Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Silent

Hi,

We seem to be right back where we started with the bad air a week ago.  We’re back in the masks, staying inside as much to keep away from the air as well as the heat.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song is still up for grabs.  If you’re in doubt, maybe this will help:  “We could ride surf together, while our love would grow.  In my Woody I would take you everywhere I go.  So I say from me to you, I will make your dreams come true.  Do you love me, do you __ __.  __ __ my little __ __ (little one) __ __ my little __ __.”  Clue:  If there was ever such a thing as a ‘Surf Ballad’, this is it.  It was 1963.

This morning we went into town to the Night Bazaar district.  There is a photo shop (some people still use film) that has a little laminating machine.  Lisa made a new name tag for our mail box and the only way to keep it from disintegrating is to put it in plastic.  The guy told us it would take ten minutes, so we walked down to Watson’s pharmacy and got the vitamin C that was on our list.  We also got in a little browsing, checking out the latest in beauty products.  Would you believe Addis has a fruity body spray for men.  No, I didn’t bite (555).  When I want to smell fruity, I use an essential oil.  Anyway, it was kinda fun seeing so many things to change what already is.

Today was the day we drove south of town to HomePro, since the list had grown.  It’s our place for home products when we want something ‘nice’.  Our discipline has grown when I realize that we left the store with only one thing that wasn't on the list, and batteries are not really a frivolous purchase.  

Riding home, it struck me that the people outside on motorbikes were probably burning up.  Between the sun, the heat from the pavement and the ambient heat, it was hot out there.  And yet, I saw riders wearing jackets.  What? Amazing.

Here is a photo of the steamroller that now seems to live on the property behind us, as seen from the upstairs window.  Hmm, maybe they might let me drive it (555). 


Nitchanan has been absorbing language during her vacation.  Natcha knows that she understands some Akha, the language of their tribe, but does not speak it yet.  The same is true with English.  She seems to understand many things that are said to her, but only mimics in English, repeating phrases.  Last night, as I was climbing the stairs, she called out to me.  I responded and she said, “I don’t know” and shrugged her shoulders.  I’d never heard her say that before.  She’s learning in her own way and it’s awesome.

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“Ten people who speak make
more noise than ten thousand
who are silent.”
~Napoleon Bonaparte

Monday, April 29, 2019

Smile

Hi,

The weekend weather was very hot (100+).  The air quality was in the moderate range for most of the weekend.  Today it’s back in the ugly zone and still no rain in sight.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Just My Imagination” by The Temptations.  Now we’ll cruise west on Route 66 from the Motor City to the end of the line.  The West Coast offered lots of inspiration for this week’s group and their ‘Easy Monday’ tune:  “Little __, little one, made my heart come all undone.  Do you love me, do you __ __ (__ __ my little __ __).  Hint:  I know, too easy.

Saturday we experienced what sounded like a helicopter hovering overhead.  It was so intense that things were rattling in the house.  Finally, Lisa spotted a steamroller through the trees.  It was rolling over the lot directly behind us.  It’s still sitting there, though it didn’t roll on Sunday or today.  Maybe they just want a better parking lot for the construction crew.  In other construction news, the coffee shop next door had a delivery of glass yesterday morning.  We haven’t gone over to take a closer look yet, but that will happen soon.

In the afternoon, Cat came over and stayed for dinner and spent the night.  We had fun remembering the past, planning for the future, and teaching each other cultural things we didn’t know, and making popcorn.   

On Sunday after my meeting, Lisa and Cat picked me up and we went to the mall.  At least we tried to go to the mall.  It was so crowded with cars that we left and went to The Wanderer for lunch.  We think the mass of people was due in part to the Avenger movie that’s playing on several screens.  Cat told us it’s been sold out since it opened last week.  She’s a fan of the big epic SciFi pics.  She called both theaters in Chiang Rai and both were sold out.  

Lunch at The Wanderer was how Sunday lunch is supposed to be, relaxing.  Cat ordered a drink we’d never seen before.  It’s called a ‘Blue Sky’ and it’s milk with the juice of a blue flower floating on top.  The flower has no taste or smell, so basically it’s just pretty and fun.  The other drink is an iced black tea.


It’s that time of year when the flowering trees are doing their thing all over town.  The photo below is one of our favorites.  We have a tree like this that is finally blooming.  This one got an earlier start and is spectacular.


This morning we did the Big C thing.  We got there right after they opened and there were shoppers.  Not a lot, but  it wasn’t as empty as I’d imagined.  There is a big section in the front for the annual school uniform sale.  They added a nice touch this year by providing people to help parents measure and fit their kids.  In most cases they have to buy shirts, long and/or short pants, skirts and shoes and socks.  The helpers have tape measures and note pads and also serve as consultants.  If you go to school, you have to have a uniform and it has to have your name, school and class monogramed on the front.  

Have a Great Week.

                       Peace,
                                 Danny

“Don’t cry because it’s over.
Smile because it happened.”
~Dr. Seuss

Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday Funnies

Hi,

I know this will sound familiar, but last night we had another rain storm.  This one was bigger than the one before, so big that it flooded the front yard.  That hasn’t happened in a very long time.  The air quality was a bit better this morning and the sky was bluer.  We’re still in the ‘Moderate’ zone, looking forward to ‘Good’.

There was no foolin’ any of you.  The song was “Get Ready” and you were.  ‘Old School Friday’ is not the oldest from the Temps, but one of my favorites, so here goes:  “Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by.  I say to myself, you’re such a lucky guy.  To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true.  Out of all the fellas in the world, she belongs to me.  But it was __ __ __ once again, (__ __ __ __)…”  Hint:  Clearly a case of wish fulfillment, or was it mistaken identity?

