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