Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Funnies


Our weather is in a repeating pattern these days.  Cold mornings changing to moderately warm days and then cool evenings.  It’s really a nice pattern.  The only thing getting in the way is smoke.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones.  Here’s an ‘Old School Friday’ some of you might remember:  “You’re __ __ __ __ but I still have your love to remember you by.  Oh, my darling dry your eyes, Daddy’s coming home soon.  On my knees every day-ay all I do is pray, baby, just for you.  Hope you a-a-always want me too.  Daddy’s coming home soon.”  Hint:  This one’s from 1957, but it’s still on a lot of play lists.  Your mileage may differ, but there are a lot of them in the title.  Group name is the thing everyone has in their chest, if you listen.

Except for a short trip to the 'Cafe In The Woods’ (The Wanderer), we spent another day at the house healing.  
I’m getting better but it seems like the whole ordeal will have lingering aches and pains.  The major scary pain is gone.  Things are more localized and that’s a good thing, I think.  Lisa is having dreams of walking so that tells me she’s getting better.  

There has been a lot of helicopter activity in the area recently.  They are the big Hueys that were left over from the Viet Nam conflict.  They take off from the army base near us and seem to like flying low.  We can only guess what’s going on.  

Chiang Rai has been ‘Action Central’ for the past few weeks.  We’ve had Thai kick boxing at the mall, an extended Loy Krathong, The Thailand Games, and now The Farm Festival.  Who says we/they don’t know how to party.  Friends have been posting photos of the events so we get to see things without being there.  

Gong and Natcha have been wonderful during our days of recuperating.  Natcha takes Daku out for his morning exercise and he always comes back happy.  They have a bond that’s pretty cool.  She can call him from the kitchen and he’ll jump up and dash to see her.  Some days, if it’s not too hot, Gong will take him out for playtime.  Whatever we need, they’re willing to help and that makes us feel secure.

With all the building going on around us, it’s nice to be able to look out from the upstairs window and see the little farm still happening.

When Nitchanan comes to visit, one of the things she like to do is see pictures of Daku and BamBam on Lisa's computer.   

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


Thursday, November 29, 2018



It was definitely a cooler day today.  Anytime we can go through the day without using the air/con means it’s cooler.  This evening we had to turn on the air/con due to smokey air.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has lots of friends out there.  “I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag.  I was schooled with a strap across my back.  But it’s all right now, in fact it’s a gas.  But it’s all right, I’m __ __ __, it’s a gas, gas, gas.”  Clue:  It’s by one of the oldest performing bands in R&R.  They just seem to keep rolling along.

For the last couple of days Natcha’s nephew Gop has been staying with them.  He’s about 8 or 9 years old and a very sweet boy.  He and Nitchanan get along great.  They play and have long conversations about whatever they know about.  This afternoon Gop played with Chopper and later I saw Gong playing football (soccer) with him.  

We had a quiet morning and that was good.  This afternoon I took a deep breath and went to the Thai version of the DMV.  When I walked in I was surprised to see a completely different configuration.  The counter I had my sights set on was gone.  What shall I do?  I went to the information window and, in broken English, was told to take a number and that it would be a wait.  After almost an hour of watching the ‘queue numbers’ stay the same, I asked what I should do.  That’s when she told me the internet had failed.  I guess the van registration renewal will have to wait.  

I think I drove more today than I have in about a week.  It was nice to be out in the world.  I made a few short stops and went back to the house, careful to take the ‘village short cut’ to our house.  Knowing a few tiny streets can make a difference in one’s composure during rush hour (555).

We are always amazed by the way certain things get over 8,000 miles from their origins and become a part of the local setting.  Today’s photo is a case in point.  Not quite half way between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai there is a big gas station with lots of shops and restaurants.  The photo is the window of a clothing shop.  Amazing Thailand.

Meanwhile, progress is being made on the coffee shop next door.  A cement truck came today and poured the first stage of the ‘footings’ and foundation.  It may be time for me to go and inspect the happenings.  Color me curious.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Energy and persistence
conquer all things.”
~Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, November 28, 2018



This morning it felt like winter.  The air was cold and crisp.  It never did warm up to the usual 85F.  They say it was 79F.  Tomorrow will be back to the mid 80s.  Wonderful weather for all the visitors from the colder climates.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Imagine” by John Lennon.  Now it’s time to get down with a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “I was born in a crossfire hurricane.  And I howled at my ma in the driving rain.  But it’s all right now, in fact it’s a gas.  But it’s all right, I’m __ __ __, it’s a gas, gas, gas."

We spent today hanging out at the house.  There was brief contemplation on where to go for coffee, but it felt good to be still.  I think my back is out of ‘crisis mode’ since I was able to get out of bed without the usual agony.  The problem is still there and it still reminds me, but I think the worst may be over.  

If I were superstitious I’d tell you that it’s going to rain because Gong washed the van.  I’m not going to say that, but now you know we have a clean van (555).  

This afternoon I went into town for a meeting.  Chiang Rai is really bustling with buses and vans and people from other places.  We’re really happy when this time of year comes because it means a boost for many local shop owners.  

Today’s photo was taken from the van while sitting in traffic.  I did a double take when I saw the tree since it’s still November.  Someone must have spent time in the States.