This morning’s visit to the doctor at Bangkok Hospital was the one we’ve been waiting for.  The bandage is off and after 2 days the ankle can get wet.  This is cool on so many levels.  Plus, no more back and forth, Lisa will not see the doctor until next Friday.  

On the way home we stopped at 'Big C Mini' for a few food items.  When it first opened, it seemed like the best thing that could have happened.  It turns out to be a bit of a frustration, at least in a few departments.  The two main things we were looking for this morning were disappointing.  Fresh vegetables and chicken are not strong points at this store.  When it comes to things in bottles and boxes, the shelves seem to be more than adequate.  We could have stopped at Makro and done a better job of shopping, but it was getting close to lunch and Friday at Makro is nightmare time.  Now we know, and next time we’ll just go to the original Big C.

Most of the plants in the yards are enjoying the rain.  There are a few that will need some help in the way of nutrients, etc. but for the most part, we didn’t lose anything to the heat.  Gong and Natcha watered things and that made a difference.  It must be frustrating for Gong though, every morning he comes out of their house to greet a yard full of things blown around by the wind.  From tiny leaves to palm branches, the wind always seems to leave a gift.  

This afternoon we got a delivery that included 2 boxes.  Nitchanan got involved in helping Natcha take them apart for the trash, and ended up using her creativity.  Who doesn’t like a good box?  Reminds me of a cat.


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Time for the ‘Funnies’.   Formula 1 is in Azerbaijan this weekend, Zoom. 


                    Peace,
                              Danny


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Still

Hi,

More rain fell last night.  The AQI numbers fell further, but we’re still not out of the woods.  Visible haze is from local fires.  A local trash dump is on fire and they’re having trouble putting it out.  Progress is being made, very slowly.  Oh, and it’s still very, very hot.  Gong thinks it will rain tonight.  Here’s hoping.

The ‘Zany Day Maybe’ tune was a giant hit for The Temptations.  Here is part of the second verse.  
“If you wanna play hide and seek with love, let me remind you (It’s alright).  But the lovin’ you’re gonna miss and the time it takes to find you (It’s outta sight).  So, fiddley-dee, fiddley-dum, look out baby, ‘cause here I come.  And I’m bringing you a love that’s true, so __ __, so __ __…”  Clue:  I’ll bet you’re ready for the answer.  You’ll just have to wait ’til tomorrow.

This morning Daku got a bath.  Now that Natcha is his ‘bath attendant’ I don’t think he minds as much.  After she dried him off a bit, he came upstairs with a big smile on his face.  

We left the house with a list of things to do and find; things we had been putting off until the air got better.  With the best of intentions we started at The Wanderer for tea.  Mercy was very happy to see us (she’s very happy to see everybody) and we vocalized our joy (555).  Lisa had the rose tea and I had iced peach tea.  Just as we were finishing, Khun Noot came into the yard and we had a little reunion.  She’s been away, in another province.  That led to her giving us tiny little cups of a brew that is good for everything.  Noot left and Kwan came in and sat with us.  We ended up going home just in time for lunch and moving the list to another day.  It was good to be available to listen.  We have been close to the family for 10 years and sometimes a good set of ears without judgement is what is needed.  

One of the things we love about The Wanderer is the decoration of the drinks.  This is my iced peach tea.


During Songkran we rode around a bit and one of the photos taken was overlooked.  Lisa caught this view of our local golf course, which is usually a vibrant green.  Not so much these days.


Tomorrow we will go back to Bangkok Hospital, this time to see the doctor for another bandage change and evaluation.  It takes the bulk of a morning, but maybe we can squeeze a small errand in there before lunch (555).  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny 

“Learning how to be still, 
to really be still and let life 
happen, that stillness becomes
a radiance.”
~Morgan Freeman

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Explain

Hi,

The big news was last night’s rain.  I mean real rain, the kind you can hear when it hits the roof and the trees.  It was enough to create a dramatic drop in the Air Quality Index (AQI) that we track during the days.  We are now in the moderate zone, meaning we can leave the masks if we’re not out too long.  Our world smells better and all the trees and bushes look happy.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “My Girl” by The Temptations.  The ‘Zany Day Maybe’ song might be one you remember:
“I never met a girl who makes me feel the way that you do.  (You’re alright)  Whenever I’m asked who makes my dreams real. I say that you do.  (You’re outta sight).  So, fee-fi-fo-fum, look out baby, ‘cause here I come.  And I’m bringing you a love that’s true.  So __ __, so __ __.  I’m gonna try to make you love me too.  So __ __, so __ __ ‘cause here I come.”  Hint:  The singer is urging preparedness.  (555)

This morning the yard on the side of our house looked like a little village.  There was Yee and his wife, a helper and his wife and child, Nitchanan and occasionally Natcha.  The giant plants were going to take a village to bring them down.  They had to go and get some wood to make a scaffold so they could reach certain points, but the job was done and they cleaned it up in stages.  Whenever the pile got out of hand they would load it into Yee’s truck and take it somewhere.  That’s the part that gets me.  Stuff gets taken away, and usually dumped on an unsuspecting, empty, overgrown lot.  Think, mulch.

While the tree work was going on, Khun Naa was working on the pool.  There was a lot of plant debris on the bottom and no doubt in the filter.  It was beginning to turn a greenish color but by late afternoon it looked like it was returning to normal.  

