Thursday, February 28, 2019

Lost

Hi,

We’re doing the 30° swing with the thermometer:  mid 90s by day, low 60s by night.  Meanwhile, we’ve lost the view of the distant hill in the haze.  Life goes on.

Well, a couple of readers heard the ‘Zany Day’ song in their heads and remembered the title.  Here’s more:
“__ __ __, baby, can’t stay in one place too long.  __ __ __, baby, mess with me and I’ll be gone.  You can love me if you wanna, but I do declare, when I get restless, I’ve gotta move somewhere.  __ __ __, baby…”  Hint:  Besides a toothbrush, he probably will take his saxophone with him too.  And then there’s the ultimate clue: 'Meep Meep’.

This morning we began our ‘errands’ with a stop at The Wanderer.  Our long-time friend Chalit and his girlfriend Sen were about to have breakfast so we joined them.  We had the best time talking about the seasons, traditions, politics, food and pets.  Sen’s family has a clothing business in Bangkok and we got a peak into the world of seasonal clothing.  During Chinese New Year, red with gold is the dominant combination.  To be fashionable, one should have several combinations of ‘lucky’ colors to insure that the new year starts off right.  The next big holiday is Sonkhran and that also requires special clothes.  Traditionally, floral shirts in bright colors have been the fashion.  This year, Sen is taking the Year of the Pig theme and making it ‘boars’ in honor of the cave kids football team.  She said it worked for Chinese New Year and with some color changes, it should work for Sonkhran.  Very clever indeed.  During the segment on pets, Lisa showed them some photos of Daku and a video clip of him sliding on the lawn.  Sen mentioned that she had buffalo.  We laughed and Chalit nodded his head and said, ‘Yes, she has buffalo’.  She has nine water buffalo that live in the rice fields next to the clothing factory.  The first four were rescues from the slaughter house.  Now they are nine and they are pets.  The younger ones greet her and want to play by butting heads, but she has to side-step that and make another game out of it.  We saw photos and clips of them and it makes sense on a larger scale.  All I can say is, ‘Wow’.

As we were leaving, we saw Khun Noot, who had just returned from a city in the south and a visit to a healer/chiropractor.  She had great results and we’re going to go with her in April to see this amazing man who, in his 80s, is a treasure in many circles.  

Here is an orchid that is blooming right next to the main path at The Wanderer.


Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                       Peace,
                                 Danny

“I put my heart and soul 
into my work, and have lost
my mind in the process.”
~Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Boundless

Hi,

It was another day like the last day, hot.  The nights may be getting warmer because the mornings are not as cold.  The pool was 77°F, which is nowhere near our swimming temp, but it’s coming up slowly.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Do You Want To Know A Secret” by The Beatles, featuring George on vocals.  Now it comes back to you, right?  Moving on, prepare yourself for the ‘Zany Day’ song.  “Money, who needs it?  Just to live my life free and easy.  Put the toothbrush in my hand, and let me be a travelin’, man, ‘cause __ __ __, baby.”  Hint:  The key word in the title is the name of a bird that likes to keep moving and often foils a dog-like nemesis.  

We left the house after exercising Daku and went to the flower market.  It’s a very busy place in the mornings.  Our quest was a colorful, happy bouquet for a friend and we found one.  It’s so wonderful to find what you’re looking for and if there is a wilted flower, it’s happily replaced, with a smile.  The bouquet and small vase came to $6.

Work@Home was our next stop.  We hadn’t had a visit with Katai and Towan in a long time.  Fortunately, they had some time to sit down and talk about travels, dogs, and stuff.  Katai was nursing three fingers that got affected by the cold, dry weather in Russia where they visited at the end of last year.  She’s doing better, but was surprised that it could even happen.  They’ve been very busy now that they have two tractor store locations, plus a big repair center near Chiang Rai.  At one point in our conversations, I noticed her other hand.  There were animals there.  See the photo below.


After Work@Home, it was a short drive to Teppawan Art Supply to deliver the flowers for our friend Supalak.  As we entered the store I noticed another of Lisa’s works on the wall, from her paper sculpture group.  Supalak is a major supporter and collector of local artists.  Some of the ArtBridge artists started buying supplies at Teppawan when they were kids.  

There is a construction detour on a major road to town that looks like it will last at least another 2 months.  It’s already been about 2 months and it’s getting frustrating.  We can tell they’re not close to being finished because there are 4 huge pipes that are still sitting by the side of the road.  There is a way around it, through the hillside, but we tried that once before and got lost.  I’m keeping it on the flat land until I get proper directions.  At least we have two ways to get to town in the meantime.  

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“The world of reality has its 
limits; the world of imagination
is boundless.”
~Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Positive

Hi,

The weather in Chiang Rai was almost the same as yesterday.  We had a pinch more pollution, so basically, nothing to sing about.  Pretty soon they’ll be posting signs asking tourists not to take photos outside (555).  Not funny.

There have been several responses to the ‘Easy Monday’ song.  Here’s a clue:  It came from across the pond with a different lead singer than usual.  “I’ve known a __ for a week or two.  Nobody knows, just we two.  Listen, __ __ __ __ __ __ __?  Do you promise not to tell?  Whoa oh, oh….”  Hint:  When you ask someone to promise not to tell, there is the implication that it is a what?

We spent the bulk of the day around the house.  Yesterday we recorded The Oscars and today we started watching after breakfast.  Things like that we have to watch in segments.  It’s not so much about attention span as it is about other things going on, like Daku, phone calls, etc.  We don’t get to the movies when we visit the states, so this is the closest we’ll get to some of the films.  In time, we’ll get to see most of them through the amazingness of Youtube, Netflix, etc.

