Thursday, January 31, 2019

Fire

Hi,

Chiang Rai had another hot day.  Now we’re wishing we had some rain.  Everything is so dry around town.  We’re missing some of the usual green spots.  

A bunch of you got the ‘Zany Day’ song so just for fun, I’m going to skip to the last verse:  “I didn’t know if it was day or night.  I started kissin’ everything in sight.  But when I kissed the cop down at Thirty-Fourth and Vine, he broke my little bottle of __ __ __ __”  Clue:  This should really be an ‘Old School Friday’ tune since it was written in 1959.  It later resurfaced in 1964.  The original group was named after something that grows lawns and is sometimes considered lucky when it has 4 leaves.

This morning we went to the mall to pay our phone bills and do a little grocery shopping.  We hadn’t been to the Top’s Market for over a month and they had a surprise for us.  The market had been completely remodeled.  In fact, the whole food court level was brand new and beautiful.  We also noticed that they are about to open a multilevel parking structure.  When it’s finally finished, it will be more fun than before (555).

Simply titled “Monks @ ATM” (as seen at the mall)

The afternoon was a right of passage for anyone with a needle aversion.  It started with my having blood drawn for multiple tests.  From there I went to acupuncture for treatment on both sides of my body.  I managed a short nap during the second phase of my pincushion adventure.  

Eventually, we had a consult with our doctor and she went over the blood test results.  There is mild anemia present, but nothing to worry about.  Other stuff is good, so my mind can go back to dwelling on other, less dire things.  One more shot of B vitamins and we finally got out of there as they were locking up the place.  

Natcha and Nitchanan went to the flower show today.  Nitchanan loves flowers, and her new pink bag.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“Education is not the filing
of a pail, but the lighting of
a fire.”
~William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Stopping


Hi,

We traveled back to Chiang Rai under clear skies.  It was probably warm but we wouldn’t have known since we didn’t stop on the way home.  When we got to Chiang Rai at 5pm, it was still hot.  Hmm.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “It’s Too Late” by Carole King.  Congrats to all who showed up for this one.  Let’s see how we do with a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “I took my troubles down to Madame Ruth, you know that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth, she’s got a storefront down at thirty-fourth and Vine, selling little bottle of __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  There’s medicine and a little magic involved (555).

This morning we had breakfast at our hotel.  It’s interesting to be there during the ‘High Season’ and experience the travelers.  We’ve been there at times when it’s almost empty in the morning, but today the place was busy.  Listening to the languages and trying to figure out where people are from is fun.  I suppose the next step would be getting bold enough to ask them.  Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.  Sometimes I make up stories about them.

After packing up and checking out of the hotel, we went back to the hospital for a follow-up with our chiropractor.  There were more questions, several tests, and a few conclusions.  He set my mind at ease about keeping everything in perspective by ruling out certain things.  

We had lunch at Central Festival Mall, which is right on the highway out of town.  I stuck to my ‘new diet’ and had more beef.  I must say, it feels weird to go to a foreign section in the menu and look at things I don’t know much about.  More will be revealed.

While we were at Browney Pet Supply last week, I spotted a new cooler by the check-out.  The company is called ‘Bake n Bone’ and the product is doggie treats in the form of human desserts.  Oh, come on now.


This feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                       Peace,
                                 Danny 

“Many of us have been 
running all our lives.  
Practice stopping.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Others


Hi,

The daytime temps here in Chiang Mai are warmer than Chiang Rai, and the nights are in the low 60s.  That’s right, we’re in Chiang Mai, but for one night only.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song had a few friends respond right away.  Some of you will kick yourself when you realize that you know this tune. “Something inside has died and I can’t hide, and I just can’t fake it, oh no, no.  It used to be so easy living here with you.  You were light and breezy and I knew just what to do.  Now you look so unhappy, and I feel like a fool.  And __ __ __, baby, now __ __ __,  though we really did try to make it, something inside has died and I can’t hide, and I just can’t fake it, oh no no.”  Clue:  The singer has a huge catalog of hits and she also has many hit albums.  

This morning we drove down to Chiang Mai for an appointment with one of the many doctors in my life these days. What used to be a 3 hour trip is now 4, due to the ongoing road work.  Our mandatory stop for food and pie was yummy as usual.  We got to Chiang Mai a little after noon.  In the course of my appointment, the doctor asked a series of questions and then put clues together and determined that I’m anemic.  He offered solutions and we discussed the steps to take to restore my blood health.  

Our overnight stay will be in our favorite hotel, The Dusit D2.  It speaks to us on so many levels.  In an effort to give us the type of bed we requested, they gave us an upgrade, and now we’re in a suite.  

We walked down a long alley to a restaurant we like.  The idea of walking back, after our meal, was not very appealing so we hailed a Tuk-Tuk.  We found one and quickly discovered that it was an electric model.  Apparently, there are more and more of them being converted to electric power.  There are two reasons why I like this idea: they use no fuel, and they make no noise.  Tuk-Tuks are a large contributor to noise pollution.  