We returned to Bangkok Hospital this morning for another routine bandage change on Lisa’s ankle.  There is a lot of improvement.  The fact that these visits are now pain-free is cause for celebration.  On Friday she will see the doctor again and we’ll get a ‘real’ progress report.  We’re getting close to ‘swimming air’ (new term) and it would be nice for her to be able to enjoy the pool.

There was a volley of fireworks a few minutes ago, just north of us in the village of Namlat.  It signified the close of a funeral ceremony.  One of those things we've come accept as part of life in Thailand.  

Today’s photo is of the giant palms that got trimmed.  They are very tall, and when the big winds come, some of them break and hang in the neighbors yard.


Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                      Peace,
                                Danny

“There is only one valuable thing
in art: the thing you cannot explain.”
~Georges Braque

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Fence

Hi,

There are actual clouds in the sky this evening.  We’re being teased with forecasts like 40% chance of thunderstorms, little icons with a rain cloud, etc.  Meanwhile, it’s still really hot, but the air is marginally better.  It’s just unhealthy.  Hmm.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song has a ton of fans.  Many of them can tell you the year of release, who sang lead and where they were when it came out.  “I’ve got so much honey, the bees envy me.  I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees.  Well, I guess you’d say, what can make me feel this way?  __ __ (__ __).  Talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  Clue:  The quintet that sings this song is from a place that used to be called ‘Motor City’. 

This day was spent inside.  There were visitors who came to do certain things, but we had no need to venture out into the hazy world of Chiang Rai.  This afternoon we had 3 air/cons cleaned and also got an estimate on some tree-trimming.  On the east side of our property we have giant palm-type trees that create a natural barrier.  Every few years they get carried away and grow so tall that some of them lean into our neighbors yard.  This creeps her out and she asks us to trim them.  Fair enough.  Khun Yee is coming tomorrow to do the job.  

Lisa was the exception today, she went outside.  Today was the first day of her Thai lessons.  There is a little language school not far from us and she is taking private lessons.  She likes her teacher and that’s a plus when delving into such a difficult undertaking.  We have studied before, but there is a point where it becomes either overwhelming or frustrating.  All signs, so far, indicate that this might be the right teacher.

Today’s photo was taken at Bangkok Hospital.  Part of the feeling like you’re in a grand hotel comes from this beautiful lighting in the foyer.


Daku was approaching Nitchanan and Gop yesterday and she told him in clear words, “Go away, Daku”.  She doesn’t speak to us very much in English, but she knew how to get Daku to respond, and he did.  He went away.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.

                   Peace,
                             Danny

“Don’t ever take a fence down 
until you know why it was put up.”
~Robert Frost

Monday, April 22, 2019

Succeed

Hi,

We’re still doing the dance of 100 degrees, sometimes higher.  We had rain this weekend.  No, it didn’t make a difference.  It was light rain that held promise, but after it stopped, the air was still bad.  It did cool things off temporarily.  Other parts of the country to the south of us have had more substantial water from the sky.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “No Fair At All” by The Association.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be a snap.  I like to think of this as the signature tune for the group of the week:  “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.  When it cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.  I guess you’d say what can make me feel this way?  __ __ (__ __, __ __). Talkin’ ‘bout __ __ (__ __).”  Hint:  Way too easy for a hint, but I am so Tempted (555).

Saturday afternoon I called Natcha’s phone and the cheery little voice of Nitchanan answered.  She proceeded to talk to me.  I kept asking for Natcha but she had other ideas.  I don’t know what she was telling me, but it was as if I was talking to an adult.  Then she’d lapse into silly and laugh.  Natcha wasn’t at home, and Nitchanan may have told me that.  Natcha told us that Nitchanan is speaking Thai and Chinese, and understands a lot of Akha but is yet to speak it.  She also told us the her daughter is using Thai words that she (Natcha) doesn’t know.  It may be because she’s watching shows on Youtube and her vocabulary is expanding.  In any case, Nitchanan is one smart three-year-old.

Sunday morning Natcha brought us each a boiled, dyed egg.  She had devised a hanging device made of string as seen in the photo below.  


Over the weekend we had more wind.  We realized the severity of the fires when the wind did not blow the smoke away.  It just brought more.  "The Department of Royal Rain-Making and Agricultural Aviation" announced considered using the process in the northern region, but only mentioned Chiang Mai.  They just received rain so maybe we’ll get some good old artificial rain.  I don’t care how it comes, as long as it comes.  I was at The Wanderer today and they told me about one of their big trees that was blown over.  I’ll call this one:  “If a tree falls in the forest…”  I was standing at the root of the tree and it extends to the upper left corner of the photo.


This evening I noticed lights on in the coffee shop next door.  It looks like they’ve started work on the interior.  
In the lot behind the coffee shop the work has begun on what we think will be a two-story house.  There are steel beams that ‘support’ this theory (555).  
 
If this heat continues, and there’s every reason to believe it will, they just may delay the outside work on the house.  We’ve noticed a light schedule next door.  The only person I saw working outside today was the farmer behind us, watering his vegetables.  And the beat goes on.

Have a Great Week.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“However difficult life may
seem, there is always something
you can do and succeed at.”
~Stephen Hawking

Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday Funnies

Hi,

Everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout the weather and the smoke.  My curiosity about the word ‘poaching’ has been satisfied for 
the moment.  Land can be poached as well as animals.  What the fire-starters are doing is ‘stealing’ land to create farms in the forest.  Major companies are paying people to grow corn.  Thailand and surrounding countries are becoming monocultures, that is, only growing one crop.  This can be very detrimental.  It’s becoming a ‘thing’ based mostly on money.

