Wednesday, October 31, 2018



This morning it really looked like rain.  I was convinced that the washing of the van would bring at least enough of a shower to dirty the ride.  Actually, it never happened.  We got a little dusty following a dump truck, but no mud.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “A Horse With No Name” by America.  It time for another ‘Zany Day’ song.  Ready?
“I was working in the lab late one night when my eyes beheld an eerie sight.  For my monster from his slab began to rise and suddenly, to my surprise:  He did __ __, he did __ __ __.  __ __ __, it was a graveyard smash…”  Hint:  It’s that time of year when strange things happen in the night (555).

This morning, after a wonderful visit at Polar with our friend John, we came home.  Lisa was out in the yard with Daku when she heard some music.  She thought it might be one of the floats so she turned and ran toward the front wall.  Two steps later she was on the ground with what turned out to be a cracked bone in her ankle and a sprain on her right ankle.  Gong and Natcha helped her to the van and I drove her to Overbrook Hospital.  Fortunately, Nurse Pay was on duty and expedited the process of getting into the crowded schedule.  The place was a madhouse, like a Monday morning.  After an injection and more waiting, they took her to x-ray, then more waiting and then the conclusion that surgery was not necessary, but a cast would have to be worn for 6 weeks.  At four weeks she can put a little weight on it.  This means there will be a few changes around here.  For starters, no running up and down the stairs.  No morning walks with Daku, for a little while, and no skateboarding in the driveway.  The hardest part is just accepting that it happened and breathing through the aftermath.  Easy for me to say, but we’re doing it.

Natcha and Gong are being real troupers in helping us adjust to this temporary change in our lives.  Nitchanan and Daku were very puzzled when we returned from the hospital.  Daku knew there was something wrong, and Nitchanan didn’t understand why Lisa wasn’t greeting her with the normal attention.  They both came upstairs, or rather, followed Lisa as she slid backwards up the stairs.  Was this a new game?  It was something she learned at the physical therapy room before we left Overbrook.  It’s tedious but it works.  Life is about change.  Oh…

Daku with focused attention.  Yeah, there’s food in them fingers.

This is a Wacky Wednesday.


“It’s not what you look at 
that matters, it’s what you see.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, October 30, 2018



'Sunny with clouds’, would be the best description of today’s weather.  By Thai weather standards, it was moderately warm.  We’re still hoping for a little rain from time to time to keep the trees and plants washed and green.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was a snap for a lot of readers.  See if the second verse rings a bell.
“After two days in the desert sun, my skin began to turn red.  After three days in the desert fun, I was looking at a river bed.  And the story it told of a river that flowed made me sad to think it was dead.  You see I’ve been through the desert on __ __ __ __ __, it felt good to be out of the rain.  In the desert, you can remember your name ‘cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.  La, la, la, la, la,…..”  Clue:  About an equine without designation.

This morning we were to meet Cat at Shong Cafe for coffee and breakfast.  She called to tell us that it was closed, so we agreed to meet at The Dark.  There was no parking along that side of the road and we learned that the president of the university was having a big meeting and they wanted the street clear for motorcades.  We’ve gotten used to this ‘order of business’.  The show is the thing.  Anyway, we talked about many things, including the fact that she loves a song that is burning up the internet in Thailand right now.  She usually doesn’t get very passionate about songs, but this is a political rap that pulls no punches about current affairs, and the young people have responded with major support.  There was a threat to have all participants arrested, but that was withdrawn.  I think this is a big deal here.  We found out that the Chiang Rai Games begin on the 18th and will end on the 28th of this month, at venues thought the community.  Maybe we’ll be able to catch some of the events.  

While sitting at a stop on the Super Highway, we found ourselves behind a big truck with a sign on the back reading:  “Sefty First”.  Yes, and then we’ll work on that spelling.  

This afternoon, Gong washed the van and Nitchanan helped.  Well, she didn’t exactly help with the washing part, but she did play with the hose and rinse herself off.  It was totally cute, this tiny little naked character, laughing and shrieking while holding the stream of water over her head.  

Today’s photo is half of the new mural in front of the Bus Station.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Don’t judge each day by the
harvest you reap, but by the
seeds that you plant.”
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, October 29, 2018



The consensus is that the rainy season is over.  It didn’t rain all weekend and it doesn’t look like it’s coming soon.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” by The Platters.  It’s ‘Easy Monday’ time.  
“On the first part of our journey, I was looking at all my life.  There were plants and birds and rocks and things, there was sand and hills and rings.  The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz, and the sky with no clouds.  The heat was hot and the ground was dry, but the air was full of sound.  I’ve been through the desert on __ __ __ __ __ it felt good to be out of the rain.  In the desert you can remember your name ‘cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.  La, la, la, la, etc.”   Hint:  It was 1971 and the hit was about a guy riding high in the saddle, by a group named for their country.

