand.”

“I was arrested for lip-syncing karaoke.”

“My doctor told me I shouldn’t work out until I’m in better shape.  I told him, ‘All right; don’t send me a bill until I pay you."

“My friend has a baby.  I’m recording all the noises he makes so later I can ask him what he meant."

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Good One


The daytime hours were rain-free today.  The afternoon was hot and by dinner time it was raining.  So goes the weather in Chiang Rai.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has a few friends out there.  “And when I hold you, you’ll be my __, __ __ __.  We’ll walk through my __ and a paradise we will share.  Yes-a I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh, ‘cause nothing can stop me now, ‘cause I’m the __ __ __.  So hey yeah yeah yeah….”  Clue:  The first dash is for the title of the spouse of this royalty.  If you know this one, don’t be shy (555).

We woke up to a cool morning.  The air was crisp and Daku was ready to play.  It was clear that there had been rain overnight, but things were not soggy.  There was a forecast for rain later, so we just enjoyed the clouds.

Today was the big day, the day of ceremonies leading up to the cremation of The King.  We started watching the live feed from Bangkok, which started around 7:30am and the Thai PBS channel had an English-speaking commentator.  Many things were explained as the proceedings progressed.  There were three major processions this morning, all centered around moving the Royal Urn to a specially built monument that will be the final resting place for some of the ashes of The King.  It’s all very complicated, especially when there are two separate Royal Items that are called an Urn.  The pomp and spectacle was amazing.  We could tell that it had been rehearsed several times.  When you have hundreds of people involved in moving large objects, marching at a very slow pace there has to be practice.  Thousands of people were lining the roads leading to the Royal Palace and the temple Wat Pho.  

Today’s photos were taken from the live feed in Bangkok.  The first photo shows 200 soldiers pulling a giant 14 ton chariot that has been used since the late 18th Century, carrying the structure with the Urn inside.  The second photo is the final resting place where the cremation will take place.  It took almost a year to build.  

Meanwhile, in Chiang Rai, the main focus of attention was at the old airport, where cremation ceremonies were also held.  Officials expected around 20,000 people to attend.  In town at traffic intersections, bottles of water and rice were being passed out to the public who would be attending.  

At The Big Brown House, Cat came to visit for the morning and had lunch with us.  When we mentioned that we didn’t realize the Festival of Loy Krathong began on November 3 this year, she was also surprised.  It’s usually later in the month.  This year it will go on for 9 days, which is a long time for something like that.  It will be interesting to see how many people really celebrate for that long.  We will be going to Bangkok for the first five days of the month.  More on that later.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Whatever you are,
be a good one.”
~Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, October 25, 2017



We woke up to a very wet yard, although the overnight rain was all we got.  Very light sprinkles happened from time to time but it was basically a nice break in the stormy weather.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I Want To Tell You” by The Beatles.  Maybe this ‘Zany Day’ song is closer to the surface (555):  “As I walk through this world, nothing can stop the __ __ __.  And-a you, you are my girl, and no one can hurt you, oh no.  Yes-a I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh.  Come on let me hold you darlin’ ‘cause I’m the __ __ __”.
Hint:  The singer has declared himself royalty.  

This morning Daku got a good brushing.  It’s shedding time again and it makes no sense.  He sheds mass quantities of fur right before the cold season.  It seems like this is when he’d want the extra warmth.  Hmm.  Since he didn’t get his usual grooming while we were gone, there was quite a pile of fur.  His expression might be saying, ‘Why did you to take my fur’?

Today is the first day of the observances for the cremation of The King.  Since many stores will be closed tomorrow, the actual day, we set out to get supplies before it got too crowded.  We stopped by The Wanderer and made our weekly Skype call to Lisa’s Dad, Joe.  He got to meet Kwan and Mercy and see a little of the place.  It was nice talking with him in this tranquil setting.  We may do this every week.

At Big C the shoppers were out in force.  It was still not as crowded as it would get later, but the lot was filling up. Our next stop was the fruit market next to the flower mart.  The vendors selling cut flowers were doing big business.  I saw people leaving with big bunches of yellow marigolds, and beautiful arrangements.  Flowers are a big part of most observances.  On our way home we could see several temple having services this morning and the Chinese Cultural Center had an all day bazaar with lots of food being served.

This evening, after my meeting on Bus Station Street, I had to walk past a series of shoe stores and dress shops to get to the van.  They were doing a brisk business selling women’s black heels and dresses.  Tomorrow will be one of the big days of reverence throughout the nation.  Many people will be going to temples and events related to the cremation.  In Bangkok dignitaries including Kings, Queens and heads of State from 44 countries will attend the ceremonies.  We plan to stay at home.  

