Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday Funnies


Very, very hot.  I could leave it at that, but it wouldn’t be the whole picture.  The morning sky was more blue than yesterday, but that changed about mid-day.  Back to the same old thing.  We had some wind today, but it didn’t accomplish much in the way of moving in clean air.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder.  ‘Old School Friday’ was a monster hit by Mr. Wonder:
“__ __ __ __ __ I have someone who needs me, someone I have needed so long.  For once unafraid I can go where life leads me, and somehow I know I’ll be strong.  For once I can touch what my heart used to dream of, long before I know.  Someone warm like you would make my dreams come true.”  Hint:  Something great has happened, finally.  

Daku spent last night downstairs in the kitchen.  He actually had the run of the whole downstairs, but he prefers the kitchen.  This morning, when Lisa went downstairs, he got up and walked around with no limping.  It was like that all day, no struggling to get up and no favoring of one side over the other.  We’re going to see how he’s doing after we get back from Bangkok on Sunday.  It just may be that the stairs are the problem.  Maybe we can bring him up each night for a ‘sleepover’ and keep him downstairs during the day.  Hopeful in Chiang Rai.

It seems like every time an operating system is upgraded, there one thing that stands in the way of progress.  It happened a few nights ago when Lisa upgraded her system in order to use a newer version of iMovie.  Bottom line:  We ended up at the mall again.  The manager at iBeat, our Apple Store, is named Get and he definitely gets an award for being the best connection for after sales troubleshooting.  Today was no different.  While he worked with Lisa's laptop, we cruised around the mall.  It was a successful adventure and Get didn’t even charge for his services.  

We had a lazy afternoon, hiding from the sun and smoke.  Gong planted roses across the front wall and it looks great.  We’re wondering how he’ll react since they’ll get no sun and probably no more flowers will come.  He doesn’t quite understand that most flowers need some sunlight, but he’s learning.  

Our hotel in Bangkok is called ‘Aloft’, and is part of the Marriott umbrella.  We stayed in one when we went to Perth.  The one in Bangkok has two pools.  There’s a splash pool and a roof top pool.  We’re taken our suits just in case the water is warm.

It’s time to contemplate the packing of the tiny bag.  There’s really not much to think about with an overnight trip (555).  

Today’s photo is a typical scene on our balcony when viewed from inside.  The orchids love it there.  In fact, right now they’re blooming all over the yard.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.         Time for the ‘Funnies’.    Oh yeah, it’s a Formula 1 weekend so set those VCRs, we’re going to Bahrain.  Zoom.


Thursday, March 28, 2019



The morning sky looked promising, if I looked straight up.  It was kinda bluish, but when I lowered my gaze to the horizon, it was the same grayish brown mess as every other day.  Oh well, gotta have a dream.

The ‘Zany Day’ song still has the ability to get stuck in one’s head and stay there all day.  “Very __, wash your face and hands.  Rid me of the problem, do all that you can.  Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin’ strong.  You don’t wanna save me, sad is my song.  When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer.  __ ain’t the way, yeah, yeah.”  Clue:  The last blank in the chorus is the actual title.  The other blanks are the title in a different form, but would give it all away (555).

The fire yesterday was the talk of the town today.  Since it was seen from all over town, everyone knew about it.  Our friends at The Wanderer were going down the street when the fire broke out and saw people running and others trying to put it out.  Lisa got a text from Khun Kwan, asking if we were OK.  One of the young women who works at The Wanderer was on an errand and drove by our place, just to make sure we were ok.  

This morning we had coffee at The Wanderer with our friend Atom.  We hadn’t seen her in months, so it was one of those ‘catch up’ get togethers.  One very interesting thing we learned had to do with traditions and rituals.  Atom recently learned that there is a Chinese tradition of preparing meals for the recently departed, considering that their spirit is still living in the house.  For 49 days, three meals a day are cooked, and various possessions consisting of paper replicas of everything from iPhones to Gucci bags to favorite foods are ‘sent ahead’ by way of burning.   At the end of 49 days the spirit moves on and all of the things they like are waiting.  I’m paraphrasing of course, but you get the idea.  Atom also gave us a review of the new IconSiam shopping, business, and residential development on the banks of the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok.  We’re flying down on Saturday morning to see Juan, the Osteopath for a treatment and then staying overnight.  Now we know what to look for and where to go.

Khun Noot and Lisa share photos of nature every morning.  Noot has a little bird friend that comes and visits her every morning.  Their relationship has developed to the point where the bird lets Noot stroke it’s feathers.  

We’re keeping Daku downstairs tonight and through the weekend.  It just might be that keeping off the stairs will give his joints and muscles a chance to heal a bit.  My latest theory is that when he was taking all the medication a few weeks ago, he was very inactive.  Then the meds wore off and he felt like a puppy again, running and tearing around with boundless energy.  He might have overdone it.  Here’s hoping it works.  We miss him upstairs and he wants to be here as well.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“What’s right isn’t always popular.
What’s popular isn’t always right.”
~Howard Cosell

Wednesday, March 27, 2019



Another day with no real sky in sight.  I talked to a friend in Chiang Mai and they are having a really bad time also.  The smoke is probably the most talked about thing in Thailand right now.  I think it’s probably overshadowed the election in many places.  We’re hangin’ tough in Chiang Rai, masks in place.

