Monday, April 30, 2018



The weekend weather was nice, for the most part.  The air is much better lately, and temps are still hot.  Sunday morning we had a surprise storm that was about 45 minutes of fierce downpour.  As I sit here typing, I can see smoke from a fire rising just north of us.  Where are the ‘air police’ when you need them?

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Come Go With Me”, by the Del Vikings.  Hmm.  ‘Easy Monday’ is a giveaway:
“__ __ __?  I have seen you before.  __ __ __?  May I walk you to your door?  It’s so hard to find a personality with charms like yours for me, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh wee..”  Hint:  A better opener than ‘What’s your sign?’  (555).

Sunday’s storm was long gone by the time we had lunch at The Wanderer.  Cat, Lisa and I had just arrived when our friend Lisa and her Dad, Edwin, showed up.  We had another fun, informative, laugh filled lunch.  The topic of language came up and Lisa mentioned a time when she was studying Thai and she was looking for the word for ‘microwave’.  She ask her teacher and she laughed and told her it was ‘microwabe’ (the letter ‘V’ is not pronounced).  Than Cat added a few, like ‘hamburger’ with the accent on the last syllable.  And so it went, realizing how modern words are often just assimilated into the language, with different accents.  Computer is computer, and blah, blah, blah.  

We got word after getting home from lunch, that our drain pipe to the rear of the house must be closed.  The lot next to the farm was finally filled with dirt and the water from our drain is creating a rut.  Gong checked with the farmer and it seems that there is nowhere for us to drain our rain water.  Now we have to dig the deep hole that was suggested months ago.  There is a method, we just have to get someone to dig the hole and bring in the assorted rock sizes to finish the job.  I will print out photos, make drawings, etc. and eventually communicate with a contractor about what we need.  Not the week for this to be happening.  Friday we have to close the drain.

Neechanon is now saying things in four languages: Thai, Akha, English and ‘Baby-talk’.  She has a very good ‘ear’ and when we say a new word to her, she repeats it and usually gets it perfect.  This is the time for her to learn as much language as possible, while she can still hear the subtle sounds.  As humans, we lose the ability to hear certain sounds outside our first language, by pre-school age.  Imagine the relief at learning that it was not unusual for words beginning with Ng to be difficult.  Conversely, there are sounds that Thais have difficulty making in common English words.  It is hard to hear the difference between ‘sh’ and ‘ch’, and translate it to the mouth.  So, rest easy and keep trying.

This will be a busy week at The Big Brown House.  Wednesday is move-in day at the gallery.  Khun Sompong will hang the exhibit in the morning.  In the afternoon, house guests will arrive from Chiang Mai for a stay through the opening.  There are still things to be printed for the night of the exhibit.  There will also be daily Sun dances to make sure that Friday evening has clear skies.

Today’s photo shows the Saturday sky.  We hadn’t seen this in quite a few weeks.

The Jasmine tree in the foreground has been blooming all weekend and the yard smells incredible.  We just wanted to sit outside and smell the air (555).

Have a Great Week.


“Walking with a friend in the dark
is better than walking alone in the light.”
~Helen Keller

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Funnies


Last night we thought the rain might pass us by with a drizzle but this morning things were very wet.  The sky was better today, in terms of smoke.  I’ll take hot and clear over hot and smokey any day.  More rain is forecast.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Mama Told Me Not To Come” by Three Dog Night.  Here’s an ‘Old School Friday’ song that goes way back:  “Love, love me darlin’, __ __ __ __ __, please don’t send me, ‘way beyond the sea.  I need you darlin’, so __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  There is an extra word in the first set of dashes.  The second set is the actual title.  It’s a plea, an invitation to romance.  The song was in a movie.  Hmm, there’s a Nordic twist to the group name.