In Southeast Asia there is a car service called ‘Grab’, which is similar to Uber and Lyft.  We use it in Chiang Rai and Bangkok and it works out well.  We took a Grab to meet friends for dinner at a place called Duke’s.  It’s a small chain of steak and pizza restaurants.  Tonight, for the first time in 45 years, I had a steak.  It was a suggestion from the doctor.  Conversation was mostly centered around health issues, which is not always the best topic for dinner talk, but it was OK in this instance.  

Yesterday’s birthday events concluded with Nitchanan opening gifts at home.  She was still a little wound up from this school party, but once she realized that the gifts were all for her, she began.  Now she has three different kinds of coloring devices, and books with blank pages so she can do her ‘art’ and save it.

Nitchanan handing out her presents, not realizing they were all for her.

Nitchanan handed me different colors and told me where to draw, sometimes.

As the evening progresses and nightlife begins, there’s nothing like the sounds from the Hard Rock Cafe providing the background for an evening in the hotel.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“Questioner: How are we to treat others?
Ramana Maharshi: There are no others."

Monday, January 28, 2019

Poets

Hi,

The weekend weather was great during the day, not too hot.  The evenings were cool, and the early mornings were cold.  We found ourselves shedding layers during the morning hours.   

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Only You”, by The Platters.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday tune you’re sure to remember:  “Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time, there’s something wrong her, there can be no denying.  One of us is changing, or maybe we just stopped trying.  And __ __ __, baby, now __ __ __ though we really did try to make it…”  Hint:  One might say time has run out.

Our weekend consisted of meals with friends, and more pushing the limits of our endurance.  We had lunch with our friend Lisa and her dad Edwin on Saturday and it was another fun, informative time.  Conversation moved around to the shoes and bags that Lisa is designing in Bangkok.  We had seen her big purse on another occasion and this time the idea of it’s versatility hit home.  On Sunday afternoon we drove out to Lisa’s and looked at more of her designs and left with a beautiful bag that will have many uses.  We also got a chance to visit with her three dogs.

Sunday we went to Polar Cafe and met Nurse Pay, her husband Boy and their son Lu Lit for lunch.  There is an outdoor playground, so naturally our table was next to that since Lu Lit is 3 years and 3 months and loves the place.  We managed to chat while keeping an eye on the climbing, swinging and sliding that was happening.  Boy teaches all things electrical at the Technical College and consults on building projects around town.  He told us about his class schedule and he is a very busy guy.  Pay took a walk down ‘memory lane’ and reminded us of the years we’ve known each other.  

Today is Nitchanan’s 3rd birthday.  Natcha spent most of morning baking cupcakes to take to Nitchanan’s school.  We got to experience the celebration.  When we arrived at the school the kids were just about to be released for the special party.  The school has children from 2 to 5 years old.  The younger group came out first and sat in little chairs that comprised a semi-circle.  Eventually all of the children were sitting quietly and then the main teacher came out.  There were some unison recitations in Thai and then in Chinese.  Then it was time for the lighting of the candle.  They sang a Thai birthday song, then the ‘Happy Birthday’ song (twice) and then Nitchanan blew out the ‘3’ candle.  The teachers passed out the little cupcakes, all the while the children remained calm and orderly.  As they got near the bottom of their little cakes, we could tell the sugar was kicking in since the noise level began to increase.  They never got out of control, and even seemed reasonably calm when it was time to throw their trash away.  We were impressed with the gentle way the teachers dealt with their students.  By the time they had finished, it was time to go home and most of the parents were waiting at the gate to sign their children out.  We are really glad we got to see a part of what happens at Nitchanan’s school.  

Today’s photos were taken at Nitchanan’s school.  First, there was the smile of recognition, then the cupcake awareness.  



There’s more to this story so tune in again tomorrow.

Have a Great Week.

                       Peace,
                                 Danny

“In the very end,
civilizations perish because
they listen to their politicians
and not to their poets.”
~Jonas Mekas

Friday, January 25, 2019

Friday Funnies

Hi,

It just might be that winter is here.  The mornings have been progressively colder this week, and today our eyes were cold.  That’s a true sign that the air is, well, cold.  Stay tuned.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Wake Up Little Susie” by The Everly Brothers.  ‘Old School Friday’ is a ballad from way back, and you just might know this:  “__ __ can make this world seem right, __ __ can make the darkness bright.  __ __ and you alone can thrill me like you do, and fill my heart with love for only you.”  Hint:  It’s by a group with a very smooth sound.  The two word title could be called ‘obvious’ in the context of the lyrics.  There is a pronoun involved. 

The adventure kids were at it again today.  We started off with a visit to ArtBridge.  We got there just after opening and the restaurant was just waking up.  Our real mission was to see this year’s ‘Member Show’.  Just as we started taking in the art, we met an American who lives here part of the year.  After we had spent most of our ‘stand around’ time chatting, it was time to sit down.  We had coffee and enjoyed the morning air.  