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song was “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder.  The ‘Zany Day’ song should be familiar:  “Very __, writings on the wall, very __, ladders ‘bout to fall.  Thirteen-month-old baby broke the lookin’ glass.  Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past.  When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer, __ ain’t the way.”  Hint:  It will be a wonder if you don’t get this. 

We found ourselves back at Big C this morning.  Our plan was to go to the mall, but since Big C is on the way, we asked Natcha if she needed anything and our shopping began in the vegetable section.  At the check stand we learned that Wednesday is ’no plastic day’, meaning no bags for groceries.  Cool.  By the time we got to the mall it was nearly lunch time.  After lunch we got down to business.  It’s been almost 10 years since we got our current mattress and it’s time, my back agrees.  We found a wide variety at Robinson Department store and after sitting, lying and jumping (555) we found the bed.  Then there was the whole paper aspect of the sale.  After discounts and stuff, directions to the house, it was all done.  Just as we were leaving our salesperson gave us coupons and called them ‘free money’.  This made me laugh, quietly.  Actually, she was right.  Roughly $10 to spend in the store.  Our final adventure was into the basement level to see if Lisa art piece was hanging at the ArtBridge display.  It wasn’t there yet, but we know it will be soon.  

When we woke up from our nap, I looked out to the rear of the house and saw a huge plume of black smoke rising into the sky.  It was quite an overpowering sight.  There was no breeze at the time and it was just going up and then spreading in the sky.  It seemed to be a few blocks away so we ask Gong to ride over and see what was burning.  It was a home appliance store that we didn’t even know was there.  Just what we needed, a major fire burning lots of plastic products, adding to the rest of the smoke in the air.  Now we really need that rain.

It’s feeling like a Wacky Wednesday.


“What you don’t do can be 
a destructive force.”
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, March 26, 2019



It’s so weird when it looks like late afternoon all day.  That’s how dirty the sky is.  We just try to stay as safe as we can.

Just in case you didn’t catch the ‘Easy Monday’ song from the first verse, here’s the chorus.  “__ __ __ __ __ __ __, that’s why I’ll always be around.  You are the apple of my eye, forever you’ll stay in my heart.”  Clue:  The fourth word in the title is what makes the difference between day and night. 

There is a new Amazon Coffee spot on Clock Tower street that we’ve wanted to check out.  This morning we went in to see if it was really enclosed.  It looked very nice, with lots of seating.  I ordered our coffee and then Lisa noticed that the big door, which was next to our table, opened automatically, but had a delay on closing.  This meant that the door was standing open, essentially letting all the bad air inside.  Coffee to go please.  It will be a nice addition to our list of coffee shops when the air clears.

The problem with ‘coffee to go’ is that one has to remove the mask to drink the coffee (555).  So, with windows up, and the air/con on we drove up to ArtBridge to deliver one of Lisa’s paper sculpture collages.  It will be on display at Central Plaza Mall in the new ArtBridge ‘station’.  It’s a large space that is surrounded by a corral type structure with artwork hanging all the way around.  Inside the corral are tables where art workshops are given to children.  Next time we’re there I’ll take photos.  

On our return to the house, we were met by Nitchanan who started with a cheery ‘Hello’ and progressed to ‘Good morning’.  She and her cousin spent most of the day playing, talking and creating things to do.  This afternoon Gop was ‘operating’ the remote SUV, walking beside it and making it do things.  I guess he was told that he was too big to actually drive it, so this is the next best thing.  Nitchanan didn’t seem to mind, running around getting things to put in the machine so Gop could ‘deliver’ it somewhere in their imaginations.  After dinner they went swimming again.  

This afternoon Khun Jin came over and gave Lisa a massage.  During the first hour Daku hung out in the room with them.  He and Jin are buddies.  She is a dog person and he understands this.  Some people come to the house and don’t relate to him and he just ignores them.  It’s a Daku thing.  After an hour he was ready to leave.  He went to the kitchen and crashed on his bed.  We’ve been restricting his movement somewhat, with less trips on the stairs and no more running for the ball.  He’s been having trouble getting up from naps, etc.  There’s a limp that eventually goes away, but it’s cause for concern.  

Last week I told you about a wall of plants that was being assembled at The Wanderer.  It’s finished and these photos show the results.  In the first photo, Khun Noot is sewing plants to the bags filled with the hair of the coconut shell.  A very tedious job.  The second photo is self explanatory.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


"Yesterday is heavy, put it down.”

Monday, March 25, 2019



The smokey saga continues.  The high today was 96°F and the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife (now there’s an old saying).  The weekend conversations were all about the air and the election on Sunday.  

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Please, Please Me” by The Beatles.  This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ should be a snap.  I’m going to start with the first verse since the chorus would make it too easy.  “I feel like this is the beginning, though I’ve loved you for a million years.  And if I thought our love was ending, I’d find myself drowning in my own tears…”  Hint:  The artist is one of those who used to be a ‘Little’, it’s from 1972, and there is a word in the title that is vital to life.

Saturday was slow around the Big Brown House.  The air was so bad that Natcha and Gong surrendered and put on masks when they went out.  Gong didn’t like working with it on, which is when he really needed it, but what can we do?  We got the order of childrens' masks in the mail and Nitchanan was very pleased with her little pink mask.  We’ll see how much she wears it.  We see people on our road riding bikes with no mask, running the same way, breathing in the nasty air.  The hospitals are getting more and more cases of patients with breathing problems from the air, and in Chiang Mai a shelter has been established.  