We spent most of today at Wat Rong Khun.  It sounds very romantic if you remember what the main grounds look like, but we were way out in the back, in a new warehouse style building.  More like a ‘Sala’, a floor, a roof but no sides.  At 10am things began with a group photo for a project we knew nothing about.  Everyone had changed into special T-shirts.  We jumped into the photo shoot, but didn’t change clothes.  There was no ceremony, it was just a lot of talking, in Thai.  We did get an idea of what was going on and it didn’t apply to us since we don’t draw cartoons or characters.  There will be special games throughout Thailand, like the Olympics, and they want submissions for a mascot for our province.  

We decided to take a break and get some coffee, lest we nod off in the middle of the talking.  I jokingly suggested we could get coffee and pie.  Next thing we knew, we were on the highway headed for Charoen Gardens.  It was lunch time so we ate and then had the pie.  We got back to the meeting just as their lunch session was ending.  After a few minutes they had us go up on the stage for the blessing of the ‘Elder Artists’.  Gift baskets were placed in front of us and then we each spoke to the rest of the artists.  Then it was time for us to give a personal blessing to each artist.  As they went down the line at the table, they would hold out a tiny cup containing water and a flower.  We would dip the flower and sprinkle water on their heads and say something, like ‘Good luck’ or ‘Happy New Year’.  Since there were so many artists in attendance, they had Khun Somluk take a bigger bowl and some leaves and walk into the audience and throw water on everyone.  It saved a lot of time and was fun.

The next part of the afternoon was the business meeting.  Fortunately, we had some friends who translated each phase of the proceedings so we knew what was happening.  After seven years, ArtBridge is making money, may relocate near Wat Rong Khun to be close to the new highway, and there will be a line of ArtBridge acrylic paint.  The women of ArtBridge will have an exhibit in the city of Nan, which is about 4 hours southeast of Chiang Rai.  They have a beautiful museum gallery and the exhibit will consist of large works.  More will be revealed on that.  

On the home front, we’ve come to the conclusion, after learning more about Huskys, that Chopper has a dominant character trait.  It’s not uncommon for them to assume the alpha role, even as a puppy.  We’ll have to devise ways to keep them separated unless it’s supervised play, like in the mornings.  Maybe he’ll calm down a bit as he gets older.  Meanwhile, Daku is cautious whenever he goes outside, looking to see if he’s going to be ambushed.  Mr. Mellow is having to adjust to all this.

Today’s photos are flowers.  The first is from the pre-flight area at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.  The second is the combined bushes that fell off the wall in our front yard.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Time for the ‘Funnies’.   Oh, and Formula One is in Azerbaijan this weekend.  Zoom.


Thursday, April 26, 2018



Last nights storm delivered more wind than rain.  It did help with the case against the dirty air; it was better today.  Unfortunately, it pushed a big, beautiful, tangled collection of flowering bushes off the front wall.  It still looks great and we may leave it as it is since we can still enjoy the flowers.

It’s nice to know that some of you have zany memories.  It means you remember ‘Zany Day’ songs.
“Open up the window, let some air into this room.  I think I’m almost chokin’ from the smell of stale perfume.  And that cigarette you’re smokin’ ‘bout to scare me half to death.  Open up the window, sucker, let me catch my breath. __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __.  She said, “That ain’t the way to have fun, son, that ain’t the way to have fun…”  Hint:  You were warned not to attend the gathering.  That’s the gist of the title.

After a Big C trip this morning, we went to the mall before it opened, and discovered that because of blocked off sections, there was a traffic jam.  For some strange reason, they did not ‘release’ the lot to shoppers until a few minutes before opening.  We left and went to the tiny coffee shop of our friend Alberto and his wife.  She makes a really good cup of coffee and today they had some brownie squares on sale.  The squares are a packaged dessert that we discovered in Bangkok.  What next?  

