Tuesday, August 14, 2018



The forecasts were correct. Rain!  The first part of the day, while we traveled about, was dry, but this afternoon has been one downpour after another.  We had a little break before dinner and then it started to seriously dump.  ’Tis the season.

“Why do stars fall down from the sky, every time you walk by?  Just like me, they long to be __ __ __.”  Clue:  Everyone wants to be in close proximity.

Life is returning to normal in Chiang Rai after the long holiday weekend.  With that in mind, we went to Chivit Tamma Da for coffee.  The view of the river from the back porch was very relaxing.  The problem with a relaxing view in the morning is that you don’t want to do anything else (555).  We managed to tear ourselves away and head north on the highway to the our main post office.  On the way, we stopped at a 7-11 to pay the water bill.  I mention this because of something Cat told us yesterday.  In the near future, 7s, as they’re called, will be a main location for monetary transactions.  Thailand is moving rapidly toward 'digital money mode'.  The growing use of ‘QR’ codes, where you flash an image on your cellphone into a reader and the vendor gets paid, is just one indicator.  There are banking services that are all done without anything except a pin number and an account number.  The banks are seeing less walk-in customers in some areas and are closing branches.  The 7-11 will be the new bank, with rows of machines for various banking needs.  The future is upon us.

We had to go to the post office to pick up a box that Tatt sent to Lisa for Mother’s Day.  We got a notice on Friday that it could not be delivered.  Nothing was expected so it remained a mystery until Sunday evening when Tatt sent a message asking if she got the Dragon Fruit.  Oh, that was the package that’s still at the post office.  Well, needless to say, we were a little late in getting the fruit, but the thought was very sweet.  

The big news at The Big Brown House came this afternoon, from Natcha.  Apparently Nitchanan had some kind of breakthrough at school and is now totally with the program.  She ate lunch, took her nap, played with friends, and announced that she will be going to school tomorrow.  This is far better than having to trick her into going to school.  Everyone is very happy about this new attitude.

Today’s photo was taken at Chivit Tamma Da.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Where words fail, 
music speaks.”
~Hans Christian Anderson

Monday, August 13, 2018



Our weekend was littered with light showers, but today was the real deal; a rain day.  This afternoon we have been having some serious downpours.  Both yards became lakes for a time, and it may rain all night.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Stay” by Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs.  It’s time for another ‘Easy Monday’.
“Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near?  Just like me, they long to be __ __ __.”  Hint:  This one is so easy I figured you’d all get it on the first day.  It’s by a brother/sister team.  

Saturday morning we went to the mall for coffee and essentials.  We kept seeing teens wearing a shirt that was clearly connected to some kind of event.  Later, we learned that it was a ‘Run for Mom’, a ‘mini marathon’ in honor of The Queen.  I’m not sure what the actual distance was, but some of the kids looked like they walked the course.  Their hair and make-up was not that of someone who has been doing serious exercise (555).  A stage was being set up on the upper level, complete with instruments for a small rhythm section.  I’m guessing it was a music school since the stage was too small for dancing.  

Sunday was the official ‘Mother’s Day’.  We had our usual lunch at The Wanderer and saw our friends.  After lunch we went to the bustling flower market and got a floral arrangement for Natcha.  Later in the evening Natcha and Nitchanan came upstairs so Nitchanan could give Lisa a little wrist garland.   She is always thrilled to come upstairs and do one of her ‘special’ things.  This time it was going through the colored pencils and having Lisa tell her the color, and working a new puzzle we got her.  

In the evening we decided to check out the newly remodeled Dusit Island Resort which is just over the bridge from us.  The new name is ‘Riverie’ and it’s just partially completed.  The lower level including the restaurant, was finished and looked very elegant.  The food and service was very good and we’ll probably return for another special meal in the future.  The place has a huge swimming pool that has been altered to include a big water park attraction.  We rode the elevator to the top floor, hoping to see the changes in the restaurant on the roof, but 
the whole floor was still under construction.  It was a shock when the doors opened and it was dark, with building materials all over the place.  I’m sure we weren’t the first to discover this scene.

Chopper tried out some new skills this morning.  I don’t think we’ve ever see him open a package before.  The shoe and the waterbottle were not much of a surprise, but the garden clippers were a big surprise.  

This morning we were going to go to the Post Office to retrieve a package but they were closed for the holiday.  Through a series of messages, we learned that Tatt had send five Dragon fruits.  We’re hoping they’ll still be fresh.

Cat joined us for lunch today and then stayed for a couple of hours.  We learned a lot about what she will be required to do in the next 2 years.  One of those things is to pick a school where she will teach part-time during her 4th year.  Then, in her 5th year she will teach full time at that same school.  There are different types of teaching from city school to country school.  They both have advantages and disadvantages so she has some serious deciding to do.  