It may be a Wacky Wednesday.


“If the world seems cold to you,
kindle fires to warm it.”
~Lucy Larcom

Tuesday, October 24, 2017



Rain was the highlight of the day.  We woke up to wet streets in Chiang Mai, drove through a couple of heavy storms on the way back to Chiang Rai, and saw the results of heavy rain when we got home.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was recognized by a few readers.  Here’s a little more:  “__ __ __ __ __, I feel hung up but I don’t know why.  I don’t mind, I could wait forever, I’ve got time.  Sometimes I wish I knew you well, then I could speak my mind and tell you.  Maybe you’d understand.”  Clue:  From an album named after something that goes ‘round and ‘round and written by the lead guitarist.  

This morning we had breakfast in our hotel.  They seem to have upgraded some of the choices since we last stayed there.  Maybe because we are about to enter ‘High Season’, or maybe because there is a larger influx of foreign visitors.  Whatever the reason, things were nicer.  After our meal, we checked out and went for a stroll down the Night Bazaar street the way it is during the day.  It was just waking up, a few shops were open, and overall a much calmer scene.  

Our visit to Chiang Mai was primarily to see our chiropractor.  After two appointments I have learned some new things about my body and how to deal with it.  My exercise regimen will have to change.  I’m OK with that.  There are many ways to accomplish the goals.  I just have to remember to be careful and not let enthusiasm overrule   common sense.

We had lunch at Central Festival, the very large mall in a city of malls.  We went to the B2S stationery/art supply store and found the canvases Lisa has been looking for.  While we were having ‘coffee for the road’ I noticed it was raining outside.  We encountered light rain out of town, then nothing, and then a heavy downpour that slowed things down for a few miles.  There was a second storm farther down the road.  As we entered Chiang Rai we saw a rainbow and that was pretty cool.

As Thailand moves closer to the Thursday cremation ceremonies for King Bhumibol Adulyadej, crowds have already begun camping on the streets in Bangkok in anticipation of the procession.  Some claimed their spot on the street as early as Monday.  

Today’s photos were taken on Saturday when we went to Polar Cafe.  The first photo is the cafe and a beautiful tree that is sure to become a landmark.  The second photo is Lisa with our friend John, waiting for a table inside.
On the right is the little climbing wall that leads to the slide.  The kids love it.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Our attitude towards others
determines their attitude 
towards us.”
~Earl Nightingale

Monday, October 23, 2017



I’m coming to you from the Night Bazaar district of Chiang Mai today.  The weather is very similar to Chiang Rai.  It feels hotter where we are because it’s all concrete and not much breeze.  Let’s just say it’s very hot.  The rain forecasts are just made up, the sky is clear with patches of puffy clouds.  We’re going to stop reading the reports.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Unchained Melody” by (in chronological order Al Hibbler, Roy Hamilton, The Righteous Brothers, etc.  Try this one for ‘Easy Monday’:  “__ __ __ __ __ my head is filled with things to say.  When you’re here, all those words, they seem to slip away.  When I get near you, the games begin to drag me down.  It’s alright, I’ll make you maybe next time around.”  Hint:  It’s from across the pond, 1966, by those guys.  The singer is dying to reveal his feelings.

Saturday morning we had coffee with our friend John.  The directions to the newly relocated Polar Cafe sounded like we were going to the country.  We were, but it was worth it.  John warned us about the bad road so we were prepared.  When we finally arrived, it was hard to understand why someone would open a business in such a remote location.  Apparently, it doesn’t matter.  The place was packed at 9:30 Saturday morning.  We had to wait for a table.  There were lots of families and young couples.  They have a big wide slide that the kids can access by way of a climbing wall.  That was a big hit.  We didn’t see the sign, but permission was granted to eat cake and dessert in the morning.  Next time I’ll know.  The time just flew by as we got caught up on our activities of the last few months.  

Sunday we had a very special experience.  We had been invited to an event at The Wanderer.  All we knew was that it would be a concert by jazz musicians from Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai featuring musical compositions by The King.    The whole affair was to be from 4:30 to 7:30pm.  In the afternoon, we arrived half an hour early and there was already a crowd.  There were chairs set up in the open area, with seating scattered in areas of the woods as well.  The event was titled “Echoes in the Woods” and was put together by The Wanderer family along with donations and support of from a large number of cafes and coffee shops around town.  The ‘Glass Room’ was filled with tables containing treats from the participating cafes.  There were a number of highlights during the concert, and overall, it was a very enjoyable, moving evening.  The arrangements of The King’s tunes were very hip, and the musicians and vocalists were really good. There was also a group of children who sang a few numbers and did a good job.  The finale of the evening was when the lights were dimmed and the candles we’d been given were all lit.  Everyone stood and the performers and the audience sang The King’s Anthem.  