Tomorrow morning we will go to Wat Rong Khun for the annual ArtBridge Songkran ceremony.  This time it’s an all day affair, with a ceremony in the morning, a lunch, and the blessing of the senior artists in the afternoon.  Then the annual membership meeting which includes election of the chairperson for the next year.  It will be hot and a lot of what we hear will not be understood.  Hmm, welcome to my world.  Sometimes it's just nice to be in it, even though I don’t have a clue.  But then, that can happen even when one understands the language (555).  It will be a great opportunity to promote next week’s exhibit, see many friends, and make new ones.

The first photo is from “Courage in Clay” by Khun Somluk, and the second is from a Japanese artist who presented an interactive exhibit revolving around the playground and politics.  The platform tilted from one side to the other.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“We may encounter many 
defeats but we must not be
~Maya Angelou

Wednesday, April 25, 2018



It’s approaching 7:30pm on Wednesday evening and the atmosphere is electric.  First came the wind, then the thunder with such intensity that it feels like it could break the sky.  Surely, after all this noise, we will get some rain.  We need more than last night, it did nothing to clean the air and the day was just as hot.  

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash.  So, I guess you know what time it is.  It’s time for a ‘Zany Day’ song:  “Want some whiskey in your water, sugar with your tea.  What's all these crazy questions they askin’ me?  This is the craziest party there ever could be.  Oh, don’t turn on the lights, ‘cause I don’t want to see.  __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __.  That ain’t the way to have fun, no…”  Clue:  A warning was given by a parental unit.

When we woke up this morning, we expected to see a bright, sunny day.  What actually appeared was the same old dirty sky as the day before.  After our talk with Joe, we took Daku to the vet.  He could somehow sense that he was going to be traveling.  Even before he saw the visual clues, he became restless, pacing around the kitchen.  When the sheet used to cover the seat came out, he was in full-on agitation mode.  Once he was in the van he was a lot better.  

At Dr. Arnon’s (the vet), the waiting room was empty.  This was great news for us and Daku.  Even though he was a little nervous, he didn’t show it.  I forget that some places are slower to start than others.  The doors might be open, but the folks inside are not really ready.  That seemed to be the case this morning.  One of the counter receptionists came over and visited with Daku and that was fun for him.  Finally, we saw the doctor and got a diagnosis of an infected hotspot on his elbow.  Daku was given an injection and some pills to take and we were out of there.  

Putting on an art exhibit without a manager means a lot of administrative work for the artist.  Add a second language and it becomes a mountain of things to keep up with.  Lisa is getting things done and there is actually some breathing room.  The opening is a week from Friday and most of the elements are in place.  There is still some translating to be done, and the transporting of the artwork next week.  Bit by bit, slow and steady, or something like that.

Today’s photo is one of the pieces from ‘Courage in Clay’ by Somluk Pantiboon.  It is clay with acrylic accents on canvas.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“The primary use of conversation
is to satisfy the impulse to talk.”
~George Santayana

Tuesday, April 24, 2018



Rain has been forecast.  We’ve heard this song before, but this time we desperately want/need the water from the sky.  The hot weather can be dealt with, but the nasty air makes it difficult on many levels.  The pool is just about ready, but we cannot swim while breathing dangerous air.  Come on sky, deliver.

A few of you knew the ‘Easy Monday’ song right away.  It’s clearly a song of hope and moving on.  Here’s more:
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 prayin’ for.  It’s gonna be a bright, bright Sun-Shiny day.  Look all around, there’s nothin’ but blue skies.  Look straight ahead, nothin’ but blue skies.  __ __ __ __ __, the rain is gone….”  Clue:  Vision has been corrected.

It has been decided that traveling home on a Monday can really mess up our sense of time.  Yesterday felt like Sunday because that’s usually the day we return from a weekend away.  Today felt like a Monday since it’s the day after getting home.  You see how this plays out?  

