Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Funnies


Most of today was that typical 'cloudy with the threat of rain, but no rain’.  The air was cooler and that was a pleasant change.  

Only one reader, Barry, knew the ‘Zany Day’ song.  It was “Glass Onion” by The Beatles.  I know, that was a little obscure.  Here’s an ‘Old School Friday’ that everyone knows:  “You never know how much I love ya, never know how much I care.  When you put your arms around me, I get a feelin’ that’s so hard to bear, you give me __.”  Hint:  This 1956 classic has been on our list for a long time.  Something has come over the singer.  Oh, and we’re talking about the original version of this song, pre-Peggy Lee.  Now that should be a hint.  Music history lesson on Monday.

Yesterday’s photo of the steamroller prompted my friend Claire to do some research.  It was built by Aveling Barford, a company in England who specialized many years ago, in heavy machinery for road-building.  The photo below is their ‘Prancing Horse’ logo up close.  The three-wheel roller was a centerpiece of their catalog.  The one that I saw was on the yard of a government facility.  Steamrollers have a very special place in the hearts of the civil engineering ministries.  In front of every agency that deals with roads, there is a steamroller in a place of prominence in front, sometimes on a mound of dirt.  

This morning we went to The Wanderer for coffee and roti.  When we first sat down, there was some jazz playing   and I wanted to know who it was.  There was no way to identify the tune or artist because it was playing from a Youtube channel called ‘Jazz in the morning’ or something similar.  There are these channels with hours of music and they are widely used by the shops here.  They get seamless music all in the same genre, for free.  

Today’s photo was taken at The Wanderer.  These are antique bells.  The material is thin, giving more of a ‘can’ sound as opposed to a brass sound.  

Downtown, at the Talat, we got the last place on the block, with the aid of the ‘parking guy’.  He’s one of the people who collects ‘4 Baht’ for parking.  The difference with him is the ‘arm dance’ he does while directing you into your place.  He’s got style.  Once inside and past the open tables of shrimp, crab, and squid, we heard a beautiful soprano voice.  A few yards ahead was a blind woman walking with her mic, a music player and a little wooden box.  Behind her, with one hand on her shoulder, was a younger woman, also blind.  She was just enjoying the music, with a big smile on her face.  It was a stirring sight.  A little later we saw her predecessor, who still sings almost in tune, but has the heart of a lion.  We just went to look around and then get some pellen at the ‘notions’ shop, but we ended up doing a little holiday shopping and heavy browsing.  It was a fun morning.

This afternoon, around 4pm, the rain came.  It began with a loud announcement and then settled into a steady downpour for about 2 hours.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Time for the ‘Funnies’.    Don’t forget, Formula 1 is in Germany this weekend.  Zoom.


Thursday, August 30, 2018



It was another beautiful, dry day in Chiang Rai, despite the forecasts of rain in the afternoon.  

The ‘Zany Day’ tune is a real curve ball for most of you.  Since we’re committed to it, here’s another verse of a truly zany song.  “I told you about the walrus and me, man you know that we’re as close as can be, man, well here’s another clue for you all: The walrus is Paul.  Standing on the cast iron shore, yeah, Lady Madonna trying to make ends meet, yeah looking through a __ __.”  Clue:  The album was white, the word chaos was intentional and if you don’t know, that’s perfectly OK.

This was the morning we took the van to Suzuki for a 6-month servicing.  We were told that it would take 2 hours so we set out on a Bus Station street adventure.  First stop was ‘Sound & Brown’, the modern/industrial style coffee shop that plays cool music.  Today, as our coffee came to the table, we realized why we had doubts about this place.  The cup is a part of the coffee experience.  If the cup is awkward, then the experience will be ‘off’.  The cups at S&B look like 'to go’, with no handles, but the coffee is hot.  In addition, most of the chairs are cool to look at, but are made of tubing, including the back.  They’re off the list until further notice, unless we just take the coffee to go.

Purse and shoe ‘alley’ further down the street is always interesting.  So many things to look at, and sometimes take home.  It was time for a break by the time we reached the end of the fun zone.  We stopped at Ban Chivit Mai, a coffee shop and bakery, indulged in one cookie each, and decided to get a foot massage to fill in the second hour of our wait.  This time Lisa got a different operator and I got the one she had last time.  It worked out great and we left with happy feet.  Rather than walk all the way back to Suzuki, we got a Tuk-Tuk to take us the long block.  It was worth it since we were so relaxed.

