Thursday, November 30, 2017



It’s endless loop weather here in Chiang Rai.  Almost the same as yesterday and the day before.  And yet, not quite Ground Hog Day repetition.  

So, a lot of you know the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Since none of it makes much sense to me, here’s a random verse that’s kinda funny:  “Sitting in an English Garden, waiting for the sun.  If the sun don’t come you get a tan from standing in the English rain.  I am the eggman, they are the eggmen, __ __ __ __…”  Clue:  Really?

A few weeks ago we got a call from our Suzuki dealer letting us know that it was time to bring the van in for service.  We told them we’d be in soon.  After another call we decided to just take it in, even though it didn’t seem like it was time.  When we got there the technician went through our service book and told us we were early.  Duh.  The one good thing about it was that they now have a rep who speaks very good English and was able to communicate everything that was happening.  We’ll need a new battery when we take it back, but it’s not a big deal.  And to think, we left the house early, skipping Daku’s workout and everything.

On our way to Starbuck’s, we changed plans and went to a tiny coffee shop owned by our friend Alberto.  The woman who was making coffee seemed very familiar and we eventually established that she was Alberto’s wife and we’d met her before.  Lisa mentioned that she liked the little glasses she used to serve water and she told us about a Japanese glass and ceramic shop further down the main road.  Everything is priced by weight and the most delicate items end up being cheaper than the heavy earthenware.  We’ll have to check this place out.

Cat is in ‘Finals’ week and had a big one this morning on phonetics.  She came over and she told us about the test and we talked about language.  The total count on finals for the week is seven.  That’s a lot of studying, but she seems up to the task.  She’s also working, which has some down time when she can study.  A side benefit of working in a ‘milk shop’.  

Tomorrow we are having lunch at Chivit Tamma Da with our friend Lisa and her sister Molly.  It will be fun after I figure out something from the menu that I can eat.  They tend to create dishes with lots of cheese and/or spicy.  Maybe I can get a special ‘low drama’ meal (555).  

There seems to be a consensus among our friends that there is more smoke for this time of year.  Also, the cold air is early.  There’s probably no connection, but the burning thing is on everyone’s mind.  In the Bangkok region, the city folks blame the farmers and the farmers blame the city folks, and the government blames the environment.  Hmm.

In case you need an army of chicken statues or some giant pinwheels, I have just the place for you.  Our local nursery.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“When your past calls, don’t answer.
It has nothing new to say.”

Wednesday, November 29, 2017



The weather is warming up a bit.  The night was not quite as cold, although the comforter still was needed on the bed.  It’s the 20 degree spread that makes it hard on the wardrobe.  Too many changes.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff.  Now it’s time for a ‘Zany Day’ challenge.  “I am he as you are he and you are me and we are all together.  See how they run like pigs from a gun see how they fly.  I’m crying.  Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come, corporation tee-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday man, you been a naughty boy you let your face grow long.  I am the eggman (Ooh) they are the eggmen, (Ooh).  __ __ __ __.  Goo goo g’joob…”  Hint:  It came from across the pond in ’67.  Don’t ask me what it means (555).

The big news of the day is that we’re going to have new neighbors after all.  We noticed that some men have been banging around on the lot next door.  Gong told us they are building a coffee shop.  In a few years they will build a house.  We’re not quite sure what that means, but if the coffee’s good, we can just go next door for our mid-morning cup.

Today we had coffee at the house with our photographer friend Chalit.  We talked for an hour and a half and didn’t even realize the time had passed.  It had been a long time since we’d had one of our ‘discussions’ about art, life, and the nature of everything.  There is nothing like a morning of stimulating conversation to put things into perspective.

Khun Jin came over today and gave Lisa a massage.  She arrived with a plant, sent to us by Aey and John.  She also gives them massages.  It’s a beautiful form of ginger that we saw at The Wanderer on Monday.  After Lisa mentioned the bee situation, Jin thought her dad could take them away.  Then she saw their living quarters and realized that he would need a free-standing hive in order to take them away.  Our next solution is to discourage them from living in the waterfall by using peppermint oil and/or garlic powder.  Apparently they don’t like the smell of either one.  It would be best for all concerned if they just found a new home.  

The photo below was taken in our yard.  We kept seeing little blue pieces of ‘something’ on the ground and couldn’t figure out what they were.  Then I looked up and saw these seed pods.  Very interesting because these trees have been here since the beginning of The Big Brown House and this is the first time we’ve seen the seeds.

Neechanon visited with us briefly after lunch.  She counted from 1 to 10 in both English and Thai.  Well, it was pretty close.  There was also some other conversation that we didn’t understand.  Her greetings and goodbyes are now much more deliberate and confident.  Such a delightful little person.

It’s a Wacky Wednesday.


“Life is not a having and getting,
but a being and becoming.”
~Myrna Loy

Tuesday, November 28, 2017



Our weather is in that ‘warm days/cold nights’ cycle.  If the nights were a little bit warmer it would be perfect.  Daku loves the cool mornings when it’s time to play.  We like it because he gets plenty of exercise.