The three days that we were gone, something changed at The Big Brown House.  Chopper got some schooling.  He is a tiny bit mellower, a little less bitey, and pays attention to vocal commands.  We think Natcha spent more time with him, which I’m sure he enjoyed.  Chopper lives outside and puppies need companionship.  I think it’s paying off.  This evening she spoke to him in Thai and he stopped what he was doing and stretched out on the floor.  I need to know what she told him, and memorize it.  

This just in, it’s raining.  It’s also windy, which means that we might end up with a dose of clean air.  Just thought you’d like to know (5).  

This morning we went out and delivered more posters and invitations for the upcoming exhibit.  Social media has been bombarded as well.  If half the people that say they’re coming actually show up, it will be a crowd.  We just need clear weather for that one night.  Hmm, I’d better place an order now.

Cat returned from her adventure in the States.  We talked to her at various stops along her journey from San Francisco to Taipei to Bangkok to Chiang Rai.  On the way to her dorm from the airport she talked about how it took almost a week to get over the Jet Lag going over, and now she has to go through it again, with classes starting tomorrow morning.  

Today’s photo is our friend Khun Noot, balancing stones near a waterfall.  Patience and a gentle touch, that’s all.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“If you learn from defeat
you haven’t really lost.”
~Zig Ziglar

Monday, April 23, 2018



Everywhere we go it’s hot.  Bangkok was in the mid-90s, Chiang Rai is in the mid to high 90s with very nasty air.  Patiently waiting for rain.

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Stay” by Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ tune that has been a winner for years.  “__ __ __ __ __, 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 Sun-Shiny day.”  Hint:  See, I told you it was easy.

First, some of you may have noticed that I neglected to post a photo in the Friday message.  The curious thing is, no one mentioned it, which makes me wonder if you even read this (555).  I know you do because you thank me for the cash prizes (5).  Anyway, here’s the one I was going to send on Friday before I got distracted with the trip.

Our flight to Bangkok was pretty routine, although we did see a bunch of ArtBridge guys at the airport in Chiang Rai, on their way to BKK for the same exhibit.  Our friends Nita and James had made arrangements for their driver, Khun Boonrit, to pick us up at the airport, and that was much nicer than a taxi.  Since it was lunch time by the time we got to their house, the four of us went to a place simply named “Chicken and Rice”.  It’s a traditional Singaporian dish and this place had quite a following.  We even took some home for a late snack.  After lunch we had a foot massage and then relaxed until time for the exhibit.

We used a service called ‘Grab’ to get to the exhibit.  It’s very much like Uber, and it worked well for us.  Khun Somluk’s exhibit was held at a small complex of three galleries.  ‘Artist+Run’ was the gallery with Somluk’s work.  The title of the show was ‘Courage in Clay’ and consisted of large canvases using clay as the medium.  He literally painted with clay, using different kinds of brushes.  The work is abstract and the various clay tones gave it a sort of magnetic quality.  It was hard to look away as the browns and grays played tricks on the eyes.  I wish the gallery was closer so we could visit the exhibit more.  

Construction is an ongoing reality in Bangkok and most cities.  What surprised me was the giant cranes working on Sunday.  Seven days a week there was work going on near where we stayed.  We couldn’t hear it, but I watched the crane moving around high atop the building.  I wonder how they get the crane down when they’re done.  Hmm.  Anyway, at some point on the horizon, you can see construction happening.  Where there is construction there are workers, and they are not always Thai.  Apparently it is a common practice to bring in workers from Burma, and house them in makeshift dwellings for the duration of the job.  Zoning is seemingly non-existant, which doesn’t always sit well with the neighbors.

On Sunday morning Juan, the osteopath, came to the house and James and Nita had him work on my back, and it turned out to be very beneficial.  In the afternoon we got to swim and that was great.  In the evening we went to a place called ‘Common Ground’, which has maybe 10 or 12 different food outlets.  You order at a counter and then sit in a common area.  We’d been there once before and it’s fun.  You can mix your meal to suit your taste.  There was a DJ playing some very cool stuff and it added to the ambience.  I’m pretty sure we were the oldest folks in the place, but it didn’t matter, I was diggin’ it.