The ‘Non-Zany’ song was “Cherish” by The Association.  We’ll end 'Association week' with what may be a sad song:
“I’ve never seen this side of you before, till now.  I never knew that you could feel this way, till now.  After all the time we spent together, just doesn’t seem fair at all.  __ __ __ __.  Never seen the moonlight in your hair, till now. Never heard the sweet things you could say, till now.  After all the time we spent together, just doesn’t seem fair at all.  __ __ __ __.”  Hint:  I’ve given you most of the title (555).  Call it a ‘No Hint’ Friday.  

We had what might be called an easy day.  A short distance from home to Sabroso for lunch with our friends Lisa, her dad Edwin, and relatives.  It’s always cool to meet new people we can relate with on different levels.  The food was delicious as usual, and that made it more fun.  Our guests had never been to Sabroso.  The rest of the day was spent trying to beat the 100+ temps.  

Today’s photo is entitled:  ‘The Current Dream’.  It was taken about 3 years ago.


Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.       It’s time for the ‘Funnies’.  Please excuse the broken English.

                     Peace,
                               Danny


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Love


Hi,

We thought the storm of last night might clear the air a bit.  Wrong!  What we got was a yard full of plant trash, a one hour plus black out, and some minor wetness on the ground.  Today it was over 100 and the air was the same as yesterday.  

From what many of you are telling me, I need to have the American version of Sirius Radio so I can keep up with all the cool oldies.  Our ‘Non-Zany Day’ song is still looping in my head.  Let me add to the traffic in your head:
“Oh, I could say I need you, but then you’d realize that I want you just like a thousand other guys who’d say they love you, like all the rest of their lies when all they wanted was to touch your face, your hands, and gaze into your eyes.  __ is the word I use to describe…..”  Clue:  Amazing, how much can be written around a word that is not part of common language, at least not in the mid 60s.  Think about it, then name that tune (555).

I just want you to know that I wrote yesterday’s message in total darkness, except for the light from my laptop screen.  Picture one of those Snoopy or Calvin imagination segments where they describe some heroic episode in their continuing adventures.  Yep, I was there, trying to get an urgent message to…..  Anyway, it was kinda fun doing that.  If it hadn’t gotten so hot in the process, I’d do it again (555).  The wind was blowing so hard that it sounded like rain in the trees.  We could hear things bouncing across the yard and a few times, something shifted in the space above the ceiling.  That was a little unsettling.  This morning, the aftermath was what we expected.  One thing that is curious is the brown, mossy stuff that seemed to be everywhere.  It’s a plant product, but we don’t know which plant.  Gong and his nephew, OnLee spent a lot of time outside and still didn’t get it all.  The pool was covered in the brown stuff and almost looked disastrous, until the filtration system cleaned up whatever made it look green.

The doctor visit was the big deal of the day.  He was very pleased with the progress and we don’t have to go every day.  We will return on Saturday afternoon and a nurse can perform the duties of changing the bandage.  It will be like that until next Friday.  

Today’s photo is from about 4 years ago.  The man with the bamboo is making a chicken coup.  Sometimes I see something and wonder how it got that way.  So it was with these cages.  Now I know.


And finally, the news reports about the forest fires that are plaguing northern Thailand keep mentioning the ‘poachers’ as the culprits for the flames.  My question is:  What are they poaching?  I hope to get answers in the near future.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“Love is composed of a single
soul inhabiting two bodies.”
~Aristotle

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Stars

Hi,

The high today was over 100°F and is supposed to rise one degree every day.  Right now there are fires burning on a hillside in Mae Chan and other locations not that far away.  The wind has been blowing in big, strong gusts and the lights just went off, then on, then off again.  Hang on, it’s gonna be one of those nights.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Windy” by The Association.  Since they don’t really have any popular ‘Zany’ songs, we’ll just have to do with this gem:  “__ is the word I use to describe all the feeling that I have hiding here for you inside.  You don’t know how many times I’ve wished that I had told you.  You don’t know how many times I’ve wished that I could hold you.  You don’t know how many times I’ve wished that I could mold you into someone who could __ me as much as I __ you.”  Hint:  Another one-word title, though not a name, it means to ‘hold dear’ or ‘keep in one’s mind’.  I think you know.

This is so weird, sitting in the dark, trying to concentrate on what I’m supposed to be doing.  Here goes:  This morning we arrived at Immigration at about 8:15am.  There was a line of about 18 people, based on the number we received when we entered.  By 9am we were on our way out, everything done.  We weren’t sure how long it might take since some of the early folks went to the counter carrying four and five passports, obviously representing an organization.  It’s so nice to go to an efficient branch of such a complex organization.

On our way to Bangkok Hospital for the morning treatment, we stopped at the new Big C, henceforth to be known as ‘Big C, Jr.’  A few things got crossed off the list and we were back on the road.  The doctor was very pleased with the progress in the battle with the infection.  Lisa still has to continue with this mode of treatment until early next week, we think.  

After a stop at Browney Pet World, we went home to take Daku out.  Since Natcha was going to Mae Sai today, our plan was to go to the mall for lunch.  Part of the northern visit was for Nitchanan, who expressed a desire to see her grandparents.  How sweet is that?  

This afternoon, our friend Atom came over and we hung out.  She had been working on some Thai names for a few of Lisa’s art pieces.  

When the power goes out the air/con goes out, the internet goes out, the water goes out, and it all gets a little strange.  I can use my phone to send this to you, so that’s good.  If it gets too hot, we can sit in the van and run the air/con.  Nothing like a little adventure to make the day complete.