So, here’s a little more of the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  “I think I can make it now, the pain is gone.  All of the bad feelings have disappeared.  Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for.  It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sun-shiny day.”  Hint:  The title is in 5 words.  

We cruised up to Shong Cafe for coffee and a talk with Joe in Palo Alto.  Usually, they play some mellow Thai pop or R&B, but today they were playing videos of Latin dance music.  It was a little distracting with that in the background, but now we know not to try and Skype from Shong.  We stopped by Makro for a few things and discovered a big display of wrapping paper.  This is the first time we’ve seen so much variety.  Some of it was holiday paper, other was just designs.  You never know when you have to wrap something.  

The burning season seems to have begun early.  Every day there is smoke.  We scramble to close windows and turn up the air purifier.  What’s annoying about it, besides the smell and the hazard, is that the air is cool enough to just open a window and not run the air/con.  The ‘burners’ are messing with this new groove.  Life in the semi-country.  

Today’s photos are from different locations.  The first was taken at the big nursery near us.  I snapped the unique shell pot while Lisa was getting pots for our poinsettias.  The second is an update on the growth and vitality of Blue’s Jasmine in the back yard.  

The creativity was flowing this afternoon.  Lisa was working in her studio finishing a piece and starting a new one, while I was in my studio reworking some ‘old’ songs.  It feels good to be doing music again.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Once you realize that
you have enough,
you are truly rich.”
~Lao Tzu

Monday, November 27, 2017



Cold air from China rolled into town and we scrambled for warmth.  The weekend looked like it would be stormy, and it was mostly cold.  It was a little better today (Monday), but the evening is getting cold again.  I mean, we’re talking low 60s.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ had only one fan this week.  Cousin Trudye knew it was “There Is Something On Your Mind” by Big Jay McNeely.  Classic stuff.  So now you’d be wanting an ‘Easy Monday’ song that's easy.  “__ __ __ __ __, the rain is gone.  I can see all obstacles in my way.  Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.  It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) sun-shiny day.”  Hint: The rain stopped, vision improved (5).  Easy.

Well, it’s a little early in the year, but since the ‘cold snap’ arrived, we’ve been pulling out garments that seemed unbearable to wear during the ‘usual’ weather.  A week ago the thought of a long-sleeved warm shirt was unthinkable. Today it was welcomed.  The idea of putting the down comforter on the bed would have had us laughing at it’s absurdity.  The last two nights it felt right.  You get the idea.

We had another mellow Chiang Rai weekend.  Sunday we had lunch at The Wanderer with Cat and our friend Lisa and her dogs, ‘Black Betty and Daisy Dukes.  Cat had to leave early to teach two English classes to 15 year olds.    She was substituting for a friend and it was a first for her.  We had fun hanging out with Lisa.  We have some common cultural observations and experiences that always leave us in either deep discussion or wild laughter.  We learned about some new remedies for pets and humans.  Lisa's dogs are very small and they just hung out under her chair.  We were wishing we could take Daku to The Wanderer but, as we explained, he gets too excited and would want to visit with everybody.

In the evening we stayed at home.  Lisa made a wonderful omelet and after dinner she painted and I watched the final race of the F1 season.  

This morning we met our friend John at The Wanderer for coffee and roti.  John used to live in Bangkok and when I told him of our recent trips, it opened up a whole thread about getting around that busy, complex city.  We also compared notes on the music of Loy Krathong.  They heard thumping bass at their house, but we’re not sure if it was the same sounds that we heard.  At any rate, we heard loud music way too late (5).  It seems like every time we talk about immigration business with an expat friend, we learn something new and interesting.  Today was no exception.  

From The Wanderer we traveled to Big C for the regular shopping.  In the process, we went to the counter where they have chicken sausage.  One of the women has become buddies with Lisa and always gets us fresh stuff from the back.  Today she asked if there was a little child at the house.  That was her chance to give us some of the balloon art that they pass out to kids.  When we got home, Neechanon was in the yard with Gong and Natcha.  Her face lit up when we gave her the balloons.  She walked around singing and waving them and then had me hold one and we strolled and talked.  

Have a Great Week.


“The noblest pleasure 
is the joy of understanding.”
~Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Funnies


It looks like we’re having similar weather to our friends in So. California.  Of course, that could change in a few hours here, but the temps are pretty close.  We had some big rainy looking clouds this afternoon, and tonight it rained.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles.  Time for a real ‘Old School Friday’:
“__ __ __ __ __ __ by the way you look at me.  __ __ __ __ __ __, honey, by the way you look at me.  Can what you’re thinking bring happiness, or will it bring misery.  No, no, please don’t try to tell me, I may not understand.  No, no you don’t have to tell me, pretty baby, I may not understand.  You want me to try and forget you, but I’ll do the best I can.”  Clue:  This 1959 blues has the singer trying to figure out the thoughts of his love interest.

This morning we went to Starbuck’s at the mall for coffee.  The Top’s Market opens an hour before the mall during the week, so we did some light shopping for basic stuff.  It was eerie, looking up the escalator, towards the mall and just seeing darkness.  It was an hour before opening and it was still dark.  What?  On the lower level things were 
getting into gear, people were buying breakfast and vendors were arranging product.  