We had lunch at Sabroso since it’s close and not an open air affair.  We had our tacos and it was great.  For most of our meal we were the only people in the place.  

Sunday was the big day for us.  We had two engagements.  The drive to the country was fun, remembering landmarks and turns as we went.  We had the Google Lady giving us direction as a back-up, but after a bit, I knew what to do.  The party was just getting underway when we arrived.  The twins were busy with the other kids, which is the way it’s supposed to be at your birthday party.  There was a little boy who had turned 6 the week before, so there were 3 of them celebrating.  There was lots of stimulating conversation among the adults and sometimes with the little ones.  The water in the pool was cold, but that didn’t stop them from going in and playing games.  After about 3 hours, we said our goodbyes and returned home for a little rest.

Our dinner location changed when Pete called to say that we wouldn’t be seeing the sunset from the hilltop at Boon Rawd Farm, since the air was so bad. Instead, we had dinner in town at Chivit Tamma Da and it was a great time.  They have an indoor room that worked well at keeping the air breathable.  Pete and I sat across from one another and talked about everything under the sun.  He had found a translation program for Lisa and his mom to use (she doesn’t speak English) and it worked pretty well for about 75% of the time.  They had fun passing the phone to each other, speaking into it and then listening to the translation.  

There’s nothing better after playing in the pool, than a big piece of watermelon.

Have a Great Week.


“Make a difference.”
~Master Bra’tac  Stargate SG-1

Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday Funnies


The air looked pretty good early this morning, but soon turned on us once again.  Another nasty day in paradise.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song was “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by The Beatles.  Now things get tricky, the part where I choose an ‘Old School Friday’ song from The Beatles catalogue.  “Last night I said these words to my girl, I know you never even try girl.  C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, __ __ __, oh yeah, like I please you.”  Hint:  Two words are repeated in title, it’s a plea, or maybe begging?.  The early days of songwriting, when the energy seemed more important than the words, or something like that.  Memories.

Today was a day behind the wall.  We went outside for the benefit of Mr. Daku and that was all.  There was a lot of banging and stuff next door.  The crews are bigger and more specialized.  It looks like they’re doing it right.  We have learned to spot certain things that make you say, ‘uh oh’.

There have been forecasts stating that the rain won’t come until after Songkran, which will mean the end of April.  I really hope they got that one wrong.  There are also predictions for drought in some northern regions, due to El Nino.  Farmers have been told that delays would be necessary before they could plant.  This is going to be an interesting time.

For the time being, it helps to have a small child remind you of what’s important.  Natcha posted some pics from the last swimming session.  Nitchanan was really hamming it up with cousin Gop.  The second is my favorite.

We have a busy Sunday coming this weekend.  After my morning meeting, we drive out into the country for the birthday party for The Twins.  Taeyo and Jaiyah will be 6 years old.  I doubt that we’ll be swimming, but it will be fun to watch all the kids who don’t know the meaning of cold water.  In the evening we will have dinner at Singh Park Restaurant with Khun Supaluk and her family.  We’ll watch the sun set from a hilltop overlooking the Boon Rawd Farm, where they grow hops and flowers.

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


Thursday, March 21, 2019



The weather is still very hot, but the big news is that there was a little more blue sky today.  There are still too many particulates in the air, but it didn’t smell bad and my eyes didn’t burn.

Our ‘Zany Day’ song this week is obviously by The Beatles, but what’s the title?  “Cellophane flowers of yellow and green towering over your head.  Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes and she’s gone.  __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __, __ __ __ __ __ __.  Aaaaaaahhhhhhh…”  Clue:  Clearly, it’s about a girl with some magic going on, like in a drawing by a child.  Hmm.

Today we decided to go hunting for ‘inside’ coffee, meaning coffee being served in a closed environment.  Most of the places we frequent are either a patio/garden design, or they always have the windows open, even in the bad air times.  We cruised around on some streets that we thought might have such a place, but after hitting a wall, we decided to return to The Wanderer, since the air was a little better and they have the trees and misters.  When we arrived, there was a lot of activity on the walkway into the main area.  They had installed a chain-link fence along the walk, and were placing hundreds of various plants into what turned out to be coconut shell shavings (the hair on the outside).  It looks like a long process and Khun Noot told us she couldn’t have done it without the people doing the work.  She knew what she wanted but didn’t know how to execute the idea.  It’s going to be incredible when it’s done.  We had our coffee inside and between the misters and the fans, the air was pretty nice.  As we were leaving, Noot wanted Lisa to taste a green mulberry she was excited about.  Lisa said it was very sweet, almost too sweet.  Noot bought a plant and then discovered, from her staff, that they had a whole mulberry tree growing in the car park.    

The tree truck returned to the coffee shop next door again today.  There are four new trees on the other side of the lot.  This place is going to be a nice addition to the neighborhood with all it’s greenery.  On our side of the wall, the lawn is started to get the cotton ball seed pods from across the road, and orchids are blooming in various parts of the yard.  

This evening, Nitchanan was in a very happy mood.  She had played ‘kick the ball’ earlier and was now ready to go swimming again.  First she told us she would swim, then she came back with a little floaty ring over her clothes, and the next thing we knew, she and cousin Gop and Natcha were getting into the cold water.  