This morning Khun Boonrit took us back to the airport and after we checked in, we went to our gate and were surprised to see the parents of our friend Atom waiting for their flight home.  They had been in BKK for the week. We had the longest visit we’ve ever had with them (all in Thai), saw pics of their grand-kids and had a chummy time.  

Daku and Chopper gave us warm welcomes.  Chopper has changed in the three days since we’ve been gone.  He wasn’t as bitey and he responded better to our commands (to not attack Daku).  Everything was a little less urgent, which is good for Daku.  It’s good to be home.

Have a Great Week.


“No matter what people tell you,
words and ideas can change the world.”
~Robin Williams

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Funnies


 Chiang Rai weather boils down to hot sunny days and stormy nights.  Right after I sent you yesterday’s message, the wind came howling in, the lightning flashed and the water came down at various angles.  The front yard was a lake and the debris this morning was from trees down the road.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” by The Beatles.  We’ll close out the week with a tune that we have approached before.  “__, ah, just a little bit longer.  Please, please, please, please, please, tell me that you’re going to (sung: tell a-me you’re gonna).  Now, your daddy don’t mind, and your mommy don’t mind, if we have another dance, yeah, just one more, one more time.  Oh won’t you __….”  Hint:  From 1960, one word that should be rather obvious.

Since the air has been getting washed every evening, we went to the gym this morning.  We did a little more than before, creeping up to a full workout.  The gym was a little busier than last time, but we were able to do what we wanted.  This morning we discovered dressing rooms with lockers.  Before we return we’ll have to get locks so we can stash our stuff.  One interesting observation:  There were only a few older people working out.  Hmm.  Did we wander into the young people’s gym?

While on the subject of young people, the exhibit we’re going to see in Bangkok is being held at a gallery run by a friend of ours from Chiang Rai.  We became friends partly because he speaks English.  Angrit is the artist some of you may remember, who took us to see his ‘garden’ which turned out to be a huge piece of land with lots of trees and flowers.  His Bangkok gallery is one of three in the same complex.  We’ve been told that lots of young people come to the galleries, so we’ll get to ‘act our age’ (555) this weekend.  

After a lot of requesting and pleading, and an ultimatum, Chopper is wearing a collar.  It’s almost essential that a dog with his strength and temperament have some sort of ‘handle’.  Trying to pull him off Daku is very difficult.  This afternoon he was out in the yard with the family and it came in handy. 

Tomorrow we go to Bangkok (BKK), where we’ll be picked up at the airport.  We’ll be going to a local ‘dive’ for lunch and then a foot massage.  This is going to be a very enjoyable weekend.  Our hosts, James and Nita, are making sure that we will have a good time.  

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


Thursday, April 19, 2018



The weather today was the best it’s been in a long time.  The sky was blue all day, with puffy white clouds.  Oh yes, and it was very hot.

The first time we ‘played’ this ‘Zany Day’ song, a bunch of you chimed in with the title.  This time, not so much.
“She said she’d always been a dancer.  She worked at fifteen clubs a day.  And though she thought I knew the answer.  Well, I knew what I could not say.  And so I quit the police department.  And got myself a steady job.  And though she tried her best to help me, she could steal but she could not rob.  Didn’t anybody tell her?  Didn’t anybody see?…..”  Hint:  If you drove down Abbey Road in 1969, then you should remember this tune.

This was what I would call a travel day.  Travel around town, that is.  We delivered posters to most of our friends with businesses.  By 10:30 it was time for a coffee break.  Since we had to go to the mall when it opened, Starbuck’s was the spot of the day.  There is some kind of major development going on at the mall and it has me very curious.  Something is being built right where the motorbike parking lot used to be, and there are drilling rigs in various places.  The little town that could is really growing.  