Last night we did some future planning.  Lisa made the major reservations for our Summer Visit to the states.  I don’t think we’ve ever done it this far in advance.  The best part about it was the number of choice seats still open on the overseas flights.  Having seats near the front of the section where we sit means early on and off the plane.  A chance to sit and get settled before the flight, and a chance to get off the plane before the mad rush by the masses.  Don’t like being rushed or trampled (555).

This afternoon I had another round of acupuncture and I feel relief from a temporary strain I got on Sunday.  I had attempted an exercise that didn’t go as intended and it left me with the dreaded lower back pain.  Dr. Needles gave the area special attention today and it’s better.  I called him that because I still don’t know his name.  I’m going to find out before next week.  We were noticing how happy the nursing staff is at Overbrook Hospital.  I don’t know exactly why, maybe because there doesn’t appear to be a shortage of nurses, maybe because they seem to be friends, and maybe because the management is good to them.  This seems to be a sure way to tell if a place is managed with kindness, look at the staff.  It leads to better service with clients and more cooperation within the organization.  

Natcha’s trip to Burma was so she could be at her cousin’s wedding.  The village where she is from is high on a mountain, with no heat or hot water.  This time of year it is very cold.  She called us last Saturday night and it looked dark and cold on the video screen.  Nitchanan stayed in Mae Sai with her grandparents and apparently had a wonderful time.  

Today’s photo is a candid of Nitchanan pondering Daku.


Dinner at Hungry Wolf is getting to be a semi-regular thing.  We got there early, which is nice because there is less of a wait for the order.  On the other hand, when the staff has no one to wait on, they tend to hover.  Our waitress did a full interview of us.  If we hadn’t put our Air Pods in, she would have come back for another round.  She did notice that we were listening and left us alone.  Later, while we were eating, two staff members just stood across the aisle and looked at us.  I hadn’t noticed until Lisa mentioned it.  Kinda creepy, just watching us eat.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                         Peace,
                                   Danny

“You cannot have a positive
life and a negative mind.”
~Joyce Meyer

Monday, February 25, 2019

Loud

Hi,

Hot weather prevails in the Land of Smiles.  The consensus is that this hot, dry, smokey season is early this year.  I guess it is, the seasons blur in my mind and my calendar sense goes all haywire.  It is what it is.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Sweet Little Sixteen” by Chuck Berry.  Time for ‘Easy Monday’ and another from the Fab Four.  Intro: “You’ll never know how much I love you, you’ll never know how much I really care… Listen, __ __ __ __ __ __ __?  Do you promise not to tell?, whoa oh, oh.  Closer, let me whisper in your ear, say the words you long to hear.  I’m in love with you.”  Hint:  You can tell from the lyrics that it’s a __. 

We had a pretty laid back weekend.  Gong told us on Saturday that Natcha and Nitchanan would return on Sunday.  The look on his face was one of joy.  When they got back to town, before getting to the house, he was beaming.  While they were gone, he kept busy going to work at his other job and washing and cleaning here at home.  

Every morning, when we take Daku out for his exercise, there is a little black and white bird that comes out and plays ‘with us’.  It starts by soaring into the ‘area’ from the roof of our house.  Then it hops around the yard, chirping and bouncing.  Then it will take off and swoop over our heads and land again.  Sometimes it will land right in the middle of the yard, where Daku is about to run.  He watches and then springs into the air and lands a few feet away.  There is a trust that has evolved that makes us smile every day.  Last season there were two, we don’t know what happened to the other one.  Still, it’s pretty cool to have another animal friend.

All around Thailand expats are discussing the changes in immigration requirements on various types of visas.  Our situation is very stable, it’s mostly about choices and how to proceed.  For others, it’s vary precarious, and it depends on things like their retirement income as to whether they can stay here.  One friend has had to move to Cambodia.  At lunch on Saturday with our friends Brenda and Eric, we discussed the situation and how we were going to deal with it.  It would appear that some single men are having the biggest problems.  There is supposed to be an election at the end of next month and we’ll all be watching to see if things stay the same. 

Last night Natcha and Nitchanan came up to our room and we had a ‘reunion’ of sorts.  Nitchanan climbed up on the bed with a book, arranged her pillow next to Lisa, and they raced through ‘Cat in the Hat’.  What she really wanted to do was draw.  She brought the box of pencils to the bed and started drawing and talking.  We’re not sure what she was saying, but she was talking away with Natcha.  Some of it was instructions on what to draw and where.  She went back to school today, after a week off.  This evening she was as charming as ever.  

The shellfish table at the western entrance to the Talat is a place where we always hold our breath.  They try to keep it iced, but it doesn’t always do the job.


Have a Great Week.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“I am an artist… I am here
to live out loud.”
~Emile Zola

Friday, February 22, 2019

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Not much to say today, it’s all about the weather in Southern California.  Oh my, snow on the ground in West Hollywood, Altadena, Magic Mountain?  We couldn’t believe it.  Chiang Rai was hot and that’s all.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Express Yourself” by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW4VZ5J0fNQ  We’ve come to the end of another week.  ‘Old School Friday’:
“‘Cause they’ll be rockin’ on Bandstand, in Philadelphia, P.A.  Deep in the heart of Texas, and ‘round the ‘Frisco Bay.  All over St. Louis, way down in New Orleans.  All the cats wanna dance with __ __ __.”  Hint:  I think he’s the God Father of Rock and Roll.  There is a number involved.  