Saturday was the big day in Chiang Rai.  It was billed as “Thai Fight”, or Muay Thai, also known as Thai kickboxing. I have a friend from Holland who studies this art/sport and he went to the event.  He estimated that about 1500 people were in attendance and said it was a very entertaining evening.  During each bout, musicians played Thai traditional music with the fighters doing their thing.  Between the matches there were announcements and speeches.  At the end there was a giant fireworks display that we could hear at our house, and that's far away.  We saw a video on Facebook and it was quite spectacular.  I would imagine the traffic afterwards was monumental.

Saturday evening, while we had Daku outside, Chopper took the opportunity to slip inside and run upstairs.  When we got up there, he was chewing on a bone.  It’s his favorite things to do.  Daku was on his ‘bed’ and Chopper came over and sprang straight up in the air and landed behind Daku.  We think he’s part baby goat or something.  He’s very light on his feet.  They did fine until Chopper’s pent up adrenaline got the best of him.  That’s when he had to go back outside.  It is nice having him for the little visits though.

Sunday evening there was a big parade and celebration at the Clock Tower to announce the opening of the Chiang Rai Games.  The games are a national event that rotates around the provinces.  We don’t know where they’re being held yet, but the ArtBridge community was very involved in the promotion of some of the villages and tribes.  

Today’s photos show one of the notable floats from two angles.  Imagine seeing this big face coming down the road.  Once it passes you, you see an array of various Hill Tribe members.  

Today was the first day back to school for Nitchanan.  Saturday she got out her bags and accessories, ready to get back to work.  When they left this morning, there was no crying.  When she came home, she seemed very pleased.  

Have a Great Week.


“In a controversy, the instant
we feel anger, we have already 
ceased striving for the truth,
and have begun striving for ourselves.”

Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday Funnies


Our Friday weather was great.  Not too hot, no rain and no wind.  More days like this will be coming soon.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Mercedes Benz” by Janis Joplin.  Now it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’.  It’s a smooth ballad you may have heard through the years.  “They asked me how I knew my true love was true.  I of course replied, something here inside, cannot be denied.  They said some day you’ll find all who love are blind.  When your heart’s on fire you must realize __ __ __ __ __.” Hint:  This one is from 1961, by a group named after a nick-name for a record.  There are eyes involved.

 We began today’s adventure with a trip to The Wanderer.  It was early, and only one small group was sitting outside.  It’s nice when it’s early because things come quickly and there are no other conversations in the air.  After our refreshments, it was time to move on to the big mission.

The bank called yesterday to say that we had to return and sign more forms to set up on-line banking.  One of the series of papers had been for the wrong kind of account.  We complied and signed the correct forms and that was the end of our big adventure, or so we thought.  Late in the afternoon we got a call from the bank manager telling us that only one of us can be on the online account, so more paperwork. He offered to come to the house but we said we’d return on Monday for more signing, blah blah blah.

The tint on the upstairs window is not as dark as we need.  It was fine during the morning, but when the afternoon sun hit it, there was still too much heat.  We’ll let it stay for a bit and then switch to what they call ’60%’.  That should do the trick.  

Before lunch, Nitchanan decided that she should come upstairs and visit.  We had some new books that our friend Brenda brought back from the states.  Nitchanan related to ’10 Little Monkeys’ right away as she and Lisa read it.
Then she wanted to do something familiar, so she got the box of pencils for the ‘color game’.  She knows all the colors, but she holds each one up and asks Lisa to name it, then she draws a little and picks another one.  I managed to get a couple of photos of her during the process.

When I took Daku outside after our nap, I didn’t see Chopper around.  He has always liked hanging out under the van and today was no exception.  He’s almost too big to fit, but he manages to work his way into a nice snug ‘den’.  While Daku was sunning I heard the sound of dog claws on the pavement.  It was Chopper crawling out to visit.  I was a little concerned about what might happen, but Chopper came over, greeted Daku and then took a spot near him and enjoyed the sun.  Things are definitely getting better.  

While we were swimming today, Nitchanan and Natcha came out of their house and of course Nichanan wanted to join us.  Before we knew it, she had changed and was ready to get wet.  Natcha took her to the little pool and she played for awhile.  She likes to be towed so she can kick her feet.  Swimming lessons are going to be a must fairly soon because the older she gets, the bolder she gets.  Natcha tried to stay dry, but Nitchanan ended up taking mommy for a swim.  Lisa and Nitchanan did a lap with Lisa holding her and she loved that.  The hardest part is getting her to realize that it’s time to get out.  She’s getting her back molars and the teething thing is not easy for little ones.  She holds her cheek when it hurts and Gong made her some frozen, chocolate popsicles that seem to help.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.       The ‘Funnies’ are coming.


Thursday, October 25, 2018


Dark clouds and thunder don’t always bring rain.  And so it was today.  A lot of big noise and scary sky, but no water.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song seems to be familiar to some of you.  Here’s the second verse:  “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?  Dialing for Dollars is trying to find me.  I wait for delivery, each day until three, so Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?  Clue:  The artist began her career singing with her ‘brother’.  She had a friend named Bobby.