Today’s photos are from ‘Echoes in the Woods’.

Today was Chulalongkorn Day, celebrating King Chulalongkorn, also known as Rama V.  He made many dramatic changes to the way things were done in Thailand, most notably, ending slavery and establishing international relations with the Western world.  This morning in Chiang Rai and as we traveled down the highway, we saw large assemblies of uniformed men and women preparing for ceremonies in towns and villages.  

Have a Great Week.


“There are two ways of
spreading light: to be the 
candle or the mirror that
reflects it.”
~Edith Wharton

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Funnies


It was such a pretty day, the dog got a bath.  We had more of the same, with a touch of cloudiness, but nice, fur-drying temperatures (555).

There was no foolin’ you all.  Many of you knew the ‘Zany Day’ song was “The Monkees” by The Monkees.  Aren’t we glad that’s over?  On to ‘Old School Friday’, and a song that goes way back, for the original.  “Oh, my love, my darling I’ve hungered for your touch, a long lonely time.  And time goes by so slowly, and time can do so much.  Are you still mine?”  Hint:  The title is not sung in the lyrics.  If you know an artist before the 60s hit, you get Extra Cool Points. 

This morning we gave Daku a bath.  He tried to make himself invisible, but we found him anyway and he got his bath.  After his initial self-toweling, where he rolls around on a bunch of towels, then does the same on the grass, and finally, he tears around the yard like he’s possessed.  Today, while we were just walking, Natcha came home and he gave her a greeting like she’d been gone for a week.  He did another ‘crazy run’ and finally settled down.  

Today’s photo is Daku doing his ‘wiggle dance’ on the lawn after his bath.  He does this at least once a day.  We think it is something that dogs do to help their digestion and for fun.  

In the street, we started with coffee at Work@Home.  From there we went to the main downtown market.  We cruised the main aisle and picked up a few essential things.  I scored some ankle socks at the outrageous price of $1.50 for three pairs.  Since I’m still in the process of getting rid of extra clothes, buying more cheap clothes seems out of order.  Just wait ’til there’s more room (555).

Our main destination was the mall.  Top’s Market is where we buy our eggs and we also wanted to go by the art supply store.  We’ve been searching for a certain size of canvas for Lisa’s artwork.  She found one, but not in the size she wants, so the search continues.  In the basement of the mall, where the ethnic foods are sold, there was a big sale of white clothes.  My guess is, this is for next Thursday when the cremation services will take place all over the Kingdom.  Devout temple goers will wear white as a sign of respect.  More will be revealed on that.  Our friend Cornelis wrote to tell us that he saw a big rehearsal down at the old airport.  People were working on a ceremonial dance for next week.  Our plan is to stay inside that day.

Tomorrow we’re having coffee with our friends John and Aey, who recently returned from a long vacation in various parts of the world.  We’re meeting at a coffee shop called Polar.  It used to be in town, but is in a new location.  Another adventure.

We have been invited to a Sunday afternoon jazz concert at The Wanderer.  A group of musicians from Chiang Mai, and some local talent are going to perform some of The King’s compositions.  

Monday morning we will drive down to Chiang Mai for an overnight stay.  I’m going to see my chiropractor, but he’s only there until 12n so we have to leave earlier than usual.  Hmm, that will leave the rest of the day for possible exploring.  Our Tuesday return will not be on the same tight schedule.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.  On to the ‘Funnies’.  Don’t forget, Formula One is in Texas for the United States Grand Prix.  Zoom


Thursday, October 19, 2017



Reading this weather report may get monotonous, but living it certainly does not.  Blue skies and moderate temps are what we have these days.  It’s wonderful.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song is picking up old ‘fans’.  Here’s a little more from this wacky group:  “Any time, or anywhere just look over your shoulder, guess who’ll be standing there.  Hey, hey we’re __ __ and people say we monkey around.  But we’re too busy singing to put anybody down.”  Hint:  They arrived in 1966 with recordings, a TV show with a special car, and a tour.  What? The title is also the name of the group.  Trivia note:  Jimi Hendrix opened for them.  What again??

