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.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2018



Well, we had another beautiful day in Chiang Rai.  There has been loose talk about a thunderstorm tomorrow, but we’re not buying it.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Love Is All You Need” by The Beatles.  I think you know this ‘Zany Day’ song:
“Take out the papers and the trash, or you don’t get no spendin’ cash.  If you don’t scrub that kitchen floor, you ain’t gonna rock and roll no more.  __ __ (don’t talk back)”  Hint:  This should be so easy, it’s a nonsensical term for empty words.  

This morning we began our abbreviated Chiang Rai tour with coffee and roti at The Wanderer.  Our friend Atom joined us and she and Ellen hit it off right away.  The four of us had a deep discussions about education, language, and relocation.  There was lots of laughter as well as nods of recognition as we looked into the human condition.  Ellen took photos of the woods from different angles and I can’t wait to see the results.  

We had to go to the post office to pick up a new bed for Daku.  It’s made of 100% natural products and should be healthier than what he’s been sleeping on.  When we got it back to the house, I put some toys on it and he sniffed, then drooled and declared it his bed.  

Natcha and Nitchanan came to our room when she got home from school.  After some distant ‘warming up’, Ellen got my guitar and sang some songs that Nitchanan knows and things got better.  She was clapping along and probably would have sung except that she had a sucker in her mouth and was not giving that up.  The ice had been broken and later in the afternoon they played a little game in the kitchen.  

Ellen and I went to the Talat to get her some knitting needles.  The notions store had just what she was looking for and it planted the seed for an adventure into the depths of the market.  So much to see, so much to photograph.  

In today’s photo, Ellen is singing to Nitchanan while Daku can’t take his eyes off the dessert.

Tomorrow we set out for more fun and sightseeing, starting with a visit to Chivit Tamma Da.  

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, 
sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, November 6, 2018



The local weather seems to be holding in it’s almost winter mode.  Cool mornings, warm days and very pleasant evenings.  Say, it’s a good time to visit.  Oh yeah, VOTE!

The ‘Easy Monday’ song is still in the minds of many.  “Nothing you can know that isn’t known.  Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.  Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be, it’s easy.  __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, Love is all you need.”  Clue:

Today we put the finishing touches on our move.  The upstairs is all ready for Ellen’s visit and our new room is slowly filling up with the necessities of life.  Daku is getting used to a smaller room and doesn’t seem to mind when we make him move so Lisa can roll through.  Thursday we’ll have the TV back in the guest room so we can watch tennis and the end of the Formula 1 season.  Sometimes it’s the little things (555). 

The first night in a new location is always a little weird, in my experience.  Last night was no exception to that concept.  You know that feeling, when you wake up and don’t know where you are?  One thing that contributed to this feeling was the darkness.  Upstairs there are tiny lights on various things and they put the room in perspective, even in the dark.  Without those tiny beacons, it’s like a starless night on the ocean.  Tonight I’ll find something to give a little glow to the place.   
We went back to The Wanderer for coffee and our weekly call to Lisa’s Dad Joe, in Palo Alto.  There is something about the mid-morning light as it dances through the trees in the woods that is almost magical.  It struck me this morning that since we don’t really live in a neighborhood, we have constructed one within our morning circuit.  They are the people we see on a regular basis, who we share smiles with, who we laugh with, and seem to feel comfortable around.  

Since we have been living in Chiang Rai, we have seen a major increase in the number of airplane flights in and out of our little airport.  There used to be two morning flights and two evening flights.  Now there are carriers from many countries with multiple flights on any given day.  Tonight, when I went to pick up Ellen, the ‘Arrival’ board was in Thai, English and Chinese.  There were four or five different locations that were sending planes to Chiang Rai.  Amazing.  There is a major expansion being planned and it will be welcomed by many.  

As we move into the season of the big buses, the streets of Chiang Rai will begin to swell with tourists from the north (China, Japan, Korea) and from the north east (Europe).  All along Bus Station street, I’ve been noticing that shop owners have changed the look of their stores and in some cases, their products as well.  

There is serious construction going on in this photo.

Tomorrow we begin our travel around town with Ellen.  We’re still working out how to modify the list so Lisa can enjoy the sight-seeing.  It’s gonna be fun.

Have a Happy Tuesday and VOTE.


“There is a sufficiency in the 
world for man’s need, but not
for man’s greed.”
~Mahatma Gandhi



We’re in the ‘no rain zone’ for sure.  The sky is clear day and night.  The only thing different about our atmosphere is the smoke that the ‘bad guys’ are pumping out with their illegal fires.  There, I’ve said it and I’m done.  

“Love, love, love.  Love, love, love.  Love, love, love…  There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done, nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.  Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game, it’s easy.  Nothing you can make that can’t be made.  No one you can save that can’t be saved.  Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time, it’s easy.  __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __.  Love is all you need.  Hint:  Like the song says, it’s easy.  By four guys from across the pond in 1967.

Saturday morning I went to our favorite pharmacy and got a lightweight wheelchair for Lisa.  This one thing has changed everything.  Crutches can be a drag and create other problems since they put undue strain where there was none.  Lisa was a quick study and has got the handling down.   Last night we decided to move downstairs so that more of the house could be utilized.  We’ve got over 5 weeks of no walking left so why not make the best of it?  Natcha and Gong put in some serious work today, moving things and changing rooms around.  Artwork had to be moved, adjustments were needed for lighting and tables, and Daku continued to be confused.  By the end of the day we were very close to finished.  Now, when it’s time for a meal, Lisa can roll down the hall and sit at the table, instead of Natcha having to carry a tray upstairs.  Everybody wins.