This was the last day of The Games.  Cat and some of her classmates were ask to participate in the closing ceremonies at the sports complex.  I hope it doesn’t get too cold.  I have no idea which provinces won which events, but I’m sure there will be a translation in the future.  It did a lot to bring elements of Chiang Rai closer together.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“You can’t cross the sea
merely by standing and
staring at the water.”
~Rabindranath Tagore

Tuesday, November 27, 2018



This morning it was actually chilly.  It remained cooler than usual during the day.  It's getting to be time to cover the arms and legs.  The forecast for tonight is 54F.  That’s cold in these parts.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song got lots of responses.  The one word title is asking us to think about things differently.
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.  I hope some day you will join us, and the world will be as one.”  Hint:  The writer/singer was once a member of that pesky foursome from across the pond.  

This appears to be the month for family calamities.  Lisa’s ankle, my back, and most recently her dad Joe, who fell in his front yard and had to have partial hip replacement.  He’s doing ok and will be well taken care of during his post-surgery time.  He’s 94, works out 3 times a week and has a very bright outlook.  We keep him in our thoughts and hope that he’ll be in his studio before long.

We went to The Wanderer this morning for our usual coffee/roti outing.  Gong put the wheelchair in the van and the young men at The Wanderer took it out.  We had a nice visit with Kwan and she explained an article we’d seen on Facebook about her late dad.  The company that owns Doi Chaang Coffee in Canada, had named a new product line ‘The Wanderer’.  That’s pretty cool when you think about it.  

Today’s photo shows a unique way to utilize a dead palm tree.  The top was removed and a fern placed inside.

It’s a bit eerie not hearing the activity from across the river.  Not that I’m complaining. I’m lovin’ the quiet.  Even the little restaurants on our side of the river are quiet.  There was a time when Karaoke would serenade us into the night, but that hasn’t happened in quite some time.  That’s the nature of Chiang Rai - it is ever changing.  

The horrible back pain that I’ve been having in the mornings was less today.  It still hurt, but not quite as much.  Yesterday was the two week mark and now it seems that I may be coming out of the woods.  This is the time when I have to treat it gently and not get too enthusiastic.  My goal is to be stable by the time we leave for the Winter Visit to the states.  There are still a few treatment options to be explored and time is still on my side.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Time moves in one direction,
memory in another.”
~William Gibson

Monday, November 26, 2018



The ‘post card’ weather is holding here in Chiang Rai.  This morning it was noticeably cooler, but warming up by mid-day.  We like it like this.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by The Everly Brothers.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ that should make you smile:  "__ there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try.  No hell below us, above us only sky.  __ all the people living for today, ah ha.  __ there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do.  Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.  __ all the people living life in peace…”  Hint: The title is something the mind can do.   

We spent the weekend at home listening to the revelry across the river.  Last night (Sunday) was one of the loudest of the week.  I went outside and heard at least three music sources, lots of playful screaming and the sound of various sizes of firecrackers.  There may be restrictions on the sale of certain fireworks, but you’d never know it by the sounds in the night.  

Gong went across the street to ask about the new construction they’re preparing for and the best we could get was that it will be a hotel or small resort.  I suppose that could be OK.  It would be a nice landmark for giving directions, better than Bed Villa (555).  The lot next door is either going to be a coffee shop or a single family dwelling.  By the looks of the bamboo marking off the size of the building, it’s more likely to be a coffee shop.  I can see it now, walking next door and hanging out with some fresh coffee.  Hmm.  

This morning we went to Overbrook Hospital for the ‘reading’ of my MRI.  Lisa went with me so we could both hear and discuss with the doctor.  The doctor explained the film and showed us what was generating the pain and why.  Without getting medical, it’s going to take medicine, therapy, rest and time.  That last one is the one that always gets me.  Patience flies out the window and in my mind I’m screaming ‘How long, how much time, when will I know’?  I simply smiled and said that I understood.  I must say that today is better than yesterday.  Here’s the ironic part:  On the one hand, I need to strengthen my back and abs, on the other hand, I’m taking muscle relaxers to ease the pressure on my spine.  You see my dilemma?  I’ll follow directions, but there's that nagging question (555).

After we finished with the doctor it was off to window 42 to pay the bill and get more medicine.  I asked for a CD of the MRI so I could show it to other doctors on my ‘team’  (5).  That meant going to another department.  Then we went to PT for new exercises.  When it was all over, it was a 2.5 hour excursion.  Life goes on.

While we were waiting for lunch, Nitchanan, who was off from school, came to our room and went straight for the books.  She gave each of us a book to read.  She kept the ‘Monkeys’ book since it’s her favorite.  I love how she gives us assignments and includes us in her play.  She also likes to help, whether it’s closing the curtains or brushing Daku.  The other day she was having a melt-down and Natcha asked her to help wash the dishes.  Instant cure for the melt and she was busy at the sink.

I just realized it’s quiet.  There is no noise outside.  The carnival was packed up today, along with the stage and the sound system.  Sometimes it’s the little things. 

Have a Great Week.