Every morning, after Daku has his breakfast, I take him out for a short walk around the front yard.  There is a small orange tree that we pass and lately, one or two little birds make their exit from a tiny nest.  They fly out with a low-key whirring sound typical of tiny wings.  The first time it happened it was startling.  Now I expect it.  I’m not sure what they look like.  Maybe one day I’ll see them on the lawn or a branch.   During ‘regular exercise’ time, Lisa noticed that the little black and white bird couple are back, talking to each other as they get their morning meal.  If you look closely, you can see the little nest in the tree.

We began our day outside the walls with a visit to Work@Home.  As we pulled into the parking lot we were greeted by Ghan and Luka.  We met them through Katai when we were looking for a new housekeeper after Boot left.  It was their daughter Lin who introduced us to Natcha, and the rest is history.  They are all part of the vast Akha network here in Chiang Rai.  

After coffee we took a deep breath and went to the bank.  Our mission was to finally set up on-line banking.  Many copies of documents later, we may be close.  Papers will come to the house, emails will happen and we will be able to do things without leaving the house.  The thing about copies is that here, in Thailand, one has to sign anything that is copied if your name is on it.  Today it was about 10 copies, and at immigration, if the passport is copied, well, you get the idea.

It’s a rare occasion when we have to have something fixed on the van.  I think windshield wipers have been the only ‘repair’ until today, when we had to get a new taillight bulb.  It took about 10 minutes and cost 80Baht ($2.43).  I was blown away.  After that, we did a drive-by through the fruit market for mango.  It’s that time of year when some fruits are ‘off and on’ and even though the vendors will say they’re sweet, we never know until that first bite.  Today we got some sweet mangos.  Natcha tastes them before serving them and told us the last batch was ‘mai wan’, not sweet.  

This evening we had window film put on our two giant bathroom windows upstairs.  The afternoon sun can get very hot and this should keep things cooler.  It will also allow us to have the shades open and still maintain some privacy.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Injustice anywhere is a threat
to justice everywhere.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018



Today was a beautiful day.  Last night was a stormy one.  It rained hard all night, or at least it seemed like it.  The kind of rain that you can hear.  This morning, the aftermath was a soggy lawn with assorted puddles.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles.  ‘Zany Day’ is next.  Remember:
“Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a __ __?  My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.  Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends.  So Lord, won’t you buy me a __ __?”  Hint:  There’s a car involved.

We had a rather mellow morning starting with coffee at Chivit Tamma Da.  Our usual table was empty and we were able to enjoy the view of the river while sipping coffee and listening to the latest novel on our playlist.  We took our time because we wanted to get to ArtBridge after they opened at 10am.  At ArtBridge, Lisa handled the first order of business for inclusion in the annual member exhibition in December.  The coolest thing about this year's opening is that it will be held while we’re still in the country.  Usually, it’s right after we leave.  In the parking lot there are assorted large scale pieces created for the upcoming sports games.  Among them are two people running, and a football (Soccer) player throwing a ball.  

Today’s photos from the ArtBridge parking lot.

After our visit to ArtBridge we drove into Ban Du for a stop at Dr. View’s office.  We needed more ‘Doggie toothpaste’ for Daku.  That’s right, he gets his teeth brushed every night before bed.  Years ago we learned that it’s important to brush their teeth, just like humans.  

  In the morning there were indications that something had happened at the temple in Ban Mai because there were many people leaving, dressed in all white.  It may have been a local observance.  There is no official holiday listed for today, but the afternoon traffic through town was heavier than I have ever seen.  The cold temperatures in Europe usually trigger the beginning of High Season here, but it never happens all of a sudden, on one day.  We’ll see if it continues like this.  Our little town is going to need rapid transit before too long (555).

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“The reward for work well done
is the opportunity to do more.”
~Jonas Salk

Tuesday, October 23, 2018



There is no question about it, the rainy part is still here.  It rained all day, heavy downtown, light drizzle at The Big Brown House.  We actually walked under umbrellas today.  

‘Easy Monday’ is still waiting for some of you to sing along.  This tune came out in ’67 on a ‘ground-breaking’ album.
“(Would you believe in a love at first sight?)  Yes I’m certain that it happens all the time.  (What do you see when you turn out the light?)  I can’t tell you , but I know it’s mine.  Oh, I get by __ __ __ __ __ __ __.  Oh, I’m gonna try __ __ __ __ __ __ __….”  Clue:  It’s those four pesky lads from Liverpool again.

When we left the house this morning, we had forgotten that it was a holiday.  As we entered the mall parking, it was crawling with cars.  The mall opened at 10am, one hour earlier than usual.  We got our favorite spot and had coffee inside.  Today was Chulalongkorn Day, also known as Rama V, the King who connected what was then called Siam to the rest of the world.  He traveled to other countries, put an end to slavery, and became a hero of the people.  If you know the story of ‘The King & I’, he was the eldest son of the King who brought the English tutor to Thailand.  