Today we had a pretty full day.  Cat came over and brought the trophy she was awarded for winning the 5th annual English Speaking contest.  We went to The Wanderer and had a fun time talking about her upcoming trip to Australia, language, art promotion and what it takes to realize an idea.  She has a very funny sense of humor and had us laughing a lot.  

Our next stop was Teppawan Stationary and Art Supply, the oldest such store in Chiang Rai.  Khun Supalak has bee a collector and friend of ours since Lisa’s first exhibit.  One of the treats of today’s visit was discovering that two of Lisa’s art pieces are hanging on the wall in the store.  We took the supplies back to the house and let Daku out for a break.  Without Natcha at home, we have to keep the master of the house happy.  We can tell that he misses Natcha by the look on his face when she’s not around at certain times. 

Below are Lisa’s pieces on display at Teppawan Art Supply.


We tried a new lunch location today, hoping to expand on our ‘menu’ of eateries.  The Chiang Rai Condotel Bistro & Bar was our destination.  The three dishes we ordered were not the sort of thing that will have us going back soon.    

The Talat was our next stop, looking for a bedspread for Cat and whatever we might see.  Cat got bedding, I got comfy shoes and Lisa got a beautiful bag.  At the bedding store, it was divided between sets of sheets and blankets on one side, and robes, blankets and bedding for monks on the other.  We haven’t strolled the aisles in the market for a long time.  The last time was a few weeks ago, but it was a very short trip.  I forgot how fascinating it is, and how low some of the prices are for everyday things.  

The day’s activities were capped off with another trip to the dentist.  This was for impressions to make molds for a new bridge.  He told us about a new machine that can scan the mouth and make a model of teeth and gums without the patient opening their mouth.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any in Thailand yet.  The dentists here are waiting for the Chinese to make a similar machine for less money.  His words, not mine. 

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

                     Peace,
                               Danny


Plan

Hi,

We had a carbon copy of yesterday’s weather.  The lack of air ‘quality’ is becoming the topic of more conversation.  As more voices are raised, maybe there can be change.  

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has friends.  I know it’s a ‘stumper’, but it’s such a cool, zany tune I just had to use it.
“Some people have everything, and other people don’t.  But everything don’t mean a thing if it ain’t the thing you want.  __ __!  __ __!”  Clue:  'Say what’s on your mind’ is the general theme.

This was the first morning without Natcha.  Daku was as confused as we were.  Lisa fixed breakfast as usual, but the dishes were still there after we were done.  Daku was waiting for his visit with Natcha and that didn’t happen.  It went like that all day.  Many ‘little things’ are different in our routine with Natcha and Nitchanan away.  It’s only a week.

Our morning outside the walls began at Chivit Tamma Da.  I switched up today and ordered green tea.  It was pretty good, not the dense taste of coffee, but better for me.  Not that I’m quitting coffee, but I thought it might be a good idea since I had a blood test coming in the afternoon.  Lisa ordered coffee and it was a disaster.  They just changed coffee from Doi Chaang to some new brand and it failed.  They shoulda known.  We had a Skype call with Joe and that made it a special morning.  He’s doing great, planning his 95th B’day party for this summer.

Today’s photo was taken at Chivit Tamma Da.  It’s a picture of tranquility.  No one was there because the morning sun was getting hot.  Still, I’d like to try it on a cloudy day.


This afternoon was spent at Overbrook Hospital.  I had a 2pm appointment to take another blood test to see if changes in diet had helped with my red blood cell count.  Things were better but I still need to do the red meat thing a little longer.  I’m not doing it on a regular basis, it’s just too heavy on many levels.  We didn’t get out of the place ’til around 4pm.  What a way to spend an afternoon.  

Tomorrow morning we’re meeting Cat at The Wanderer for breakfast (for her) and coffee and roti (for us).  She found out today that she will be traveling to Melbourne, Australia in May as part of a delegation from The Freedom Story.  It’s a big fund-raising event and she’s a significant part of the back-story.  Needless to say, she’s quite thrilled about it.

It occurred to me last weekend, that we hadn’t had the loud, live music for a few weeks.  That is a pleasant development.  I love live music, but not in my neighborhood from blocks away.  Now I sound like a cranky old man, but you should have heard it.  Hmm, life comes full circle?

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“It takes as much energy
to wish as it does to plan.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Hope


Please Note:  If you are not receiving mail from me on a regular basis, check your spam folder, then let me know.  In the meantime, go to:  www.gratidude.blogspot.com

Hi,

Another hot day in Chiang Rai.  The cool nights are keeping the pool from warming up.  There was a small earthquake north east of Chiang Mai this afternoon.  We felt a little bump, but nothing serious at all, in Chiang Rai that is.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Rhythm of the Rain”, by The Cascades.  And now you can hear it in your head.  Now it’s time for a real challenge:  the ‘Zany Day’ song.  “__ __!  __ __!  You don’t ever need help from nobody else.  All you got to do now is __ __!  What ever you do, do it good.  What ever you do, do it good.  All right.  It’s not what you look like, when you’re doin’ what you’re doin’.  It’s what you’re doin’ when you’re doin’ what you look like you’re doin’!  __ __!  __ __!”  Hint:  Encouraging self-confidence?