We met with our friend Katai at Work@Home, had coffee and heard about her trip to India.  She and Towan  went on business, but also did a little sight-seeing.  The Taj Mahal was something she wanted to see and she really enjoyed it.  I’d like to go there someday.

Have a Great Week.


“ Your goals don’t care
about your problems.”

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Funnies


There was some serious ground-wetting last night.  We had a little light rain this afternoon, but nothing to hamper daytime activities.   Hmm, now it’s night time and it’s raining again. 

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles.  ‘Old School Friday’ is next and you know this one:  “__, ah just a little bit longer.  Please, please, please, please, tell me that you’re going to.  Now your daddy don’t mind, and your mommy don’t mind, if we have another dance, yeah, one more, one more time.  Oh won’t you __, just a little bit longer…”  Hint:  The one word title should be pretty obvious.  Opposite of ‘Go’.

This morning we drove up to Doy Din Dang, the ceramics studio of Somluk Pantiboon for coffee and some light shopping.  He wasn’t there, but his wife Tamako sat with us and we had a wonderful time talking about the state of art in Chiang Rai, and recent dental experiences.  We learned that she is recycling plastics and paper by using them in the freight packing of the ceramics that they ship in Thailand and abroad.  We also spent a little time walking through the compound, enjoying the trees and plants that have filled out during the rainy season.

We were ‘on our own’ for lunch today, since Natcha, Gong and Nitchanan went to the school for the Mother’s Day program.  Our usual order was placed at The Wanderer and we had a quiet, relaxing lunch.  During the course of our stay we saw Khun Noot and both of her daughters.  

A few weeks ago I mentioned the plight of the stateless people here in Thailand.  Four of the Wild Boars football team were told that they would receive citizenship.  Then they were told that they would have to wait like everyone else.  Now we learn that they have become Thai citizens, even a team member who was not in the cave with them.  Some numbers were released and, according to one source, there are 488,105 registered stateless people living in Thailand.  This status means that they are unable to vote, buy land, seek legal employment, work in certain occupations or travel freely.  There are some international organizations that estimate the number is much higher.  I think the conversation about change has begun. 

Our new pool thermometer told us that the water was 88 degrees.  That’s 2 degrees above our minimum swimming temperature, so we had a brief swim.  There is an interesting psychological connection between knowing the temperature and believing that it’s warm enough.  When we were guessing, there was uncertainty.  Is it really warm enough?  Now, doubt is removed by just looking at the numbers.  There will probably be more swimming now.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.         Now it’s time for the ‘Funnies’.


Thursday, August 9, 2018



Today was what I’d call a ‘partial rain day’.  The morning was cloudy and dry, but the afternoon had several downpours.  None of it was heavy in our area.  Hopefully, other parts of our province are drying out a bit.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has been around many times, but it’s still fun.  Apparently inspired by a child’s drawing.
“Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your head.  Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she’s gone.  __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __.  Ahh.  Sometimes initials are just initials.

This morning, after coffee and roti at The Wanderer, we went on a Talat adventure.  Inside the market is like going to another city.  The maze of shops and vendors is mind-boggling.  When one thinks of a shop, one thinks of a place you walk into through a door.  Almost all of the ‘shops’ in the talat are three-sided affairs, with a table across the front.  There are some that you can step into, over merchandise, and some that are just a table in the walkway.  Today we wandered through what I call ‘Bag Alley’, where vendors all sell bags of every configuration.  One sells purses, another sells waist bags, others sell shoulder bags, etc.  While we were there, a cooking tour came through and the Thai woman who conducted it explained the difference in how to cook jasmine rice and sticky rice.  Apparently they were going to be cooking rice in their class later today.  We both came out with new bags.  Luckily, I remembered how to get back to the main ‘streets’ and we were able to leave the market without getting lost.

On the way home we stopped at the nursery to look at ‘paving stones’.  There is a place in the yard where there is very little sunlight.  Grass will not grow and during the rainy season, it turns into a muddy mess.  That’s one of the drawbacks of having lots of trees that eventually grow together.  We found what we wanted that will provide secure footing when the weather is bad.   

Today’s photo was taken in traffic yesterday.  This type of tour bus has been the subject of much debate and we were under the impression that they had been banned.  They have been involved in many accidents, due to their top heavy nature, especially when full.  Seeing one on the street was a surprise.

This evening I went to the dentist to have a consultation about a tooth that lost part of it’s crown.  Dr. Cheewan had already consulted with a technician on ways to solve the problem and he should have my bridge back on Saturday, with alterations that will let me chew in peace.  Imagine, going to the dentist and having no pain.  How nice.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“When one must, one can.”
~Charlotte Whitton

Wednesday, August 8, 2018



We had a beautiful day here in Chiang Rai.  Clouds came in and left, and then repeated the process, but never left any water deposits.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Careless Whisper” by George Michael.  The ‘Zany Day’ song takes us to the 60s.
“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.”  Hint:  It’s an easy one from those four lads from across the pond.  We’ve been here before so I expect answers (555).  There are precious stones involved.