This afternoon we spent time in our respective studios.  Lisa is working on another sculpture and I’m relearning tunes and tech stuff, dissecting a drum rhythm to adapt to a song, and generally going back to school.  

Today’s photo was taken at Doy Din Dang.  What appears to be a wall painting is actually naturally occurring moss.

Natcha and Gong have started working on a new project in order to be able to send Nitchanan to music school when she turns five years old.  Next month, they will be selling toddler clothes at the same location where they sold food.  The clothes are quite cute and if they use Nitchanan as a model, it’s sure to be a success.  Natcha comes from a very musical family and Nitchanan has the genes for it.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The only way to have a friend
is to be one.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, October 22, 2018



It has become very clear that the rainy season in not over.  We’ve had several storms since I wrote.  Sunday night we had that ‘lake effect’ rain.  The entire front yard was reflecting the sky.  Today was cloudy and nice.

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “No Particular Place To Go” by Chuck Berry.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ song that should have you singing all day:  “What would you think if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me?  Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song and I’ll try not to sing out of key.  Oh, I get by __ __ __ __ __ __ __, mm, I get high __ __ __ __ __ __ __, mm gonna try __ __ __ __ __ _ __.”  Hint:  Way too easy for a hint, except to say that glad the Sergeant taught the band to play (555).

Saturday we had coffee with our friends Chalit and Nu.  They are the heart of Bliss Photographic Studios and we’ve been friends for a long time.  I had coffee and roti, Lisa had rose tea, and the brothers Bliss had giant cheese burgers for breakfast.  Amazing.  Our discussions covered a lot of territory, including investments, art, and the trials and tribulations of being an artist.  We seem to end up enlightening each other in our ‘process’ and come away feeling like we got a glimpse of what it’s all about.  

In the afternoon I had a great massage from Khun Jin.  I hadn’t had a full massage for a long time and things just got to the point where I had to surrender.  Normally, Thai massage can go pretty deep into the muscles, but when directed to be gentle, Jin reminded me why I used to like massages.  

Sunday we has another lunch with our friend Lisa, and her parents, Edwin and Suan.  This time they invited us to their house on Buffalo Hill.  It was a feast beyond expectation.  Among the interesting dishes, were baked cassava root fresh from their yard, honey from their bee hive, and a homemade carrot cake that goes back two generations.  We were all stuffed by the time it was over.  We really enjoy spending time with them, hearing stories of Thailand years ago, and getting answers to questions that have been needing answers.  The house is like a museum, with artwork and antiques collected over time.  

Today’s photos were taken at the beautiful home on the hill.  The first photo is me standing by a giant wood carving.  The second is a while marble carving of Quan Yin, from the Mae Sai district. 

Have a Great Week.


“Those who can make you
believe absurdities can make 
you commit atrocities.”

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday Funnies


We had another ‘picture perfect’ day here in Chiang Rai.  It looks like the rain has left the area.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Hotel California” by The Eagles.  It’s time for another episode of ‘Old School Friday’.  “Riding along in my automobile, my baby beside me at the wheel.  I stole a kiss at the turn of a mile.  My curiosity running wild.  Cruisin’ and and playin’ the radio, with __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  I wonder if that was Maybellene by his side.  Riding for the sake of riding.  Oh yeah.

This morning we went to Central Plaza Mall for coffee and a few items.  We got there about 15 minutes before opening and it looked like the whole town was there.  We realized it was because of the parking problem.  Folks decided to go early to get one of the treasured spots on the main lot.  On our walk to Starbuck’s we passed a tent.  As we got closer I saw a boxing ring inside.  Hmm, so this was where the big Thai boxing match was to be held.  We’ve seen signs around town, but didn’t know the location.  Based on what I saw, there won’t be enough chairs.  Oh well, they’ll probably have a big screen inside for the overflow.  There were tons of people in ‘our’ Starbuck’s and we had to wait for our order.   Inside the mall we spotted a group of ‘Pretties’ in red tones and asked if we could take their photos.   Below is the result.  In the second photo, Lisa is showing them how the pics came out.  We don’t know what they were promoting, but they were sure to attract a crowd.

Around town people are gearing up for the Cold Season.  The first signs of the seasonal change are the roadside vendors selling warm jackets and sweaters.  It’s used clothing and is sometimes kept for the cold months and then discarded or passed on.  There is no need for a warm jacket most of the year.  I remember buying a garment during our first year, a light sweater for cool mornings.  That was before it really got cold.  It’s almost that time of year when things in the closet change positions and the warm things come to the front (555).

This afternoon Chopper got out of the yard.  We think he was just waiting for the right opportunity to make his move.  The gate opened for the family to leave and he raced out.  Someplace down the road, he attacked a duck.  The owner hit him just as Gong arrived.  He had to pay the man for the duck.  Maybe they’ll remember to secure Chopper before opening the gate.  So ends another episode of Wild Kingdom.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.     The ‘Funnies’ are coming.    Formula 1 is in Texas this time.  Zoom!