It looks like we’re back to those busy days of yore (5).  This morning we met our friend John at Polar for coffee/tea.  We hadn’t seen him since before the holidays.  There was a new twist to ordering his Green Tea Latte, he was asked if he wanted it ‘warm, hot, or very hot’.  We all looked at each other in amazement.  Later he figured it out since they put hot milk on top of the tea, you get a choice.  We talked a bunch about travel and getting from point A to point B.  Our own Chiang Rai International Airport now has flights to other countries besides China.  No longer is it necessary to fly to Bangkok for some international flights.  There was the usual dose of laughter involved and if we hadn’t been watching the clock, we could have gone on.

Natcha prepared lunch for us and then we took her and Nitchanan to the bus station for their trip to Mae Sai.  There is a service now that uses air conditioned vans instead of the old buses.  It makes for a faster trip with more comfort.  They arrived safely and sent photos.  

After we dropped them off, we headed north on the same highway, to Mae Chan.  The purpose was to see Dr. Mark, aka Dr. Happy about helping with my back.  While I’m not suffering from the same pain as a few months ago, I still have some very tense muscles and solutions are needed.  We arrived just before appointment time only to find out that it would be another hour’s wait.  It was off to Dunkin' Donuts for coffee/tea and some light ‘looking’ around the Tesco/Lotus department/grocery store.  The appointment went well and Dr. Mark gave us a detailed accounting of my first blood test.  He was very encouraging and told me not to worry.  I wish he wasn’t so far away.

By the time we got home, through some highway traffic, it was just time to relax, do some yard things, and have the first of the delicious meals that Natcha prepared for us before she left.  

Natcha and Nitchanan waiting for the bus to Mae Sai.  So happy.  


It’s Gonna Be A Wacky Wednesday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“I find hope in the darkest of days
and focus in the brightest.  I do not
judge the universe.”
~The Dalai Lama

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Limits

Hi,

Another day of deceptive weather.  We woke up to a cold morning.  By mid-morning it was warming up and the sky appeared to be clear blue if you looked straight up.  If you looked to the horizon, you realized it was not really clear at all.  

Two readers recognized the ‘Easy Monday’ tune.  This may not be as easy as I thought.  Water from the sky made this song a radio hit every year in San Diego, CA, where the group was from.  “The only girl I care about has gone away, looking for a brand new start.  But little does she know that when she left that day, along with her she took my heart.  Rain, please tell me now does that seem fair, for her to steal my heart away when she don’t care?  I can’t love another when my hearts somewhere far away.”  Clue:  There is an element of weather involved.  Pitter, patter...

This morning we went to Big C for some basic supplies.  We had a few more errands, but decided to get coffee at Central Plaza Mall, across the highway.  As we were approaching the mall we realized that it was open early, and that was because it was a holiday.  They open at 10am on holidays and today was Makha Bucha Day.  Throughout the world of Theravada Buddhism, this day commemorates the first teaching of the Buddha to a gathering of 1,250 disciples.  

A stop by Daku’s vet for a thyroid refill completed our morning in the street.  Years ago we learned that BamBam needed thyroid, and then later, Daku.  We recently found out that when some dogs are neutered, it causes a thyroid deficiency.   

Natcha, Gong and Nitchanan are going to be gone for a week.  Natcha is going to a wedding of her niece in Myanmar (Burma) and Gong and Nitchanan will visit his family in Mae Sai.  They leave tomorrow, which means that we will be on our own.  For the last two days, Nitchanan, Lisa and Daku have been having little bonding sessions.  Following Lisa’s lead, Nitchanan has grown more confident and loving around Daku.  She’s giving him hugs and even kissed him on the nose.  We will all miss them.  Yeah, we’re grown-ups, we can handle it, he said.   

Today’s photos show Cat giving her speech and receiving her award.



Have a Happy Tuesday.

                       Peace,
                                 Danny

“The only way to discover 
the limits of the possible is 
to go beyond them, into the 
impossible.”
~Arthur C. Clarke

Monday, February 18, 2019

Early


Hi,

It would be a falsehood to tell you we had rain this weekend, but it would be true to tell you that water fell from the sky.  Well, it was not enough to completely wet the pavement, so it was a baby cloud burst.  It’s been hot with a slim chance of breathable air.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ tune was “Sincerely” by The Moonglows.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsxVKN114M0
That was some classic stuff back in my youth.  Here’s something easy from ’63:  “Listen to the __ __ __ falling __, telling me just what a fool I’ve been.  I wish that it would go and let me cry in vain, and let me be alone again.”  Hint:  By a group from San Diego, CA, a one hit wonder.  Got tons of radio play during rain storms.  

The big adventure of the weekend was spending over 3 hours at the mall.  People are slowly learning about the parking structure.  We’ve used it three times and it has made recent visits easier.  Going inside from a different door can be confusing when leaving, but we figured it out.  We started out at Starbuck’s, then down to Top’s Market.  The nice thing about the structure is having the van close enough to drop things off and continue shopping.  Our lunch stop was Sizzler.  Now that I’m occasionally having beef until the red cells are dancing, Sizzler has an option that I can tolerate.  There’s just so much cutting and chewing involved.  

The key to shopping is to take breaks, sit and rest a bit, then hit it again.  I noticed that ‘our’ mall movie theater is showing Alita, which is looking to be a major blockbuster this year.  It used to be that there would be a wait for the top films, but now they open the same day as in the U.S.  There is a lot of remodeling going on and I’m curious as to what the reception will be for the new Uniclo store.  I have watched the enthusiastic shoppers in Chiang Mai, but never went in.  Chiang Rai is growing up.  We just hope it doesn’t lose the charm that brought us here.  Hmm, we may have to start going to Walking Street again to get back to the local stuff (555).