From Central Plaza Mall we drove north on the highway to ArtBridge.  Lisa submitted her artwork for the Winter exhibition that opens on Dec. 23.  We will miss the opening, but the piece will represent her.  While we were waiting, we had a long conversation with an artist friend of ours who had a cornea replacements.  His vision is being slow to return and it’s getting him down.  He is a sculptor and has not been able to work for months.  He also teaches at the university and he’s able to do that, but he is dependent on lots of help.  He’s being quite brave and optimistic, which is good to see.  

With 4 weeks until we leave for the Winter Visit to the States, the lists are out and the planning has begun.  This is a different adventure than the rest with regards to travel.  No, we’re not using the transporter (555), but our transportation is leaving and arriving at times on the other side of the clock from usual.  Instead of leaving Bangkok in the late afternoon, we leave in the morning.  That means we leave Chiang Rai on the last flight of the day for an early a.m. departure.  We will arrive in Los Angeles in the morning instead of at night.  That may help with the Jet Lag, we’re not sure.  At any rate, it’s going to be, as they say in Thailand: ‘Same, Same but Different’. 

Today’s photo was taken at Central Plaza Mall.  This outdoor scene looks typical at first glance, but the closer you look, you will notice some subtle differences in the shape of things.  I like the reindeer pushing the sled.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Hang on for the ‘Funnies’.  This is the last Formula One race of the season.  Don’t miss the excitement from Abu Dhabi.  Zoom.


Thursday, November 23, 2017



Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating.  Today we are thankful for the rain that finally arrived.

There’s nothing like an easy ‘Zany Day’ song to brighten up the week.  A lot of you know this tune from those lads from across the pond.  “Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain, where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies.  Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers that grow so incredibly high.  Newspaper taxis appear on the shore, waiting to take you away.  Climb in the back with your head in the clouds and you’re gone.  __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, Aaaahhh…”  Clue: It’s a song that still has rumors flying as to the inspiration for it’s writing.  Something about initials.  Hmm.

Today was a mellow day for us here in Chiang Rai.  After the morning routines at the house, we went to Chivit Tamma Da for coffee.  Our intention was to have our Skype talk with Joe from another beautiful location.  We had to have a voice call due to problems with Skype, but it was a good talk and the surroundings were great.  There was no one there when we arrived and having the gardens to ourselves felt ‘special’.  

We haven’t been inside the Healthy Market in some time, since Big C is now selling ‘clean’ vegetables.  Today we shopped inside and it was cool to see the rhythm of the place is still the same.  We had to get things for our ‘Thanksgiving Dinner’ at home.  The Butterball turkeys are not making their way to the north so the only thing available is Thai turkey.  Let me just say that they look like a different creature all together.   

The rain this afternoon was not a hard storm, but a steady rain that washed the trees, watered the lawns and left small puddles.  Everything sparkles after a rain.  Blue’s Tree looked very happy.

I was saddened this morning to learn of the passing of singer/writer Jon Hendricks.  He was one of my early heroes and I was a big fan of ‘Lambert, Hendricks and Ross’ back in the 50s.  It was Hendricks who inspired me to write ’Truckin’, a song in the vocalese style that was his trademark.  In simple terms, taking a melody, including an instrumental solo, and setting lyrics to the whole thing.  I had an opportunity to sing ’Truckin' for Jon many years ago and he liked it.  Made my day.  

Today’s first photo is Daku this morning.  He’s been shedding a lot lately, but we still think he’s a handsome guy.
The second photo was a view of the river from our table at Chivit Tamma Da.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“When you practice 
gratefulness, there is 
a sense of respect toward others.”
~The Dalai Lama

Wednesday, November 22, 2017



We woke up to clear blue sky this morning.  It was one of those days that yelled, ‘Road trip’.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers.  Yeah, see?  You knew it.  Here’s an easy one for ‘Zany Day’:  “Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.  Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, a girl with kaleidoscope eyes.  Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your head.  Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she’s gone.  __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __…”  Hint:  The title is a person’s name and location.  

Since the day called for a road trip, we took one.  We drove out to the country to the ‘Frame Factory’.  Khun Todd had finished with Lisa’s large, four panel cast acrylic print.  Rolling along on the two-lane road, taking in the scenery was a nice change from 24 hours ago when I was riding on trains through Bangkok.  When we arrived, the first thing we did was look at Lisa’s artwork.  They did a great job of putting the four pieces together, forming one large art piece.  Lisa decided to have him change the color of the frame, and we concluded that they would have to deliver it. It’s just too big for the van.  Then Todd took us on a tour of some new rooms he’s created.  On the way to his private painting studio, we went through a room that hold his collection of very old radios, and a model car collection.  I had no idea he collected such things. 

Natcha and Neechanon came to visit this evening.  When Lisa got out the big container of plastic Lego-type toys, she was content to play with just two pieces the whole time they were upstairs.  Natcha told us that Neechanon can now count to ten in Thai.  For a little one with a fever, she was very happy.  