“Most of us have far more
courage than we ever dreamed
we possessed.”
~Dale Carnegie

Friday, November 23, 2018

Friday Funnies


The temps today reached the mid 80s, which has been our norm lately.  Now we’re looking for rain.  Funny how a few weeks ago I was wishing the rain would go away and now it would be refreshing.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” by The Beatles.  Joe Cocker also has a soulful version of this tune.  Now it’s time for an ‘Old School Friday’ song.  This 1958 ballad is by two Rock-a-Billy brothers who had many hits.  “When I want you in my arms, when I want you and all your charms, whenever I want you, __ __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  Involves something that usually happens while sleeping, but not necessarily. 

The official night of Loy Krathong was a giant party.  We could hear the whole thing from our house.  The noise level was up a few notches from previous nights and there were a lot more fireworks.  Tonight it doesn’t seem to be as loud.  For us, that’s a good thing.  One of the drawbacks of this popular, tradition is the amount of leftovers.  In Bangkok, workers collected over 800,000 krathongs by the morning after.  The use of foam has gone way down and most of the other materials are degradable.  In smaller communities this is not a major problem.  The Kok river, which runs though Chiang Rai, has several places where the krathongs can be collected.  Now I’m curious to know if this happens, or do they just continue down river until they fall apart?

This morning we went to Overbrook Hospital.  I wanted to get an X-ray of my back before going to Chiang Mai.  Our friend Nurse Pay put me with a different doctor and we had a good consultation.  He explained three possible courses of treatment and we started with a different PT routine and an MRI in the afternoon.  He is the team doctor for the Chiang Rai United Football team so I’m hoping he’ll fix me up so I can get back in the game (555).  At the PT, two new terms came up: laser and traction.  What?  The ‘laser’ related to a different type of ultrasound, and the traction was just that.  They tugged on me with a slow machine, relieving the pressure on my back, or so they thought.  When it was over, I felt horrible.  The MRI was everything I’d heard about, but it didn’t freak me out.  I was ready.  The time went by quickly and I managed to play with the crazy sounds and have a few daydreams.  I don’t want to do it again though.  Monday we’ll review the results and plot the course of action.  Meanwhile, it’s more of the same: major pain when changing positions.  Maybe the new meds will make a difference.

One of the interesting things that happens at Overbrook Hospital is the mid-day music happenings.  Today’s photo shows a group of local ‘senior’ musicians playing in the garden area.  The woman in the middle of the photo was playing bells and singing lead.  

Yesterday we didn’t have a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, but Natcha made us a favorite consisting of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and peas.  In the past, we could get Butterball turkey breast from the States, but their importation is not allowed anymore.  When we make our Winter Visit next month, turkey will be involved (555).

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.   It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.   This weekend is the last Formula 1 race of the season, coming from Abu Dhabi.  Zoom!


Thursday, November 22, 2018



Chiang Rai had another blue sky, puffy cloud day.  We’re hoping the night is clear so we can see the fireworks and lanterns as they rise above the river.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was remembered by several readers.  It’s definitely a zany tale.  Maybe you know this:
“She said she’d always been a dancer.  She worked at fifteen clubs a day.  And though she thought I knew the answer, well, I knew what I could not say.  And so I quit the police department, and got myself a steady job.  And though she tried her best to help me, she could steal but she could not rob.  Didn’t anybody tell her?  Didn’t anybody see?…”  Clue:  The title doesn’t really mean much to the song, except that one can sneak in through odd entrances and find a home.  There was probably a shower involved.

Everybody in our house has something going on physically that we’d like to be over.  My back is still being painful, Lisa's leg is still in the cast, Natcha has a sore back from carrying Nitchanan, and she has a cut on her foot, Gong has a cold, and the baby rotates between little kid stuff.  We were thinking a photo of all of us being pitiful would be funny.  We haven’t taken it yet, and it’s not really that funny (555).  Natcha got another healing product today and applied some to my back.  It might have helped a bit.  We’ll have to do more.  It helped her problem right away though, so there’s hope.

After researching on the GreenBus website, we went to 7-11 and I got a ticket to go to Chiang Mai.  I wanted to go tomorrow but they were sold out of morning tickets.  I got a round trip for Saturday so I can see our chiropractor/osteopath guy.  I thought about driving myself but I’d rather leave the driving to them.

This morning we went back to The Wanderer and had coffee and roti with our friend John.  It’s always a very light, spontaneous event when we get together.  The staff was very helpful with the chair and pampering Lisa.  

The lot next door to us is now in building mode.  Today they dug some holes and started installing the rebar footings that will be the weight-bearing pillars of the house.  Across the street, the big digging machine keeps moving dirt around and it’s looking like some grand ‘thing’ is going to be built.  Tomorrow I’m going to ask Gong to go over and be nosey.  We’ve just got to know.  

Meanwhile, around town, the games continue and contrary to the stories, the town is not in grid-lock and the stores still have food.  They still have a ways to go and things could change, but so far so good.  The official name of the games is The 46th Annual Thailand Games.  This event has quite a legacy and the communities and teams are very serious.  There is a page with a medal count and all of the Thai networks were in town for the opening and some of the events.  I guess we’re not a small town anymore.  Hmm.