One of the things we wanted to do at the mall was get rid of some electronic ‘waste’ in the form of an obsolete WiFi router.  There is a small trash can in one location that appears to be for batteries and very small items, but the basic awareness of electronic disposal has not happened yet.  We were directed to the Apple Care shop and we got a mixed reception.  The counter crew didn’t have a clue of what we wanted to do.  They called a man from the back and he seemed to understand.  With all the consumer electronics being sold all over the world, this is a major issue that needs to be addressed.  Rant over.

This morning I managed to take a couple of photos of Chopper before he got wild and crazy during exercise time.  He is much taller than in previous pics.  We’re pretty sure he’ll be taller than Daku when he’s full grown.  He’s 4 months old now.  In the second photo he’s telling me something about how it’s not his best side (555).

It’s time to start pondering what to take on our weekend adventure to Bangkok.  We’re flying down on Saturday morning, attending the opening of an exhibition by Khun Somluk from Doy Din Dang, and then spending a whole day with no fixed agenda.  Hmm.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“The difference between 
stupidity and genius is that
genius has its limits.”
~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, April 18, 2018



We’ve moved into that time of year when looking at the sky is a better way to forecast the weather than looking online.  The storm last night wasn’t a major one and today was cooler, with only sprinkles this evening.  There may not be any thunder, but the frogs are taking it’s place.  

‘Easy Monday’ was just that for some of you. The song was “Groovin’” by The Young Rascals.  Now it's time for another episode of the ‘Zany Day’ song.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ __, protected b a silver spoon.  But now she sucks her thumb and wanders by the banks of her own lagoon.  Didn’t anybody tell her?  Didn’t anybody see?  Sunday’s on the phone to Monday.  Tuesday’s on the phone to me.” Hint:  Those four lads from Liverpool in one of their later productions.  There is some climbing involved in the title, which is pretty long.

This morning we began with a much needed trip to Big C.  We stayed away during Songkran, so supplies were needed.
While we were in the meat department I noticed a sign above what looked like a kitchen.  How did I never see this before?  What a cool idea. 

After Big C, we headed north on the airport bypass road and went to Doy Din Dang for coffee and a chat with Tamako.  We had another of our wonderful visits.  During our conversation on artists and technicians, she mentioned that creating colors is an important part of the process.  When they make colors during the firing of ceramics, there is a lot of experimentation that goes into finding the desired color.  Black is not just black if it’s going to have depth and character.  It was a very exhilarating conversation.  

Outside, at Doy Din Dang, I spotted a large banana leaf and looked to see if it had any fruit.  This photo is proof, with Lisa’s help for perspective, that I really did see giant bananas.  Tamako told us that they have become rare, and they used to see people on the side of the road, grilling them over a charcoal fire.  

On the way home we stopped at Macro, which was going a little crazy with shoppers.  Neighborhood stores see an increase in business when everyone is at home for 5 or 6 days.  At Browney’s Pet World we saw a nearly full parking lot.  This was a first for us.  I guess it’s because they were closed over the holidays.  

Another sighting of note while we were on the highway was the progress on the Bangkok Hospital.  We’re getting our very own version north of Chiang Rai University.  It won’t be as extensive as the one we’ve used in Chiang Mai, but we know from experience that one gets first class care.  We’ll be watching this with great interest.

Looks like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Let us put our minds together and see what life
we can make for our children.”
~Sitting Bull

Tuesday, April 17, 2018



This morning the storm from last night was just finishing.  All day we had cooler temps and cloudy skies with a forecast of more rain.  This evening it started up again.  Big thunder cracking across the sky.  Lisa looked out and saw Chopper playing in the rain.  He’s inside now, for awhile. Maybe the rainy season has begun.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song should be looping in your mind.  If not, here’s another verse:  “__, down a crowded avenue.  Doin’ anything we’d like to do.  There’s always lots of things that we can see, we can be anyone we want to be, and all those happy people we could meet just __, on a Sunday afternoon…”  Hint: Originally relates to something on the surface of a record.  You know, where the needle drops.  Oh my, I’ve said too much.