Thursday, October 18, 2018



The weather was clear and dry, and there was no burning.  I’d call that a perfect day.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has been remembered by many.  Here is the last verse of this wonderfully zany odyssey.  “Last thing I remember I was running for the door.  I had to find the passage back to the place I was before.  ‘Relax,’ said the night man, ‘We are programmed to receive.  You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!”  Welcome to the __ __, such a lovely place, such a lovely face.  Plenty of room at the __ __, any time of year, you can find it here.”  Hint:  There’s a state involved.

Our morning adventure was a trip to Doy Din Dang ceramic studios.  On the way up the highway, we noticed lots of policemen standing by the road at intersections.  This is a clear sign that a major caravan of important people is coming.  After we turned off the highway, we were confronted with a long line of Highway Police cars going toward the highway.  There was only one van, so that might not have been the ‘event’.  When we pulled into Doy Din Dang, there were police standing around.  This was to be the destination of the caravan.  We found Khun Somluk and he told us that Princess Soamsavali was coming to visit.  She is visiting the galleries and installations in Chiang Rai.  The arrival time of the entourage was unknown, so he and his wife just went about their business until they came.  We went into the little coffee shop and it was filled with policemen.  One very tall officer asked Lisa where we were from and he was surprised to learn that we live here.  His English was very good and we had a good time talking.  Somluk wanted to get a photo of the three of us but Yoong (meaning very tall) had to put on his uniform shirt first.  I learned that the secret to the tailored fit of the officer uniforms is the full length zipper. The buttons are fake.  Once it’s zipped, it’s a tight, contoured fit.  Anyway, we took photos and then had coffee with Somluk and Tamako on the patio.  We had some great discussions on art, community, and quality of life stuff.  
He also showed us some new work of his that is going to be in an exhibit in Bangkok.  It’s a whimsical series of bent and folded ceramic plates and bowls. 

In the afternoon, we went for a swim.  The water was cool on entry, but the actual temperature was just right for swimming.  We just may be into our swimming season. 

Today’s photo was taken before dinner.  Gong was riding Nitchanan around the yard.  She loves her little seat, and the bell that she rings as they ride.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Life is the art of drawing
without an eraser.”
~John W. Gardner

Wednesday, October 17, 2018



Chiang Rai experienced beautiful weather today.  That thunder and lightning from last night didn’t rain on us.  Maybe somewhere else, but we had dry streets this morning and the whole day was a ‘post card’.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “No Fair At All” by The Association.  And now, the ‘Zany Day’ song:  “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air.  Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light.  My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, I had to stop for the night.  There she stood in the doorway, I heard a mission bell, and I was thinking to myself, ‘This could be heaven or this could be hell’.  Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way.  There were voices in the corridor, I thought I heard them say: ‘Welcome to the __ __, such a lovely place, such a lovely face….”  Hint:  You may already be checked in, but if not, it’s about a place to stay.  The year was 1977.

This morning, armed with a photo and a tape measure, we found the perfect cabinet at Thai Watsadu for the outside kitchen, and it will be delivered tomorrow.  The woman that helped us with the purchase made sure all the details of finding the house were covered, and handled the sale in a very efficient manner.  It’s nice when someone takes the initiative to get it right the first time.  Right next door was Home Sukapan, where we had a small credit we wanted to use.  We found a couple of things for the guest room and our ‘work’ there was finished.  All of these big stores have very involved methods of protecting themselves and their inventory.  As a result, there is lots of paper, lots of signing the paper, and lots of time spent watching all of this.  I guess the lesson is to be patient and grateful that they had the item you were looking for (555).

This afternoon on bus station street, I noticed two very old ceremonial wagons.  I think they may be in preparation for some kind of dedication for the new bus station structure.  The name of the building was being installed.  Not only is it "Bus Station Number 1," but also the "Tourist Center."  The photo below shows one of the wagons, and part of a mural that was painted by members of ArtBridge.  

There was an interesting article in the Bangkok Post about the changing patterns of food in the Bangkok area.  Many things contribute to certain dishes disappearing and this article touches on some cultural aspects that I didn’t know about.  Since Chiang Rai is an agricultural region, we don’t have the same conditions as the Central region (Bangkok).  Here is a link to the article:

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


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

Tuesday, October 16, 2018



The sky was clear, the breeze was mild, and we had no idea that tonight we’d be in the midst of a big thunder and lightning storm.  The sunset was spectacular.  This time of year brings awesome endings to the days.  

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is about realizing too late, what was there.  “Never seen the moonlight through your hair, til now.  Never heard the sweet things you could say, til now.  After all the time we spent together, just doesn’t seem fair at all.  __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  A key word in the title has been sung in the chorus.

Yesterday Cat spent the morning with us.  We went to Chivit Tamma Da and she had what she thought would be shrimp with noodles on the side.  What she got was six giant prawns in a bowl of Tom Yum soup with spicy noodles in a little bowl with a round bottom.  That little bowl kept spinning and rolling, not ideal, but it worked.  After Chivit, we went to see about getting her some glasses for working at her computer.  The third year of college has brought a lot more work, and eye fatigue is now an issue.  It turns out that the special blue-blocking lens should do the trick.  We ordered a pair that will be fashionable enough for use at home (555).  