All around town there are blue flags and temporary monuments paying tribute to Queen Sirikit, wife of the late King Bhumibol and mother of the current King.  She will be 85 years old.  The Queen’s birthday is also Mother’s Day in Thailand and this year it will be a 4 day holiday.  On Friday, Nitchanan’s school will celebrate Mother’s Day and Natcha will go to the school for a special tribute.

The dog training session yesterday has brought Gong and Chopper closer together.  At least Gong seems to have  better control of the little rascal dog than before.  Now we have to work with him so he responds to all of us the same way.   

In other news of The Big Brown House, Gong is going to go to chef’s school in Chiang Mai for two weeks.  He loves to cook and this will be an opportunity for him to turn it into a sellable skill.  

We went to Big C and then Top’s Market at the mall this morning.  At Top’s they have a big Durian display right at the entrance to the fruit and vegetable section.  For those who grew up with the ‘fragrant’ fruit, it’s probably no big deal, but for us it almost makes us want to leave.  Since our first visit to Thailand, Durian has been a smell that equates with something foul.  Locals love it and it’s called the King of Fruits.  It is famous for being banned in airports, planes, hotels, hospitals and buses.  Hmm.

While we were at Top’s, we went to the little post office to mail a package.  While in line I noticed a sign that I didn’t understand.  Mr. Google cleared things up.  If you knew the word, my hat’s off to you.

Philatelic refers to a collection of historical stamps in this case.  There are a lot of beautiful, collectable Thai stamps and you can buy some.  In Bangkok there is a museum of these stamps.  Now we know.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Education is not the filling of a
pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
~William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, August 7, 2018



There was leftover moisture on the ground this morning.  My detective senses told me it had rained lightly before dawn.  The rest of the day was basically dry.  Clouds this afternoon looked like a storm was coming, but the wind kicked them out.  It was a good weather day.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was named by only a few of you.  This used to be a favorite.  Here’s verse two for your mind:“Time can never mend the __ __ of a good friend.  To the heart and mind, ignorance is kind.  There’s no comfort in the truth, pain is all you’ll find.  I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm.  Though it’s easy to pretend, I know you’re not a fool…”  Hint:  In the middle of the night it will come to you: wham, right in the face, ‘I know this song’.  Title:  irresponsible, soft-spoken voice, barely audible, etc.

This morning we drove up to the little community by Cat’s university and met her at Shong.  We did the usual, we had coffee, she had breakfast.  She has finished the week of hosting students from China, with her department.  They crammed a lot of activities into that time.  Since we saw her last, they went to Walking Street, the Clock Tower, had a lesson in kick boxing, planted rice, and learn some traditional Thai dances.  This week there is a group from Indonesia visiting as part of an annual exchange program.  They will be here for about 10 days, staying on campus.  Next year Cat has an opportunity to be a part of the group that will go to Indonesia.  She is about to begin her third year of college.  During our visit, we had another deep discussion about language, pronunciation and ways to teach and learn. 

Starting tomorrow, there will be a Celebration of Indigenous People here in Chiang Rai.  It will probably be downtown by the museum, where there is no parking, but people manage to park anyway.  I think it’s a wonderful thing that may start to lift the prejudice that exists toward the folks who were here first.  

This afternoon Khun Wolf, his nickname, came to the house to begin the training of us all, including Chopper (5).  He is bilingual and that's great, because we all know what is being said.  He demonstrated some techniques to use right away to get Choppers attention and let him know who is in charge.  After he demonstrated, he had Gong and Natcha try it out.  They were both able to keep him from asserting himself too much.  We all have a week to practice, and Chopper has a week of the four of us messing with him.  In the end, I think we’ll all be happier.  

Today’s photo is another view of the giant cats at the art gallery in Nan, where Lisa is in an exhibit with 24 other women artists.  Nice Kitty.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Being at ease with not knowing 
is crucial for answers to come to you.”
~Eckahart Tolle

Monday, August 6, 2018



Chiang Rai weather has been mostly cloudy with scattered showers.  This afternoon we had some steady light rain that watered things, then a bunch of gusty wind.  Fortunately, we didn’t get rain with the wind.  Our temps have been cooler than a lot of spots around the world.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Confidential” by Sonny Knight.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLpnihc8vgs
Cousin Trudye was the only one to get that one, so I’m going to give you a really ‘Easy Monday’ song.  “I feel so unsure as I take your hand and lead you to the dance floor.  As the music dies, something in your eyes calls to mind the silver screen and all its sad goodbyes.  I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm, though it’s easy to pretend, I know you’re not a fool…”  Hint:  Singer was once part of a duo, two word title has not appeared in the lyrics yet.  Tune in tomorrow (5).  