This afternoon we drove up to Mae Chan, where I had another appointment with Dr. Mark aka Dr. Happy.  We had further discussions on how to lessen the low-back discomfort and then he tested me, meaning poked at the places that looked like they were inflamed.  He was right and so the acupressure points were treated with his magic potion.  On the way home I got a support belt to try and keep me more upright.  Hmm, this is going to be interesting. 

Today’s photo was taken in Mae Chan, next door to Dr. Happy’s place.  Nothing like an antique steam-roller to spark the imagination.  Note the prancing horse on the front.  No, pretty sure it’s not a Ferrari (555).

It was a busy day, and now it’s time to settle down with the Asian Games and the U.S. Open.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Be yourself, the world 
worships the original.”
~Ingrid Bergman

Wednesday, August 29, 2018



Chiang Rai had another rainless day.  There were many beautiful cloud formations as well as some pretty impressive, dark mountains of moisture looming in the sky.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys.  Here’s another easy one, disguised as a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “I told you about strawberry fields, you know, the place where nothing is real.  Well here’s another place you can go where everything flows.  Looking through the bent backed tulips, to see how the other half lives. Looking through a __ __.”  Hint:  1968 England, many references to past records and lines from songs by four wild and crazy kids.

This morning we went to Chivit Tamma Da for coffee on our way to Makro.  It didn’t take long to find what we needed and before we knew it, we were in a short line and out.  Our next stop was the mall, but since Browney Pet World was on the way, we stopped for dog stuff.  Chopper is in a chewing phase, not quite done teething.  As a result, some of Daku’s toys have been ‘hurt’.  One of them is his green, after dinner, food-dispensing favorite.  With a little work, he could get kibble to drop out and that was his dessert.  Now it just pours out, due to Chopper chewing on it.  We found a possible replacement at Browney’s, but time will tell as to whether Daku will embrace it the same way.  As I write, Chopper is chewing on a bone and Daku is lying on the floor, looking despondent. 

We went to the mall for lunch and just parking the van was an ordeal.  There is a massive ‘renovation’ going on and the people in charge of routing the traffic have lost their minds.  There has also been a mental lapse on the part of the people scheduling the work.  Every lane had rows of double-parked vehicles, which meant that there was no room to roll them out of the way for the cars in the actual stalls.  Unless one gets there early, it’s a madhouse.  Today we did not get there early.  

This afternoon I spent some time with Nitchanan while Natcha did some work in the kitchen.  We worked a new puzzle that she likes.  There are animals and she’s slowly learning their names.  It’s a pretty good trick since some of them are not their normal colors.  Like the purple Hippoo.  She gets the Zebra because it looks like a zebra.  Then it was pencil time.  She holds up a colored pencil and asks me to tell her what color, in English.  Then we scribble on a piece of paper.  Big fun for sure.

We had dinner at Melt In Your Mouth.  We didn’t realize how close to closing time it was.  There were a few people on the porch outside, and inside it was just us.  By the time we left, it was empty.  Today’s photo was taken at ‘Melt' at Sunset.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“The only wealth which you
will keep forever is the wealth
you have given away.”
~Marcus Aurelius

Monday, August 27, 2018



Cloudy with occasional sunshine and a guarantee of rain.  This forecast could be posted every day and it would be correct.  Last night (Sunday) we saw a spectacular full moon, at first through the clouds, and then up high, by itself.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “A Fool In Love” by Ike & Tina Turner.  It’s clearly time for an ‘Easy Monday’ song.  This one from 1966 should do the trick:  “I may not always love you, but long as there are stars above you, you never need to doubt it, I’ll make you so sure about it.  __ __ __ what I’d be without you.”  Hint: Stirring ballad of love and commitment from a most unlikely source.

Saturday morning I drove up to Mae Chan, about 45 minutes north of Chiang Rai, where I spoke at a recovery center.  I have known members of the staff for a long time, but never actually drove out there.  The grounds are very tranquil and even though it’s within a village, it’s quite isolated from ‘city life’.  A perfect setting to clear the mind and focus on what’s important.  