Across the highway from ArtBridge is the home of the new Big C.  This was the day we would finally visit.  This one is very similar to a complex we visited in Nan last year.  Everything is on one level and it feels more like a mall than a Big C.  We actually did some shopping in the B2S store (art supplies), and one of two pharmacies.  The actual Big C grocery store part we’ll have to explore on another visit.  

Lisa had lunch with our long-time friend Tai (sounds like Thai) at The Wanderer.  We first met her through our first housekeeper, Boot.  I guess that means we’ve known her for about 11 years.  I stayed home and hung out with the tennis matches.  

This evening we went on a very brief hunt for the source of some very loud music.  It was so loud that we were compelled to go and look for whoever was doing it and ask them to turn it down.  It’s live music so there is probably a little neighborhood bar or club.  Big PA systems are OK when it’s in the big open space like across the river, but when it’s in a neighborhood, it bounces all around.  Once we got on the street the music stopped and we came home.  Just as I unlocked the house it started again.  So frustrating.  

Natcha told us that Nitchanan’s school has been teaching them about exercise.  This morning she ran out on the front lawn with no shirt or shoes and ran around, exercising.  Well, it’s a start.  When she came home from school today she had paint all over one hand, and proud of it.

Today the photo is an oldie, taken at the Night Bazaar a few years ago.  Part of the loom wraps around her, keeping it tight.  She is a part of the loom.  The final result will be a beautiful scarf.


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.        Time for the ‘Funnies’.

                    Peace,
                              Danny


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Change

Hi,

The weather here was a little cooler.  The daytime temps felt cooler, and last night was colder.  If we don’t need the air/con then we know it’s cool.  I know, it’s all relative.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song seems to be a stumper.  No one has responded yet.  Let’s see if this sparks anything:
“Whatta we gonna tell your mama?  Whatta we gonna tell your pa?  Whatta we gonna tell our friends when they say ‘Ooh-la-la’?  __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __…. The movie wasn’t so hot, it didn’t have much of a plot.  We fell asleep, our goose is cooked, our reputation is shot.  __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __, we gotta go home.”  Clue:  There is a girl’s name involved.

We’re getting out a little more each day, so I guess you could say things are getting better.  Right now, the hard part is gauging what is ‘enough’.  You know, when you start feeling good and you think you’re over whatever it was.  Then, any time between a heartbeat and an hour you slam into a wall that says: ‘Go no farther’.  We keep pushing just past that point.  Hmm.

Today we went to Big C.  On the surface, that is not so unusual, but we haven’t been there for about 9 weeks.  At first it felt a little surreal.  Then it all came into focus and it was almost intimidating.  We got what we needed and when we sat in the van it was with great relief.  Both of us were ready to go home.

This evening we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner and shopping.  That was pretty ambitious; two outings in one day, but we did it.  It wasn’t that long ago that this would have seemed impossible.  Dinner at Sawadee Restaurant was just like I remembered it and we got a big welcome from the owners.  It’s nice to be missed.  The same thing happened with the Scarf Lady.  The aisles were jammed with ‘visitors’ and all of our friends had big smiles when asked about their business.  It was pretty obvious that things are going well.  

Today is Daku’s 10th birthday.  He’s still his energetic self, showing no real signs of getting old.  I think he’s getting sharper mentally lately.  Lisa was talking to Natcha on the phone, asking if she could take him outside.  When he heard her voice, he perked up and when Lisa said ‘Go see Natcha’, he dashed downstairs.  They have a very close bond and he loves to hang out in the kitchen with her.  Of course, we think he’s the best dog in the world, also the smartest and the funniest, etc.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                      Peace,
                                Danny

“I am no longer accepting
the things I cannot change.
I am changing the things
I cannot accept.”
~Dr. Angela Davis

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Abyss

Hi,

Today’s weather was similar to yesterday, but with a little smoke mixed in.  We are not happy about this, but it’s what we got.  Maybe it will blow away.  Maybe the powers that be will actually fine the offenders.  Tonight is supposed to be cold.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “My Girl”, by The Temptations.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCcNcHx2DpY  This video is pretty cool, half in the studio and half on TV shows.  Now that we had it easy, it’s time for a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “__ __, __ __, __ __.  __ __, __ __, __ __.  We’ve both been sound asleep, __ __, __ __ and weep.  The movie’s over, it’s four o’clock and we’re in trouble deep.  __ __, __ __, __ __, __ __, well…”  Hint:  It’s by a duo, real brothers, title is about an awakening.

This morning we made a trip downtown.  Chiang Rai in the morning has become a busy place.  For starters, it’s ‘High Season’ and the travelers are here.  Rented motorbikes wander and weave, tour vans jockey to stay together as they start a day on the road, and local citizens try to get on with their daily lives.  We went to an ‘Eye shop’ to order new lenses for Lisa.  Sitting on the main drag, looking out of the front window, the scene on the sidewalk was mostly people from somewhere else.  This time of year there are a lot of visitors from the cold regions of Europe and North America.  

While we’re on the subject of hemispheres and such, we didn’t get to experience the ‘Blood Moon’ in this part of the world.  We have, however, been enjoying the many interesting photos taken around the planet where it was visible.  