Saturday morning we went to the mall right after opening.  It’s always a good time because one can choose the right spot for parking.  That can be important if you don’t want to get blocked.  The double parking thing is a part of the culture and is acceptable behavior.  Well, it’s not so bad to get blocked these days.  There are lots of security guys that will push the blocking vehicle out of the way.  It seems there’s a setting on most cars that puts the transmission in neutral, so you can take the key, lock the car and it can still be rolled.  Now you know.  Inside the mall, one of the things we were looking for were books for Nitchanan, in English, or at least with both languages.  There was nothing in the right age range so we may have to wait.  We did see some old ‘friends’ like Thomas the Train.  There must have been a movie that appealed to boys playing at the cinema because I saw lots of boys and their parents moving in that direction while we had our coffee.  I’ll have to check and see what’s playing.  

The dog training session was delayed until tomorrow.  Since Chopper is getting bigger by the day, it’s important that the biting and aggressiveness gets addressed.  There will probably be some commands that we’ll have to learn in Thai, since that will be his first language.  He already knows some things so it makes sense that we conform to his training.  I just hope he conforms (555).  

This afternoon, Lisa and Daku were out on the front lawn and Nichanan spotted them.  She called out to Lisa and then joined them, taking Lisa’s hand for the walk.  When she came back into the house, I didn’t get upstairs quick enough and she began positioning herself to go upstairs.  Gong and I realized this and directed her to help close the curtains, which she is good at.  She did one window and dashed to the stairs.  Everyone was trying to avoid a ‘melt down’ and I think it worked after many distractions.  I’ll give her this, she has a strong mind and she knows what she wants to do.  

Today’s photo is a sculpture of the Navy Seal who lost his life during the cave rescue of the Wild Boars football (soccer) team.  There will be a much larger version placed near the entrance to the cave, where a museum will also be erected.  

Have a Great Week.


“A true friend is one who
overlooks your failures and 
tolerates your success.”
~Doug Larson

Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday Funnies


We had a bright, sunny day until the afternoon.  A heavy shower watered the newly mowed lawns and left us with a beautiful evening.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran.  ‘Old School Friday’ will be a challenge.  It’s from 1956 and is a very smooth ballad.  “__ as a church at twilight, sentimental as a rose in the moonlight.  My love for you will always be __ to me.  __ as a mother’s prayer, too beautiful for other hearts to share.  My love for you will always be __ to me.”  Clue:  Title means something that is kept secret.  

This morning's outing began at Teppawan Art Supply.  We visited with Supalak and Pete, her son.  I learned some interesting things about commerce from Pete.  He showed us some childrens' products they are going to be marketing.  There are puzzles, games, and art projects geared to the 3 to 5-year-old range.  In getting the Thai government seal of approval, he had to take an official to the factory in China so she could see how they were made and whether they could produce consistent copies.  It was a key factor in getting the approval.  Not a bad job, traveling to another country for an overnight visit.  The same thing happens with most of the sanctioned goods that are sold on a mass level.  Just imagine you’ve been assigned to examine the factory for Ferrari and Fiat, in Italy.  Hmm, it happened.

We had coffee at Work@Home and our timing was perfect.  Just as our coffee arrived, Katai and Towan came home.  We visited with Katai for about 30 minutes and had a great time.  She told us that the landslide in Nan province was north of where we had been.  Dogs and art were primary topics of conversation.  Next week they will go to India for a week.  That sounds exciting.

Today’s photo was taken at ArtBridge and shows the ‘Wild Boars’ football team standing in front of the mural depicting their dramatic rescue.

Nitchanan and Gong washed their pick-up truck this afternoon.  She would dip rags in soapy water and hand them to her dad.  Later in the process, he would fill a small bowl with water and she would approach the truck and then pour the water out.  She was a big help for sure (555).  They were very cute together.

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


Thursday, August 2, 2018



Chiang Rai weather has been relatively dry for the last 24 hours.  There was some rain last night and again this afternoon, but not the stormy, flood the yard kind.  The best part is that it rains when we’re at home.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has lots of friends.  “I gonna take two weeks, gonna have a fine vacation.  I gonna take my problem to the United Nations.  Well, I called my congressman and he said quote: ‘I’d like to help you son but you’re too young to vote’.  Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do, but there ain’t no cure for the __ __.”  Hint:  The original form of this song was ‘Rock-a-Billy’, just in case you were trying to hum along but couldn’t find the groove. 

Mr. Chopper got through the night OK and was much more lively this morning.  He devoured his breakfast and was moving around like he was ready to play.  Learning the new limitations while wearing the hood is an ongoing saga.  Just when he thinks he can fit someplace, the hood stops his progress.  