In Bangkok, there is a new attraction at Siam Paragon.  It’s a replica of part of the cave where the Wild Boars football team was trapped.  There is extensive information about what it took to rescue the boys as well as a chance to crawl through a small space.  It has not been advertised much, but word-of-mouth is bringing families who want to learn more.  Part of the focus is on the efforts of individuals from all parts of the world, and how much of a group effort the rescue became.  There is a plan to move the exhibition to other regions of Thailand.  

This morning we went to Big C and then Starbuck’s and the vet.  We timed our outing to be home for lunch.  When we arrived, Natcha had mowed half of the front lawn, done a bunch of work in the house, and was ready for us to return.  It was pretty amazing, considering the yard thing is usually done with Gong.  She likes to run the mower, but it’s still a big job.  Yesterday, she and Nitchanan were about to leave the house and Nitchanan didn’t have her helmet on.  We mentioned that she should be wearing it and Natcha said that she didn’t like it.  Well, that held no water.  She has to wear it.  The helmet was put on her head but she cried and complained.  The classic line of the day came from Lisa as we discussed this issue:  “It’s time for a grandmother to take charge”, and that’s just what happened.  Natcha got the loving, grandmotherly lecture about the importance of protecting the baby.  I think it may have sunk in this time.  

When not complaining about having a helmet on her head, Nitchanan can be an absolute joy.   

Have a Great Week.


“The idea of karma is that
you continually get the teachings
that you need to open your heart.”
~Pema Chodron

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Funnies


The weather in our area was fairly pleasant.  A cloudy day and then a dark afternoon with a real storm right before dinner.  The lightning and thunder have been big this time.  It could be another marathon storm.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane.  ‘Old School Friday’ is from ’61.  Remember?
"Oh, there is something on my mind.  Won’t somebody please, please tell me what’s wrong.  You’re just __ __, you know you’re __ __.  You’ve got to face it, to let it explode.  You take the good, along with the bad, sometimes you're happy and sometimes you’re sad.  You know you love him, you can’t understand why he treats you like he do when he’s such a good man.”  Hint:  The title is actually 4 words.  It’s by what was a successful duo, and then she went solo.  There were stockings involved.

This morning we tried a new (for us) coffee shop called Full Moon Cafe and Bakery.  The thing that attracted us was that fact that they don’t use any milk.  They can make a smoothie with coconut milk and various fruits.  We didn’t try that today, but the coffee was good so we’ll go back and check out other possibilities.  

A major event is being planned to honor all the of people involved with the rescue of the boys who were trapped in the cave.  So far, it looks like thousands of people will be involved.  When more real details are available, I’ll fill you in.  It should be an epic Northern Thailand extravaganza.  

When we first came to Thailand, most of the motorbikes had small engines.  The largest were 150cc.  Now, there are big road and racing bikes from all the major brands roaring around and a new law has been proposed that would require a special license for anyone wishing to harness their power.  There is also a new clamp down on young, unlicensed riders who seem to be involved in a great number of accidents.  These sound like good ideas to me.  Zoom.

For the second night in a row, Chopper has been a ‘guest’ in our bedroom.  He loves to come upstairs and can stay as long as he behaves.  Sometimes it’s short visits (555).  In this photo he is enjoying a bone on Daku’s bed.

Cat came over for dinner, and then the big storm hit.  She may have to stay overnight if it doesn’t stop.  She managed to have a friend send her part of their homework.  Her third year has started off with a bang. 

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   Now it’s time for the ‘Funnies’.    Formula 1 is back, this time from Belgium.  


Thursday, August 23, 2018



We woke up to rain.  Then there was more rain.  Late in the afternoon we actually got some sunshine.  It glistened on the flooded lots behind us.  They have no drainage at all.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song takes us back to the psychedelic days, when songs had many meanings.  What?
“And if you go chasing rabbits and you know you’re going to fall.  Tell’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call.  Call Alice, when she was just small…. Remember what the doorknob said: Feed your head, feed your head.”  Clue:  I wonder(land) how many people know what this is about.  I know I don’t (555).  The band had an upgrade and traded the propellor for rocket boosters. 