Daku has been off the various medicines for several days and his hotspot has healed.  He is back to his usual, energetic self.  He bounds around, does his slides across the lawn, and remembers all of his routines and patterns.  He would like to spend more time outside on the balcony, watching the world, but the air is just too bad for extended lounging.  

Today’s photo was taken on our morning tour while looking for inside coffee.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“The gift of fantasy has meant
more to me than my talent for
absorbing positive knowledge.”
~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, March 20, 2019



Last night I looked straight up into the sky and saw a star.  I also saw the moon and it wasn’t brown or red.  Things might be getting better.  Today there was a bluish tint to the gray/brown smog and the ‘readings’ were lower than yesterday.  Could things be changing for the better?

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles.  So now you know the artist for the next two song days.  Here’s a ‘Zany Day’ tune that’s hard to forget:  “Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.  Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, a girl with kaleidoscope eyes… __ __ __ __ __ __…”  Hint:  A song that was accused of being about something dark and sinister.  Precious jewels are involved.

The next door coffee shop planted more trees yesterday.  Now there are three firs next to the wall dividing our properties, in addition to the two big trees that the truck brought.  On the other side of the yard they have concrete planters with a variety of small trees and bushes.  I think it’s going to be a nice place for people to hang out when it’s finally done.  Below are some of the new ‘neighbors’.

After the photo-op with the trees, there seems to be a lot of those lately, we went downtown to Teppawan Art Supply to visit with Supaluk and her family.  They invited us to join them for dinner on Sunday at Singh Park.  We haven’t been there in a very long time.  Her son Pete, is going to make arrangements with the restaurant to have menu items that his mother and I can enjoy.  They tend to make everything on the spicy side.  It will be nice to be able to enjoy a meal in the beautiful surroundings without my mouth being on fire (555). 

After the art store visit, it was still early so we went to the mall.  Top’s Market opens an hour before the mall so there was time to get grocery items and have coffee before the mall opened.  That’s timing for sure.  At Starbuck’s we shared a table with a young woman and her 9 month old boy.  We had a great conversation about the attributes of Chiang Rai and what it was like for her and her husband deciding to settle here from the States.  We’ve mostly met retirees or young people on assignments of some kind.  It will be interesting to see how it evolves.

We are still discovering changes that have been made at the mall.  There are little touches here and there that make the experience more enjoyable.  We noticed new seating in one area, ideal for conversation or eating take-out snacks.  Time to do more exploring.

This feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Common sense is not so common.”

Tuesday, March 19, 2019



The same sad story continues.  The air is bad and there is no rain in sight.  Because offenders of the anti-burning ordinances are being cited, people in some areas are waiting until ‘after working hours’ to burn their trash.  It costs us $3.79 for one year of trash collection.  A worthy cause would be the subsidizing of trash collection for a village. Hmm, go fund that!

It’s good to know that the ‘Easy Monday’ song didn’t fall on ‘deaf eyes’ (get it?).  Just in case more info is needed, here’s the second verse:  “Well, she looked at me and I, I could see, that before too long I’d fall in love with her.  She wouldn’t dance with another, Oooh, when __ __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  They came from across the pond, wanting to hold your hand.  

This morning we roamed the streets, masks in place, in search of a recommended nail salon.  We may have found it, but it was closed, so we went to a known entity.  That was our morning.  We did get to witness the morning ‘busy’ in downtown Chiang Rai and it was amazing.  There were so many people out and about.  It used to be that one could lazily walk across the main street, or easily find a place to park.  We lucked out on parking though, and not having to cross the street, but my observations proved that it’s denser than before.  There is a certain excitement that is derived from all the energy this brings.  Taken at full throttle all day would be just too overwhelming, but in small doses it’s fun.

Our coffee shop neighbors planted a bunch of trees this morning.  I’ll have to take photos of the new landscape.  It’s nice to know that they have a concept beyond selling coffee.  So, I need to find out the name of this place, and when it will open.  If the coffee is good it will be a plus.  

While we’re on the subject of trees, here’s another photo of Blue’s Tree, blooming like crazy.  It makes us smile.

Every 90 days after we re-enter the country, we have to check in with immigration.  We were sure today was the day.  We got all ready after our nap, stopped by The Wanderer for ice-coffee to go and headed up to the office.  It was practically empty, no waiting, only to be told that we were a few weeks early.  Hmm, but the calendar said it was today.  Oh well, it was nice to get out in the afternoon and see the sights (555).  We got some questions answered and picked up extra forms for the next renewal of our visas.  Still a good day.

