Friday, May 31, 2019

Friday Funnies


The rainy season is here.  It’s not at the ‘beat down’ level we know and love (555), but that drip all day phase.  I just wish it would do it all night.  Needless to say, there was no swimming today.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “The Wind Cries Mary”.  For ‘Old School Friday’ and our final Jimi Hendrix song this time around, see if you know this one:  “Well, I’m standing here freezing, inside your golden garden, got my ladder leaned up against your wall.  Tonight’s the night we planned to run away together, come on Dolly Mae, there’s no time to stall.  But now you telling me that ah…. I think we better __ __ __.  Got to make sure it’s right so, until tomorrow, goodnight.”  Hint:  Putting something off until the next day.  Hmm.

This morning, when we left for Big C, we stopped off at The Wanderer for coffee.  We were the only patrons on the grounds.  Water was dripping from the trees, but the rain had stopped.  After a round of coffee and roti, we were on our way.  On days like this we park inside at Big C.  It’s a little tricky because if you park near the door, it’s quite possible that someone will double park and block you in.  There are usually security guys who will come and push the offending car out of the way, but it’s not certain.  There is also the possibility that they haven’t left the car in neutral.  So, we park on the outer edge of the lot.  There’s always something to discover at Big C.  As we passed the men’s clothing section, I realized I could use a new pair of jeans.  When I looked at the sample rack, all of the pants had that ‘worn' look down the front of the legs.  If I wanted used jeans, I’d buy them on the side of the road at half the price.  I’m just sayin’.  

We’ve been here long enough to get used to many things that are culturally different from the States.  One thing that I’m used to, but still find refreshing is the level of respect one is given during the course of the day.  This morning, at Big C, when the produce worker weighed the carrots, she put them in the cart and wai’d.  When we walk into The Wanderer, we are greeted by the staff with a wai.  This simple thing happens many times and still fascinates me.

This afternoon I drove Natcha to Nitchanan’s school since it was raining lightly.  We never know when that can change into a storm.  Most of the ride was very light rain and it stopped when we got to the school.  As soon as Nitchanan got in the van she wanted to know where Lisa was.  Our ride home was pleasant, and I discovered that a new piece of road in our neighborhood actually goes to the airport.  Then we approached 7-11 and that’s when the meltdown started.  It happens to be one of Nitchanan’s favorite stores, along with Big C and the mall.  But ‘7,' as it’s called, has the treats. When we finally reached the house, Natcha calmed her down long enough to say “Thank you”, but she started up when the got to their house.  A day in the life of a 3 year old.  So much drama (555).  She and Daku had fun at dinner and she was mellow again.

Nitchanan figured out how to work the lights on our bookcase.  She’s a smart kid.

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


Thursday, May 30, 2019



Today was pleasant, weather wise.  The highs were in the mid to high 80’s, with a light, steady rain in the early afternoon.  Now that’s what I call a rainy season (555).  No way will it stay this mellow.

The ‘Zany Day’ song is a poetic yet zany reflection following an argument.  “A broom is drearily sweeping up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life.  Somewhere a queen is weeping, somewhere a king has no wife.  And __ __ it __ __…. And __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  There seems to be a board game being played.  Has nothing to do with the title, just thought you might like to know.

Cat got her grades from the last semester and she is maintaining a 3.5 (B+) average.  This was accomplished while teaching English in the afternoon’s and weekends.  During the day she is currently ‘observing’ an English teacher from the States who is teaching in a primary level school near us.  Two days a week she goes to an English language school, working on things that she needs to focus on for the future.

Mornings have been physically difficult lately.  Today we did something about it and drove up to Mae Chan for a visit to Dr. Mark.  It’s been almost 2 months since I last saw him.  Some of the muscle therapy treatments work for a short period of time and then it back to what seems like square one.  Longer lasting comfort comes from the injections like I got today.  Key areas of inflammation are targeted and it allows me to enjoy life a lot more.  We got back to town just in time to go for a swim.  Life is good.

This is birthday week for Tatt and Natcha.  Today is Tatt’s birthday, but we can’t call him since he’s in the army.  Natcha we get to celebrate.  We’re taking her to Sabroso on Saturday since she’s never had Mexican food before.    