When asked if she wanted us to take Nitchanan to school, Natcha answered with a definitive ‘yes’.  I got a taste of morning traffic in the rain in our neighborhood.  The main road was difficult to enter, due to the constant flow of traffic, but we got a break and started the journey.  The school is north of where we live, and farther than we usually travel on that road.  Getting to the actual grounds meant driving up a very steep, one lane road with a small level area and then another hill.  We delivered the little one and when she took her teacher’s hand, Natcha breathed a sigh of relief.  Going back in the afternoon was a lot different.  The steep road was now wet and muddy, with two-way traffic.  I slowed to make room for a truck coming down and the front tires began to spin.  We had lost traction half way up.  Hmm, the only thing to do was to roll backwards to the bottom and get a running start and not stop for anything.  It was a bold move, but it worked.  Same thing happened on the second hill.  When we reached the top we were so happy.  Nitchanan talked the whole way home, telling Natcha about things that happened at school.  Back at the house, Natcha hosed the mud off the van from our wheel-spin adventure.  It was a good day.

The second morning adventure was a visit to Shong Cafe, and coffee with Cat.  We heard more about her new classes since this is the first week of school.  Yesterday she had a 3-hour lecture class on the English language.  It’s taught by an American who is giving the class a more in-depth study than just grammar and vocabulary.  There is another class where she and a partner have to grow some vegetables that can be stored for a period of time.  The idea is to be able to create a sustainable garden when they begin teaching.  This is her third year and things are heating up.  She seems ready for it all.

Today’s photo is another from Hungry Wolf.  It’s created entirely of machine parts like gears, nuts, bolts, etc., no bull.

Badminton and weighlifting were two of the sports on the menu this afternoon.  We were amazed by the final weights some were lifting, like well over 300 pounds.  The winner lifted 425 on his final lift.  Now it’s women’s volleyball, a sport that Thailand usually dominates.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Well done is better than
well said.”
~Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, August 22, 2018



As usual, rain was predicted.  This afternoon it arrived and made up for the days it missed.  We had several waves of hard rain.  In between, there was a constant, light shower.  I think it was the longest daytime storm in awhile.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” by Little Stevie Wonder.  Now it’s time to get crazy with a ‘Zany Day’ song.  Remember this?:  “One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small.  And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all.  Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall”.  Hint:  It’s from the 60s, by a flying machine.

We had been told, by a friend, that there were changes made in the renewal process for retirement visas.  That always gets the mind churning.  This morning, after coffee at Chivit Tamma Da, we went to the immigration office.  I have never seen it so crowded.  Fortunately, they now have a person sitting by the front door to answer simple questions.  We were able to ask her about the changes and she gave us a printed card with everything we needed to do.  Next month we can be prepared and renew our visas.

Nitchanan woke up with a fever today, so we told Natcha to just take care of her and not worry about us.  We had lunch at The Wanderer.  Natcha and the baby ended up getting ‘stranded’ at Natcha’s sister’s house when the rains came.  We were concerned that they were somewhere ‘outside’ on the motorbike in the storm.  When the rain stopped, they started home, but the rain returned and they got a little wet anyway.  Mother and child were both smiling and doing fine.

This evening we decided to stretch our wings and try a new place for dinner.  The Hungry Wolf is not far from us and I’ve shown you photos of the outside.  Tonight we dined inside.  It’s billed as a restaurant and ale house.  When we entered, they were playing music from The Buena Vista Social Club, which seemed like a real departure from their theme.  I didn’t mind at all, maybe Euro/Latin is a new thing.  The menu contains a lot of dishes that we just don’t eat.  Lots of cheeses, various meats, etc., but they made me a delicious chicken burger and Lisa had chicken tacos.  We probably won’t become regulars, but it’s a nice change to add to the list of ‘places to eat’ in Chiang Rai.  

Today’s photo was taken at Hungry Wolf.   Not quite sure what it means, but it’s fun.

We watched some events from the Asian Games today.  The Thai men and women both took Gold in Sepak Takraw.   This link will give you an idea of what the sport is like.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Sometimes, what you’re 
looking for is already there.”
~Aretha Franklin

Tuesday, August 21, 2018



Well, we actually had a day without real rain.  There was plenty of sun and heat.  Now watch, tomorrow it will storm.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was quickly identified by a hand full of readers.  Here’s a little more of the song:
“Then that time I went and said goodbye, now I’m back and not ashamed to cry.  Oo baby, here I am, __,__,__, __ __.  Here I am baby, oh, you’ve got the future in your hands (__, __, __, __ __)”  Hint: The first three words of the title are a term used to note the completion of something.  