Today we went out in search of a larger cabinet for the outside kitchen.  Chopper has been taking things off the counters and low cabinets and ‘playing’ with them.  This morning there was a bag of onions divided between two yards.  I can’t imaging them being much fun, but he messed with them.  There is a place that used to make just what we need, but when we got there, their focus was elsewhere.  Global House, one of the five Home Depot style stores didn’t have what we need.  We’re going to take a photo and re-do our tour of shops.  

Today’s photo was taken at Global House.  This is just one of the aisles devoted to PVC items.  This is just fittings for ‘plumbing’.  That word is not used, but that’s what it is.  Blue is for water, yellow for electric.  There is also white, but I’m not sure what that’s for.  Always more to learn (555).

This evening we finished our list of grown-up things to do this month.  We got our teeth cleaned (Yea).  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Without a struggle, there can
be no progress.”
~Frederick Douglass

Monday, October 15, 2018



We had a weekend of ‘fake out’ weather.  It would look like rain and then not follow through.  It’s been pleasant, with slightly cooler temps in the mornings, and moderate evenings.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “I Only Have Eyes For You” as sung by The Flamingos.,wn   Now it’s time for an ‘Easy Monday’ song:
“I’ve never seen this side of you before (til now).  I never knew that you could feel this way (til now).  After all the time we spent together, just doesn’t seem fair, at all,  __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  This one is easy, a six-man vocal band.  They cherished Windy.

Saturday morning we met our friend Atom for coffee at The Wanderer.  We hadn’t seen her in a long time and it was good to get together and do the ‘update thing’.  Atom told us she’s going to be facilitating a series of business meetings for a delegation from So. Korea.  It sounds like Chiang Rai is becoming a northern ‘hub’ city.  While we were hanging out, Khun Noot came to our table.  After a short conversation, she went to the kitchen and came back with what looked like a pear on a plate.  She is always bringing us something good to try.  The thing on the plate was called ‘Egg Fruit’ and had an almost creamy consistency, and a sweet potato flavor.  I’d definitely like to try that again.  

Sunday morning there was another bike ride.  I think this one must have been in honor of the late King, Rama 9.  This weekend was the 2-year anniversary of his passing.  I left the house and had to creep along behind a tiny little boy and his dad, along with their motorcycle escort as they did the last leg of the journey.  The little guy was pedaling his heart out.  

We lunched at The Wanderer with our friend Lisa and her mom and dad.  The place was swamped with customers. It was a beautiful Sunday morning on a long weekend holiday.  We ended up talking a lot about food.  What we can eat, how things are made, family recipes, etc.  As a result, we’re having lunch together next Sunday at their house.  I think it will be epic.

The dog trainer came over in the afternoon and gave Lisa and Natcha some pointers on how to deal with Chopper.  They worked with the leash on the driveway and he did pretty good.  As soon as Lisa took him onto the lawn, he went into his crazy puppy mode and was difficult to handle.  For now, they will work with him on the pavement.  The lawn is his playground and he thinks that’s what is suppose to happen there.  Hmm.

In the evening we went back to an old haunt, the Night Bazaar.  It’s been weeks since we ate at Sawadee.  We had a great dinner and a nice talk with the owners.  Things are picking up for the vendors.  They have tour groups booked next week and the scarf lady told us her business is good.  She was very happy.  We did a little pre-holiday shopping and got to see some of the newer items for this season.  

Have a Great Week.


“We have art so that we shall not
die of reality.”

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday Funnies


This morning we had a heavy mist that turned into a light rain.  It wasn’t enough to hamper Daku’s time in the yard or create any puddles.  Chopper seem oblivious to the water from the sky.  It can be raining moderately hard and he will just stroll around the yard like nothing is different.  He has a very thick coat and doesn’t seem bothered by wet or cold.  Hmm.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Mothers Little Helper” by The Rolling Stones.  This week’s ‘Old School Friday’ song is from 1959, by a group named after a big pink bird.  “My love must be a kind of blind love.  I can’t see anyone but you.  Are the stars out tonight?  I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright.  __ __ __ __ __ __, dear.  The moon may be high, but I can’t see a thing in the sky.  ‘Cause __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  The song is a standard, this R&B production featured lush harmonies and deep reverb.  The singer has very selective vision.

Sometime in November Chiang Rai will host the 46th Thailand National Games.  There are not many details yet, but athletes from different provinces will participate in what is sounding like a mini-Olympics.  Last week there was a ‘Night Run’ for the games.  From the photos posted, it looked like most of the town turned out.  The various events leading up to the games help with funding and also build enthusiasm for the actual events.  

Before we took Daku out, we had a Facetime conversation with Cousin Ellen in New Hampshire.  She’s going to be visiting next month.  The red carpet doesn’t get used that much so we will dust it off and plan the local ‘tour’.  