On Sunday morning Lisa and our friend Atom got a chance to hang out.  Atom told her that when the Chiang Rai Games begin, traffic will be crazy for 10 days, and many stores could run out of supplies since people will be coming to our town from all over the north of Thailand.  We saw this once before during a major student testing weekend.  The games begin on the 18th, so we’ll hit our major stores on the 15th and over shop just in case.   

This morning we took a break and went to The Wanderer.  Khun Noot had told us we could use the chair and in my mind I could picture the route.  It was great, our usual outdoor table was free and we had a pleasant time with our coffee and roti.  Noot came by and brought us some Malaysian chocolate that was too good.  She also pointed out the first flower of the second bloom of a big tree where we were sitting.  She wasn’t sure why it’s blooming again, but we all enjoyed it.

Tomorrow evening Cousin Ellen arrives for four days.  She’s flying in from China, where she’s been on a photography tour.  Prepare to become a tourist with us while Ellen is in town (555).

Have a Great Week.    


“We don’t see things as they are,
we see them as we are.”
~Anais Nin

Friday, November 2, 2018

Friday Funnies


The sky has been clear since last night.  This morning it was cold, though it quickly warmed up to short-sleeve weather in a couple of hours.  The forecasts are calling for what we consider cold temps.  Time to shift the closet (555).

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “The Monster Mash” by Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett.  The time has come for another dose of ‘Old School Friday’.  “Happy birthday, happy birthday baby, oh, I love you so.  __ __ make a lovely light, but not as bright as your eyes tonight.  Blow out the candles, make your wish come true.  For I’ll be wishing that you love me too.”  Hint:  It was released in 1958 and became a hit on the charts.  There is a number involved.

The new system here at The Big Brown House is taking shape.  We’re developing a morning rhythm that is getting everyone fed at a reasonable time, including the dogs.  Actually, they eat first.  This morning Lisa had two visitors.  Khun Noot from The Wanderer came over with coffee, roti, and flowers, and they had a good visit.  Not only is it nice to chat with friends, it’s a great distraction from the discomfort of a cast and the leg inside.  A little later our friend Sutheera came over with a big bag of apples.  She told Lisa all about the trip to Japan that she and Nukoon are taking, beginning tonight.  They’re going to Hokkaido for 4 days.  It’s the northern-most island and can get very cold in winter.  The day has been pleasant, but frustrating, having to stay on the bed all day.  Tomorrow is the last day of keeping the cast elevated.  I went out this afternoon in search of a wheelchair rental but from what I’ve been told, the places with the chairs only sell them.  The search continues.

Natcha and Gong did the most noble deed of shopping at Big C and Makro in the same day.  They are making sure that I don’t do too many trips up and down the stairs and are thinking ahead about most of our needs.  There is also the matter of ‘family life’ as they know how much we enjoy time with Nitchanan.  Last night Natcha brought her up for a second visit, and she and Lisa spent time drawing and we talked about her language skills.  As Nitchanan learns more Chinese, her parents will understand how we feel when she goes on in Thai/Akha.  We all laugh about it now, but she’s going to have a facility that none of us will be able to deal with, unless we start studying (555).  

Today’s photo is typical of the first thing one sees when entering The Wanderer Restaurant.  I usually avert my eyes when entering, only to ‘wander’ over and check things out later.  Most of it I can’t eat.  This is good.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.          And now, the ‘Funnies’.


Thursday, November 1, 2018



This morning the air was much colder than usual.  When I took Daku out at 6:30, I was tempted to go in and get my jacket.  Could this be a ‘turn’ in the weather pattern.  The day warmed up, but it wasn’t blazing hot.  Hmm.

It seems that this week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was no stranger to all the fans of ghouls and goblins (555).  
“Out from his coffin, Drac’s voice did ring.  Seems he was troubled by just one thing.  He opened the lid and shook his fist and said, ‘Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?’  It’s now __ __, it’s now __ __ __.  __ __ __ and it’s a graveyard smash, it’s now __ __, it’s caught on in a flash.  It’s now __ __, it’s now __ __ __.”  Clue:  Trick or Treat.  Guess one might say it’s a Halloween song.

Today was spent figuring out what needed to be done and when, ways to make Lisa comfortable, and keeping things arranged so she could reach what she needed.  Daku finally got used to Lisa staying on the bed.  He had been reluctant to get too close, but today he relaxed and let her pet him.  Later she brushed him and they rebonded.  Natcha is continuing to be a life-saver.  She fed the dogs this morning, brought us breakfast, took Daku out and generally made sure we didn’t have to stress about anything.  Tomorrow, she and Gong will do the shopping at Makro and Big C.  

Cat didn’t have classes this morning so she came over to visit.  In the course of conversation, Lisa mentioned that it would be cool to have a big strong person that could come over and carry her downstairs some mornings, and then bring her back upstairs in the afternoon.  Cat is going to do some research on this.  I’m going to see about renting a lightweight wheelchair so we can go out and about.  In the meantime, our favorite restaurant, The Wanderer, has offered to deliver some of our favorites to the house.  

Chopper still likes to hang out under the van.  The problem is, he’s getting too big to do that much longer.  It takes a lot of effort for him to scoot out.  I’ve never watched him crawl under, but it must also be an effort.  Here’s a photo I captured today, just before he began the struggle.

After school, Nitchanan came up to see Lisa.  She got a couple of her new books and spent some of her short attention span recognizing things and using their English words.  Then it was on to her favorite thing: sharing pencils.  She brought the box to the bed and gave Lisa a pencil, took one of the same color for herself, and they began to draw.  This seems to be a big highlight for her.  I think it’s the sharing that makes it special.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Spread love everywhere you go.
Let no one ever come to  you 
without leaving happier.”
~Mother Teresa