I guess ever since the TV became a household appliance, it also began it’s evolution as a babysitter.  Now there is Youtube on cellphones and it’s a new age of ‘sitting’.  We watch with mixed emotions as Nitchanan and her cousin Gop move about the house and yard with phone in hand, being entertained, occupied, and sometimes educated by the tiny screen.  There are tons of things for kids and Natcha has a phone dedicated to stories, songs and games just for the little one.  Still, I wonder, and then she’ll do something charming and creative all on her own.  There is hope.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Life beats down and crushes
the soul, and art reminds you
that you have one.”
~Stella Adler

Monday, March 18, 2019



Our neighbor to the south, Chiang Mai, has maintained the title of ‘Dirtiest air in the world’, so you can imagine what ours tastes like.  This is the year that the dialog began regarding air quality.  The finger-pointing is over and now the real work must begin.  The question is, do you try to fix this season or work toward preventing it next year.  The jury is out as to what will happen.  Hot and smoggy is the forecast.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Diamonds & Pearls” by The Paradons.  I still don’t know the origin of ‘paradon’ or why they were named that.  This week we’re going to try something different.  All three songs will be by the same artist or group.  After the first tune, you have a big clue for the next two songs this week.  Let’s get started with ‘Easy Monday':  “Well, she was just seventeen, you know what I mean, and the way she looked was way beyond compare.  So how could I dance with another, Ooooh, when __ __ __ __ __?”  Hint:  Don’t tell me ‘Easy Monday’ doesn’t rock.  1963, from across the pond.  If one isn’t sitting, they are probably what?  That ‘Ooooh’ is kind of a nod to Little Richard.  

Today’s photo was taken Friday at the entrance to the main market.  Mom and Dad keep the baby happy in a swinging hammock.

Saturday we mostly hid from the air.  That was OK ‘cause there was F1 practice to watch, and then Qualifying.  There is a new driver/car combo to cheer for this season.  Alex Albon, a rookie driving for Toro Rosso is half Thai and flies the flag proudly.  His dad was a British racing car driver.  Zoom.

We altered our usual Sunday lunch due to the atmosphere.  We went to Central Plaza Mall and had lunch at Sizzler. It was probably not the cleanest air in Chiang Rai, but with various air/cons and devices, it was better than being outside.  We’re definitely still getting better because we can go longer with the walking and standing than before.  There is still a ‘wall’ to be hit, though we try to stop before the crash.  We left just in time on Sunday, and as we were walking into the parking garage we saw our friend Caty, who had just returned from the states with her twin girls for a visit.  We’re going to their 6th year birthday party next Sunday.  That should be fun.  There will be people there that we haven’t seen in a long time.  

Most of the time, we feel confident that we can get the latest news from around the world if we feel so inclined.  When there is a big event/story, we want to get different perspectives.  The major papers dropped the ball on the story of the young people marching for the planet.  The story got neatly tucked away in the ‘Kid’ section in one outlet, and others just got it out of the way.  It was a major, world-wide event.  Not cool.  note:  Editorial over.

This morning we went to Big C and did the shopping.  The ‘turnout’ was light, which was fine with us.  We got a late start so that was the only thing we did outside.  During dinner, Nitchanan came to the table in a new swimming dress and made sure we saw it and announced that she was going swimming, and then mimed the swimming action.  Natcha took Nitchanan and her cousin Gop to the water, complete with floatie devices.  They had a fun time, though the air was still not good and the water is cold.  Nitchanan is at the age for swimming lessons and as soon as the air clears, we’ll get that going.

We’re also happy to report that Daku is doing much better.  He had his last laser treatment on Saturday morning and he’s not obsessed with trying to get at the healing hot spot.  We can let him hang out without the ‘hoodie’ and he’s much happier.

Have a Great Week.


“Love takes off masks that we
fear we cannot live without
and know we cannot live within.”
~James Baldwin

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday Funnies


Thailand is still newsworthy when it comes to air quality stuff.  Today there was to be a protest demonstration with regards to the bad air.    

The ‘Zany Day’ tune was “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” by The Coasters/The Robins.  Here’s the version I grew up with:  The Coasters were The Robins until a label move.  They both recorded this song and it all sounds the same.  It’s a long story.  In the meantime, here’s this week’s ‘Old School Friday’ song, with a ‘thanks' to my brother Denny for the tip.  “There are __ __ __, emeralds and rings.  None of these jewels show me a thing.  I want only, only, only I want you love.”  Hint: It’s an R&B ballad and precious wearables are involved.   

We went into the world this morning with our masks on.  When we got to the bank, the front doors were wide open.  Strange, considering the air and the fact that I’m sure they didn’t want us in there with masks on (555).  It must have been break time, as there was not much representation at the teller windows, so after a wait, we moved on.
Buying gas is fairly easy here.  The price is the same at all of the stations and is posted on electronic pillars in front of the property.  The service is all done by employees, so you never get out of the vehicle.  That was our next stop.  Of course, one must stay aware of the changes in the price of said liquid (555).

Gold is big business in Thailand.  Most of the gold shops are owned by Chinese families and the red store fronts are a real giveaway.  The amazing thing is to see four or five in a single block in the business district.  Many people buy gold jewelry on layaway and it’s not uncommon to see clerks entering partial payments into big ledger books.  Today we stopped at a shop to get Lisa a new wedding ring.  The one she had was a nice design, but the weight was apparently too light and it bent easily.  We learn as we go and that was the lesson today.  We found a heavier ring with a beautiful design and the deal was done.  They took the old ring in trade, gold is gold.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Thai gold, and most gold in the region, is a higher percentage of gold than is found in the west.  The color is deeper and that’s partly why the product is softer.  The last thing of the morning list this week has been computer glasses for Lisa.  We discovered that the glasses that block the blue light from the computer screen really do help with eliminating eye strain.  We were sharing a pair and today that ended.  Now we can browse and work without having to share the glasses.  