This afternoon we met with an electrician named Nok, who was recommended by our friend Edwin.  The lights on our front wall have been stuck in the on position for way too long.  After examining the wiring for the lights, a new sensor solved the problem.  We have more work inside the house and we feel confident that Nok and his assistant can handle it.  Edwin told us that he introduced them to U.S. electrical standards, meaning we’ll get better results.  

Here’s another pic from the photo session with Nichanan, Natcha and Daku.  It almost looks like she’s using the cane handle as a microphone, but we know it’s a camera.


Prepare for a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“The mind creates the abyss,
the heart crosses it.”
~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Progress

Hi,

It was another post-card weather day here in Chiang Rai.  The air was fairly clear and that’s always a plus.  Bangkok is having a terrible time with smog/haze and there is no rain in sight.  Wind has been forecast and that may help a little.  They are asking people to drive their cars less or not at all.  

We really had an ‘Easy Monday’ song this week.  If you missed it, here’s a little more:  “I’ve got so much honey the bees envy me.  I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees.  Well, I guess you’d say, what can make me feel this way?  __ __ (__ __, __ __)  Talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  Clue:  It’s by a prominent group from a motor city label that had a supremely successful stable of hit-makers.    

Today was Lisa’s birthday.  We did something new by going to the hot springs.  People have been telling us we should check it out for the longest time.  We followed directions and found it.  I had a different image in my mind of what would be there.  I expected some exotic scene with water bubbling up and people climbing over rocks to find cozy pools of steaming water.  In reality, it was a series of modern pools with the hot mineral water piped in for convenience, and a sign stating the 49.6C temp (121.8F).  As we approached the first feature, there was a big pool with a bench around the sides.  People sat and dangled their feet in the hot water while chatting or reading at a big table in the middle.  Next to that was a big rectangular pool for the whole-body experience.  In a house farther down the path, there were the private rooms.  We booked one of those at a rate of $3 an hour for two people.  A woman showed us the room, filled the concrete tub and showed us how to rinse off afterward.  We spent a little over 15 minutes in the water.  As we left the room, the woman who booked the room was surprised that we were leaving.  We couldn’t do a whole hour, but we will return.  We stopped at The Wanderer for coffee and roti before going home.  The whole experience left us very relaxed.

Today’s photos shows the building with the private rooms and then our pool.  



After lunch and a quick nap, I was off to acupuncture.  The afternoons at the hospital and clinic are very busy these days.  I remember when it used to be the best time to go because it was so calm.  Now it resembles the mornings.  Maybe the 3-day weekend had something to do with it, but there were a lot of people in there.

We went to Sobroso Mexican Restaurant for dinner with Cat.  What we didn’t know was how busy she had been the last two days.  She had arranged a surprise for Lisa and it worked perfectly.  She ordered a small chocolate cake from The Wanderer and arranged to pick it up and delivered it to Sobroso, which is very nearby.  I must add that she carried the cake and a bunch of dried flowers in one hand while driving her motorbike with the other.  Then she came to our house and rode to dinner like nothing was going on.  After dinner, she stood up and in the reflection from a window, I saw a staff person carrying a candle-lit cake.  All of a sudden, the whole place was singing and I realized what was going on, they were coming our way.  Needless to say, Lisa was blown away.  A moment later, so were the candles.  

Back at the house, we had some serious discussions about ‘life stuff’ and would probably still be talking if we hadn’t reminded her of her early class tomorrow morning.  

This has been a very cool day.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“Without deviation from the norm,
progress is not possible.”
~Frank Zappa

Monday, January 21, 2019

Boat

Hi,

The weather is staying pretty consistent in Chiang Rai.  The nights are not quite as cool, but the days are remaining in the mid to high 80s.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Goin’ Out of My Head” by Little Anthony & The Imperials.  This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is really easy:  “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.  When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May. I guess you’d say, what can make me feel this way?  __ __ (__ __).  Talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  Hint:  Comparing his love to various wonders of nature and wealth.  I’m Tempted to tell you more but….

Our ‘Adventures In Thailand’ are still a bit limited to destinations with short walking distances.  Saturday morning we were going to meet Cat at Chivit Tamma Da, but when we arrived at 9:45am, the lot was full and the joint was jumping.  We ended up at The Wanderer, where we did our usual of coffee and roti.  This was the first time we’d seen Cat since we left for the States.  We had a lot of catching up to do.  There was so much to talk about that she followed us to the house and we continued our conversations.  

Most of Saturday was spent watching the Australian Open, plus wonderful moments with Nitchanan mixed in for good measure.  Sunday morning, Lisa drove me to my meeting.  Quite often, I have to walk a long way from where I can park to where I need to be.  This made it easier.  The body is improving, but long walks and standing for a long time are still difficult.  We had lunch at The Wanderer with our friends Nukoon and Sutheera.  Nukoon is a big tennis fan so we had lots to discuss.  I asked him if he played and he told me he started with badminton, then tennis, and finally, golf.  We laughed when I mentioned that it was a lot less running.  It was his first visit to The Wanderer and he enjoyed his meal and the atmosphere.  