The construction zone continues to evolve, even with the rain.  Working into the evening, the giant house got a corrugated sheetmetal roof.  It’s not the prettiest, coolest material to use, but certainly cheapest.  Maybe it’s a temporary thing.  Actually, none of my business.  Speaking of that, I hope it’s not a business.  The concept of zoning laws and/or restrictions do not seem to be in place in Chiang Rai, or anywhere else.  Hence, the motel and coffee shop on our ‘block’.  The photo below shows the backhoe working directly behind us.  They marked off a bunch of large squares in white paint and then the digging began.  We have no idea what this will be, since the lot is very small.  Maybe a very small house (555).

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Someone is sitting in the shade
today because someone planted a tree
a long time ago.”
~Warren Buffett

Wednesday, May 29, 2019



I think the forecast was a little off today.  The morning began like a normal, hot, muggy day, but the afternoon brought a wet surprise.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song, “Purple Haze," was one of many signature tunes by Jimi Hendrix.  Congrats to those who knew.  This week’s ‘Zany Day’ tune is also from 1967:  “After all the jacks are in their boxes, and the clowns have all gone to bed.  You can hear happiness staggering on down the street, footprints dressed in red…”  Hint: There is moving air and someone’s name involved in the title.

This morning we left the house with a list of things to do.  Our first stop was The Wanderer.  We had just ordered our coffee when Noot came out of the kitchen and told Lisa about a new tea drink she had created.  We sat down and started talking to her daughter Kwan, and before we knew it, there was a glass of iced Jasmine tea with jelly made from fig seeds.  Very interesting drink.  The jasmine gave it a slightly floral taste while the fig jelly was like a sweet something.  Next time we’ll get it with a lot less honey and the flavors might be clearer.  I love the way Noot is always experimenting with plants.  Everything in the tea was grown in her garden, which makes it a very personal project.  Later she presented us with a new kind of pancake.  Lisa had a little of that, but I resisted.  Maybe next time I’ll have a whole order (555).

There were four puppies that The Wanderer rescued a couple of weeks ago.  Three have been adopted, but one was very sick so they’ve been taking care of him.  He’s bigger now and he and Mercy, the husky, have become buddies.  

This shot was taken, I suspect, when Mercy was howling and the puppy got curious.

Back on the ‘Errand Train’, we did some banking and then went to Big C.  The asphalt parking lot at Big C was a real shock after leaving The Wanderer and the coolness of the woods.  When we finished shopping, we went across the main aisle to a store called ‘Moshi, Moshi’ to look for a small clothes hamper.  Moshi is a Japanese style store with most of the products carrying the store brand.  There are lots of clever items that can create impulse buying.  Learning how to have tunnel vision in a store like this is essential (555).  I found what we needed and we got out.

After lunch, we had just settled down for our nap and it started raining lightly.  Not long after that, we were startled by a giant thunder clap that felt right overhead.  Needless to say, it was difficult to sleep after that.  More thunder came, and harder rain.  The lawns soaked it up, but we could tell from the yard next door that a lot of water dropped.  

Construction began yesterday on the little lot behind us.  Today they brought in a tractor/back-hoe and dug holes and pushed dirt around.  They also built the ‘worker shack’ for whoever stays overnight to watch the place.  So now we have two projects going on behind us.  It’s definitely time to get more trees for the back wall. 

When Lisa returned from taking me to my meeting this afternoon, Nitchanan wanted to know where I was.  When when I returned she ran out with a big greeting.  She’s at that age where she wants to know where everyone is and what they’re doing.   

It feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“The aim of education is
the knowledge, not of facts,
but of values.”
~William S. Burroughs

Tuesday, May 28, 2019



Our local weather in Chiang Rai has been bringing us right up to the edge of rain, and then leaving us in a humid, tropical heat wave.  The clouds rolled in all dark and heavy this afternoon, only to fall apart and drift away by nightfall.  The pool temp was 92° this afternoon.

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was known by many.  As my brother put it, ‘ the left-handed genius who left us too soon.'
“__ __ all around, don’t know if I’m comin’ up or down.  Am I happy or in misery?  Whatever it is, that girl put a spell on my.  Help me, no, no help me, oh no…” Clue:  It could be said that the title was a psychedelic reference, but I’m inclined to think of it as a fog. 

This turned out to be a ‘Home on the Range’ day.  We had a great talk  with Lisa’s dad, Joe, and then came up with a new morning plan:  Swim in the morning, then have lunch and a nap.  Unfortunately, we got carried away with news of the outside world and missed the window of opportunity.  On a not so busy day, the normal routine is lunch, nap, swim during the hot season.  Today turned out to be no exception.  It was looking threatening outside but we thought we could beat the storm.  