Saturday, Cat participated in a speaking contest.  She had won her local university's English speaking contest, based on a speech that she had written, about the value of free education for college.  Saturday’s contest was competing against the winners from the eight northern branches of the Rajabhat university system.  Not only did they have to give their original speech, but also choose a random topic from a basket and speak on that.  Her second topic was ‘should students wear uniforms at university?’  Cat won the whole thing and, as she said in her posting, ‘I can do it’.  We are quite proud of her.

Our usual Sunday lunch at The Wanderer was interesting.  We hadn’t seen the place so busy in a long time.  The various seasons mentioned earlier, and the beautiful nature that one can be close to just make for great photos. A feeling of a little magic floated on the breeze.  For many, walking in the woods is a new, fun experience.  

Saturday we noticed that Nitchanan’s car was in the carport, then Sunday it was in the kitchen.  The kitchen is the new carport for super car.  Nitchanan’s cousin Bang, who is a little over 1 year, and his brother Gop came over to visit.  Gop is 8 years old and he managed the remote to the car while Nitchanan and Bang rode all around the front lawn, laughing and having a great time.  



Have a Great Week.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“It’s always too early
to quit.”
~Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, February 15, 2019

Friday Funnies

Hi,

We’re in that weather cycle that offers no water from the sky.  I wish we could send some to our friends in Southern California.  They seem to be over watered right now.  Today’s forecast was 93°F with a possible low of 63°.   You could always come and visit.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “All Shook Up” by Elvis Presley.  We’re gonna back a little farther just to qualify this next ‘Old School Friday’ song as older than Elvis (555).  The year was 1955 and I spent my allowance money on this record:  “Ba-ba-doh, ba-doh, ba-doh, ba-ba-doh (it repeats a bunch).  __, oh yes, __, ‘cause I love you do dearly, please say you’ll be mine.  Oh Lord, won’t you tell me why I love that girlie so.  She doesn’t want me, but I’ll never, never, never, never let her go. __, oh, you know how I love you….”  Clue:  The title is a word used as a salutation at the end of a letter, back when letters were written.  Group name comes from the light that shines from a particular planet at night.

This morning Daku was in a very energetic mood.  The playful puppy was bounding across the lawn while we put him through his exercises, and then he foraged behind bushes during our walk.  After lunch, he was hanging out with Lisa and Natcha posing for photos and letting Natcha pet and scratch him.  He almost never lets me do that.  

We kept things close to home today, having coffee at The Wanderer.  It’s a short ride that gets us out of the house with no traffic.  

There were some things that I remembered from the ‘Wheel & Flute’ event that are noteworthy.  There were a lot of college students at the event and I noticed them having their photos taken, mainly with a friend of ours who is an artist and teacher.  While we were talking, he told me that he has about 360 students and he told them he would lighten their load if they came to the event and took a selfie with him or one of the other artists.  They came in droves and it was interesting to see the rapport he has with his students.  A cool teacher.  When the whole program was over, the flute player was surrounded by the crowd, wanting photos and selfies.  Hmm, it was Valentine’s Day after all (555).  

Along with the various weather things that happen this time of year, and the ‘High Season’ crowds, it’s also the time when the red flowers bloom on our road.  This is significant because these flowers are used in a dish that can only be made when they fall from the trees.  During the day and into the evening, people pull over, usually on motorbikes, and gather the petals and stuff them into bags.  Sometimes we’ll see a very organized person sitting and sorting the parts of the flower.  We looked for a whole one today but all Lisa could find were petals.  Not much to see there.

This afternoon I took some pics of Nitchanan’s new car.  It’s a very fancy ride, with sound effects, music, and car noises, and a USB port so she can play her favorite tunes.  It also has a remote control so Gong or Natcha can ‘drive’ the car while Nitchanan can pretend to drive it herself.  That is, until she realizes that she’s not in control.  Then the battle will be on (555).  They still have to attach the wheel covers for it to be complete, but you can get an idea of what it’s like and why I want to drive it around the yard.


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

                      Peace,
                                Danny


Thursday, February 14, 2019

More Love

Hi,

The weather is getting warmer here in Chiang Rai.  Next thing you know it will be the ‘Hot & Smokey’ season.  

I can’t believe that only one person responded to the ‘Zany Day’ song.  Lisa knew it!  Here’s your chance to make second day history and be first in the outside world to get this song:  “Well, my hands are shaky and my knees are week, I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet.  Who do you thank when you have such luck?  I’m in love, __ __ __ __.  Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah!  

We began our morning in the street by going downtown again.  There are lots of nail salons in Chiang Rai.  In fact, there are a lot of nail salons all over the world.  Anyway, we’d been told be several people that they really liked one downtown.  Today was the day we went there for Lisa to experience the shop.  We were told that they could take her in 30 minutes.  We were standing in front of a place that served coffee so we went inside.  It was not just a coffee shop, it was “Spinomad Hostel & Laundry Cafe”.  We were in the laundry cafe, sitting in comfortable chairs gazing at a wall painting of animals hanging out in washing machines.


Across the street from Spinomad, was the eye-glass shop.  We picked up Lisa’s glasses and even though they didn’t seem quite right, she was done.  I got a pair of non-prescription glasses with the ‘blue’ coating to protect my eyes from the computer screen, and some drops.  As the woman was packing everything up she commented that if her customer wasn’t happy, then she couldn’t be happy.  Hmm.