Today’s photo is from our recent IconSiam experience.  Obviously a sushi spot, I couldn’t resist this unique structure.


It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny

“If people sat outside and looked
at the stars each night, I’ll bet
they’d live a lot differently.”
~Bill Watterson

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Practice

Hi,

Chiang Rai had another very hot day.  The air is at unhealthy levels day and night.  Last night a friend of ours saw fires light up the hillside where he lives.  The air had been getting a little better until that happened.  Hmm.

‘Easy Monday’ was good for some of you.  Here is more of the song, just in case it didn’t loop long enough (555).
“Who’s tripping down the streets of the city, smiling at everybody she sees?  Who’s reaching out to capture a moment?  Everyone knows it’s __.  And __ has stormy eyes that flash at the sound of lies.  And __ has wings to fly above the clouds (Above the clouds), above the clouds….”  Clue:  What is it that blows through the trees.

This morning Daku raced down the hall to see the boys sleeping in the guest room.  Last night I think he heard one of them.  I saw him stop and focus in that direction just before we went upstairs for the last time.  He remembers these things.  

After we talked to Joe, Lisa’s dad, we went to Bangkok Hospital for another daily treatment.  The doctor is feeling positive about the progress being made.  He received a report while we were there and whatever the infection is, it’s not growing anymore.  It’s all so complicated, but we’re learning.  

Nitchanan visited us during lunch.  She was a little out of sorts, things were not going her way.  A little later, Natcha came upstairs to talk.  It seems that the older nephew had gone up to an elephant village and Nitchanan told her she didn’t have any friends to play with.  Natcha took her to her sister’s house so Nitchanan could play with her cousin.  During dinner, Nitchanan was in the pool with her two cousins and everything was right with the world.

We had made plans to go to Immigration this afternoon for our 90 day check-in, but when we got there the place was still closed for Songkran.  They reopen tomorrow and we’ll be there for sure.  One does not mess around with things like this.  

Before dinner we had a Skype call with our friends Stephen and Claire, who live on the island of Tasmania, on the southeastern tip of Australia.  Today we learned that the air is very, very clean there.  Just what we need right now.  Since they are south of the equator, they are about to enter their cold season.  That sounds pretty heavy, considering how they are on the lower part of the planet.  Anyway, we had a good ‘catch up’.  

Today’s photo was ‘taken’ from the cover of The Nation, an English language Thai newspaper.  You are seeing two water taxis, side-by-side, with passengers having a Songkran water fight, using the river water.  Nobody goes home dry (555).


Have a Happy Tuesday.

                    Peace,
                              Danny

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

Living (Monday's Post)

Hi,

You may have guessed by now that the air is still the same in the north of Thailand.  The temperatures are climbing daily, reaching at least 100°F in the shade this afternoon.  Whew.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Stop! In The Name Of Love” by The Supremes.  New week, new artist, old songs.  What could be better?  ‘Easy Monday’ is one I think you know:  “Who’s peeking out from under a stairway, calling a name that’s lighter than air?  Who’s bending down to give me a rainbow?  Everyone knows it’s __.”  Hint:  A six-man vocal group, known for their lush and complex harmonies.  

The Songkran spirit is going strong in Chiang Rai.  The heat and foul air have not stopped the revelers from playing with gusto.  There are different levels of ‘playing Songkran’, beginning with the simple flicking of water off the fingertips, to tossing of buckets of water from a pick-up truck, and of course, the super-soaker water-guns.  Most of what we witnessed were roadside attacks and counter attacks.  A truck rolls by a ‘water station’ where a small crowd is doused by the passengers on the truck.  The truck tries to get them first and depending on the speed of the traffic, one or both get soaked.  Our van got splashed by kids with small buckets and a few water hoses on our various trips outside.  The hardest hit are the young people on motorbikes who get slammed with water.  So goes Songkran.  


Saturday evening we had dinner with some friends from Chiang Mai who came to Chiang Rai at the request of their kids.  They wanted to celebrate up here this year.  I still don’t know why.  Ali and Nim brought three of their four daughters and saw the local sights.  We dined at Sabroso and had a fun meal.  At the house we had mango and hung out.  Daku was pleased to be the center of attention for a little while.  When he was done, he just walked into the kitchen and stretched out on the cool tile, away from the madness.  

Every day, Lisa has to have the bandage on her ankle changed and a small procedure done.  Saturday we went to our local hospital, Overbrook, and our friend nurse Pay did the job.  On Sunday, another nurse did the work and it was not satisfactory at all.  It was painful and there didn’t seem to be any understanding of how to react.  When she was told that it hurt, she just kept going and chuckled.  Today we went back to Bangkok Hospital and had her doctor do the job.  He numbed the area before starting and kept asking if it was OK.  That’s what I call compassionate doctoring.    

On our way home from the hospital, we stopped at Makro.  Hmm, Makro in the midst of Songkran seems like a crazy idea, but it wasn’t so bad.  We found a lot of things we needed and arrived at a short check-out line.  It was brilliant.

Cat and her boyfriend, Noom, were at the house when we got home.  We knew she was coming over, but we weren’t prepared for what happened next.  They brought the elements to do a ‘proper’ Songkran ceremony.  We went upstairs and sat on the bed and then Cat placed a Jasmine necklace on each of us.  Then they both took turns pouring water with flower petals in it over our hands while wishing us a healthy and happy New Year.  Then we sprinkled water on their heads and wished them the same.  This was Songkran and it felt good.  Cat explained afterward that this year she wanted to thank all the people who have helped her in her life. 