Those pesky bees that have been living in the rear of the waterfall have now decided that the end of the pool near the house is their new ’spa’.  Nothing disturbs their groove.  We tried washing the tiles and spraying organic insect repellant.  Neither effort made them go away.  Folklore says that they will leave when their ’season’ is done.  We’re not sure about that.  If it is true, we’ll close up the hole in the waterfall while they’re on vacation.  The Wild Kingdom lives.  In the meantime, we’ll talk to some of our friends who live in the country and see what they have to say.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Let us be grateful to people
who make us happy, they are 
the charming gardeners who 
make our souls blossom.”
~Marcel Proust

Tuesday, November 21, 2017



The weather today in Bangkok was warm, but not crazy hot (87F).  There was some humidity in the mix and that made it feel a little hotter than it really was.  

I expected to hear from more of you about this week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song.  I think this will help your memories.
“Wonder this time where she’s gone, wonder if she’s gone to stay.  __ __ __ when she’s gone, and this house just ain’t no home, anytime she goes away.  And I know, I know (repeat 27 more times).  Hey, I ought to leave the young thing alone, but __ __ __ when she’s gone…”  Hint:  The singer needs someone to lean on.

I’m back from my crazy day of flying through the air and riding the rails.  My trip to Bangkok took a bit of doing, but it was a big success.  It started at Chiang Rai International Airport when I discovered that my tickets were for the next day.  They had room on the flights I needed so I had to buy two more tickets.  After an hour in the air, I got lunch in the airport and went searching for the Airport line.  It’s a train that goes from the airport to the city. The beginning of the line is in the basement of the airport.  Even though it’s the beginning of the line, the train was almost full when I got on.  Hmm.  So I stood for the trip to the end of the line, and then transferred to the Skytrain that goes into the heart of the city.  When the doors opened for that one, it was solid people.  I managed to get into a car that had enough room for me to hold onto a pole for half the trip.  The rest of the way I was able to lean on a plastic barrier and relax a bit.

I knew I was getting close to my destination when I saw the big glamor malls like Siam Paragon flying by.  Nana Station is very close to a seedy part of Bangkok nightlife.  In the daytime it’s just busy.  A two block walk and I was at Yoga Elements, where Juan, the Osteopath, conducts his practice.  He treated me for almost 2 hours and taught me some things to do at home.  We talked about aikido practice and he told me he’s been doing it for 15 years.  He began in Spain and he was drawn to Thailand to go deeper into his studies.  He is part of a large community of practitioners.  While we were talking, he was loosening various muscles using a yellow cream with a very distinctive smell.  I left the studio reeking of this stuff, but since it’s widely used in massage therapy, I don’t think I offended anyone (555).  

The reverse trip to the airport was a little better, except when I missed a stop and had to double back.  On the last part, the airport line, I got to sit down.  What a relief.  It was very interesting to be in the giant airport with no luggage.  I could take everything I needed in my ‘everyday’ bag.  The flight home had lots of empty seats, which meant that I had no ‘seat mate’.  Our little airport was very busy when the plane arrived.  There was another group of passengers being directed to the international section as we were herded to the baggage area.  There was a line of traffic waiting to exit the airport.  I’ve never seen that before.  When I got to the main road, all three lights on the traffic signal were lit.  What does one do when confronted with red, yellow and green at the same time?  I crept into the intersection, noticed that the cross-traffic was stopped, and proceeded quickly.  I was on my way home.

I didn’t take any photos on this little trip.  Instead, I leave you with a couple more photos of Neechanon.  The first pic is that joy that little kids get when they discover some simple little thing a toy can do.  The second is a bit of a statement.  That tin holds some little sweet crackers and she likes them.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“It doesn’t take a lot of
strength to hang on.  It takes
a lot of strength to let go.”
~J.C. Watts

Monday, November 20, 2017



This weekend the weather was HOT.  Even with morning clouds and the threat of rain it still ended up being very hot and dry.  There is supposed to be something coming from China, but it’s already a day or so late.  We need one good rain to water things and clear the air.

Yes, ‘Old School Friday’ was indeed Elvis Presley singing “Heartbreak Hotel”.  I swear this ‘Easy Monday’ song is easy.  “__ __ __ when she’s gone.  It’s not warm when she’s away.  __ __ __ when she’s gone, and she’s always gone too long, any time she goes away.”  Hint:  See, I told you, easy.

Our weekend was mostly spent around The Big Brown House.  Sunday was the fun day.  After lunch at The Wanderer we were just about to leave when Khun Noot came out from the kitchen.  She and Lisa had a warm greeting and then we asked her about some round loaves of bread on display.  Noot told us it took a total of seven hours to make the bread and it was just flour, water and yeast.  I resisted some interesting looking desserts and we left with the bread.  It is delicious.  We had some with breakfast this morning and with soup at dinner.  I think another loaf is in order.  

Sunday evening we had more visits with our friends at the Night Bazaar.  Some of it was about the weather, but most of it was about the nature of the tourist season.  There seems to be more people at this time, but they just look and leave.  It’s too early to tell, but it’s the first thing the vendors want to talk about.  