This weekend was the beginning of the 18th Asian Games, being held in Indonesia.  Think of it as The Olympics Plus, featuring countries from this part of the world.  There are the sports that are in the Olympics, with some additional games like soft tennis, skateboarding, roller skating, Sepak Takraw (volleyball using the feet), rugby, sport climbing, and multiple forms of martial arts.  I finally found the 2 channels that are broadcasting here in Thailand and we started with women’s weightlifting.  All of the commentary is in Thai, so we’re just enjoying the imagery and remembering how scoring goes.  This is the first year we’re watching.

This afternoon we had Khun Nung working on lighting things and Khun Jin giving Lisa a massage.  Lisa and Jin were talking about the looks one gets when you talk to yourself while driving.  Jin said she practices her English while she drives.  That’s a great idea if you don’t mind people thinking you’re crazy (555).  

The other day, while we were at the mall, we noticed a couple of devices around the corner from the main walkways.  It took a minute and then it hit us: Pay Phones (5).

When we first came to Thailand in 2001, cell phones were really happening.  Most travelers didn’t have phones that would work here, so enterprising young people would ‘rent’ their phones at little tables on the sidewalk, so people could call home in other countries.  How things have changed.

Gong’s training in Chiang Mai, at the cooking school, is going great.  He will be able to prepare 50+ Thai dishes when the 2 week course is over.  He sent Natcha a photo of his first few dishes and she was quite impressed.  Meanwhile, she and Nitchanan are adjusting to taking care of each other.  

Today’s quote is dedicated to the memory of our friend Frankie.  Among the many things he taught me was that black was always cool and in fashion.  I’ll be wearing black for awhile.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Be brave enough to live life
creatively.  The creative place
where no one else has ever been.”
~Alan Alda

Monday, August 20, 2018



It’s been a rainy few days in Chiang Rai.  We managed to walk between the raindrops and have a great weekend, but it still managed to wet things up pretty good.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Respect” by Aretha Franklin.  The tune was written by Otis Redding.  Now it’s time for ‘Easy Monday’ and a tune you should remember:  “Oh yeah baby, like a fool I went and stayed too long, now I’m wondering if your love’s still strong.  Oo baby, here I am, __, __, __, __ __.”  Hint:  There’s a postal reference in the title.  The singer once was little.

Gong was supposed to leave for his cooking class in Chiang Mai on Sunday, but a bridge got washed out on the highway, so he had to leave Saturday and take the long way.  This entails going many more miles, some say it can take 4 to 6 hours instead of 3, but he made it just fine.

In other parts of Thailand, the major news stories center around the flooding of villages and towns.  The city of Nan, where we visited a few weeks ago, has been flooded.  We’re not sure if it’s the whole town, or the areas near the river, but Cat told us that her English teacher’s family lives there and they had to retreat to the second floor of their house.  There are several dams in other areas, that are about to overflow.  Water must be released, which will flow into rivers that will flood anyway.  It’s a ‘no win’ situation for the water management people.  

Our Sunday was pretty mellow.  We lunched at The Wanderer, and got a special treat.  Khun Noot took us into her ‘museum’ of artifacts that she and her late husband, Khun Witcha, had been collecting for many years.  Some things were found during digs in older provinces, and other things came from traders.  She has necklaces made from seeds that were originally gathered in the forest.  Today, she said no one wants to do that kind of work, so her necklaces have a new value.  There were also 2,000 year old beads and stacks of books as reference guides.  She gave us two small carvings, one of an elephant, the other a dragon.  They appear to be made from some kind of bone, with very delicate details.  There were boxes of pottery fragments found deep below the surface of the earth.  Fascinating stuff.

We returned to Riverie, the resort in progress, for dinner.  It’s our new favorite place for an elegant atmosphere, even if we’re eating chicken burgers (555).  Only one other table was occupied, so it was very peaceful as we sat and watched the river.  