Today was the last day for our house guests.  They flew back to Singapore this afternoon.  This morning, after we returned, we had time to hang out and get to know them a little.  The four of them are all on a science track in what can best be called a path to university.  The system in Singapore is different than we understand, but they are studying towards a future.  Children learn two languages in school.  I did some interviewing and found out that one of them speaks English and Malay, and another speaks English and Chinese.  This study began when they were seven years old.  Daku became the center of attention after one of the girls told us she wanted to be a vet.  Daku was in heaven.  A van took them to Cat and Cup, the coffee shop featuring live cats, and then to the university, where they said their goodbyes to Cat, and then on to the airport.  Chiang Rai International Airport now flies non-stop to Singapore.  We’re coming up!

Here is a group photo of the Singapore students in the back row, with Cat on the left, and Cat’s Thai classmates in the front row.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Stay tuned for the ‘Funnies’.    Dust off that VCR (555), it’s time for a new season of Formula 1, direct from Australia.  Zoom.


Thursday, March 14, 2019



Today, people were told to stay inside, to avoid the air outside.  Warnings like this are usually printed in the newspapers but it does no good.  I don’t know if warnings like that go out over the radio, but there seems to be a reluctance to take care of personal safety.  Yesterday we asked several people, from different walks of life, if they had a mask and the answer was the same: ‘I don’t like the way it feels.’  It’s very similar to the idea of wearing a helmet on a motorcycle.  We wore our masks today and it was much more comfortable to breath filtered air.  Oh yeah, it was very hot also.

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song had a few fans out there.  You still have time to name it or venture a guess.
“Her knees were almost touching mine (at __ __ __), a chill was running down my spine (at __ __ __).  I could smell her sweet perfume, she smiled at me my heart went boom, then everybody in the room (at __ __ __).  They said, ‘Man be careful, that chick belongs to __ __.”  Clue: The name of this place is the owner’s name, which is a nickname.  There is a gaseous element used in BBQ involved in the name.

Daku got another laser treatment today and he is getting better. Today, he was acting like the Daku we’re more familiar with, looking for treats, wanting to investigate down the hall where our guests have been and generally being more lively.  

This afternoon Lisa had coffee at The Wanderer with our friend Wanida.  They had fun covering lots of ground.  It’s the first time they’d done this and there was lots of info sharing and dog talk, just to name a few topics.  She has Goldens who wait with her when the monks make their alms rounds in the morning.  The dogs give an offering along with Wanida.  The environment at The Wanderer helps during times like these.  The tree tops are low enough that you get a bit of a shield from the smog.  I imagine that the misters also help clear the air.

Our traveling house guests left early this morning and went to Cat’s school.  She had morning classes so the girls got their nails done and the boy went to class.  This afternoon they went to the zoo near Cat’s home village, then the waterfall, and now they're searching for Hilal food before coming home.  The young man in the group is Muslim and the rest of them seem to be having at least one meal each day that meets his needs.  These young people handle diversity in such a beautiful way, lessons can be learned.

While Lisa was organizing some photos on her computer, she found some oldies that I’ll share with you.  The first one is of Blue and me at the old Doi Chaang Coffee Shop downtown.  It was around 2014 we think.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Everything has beauty, 
but not everyone sees it.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2019



Well, I don’t mean to startle anyone, but Thailand seems to be looking to set records for bad air these days.  Yesterday Chiang Mai had the dirtiest air in the world.  The next dirtiest were only a few particles lower, but what does that even mean?  Today we were told that it was ‘Dangerous’, which is more extreme than ‘Unhealthful’, etc.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Tracks Of My Tears” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles.  Now it’s time to get silly with a ‘Zany Day’ song.  “One day while I was eating beans at __ __ __, just sittin’, diggin’ all the scene at __ __ __.  A chick I’d never seen before came walkin’ on in through the door.  At least I’d never saw her down at __ __ __, and I started shakin’ when she sat right down next to me.”  Hint:  The title is the name of an diner and a musical.  It’s by a group known for their zany presentations.` 

Last night our internet quit and left us using our cell phones as our ‘hot spots’ for WiFi.  I put a call in to our provider and this morning they called.  The crew arrived two hours earlier than they said, which was fine with us.  It was the router, which was either fixed or replaced, and we were well on our way with fast internet again.  That kind of response is really wonderful.

Our visitors from Singapore left for their Chiang Rai tour at 7am.  Cat and three classmates plus the four Singaporeans climbed into a Song Taew (a full size pick-up with a canopy and two rows of benches) and went on a day-long adventure, seeing the sights around the area.  They saw things we haven’t seen yet.  Cat will have to take us on a tour when the air clears.  They got home around 7pm, rested a few minutes and left for the Night Bazaar.  Ah, youth.

This afternoon we went up to Mae Chan, about 40 minutes north, to the office of Dr. Mark.  I’ve been having a very persistent pain/ache in my back that needed attention.  With our other ‘healers’ either out of town or very busy, I needed relief.  We had a nice visit. a very effective treatment, a pair of super filter face masks, and he didn’t charge me.  He felt that he should have found the area in question on the last visit.  Wow, an honorable man indeed.

On the way home, we stopped at Makro for a few necessities.  It’s been weeks since we’ve been there.  It used to be a regular thing, at least once a week, but now Natcha is doing more of the shopping.  It’s not like I missed the place (555).  As soon as we got home, the alarm on my phone went off, reminding me it was time to leave for my meeting.  So, unload the van, and back on the road, this time to Bus Station street.  Whew.