We went to school today.  Actually, we went to Cat’s university to see her participate in an ASEAN Day observance. We started off with coffee at Shong Cafe by the campus.  Finding the location of the event was not a problem since we’d been there before, years ago.  The big room was full of students who were supposed to be listening to a lecture about the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations.  Most of them were either in conversation with each other or involved with their phones.  Cat’s group, from her English Teacher major, were representing Vietnam.  It looked like each department represented one of the 10 ASEAN countries.  They chose Cat to wear an authentic costume and answer questions.  We got to see her in the costume and make-up, but things fell apart in the overall scheduling and we didn’t get to hear her presentation.  She did give us a preview by introducing herself in Vietnamese.  Lisa called her backstage and said our goodbyes as the noise level grew in the big room.  School days.

It has felt like Friday for most of today.  We know it’s Thursday, but still, you know how that can be.  Tomorrow is Friday and there’s nothing special on the calendar.  There is always something to do, get or see so it won’t be a dull day.  We have both been spending time in our studios in the afternoons.  Lisa also works in the evening as well.  She has been experimenting with variations on her paint/collage format as well as paper sculpture.  It’s exciting to watch it evolve.  

Today’s photo shows Cat in the Vietnamese outfit she wore today for the ASEAN presentation.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017



Chiang Rai had another beautiful day today.  It did get a little hot, but that’s alright, it was sunny and dry. 

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Fame” by Irene Cara.  I just know some of you remember this ‘Zany Day’ tune:  “Here we come, walkin’ down the street.  We get the funniest looks from ev’ry one we meet.  Hey, hey, we’re __ __ and people say we monkey around, but we’re too busy singing to put anybody down.”  Clue:  OK, there’s a giant clue in there if you know how to spell, or maybe if you don’t.  

Today was the wedding of PoyPoy and KonKon.  We knew that the menu would probably be things we don’t eat so after getting all ‘dressed up’, we went out for a snack.  The Wanderer provided our pre-wedding nourishment.  After a warm greeting from Mercy and treats with our coffee, we took some photos with Kwan and Kern.  Since we were all dressed in a black and white theme, it seemed like a fun idea.  The mourning protocol is black or white, but no colorful garments.  I have kept to this for the entire year.  I can’t wait to see the explosion of color during November.

Through the years we have learned that the Chinese weddings we attend are actually receptions.  The formal marriage ceremony happens before all the guests, lights, and cameras.  There are traditional Thai ceremonies where you witness the actual marriage, but we haven’t been to one yet.  Today the families of the bride and groom hosted about 200 guests.  After much photo taking on the stage with various family groups and friends, the food started coming to the tables.  We sat at a table with artists friends and that was great.  Ceramic artist Somluck and his wife Tamiko along with our art friends Cornelis, Jan and her husband Terry.  Everyone spoke English, with different accents, but we could understand and the different references made it fun.  I managed to eat a few noodles and some fruit.  We were there for 2 hours, though the event went longer.  

At The Big Brown House Lisa mentioned to Natcha that I hadn’t eaten much and she quickly made me a really tasty lunch.  

Mid-afternoon we had to run an errand and discovered that the detour is gone.  The road is open and the reason it was closed is now perfectly clear.  A big portion of the hillside is gone.  There is a pile of branches and rubble at the bottom, and a view of the edge of a building at the top.  It looks like it’s going to take some real engineering skills to keep that structure from just sliding down on the road.  The road may be closed again if we get a big rain.  

Looks like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Bigotry tries to keep truth 
safe in it’s hand with a grip
that kills it.”
~Rabindranath Tagore

Tuesday, October 17, 2017



It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  Mostly blue, sunny sky and what I would call ‘fairly hot’ was the weather for today.  

Well, only a couple of readers remembered the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Here is the whole chorus:  “__, I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly (__) I’m gonna make it to heaven.  Baby, remember my name!”  Hint:  What most young performers seek. 

This morning we had an interesting thing happen at the bank.  While standing at a table, I was about to fill out a deposit slip when one of the tellers came up to us and took over.  We have seen this young man behind the counter and he’s helped us in the past, but this was unusual.  He handled the whole transaction while we sat and waited.  We were done before our counter number was called.  That’s what I call service.

Today’s photo was taken at Central Plaza Mall on our way to get coffee.  Yellow was The King’s color because he was born on a Monday.  Each day of the week has a color, hence, the marigolds.  The mural is a copy of the one painted by members of ArtBridge Chiang Rai.  