We stayed at home today.  There was lots to do for the afternoon visit from Khun Sompong from 9 Art Gallery.  He was coming to look at Lisa’s work for the upcoming exhibit.  He curated her first exhibit at their gallery and she wanted his input.  The morning was spent bringing all 31 pieces into the living room and guest room and arranging them.  Gong and Natcha were a big help.  Sompong was excited about the new direction of the work and had lots of positive things to say.  After his walk through, we sat and talked about various art things like pricing, galleries, and the nature of the art business in Thailand.  

Today’s photo was taken on the by-pass highway just outside of town.  Is there something they’re not telling us?

The morning dog play was altered today due to Mr. Chopper being just to ‘bitey’.  His little doggie brain is obsessed with biting Daku, or anybody nearby, especially when he’s excited.  We had to separate them so Daku could get his exercise without having to drag the little dog across the lawn.  I’m sure it’s a ‘phase’ he’s going through.  He does have his moments of cuteness, when you just have to smile.  Several wrappings from the trunks of palm trees blew off the trees and into the yard.  These make perfect prey for the stealthy hunter they call “Mr. Chopper."

Natcha and Neechanon just came upstairs to visit.  She told Natcha she wanted to see us.  Tonight she noticed a photo of herself and was surprised.  One of her standard things to do is try and ride the exercise bike.  As she gets taller, the hope builds that maybe this is the night.   When she got on this time, she made a motor sound, like she was on a motorbike.  It’s 8pm and she’s wide awake.  For Natcha and Gong it’s going to be a long night.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“For every complex problem 
there is an answer that is
clear, simple, and wrong.”
~H.L. Mencken

Monday, April 16, 2018



The weekend was very hot and dry, sprinkles don’t count, but all that’s behind us now.  We are in the midst of a major storm that has been predicted for at least a week.  It’s part of a cold front moving down from China.  So far we’ve had high winds, heavy rain, and a power outage.  What else can happen?

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley & The Comets.  This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song should be a snap:  “__, on a Sunday afternoon.  Really, couldn’t get away to soon.  I can’t imagine anything that’s better, the world is ours whenever we’re together, there ain’t a place I’d like to be instead of __…”  Hint:  The title of this 1967 classic became a figure of speech.  It was first sung when they were ‘young’.

Songkran weekend was rather peaceful at The Big Brown House.  Cat came over Sunday morning and we went to The Wanderer for lunch.  While we were there we saw our friends Susan and Noy, which is always nice.  They live out of town in Mae Chan where they have a hydroponic lettuce farm, so we don’t get to see them very often.

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  It’s a new item on the menu, they call it ‘Charcoal Lime Soda’.  

We didn’t have one incident with water being thrown on us all weekend.  I think that’s a first.  Had we gone to the main road near our house we would have been pelted with buckets of water.  

There seems to be a rhythm to the rain.  There is also a pulse, for lack of a better word.  The winds seem to have died down and now it’s rain and thunder.  The rain drips, then slowly speeds up, then backs away.  The thunder is rolling across the sky, off in the distance.  I think we’re in for an all-nighter.  

Neechanon has been very vocal lately.  She’s also getting bolder.  This afternoon we heard her calling Lisa from downstairs.  The next thing we knew, she was knocking on the door to our room.  What?  About the time she had entered the room with a big, proud smile on her face, Gong showed up.  He’s going to have to watch her a lot closer from now on.  We heard her crying later and it was because she couldn’t go swimming.  Sometimes life is tough when you’re two.

Have a Great Week.