Today’s photo was taken this evening, after my meeting.  While waiting for Lisa, a parade of Samlors came rolling by, taking a group of tourists on the slow ride around town.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Creativity takes courage.”
~Henri Matisse

Tuesday, March 12, 2019



I would like to tell you that it was the same weather as yesterday, but today was stinkier.  Yes, smog funk has hit Chiang Rai.  It’s just another way to describe the dirty smoke.  Hmm.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song has fans.  It also offers a bit of confusion because the group had two hits using the same key word in the title.  “When you’re gone if you see me with another girl, acting like I’m havin’ fun.  Although she may be cute, she’s just a substitute, girl, ‘cause you’re the permanent one.  So take a good look at my face, you’ll see my smile looks out of place.  If you look closer, it’s easy to trace the __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  Something that leaks from the eyes and leaves a residue.  So romantic.

This morning we took Daku back to the vet.  Lisa sent the doctor a photo of the infection site and he told us to bring him in.  Today Daku got some high tech laser treatment that apparently works on humans for many things.  If he gets better, I’m next (555).  We didn’t get to watch the process, but there’s a dome shaped ‘head’ that projects the ‘laser’ vibe.  The doctor wore some special goggles, so now I really want to know what’s going on.  Daku is still very agitated when he has to move, so he stays mostly still.  

After our medical run we took Daku home and went north, to the new Big C.  We’re going to dub it ‘Mini Big C’ because it’s clearly smaller than the one we’re used to.  We shopped for a few things, but there wasn’t a big enough selection to do it right.  I will say that it was a pleasant place to be, with clean aisles and not a lot of traffic.  It will be an option if we don’t want to drive as far.

Today’s photo was taken in the parking lot at Mini Big C.  Someone was unclear on the concept of a crosswalk.

This evening we had dinner with Cat and Lucy, who works with The Freedom Story.  Cat and Lucy will be traveling to Australia together and after a fun dinner, Lucy and Cat are doing the paperwork for Cat’s visa.  They have been traveling companions before and they work well together.  

Just as we finished with dinner, the Singapore group returned from their trip.  The local students we met on Saturday came over with bags of Thai food and they all had a feast in the dining room.  From upstairs we could hear occasional outburst of laughter, telling us that they’re having a good time.  Tomorrow they are going to ‘travel’ around Chiang Rai.  Cat has mapped out a little tour that begins at 7am.  

Meanwhile, the cookie kitchen has been busy.  Natcha sold a bunch yesterday, with orders for more.  She’s got it down to a science, weighing the dough for uniformity and measuring carefully so the quality is the same for each batch.  The house smells so good when she’s baking.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“The more I think about it,
the more I realize there is
nothing more artistic than to
love others.”
~Vincent Van Gogh

Monday, March 11, 2019



The weather has remained the same, the smog has done the same.  In other parts of Thailand it is much worse than where we are.  We’re getting occasional breezes that may move some of the smokey air, but it’s just a temporary measure.  We need a storm with wind and rain, for about 15 minutes, twice a day.  In a few days we’d be good.  The trash would be soaked, the forest fires would be out and we’d all be breathing again.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was the classic “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke.  Time once again for an ‘Easy Monday’ song.  “People say I’m the life of the party ‘cause I tell a joke or two.  Although I maybe laughin’ loud and hearty, deep inside I’m blue.  So take a good look at my face, you’ll see my smile looks out of place.  If you look closer, it’s easy to trace the __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  

Our weekend turned out to be fairly busy.  Saturday morning we took Daku to the vet after discovering that his ‘hot spot’ had turned into a raging infection.  The doctor confirmed our suspicions and gave him immediate treatment.  This included a very unglamorous shave around the infected area.  Pour puppy is fine as long as he is still, but when he get up, it hurts.  He rushes around to his next destination and plops down, trying to lick it in the process.  The hood is causing him to crash into anything near his path.  It’s gonna take some time.

In the afternoon, Cat arrived with her friends from Singapore, along with two class-mates from her university.  After a tour of the house, Cat called a cab to take them to a town north east of Chiang Rai, where they did a project the last time they were in Thailand.  The taxi Cat contacted was a woman who Blue used as his driver when he went on photo expeditions and medical treatments.  She didn’t know that Blue had passed and Cat had to tell her.  It was a sad moment for both of them.  After the visitors left, we hung out with Cat’s school friends for awhile.  
The Singapore group will return tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday we had lunch at The Wanderer, and dinner at Melt In Your Mouth.  One of the things I have to remember is to be sure and tell the servers that I cannot have any ‘spicey’.  In Thai the phrase is ‘mai pet’.  Last night I ordered a dish I was familiar with, but forgot to mention the 'mai pet' part.  When it came to the table, the first thing I noticed was four dark red chili peppers sitting on top.  I took them off and tried a little of the noodles that were on the edge of the bowl.  At first it was OK, and then I was on fire.  We had to send it back and get the same thing ‘mai pet’.  My drink order more than made up for the food fiasco.  It was a Mango Pun, think mango and ice in a high-speed blender.  It was delicious, even with the brain freeze (555).