The 26th, next Thursday, will be the day The King will be cremated.  Many businesses will either shorten their hours or close completely.  Some will also close on Friday.  The 7-11 chain and Makro stores will be closed for most of the day.  Thailand has not buried a King in 70 years, so this will be an interesting thing to experience.  

Tomorrow we will attend the wedding of an artist friend.  Poy has been the gallery manager at ArtBridge since the early days.  She has helped us with various things over the years since she speaks and reads English.  It will be a big gathering of the art community I’m sure.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“However many holy words
you may read, however many 
you may speak, what good will 
they do if you do not act on
upon them?”

Monday, October 16, 2017



We’ve been having off and on sprinkles with the occasional thunderstorm.  It hasn’t amounted to a lot of water here in Chiang Rai, but Chiang Mai got a lot, and Bangkok has experienced flooding.  

‘Old School Friday’ was Chuck Berry singing “Roll Over Beethoven”.  Time for ‘Easy Monday’ and another song/movie combo that’s sure to bring back some memories:  “Baby, look at me, and tell me what you see.  You ain’t seen the best of me yet.  Give me time, I’ll make you forget the rest.  I got more in me, and you can set it free.  I can catch the moon in my hand don’t you know who I am?  Remember my name.  __!  I’m gonna live forever…."

The weekend was not as busy as some in the recent past.  We ended up at the mall twice, and managed to figure out how to work the detour without getting lost.  Last night we had a visit from Natcha and Neechanon that was lots of fun.  Within the occasional stream of chatter from Neechanon, we picked up on some words to let us know what she was thinking.  We heard the word ‘geko’ after she saw the carved geko on the wall.  When she first saw it, she laughed and walked towards it.  Then she remembered she used to be afraid of it and started fussing.  Then she started talking and that’s when we heard the word.  It’s so interesting to watch this language development.  Neechanon has been working on her jumping for weeks.  I think it started with a children’s video.  She can now jump with ease on the hard floor, and on the bed she jumps like she’s on a trampoline.  It always ends with a seated drop and a big laugh.  

Over the weekend Lisa got a text message from Tatt in Bangkok, saying that he could not get to his dorm because of flooded streets.  Eventually he got home.  Reports of water reaching the bottom of windshields and photos of stranded bikes told the story.  I have a friend in Mae Sai, north of us at the border with Burma, who said they had about 4 inches of water in their house.  We are very fortunate.  

Slowly, but surely Gong is covering the yard that is shaded by the trees with a type of grass that doesn’t require direct sun.  It will be nice to be rid of the muddy areas due to lack of plant life.  In other plant news, the oranges in the front yard will probably need another season before they are edible.  Lisa picked a few and tasted one this weekend and it was sour.  They are also very hard.  Patience will be necessary.  

Today’s photo was taken on our stairs.  Daku is greeting Lisa with his toy.  It’s a thing he does.

This morning’s workout had a few additional trainers.  Our friend Lisa has three dogs that joined us.  Diesel has come to the gym in the past, but today we were joined by Daisy Dukes and Black Betty.  They are tiny little dogs that are full of energy and spent a lot of their time outside investigating, the way dogs do.  It was a nice distraction.

This week is looking like another one full of adventure.  We have a wedding, an ASEAN Day event at Cat’s school, a jazz concert, and at least one coffee date.  

Have a Great Week.


“When another person makes you suffer,
it is because he suffers deeply within himself,
and his suffering is spilling over.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Funnies


We had a repeat performance on the weather side.  Rain at night, bright sunny day.  There is a thunderstorm due tonight, and 60% chance of rain tomorrow.  Oh well, we have no outdoor plans.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Car Wash” by Rose Royce.  The movie is just as zany as the song.  We have reached another Friday and that means it’s ‘Old School Friday’ time.  Here is a classic, written at the dawn of the ‘new age’ (555) by one of the early masters:  “Well, I’m-a write a little letter, gonna mail it to my local D.J.  Yeah and it’s a jumpin’ little record I want my jockey to play.  __ __ __, I gotta hear it again today.  You know my temperature’s risin’, the jukebox’s blown a fuse.  My heart’s beatin’ rhythm and my soul keeps-a singin’ the blues.  __ __ __, and tell Tchaikovsky the news.  Hint:  The third word in the title is the name of a classical artist.  The writer is close with Johnny B. Goode and has no particular place to go.  

Today marks one year since the death of The King.  Many major businesses were closed today as Thais went to local temples to make merit.  Making merit can be anything from bringing food and/or supplies to the temple for the monks, to cleaning the temple, to feeding the hungry.  