We’ve been having some fun visits with Nitchanan lately.  While Natcha finishes making dinner, Nitchanan hangs out with us.  She brings us pillows and makes sure that we do like she does, or at least tries.  This evening, Cat came over for dinner and it was interesting to see the ‘shy side’ of Nitchanan.  We learned that her Akha lessons are becoming a part of her vocabulary.  When talking to Cat, she used a word we didn’t know.  It turns out to be the word for ‘girl’ in Akha.  She was referring to herself.  We think that going to school is starting to have a positive effect on her in different ways.  This morning Natcha took her to school on the motorbike and they both had their helmets on, which is new for Nitchanan.  I think she probably sees other kids arriving to school with their helmets on and sees it as a good thing.  We are so happy about that.

Lisa taught Chopper how to play ‘fetch’ today.  It began with a ball on a string.  After about 3 times, he got the idea.  Before too long, she was throwing the ball across the yard and he was bringing it back.  He’s very smart.  Later, in the kitchen, he wanted to play with Daku, but the old man was having no part of it.  He actually growled and showed his fangs.  Chopper backed off right away.  Things are changing around here, maybe for the better.

Have a Great Week.


“Knowledge is power.
Information is liberating.
Education is the premise of
progress, in every society,
in every family.”
~Kofi Annan

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday Funnies


We are currently in the rain system that’s moving from China down to Viet Nam and over to Northern Thailand, according to the maps.  All I really know is, rain is forecast through the first part of next week and maybe beyond.  We never know what the intensity will be, just that it’s gonna rain.  OK then!

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Once In A Lifetime” by Talking Heads.,wn  Now it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’.  “What you want, baby, I got it.  What you  need, you know I’ve got it.  All I’m askin’ is a little __ when you come home (just a little bit)  Hey baby, when you come home.”  Hint:  This should be easy.  The title is something that everyone wants.  In memory of the legendary singer of this and so many other songs.

Today we had a ‘play it by ear’ morning.  We started at Cafe Eight, a little place not far from our house.  The only errand we knew of was to bring home mango, so after coffee we went to the fruit market.  There was no mango anywhere.  It was still too early to go home since Natcha and Gong were working in our bedroom.  We ended up at the really nice massage place across from the Night Bazaar.  An hour foot massage would work out perfectly.  A parking place appeared and we were able to be fairly close to our destination.  With the light rain that was happening, we didn’t want to get caught in a storm later.  Inside, we were the first customers of the day so things were slow to get started.  The foot soak and scrub was really cool.  Well, actually, it was hot water with flower petals and lime slices floating on top.  After a thorough foot bath we went into the main room with the comfy chairs and the low lights.  The whole experience was very relaxing.  I could tell that it was something my body needed as well.  

This afternoon we went to Overbrook Hospital so Lisa could get her final Dengue fever vaccination.  It’s a series of three injections for those who have had the fever, in order to prevent a return, which can be worse.  Our friend Pay arranged things so we didn’t have to do the initial waiting to check in.  The whole process went rather smoothly, except for the shot that hurt.  It’s good insurance against having to go through that nasty fever again.

Since we didn’t get our nap, we decided on coffee (555).  This time we went to The Wanderer for tea and coffee. We saw a friend there and that was nice.  The rain waited until we got home to start up again, that was also nice.

Tomorrow there is a meeting of the Expat Club.  We don’t go to all of the monthly meetings, but this one should be interesting since the director of the Chiang Rai Tourist Authority will be speaking on the effects of the cave rescue on tourism, along with other related topics.  Agriculture and tourism are the ‘industries’ in this region and they drive the economy.  

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   The ‘Funnies’ are next.  Sunday will be our 48th anniversary.  


Below are text messages letting a boyfriend know how the World Cup Football (Soccer) match between England and Tunisia was going.

Thursday, August 16, 2018



The wet weather took a break today.  I guess yesterday’s storms emptied the tank (555).  There was a hint of something that didn’t materialize and that made me happy.  The morning was cool and that was also nice.