A few weeks ago we got another lesson in pronunciation when we went to Starbuck’s at the mall.  Before the mall opens, most of the huge parking lot is roped off; I still don’t know why.  Anyway, there are parking stalls reserved for patrons of Starbuck’s, if you can reach them.  We approached the spaces and called to the attendant, simply saying the work ’Starbuck’s’ and he looked at us as if we were speaking an unknown language.  After several more tries and pointing to the stalls there was a light of recognition in his eyes.  ‘Oh, Stawbaw’.  Now we know.  Today, when we went to park I called out the name in the proper way and he moved the barrier on the first try.  Still learning proper translations of American words (555).  

In some parts of Thailand there has been a lot of flooding.  It’s from a combination of things, depending on the area.  In some parts, the rain has caused rivers to overflow.  In other areas the rivers have been overwhelmed by water released from dams in China and Burma.  In the Nan province, where we were two weekends ago, there was a major landslide that completely covered a portion of the highway.  Warnings have been given to ‘river provinces’ to be on alert.  We have been fortunate in our area because the rain is not heavy or steady.  The river is up, but that’s normal for this time of year.  Not living right on the river has it’s advantages.

This afternoon Gong washed and waxed the van.  It looks brand new.  Now, if it gets wet, the water will just roll off (555).  At least it won’t look as bad.  

Nitchanan sat with us at dinner again tonight.  She spent some time at the table and then found a little project.  It started with taking out the drink coasters and placing them on the table, then putting them back.  Then she decided that we should all have a pillow behind us, so one by one she brought the pillows from the couch and placed them on our chairs.  Her final act was to start closing the curtains.  She’s watched Natcha do this many times and today she decided to try it.  I couldn’t see her, but I noticed the curtain was closing and it was easy to figure out what was happening.  Totally delightful.  

Today’s photo is from Chiang Mai Holistic’s page.  Since I didn’t get a photo of the bowl room, I thought I’d share this one.   There are more brass bowls, but this gives you an idea.  The quote for today was seen as a wall hanging at the center.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“I suffered, I learned, I changed.”

Wednesday, August 1, 2018



Things remained mostly dry overnight and all day today.  The 4pm rain storm never materialized.  Things are nice and green so we’re happy.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Heat Wave” by Martha & The Vandellas.  For ‘Zany Day’ here’s a seasonal number:
“A-I’m a-gonna raise a fuss, I’m a-gonna raise a holler.  About a-workin’ all summer just to try to make a dollar.  Ev’ry time I call my baby, try to get a date, my boss say, ‘no dice son, you gotta work late’.  Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do, but there ain’t no cure for the __ __.”  Hint: About trying to make some money and still have time to play.

This morning Gong and Natcha took Chopper to Dr. View for his surgery.  It’s been a day of doggie drama, mostly among the humans.  There have been some communication breakdowns concerning things like ‘no eating or drinking’ over night before the surgery.  Aftercare is another thing that seems to be misunderstood but we’re dealing with it.  We are sitting with Chopper in the kitchen while he sleeps.  He’s still a little woozy and doesn’t want to eat anything.  We’re enjoying the laid-back mood of the rascal dog while he’s still under the influence.  Hope he retains some of this quality.

Here’s Chopper at 7 months.  The staff at the vets thought he was at least 9 months old.

Our morning was much simpler.  We went to The Wanderer for coffee.  While we were there, Khun Noot brought us a special appetizer platter with about 5 or 6 things like ginger, lemon, coconut, chili pepper and peanut.  All of the ingredients are put into a cup made from a wild beetle leaf, then a sauce is poured over it for a bite sized treat.  It was a new taste experience.  It was sweet, sour and spicy at the same time.

Cat is visiting this evening while we babysit Chopper.  She’s about to go on a five day adventure with some students from China who are visiting her university.  They will be traveling to different cities and hopefully, there won’t be too much of a language barrier.  

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Ah, summer, what power you have 
to make us suffer and like it.”
~Russell Baker

Tuesday, July 31, 2018



Our last morning in Chiang Mai was cloudy without rain.  There was the standard forecast, but it was dry for our trip home.  When we got to Chiang Rai, we could tell by some wet streets on the north side of town that it had rained recently.  It’s supposed to rain all week, but not steady rain of course.

‘Easy Monday’ was clearly easy for a bunch of you.  Here’s the second verse of this hot summer song.
“Whenever he calls my name, soft, low, sweet, and plain.  Right then, right there, I feel that burning flame.  Has high blood pressure got a hold on me or is this the way love’s supposed to be?  It’s like a __ __ burning in my heart…”  Hint:  It’s by a ‘Girl Group’ that had a string of hits in the 60s.  Billed as the lead singer plus her gang of vandals.