This morning we went to 'Lisa's gym’ for another workout session.  I can tell when I’ve pushed on the last workout if things are stiff and sore the next time.  Today I was stiff and sore.  A good warm-up and a lighter group of  exercises was just what I needed.  We pulled a little ‘sled’ down a hill and then back up.  My second round called for me to go up backwards to put less stress on my knees.  Hmm, didn’t make much difference.  Maybe by Monday I will have recovered enough to do the full routine.

The detour around the landslide hill is becoming a real thorn in my side.  When leaving our neighborhood, it’s not a problem getting around it and back to the main road.  Coming home is a real pain.  We got lost again today and discovered even more of the dense hillside population.  I had no idea there was so much humanity in that area.  Anyway, I know what to do from now on. (5).

In the afternoons, if the sun is shining, Daku likes to soak up some vitamin D.  He’s very serious about it and once he’s reclining, it’s hard to get him up.  Today’s photo is Mr. D himself, doing this thing.  Notice the smile on his face.

The western press is buzzing with the term ‘Pop-up Shop’ and I wondered what they meant so I looked it up.  It turns out pop-up businesses have been around in other parts of the world for a long time.  Consider the couple that sets up tables and chairs on the road to town every morning and serves breakfast.  Or Gong and Natcha, who unload their pick-up truck every evening and serve chicken dinners and papaya salad.  It’s probably harder than the Google definitions because there is no structure involved, and no place to store your products.  It’s the same with the Night Bazaar.  One whole section is created every night.  By day, it’s a street.  By night it’s a retail adventure.  

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


Thursday, October 12, 2017



We had one of those picture post card days today.  Warm but not too hot, blue sky and a light breeze.  

I’ve already heard from most of the usual suspects with regards to the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Maybe this verse will spark a memory for others.  “(Work and work) Well, those cars never seem to stop coming.  (Work and work) Keep those waxin’ machines humming.  (Work and work) My fingers to the bone.  (Work and work) Keep up, I can’t wait till it’s time to go home… Talkin’ ‘bout the __ __ yeah.  __ __ yeah…”  Clue:  The first word of the title is in this verse.

This morning, while shopping at Big C, I saw a shirt that read “Heavily Meditated” and it made me laugh.  

All around town there are temporary altars, displays and offerings being constructed in preparation for the cremation of The King.  Symbolic gestures showing the love and respect that the people of Thailand still have for King Bhumibol.  The King’s flower is the marigold and they are being planted and arranged all over town.  We see them in gardens, in pots and in shop windows.  

The soreness from my flu shot has been replaced with soreness from yesterday’s workout.  Getting up and taking the stairs have made me very aware of some previously unused muscles that got extra attention on Wednesday.  I’m not complaining, much.  It kinda feels good.  We go back tomorrow morning for another workout.  Can’t wait (555).

The big happening today was Cat’s 20th birthday.  It’s hard to believe that she’s been in our lives for 4 years.  This is the birthday for Thais that is the equivalent of turning 21 in most of the U.S.  She said it started out not feeling like a birthday because she had an exam in the morning and work in the afternoon.  She came over after work and we took her to Melt In Your Mouth for dinner.  What a fun time.  When we got home we took a selfie with Daku.  Today’s photo is the result of our efforts to sit on the floor with the dog who wants to lick everybody.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Don’t be too timid and
squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, October 11, 2017



It seems that rain is still the topic of conversation around here.  Yes, we had more, and more is on the way.  Fortunately, it hasn’t been a constant and there are windows of opportunity to move about town in the ‘dry’.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Windy” by The Association.  You should be familiar with this week’s ‘Zany Day’ song since it’s been the topic of conversation in the past.  “Ooooh, You might not ever get rich.  But let me tell you, it’s better than digging a ditch.  There ain’t no tellin’ who you might meet.  A movie star or maybe an Indian Chief.  Working at the __ __.  Working at the __ __, yeah….”  Hint:  The title is a place and it gets busy after the rain is gone.  Oh yes, there was a movie of the same name.  No more hints.

It was no surprise this morning when we woke up to sore arms from our flu shots.  We were surprised, however, to discover that it was raining (555).  It kept raining, right through Daku’s play time.  It had rained during the night and the yard was too marshy for running.  

The rain stopped in time for us to go to our Cross Fit workout.  Our ‘coach’ is cool when it comes to making adjustments due to things like sore arms, etc.  Once we got warmed up, it wasn’t such an issue.  Today we did 5 routines for 45 seconds each, a one minute rest and then repeated the circuit.  At the end of the first round I was really feeling it.  We can both tell that it’s making a difference in our stamina and strength.  There is new muscle tone that is nice to see also.  We’ll be back at it on Friday.