Here we are in our Songkran splendor. 

Natcha has a nephew visiting from Burma for the week, along with Gop, who spends a lot of time here.  This time of year is like their summer vacation.  Nitchanan is off from pre-school for 2 months, just like the big kids.  Gop is a good baby-sitter/companion and frees Natcha up to do her work around the house.  The visiting nephew is maybe in his mid teens.  We invited the two boys to stay in our guest room at night, since Gong and Natcha don’t have a lot of space.  Nitchanan likes to stay up late whenever anyone visits, and that becomes a problem of altered sleep schedules.  I think it’s going to work out good this week.  There will be sleep involved (555).

Have a Great Week.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“All the art of living lies 
in a fine mingling of 
letting go and holding on.”
~Havelock Ellis

Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday Funnies

Hi,

We’re still in the loop.  This morning, looking out from the hospital window, it almost looked like a morning fog hanging over the local farms.  No such luck, it was smoke.  It’s still here, it’s still hot, and we’re still upset about it.  Life goes on, carefully.

The Wednesday song was “Stop In The Name of Love” by The Supremes.  Back in 2009, I used this song and got a reply from our friend Sandy, in Northern California, that fits right in with the ‘Friday Funnies’ concept:  "When I was in undergraduate school, my roomate said that the title of this song did not make sense.  After looking at her with a very puzzled expression, I asked her what was the title and she said "Stop in the Neighborhood (before you break my heart)". For four years, we harassed her about this and rightfully so.”  There are many songs with mis-heard lyrics and you can find sites about them on the internet.  Now, it’s time for ‘Old School Friday’.  This is from a 1964 album by the group, which makes it kind of old (555).  “Baby, baby, baby don’t leave me.  Ooh, please don’t leave me all by myself.  I’ve got this burning, burning, yearning feelin’ inside me.  Ooh, deep inside me, and it hurts so bad…. Ooh, baby, baby __ __ __ __ __? Ooh, don’t you want me, don’t you want me no more?  Ooh, ooh..”  Hint:  Looking for something that was apparently lost. 

Last night was Lisa's final night at Bangkok Hospital.  Cat had urged me to bring a sheet to cover the vinyl couch since she found it to be uncomfortable, and it made a big difference in sleeping.  Our last night was OK, as hospital parties go.  We ate some of Natcha’s cocoa cookies, watched an episode of ‘One Day At a Time’, got sleepy and crashed.  I was actually awake for about 2 hours and then drifted off.  I did experience the hair-trigger night-light.  I barely moved and it came on.  I was able to trick it a few times, but that just keeps you awake (555).  

Today was the big day, the day Lisa got released from the hospital.  A different doctor came for the final treatment, but didn’t numb the area.  This was not good, but she got through it.  Cat came and helped us pack up the room.  She had finished her gigantic homework assignment and was ready to play Songkran.  The staff brought a wheelchair for Lisa and a big cart for all of our bags.  Easy exits are the best.  

When we got home, Daku was overjoyed.  He gave me a mild reception since I was only gone one night.  Lisa got the full ‘You’ve been gone so long, I missed you so much’ treatment.  The band is back together again.  

Our new bed is, in a word, very firm.  It actually feels great.  And to think that 10 years ago, it was the last thing we wanted.  Tonight will be the test of this sleeping platform.

You probably don’t care, but this weekend marks the 1000th Formula 1 Gran Prix.  Since 1950 there have been 841 drivers involved.  The Shanghai Gran Prix of China will be one to watch.  Zoom.

Cat saw a sign designating ‘Happy Street’ as the Songkran play area for Chiang Rai. Not that water won’t be thrown all over town, but this is where the party will be.  It started today and will go through the 16th.  It’s nice because they will block off the street and it should be safer.  

The photos below are from IconSiam.  This is the Jurassic area that kids love.  In the second photo you can see the little boots they are given to wear while digging in the sand, hunting and finding bones.  I would have loved that as a kid.



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

                      Peace,
                                Danny


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Adventure

Hi,

I guess you know what I’m going to say.  The sky is still dirty and the air is still hot.  Actually, it’s hotter than yesterday.  The forecasts for next week are calling for temps over 100°F almost all week.  Songkran should be very welcome.

You may have noticed that I did not label this song as a ‘Zany Day’ item, but the loop it can cause is just that.
I’ve tried so hard, hard to be patient, hoping you’ll stop this infatuation.  But each time you are together, I’m so afraid I’ll be losing you forever.  __! __ __ __ __ __, before you break my heart (Baby, think it over)….”  Clue:  This is the last verse.  The first word should be the clue.  Think: Big red sign, hit the breaks.

The Festival of Songkran begins officially on Saturday, but one enthusiastic group threw water at Cat this afternoon on her way home from the hospital.  This is that time of year when water may appear from out of the blue (except the sky) and you may throw some back if you have it.  In the past, we have learned to stay inside during this exaggeration of a traditional holiday.  When we do leave home, we keep the windows up, as always.  The high heat and lack of rain, combined with the general mass frustration with the air quality will probably make this one of the wildest 10 days of the year.  Technically, the holiday is from 13 to 16, but everyone knows that Songkran is 10 days.  

I packed an overnight bag plus a few extras and went to Bangkok Hospital for my stay with Lisa.  This will be her last night at the hospital.  Cat stayed all day yesterday and spent the night.  When not visiting, she spent most of her time working on a huge homework assignment that she wanted to finish before Songkran.  Nothing like a deadline.  Today, Atom came and they had a good visit.  Lisa also had a long talk with our friend Nita, who we stay with in Bangkok with her husband James.  Hospitals can be a lonely place and it’s nice to know you’re not alone.  