While browsing through Facebook, we discovered that we missed a big parade Sunday evening.  Not that we could have gone (555).  It was a lavish affair with flower floats carrying costumed members of the LGBT community.  This is a major deal since not long ago, there was an almost zero tolerance on the community level.  The times, they are a changin’ and that’s a good thing.  

Today we got a new water pump on one side of the house.  It’s a slick little Italian job that is much quieter than the old pump and puts out more pressure.  It took two guys a little over an hour to make the change-over.  

Lisa captured a moment as Nitchanan transformed into ‘Camera Woman’, using the handle of Lisa's cane as the eyepiece and lens (there is an LED light that she sees as the lens).  She very carefully posed Natcha, making little adjustments until she had it just right.  


Have a Great Week.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“We may have all come on
different ships, but we’re 
in the same boat now.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday Funnies

Hi,

My sympathies to all those who are living in the midst of ice and snow.  We’re having very pleasant weather this weekend.  Wish you were here.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles (Rubber Soul LP).  And now friends, it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’: “Well, I think I’m __ __ __ __ __.  Yes, I think I’m __ __ __ __ __ over you, over you.  I want you to want me, I need you so badly, I can’t think of anything but you.  And I think I’m __ __ __ __ __, yes, I think I’m __ __ __ __ __ over you, over you….”  Hint: The title is a phrase used to describe losing ones mind.  It’s by a lead singer who really was little, and his background singers.

So, we called ourselves going to bed early and yet, we were awake at 4am., pretended to be asleep until 5ish and then we surrendered to being awake.  This is a critical part of the process because once we stir or speak, then Daku gets up expecting to do downstairs.  The day began in darkness.

We had our first real ‘outing’ into the city.  Gong had brought it to our attention that we needed to get a new tire so we went to a place I used years ago.  It was almost to the mall, which meant we saw a lot of Chiang Rai on our way.  It was still fairly early, so we experienced the end of the morning traffic.  At the tire store, we got four new tires at a very decent price.  There’s nothing worse than hanging around a tire shop so we hailed a Tuk-Tuk and went back into town for coffee at Work@Home.  Our friends weren’t there, but it was nice to relax in familiar surroundings.  We hailed another Tuk-Tuk back to the tire shop and our timing was almost perfect.  

The first Tuk-Tuk drove through the fruit market, which we hadn’t seen in a long time.  On our ride home we drove through the main market and experienced the morning dance that keeps the city moving.  I made a few mental notes of streets to avoid due to road work.  

The coffee shop next door is still under construction.  Today they moved into the hammer and nail phase of the project.  It was so nice when they just poured concrete and waited for it to cure.  So peaceful (555).  

In today’s photos, Nitchanan and Daku are seen hanging out in the living room.  She carried her bag of chips all around, and Daku followed, patiently waiting for something to drop.  In the first pic you can see her airplane.  
In the second pic they’re posing for the camera, hamming it up.



Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.       Time for the ‘Funnies’.

                    Peace,
                              Danny


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Missing

Hi,

This morning it looked like it might rain.  Of course, that burned off and we had another beautiful day even though it was a little cooler.  

Day two of a song is usually when the memories give the answer.  Let’s see if this ‘Zany Day’ song works the same.
“I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine.  We talked until two, and then she said, ‘It’s time for bed’.  She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.  I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath.  And when I awoke I was alone, this bird had flown.  So I lit a fire, isn’t it good, __ __.”  Clue:  There is furniture involved. 

Even with a good night’s sleep and an afternoon nap, we are still finding it difficult to stay awake at 7:30 in the evening.  Mr. Lag is trying to make a statement and it’s being heard.  “You will obey”.  I suppose the chin dropping to the chest is a sign of submission.  This may be a short message.

We learned more about water pumps today from our friend Edwin.  We got a call from the ‘Water Works’ company and when Lisa asked the young woman if she spoke English, her reply was, “I cannot do that”.  Hmm, we had to laugh.  Once we make contact, we’re going with the Italian model they sell.  

This afternoon, Nitchanan came to visit and brought a new toy.  It was a large model of an A380 jetliner with a friction motor.  You do remember friction motors don’t you?  They were mostly in cars, and made them go faster and farther on the floor.  Anyway, it was one of those moments when there was an attraction to a non-traditional toy and it made me smile.  She handed me the plane and began to play with the little didgeridoo.  Then we’d trade again.  Another game was born, for a minute.

There is a bird that we have come to love, even though we can’t always see them.  They are called the Greater Coucal and they like to hang out in big trees and one bush in our yard.  They sound like apes when they are courting, making a hooting sound that gets louder with each series.  Here’s one in our yard.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“Love is when he gives you a 
piece of your soul, that you 
never knew was missing.”
~Torquato Tasso

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Love

Hi,

We’re having cool mornings, which are perfect for exercising the dog and warm afternoons, great for snoozing at the request of Mr. Lag.  He could leave anytime and it would be OK with me.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Smooth Operator” by Sade.  Here’s another ‘Zany Day’ entry to tax your mind:  “I once had a girl, or should I say she once had me.  She showed me her room, isn’t it good __ __.  She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere.  So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair.”  Hint:  It’s those pesky boys from across the pond, mid 60s and there is furniture involved.