As we were eating lunch, we noticed activity at the front gate.  It was a delivery truck.  Gong bought Nitchanan a toy car, the kind you can ride in.  We had no idea what to expect, but we knew it was expensive.  We don’t know if Nitchanan likes it or not.  When we returned from our afternoon outing, it was out of the box, and in the living room.  Oh boy.

The big adventure today was the “Wheel & Flute” event at Rai Maefarluang Cultural Center.  We went early to get a prime parking place and it paid off.  Surprisingly, there were a lot of folks with the same idea.  There were many people there that we knew, and some we hadn’t seen for a long time.  The presentation/introduction of the ceramic artist, Tarouemon Nakazato was done through the video below (in English).  It tells about the village where the 400 year tradition lives on and thrives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43dfRC-qJNo&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR2xqTUXMdjMm7X3epOlD4I-ufiQQ8KJv36Quzib9F7ojEdwR-SFAJB5xxQ
After the video, there was an interview with the artist, questions were in Thai and answers were in Japanese.  This got us to wondering how many hours had we spent at affairs like this, not knowing what was being said.  At this point, we pick up some things, but we miss a lot.  When the interview was over, we had a traditional flute concert by
Kazuya Sato, who is from the same village, and has won a Japanese Grammy Award.  He played a whole set and then was joined by a soprano from Tokyo who sang a song that the audience knew, and everyone sang together.  

This photo shows Kazuya Sato in concert.  A microphone by his left cheek sent the sound of the instrument into the p.a. system and was very effective.  Note the assortment of flutes in his belt. 


The event ran over it’s allotted time but nobody seemed to care.  There were lots of conversations, photo ops, and new connections, making the whole thing a wonderful experience.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“All you need is love.
But a little chocolate
now and then doesn’t hurt.”
~Charles M. Schulz

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Love


Hi,

This morning the temperature was much warmer that previous days.  We could also see a haze already present.  It turned out to be day one of the dreaded ‘Smokey Season’.  Another way to tell is the warmer water in the pool.  The unfair sign that it’s about to be swimmable, but the air just won’t allow it.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder.   Time to visit another ‘Zany Day’ song.  “A-well’a bless my soul what’sa wrong with me?  I’m itchin’ like a man on a fuzzy tree.  My friends say I’m actin’ wild as a bug.  I’m in love, __ __ __ __.  Mm mm mm mm, yay, yay.”  Hint:  This 1957 hit was one of many by this multi-faceted artist.  The title is something one might say after riding over a very bumpy road.  

This morning we talked to Joe, Lisa’s dad in Palo Alto.  He’s really doing great, taking care of business, walking with confidence after bouncing back from partial hip-replacement.  A true role-model and a picture of determination.  

After our conversation, we took a little 'around the town road trip.’  It started downtown at the eye-glass shop, still trying to get Lisa’s prescription to translate from the machine to the glass.  In other words, looking through the lens doesn’t read like the fancy machine.  This is the third try at this particular shop.  There’s one on every corner, almost, so it’s not the end of the world.  

From downtown, we drove north of town to ArtBridge to drop off one of Lisa’s cast acrylic prints.  It will be given to one of the sponsors of an exhibition by the Women of ArtBridge.  More on this as information becomes available.


On the way home we stopped at Browney Pet World for treats for Daku.  The first thing I noticed as we entered was the banner congratulating the store on it’s four-year anniversary.  My how the time flies.  

This afternoon I had acupuncture and then a meeting at 5pm.  It’s been a very busy day.  

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other
but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
~Antoine de Saint Exupery

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Forget

Hi,

We are officially in ‘The Smokey Season’ and it’s the talk of the town.  We all knew it was coming, but it jumped on us by surprise a bit early this year.  Time to break out the masks, or just stay inside.  

Some of you recognized ‘Easy Monday’, even though I started with the second verse.  Today it’s the last verse:
“Smokin’ cigarettes and writing something nasty on the wall (you nasty boy).  Teacher sends you to the principal's office down the hall.  You grow up and learn that kinda thing ain’t right.  But while you were doing it, it sure felt outta sight.  __ __ those days could come back once more, why did those days ever have to go….”  Clue: The singer was once superstitious about a reggae woman. 

Today (12) was my birthday.  Some numbers sound different in the mouth than others.  Seventy-six sounds different than seventy-five.  Can’t tell you what it is, but it seems older than one year.  After coffee and roti at The Wanderer, we headed through town to Central Plaza Mall.

We had a long morning at the mall.  We went with a plan and it worked.  On the way to lunch, we shopped for gifts to give ourselves.  I found a shoulder bag that had a dressy look but held all my stuff.  Lisa got a new music player for the kitchen.  On the lower level, we looked at the newly redesigned Thai food area and decided that we’d have to explore on our next visit.  It’s much bigger and we were at the end of our ‘road’ on walking.  It’s going to take some organized exploration to get used to the new mall, but that makes it fun.  

Back at The Big Brown House, Natcha had baked cinnamon cookies.  They were the perfect dessert.  I spent some time responding to birthday messages, literally, from around the world.  It’s rather humbling to think that so many people had something nice to say on my birthday.  

We had just awakened from our nap when there was a tiny tap at the door.  It could only be one tiny person, Nitchanan.  She and Natcha came up with a bag of goodies.  Before Nitchanan could deal with the gift giving, she had to show me a little ‘hurt' on her hand.  Then we could proceed.  It was made up of things I like, including another bag of cookies.  I really scored on the cookies.  The best part it is that they’re healthy.