The new bus station is in operation to a certain degree.  The buses are now loading in the new station, but the parking structure is still blocked off.  It won’t be long before the whole thing will be running smoothly and Bus Station street will be less congested.  I say that with positive anticipation.

We have been having wonderful visits with Neechanon lately.  She is learning how to play and share and it’s making it so much fun.  Here are some photos from few days ago.  She is such a charmer.

Tomorrow will be a big adventure day for me.  I’m going to fly to Bangkok and get a treatment from Juan, the osteopath.  The work he did a few weeks ago really helped my knees.  I did something that undid what he corrected in my back so I’m going to see him at the studio where he works.  After the flight to BKK I will take the Airport Train into town then transfer to the Skytrain for the final leg of the journey.  I will be a few blocks from the studio and I won’t have to sit in the traffic.  This will be my first solo flight to BKK.  Did you know that it’s also called ‘City of Angels’, just like Los Angeles?  I’ll be back tomorrow night and tell you all about it.

Have a Great Week.


“Forgiveness is a virtue 
of the brave.”
~Indira Gandhi

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai had another outstanding day.  The high was in the low 90s, going down to the low 70s.  It’s enough to spoil me.

So, the ‘Zany Day’ song was “Get Off of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones.  There’s nothing left but ‘Old School Friday’.  This one should be easy:  “Well, since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell.  Well, it’s down at the end of Lonely Street at __ __.  Where I’ll be, I’ll be so lonely baby, well I’m so lonely.  I’ll be so lonely, I could die.”
Hint:  It’s from 1956, but some of you will still know it.  The title is a place.  The singer was in his prime.

This morning, while we were playing with Daku, Natcha and Neechanon hung out after the morning kitchen thing.  Neechanon was experimenting with different ways to walk and run.  Then she discovered the joys of jumping down the incline in the lawn.  It’s only about three little jumps, but it’s different than doing it on a flat surface.  Hearing her little laugh in the morning is a great way to start the day.

The excursion for the day was a trip down the Super Highway to the Amway store.  We only go there for one thing: filters for our air purifier.  It always ends up being some extended thing when we go there.  Since it’s usually over a year between visits, we have to renew our membership to get the discount.  Today the cashier couldn’t find the product in the catalogue.  Eventually, we got what we needed and went home.  

This afternoon Khun Jin came over and Lisa got a long massage.  I went to the mall and met a friend for coffee.  I can’t remember being in the mall on a Friday afternoon on a sunny day.  It was packed with shoppers, tourists, and school kids.  Luckily, we had a table at Starbuck’s and didn’t have to negotiate the interior of the mall.  From where we sat, we could see that a big food faire was being set up outside in the parking lot.  There’s always something happening there.

Today’s photo was taken at Work@Home coffee shop.  It’s Katai modeling her new white tiger ring. 

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


This ‘Funny’ photo was taken at Central Plaza Mall this morning. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017



We seem to be in that boring, redundant, same same weather pattern.  Oh, it’s beautiful, but how many times, how many ways do I tell you?

The ‘Zany Day’ song still has some friends out there.  “The telephone is ringing, I say, ‘Hi, it’s me, who is there on the line?’  A voice says, ‘Hi, hello, how are you?’ Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine.  He says, ‘It’s three a.m., there’s too much noise, don’t you people ever want to go to bed?  Just ‘cause you feel so good, do you have to drive me out of my head?’  I say, Hey!  You! __ __ __ __ __….”

This morning Mr. Daku got a bath.  He did his usual resistance routine, but got bathed anyway.  During the final rinse, Neechanon and her parents came inside the yard after their morning street kitchen adventure.  Neechanon was quite surprised to see her furry friend getting the hose put on him.  When Natcha explained that he was dirty and needed a bath, she seemed to understand.  She doesn’t like dirt.

After coffee at Work@Home, we went to one of the local helmet shops and got a helmet for Natcha.  We have been after her to wear a helmet, and when Gong told us that the one she had was no good, well…  Now we have to get them to put one on Neechanon, even if she fusses.  

It’s that time of year when the registration on the van had to be renewed.  That meant a trip to the Thailand Department of Land Transportation.  First, we had to purchase the Compulsory Insurance, kind of a liability policy.  Then we went to a window where things were stamped, more money was given, and that was it.  We were there for about 15 minutes and it was all done.  In order to get there and back, we had to drive on that newly paved road with the awful drain dips.  Today it looked like they were working on making the lids of the drains even with the road surface.  Maybe in a few weeks it will be useable again.

Natcha sent us a video clip of Gong’s sister, who takes care of Neechanon during the day, teaching her little ‘student’ to pronounce a series of words.  Gope would say a word and Neechanon would repeat it.  She really paid attention and repeated until she got distracted.  For an almost 2 year old, she’s doing great.  