This morning we had a delightful and insightful breakfast with our friend Edwin.  He gave us some healing meditations that have helped him.  In the course of conversation, he mentioned a man who Blue went to a few times.  The healer with that foul tasting herbal tea.  When the conversation turned to exercise, it opened the door to swimming and the construction of a heating system for our pool.  We learned that there is a company that deals with all things water, before it enters the house.  This outfit may be the closest we’ll see to plumbers.  We have their number.  Sure beats trying to do it myself.  A big revelation during breakfast was the number of people in Thailand who speak Lao.  The province of Issan (in the northeast corner of Thailand) is right next to Laos and it’s population speaks mostly Lao.  Any discussion of language in Thailand also includes the many forms of Thai language as well as English and how it is taught.  It was very stimulating morning.

I may have mentioned this in the past, but there is a thing that tarmac workers do at airports that always gets me.  The people who guide the plane out of it’s parking spot stand and wave just before the plane leaves for the runway.  I have seen it once in the States, in San Jose, but always in Thailand and Taiwan.  

While on the subject of travel, on our flight from Bangkok to Taipei, we were on the ‘Hello Kitty’ jet.  It’s not a big deal from inside the plane, except that they play the most annoying music over and over as the passengers board the plane.  Today’s photo is Kitty’s place in the airport.


We still haven’t seen a lot of Chiang Rai since we’ve been back.  Our running of errands is on ‘hold’ since neither of us can stand in long lines or walk long distances yet.  Luckily, there are no lines at our favorite coffee shops.

It Feels Like a Wacky Wednesday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“Love is the only force capable
of transforming an enemy into 
a friend.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Fool

Hi,

We’re in the weather pattern that begins with a cool, foggy morning and progresses into a hot, sunny day.  

It would appear that the ‘Easy Monday’ song has slipped right by some of you.  Here’s the second verse.
“Coast to coast, L.A. to Chicago, western male.  Across the north and south to Key Largo, love for sale.  Face to face, each classic case we shadow box and double cross, yet need to chase.  A license to love, insurance to hold, melts all your memories and change into gold.  His eyes are like angels but his heart is cold.  No need to ask, he’s a __ __, __ __, __ __, __ __.” Clue:  The group and the singer share the same name.  The title refers to someone who seems to get away with everything they attempt.  To give too many hints would be the Sweetest Taboo.

Let me just say that Mr. Lag is in the house.  Sleeping patterns are not what they used to be, and we know enough by now to just go with it.  One minute we’re watching the Australian Open tennis tournament, the next, we’re sound asleep.  It’s fortunate that we have no particular place to be for a few days.  That could be embarrassing.  Then there’s the waking up in the middle of the night.  

Yesterday we went to immigration to fulfill a new requirement that states that whenever we leave the province or the country, we must check in and let them know where we were.  It’s a little curious, but we comply because they said so.  

Tomorrow is ‘Teacher’s Day’, not to be confused with ‘Teacher Appreciation Day’.  On Teacher’s day the schools are closed to contemplate the value of educators in the life of students.  It’s also a day off for teachers.  January 16 has been Teacher’s Day since 1957.  We first heard about this when Natcha mentioned that Nitchanan would have no school tomorrow.  Teacher Appreciation Day was introduced to us by Napa, a ballet student of Lisa's many years ago.  This is the day when students bring flowers, candles and incense to school, crawl to the teacher and present them.  Three specific flowers are given: one to symbolize wit, another to show respect, and a third to honor their perseverance.  

We’re starting our day with breakfast at The Wanderer with our friend Edwin.  We haven’t seen him since the wonderful dinner we had with his family, before our trip.  It’s been awhile since I had breakfast in the woods.  I’m leaning towards the waffles with cinnamon apples.  

This morning we exercised Daku for the first time in over two months.  The front lawn has been missed.  He was so happy to be out on the lawn with the two of us.  As he was breaking the rules by running, he had a big smile on his face.  Yes, it’s true, dogs smile.  