Today’s photo is a throwback to before the Big Brown House.  Way out in the back you can see me and Supat, who helped us acquire the spot.  

This morning (Monday) we went to the mall for coffee.  We did a brief tour of the new UNIQLO store, decided it was a little pricey and left.  Some of it was a little preppy for me as well.  As we were leaving the mall we saw our friends Chalit and his brother Nu.  It’s always nice to run into smiling faces.

The ‘Kookie Kween’, as I call her, baked a batch of chocolate heaven today, along with her order for the coffee shop.  The cookies she makes for me are done with organic cocao and something called cacoa nibs and it’s all very healthy for the blood.  This means that they’re actually something I can eat without feeling guilty (5).  

Have a Great Week.   


“If you want something said,
ask a man; if you want something
done, ask a woman.”
~Margaret Thatcher

Friday, March 8, 2019

Friday Funnies


It is still very dry here.  I understand that it is still very wet where some of you are, and very cold for others.  A little moisture and a little coolness would be deeply appreciated.  Donations accepted throughout the weekend.

That pesky ‘Zany Day’ song that nobody knew was, “Have Mercy” by The Rolling Stones.  Oh well, moving on to the ‘Old School Friday’ song.  I hope this one is easy:  “Darling __ __ __, I know __ __ __, darling __ __ __ honest you do, honest you do, honest you do, whoa.  You thrill me, I know you, you, you thrill me.  Darling you, you, you thrill me.  Honest you do.  At first I thought it was infatuation.  But wooh, it’s lasted so long.  Now I find myself wanting to marry you and take you home, whoa, __ __ __, I know __ __ __… Honest you do."

Today’s plan was to go to Big C for a few things, and then stop by Starbuck’s at the mall for coffee.  I spaced out on the highway and missed the Big C exit.  That meant we’d do coffee first.  The mall wasn’t open and the Starbuck’s parking spaces were full, but a young guard helped us by moving a barrier.  As we walked up the ramp to the mall, I spotted a lizard in our path.  Of course, I had to stop and take a photo.  As we left the lizard, who was sunning, a truck came up the ramp.  The driver saw the lizard and took great pains to miss him.  Yea.

I call this one “Mall Lizard”.

At Big C, the chicken sausage lady asked about Nitchanan and proceeded to give us two balloon art creations.  The ‘few things’ we went to pick up turned into a basket of groceries.  It was a good day.  When we got home, Gong and Nitchanan came out to help with the bags.  When I handed Nitchanan the balloons, her face lit up and she shouted ‘Balloons’ to her dad.  He finally got her to calm down enough to thank me, and then Lisa.  She’s been sick, and they were a perfect distraction.  Later, she and her cousin, Gop, played in the yard with the balloons.  See, they do have a healing property.

A few months ago, a group of college students from Singapore visited Cat’s university.  They were studying the same major and Cat made friends with them.  They decided they wanted to return to Thailand on their own and this weekend they will arrive.  There are three young women and one young man.  Notice that I’m giving them maturity ‘credits’ in advance (555).  They will leave their bags at our house and then go to Chiang Mai for the weekend.  They will return here on Tuesday for two nights.  This should be interesting.  We’re letting Cat and her friends figure out what they will be doing.  It will be a good learning experience.

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


Thursday, March 7, 2019



There’s some kind of trickery going on with the weather.  Two days in a row we’ve gone from the usual smokey skies to smokey with clouds, and no rain.  We demand our share of rain.  Now, that sounds real crazy doesn’t it?

The ‘Zany Day’ song seems to be a ‘stumper’.  Here’s a little more from one of the oldest working bands in R&R:  “But if you leave me baby, girl, if you put me down.  I’m gonna make it to the nearest river, child, and jump overboard and drown.  __ __, __ __, baby.  __ __, __ __ on me.”  Clue:  The key word is something that is commonly granted by courts, clergy, and girlfriends (555), not necessarily in that order.

This morning we decided to give the coffee at Chivit Tamma Da another try.  They had switched roasters, or something like that, and the result was not a pleasing taste.  This morning, when my coffee was brought to the table, the server told me to taste it and if I didn’t like it, she would replace it.  They obviously have had other complaints.  I drank the coffee, after doctoring it with honey and hot water.  It wasn’t ‘bad’, but it wasn’t the smooth coffee that I had enjoyed in the past.  When we paid our bill, I explained all that and she told us she would inform the owner.  

Today’s photo was taken this morning in our yard.  ‘Blue’s Tree’ has begun to bloom.  There are strings of buds all over the tree.  The second photo is a close up of an opening flower.

This evening we went to the Night Bazaar for dinner and light shopping.  Normally, the ‘Season’ ends in February, but if tonight is any indication, it’s still going strong.  Visitors from around the world are still enjoying Chiang Rai.  
As we were leaving, we passed the ‘Scarf Lady’ and paused to say hello.  She came out to greet us with a big smile on her face and announced that next month she’s going to New York and Colorado to visit friends.

Yesterday, Gong ‘planted’ some lotus flowers in a tub of water.  Today he put some small gold fish in the water and this totally fascinated Nitchanan.  The trick is going to be to keep the food high enough out of reach that our resident climber can’t reach it and over feed the fish.  Tiny fish are standard equipment in standing water, they eat the mosquito larva.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Those who are at war with
others, are not at peace with 
~William Hazlitt