Natcha made dinner for us and packed it and bowls of cut fruit.  It was a feast.  She made broiled salmon, mashed potatoes, and an unknown vegetable.  We got a call from her this afternoon telling us that our new mattress would be delivered this evening.  Ironically, she just sent a photo of the workers trying to make the turn on the stairs.  They made it.  We thought it was coming tomorrow.  Oh well.  It will be nice for tomorrow’s nap.

Hospital stories:  There is a row of lights at baseboard level behind the head of the bed.  Any movement turns the lights on, which is good if a patient needs to get out of bed.  When the patient has a guest who is sleeping on the couch, it poses a problem.  Cat said that every time she changed positions, or stretched, the lights came on.  She told me I should cover my eyes so as not to see the light (555).  While I was relaxing on the couch this afternoon, I noticed four ropes dancing on the wind.  I was surprised and very curious until Lisa told me it was window washers and they had already done the 4th floor and were working their way up.  There are drapes covering the big window in the room and they’re motor operated.  If you tug on one side, they slowly open or close.  There’s also a remote in case the touch isn’t perfect.  Lisa’s doctor came by the room to see how she was doing.  He won’t see her in the morning because he has to go to Chiang Mai to see his mom, who has been affected by the smog.  He’s a very warm guy who cares a lot.  

From the front yard: Gong has one wheel reassembled with new parts and it looks like the seat got re-covered.  When I mentioned it to Natcha this morning she laughed and said, ‘too old’, meaning he’s making it look new again.  
Here’s a pic of how it looked yesterday.


This photo is a painting behind the bed in Lisa’s room at the hospital.  Nice for guest, lost on patient.


If all goes as planned, we’ll be home in time for lunch.  Cat will come back and help us ‘move out’.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.

                        Peace,
                                  Danny
  
“One way to get the most
out of life is to look upon it as
an adventure.
~William Feather

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Treasure

Hi,

Weather today was HOT, air was the same old story.  It feels like we’re recycling the same days, like the movie “Ground Hog Day”.  Get up, look outside, decide to stay inside, put on mask if you go outside, run back inside.

Now that you know that the ‘Easy Monday’ song was “You Keep Me Hanging On” by The Supremes, you know who sings this next one.   “__! __ __ __ __ __, before you break my heart.  Baby baby, I’m aware of where you go, each time you leave my door.  I watch you walk down the street, knowing your other love you’ll meet.  But this time before you run to her, leaving me alone and hurt (think it over) haven't I been good to you? (Think it over) Haven’t I been sweet to you?  __! __ __ __ __ __, before you break my heart…”  Hint:  All of their hits could qualify as ‘Easy Monday’ songs, and yet…  Rather than beg, the singer is commanding to cease the current behavior. 

Lisa is doing better.  She had a good night’s sleep, if you discount the 2am IV installation.  There are things about the new hospital that are not measuring up to our ‘benchmark’, the Chiang Mai version.  The main thing is the food.  We solved that by bringing stuff in, which they don’t mind.  Today the doctor and his team came to her room and messed with her ankle.  Not one to be graphic, there was deep cleaning involved and it was painful enough that they numbed it before, and gave her something right at the time it wore off.  Cat spent most of the day with Lisa and will spend the night, Sutheera brought her grilled salmon for lunch, and later Caty and the twins visited.  This evening I brought dinner from Sabroso and we had a little party.  Cat’s boyfriend ate Lisa’s hospital dinner and we had the Mexican food.  Natcha sent fruit and cookies made with organic cocoa.  Tomorrow is supposed to be the last full day and night.

Daku and I stayed up late, well, I stayed up late.  Somehow, we both woke up at the usual time.  He rolled around and played like always, and then went to Lisa’s side of the bed.  Hmm, no one there.  He came to me with a much harsher greeting than usual.  Normally, he’ll come over and put his face close to mine, forcing me to sense his presence with some Jedi trickery.  This time he slapped the bed like he does when he’s finished with his nap.  It was strange for him downstairs too.  Lisa usually fixes his breakfast and today it was Natcha.  He’s not complaining because he’s eating.  Dogs.

I noticed that Gong was very busy during the day with a new project.  It wasn’t until I returned from the hospital that I began to realize what was going on.  There was a set of new motorcycle wheels stacked next to the old bike that he brought from Mae Sai months ago.  It is/was his mother’s, but it looks like it’s getting a Gong treatment that will cement his ownership (555).  As the day went on, whenever I’d pass the kitchen window, I’d see less parts on the bike.  He’s taking the whole thing apart.  Oh my.  Late in the day I saw him riding away on their other bike with the seat tucked under his arm.  More will be revealed.

I don’t know what the design intention was, but this building in Bangkok always catches my eye.


It’s gonna be a Wacky Wednesday.

                  Peace,
                            Danny

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These there are your greatest 
treasures.”
~Lao Tzu

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Harmony


Hi,

Today we had a high of 98°F and a low of 70° is coming. It’s 9pm and it’s 84 at our house. Whew. The smoke might have been a little better on the ‘index’, but it still looked very hazy and smelled bad. This evening I caught the scent of burning plastic near the highway. 