This was a Big C morning and since it was Friday, we made sure we got an early start.  The sky was looking like ‘maybe’ so we parked in the inside lot.  There is a section near the door with the wheelchair symbol and the word ‘Helper’ in red.  We are assuming this means that a security person will come and help anyone who needs it.  That’s pretty cool.  

Today’s photo is actually a bonus ‘Funny’.  It was taken yesterday at Work@Home.  Katai was wearing it and I couldn’t resist sharing.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.            The ‘Funnies’ are next.


Thursday, October 11, 2018



Our weather day was mild, without rain.  It did manage to get hot.  The afternoon was marred by a big burning session not far away.  Lots of nasty smoke this evening too.  Air machines are doing their jobs.

Our ‘Zany Day’ song this week is all about ‘self care’.  It’s by a band who got their name from a blues song.
“Doctor, please, some more of these, outside the door, she took four more.  What a drag it is getting old.  ‘Men just aren’t the same today,’ I hear ev’ry mother say, they just don’t appreciate that you get tired.   They’re so hard to satisfy, you can tranquilize your mind, so go running to the shelter of your __ __ __.  And four help you through the night, help you minimize your plight…”  Hint:  It’s about medical back-up?  Hmm.

This morning was busy as well as productive.  We began with a visit to Work@Home, where we had coffee and conversation with Katai and Towan.  There was dog talk, car talk, and an update on our trip to Bangkok.  We were lucky to see them at all considering all the traveling they do for business.  Our next stop was Central Plaza Mall again.  We went yesterday to get a new power cord for my laptop, but they wanted to see the computer, so we returned to get the cord.  For some reason, power cord reminds me of ‘power chord’ as in Rock & Roll (555).  See how my mind works?

Our favorite ‘bakery’ is on Jet Yod Rd. and that was our next destination.  From there it was an easy drive to the Clock Tower and over to the nursery for tiny rocks to put around the stepping stones in the back yard.  What a morning.

After our nap, we voted.  That is to say, we assembled the paperwork that has to be sent to the Los Angeles County office for our votes to be recorded.  We only get to vote for the office of President and Senator, so this time it’s a small bit, but important.  

Today’s photos were taken at The Big Brown House.  The first is one of two red palms in the back yard.  They have been with us for about 8 years.  The next photos show the new palm in the front yard.  First you see it as it was newly planted, and then with the Chopper Barrier that Gong installed.

Tomorrow is Cat’s 21st birthday.  This evening we took her to dinner at Melt In Your Mouth.  We had a fun time looking back over the last five years.  When we told Cat about voting, she told us how she has never had the opportunity to vote.  When she turned 18, the new government had ceased having elections.  Now she really wants to vote.  One of her mentor/teachers told her how important it is to be counted.  Hmm, growing up in Thailand.

Tomorrow we get our flu shots.  There’s never a dull moment around here.  Always something to do.    

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Time you enjoy wasting,
was not wasted.”
~John Lennon

Wednesday, October 10, 2018



The weather today was almost a carbon copy of yesterday.  Today’s rain came later, just as I was leaving downtown.  These little daily rains are nothing like what other parts of the world are having to deal with this year.  Our thoughts go with those who are getting hit by hurricanes and major storms.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “You Got A Friend”, written by Carole King and sung by James Taylor and also by King. Time for another ‘Zany Day’ song:  “What a drag it is getting old.  ‘Things are different today,’ I hear every mother say.  Mother needs something today to calm her down.  And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill.  She goes running to the shelter of her __ __ __ and it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day.”  Hint:  It’s by one of the oldest performing Rock & Roll bands on the planet.  

This morning we got a fun surprise when we went to The Wanderer for coffee.  Kwan had messaged that she had something special for us today.  After we had our coffee and tea, we were about the leave when the staff told us to wait for a few minutes.  We hung around the door, thinking it was something to take home.  They came out from the kitchen with a little plate of fresh coconut ice-cream topped with homemade caramel sauce, all sitting on top of a brownie.  It was 10:15 in the morning, but who could turn this down?  We sat down and devoured the amazing little dessert.

Our next stop was Tepawan Stationary and Art Supply.  Lisa went in and got a big greeting from Supaluk and her son Pete.  We were looking for modeling putty for cleaning our Air Pods.  It’s a trick I just learned about.  They didn’t have any, but suggested possibilities.  

At the mall, as we were leaving Top’s, we saw two friends who had also met there by chance.  It was a quick chat with Joaquim and Bruce and then we all went our separate ways.  The mall had just opened but people were pouring in like it was Saturday.  We learned that some of the new construction inside the mall is for a major clothing line, Uniqlo.  Our Chiang Rai mall is going big time (555).

The current series of rain storms has prompted the city to put a barrier at the base of the hillside that was slipping last year.  A bulldozer sits on the side of the hill, in a very precarious pose.  I hope we don’t get a heavy storm that takes the hill and the tractor onto the road.  