Today’s photos are from Siam Paragon in Bangkok.  The blue patterns you see are water.  Somehow, the water is released in such a way that it can create many different shapes.  I stood there for a long time trying to understand, then just enjoyed it.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“To affect the quality of the day,
that is the highest of arts.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, November 15, 2017



We had another day of postcard weather here in Chiang Rai.  Now we just need some overnight rains to water the lawns.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “A Hard Days Night” by The Beatles.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song comes from the same era, and also from across the pond.  I’ll bet you remember this:  “I live in an apartment on the ninety-ninth floor of my block.  And I sit at home looking out the window, imagining the world has stopped.  Then in flies a guy who’s all dressed up like a Union Jack, and says, I’ve won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack.  I says, Hey! You! __ __ __ __ __ (repeat 2x), don’t hang around ‘cause two’s a crowd…”  Clue:  The singer is feeling crowded by the outside world.

This morning Gong and Natcha set up their portable kitchen on the driveway apron in front of The Big Brown House.  We went out to be ‘customers’ just as Natcha was cooking up the egg-fried rice that was the main dish, for their first sale.  She put it in a foam container and the young man drove off on his motorbike, with his breakfast.  Lisa ordered a plate and while Natcha was cooking it up, Gong brought out a little table and two chairs.  It felt strange to be sitting right on the edge of the busy road, in morning traffic, watching Lisa eat.  I didn’t have any because they use soy oil and sauce.  I can tell you that it smelled delicious.  We’re hoping it catches on and they can build up a regular clientele.

Our adventure today was a drive to the country and a visit to the frame factory.  Lisa has a four panel art piece that will be one image when it is framed.  It was nice to see the countryside.  It’s rice harvesting time, which means the great expanses of green are gone.  The rice is now a yellowish-green color and we could see where they started cutting and stacking the shafts.  There was a lot of activity at the factory.  Khun Todd and Lisa went over the details of the framing and we’ll pick it up next week.  It will be in her solo exhibit next May at 9 Art Gallery.

Since we were in the ‘neighborhood’, we went to Doy Din Dang for coffee.  This is the ceramics complex of Khun Somluck.  He wasn’t there, but we had a nice visit with his wife, Tamako.  We had an interesting conversation about ‘art business’ and it’s complexities.  

On our stop at Browney’s Pet World for kibble and treats we saw a big display of assorted cages.  It’s an uncomfortable thing to see, but I guess some animals have to be confined at times.  With the rise of apartment/condo living some pets can’t be left to roam the house all day.  Hmm.  

Here’s a bit of trivia for the next dull moment:  During the Loy Krathong festival this year in Chiang Mai, 78 airline flights were canceled over a two day period in order to avoid collisions with the lanterns that are released into the night sky. 

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“How wonderful it is that
nobody need wait a single
moment before starting to 
improve the world.”
~Anne Frank

Tuesday, November 14, 2017



The Chiang Rai weather was about the same as yesterday.  It was very warm in the afternoon, with a new batch of puffy clouds and a vague promise of rain.  

For some, this really is an ‘Easy Monday’ song.  For others, it happened many days and nights ago.  Here’s verse 2:
“You know I work all day to get you money to buy you things.  And it’s worth it just to hear you say, you’re going to give me everything.  So why on earth should I moan, ‘cause when I get you alone, you know I feel OK.  When I’m home everything seems to be right.  When I’m home, feeling you holding me tight, tight, yeah.  It’s been __ __ __ __, and I’ve been working like a dog….”  Clue:  There was a clue given already. 

This morning, after our normal routine around the house, we had coffee at The Wanderer.  Technology has a funny way of making us laugh sometimes.  Even though we got our high-speed internet working, we went to The Wanderer because we had to pick up coffee for the house.  We figured we’d just call Joe in Palo Alto while we were there.  It turns out their internet was down, so we called Joe.  His Skype was not working, so we ended up having an old fashioned phone call.  

This afternoon the technicians from our telecom company came and relocated the two devices that make it go.  We wanted to move them out of the room where we spend the most time, just to be away from the ‘rays’.  Apparently, it’s not healthy to be in close proximity with the waves that emanate from such devices.  

Yesterday, at Big C, I was mildly impressed with the stacking job someone did in the rice section.  When bags of rice are not stacked too high, it’s easy to walk by and take it for granted.  When it’s stacked high, and it’s like a little wall, you notice.  Yes, it’s all rice.   

Neechanon has been in a great mood lately.  She has been practicing her jumping, adding the word ‘Tookay’ with every jump, letting us know she’s over her fear of the lizard.  Her waving has also been taken to the next level and actually looks like a wave.  Here is a photo of her as she approached the exercise bike.  It’s still too big, but she’s working on it.

Now that the rainy season appears to be over, the city is repaving and renewing the streets with gusto.  I saw the big asphalt machines on another street yesterday and we have new traffic signals at several key intersections.  Maybe all the lights will shine and there will be no guessing as to what to do.  When everything is finished, it will be fun to ride around (555).  I can give them a list of streets full of potholes if they need something to do.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“We relish news of our heroes,
forgetting that we are 
extraordinary to somebody too.”
~Helen Hayes

Monday, November 13, 2017



The weather is still beautiful.  Blue sky with a border of puffy white clouds and a thunderstorm ‘nearby’.  Yeah, that never happened…again.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Sweet Little Sixteen” by Chuck Berry.  The ‘Easy Monday’ song is from 1964.
“It’s been __ __ __ __, and I’ve been working like a dog.  It’s been __ __ __ __, I should be sleeping like a log.  But when I get home to you, I find the things that you do will make me feel alright.”  Hint:  Title is a great play on words by those four lads from across the pond.  There was a movie of the same name.