“If you can’t feed a hundred people,
then feed just one.”
~Mother Teresa

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Funnies


It was very hot again today.  The air was very bad again today.  Hmm, Songkran began and the revelers didn’t seem to mind.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Taxman” by The Beatles.  Here’s an ‘Old School Friday’ tune that should be easy, even if you’re a youngish person (555).  “One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock rock.  Five, six seven o’clock, eight o’clock rock… We’re gonna __ __ __ __ tonight.”  Hint:  By a band with a clever name.  

We stayed at home all day today.  Most places we might have gone were probably closed, the air was deemed very unhealthy, and we had stuff to do.  That ‘stuff’ consisted of a Songkran event.  The cleaning of the walk-in closet.  You see, it’s not just a closet, it’s also a storage area and that means things end up there when there’s nowhere else to go.  After ten years, well, you can imagine.  Natcha came up and helped us with the beginning, and then Gong helped clean and lift things back to the higher shelves.  Now it seems like a different room.  

Parts of Chiang Rai were one big water fight today.  We saw photos posted by friends that showed their streets full of people, and no one was dry.  Through the years we have met many Thais who don’t participate in the throwing of water.  They enjoy the rest of the traditions, but that part they don’t like.  What began as a small sprinkle of water  to signify a blessing has turned into a reason to party and make mayhem.  In some cities the water activities are confined to certain streets.  There remains a nation-wide ban on cruising in pick-up trucks with huge drums of water, dowsing motorist as they pass by, still they do it.  So tacky.  Also, there are those who put ice cubes in the water, and others throw powder, which sticks to everything.  In spite of all that, ‘Sawadee Pee Mai’ (Happy New Year).

Neechanon knows where to go for fun.  Recently she bugged her parents to go to Central Plaza.  Upstairs they have a big play area for little kids, much like the Chucky Cheese chain in the States.  She and her older cousin had a fun afternoon there. 

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


Thursday, April 12, 2018



We’re back in the nasty air thing again.  On top of that, it’s an official Songkran heatwave.  Guess who’s staying inside?

So far, no one has claimed to know this song.  I thought it would be very easy since a special day is coming.
“If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street, if you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.  If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat, if you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.  Don’t ask me what I want it for, if you don’t want to pay some more.  ‘Cause I’m the __, yeah, I’m the __… And you’re working for no one but me.”  Clue:  Special day when we all have to report to the title of the song.

This morning we talked to Joe, Lisa’s dad, and then drove up to The Dark, by Cat’s school.  We had coffee and she had breakfast.  We talked a lot about her trip to California on Monday.  Then we went to her apartment, which they call a ‘dorm’, so she could pack clothes in the suitcase she’s taking.  That turned into a lesson ‘what is essential?’  At first there was a blank look when she was told that she packed too much.  In the end, it’s a lighter case to handle and it won’t be overweight.  

Though tomorrow is the first day of Songkran, today was the beginning for many people.  We stopped at Browney’s Pet World and discovered they were closed.  This is the Thai New Year and the tradition is for people to return home.  Cat told us that most of her friends at school have left to be with their families for the holiday.  

Songkran is also a time for renewal, or cleaning.  Today Gong and Natcha did a lot of cleaning around the outside of the house.  They also gave Chopper a bath.  He looked so bright and clean afterwards.
I remember Boot, our first housekeeper, doing this and explaining things.  It’s times like these that I realize the aspect of one culture and the unity that it instills.  Powerful stuff.  

Today’s photo is from ‘Yard Work’.  Neechanon is either contemplating the emptiness of the dustpan, or trying to figure out how to get the leaves inside.  

This afternoon Lisa had coffee with our friend Tye at The Wanderer.  She said it was very crowded.  We suspected this would happen as families bring visitors to the ‘destination spots’.  

Tonight we are going through the attack of the flying termites.  They look like big, winged ants and they are drawn to light.  This is an annual thing that happens and while we avoid them, there are folks out there collecting them under street lights.  They will take them home and fry them up.  It’s supposed to be a delicacy.  Oh, never mind.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“All change is not growth,
as all movement is not forward.”
~Ellen Glasgow