Tonight is officially Loy Krathong and the fireworks have started early.  As I was driving home from PT I noticed the crowds filing into festival grounds.  At the entrance to the access road I noticed a display of shiny used cars for sale.  You can get anything you need at Loy Krathong.  

I’ll leave you with a few more photos from the opening ceremonies.  The first pic shows The Wild Boars football team, the boys who were trapped in the cave.  The second pic is a grand ceremonial wagon.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“If you are really thankful,
what do you do?  You share.”
~W. Clement Stone

Wednesday, November 21, 2018



The weather in Chiang Rai has been mild, compared to a few weeks ago.  It warms up, but not the crushing heat of the hot season.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Cupid” by Sam Cooke.  Here’s one you might remember: “__ __ __ __ __ __ __, protected by a silver spoon.  But now she sucks her thumb and wanders by the banks of her own lagoon.  Didn’t anybody tell her?  Didn’t anybody see?  Sunday’s on the phone to Monday.  Tuesday’s on the phone to me.”  Hint: The title makes reference to an unusual method of entry.  Another from the four lads from across the pond.

This morning I started a series of physical therapy (PT) at Overbrook Hospital.  I now know that I must instruct them to do all the work with me on my side, instead of on my stomach.  I left there feeling like they made things worse.  It was discouraging to say the least.  Maybe my new plan will bring a change.

We had lunch at The Wanderer with our friends Brenda and Eric.  It had been a long time since we had spent any time together so there were many stories to be told.  Eric is the person who donated the big tree in Blue’s memory. He is what I’d call an adventurer, traveling around Thailand on his motorbike, hiking, diving, etc.  Brenda has been traveling in other directions, like Europe and the States.  We share, we laugh, we learn and we find common ground. It was a good lunch.

This afternoon I went to the kitchen to make coffee and noticed the screen door was ajar.  My first thought was that Chopper was in the house.  I had a feeling, so I looked outside in the usual places he naps.  There was no Chopper to be seen.  Just as I was about to go upstairs, his favorite place, he was creeping down the stairs.  New rule in the house, close that door.  To his credit, he’s figured out how to open two doors and gain entry.

Before dinner we had a visit from Cat and her boyfriend, Noom.  It was a pleasant chat, with him catching a few English words here and there and Cat telling us about being accepted to go to Indonesia in January.  It’s the first time we’ve had a visit with him.  He works at the airport doing lots of jobs.  We encouraged Cat to start teaching him English, since that what she does.  More homework (555).  They were on their way to the Loy Krathong festival across the river from us. 

These photos from the opening of the games feature a banner by an artist we like.  Each team/province was introduced with a painting depicting an aspect of Thai life.  The second photo is a costume close-up.  Couldn’t resist showing the ingenuity.   

There is a bass moaning in the distance.  That means the party is about to get started.  Oh joy.  I hope the kids are having fun.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Time stays long enough
for anyone who will use it.”
~Leonardo da Vinci

Tuesday, November 20, 2018



This morning there was fog.  We haven’t seen that in awhile.  For most of the day it was cloudy as usual.  The temps are forecasted to drop this week, with a possibility of rain by the weekend.  I’m sure there are many who hope that is wrong.  There is so much going on outside, rain would not be welcome.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song seems to be a favorite with a lot of readers.  Here’s a continuation of the lyrics:  “I don’t mean to bother you but I’m in a mess.  There’s a danger of me losing all of my happiness for I love a girl who doesn’t know I exist.  And this you can fix, so, __ draw back your bow and let your arrow go straight to my lover’s heart for me…”  Hint:  The subject of the song is sometimes called a cherub, we see them a lot during Valentine season.  The singer/writer is known for his smooth voice.

Last night the two music stages at Loy Krathong were competing and it was hard to know what I was hearing.  Later, something happened and the dance music stopped and all that was left was the sound of a band playing a ballad and a beautiful voice traveling through the air.  What a treat.  Each night, when I take Daku outside, I can feel a new level of energy coming from across the river.  The crowds are getting bigger and the carnival atmosphere more animated.  It’s nice to hear so many happy voices.

This was a stay-at-home day.  Trying to be patient and let things heal can be a real drag.  When you know you can do something, but it is counterproductive to getting better, the answer is obvious.  So now I’m determined to give my back the rest it needs.  One advantage to this is less pain.  Yea.  

Today’s photos are from the opening event for The Games.  The first pic is a beautiful float.  The second shows the escorts for one of the sports teams.  It’s like the Olympics, Thai style.  A lot of the artwork was done by members of ArtBridge and art students.  More pics to come.

Before dinner, Nitchanan came to our room.  She was a bundle of 2+ energy.  She got out her favorite book about little monkeys jumping on the bed and acted it out; she loves to jump.  Then it was the bubble wrap, then the colors book.  She’s is very smart and can hear how to say words and repeat them.  At dinner she learned to say ‘please’ when wanting more chips.  The last I saw of her, she was going home eating yogurt, with Daku staring at her.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Experience teaches only
the teachable.”
~Aldous Huxley

Monday, November 19, 2018



We’ve been having warm, cloudy days; perfect weather for outdoor activities.  The forecast calls for highs in the mid to high 80s with no rain in sight.  The sports people (The Games) and the party people (Loy Krathong) will be very happy.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “In The Still Of The Night” by The Five Satins.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ for you:
“__, draw back your bow and let your arrows go, straight to my lover’s heart for me.  __, please hear my cry, and let your arrow fly, straight to my lover’s hers for me.”  Hint:  This one word title is about a mythical little angel being who has magic love arrows.  