Saturday evening we went to ArtBridge for the opening of a watercolor exhibition.  All of the work was landscapes with lots of pastel shades. As usual, we met up with our friends from the artist community and had some interesting conversations.  We learned that there is now a weekly 'art walk' style street fair at Wat Rong Khun.  We’ll be going to check it out on a coming weekend. 

The recent detour to avoid a landslide was set up again, but for one afternoon.  The house that was teetering on the edge has been removed.  Now there’s is just a pile of small boulders at the bottom.  As one drives by, it still looks a little fragile.  

One of the most heartwarming stories this week was about the solo fundraising efforts of a Thai rock and roller.  Bodyslam is one of my favorite Thai Rock groups.  Its lead singer ’Toon’ Bodyslam is running from the south of Thailand to the north, raising money for more hospitals in areas that need help.  He’ll be coming through Chiang Rai sometime in December.  I hope it’s not before we leave.  We want to see him run through and make a donation.  So far, he has raised millions of Baht, with donations from corporations and school children alike.  Here’s a link:

Sunday evening we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner and did some holiday shopping.  The ‘High Season’ has begun and the place was crowded.  Some vendors were doing business, while others were plagued with visitors just looking.  Cruising through the Bazaar, a few of our friends asked us where our daughter was.  They had become used to the three of us on Sunday nights.  It’s quite acceptable in this culture to be nosey about peoples personal lives.  We’ve adjusted to most of that pretty well.  

The Internet drama may be over.  Today we had a visit from one of the fluent English speaking techs who is more like a ‘boss’.  He brought a couple of guys who installed a bigger router.  We now have ‘5G’ WiFi and not only is it very fast, it hasn’t dropped the signal.  The world is changing and we’re trying to keep up.  

We were very surprised to discover that Starbuck’s at the Central Plaza Mall has Holiday decorations up already.  Couldn’t resist sending you some photos of the results.  Since Thanksgiving is not celebrated here, they don’t know the ‘rule’ about waiting (555).  Let me know if your local Starbuck’s is already ‘dressed up’.

Have a Great Week.


“Start where you are. 
Use what you have.
Do what you can.”
~Arthur Ashe

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Funnies


Chiang Rai weather today was nearly the same as yesterday.  Cloudy, a little warmer, and dry.  It seems like every day is getting a little bit warmer.  Hmm.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Little Old Lady From Pasadena” by Jan & Dean.  Congrats to all  who got it.  See if you know this ‘Old School Friday’ tune:  “They’re really rockin’ in Boston, in Pittsburgh, P.A.  Deep in the heart of Texas, and ‘round the Frisco Bay.  All over St. Louis, and down in New Orleans.  All the cats wanna dance with __ __ __.”  Hint:  There is a number in the title.  

Yesterday we got to important bits of information regarding the land around us.  The lot next door to the west, will not be developed for 3 or 4 years.  That’s great news.  The lot behind us is getting a house, and building begins in January.  That’s not so good.  The owners came visiting yesterday to inform us of the project, and that we will have to change the location of our drain pipe.  We think there is a solution, just have to walk out in the weeds next door and see if it will work.  I hope it’s a little house.

This morning we went to the nursery to get new plants to place on one side of the waterfall.  There are lots of pipes that were hidden by some bushes that got pulled out.  Now it’s time for a cover-up.  Gong did a good job of placing them the way Lisa pictured. 

We went to the mall to complain about our internet...again.  It takes a few tries to convey the message to someone without a full understanding of English.  The customer service rep at the mall seemed to have a better understanding.  When there is more than one problem, if there isn’t complete understanding, the first problem is all that is mentioned to the tech guys.  Today we had two men at the house by the time we got home.  They did some reconfiguring, blah blah and produced very fast speeds.  Now we’ll see if it continues to drop the signal.  That was problem number two.  Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of ‘Internet in Thailand’.

Tonight it is quiet outside.  Not a hint of bass drum, off key singing, or things exploding.  Just a beautiful, still Friday night.  After nine days of music blasting from 6pm to 11 or 12 midnight, it’s refreshing.  I did find out who the singer was a few nights ago.  Cat had a schedule of all the performers and she filled me in.  The band is called ‘Clear’ and I went to Youtube and sampled a few things.  I plan on listening to more.  

Today’s photo was taken from one of the escalators at the mall today.  When the day just started and no one is buying desserts, TV on the telephone is a way to pass the time.  

Natcha informed us that Neechanon calls Daku.  It’s still in her language, but it translates to ‘Daku come’.  She says ‘Koo Ka’.  There you have it.  I suppose only a mother would know, but she understood.  It won’t be long before we’ll all understand what she’s saying.  She is practicing all the time.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Stand by for the ‘Funnies’.  Also, Formula One is in Brazil this weekend.  Zoom.