Looks like a few of you are familiar with the ‘Zany Day’ song.  There’s a lot more zany where that came from:
“Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down.  Letting the days go by, water flowing underground.  Into the blue again, after the money’s gone.  __ __ __ __, water flowing underground.  And you may ask  yourself, how do I work this?  And you may ask yourself, where is that large automobile?  And you may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful house! and you may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful wife!  Letting the days go by…. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was….”  Clue:  Group name comes from a term once used to describe TV newscasters and pundits.  As for the meaning of the song, well, you’ll have to look it up when you learn the title (55).

This morning as we were leaving for Big C, the dog trainer arrived to take Gong and Chopper for some exercise.  They went somewhere for a run.  Huskies need lots of exercise, but only after their bones have matured.  We’re hoping to convey this to everyone concerned.  Right now he needs some moderate activity besides running around the yard with the head of a mop in his mouth (55).  I spotted him this morning, having a ball, running with his ‘prey’.  Somehow he had disconnected the head from the handle.  This is a clever dog, not to be underestimated.

After our routine shopping at Big C, we went to Starbuck’s for coffee.  I am slowly being seduced by the idea of paying for things with my phone.  Sounds crazy on the surface, but after a couple of years of watching people pay for their coffee without pulling out cash, the idea appeals to me.  It involves an ‘app’ and how hard could it be?  There have been loads of science fiction movies and TV shows where ‘credits’ were the form of payment.  One device covers every possible transaction.  Next thing you know we’ll have flying cars.  Oh wait, that’s happening.  Hmm.  The powers that be in Thailand are encouraging the use of digital payments, but not the flying cars.

Today’s photo was taken at the building construction store owned by the family of our friend Atom.  I’m not sure what the background is on these two hugging figures, but I’ll find out and pass it on.  I’m sure it’s fascinating mythology of some kind.

This evening Nitchanan called us for dinner.  As I was going down the stairs her dad apparently told her she had to go.  This pushed the ‘melt down’ button, he set her down and when I ask her what was wrong she stopped screaming, looked at me and jumped up and went to the dinner table.  She ended up sitting with us and eating a tiny bit of food.  It’s a new pattern in her life and it was about to be disrupted.  She was determined to have dinner with us, in some form.  Growing up.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Diversity: the art of thinking
independently together.”
~Malcolm Forbes

Wednesday, August 15, 2018



Last night we had a major storm.  Today we had another one.  This new string of storms is coming from China.  This afternoon’s downpour also had some very loud thunder that startled all of us.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Close To You” by The Carpenters.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song is just that, zany.
“You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack.  You may find yourself in another part of the world.  You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile.  You may find  yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife.  You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”  Hint:  About those one-time, epic moments in one’s life.  Hmm.

The front lawn had drained enough this morning that we were able to take Daku out for his exercise session.  He has a fondness for walking through puddles.  He found lots of them and seemed to be enjoying himself.  

We coffee’d at The Wanderer and Kwan came to our table and ask us how we liked the latest batch of coffee we took home.  Then she told us about all the cookie baking she’s been doing, and the experimenting to get just the right taste and consistency.  We had tried the ginger biscuits and found them to be too good.  She brought us some double chocolate cookies for an opinion and a few bites confirmed that they are very rich and true diet-breakers.  The next time we drop by, she should have her coconut cookies perfected.  This place is getting dangerous (555).

Our morning adventure continued with a trip to the mall just as it opened.  For a Wednesday morning, there were a lot of people there before the doors opened.  We got a few things at the market, and went up to the main mall and it was already busy.  It wasn’t a shopping trip as much as taking care of business.  There are some people who say we could use another mall on the northern edge of the city.  They may be right.  Progress is being made on our second Big C, though it’s going to be about a year (my guess) before we can shop there.  

Another sign that Chiang Rai is growing was the brand new white police motorcycle I saw this afternoon, with red lights flashing on the front.  It was a model I’ve never seen around town.  Could this mean that moving violations are in our future?  Oh, what will we do?  (555).

Today’s photo is the two wrist garlands Lisa received for Mothers' Day.  The one on the left is from Cat and the little one is from Nitchanan.  When Cat presented her’s to Lisa, she did it in the traditional way.  She had Lisa sit down, and then she sat at her feet, gave her the garland, wai’d and offered a silent prayer.  

I think it’s going to be a Wacky Wednesday.


“You must understand that
seeing is believing, but also
know that believing is seeing.”
~Denis Waitley

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