Saturday morning my back was still bothering me so I went to Overbrook Hospital to see a doctor.  After an examination it was determined that I had a severe strain of my muscles and that my spine was still straight.  I was given two medications that will help reduce inflammation and relax the muscles.  He also told me to let it rest.

The Loy Krathong festival is in full swing across the river, although Thursday of this week is the actual designated day.  The atmosphere can be felt when we step outside at night.  Tonight Cat explained the reason for the muddy, clashing sounds.  There is a dance music stage and a concert stage.  The relentless droning bass comes from the dance stage.  The sometimes musical stuff is from the concert stage.  There is a point each evening when we’re sure there will be some nice listening, but then the throbbing bass jumps up, right in the way.  

The Games have opened and the traffic has begun.  Lots of busses and vans carrying participants and fans are converging on Chiang Rai.  The games are held every year with a different province hosting.  We have come to the conclusion that Loy Krathong was extended this year because so many visitors will be here, and they will have something more to do.  I saw a preview of the games and they showed some of the sports that are based here in Asia.  One that caught my eye was ‘Volley Futsal’, where they play beach volleyball using only the head and feet.  Let the games begin.

These Krathongs are made from dough.  After they are placed in the river, they become biodegradable.  Much better for the river than styrofoam. 

Sunday lunch was at our house.  Our friend Lisa brought bags of food from The Wanderer and we had a little feast.  She recently returned from Bangkok, where she and her business partner exhibited their new line of shoes and handbags at several shopping centers.  Lisa designs shoes using unique materials and features.  We always have a good time hanging out, discussing Thai culture and our love of dogs.  

This morning we went to The Wanderer for coffee and roti.  This was Lisa’s first trip out of the house since last Monday.  That was when I hurt my back, which meant there was no one to handle the wheelchair if we went out.  Last night we made arrangements for someone to meet us and take the chair out of the van, and put it back when we were done.  The plan worked perfectly.  Now we have a couple of other ‘dates’ where we will get help.

Tonight we had dinner with Cat and our friend Rachel, who was co-founder of The Freedom Story (formerly The Sold Project).  We got an update on the Freedom Story and learned that they received a Thai grant aimed helping the Rohingya refugees in the northern area.  It’s nice to hear that help will be available for some of the people who were forced to leave their homes in Burma.  Cat told us about a program she just got into that will involve teaching in Indonesia for one month.  She will be teaching English classes.  It’s a great opportunity to practice what she’s been learning and see another country.  There is a host family that will act as her chaperone.

Have a Great Week.


“Wise sayings often fall on
barren ground, but a kind
word is never thrown away.”
~Arthur Helps

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Funnies


Today was dry, sunny and the air was clear.  There are forecasts calling for more rain late tonight.  I hope it doesn’t rain, for the sake of all the folks who are camping out to celebrate Loy Krathong.  

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Lovely Rita” by The Beatles.  Time for a trip back in time with an ‘Old School Friday’ tune.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ I held you, held you tight.  ‘Cause I love, love you so, promise I’ll never let you go __ __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  This song was originally written by Hoagy Carmichael and Jo Trent, a long time ago.  This R&B remake begins with background vocals singing: ’Shoo doob shoo be doo’ several times.  That should help (555).  

This morning Natcha and I went to Makro.  We thought we’d be getting there early at a little after 9am.  Not so, the place was jumping and crowded with shoppers.  Natcha knew where everything was and we made fairly short work of our list.  Most big stores have an aisle that is used for product promotions.  This morning at Makro they were promoting various house brands of sweets and desserts.  They had tables set up with samples, and special outfits for those serving and selling.  It was quite festive and I’m sure it created a traffic jam once they got started.  The timing couldn’t have been better, considering the holiday weekend.

We are gradually adapting to our new life downstairs.  It’s gone beyond ‘camping’ in our house and has now been shifted to ‘living’ downstairs.  I think Daku misses hanging out on the balcony and surveying the yard, but he also likes the cool tile of the guest room so it’s a toss up.  Nitchanan likes it because she can visit us without the stairs.  Lisa can move about the house and that is a lot better than being stuck upstairs.  There is still the issue of where Daku decides to sleep.  Sometimes he’s right in the path of the wheelchair and has to be stirred from his sleep.  Other times, if he’s just dozing, a little kibble is bribe enough to move.  I think my back is doing a tiny bit better, although my range of motion is limited.  Sometimes I have to remember that it takes time to heal.  

Since Monday, when I hurt my back, Lisa has been housebound.  Today I went to The Wanderer to meet a friend.  I saw Khun Kwan and told her of our situation.  She said they could have someone take the chair out of the van and then reload it later.  That means we can go out for coffee or a meal and not have to deal with the lifting.  This was a bright spot in the day.

We can hear the thumping bass from across the river.  When the bedroom door is closed, it's barely there, but walk into the hall and it’s very clear that there’s music out there.  