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“He is no fool who gives what
he cannot keep to gain what
he cannot lose.”
~Jim Elliot

Monday, January 14, 2019

Strength

Hi,

We are back in Chiang Rai, where the weather is wonderful.  Today is was in the mid-80s, going down to the mid-60s tonight.  Yeah, this feels good.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “School Days” by Chuck Berry.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ tune we haven’t hummed in a long time:  “Diamond life, lover boy, he moves in space with minimum waste and maximum joy.  City lights, business nights when you require streetcar desire for higher heights.  No place for beginners or sensitive hearts.  When sentiment is left to chance, no place to be ending but somewhere to start.  No need to ask, he’s a __ __, __ __, __ __, __ __.”  Hint:  

We left off with us waiting for our plane at LAX.  There was a special moment when we first got to the airport.  When we dropped off our car at Hertz, we pulled into the wrong line.  After explaining our situation, they arranged for us to be driven to the airport in our rental.  At the curb, we had to figure out how to get our luggage inside to EVA Airlines.  A tall young man walked up and volunteered to help.  He was on his way to Fiji and was feeling good. He carried all of our luggage in one trip. The wheelchair people picked us up at the EVA ticket window.  When we got upstairs for the inspection and scrutinization portion, I got the royal treatment again.  This time I guess I looked like I would be an agreeable subject for a training session.  This young man, looking as nervous as I was feeling, started explaining everything I had heard in San Jose when I went through this the first time.  I tried to explain that I knew what to expect, when his supervisor/trainer stepped in and told me he had to say everything because it was blah, blah, blah.  She had a good sense of humor and we began to chat about ‘things’ as he interrupted to tell me which part of his hand would search where.  I was finally released with the knowledge that I’m a good training subject, and that most of the TSA workers are staying on the job so they don’t lose their place.  

Flying across the ocean was uneventful.  I was hoping to sleep a lot, like on the previous long segment, but there I was, wide awake.  I ended up watching some movies, snoozing a little, and wishing it was over.  That never works.  In Taipei we didn’t have too long before it was time to go to the boarding area.  When we arrived at the airport, it was very empty since we got there before the stores opened.  Later, when we rolled down the same corridor on the way to our flight, it was like a bustling city.  There they were, 7 something in the morning, selling perfume and whisky to whoever was willing to buy.  

Looking back over the whole trip, it was one of the most difficult journeys in the eleven years of doing this.  Mostly because of the physical issues this time.  Six months from now we’ll remember this with a smile and say ‘Well, that happened.’  For now, it’s time to rest and recuperate.

Pulling into The Big Brown House, we tried to absorb as much as possible.  The lawn, the trees, the house, it seemed like such a long time ago.  Daku was overjoyed as well.  He circled and circled and eventually calmed down.  We had  just finished dinner when Nitchanan made a shy appearance.  The first thing we noticed was her height.  She was taller.  Gong and Natcha had done an amazing job of moving all of our stuff back to the upstairs bedroom.  

The only thing we did on Sunday was drag ourselves over to The Wanderer for lunch.  Khun Noot came to our table and spent some time with us.  She made a pot of organic teas that she had blended.  She told us that over New Years the place was swamped with visitors.  It was nice to be there when it was mellow.

The first photo was taken by Lisa, on our approach to Chiang Rai.  These are some of the foothills that surround us.
The second photo is a cup of the tea that Khun Noot made for us.  



Last night Nitchanan was totally over her shyness.  As she entered our room there was a big “Hello”, and she picked up where we left off 3 weeks ago.  

Have a Great Week.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on.
It takes a lot of strength to let go.”
~J. C. Watts

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Friday Funnies

Hi,

The afternoon weather in Culver City was almost warmish.  I wore at least two layer the entire trip.  The rain that was predicted never appeared and that was fine with us.  There will be plenty of time for rain when we get home.  When you have things to do in the street, rain makes it harder, at least in the big city.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Flight 505” by The Rolling Stones.  ‘Old School Friday’ is an ode to education and being young, set to a R&R beat by ‘The Master’.  “Up in the mornin’ and out school.  The teacher is teachin’ the Golden Rule.  American history and practical math.  You studyin’ hard and hopin’ to pass.  Workin’ your fingers right down to the bone, and the guy behind you won’t leave you alone.”  Hint:  The title is not in the lyrics.  It’s from 1957, but is now a classic.

Thursday morning we had breakfast with my childhood friend, Reg (Reggie when we were younger).  Our breakfast menu included travel, retirement thoughts, politics, and the past.  It’s been a few years since our last face-to-face and it was good to see him.  

We went to a little French cafe for lunch.  Well, I guess I’m not a continental guy.  Maybe I need the real deal.  At any rate, most of it was good and I’ll leave it at that.  

It appears that I’m not the only person in the L.A. area who misses things the way they were.  I’ve listened to many reviews of the changing times and most of them are not good.  We have to wait and see who will occupy the area in about 5 years.  Who can guess the next frontier for the land barons?

We’ve had some fun, off the wall conversations with The Boys and I keep being amazed that they are so old so fast.  The timing of our exit this evening was such that we didn’t get to say goodbye to Jeff.  We did a Facetime from the car and that was fun.  Never done that before, but it worked.

Right now, it’s Thursday night and we’re sitting in the EVA lounge waiting for our flight.  Boarding begins before I should actually send this, but if I wait until we get to Taipei it will be very, very late.  So, you’re getting your Friday message early.  

This pic is a blast from the past.  Daku is pleading for me to take him out and play.  A thousand words, and a lot less hair.


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Time for the ‘Funnies’.