The first half of the day was going to the U.S. Consulate.  Due to the nature of security, they only allow parties that have business with the office, which meant I had to go alone.  I decided to take a minimum of stuff with me, since they want to see everything on your person.  When you have a lot of stuff, it takes a long time for them to sift through it all.  In the waiting area, I tried not to watch a reality-celebrity-cooking show.  At least they weren’t showing the news.

Summertime in Chiang Mai is a very busy place.  It’s already a haven in the north for expats, and when you add all the tourists, parts of town begin to look like someplace other than Thailand.  On my ride to and from the Consulate, I got to see morning in the various markets and what happens on the tiny streets.  My drivers were obviously using shortcuts.

We left town at 11:30 and arrived in Chiang Rai at 3:30pm.  That’s not bad, considering the slowing for the detour, a lunch stop and 2 coffee stops.  When we got home, it felt like we’d been on the road for twice as long.  It was a pretty busy weekend and we did have a non-stop Monday, so I guess we’re entitled to feel tired (555).

Today’s photo was taken at our lunch stop today.  Seeing this on the front door of a clothing shop, half way between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai required that I take a photo.  How did this happen?  Hmm.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“A person often meets his
destiny on the road he took
to avoid it.”
~Jean de La Fontaine

Monday, July 30, 2018



The weather in Chiang Mai has been pretty mellow.  The forecast has been for rain, but we haven’t gotten wet yet.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “He Will Break Your Heart” by Jerry Butler.  This ‘Easy Monday’ tune should start the week off with a bang:  “Whenever I’m with him, something inside starts to burning, and I’m filled with desire.  Could it be a devil in me, or is this the way love’s supposed to be?  It’s like a __ __, burning in my heart.  I can’t keep from crying, it’s tearing me apart.”  Hint:  This one goes out to all my friends who live where it’s very hot.

We had planned to go to Chiang Mai on Monday so we’d be there for a Tuesday morning appointment at the U.S. Consulate.  Then I found out that a friend of ours in Chiang Mai was being given a surprise 40th birthday party on Sunday.  We drove down on Sunday morning, through a little rain, but mostly good weather.  The construction zone on the highway that we experienced a few months ago is still happening.  About one half hour of very bad road is never fun.  Before the rough road we stopped at Charoen Gardens for breakfast and pie.  

We missed the surprise aspect of the party because we couldn’t get proper directions until we finally reached someone at the location.  Our Tuk-Tuk driver didn’t understand the map and Grab wouldn’t work because the location is an new business that wasn’t registered.  Anyway, we got there and had fun seeing people we knew and making new friends.  A couple at the party that we’d just met took us back to our hotel. 

The party was held at the Chiang Mai Holistic Center, which is the brainchild of Ali (the birthday boy) and his wife Nim.  She teaches yoga and he will be doing ‘singing bowl therapy’.  They invited us to go back today for individual bowl sessions with Ali.  There were brass bowls from Tibet and Crystal bowls from China.  He placed us on a mat with the bowls all around us.  With our eyes covered, he began sounding them at random locations and intervals.  After a few minutes I was drifting in a kind of meditation, sometimes listening for the sound, other times just feeling a ‘wash’ of relaxation.  It did not feel like an hour had passed.  So grateful for this new experience.

After the bowls, we walked a couple of blocks and met Becky, a friend we met at Lisa's first exhibit in 2009.  We had a wonderful time talking about the art communities and hearing some history on various topics.  An hour later it was time to meet more friends at a cool place called Salad Concepts.  Our friend Marty, his girlfriend Asu and her niece met us there for dinner and we had another positive food experience.  The district where we spent the afternoon is a fairly new addition to the metropolis that is Chiang Mai.  It’s more sophisticated than where we usually stay and felt like places we’d seen in the States.  

Today’s photos were taken at Chiang Mai Holistic Center.  The walls were painted by a local artist.

Tomorrow morning I go to the Consulate and then we start our journey back to Chiang Rai.  Now it’s time to relax.

Have a Great Week.


“Acceptance is knowing the past 
will never get better.”

Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday Funnies


This morning we woke up to the sound of rain.  The back yard was on the way to having a little river.  The rain finally cleared out, but it stayed cloudy all day.  Some of you have an abundance of rain, others have too much heat.  Hmm.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Lola” by The Kinks.  ‘Old School Friday’ is from 1960.  “Fare thee well, I know you’re leavin’, for the new love that you’ve found.  That handsome guy that you’ve been dating, whoa, I’ve got a feelin’ he’s gonna put you down.  He don’t love you, like I love you.  If he did he wouldn’t break you’re heart.  He don’t love you like I love you.  He’s tryin’ to tear us apart.”  Hint:  The actual title is not sung, but there’s a line in the verse that is so close, I almost left it out.  The singer was known as ‘The Ice Man’.

Today was a holiday and many places were closed.  One place that was open was the gym, and we went.  There was only one person working out, so we had the run of the place.  It was nice, not having to wait for anything.  Just a leisurely workout.