Today’s photo was taken at Wat Pra Kaew.  This is a copy of the Emerald Buddha that was found buried in a wall of the temple.  In the days of conflicts, invasions and such, many artifacts were hidden in case a temple was overrun.  The legend is that the Emerald Buddha was buried for safe keeping and then forgotten.  It was revealed after an earthquake.  The original is now at Wat Poh in Bangkok.  

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


Thursday, November 15, 2018



The first part of today was sunny with partly cloudy skies.  This afternoon a storm showed up and really gave us a drenching.  It was that hard rain that bounces off the pool, makes big puddles and washes everything.  

A few of you knew the ‘Zany Day’ song.  It’s by a group that was part of the British Invasion of the 60s.
“__ __ meter maid, may I inquire discreetly, when are you free to take some tea with me?  Took her out and tried to win her, had a laugh and over dinner, told her I would really like to see her again.  Got the bill and __ paid it, took her home, I nearly made it.  Sitting on the sofa with a sister or two.  Oh, __ __ meter maid, where would I be without you? Give us a wink….”  Clue:  So basically, he’s fallen for this attractive meter maid whose name is in the title.  Hmm.

This morning Natcha and I went to Big C.  We arrived early enough that we had no problem finding the things we needed.  She did all the reaching and bending and pushing the cart.  That made it much easier for me to be involved.  While she shopped in the basic areas, I picked up those little things that wouldn’t stress my back.  Tomorrow we’ll tackle Makro.  

The music has started across the river.  True to form, the same rhythm pattern and bass line also started the show.  It’s OK, as Natcha pointed out, a good singer is coming, based on a poster.  When I mentioned Krathongs in the pool she laughed.  I wasn't sure why, and didn’t ask.  It does seem rather lame since the whole idea is to show thanks and ask forgiveness regarding the Goddess of the River.  This is one of those holidays that has lots of interpretations.  My earliest understanding was that all year people do things that harm the river and so they come with offerings and ask for forgiveness.  

Today’s photo was taken in front of the new version of the old bus station.  This character is a play on a mythological figure and was designed by an ArtBridge friend named Poy.  Her submission became the mascot for The Chiang Rai Games.  This creature is said to bring good luck, happiness, wealth and good health.  

Nitchanan likes to sit at the table with us during dinner.  Sometimes she wants to eat, which adds another dimension to the visit.  This evening she was eating and she dropped a piece of chicken on the floor.  She decided to take her plate and sit on the floor, eliminating the possibility of dropping any food.  The only problem with that is Daku.  Natcha took Daku to the kitchen and Nitchanan was safe on the floor.  The attention span didn’t last long after that (555); she got up and was done.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Facts are facts and will not
disappear on account of your likes.”
~Jawaharlal Nehru

Wednesday, November 14, 2018



Chiang Rai weather was cloudy most of the day.  There were a few baby drops during lunch, but no rain.  With The Games and Loy Krathong coming up, we really don’t need rain right now.  Just sayin’. 

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Louie, Louie” by Richard Berry & The Pharaohs.  Give a listen to the original recording.  There’s nothing left to do but get crazy with another ‘Zany Day’ song.  “__ __ meter maid, nothing can come between us.  When it gets dark I tow your heart away.
Standing by the parking meter, when I caught a glimpse of __.  Filling out a ticket in her little white book.  In a cap she looked much older, and the bag across her shoulder, made her look a little like a military man…”  Hint:  This easy zany is brought to you by those lads from across the pond.  These days you get your ticket in the mail (555).

This morning the pain in Lisa’s leg was gone.  It’s the first day when there wasn’t intermittent discomfort inside the cast.  I, on the other hand, had discomfort in my middle back.  If this persists much longer I may get an x-ray so I can get the specific help I need.  My own diagnosis is that something is out of place.  The doctor is in.

Daku is adjusting to the smaller room except for one thing. He wants to lie on the floor beside Lisa, but has trouble getting out from behind the wheelchair.  He will come over and let her pet him, but then he retreats.  How do you explain to a dog that it will be a month before things return to normal?  

Maefahluang Road, which leads to our street, is the main north/south route on the west side of town.  The trees have been decorated with colored fluorescent lights and there is a large pinwheel in lights at the entrance to the fairgrounds.  Right now all the fun lights end at the bridge, but that could change.  The odd thing is, on the night before Loy Krathong, it’s quiet across the river.  We expected to hear music.  Cat reminded us that when the music does begin, we will really hear it, living downstairs in what used to be her room.  Well, there’s always headphones.  Khun Jin suggested that instead of trying to find a calm place by the river, we could put Krathongs in the pool and enjoy the flowers and candles.  

This photo is of a simple Krathong floating in the river.  

Tomorrow morning Natcha and I will go to Big C and Makro and do the special shopping, stocking up on everything we’ll need for the next 10 days.  This will be an interesting adventure in itself.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Tact is the art of making a point
without making an enemy.”
~Isaac Newton

Tuesday, November 13, 2018



The day began with lots of clouds, then started to look like maybe it could rain.  Our ‘bring the rain’ system worked when Gong washed the van.  You guessed it, it rained.  It was light, but it was water from the sky.