I have been putting off getting a hair trim for a long time.  Today was the day and Lisa gave me a very professional cut that makes me look all neat and tidy.  I love it.  

Our dinner venue was The Hungry Wolf and Cat joined us.  We had a great time looking back, looking forward and laughing over how to eat peanuts from the shell.  After dinner, we continued our conversations at the house.  Topics ranged from various school things she’s studying to what is imagination and how do we know if ours is special.  Deep stuff for sure.  We sent her home with a package we put together of all the things a person living alone should have if they get sick.  Not something every college student is going to think about doing.  

We have a new person helping with the cleaning of the house on Sunday’s.  She is Natcha’s sister-in-law and Lisa noticed the beautiful bag pictured below.  Ploy told her that she made it herself.  She did all the stitching and construction.  


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

“The best way to get even 
is to forget.”
~Unknown

Monday, February 11, 2019

Light

Hi,

Cool nights, hot days, gone to my baby’s head.  Sounds like an old blues tune, but it’s just the weather in Chiang Rai.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Don’t You Just Know It” by Huey ‘Piano’ Smith and The Clowns. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sxnXO2RjVg&frags=pl,wn  ‘Easy Monday’ is easy.  “Sneaking out the back door to hang out with those hoodlum friends of mine.  Greeted at the back door with, ‘Boy, thought I told you not to go outside’.  Tryin’ your best to bring the water to your eyes, thinkin’ it might stop her from whippin’ your behind.  __ __ those days could come back once more.  Why did those days ever have to go.  __ __ those days could come back once more, why did those day ever have to go, ‘cause I love them so.”  Hint:  The singer is reflecting on his childhood, dreaming of those days coming back.  Wish I could tell you more (555).

The musical mystery continues in our neighborhood.  The loud band performances are still going on and we still can’t pinpoint where they’re coming from.  If we walk into the front yard, it sounds like the music is across the field, by the river.  Step outside to the rear of the house and it sounds like it’s coming from a few blocks away, in the neighborhood.  Saturday night it ended at 12m, and Sunday they shut it down at 11:35pm.  Someday we’ll get to the bottom of this.  I must admit that some of the Saturday music was well played and interesting.  

We keep pushing the limits of our own capabilities and learning what ‘too much’ means.  For instance, a short walk in the mall takes us right to the edge of discomfort.  A trip to Big C, on the other hand, has definite consequences after the fact.  The safest thing to do is to limit ourselves to short distances, or at least situations where we can rest.  Since there are no hikes on the horizon, we’ll probably be OK while the healing continues.  

Sunday we had another delightful lunch at The Wanderer with our friend Edwin.  He told us about how happy he is with Netflix Thailand, and now we’re about to dive in.  When it was first introduced here, it was a little shaky and there weren’t a lot of things we wanted to see.  Now it's all grown up and has our attention.  Edwin and I had the same thing for our lunch, which was really breakfast.  One of the early dishes on the menu was ‘Apple Cinnamon French Toast’.  It used to be a favorite of Blue’s.  Sunday was the first time I’d had it in about a month.  Edwin said he’s going to have it until he grows tired of it (555).  I went off my diet with that dish, but I’m back on track now.  It’s all about bringing up the red cell count, and sugar is not helping.  

Today’s photo was taken in traffic.  What you are seeing is a Back Hoe sitting in the bed of a dump truck, waiting for the light to turn green.  The traffic is moving from left to right, so he’s facing backward, in case you were wondering.


This afternoon we went to Chivit Tamma Da for coffee and juice.  We left the house with Makro as our destination, but there was a request for a change of direction.  The place was packed.  We had never seen so many people there; all of the tables on all of the levels were active.  Our server explained that it was a combination of Chinese New Year, local college graduations, and the fact that it’s the High Season.  Very interesting.

Makro was a whole new experience today.  I hadn’t been there in about 3 months, so changes had been made.  We didn’t want to take too much time, but we did see many changes.  It seems like 4pm is a good time to go shopping, right before folks get off work.  Now I can’t wait to build up more stamina and spend some time cruising the aisles.

Have a Great Week.

                         Peace,
                                   Danny

“The artists vocation is to send light 
into the human heart.”
~George Sand

Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Got no complaints about the weather.  No need for chains on the tires, a snowblower for the walk, or 10 layers of clothes.  See, I get reports on living in the ‘vortex’ and I feel for ya, but glad I’m not there.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was Joe Walsh singing “Life's Been Good”.  Time for another round of ‘Old School Friday’, and a tune from 1958 that I don’t expect a lot of you to know.  “I can’t lose with the stuff I use (__ __ __ __ __) Baby, don’t believe I wear two left shoes (__ __ __ __ __).  Ah ha ha ha (Ah ha ha ha)  Ey eh, oh (Ey eh oh)  Gooba, gooba, gooba, gooba (gooba, gooba, gooba, gooba)  Ah ha ha ha (Ah ha ha ha), etc.”  Clue:  The artist's middle name is the instrument he plays.  He once had a musical flu.  This tune is kinda zany.

This will be a brief message today.  I just returned from the dentist after having a tooth removed.  It was not a simple procedure, and I’m in the icing phase.  (not the kind on cake)  So I can write for 20 minutes, and then ice for 20.  Big fun until the injections wear off and it will just be me and the ibuprofen thrashing about (555).  Right now, it’s just very distracting.