While we were in the water, Nitchanan came home from school.  She tore around the side of the house and came toward us with a big smile on her face.  Then she put on the brakes and asked, ‘Where’s Daku’.  Later, she related to us, but she was looking for her playmate.  We left the pool thinking it was in the nick of time, but it never rained.  

The photo below was taken at The Wanderer.  Mid-day Sunday sky through the tall trees.

The French Open Tennis Tournament started last weekend, so we're watching some of the early rounds.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Many people are alive, but 
don’t touch the miracle of 
being alive.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, May 27, 2019



To quote a song title, it’s been ‘Hot, Hot, Hot’.  We had a big storm on Saturday night, but we need more.  Grateful for it, but hot, dry air is sucking the moisture out of everything.  We make due with the pretty flowers that come when the trees feel threatened by the heat.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Best of My Love” by The Eagles.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ tune that we ‘sang’ recently, but it still worth singing again:  “__ __ all in my brain, lately things don’t seem the same.  Actin’ funny, but I don’t know why.  ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky”.  Hint:  There’s a color involved.  There is also a guitar involved, but not in the title.

We’ve been going in the pool almost every day.  The opportunity to exercise and cool off at the same time is long overdue.  

I’m a little late today because we went to a funeral service this evening.  This morning we found out that the father of our dear friend Supaluk passed on Friday.  We didn’t know him, but went to offer support and she was very happy to see us.  In fact, she and her son Pete sat with us during the service.  

The clean air has allowed us to return to our regular programming (555).  Morning coffee in the open air is back on the schedule.  The funny part is, some days A/C would be nicer.  We usually go when it’s still cool, but if it’s not early enough, it has to be iced coffee to stay cool.  

Sunday afternoon Cat moved back to The Big Brown House and it felt like old times.  Daku was thrilled when he realized he could hang out in her room and she’d be there when he woke up.  We went to the mall for dinner, with the idea of going to one of the ‘Hot Pot’ style restaurants.  Cat is familiar with them so we went to each one to check out what was available to ‘cook’ at the table.  They all failed the test, either because they didn’t have chicken or the chicken didn’t look fresh.  It’s a tricky thing to eat food that’s been out all day.  Blue used to go on rants about the ‘chain of custody’ and the hazards of not-so-fresh meat.  Since he had been in ‘the business’, we listened.  We ended up at Sizzler and had a good meal.  It was more about the company and conversation anyway.  

At the mall, down in the lower level at Top’s Market, I heard a tune on the system and looked it up.  It sounded like Thai R&B and I commented to Cat.  She like the song but didn’t know the title so I Shazamed it and came up with the same song by an American group.  Weird how that happened.  Need to do more research on that one.

This morning we went to Chivit Tamma Da and between the breeze off the river and the cool air from the air/con behind us, it was perfect.  They were playing a jazz station and hearing John Coltrane while enjoying the flow of the river was kinda special.

We went downtown this afternoon to get a wreath for the service and that may have been a case of poor timing.  We hit the streets just as the high schools were letting out.  To say we hit heavy traffic would be an understatement.  I decided on an alternate route, forgetting about the second school and ‘Blam’, right in the thick of it again.  We stayed calm and nobody got hurt (555).  The lesson:  The 4pm rule applies every day.  Never leave after 4pm.

Today’s photo was captured in the kitchen by Lisa.  

Have a Great Week.


“It’s easy to make a buck.  
It’s a lot tougher to 
make a difference.”
~Tom Brokaw

Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday Funnies


Today was a copy of yesterday.  The weather event was the HEAT.  It was ridiculous, but the air quality is ‘Very Good."

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Hotel California” by The Eagles.  See if you remember this ‘Old School Friday’ tune:
“Beautiful faces and loud, empty places, look at the way that we live.  Wastin’ our time on cheap talk and wine, left us so little to give.  That same old crowd was like a cold dark cloud that we could never rise above.  But here in my heart, I give you __ __ __ __ __.  Oh, sweet darlin’, you get __ __ __ __ __…”  Clue:  The title features a superlative describing the love the singer has for his partner.  Song was the group’s first Billboard #1 single.

The sound of a little girl crying when it was time to go to school brought lots of conclusions.  None of mine were correct.  Nitchanan was crying because she didn’t want to go to school on the motorbike.  She wanted to go in a car. The idea of the wind hitting her in the face didn’t seem right, especially with a cold.  I don’t blame her.