On our way home from ‘Lisa’s gym’ we turned to take the detour, like we’ve done before.  Somehow, today I made the next turn too soon or too late and we ended up on a magical mystery tour of an area we’d never completely explored.  I’m not sure I could repeat the whole thing, but we did get close to the ‘Naval Pillar’ which had been a cause of wonder for some time.  It’s the place where King Mengrai declared the center of the new province.   This just in, the nature of the detour is the hillside across from the golf course.  The heavy rains caused slides.  Efforts were made last year to shore up the earth but apparently, it wasn’t done correctly.  At the top of the hill is a temple that sits right on the edge.  Hmm.

Today’s photo was taken a few mornings ago from our front yard.  I call it ‘Morning Moon’.  Notice the clear, blue sky.  

It could be a Wacky Wednesday.


“The smallest deed is better
than the greatest intention.”
~John Burroughs

Tuesday, October 10, 2017



We got a break in the weather today.  Oh, there were sprinkles, but there was also enough sunshine to get things done outside without getting wet.  

A few of you wrote with the answer to the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  I think the second verse and the bridge should show you just how easy it is:  “Who’s tripping down the streets of the city, smiling at everybody she sees?  Who’s reaching out to capture the moment?  Everyone knows it’s __.  And __ has stormy eyes that flash at the sound of lies.  And __ has wings to fly above the clouds (above the clouds), above the clouds (above the clouds)…”

There is a mysterious detour on the other side of the river, by the golf course/military base.  There is a sign in Thai that may explain part of it, but since Sunday we’ve had to go a bit out of the way to get home.  My guess is that it has something to do with the cremation of The King later this month.  They could be decorating the entrance to the base, or preparing for some kind of ceremony.  The tiny neighborhood on the hill across from the base is seeing a lot of traffic for such a small, quiet place.

Neechanon and Natcha visited with us this morning.  That was a treat, since the ‘baby’ has been spending her days with her aunts.  Natcha told us that first thing every morning, Neechanon wants to get in the pool.  It’s her favorite thing to do.  She clearly doesn’t always get her way, but she likes the water.  She is still talking away in her own language, and sometimes it seems like she is really telling us something.  Other times she’s just talking to herself.  In today’s photo she is playing with the exercise bike.  

Our morning outing consisted of a trip to Tops Market in the mall.  It’s what one would call a ‘gourmet’ grocery store and the only place that has a consistent supply of organic eggs.  That was the mission, although you can never go into a place like that and leave with just one item (555)  We got there a little before 11am, so the mall was still closed.  There was a mass of people waiting for the opening, which is normal.  You can tell that the mall is still closed just by looking at the escalator.  The ‘up’ side is running down, which means, unless you were super fast, there’s no way to get into the mall.  When it changes direction the mall is open.

Natcha has a 14 year old nephew staying with them while his school is on a break.  Today he helped Gong mow the front lawn.  That is normally what Natcha does but with the new nighttime enterprise, I’m sure she was happy for the break.  

This afternoon we went to Overbrook Hospital for our flu shots.  First we met with Nurse Pay, who took our vitals and set us up with a doctor.  The doctor then sent the prescription to the cashier and then we got the medicine, which we then took to Nurse Pay for the injection.  Whew.  It seems complicated but it works.  The doctor was very nice and she told us all the facts about the current batch of vaccine.  It’s weird how some medicine hurts more going in, than others.  The shot hurt, but the pain was gone in about 30 seconds.  Five hours later the arm is getting sore.  Such is the price of prevention.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Don’t let schooling interfere
with your education.”
~Mark Twain

Monday, October 9, 2017



Chiang Rai had another combo weekend on the weather side.  Late Saturday night a storm rolled in that dumped a lot of water on the saturated land.  Then Sunday morning another one rolled in.  Most of Thailand is getting a lot of rain.  Because of our elevation, we don’t have some of the flooding problems like in the plains regions.  Some sunshine would be nice, though.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Sea Cruise” by Huey ‘Piano’ Smith.  Time for a true ‘Easy Monday’ tune, I hope.
“Who’s peeking out from under a stairway, calling a name that’s lighter than air?  Who’s bending down to give me a rainbow?  Everyone knows it’s __.”  Hint:  The title a name and a force of nature.  It’s by a 6 man band, heavy on the vocals.