We dropped by The Wanderer for lunch and to see the progress on the garden remodel.  Things are subtly different.  Brick borders in a few places, some old plants have been repotted, and the Spanish moss gives it a more tropical vibe.  There are some banana trees from Florida and they have variegated leaves.  We got a brief tour from Khun Noot, but didn’t have the proper shoes to go off the path for all of it.  

These photos are from today’s visit to The Wanderer.  In the first you’ll see the brick addition and the Spanish moss treatment.  The second is a new plant with no details yet.  The final photo is a brand new butterfly.  It had just hatched and was drying it’s wings on the walkway.  Notice the blue on the leading edge of the wings.




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

                       Peace,
                                 Danny


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Things


Hi,

A very cool evening turned into a very hot day.  By the afternoon there was smoke to be seen and windows to be closed.  Could this be the start of the ‘Smokey Season’?

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song has a few friends out there.  The artist was once in a gang and then flew with eagles.
“My Maserati does one-eighty-five, I lost my license, now I don’t drive.  I have a limo, ride in the back.  I lock the doors in case I’m attacked.  I make hit records, my fans they can’t wait.  They write me letters, tell me I’m great.  So I got me an office, gold records on the wall.  Just leave a message, maybe I’ll call.  Lucky I’m sane after all I’ve been through (Everybody say I’m cool) (He’s cool).  I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do.  __ __ __ to me so far.”  Clue:  Title is a take on the stereotype of rock stars once upon a time.

This morning we went to Chivit Tamma Da for coffee.  Sitting by the river was very peaceful.  Too bad we had things to do.  We acted like adults and decided to move on.  Not far up the highway was Browney’s Pet World.  Daku had given us a list of things to get (555).  He has a toy that he just loves, to the point where we have to replace it every month or so.  It looks like a red and purple hedgehog and we call it ‘Hog’.  It’s the after dinner toy Daku brings to play tug-of-war.  As a result, they don’t last long.  At the check stand at Browney’s, there’s always something interesting.  Today it was doggie costumes for Chinese New Year.  Below are a couple of examples.



From the northern part of Chiang Rai, our next destination took us to the southern part.  HomePro is very much like a Home Depot type store.  It’s possible to get ‘lost’ in there, with so many things to see that you didn’t know you needed.  We went with an agenda and focus, it’s the only way.  When we exited the store, a security guard came to the van and loaded everything into the back.  He even tied a bag so things wouldn’t fall out.  He got a tip for his help.

The New Year ‘break’ is over and Nitchanan went back to school and things returned to normal.  We heard her little voice when she got home and expected a visit at some point.  She came to the door and stood there, waiting for an invitation.  When she came in she didn’t say anything.  I noticed her pink purse and Lisa commented on it.  That broke the ice and a minute later she was dumping pencils on the bed, preparing to draw.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“Things do not happen.  Things
are made to happen.”
~John F. Kennedy

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Mistake

Hi,

The weather in Chiang Rai was cold this morning.  The sun warmed it up some, but it was a cooler day.  We’re not talking about polar vortex cool, but not in the 90s (5).

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Getting Better” by The Beatles.  Add one more to the list of folks who named it, so now 3 readers are on a roll.  Here’s a ‘Zany Day’ tune for you all to ponder:  “I have a mansion, forget the price.  Ain’t never been there, they tell me it’s nice.  I live in hotels, tear out the walls, I have accountants pay for it all.  They say I’m crazy but I have a good time.  I’m just looking for clues at the scene of the crime.  __ __ __ to me so far.”  Hint:  I realize this may sound familiar, but I wanted to get more mail (555).  Things have gone pretty well for the singer in the song, even with all his craziness, or something like that.

This morning we went to The Wanderer for coffee and roti.  As we walked down the entry path we remembered that this was the day Khun Noot was having the gardens ‘redecorated’ by a botanist friend of hers.  The whole scene was exciting in a low-key way.  Her friend brought his team, along with an interesting assortment of trees and flowers and they were busy filling in gaps, adding accents, and enhancing the magic that was already there.  Lots of Spanish Moss was also being hung all through the trees and bushes.  Can’t wait to see the finished ‘garden’.

Here is Khun Noot with a tree whose descendents came from the Amazon.


After our nature stop, we went downtown for light bulbs.  As Lisa’s Dad Joe mentioned in our call this morning, light bulbs are very important.  As we were leaving, we met up with our friend Atom.  We haven’t seen her since the early days of the ‘injuries’, so it was a bit of a reunion.  We’re hoping to get together soon to catch up.

Natcha made chocolate cookies today, using some organic cacao that we got from a ‘Health Food’ source here in Thailand.  It’s called Good Karma and we use them a lot.  Cacao is not to be confused with cocoa, which is usually processed.  The cookies came out really good.  We wish we could keep the smell of ‘just baked’ cookies in the kitchen.  

I had another session of acupuncture this afternoon.  The doctor is warming up and letting his personality creep out.  At first he was a solemn, stone-faced professional who asked a few questions and then started sticking me.  Now there are more questions, a little more interest, and he’s even offering possibilities and looking for clues.  He want’s to investigate a link between the anemia and my liver.  Oh fine, another thing to wonder about for two weeks.  The journey continues.

Lisa had been driving me to my Sunday and Wednesday meetings down on Bus Station street since parking can sometimes be far away.  Long walks are not a friend these days.  The ironic thing is that the last few times, there was a parking place right in front when we got there.  Oh well, she gets to drive in Chiang Rai traffic.  What a rush.

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“Some of the best things in life
are mistakes.”
~Unknown