Not too many nibbles on this one.  I’ll give you a big ‘Easy Monday’ hint: It’s not The Kingsmen.  Youtube link later.
“Me see Jamaica moon above, it won’t be long, me see my love.  I take her in my arms and then, me tell her I never leave again.  __, __, oh, oh, me gotta go…”  Clue:  Title is a name repeated.  The lead singer is backed by a group named after Egyptian kings.  

Things were a little weird this morning.  My ‘good night’s sleep’ didn’t really do much for the condition of my back. With my mobility on the sidelines, it was a stay in bed kind of day.  Standing and walking were OK, but there are things one must do after standing.  Leaning, stooping, bending were all off the table.  I don’t like pain, who does?  I set up an appointment with Dr. Happy for late afternoon.  I drove up to Mae Chan and arrived before appointment time.  There were three young men in the waiting room that I knew.  This made the time pass quickly.  It’s a good thing, because the doctor didn’t show up until later.  Two monks came in and I thought they might get special treatment but I was wrong.  I finally saw the doctor and he treated me with injections at the acupressure points. So far, things are better, but we’re still taking it easy.  

On my way home this evening I traveled down the Super Highway.  I can’t remember the last time I was on this highway at night.  There is a nightlife in some areas, with restaurants, shops and unknown attractions.  It’s interesting how many roads have two different lives.  There is the daytime life, with many closed up buildings that seem abandoned, routine shops and lunch tables, and the nighttime life full of bright lights and shiny people and cars.   

There seems to be a consensus that we need to stock up on supplies and stay at home during The Games.  I mentioned it to the doctor today and his response was, “Don’t go out”.  It would be cool if they were televised.  There’s a project while the back heals, search for channels that might broadcast them.  

Today’s photo was taken at Wat Pra Kaew.  A giant piece of green granite was found in the Mae Kong river and carved by a local artist many years ago.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Education is what remains
after one has forgotten what
one has learned in school.”
~Albert Einstein

Monday, November 12, 2018



We finally got some rain.  It didn’t sound like much from inside the house, but in the morning we had the usual storm lakes.  The trees are happy and the roads have puddles.  I guess it was a last fling from the rainy season.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Sh-Boom” by The Chords.  Two readers got it.  Congrats to Cousin Trudye and Brother Denny.  This ‘Easy Monday’ song should balance things out, it’s just that easy:  “__ __, oh, oh, me gotta go.  __, __, oh, oh, me gotta go.  Fine little girl she waits for me.  Me catch the ship for cross the sea. Me sail the ship all alone.  Me never think me make it home.  __, __….”  Hint:  A sailors lament, 1957 West Coast hit.

On Saturday morning Ellen and I went to Wat Rong Khun.  It has ‘grown’ since my last visit.  There is now live music, new buildings, and what looked like an abstract elephant mountain.  Ellen appreciated the vision and attention to detail that  Ajarn Chalermchai gave to all of his works.  One could really tell that the ’Season’ had begun by the number of visitors.  This is a special time for Chiang Rai since Loy Kratong begins on the 15th and The Games start on the 18th, people are flooding into our little town.  

We got back to the house in time for lunch and last visits before taking Ellen to the airport.  She got to spend a little more time with  Natcha and Nitchanan.  I wasn’t there, but there was a new game that involved a monkey.  

Sunday we lunched at The Wanderer and ate their food at home for dinner.  Finding places with ramps and food we like will be our next project.  This morning we had coffee and conversation at Work@Home.  As we were leaving I decided to try lifting the wheelchair into the van from the other side.  Wrong!  My back was not, is not happy with that move.  Jin came this afternoon and gave both of us a massage.  Now I know there is a good side and a bad side.  I’m stickin’ with the good side.  I’m also rethinking my methods of loading the chair. 

We were without internet all weekend.  Something about a wire being broken ‘outside’, meaning not in our yard.  Between the storm drain construction on the main road and the rain, they couldn’t get to it until today.  We still managed to keep up with important things like the news of the fires in California.    

Sometimes it takes a tiny little person to remind us of the miracle of bubble wrap.  This evening, Nitchanan asked Natcha if they could come and see us.  Her toys had been relocated so she just hung out in Lisa’s wheelchair for a bit.  Then she spotted the bubble wrap around some artwork.  Natcha cut a small piece for her and she was so happy.  She was also willing to share, pointing out which bubble we should each pop.  When we completed our ‘assignments’ she gave us a smile of approval.   Later in the visit she discovered the laptop keyboard.  That opened up a whole new category of fun and amazement.  I was really impressed by her curiosity.  She wanted to know about some of the icons on the mail composition page.  That was in between the semi-wild poking of random keys.  We did have a run at the numbers and she loves to count.  Then she did this thing where she leaned back between Lisa and me and ‘relaxed’ like a big person.  When it was time to go she said, ‘Good night’.  

Today’s photo is one of many in a new series:  Nitchanan Types.

Have a Great Week.