Since the drama with the boys in the cave, we’ve noticed a lot of families being close with their children.  This is not to say the they weren’t before, but there seems to be a different closeness, an appreciation.  We first noticed it in Nan, then I started seeing it here as well.  This morning, after the gym, we went up to ArtBridge and there were a lot of people taking photos of the giant mural.  I want to take some photos of the finished work, but there were too many folks doing the selfie thing to get a clear shot.  

This evening we went up to ArtBridge for the opening of a new exhibit, but we couldn’t even park.  There were about a dozen police vans in front of the place, and a big crowd of monks that they had brought, all milling around.  We turned around and headed south toward the mall.  When we got to the mall it was the same story.  We drove in one driveway, crept through the parking structure and went out on the other side.  Not only is today a holiday, it’s Friday, which is ‘going out’ night in Chiang Rai.  We came home.

Lisa found a dog trainer here in Chiang Rai that will come to the house.  He will work with Chopper and Gong and maybe they’ll be able to keep the little wild boy.  

Here are more photos from the parade.  The Senior Band, as I call them, were quite good on their traditional instruments.  The big silver bird was amazing.  I’m not sure how they did that.  The third pic is the ‘finale float’, that appeared to be made from wax, which is a key to most of the floats.  Candles are a big part of the holiday.

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


Thursday, July 26, 2018



Today we got a mild reprieve from the rain.  The morning was a light rain affair that finally went away.  It was a cooler day as well.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ tune was instantly recognized by several readers.  “Well, I’m not the world’s most physical guy but when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine, oh, my __, __-__-__-__, __.  Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand why she walked like a woman and talked like a man.  Oh, my __, __-__-__-__ __, __-__-__-__.”  Clue:  Her name rhymes with the drink in yesterday’s first verse.  Some might say this song is rather kinky.  The group was once tired of waiting.

This morning we went to Work@Home for coffee and had an unexpected visit with Katai.  It was brief because she was in a meeting.  They have meetings on the rear patio, so it’s not completely private.  We talked a bit about the rest of our Nan adventure and she returned to business.  I heard a sound truck coming down the street and went out to see what was happening.  It was the beginning of a parade in celebration of Asalha Bucha Day, which is actually tomorrow and part of the Buddhist Lent season.  I guess since it’s a National Holiday they decided to march today while everyone was available.

The parade was about an hour long.  We I didn’t think we could leave the shop, but it didn’t matter.  We were having fun watching the marching bands, floats with pretty flowers, drumming units, and groups of people walking with flowers.  These photos will give you an idea of the variety of local talent represented.  More tomorrow.

For all of you who were concerned about the size and potential weight of Nichanan’s backpack, it’s light as a feather.  I think there are some tiny little clothes and that’s about it.  When she gets more used to the school idea, this may change.  There may be ’things’ she has to take to school (555).  We’ll keep an eye on it.

When we got back from the parade, Chopper had the muzzle on and didn’t look too pleased about it.  Apparently he made chew toys out of a pair of Gong’s shoes.  This was not cool when added to previous offenses by the dog who likes to throw things and whip them into submission.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


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

Wednesday, July 25, 2018



Last night, after sending the message about no rain, it rained.  Today, there was a very light, misty rain until the afternoon cloudburst.  We just never know what to expect.  Well, we’re pretty sure something will fall from the sky tonight.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police.  This ‘Zany Day’ tune should be real easy.  “I met her in a club down in old Soho where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola, c-o-l-a cola.  She walked up to me and she asked me to dance, I asked her name and in a dark brown voice she said __, 
__-__-__-__, __.”  Clue:  The title is one word and it’s obviously a name.  

About the time when we were to take Daku out to play, we heard Nitchanan crying.  It was the ‘I don’t want to go to school’ cry.  It didn’t last long.  This afternoon Natcha told us that her teacher said she is very smart and speaks well for her age.  Some of the things that Natcha translates for us are pretty complex ideas for a 2 year old.  She’s slowly warming up to this new part of her life.

When we took Daku out, there was evidence that Mr. Chopper had already had his playtime.  The muddy paw prints and the ‘transplanted’ garden product was all we needed to see (555).

Today’s adventure took us north to Ban Du and Shong Cafe for coffee.  From Shong we traveled a short distance to Makro.  We hadn’t been there for at least a week.  After bringing an electric pencil sharpener from the States, we discovered that now they sell them at Makro.  Sometimes it pays to just walk the aisles and see what’s there.  Since they cater to the food trade, there are some fascinating containers and tools that we’d never use, but it’s just cool to know they exist.  