                     Peace,
                               Danny


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Seek

Hi,

It’s warming up, just as we prepare to leave.  What?  The rain was a brief thing and yesterday it was blue skies with streaky clouds (is that a thing?).  I had to take off my big jacket in the afternoon.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I Wish It Would Rain” by The Temptations.  That means it’s ‘Zany Day’ time.  Here’s one from what is probably the oldest working band in R&R:  “Well, I was happy here at home, I got everything I need.  Happy bein’ on my own, just living the life I lead.  Well, suddenly it dawned on me that this was not my life.  So I just phoned the airline girl and said, ‘Get me on __ __ __, get me on __ __ __.”  Hint: This is ‘Leaving town’ week.  The singer is looking for a change of scenery.  There is a number involved.  Band name comes from a blues song.

Tuesday was a breakfast day.  We met Pam & Steve at Dinah’s and this time our table was in a big room with no other customers.  The quiet of the room made it very easy to have comfortable conversations without battling to be heard.  

I drove up to Hollywood for a meeting and had a chance to see another part of ‘The City’.  From the cool strip on Melrose Ave. to the posh, HiSo of Robertson Bl., it was all ‘Same, Same, but Different’.  I also got to see a lot of old friends that I have missed.  Sometimes I’ll see the same folks each visit, other times it’s a year or more before we see each other.  It was a good day for a reunion.

After picking up Lisa and CBass, we went to Thai Boom Restaurant for a late lunch.  We got a big, warm greeting from Khun Woodie and Khun Soonie.  We hadn’t seen either of them for long time.  Thai was spoken, lunch was good, and we kept being amazed at how big the place looked after being remodeled.  

We’re starting to get messages from friends at home, wondering when we will return.  Kwan, of The Wanderer, even included some bait in her recent message.  She sent photos of chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven with a caption describing them as crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside.  Yeah, we’ll be home tomorrow (555).   

In the evening, Lisa and The Boys went to the Japanese Market Food Court for dinner while I stayed home and rested my back.  

I call this one “Sky & Crane”.  This is an example of the contrast between the construction and nature in Culver City. 


The ‘Sleeping’ countdown has begun.  Years ago, August used the term ‘Sleeping’ when counting days to an event.  We still use it just for fun.  We have 2 more Sleepings until we leave for home.  

It Feels Like a Wacky Wednesday.

                 Peace,
                           Danny

“Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the
barriers within yourself that you have
built against it.”
~Rumi

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Victor

Hi,

For most of our Monday there was a mist that just kept falling.  It was probably rain in some areas, but all we got was mist.  I’m not complaining, I much prefer mist over cold rain.  In Chiang Rai they’ve been having rain.  Maybe it will be over by the time we arrive on Saturday afternoon.  Hmm.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song had a verse that was a real ‘sing-a-long’:  “Day in, day out, my tear stained face pressed against the window pane.  My eyes search the skies, desperately for rain.  ‘Cause raindrops will hide my teardrops, and no one will ever know, that I’m cryin’, cryin’ when I go outside.  To the world outside my tears, I refuse to explain.  Oh, __ __ __ __ __, (Oh, __ __ __ __ __).”  Clue:  The key words are there, the singer desires water from the sky to camouflage his tears.  

We started our day with eye exams.  So much fun, trying to read fuzzy letters, get air puffs in the eye, not to mention flashes of light.  I had joked with Lisa that they were probably going to tell me I need to wear glasses and give up the contacts.  Well, it was kind of a compromise, I’m supposed to share my eyes with regular glasses a couple of days a week, and take the contacts out every night.  What?  That’s not convenient at all (555).  Really, it could have been much worse.  As is stands, the new set of contacts are not the right prescription, at least in one eye, so I have to call and go back.  Lisa’s eyes are great.  

Our lunch venue was Cafe 50’s, a place we used to go to sometimes.  It’s still very popular, and still has that vibe like you entered a time capsule.  A nice thing about the cafe is the various turkey dishes they serve.  We just can’t get turkey in Chiang Rai.  Some ideas just keep on working, and this place is one of them.  

Today’s photo is from our visit back in time.  Dare I say it, reminds me of my childhood.


The next stop on our tour of the town was at Amir Zagross for another round of acupuncture.  In addition to two hours of needle treatment, we both got more education about how to heal our bodies.  Amir is a teacher, so he has a way of giving just enough information that one can absorb it and not feel overwhelmed.  When we get home, I have a project for Gong.  I need a ‘slant board’ so I can gently decompress my body.  I also got, at my request, a detailed report that I can give to the acupuncturist at Overbrook Hospital, so I can continue my treatments.  Things are slowly improving.  Impatient me dealing with the medicine of time.  Key word here is surrender.

One of the more disturbing things we keep encountering is the growing number of tent encampments of homeless people under bridges and overpasses.  Feelings like sadness, guilt, and powerlessness all smash into each other.

While Lisa spent time with ‘The Boys’ and Jeff and Anna, I went to dinner and a meeting with a friend/pen pal.  That’s what I call a full Monday.  Today, Tuesday, should be a little milder.  We’ll see.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“You can be a victor without having victims.”
~From a Fortune Cookie