“Try to be a rainbow in
someone’s cloud.”
~Maya Angelou

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday Funnies


There were clouds in the sky, but I never saw them raining…  I know, it’s a reach.  Also, there was no thunder.  It was another beautiful day in Chiang Rai.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Yakety Yak” by The Coasters.  For this week’s ‘Old School Friday’ song, we travel back to 1954 and a tune you probably know, even if you aren’t that old:  “Oh, life could be a dream (__-__) if I could take you up to paradise up above (__-__), if you would tell me I’m the only one that you love.  Life could be a dream sweetheart.  (Hello hello again, __-__ and hopin’ we’ll meet again)”  Hint:  The title is really more of a sound that words with meaning.  

I can’t believe it’s Friday already.  The quick tour with Ellen is almost over.  This morning we dropped Lisa off at Overbrook Hospital for the ‘changing of the cast’.  Ellen wanted to visit a Thai temple so we went across the street to Wat Pra Kaew, the original home of the Emerald Buddha.  In 1434, during a storm, lightning hit one of the structures on the temple grounds and a crack in the stucco revealed what was believed to be an Emerald Buddha.  It was actually made of green jade, but the legend had begun.  It had been hidden by the King of Northern Thailand.  The original now resides in Bangkok, at the Grand Palace.  A copy was commissioned and has replaced the original at Wat Pra Kaew.  We walked the grounds, took photos and had a long, informative talk with a young monk who studied English Education at the Buddhist University here in Thailand.  It was the first time I have had a long conversation with a monk.  Of course, many things were discussed, ideas exchanged, and questions answered.  

Today’s photo was taken at Wat Pra Kaew. 

After Lisa’s new cast had been installed, we went up the highway to ArtBridge for coffee and to submit her art piece for the annual artists exhibit.  This year she will show a small paper sculpture that is a departure from anything in the past.  We walked through the current exhibit and it was time for lunch.  

Our friend Sutheera came over this afternoon to meet Ellen and visit with Lisa.  We had fun and she and Ellen hit it off.  Sutheera brought salads from Chivit Tamma Da that Ellen and Lisa enjoyed.  Since I can’t do soy, I had Natcha’s delicious tuna.  Nitchanan joined us with a bowl of rice and managed to keep it in the bowl.  She has warmed up to Ellen since the singalong and included her in the meal-time pillow game.  

After dinner we recapped the week and made a plan for the final day.  Tomorrow we will go to Wat Rong Khun.  It will be the dramatic conclusion to a four day tour.  We need a few more days, so Ellen will be coming back someday to finish the tour (555).  

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


Thursday, November 8, 2018



That thunderstorm that was predicted never arrived.  I could have told them that.  You gotta have a bunch of clouds to make thunder, and clear skies are usually quiet.

The ‘Zany Day’ song depicts the plight of the teenager, at least back in the day.  I remember some of the verses applying to my life, like this one:  “Don’t you give me no dirty looks.  Your father’s hip, he knows what cooks.  Just tell your hoodlum friends outside, you ain’t got time to take a ride.  __ __, don’t talk back.  __ __, __ __….”  Clue: This tune is by the zany R&B group that once caught poison ivy.

What a day.  We began with coffee at Chivit Tamma Da.  Once we got Lisa settled at a table, Ellen and I went exploring.  I didn’t know they had remodeled part of the grounds and there were many changes to absorb.  Ellen took lots of photos and eventually we sat down and relaxed with our coffee.  The place has a charm all it’s own and we enjoyed the moment.

After a quick decision, we drove north on the Super Highway to Doy Din Dang.  This proved to be the highlight of the morning.  While Ellen took photos and ‘toured’ the gift shop, we sat and talked with Tamako.  We learned that her town in Japan sustained heavy damage and loss of life in the last earthquake/tsunami.  She and Somluk are going to Japan next week to meet with family.  She also told us of an event that will take place on February 14 of next year that will be in honor of a ceramics master from Japan who is 14th in a line of master artists.  When we inquired as to where Somluk was today, she told us he was in Mae Sai, at the site of the cave rescue.  He has designed the tribute structure that will be what they’re calling a ‘museum’, in honor of the rescue.  

Yesterday I walked into the kitchen and Nitchanan was drinking something from a big cup.  I asked what it was and she gave me a big grin and said, “Vitamin C”.  She cracked me up.  Natcha has been bringing her by the room to visit and it’s been fun.  She came by this morning and again after school.  One of her new ‘jobs’ is to push Lisa in her wheelchair.  She and her dad have a new routine outside when they ride the bicycle.  She sits on a little kid seat and holds the handlebars while Gong walks the bike and gives her directions as to which way to turn.  She understands left and right and is getting pretty good at making gradual turns based on Gong’s input.  

This evening we went to Moommai restaurant and Cat joined us.  Cat met Ellen’s daughter Laurel when she visited last year, so it was a special night for her.  We had a feast while talking about the differences between Northern and Southern Thai food and people.  Cat filled us in on things we didn’t know and answered many questions.  After dinner we went to the Night Bazaar for the experience.  It is now ‘High Season’ and the aisles of the Night Bazaar were packed with tourists.  It as definitely a bigger deal than last year.  We saw lots of our friends and did a little shopping.  The timing of our shopping was perfect for getting us to the Clock Tower in time for the last show of the evening (9pm). 

Tomorrow the initial cast will be removed from Lisa's ankle and a new one will be applied.  At this point, she’s ready for it all to be over.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“If one desires to receive
one must first give.
This is called ‘profound understanding.”