There is a lot of activity in the temples this week.  Saturday marks the beginning of Buddhist Lent, when the monks will stay at the temples at night.  Candles are a big part of the merit-making offerings, along with robes, food, and basic items.  This week the boys from The Wild Boars, the cave survivors, were initiated into the monk-hood for 11 days.  There were photos of them getting their heads shaved and of the ceremony.  Saturday is also the birthday of the new King, the first birthday since he has been King.  It will be a long weekend with many closures in both public and private sectors.  

In this photo, Nitchanan is modeling her new school backpack.   

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Imagination…its limits are only those of the mind itself.”
~Rod Serling

Tuesday, July 24, 2018



Chiang Rai got a break from the rain today.  By late afternoon it was looking like rain, but it hasn’t happened yet.  The Bangkok Post reported that it was raining up here.  Hmm, they should have called first (555).

Well, a few readers remembered this ‘Easy Monday’ song by a trio from across the pond.  It happened in 1981.
“Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met.  It’s a big enough umbrella but it’s always me that ends up getting wet.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, everything she do just turns me on.  Even though my life before was tragic, now I know my love for her goes on.”  Hint:  One of her passwords might have been ‘Shazam’, as she waved her wand.

Sometimes, it takes a certain skill and cunning to get a 2 year old to school.  Nitchanan has declared that she doesn’t want to go back to school, but so far, each time she’s gone she has been OK.  Today was no different, and we got to witness the departure.  I’m not sure where she thought she was going, but she spent the day at school and did all the things that were expected.  She’s making friends and that will be a big help.  We know that she thinks about it because this evening she told Natcha she’s not going back.  In the meantime, we got to spend time with her today and that’s always fun.  

Our first stop this morning was The Wanderer for coffee and to return some books on beads that Khun Noot loaned Lisa.  As we were leaving, Khun Thomas brought us a ‘Pink Apple’ tree for our yard.  Noot had mentioned it when they visited the house to help rescue Blue’s Tree.  Now we have another baby tree and will someday have some delicious apples.  

Yesterday we did the food shopping, so today was those odds and ends that move from one list to another.  It was nice to get out and see the city while it’s dry.  This afternoon Gong washed our filthy van.  Now it will probably rain so we’ll just stay at home and keep it dry and clean (555).

Speaking of vans, today’s photo was taken at the Nan Riverside Art Space, where the exhibit was held.  The van in the photo is what I guess you’d call a permanent installation.  The second photo is a part of the grounds.  Many trees are wrapped with artistic designs.  An interesting approach.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Why stand in the shadows of
yesterday when you can stand
in the light of today?”

Monday, July 23, 2018



The rainy season is in full effect.  While we were in Nan, Chiang Rai had rain every day.  The whole week has a forecast for rain.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Talk To Me” by Little Willie John.  Sorry you all missed that one.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ song you probably know:  “Though I’ve tried before to tell her of the feelings I have for her in my heart.  Every time that I come near her, I just lose my nerve as I’ve done from the start.  __ __ __ __ __ __ __, everything she do just turns me on.  Even though my life before was tragic, now I know my love for her goes on.”
Hint:  The group had an arresting quality.  

Saturday morning we met with Katai and Towan in Nan and went to their favorite coffee place.  It’s part of the Amazon Cafe chain (no relation to the shopping thing).  They were right about the coffee, really good.  Across the street was a temple that is one of the big attractions in Nan.  There is a mural on the inside wall that depicts the history of Nan and is approximately 150 years old.  One panel shows a man whispering to a woman.  This has become a very famous painting in it’s own right.  We had seen it before, and we saw it all around town.  

Our next stop was the Nan branch of their tractor store.  Of course, I had to climb up and get a feel for this iconic vehicle that is such a major part of farm life here.  

We had to be at the gallery at 5pm, which meant leaving the hotel at 4:30.  It would be a day without a nap (555).  Most of the artists arrived early, so there was time to hang out, look at each others’ work and relax before the opening.  It turned out to be a wonderful experience.  There was no usual ‘presenter’, so one of the women introduced each artist and made a brief, descriptive comment about their work.  Lots of photos were taken and then the ribbon was cut.  Guest kept arriving and by the time we left, there was a substantial audience, considering where we were.  Nan is a rather isolated town, but between friends and relatives of the 25 women artists, the room was full of conversation.  There was also live music in the form of a local couple who both played acoustic guitar and sang.  The rain began as we made our exit, and it continued to pour all night.

There is a thing about goats in Nan.  I don’t know what it is, but there is a connection.  At the gallery there is a large sculpture consisting of about 5 goats, and in town we saw another large goat installation.  I couldn’t help bonding with the goats over our goatees (555).

Our drive from Nan to Chiang Rai was non-stop and took 4 hours.  We won’t be doing that again anytime soon, even though I enjoyed the journey and learned a bunch.  

Have a Great Week. 


“It is amazing what you can
accomplish if you do not care
who gets the credit.”
~Harry S. Truman