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was quickly recognized by regular ‘contributors’. If you remember this one, chime in:
“You say although we broke up, you still wanna be friends. But how can we still be friends when seeing you only breaks my heart again? And there ain’t nothin’ I can do about it. Whoa-whoa-whoa, set me free why don’t you babe?…__ __ __ __ __ __”. Clue: There is an extra word that is sung, but not in the title. 

This morning we took the van to Suzuki for the new fan motor and a six-month service. They told us it would take 2 hours. There was no way we could sit in the waiting room for 2 hours watching Thai news and soaps so we left. Just as we reached the sidewalk, we saw one of our artist friends crossing the street. Khun Yai and I used to have conversations over coffee years ago, talking about everything under the sun. He gave us a ride farther up Bus Station street and that saved a lot of walking. We had coffee at Connect Cafe and relaxed. We still had too much time to kill on the street so we got a taxi and went home. It’s ironic that the neighbor nobody wants on our street, has become the landmark everyone in town knows. All we had to say was ‘Bed Villa’ and the driver knew where to go. It took a couple of tries to get him to understand that we did not want to go there (555).

We had just finished lunch when I got a call from Suzuki, telling us the van was ready. Nice timing. A few minutes and the taxi returned, as arranged, and we were off. 

Part of the afternoon plan was to go up to the new Bangkok Hospital and get more information on the infection in Lisa’s ankle and find out why it was still hurting. The new facility is maintaining the standard seen in all of the BKK hospitals. It feels like a hotel. This one is new, so there wasn’t much traffic. Once Lisa explained the situation to the doctor, he ordered an ultra-sound and requested a consult with another doctor. By the end of the afternoon, they had decided that she needed a more aggressive treatment that called for an IV drip of antibiotics, over night. A few hours later it turned to three days. As it stands now, Lisa will be at the hospital for 3 days and there may be another procedure but they’re not sure. I took her a bunch of essential stuff and she’s already had visitors. The first thing Thai people want to know is ‘Who’s going to take care of her’ or ‘Who will stay with her?’. Well, there are a whole bunch of people that will take care of her. I’d stay, but the menu is not like in Chiang Mai, it’s not ‘Danny Friendly’. Plus, Lisa doesn’t think the day bed is adequate for a good night’s sleep. If it’s going to be three nights, I’m sleepin’ over at least one. 

Daku was a little confused when I returned without Lisa. Then, when I sat down to eat dinner alone he really got concerned. The idea of slipping outside with Natcha and Nitchanan totally distracted him for a long time. 

Today’s photo was taken on my way home from the hospital. This is proof that I was not hallucinating the clouds over Chiang Rai. They were real, and they did drift away without dropping a single drop of rain.


Have a Happy Tuesday.

  Peace,
  Danny

"Happiness is when what you 
think, what you say, and what
 you do are in harmony.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, April 8, 2019

Power

Hi,

The forecasts are telling us we’re going to have a week that will be over 100°F this week, plus the smoke.  Oh, and the rain?  Forget about it.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “(They Long To Be) Close To You”, by The Carpenters.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ to start a new set of memories flooding in:  “Set me free, why don’t you, baby?  Get out my life, why don’t you, babe?  ‘Cause you don’t really love me, you just __ __ __ __.  You don’t really need me, but __ __ __ __ __.”  Hint: 
It was 1967, the summer of love, and three young women from Detroit were tearin’ up the charts. 

Saturday morning we developed a plan for the day and went to breakfast in the hotel.  While we were eating we saw one of the staff that had been very helpful a few years ago when I was recuperating from surgery.  She and the other staff went out of their way to make sure we got what we needed.  After breakfast we went to Bangkok Hospital for a consultation on Lisa's ankle and found out that the bone has completely healed.  That was good news

We had a 1pm lunch date with our friend Marty, who is from New York, but lives in Chiang Mai.  The restaurant we were going to was a new one for us so we had to consult with Ms. Google.  She wasn’t talking and that complicated the whole ride.  After much frustration, we arrived just before the host.  It was a lunch full of lively conversation and interesting food.  We had to get away before everyone else in order to keep our schedule for the drive home.  

The heat and the air pollution slowed down our Sunday activities.  We mostly stayed inside and just hung out.  It’s getting repetitious, but that’s what you do when the outside is nothing but bad air.  We braved The Wanderer on Sunday and had lunch under the misters.  “Mercy, The Wander Dog” was quite entertaining.  Kwan and Kern were watching their little nephew, who was playing with toy trucks and zoo animals.  Mercy took a great interest in a plastic zebra.  She would take it, get scolded, act like she understood, and then a few minutes later it was back in her mouth.  

Sunday evening we went to The Hungry Wolf for dinner.  It was nice to be inside with clean air and a nice view.  Sadly, the ‘Wolf’ will be closed until May 10.  The owner decided to give the whole staff a month off so they could go away to clean air if they wanted.  Our waitress was from Koh Samui and is planning to go home for part of her vacation.  Sounds like a trip we’d like to take.

Today, Cat came over for dinner.  We had many fun conversations about language, school, and life in general.  One interesting topic was typing in Thai.  There are tone symbols relating to the sounds of certain vowels.  First you have to type the vowel and then the tone and then the rest of the word.  It makes typing slower than in English, according to Cat.  Also, when she first came to live with us, her sister would call her and ask her what she was eating, but our food doesn’t have names for dishes.  Cat said she would tell her the ‘elements’ of the meal.  This seemed to reassure her that we were feeding her little sister.

The photo below has been photographed quite a bit this weekend.  We saw photos of it posted on Facebook by friends of ours. 


Have a Great Week.

                     Peace,
                               Danny

“The power of imagination
makes us infinite.”
~John Muir