Wednesday is usually the only time I drive into town in the afternoon.  Most of the time it’s in the mornings.  Today, I noticed a denser traffic pattern than a few weeks ago.  It moves pretty good, just more cars and trucks.  The slowest part is when we pass by food vendors.  People stop for ‘take away’ on the way home.  One thing that there is an abundance of in Thailand is food.  

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“If you change the way you
look at things, the things you
look at change.”
~Wayne Dyer

Tuesday, October 9, 2018



The day began looking like rain any minute.  It stayed heavily clouded until this afternoon when the rain came.  It wasn’t a big storm, just some thunder and enough rain to water everything.  The yard is very green and happy.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is terribly easy.  Here are the lyrics from the bridge:  “People can be so cold, they’ll hurt you and desert you.  Well, they’ll take your soul if you let them, yeah, but don’t you let them.  You just call out my name…”  Clue:  Title in 4 words.

After the morning routine, which included exercising Daku and talking to Joe, Lisa’s dad, we went to Chivit Tamma Da for coffee.  The time when we usually arrive at most of our ‘coffee stops’ is early enough that the places are fairly empty.  This is nice, especially down by the river at Chivit.  

Back on the highway heading north, we went to the post-office and then doubled back for a stop at Makro.  I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the bodiless voice that calls out sales on a looping megaphone.  It’s just eerie.  The mystery is compounded by the fact that I don’t know what the voice is saying.  

When we got home, Nitchanan was in the carport, sitting on her bike, using an old fan remote as a cellphone.  She made sure I knew what she was doing, and as I was going into the house, she began having a conversation on the ‘phone’.  After the groceries were put away, she came inside and took up her position at the base of the stairs.  This was letting us know her intention.  The two of us climbed the stairs together.  She can now step alternately, using her hands for support.  We identified a few things around the room and then she picked up the mini-didgeridoo that I got in Australia.  She knows what it’s for and pretended to play it, and then handed it to me.  I got a shot of her just before she sang a note into it.

At lunch, Natcha showed us a couple of videos she took of Nitchanan.  In one, she sings the alphabet song from beginning to end.  In the other, she counts in Chinese.  

Chopper is visiting with us this evening.  The family is out and he was alone in the pen.  Now he’s feeling loved, hanging with his other family.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The earth is the mother of all
people, and all people should
have equal rights upon it.”
~Chief Joseph

Monday, October 8, 2018



It’s good to be back in Chiang Rai.  Today is was the usual ‘hot’, but no rain.  I’m OK with that.  Gong washed the van while we were gone and it will be nice to drive a clean vehicle for a few days (555).

The ‘Old School Friday' song was “Memphis, Tennessee” by Chuck Berry.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ you all know:
“When you’re down and troubled, and you need a helping hand and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.  Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there, to brighten up even your darkest nights.  You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again.  Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you got to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.  __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  This song was made popular by the writer and also by a close friend.  Either name will do, just don’t forget the title (5).

Our Saturday in Bangkok was great.  James and Nita took us to their gym, which was a unique experience.  To begin with, it was clean, the equipment was fairly new, the staff was helpful, and there were towels, water, and coffee provided.  Yeah, I could live there.  We watched a small group of people in one of the studios as they learned how to use what can best be described as slings made of cloth.  They would hang in different positions, wind them around themselves and do mid-air workouts.  The upside down pose looked really cool.  I managed to get in a good workout and not hurt myself.  You know it was good when you reach that ‘zone’, light and a little spacey.  

After our workout, Khun Boonrit took us back to the house to change.  Then it was back to the same complex to pick a place to eat lunch.  There were many possibilities in a small area.  After lunch we went to a place called Villa Market.  They have many things we can’t get in Chiang Rai.  A lot of the items are imported, which makes them more expensive than our usual shopping, but Saturday I got a can of cream soda.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in Chiang Rai.  We didn’t get much because taking it home on the plane gets tricky with weight and space.  It’s fun to go in and see what is there and know that it’s real (5).  

In the evening, James BBQ’d chicken, Nita made a salad and we had another great evening of food and conversation.  After dinner we all hung out in their upstairs den and watched a movie.  We closed the weekend with a Sunday morning treatment from Juan, the osteopath, who did some great work on my neck and showed me a few tricks to put things in ‘relaxation mode’.  

A tranquil setting, too cold for swimming, but still relaxing.

It is now possible to avoid long lines at the airport by simply telling the attendants my age.  Bangkok Air boarded us ahead of the crush just by mentioning that it was hard for me to stand in long lines.  Today, at lunch with our friend Sutheera, we learned that the Chiang Rai mall has designated parking near the entrance for seniors.  As populations get older, it makes sense to honor the presence of the ‘older’ folks.  I just have to remember not to walk too briskly (555).

While we were in Bangkok, little Nitchanan went to the stairs on several occasions and called up to us.  Natcha tried to explain to her that we were not at home.  It’s nice to be missed.

Have a Great Week.


“If you can, help others; if you
cannot do that, at least do not
harm them.”
~Dalai Lama