Thursday, November 9, 2017



We had another overcast day with mild temps.  Late afternoon attempt at rain fizzled.  The yard could use some watering (555).

A few of you knew the ‘Zany Day’ song right away.  It was sung by a duo in 1964, back when car songs were big.
“And everybody’s saying that there’s nobody meaner, than the __ __ __ __ __.  She drives real fast and she drives real hard, she’s the terror of Colorado Boulevard.  It’s the __ __ __ __ __ (go granny, go granny, go granny go!)”
Hint:  The title is a phrase that used to be used to refer to a slow driving senior.  

It was another whirlwind day in Chiang Rai.  We drove up to Ban Du and had coffee at Shong Cafe, then we dropped down the highway to Makro for odds and ends.  Our next stop was in town, at the fruit market vendors and then home.  We ate lunch early so we could be ready for Cat and the film crew.  Things were working out just right.

Cat arrived on her motorbike just ahead of Rachel and the film crew.  The ‘team’ consisted of two documentary film makers and their respective sons.  They already had a concept in mind, so after introductions and a tour of the house, they went to work.  The idea was to show Cat coming home and us greeting her at the door.  Then we walked through the living room and out to the poolside area where we sat and talked.  After they were satisfied with the film shots, they did some ‘family portraits’ of the three of us by the pool.  They were a cool bunch and it’s a shame they had to leave so soon, but they were off to Cat’s village for lunch and a shoot with her sister.  That’s a wrap.

After a brief nap, we went to Immigration for our 90 day check-in.  To our surprise, the place was completely empty.  We handed our friend at the counter our passports, sat down and waited a few minutes, and we were done.  That had to be a record for the quickest check-in.   

On our way to Immigration, the road we normally take had just been repaved.  The asphalt was smooth and it would have been a great ride except for the fact that it was higher than the storm grates that are evenly placed in the road.  This meant that every 20 feet or so, the van would rock from the wheel dipping into the lower level.  When there was no oncoming traffic, I drove down the middle and avoided the problem.  We came home a different way, it was so annoying.

Today’s photo was taken at ‘Napa’s Shoes’, the new store we visited yesterday.  

We contacted our former gardener, Khun Keck, to see if he could help us with the bees that had nested behind the waterfall.  His only suggestion was to kill them.  Still looking for a humane way to deal with them, Lisa sent a photo to our friend Tye to see if she knew anyone who could remove them safely.  She said we should keep them as they are good luck.  So, it looks like we’re keeping the bees.  As long as we give them a wide berth and don’t upset them, all will be well.  Hmm.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.
All things break.  And all things can be mended.
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go.  Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
~L.R. Knost

Wednesday, November 8, 2017



We woke up to a slightly warmer morning than yesterday.  The cloud cover kept the temperature down and we had a very comfortable day.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “It’s Too Late” by Carole King.  That means it’s time for a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “It’s the __ __ __ __ __. (go granny go granny, go granny go)  Has a pretty little flower bed of white gardenias. (go granny, go granny, go granny go) But parked in a rickety old garage is a brand new, shiny red, Super-Stock Dodge!”  Hint: Lives in the city where the Rose Parade takes place.

This morning, after our morning coffee, we went to the flower market to get an arrangement to take to our friend Tye (pronounced Tdie), who just opened a shoe store in her shophouse.  There are lots of places selling shoes in Chiang Rai, but I have to say, this one is very special.  The shoes are beautiful, there is lots of lighting, and the price is right.  Consider an average price of $5 per pair.  She even has a couch in the back room for husbands and boyfriends (555).  We’ve known her since our early days here in Thailand and she has helped us with many things.  

This afternoon we had a visit from Boot (our former housekeeper) and her boyfriend Rudi.  We hadn’t seen them in some time and it was a nice reunion.  The real reunion was between Daku and Boot.  He was beside himself the whole time they were at the house.  They started out in the front yard, Daku running in circles around Boot, then wagging his tail so hard he looked like he might fall over.  Then, inside it was more of the same.  He mellowed a bit, but couldn’t stop giving her all his attention.  It was very sweet.  They have known each other for the first 5 years of Daku’s life so it makes sense.  He hadn’t seen her for at least a year.  We caught up on each others lives and Rudi and I talked about 'the times' a bit.  It was a good day.

Tomorrow will be another adventure day.  Cat, along with Rachel and a film crew from the States, are coming over after lunch to do a segment for “The Freedom Story” (formerly The Sold Project) about Cat’s life at The Big Brown House.  They are filming her life in various locations, including her dorm and classes at the university, life at our house, and at the village where she grew up.  Then they’ll squeeze it all down to a few minutes.  It should be an interesting experience. 

Today’s photos are from the Bangkok weekend.  The first photo is a water-taxi from the Oriental Hotel.  It’s a modern version of an old-school transport, all in carved wood.  It shuttles guests to various riverside locations.  The second photo is one of the many exotic vehicles for sale on the third floor at Siam Paragon.  We saw everything from Minis to Rolls-Royces.  This little Lamborghini Gallardo really caught my eye.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Nothing in life is to be feared,
it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more,
so that we may fear less.”
~Marie Curie