Saturday morning looked like it might rain, but we ventured out anyway.  We went to the mall for canvas and coffee.  The canvas was of the artistic variety.  Lisa has been very busy in her studio and some of our local sources haven’t had the sizes she needed.  There is a big store in the mall, B2S, that usually has a good selection but this time they let us down.  They had one left, so she bought it and ordered more.  We had coffee at the tiny Doi Chaang kiosk in the mall and watched the crowd build for a busy Saturday morning.  

On our way to the mall we spotted today’s photo.  We don’t know how these cows ended up in the middle of the Super Highway, but there they were.  There were two policemen standing on the side of the road looking just as puzzled as we were.  Somewhere, someone is wondering where their cows went.

The Sunday morning storm came to a halt just as it was time to go to lunch.  We met our friend Atom at The Wanderer.  Getting caught up on the happenings of the last month was good to do.  So many things change or progress that one can get ‘behind’ on the news.  While we were eating, we looked up and saw Khun Noot’s grandson, who is a little younger than Neechanon, walking in with his mother on one side and his aunt Kern on the other.  The little guy had a big smile on his face as he showed off his new skill.   

In the evening we went to Melt In Your Mouth restaurant.  We’ve been there before, but it’s been a long time.  Sunday nights seem to be slow for a lot of restaurants in Chiang Rai.  That’s fine with us, makes it a calmer experience.  The first thing we noticed was the music.  They were playing a mix of Smooth Jazz and R&B.  The menu has been expanded and there were more things we could eat.  We had a delicious meal, nice music and good service. That means we’ll be putting ‘Melt’ in our rotation for Sunday evenings.  

We started this week off with a bang.  Our ‘trainer’ Lisa in back in town so we went to her house for a Cross Fit session.  It was a good workout and a nice reminder that I really do like exercise, I’m just not good with long gaps.  You know, the ‘getting started’ bit always makes me think I don’t want to go.  

Have a Great Week.


“I count him braver who
overcomes his desires, than 
him who conquers his enemies;
for the hardest victory is over self.”

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday Funnies


There was rain overnight and more this morning.  It would appear that the forecasters were right, and that means more rain tomorrow.  The lack of evening rain is good for the outdoor food selling adventure of Natcha and Gong.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Signs” by The Five Man Electrical Band.  Congrats to those who knew.  Now we go back to the ‘Old School Friday’ era and something you might remember:  “Old man rhythm is in my shoes.  No use t’sittin’ and a-singin’ the blues.  So be my guest, you got nothin’ to lose.  Won’t ya let me take you on a __ __?  
Oo wee,  oo wee baby, oo-wee,  oo-wee baby, ooo-wee, oo-wee baby, won’t ya let me take you on a __ __?”  Clue:  The title would imply that there is a boat involved, but it’s never mentioned.  Just roll with it.  By the same guy who had a terrible case of pneumonia. 

This morning, on our way to Makro, we had coffee and roti at The Wanderer.  Mercy came over to our table and had a lot to say.  Husky ‘talk’ can be very entertaining.  The morning rain subsided just as we got there.  It didn’t really matter since the rain in the trees just keeps falling after the real rain.  Sometimes it sounds like it’s raining in our front yard, but it’s really the rain falling from leaf to leaf in the teak trees across the street.

Everybody has to eat.  In a small town you will eventually run into your friends at the grocery store.  Today we saw an old friend from the early days.  Andrew manages one of the older language schools here in Chiang Rai.  They teach a lot of Thai kids English.  He’s from the States and it was nice to see him again.

This afternoon the sky was kind enough to provide us with a touch of blue sky, and a window in the weather so we could swim.  It wasn’t the warmest water in recent memory, but it wasn’t cold either.  There is swimming water and there is lounging water.  This was the swimming kind (555).

We went to 9 Art Gallery after dinner, for the opening of an exhibit of oil paintings.  There was a big turnout and the whole gang was there.  What starving artist is going to turn down free food and drink?  We got to connect with a few people we haven’t seen and had some interesting conversations.  While I was talking with our friend Bob, a Canadian artist who has been here a long time, two little boys came up to us and just stood and stared.  We smiled and said ‘Hi’ and they got a little nervous and ran off.  One returned and tried to figure out who we were and why we were there.  It was a special moment.

Today’s photo was taken at 9 Art this evening.  This plate of crickets was part of the buffet.  No, haven’t tried them yet.

If you’re looking for something to do over the weekend, there’s an art opening at Art Bridge Chiang Rai Saturday evening.  If you’re in Northern California there is the opening of “Machine,” works of Joseph Zirker in San Anselmo on Friday evening, and wherever you are in the world, the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan is this Sunday.  

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