This was a Big C day.  Having a good list makes these little adventures workable.  I expected it to be more crowded on a Friday morning, but it was light.  Speaking of light, there must be a part of ‘checker training’ that instructs them to put all the heaviest items in one bag.  Lisa catches them now and they separate the items to balance the weight.

Across the highway at Central Plaza Mall we had iced coffee since the day was already very hot.  By the time we finished our coffee the mall was opening.  We went down to the lower level to check out the ArtBridge area and discovered that there is now a gallery across the aisle from the learning corral.  It’s wonderful to see art have a permanent presence in the mall.  

The construction behind us went up another level, literally.  They added the roof sub-structure today.  It’s a giant frame that can almost be seen from our upstairs.  This house will be big.  We got to hear the pounding and cutting of steel beams and sheet metal when we were outside.  Fortunately, we didn’t hear much inside.  

“Little Girl Bakery” is going full throttle in the kitchen.  Orders are coming in and selling out and the popularity of Natcha’s cookies is growing.  In addition to the cookie factory, she’s selling an herbal drink that has become very popular and seems to work.  We’ve been drinking it and in some areas it’s making a difference.  We now have an entrepreneur in our midst.  In the photo below, Gong is holding a batch of cookies, ready for delivery.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.         Time for the ‘Funnies’.  It’s another F1 Weekend, this time from Monaco.  Zoom!


Thursday, May 23, 2019



The weather today was quite nice.  It didn’t get stifling hot and the air quality finally made it to the ‘Very Good’ zone for a short while.  It’s still in the good zone and that feels great.

It looks like your mid 70’s memories are intact.  The ‘Zany Day’ song still has a huge following.  It’s big here in Thailand.  “Last thing I remember, I was running for the door.  I had to find the passage back to the place I was before.  ‘Relax’, said the night man, ‘we are programmed to receive.  You can check-out anytime you like, but you can never leave’.  Welcome to the __ __… What a nice surprise, bring your alibis.”  Clue:  Learned from our friend Nita that the location of the original inspiration for this song was in Mexico.  

Today was a stay-at-home day.  Cat came over this morning and told us a lot more about her trip to Melbourne, Australia.  The conference was a gathering of organizations that either work at preventing human trafficking, or help those who want to escape the grip of the sex trade.  The most moving thing she related to was when the founder of the ‘Pongference', and the Ping-pong-athon did an exercise that connected all of the attendees, with Cat standing in the middle.  He started his organization and the resulting fundraising efforts after meeting Cat in Thailand when she was young.  So, she was the catalyst that brought them all together.  Cat told us that many people, including her, were in tears after seeing the connections.  Cat got a greater understanding of what others lives are like, and realized how fortunate she is to be involved with The Freedom Story.

Next week Cat will move back home with us for two weeks while she does Teacher Observation at a local elementary school.  

Work has begun full speed ahead on the house to the northeast of us.  It sits near the corner of our yard where the pool machinery is located.  Some of that area has large palms and other trees, but there is a big gap in our back wall that leaves us exposed to the second floor of this new house.  Time to bring back the concept of the ‘wall extender’.   Today’s photo tells the story.

This afternoon Natcha and Lisa had massages from Jin, who does house calls.  Daku knows when she’s here and always hangs out for the duration of the treatments.

There have been dark clouds and distant thunder, but no rain yet.  It could happen overnight.  Our rainy season is late, so we need as much as we can get.  

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“The most basic question is not
what is best, but who shall decide
what is best.”
~Thomas Sowell

Wednesday, May 22, 2019



It seems odd to say, but mid-90’s temps feel pleasant after all the days of 105°F and above.  A ten degree drop and it feels cool.  It started to sprinkle this evening, maybe it will really rain later.  

The ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Take It Easy” by The Eagles.  Here’s a ‘Zany Day’ song I’m sure you know:
“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air.  Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light.  My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, I had to stop for the night.  There she stood in the doorway; I heard the mission bell, and I was thinking to myself, ‘This could be heaven or this could be hell.’  Then she lit a candle and she showed me the way.  There were voices down the corridor, I thought I heard them say, ‘Welcome to the __ __.  Such a lovely place, such a lovely face.  Plenty of room at the __ __, any time of year, you can find it here…”  Hint:  Title is the name of a place.  This is too easy for hints (555).

This morning before we set out to do errands, we drove next door to the new coffee shop.  When we walked in, the barista was talking to ‘Give’ (the owner) on a video call.  Give was driving and we said hello just as her sister (the barista) hung up.  She called back and gave the phone to Lisa and we learned more about our new neighbors.  The family is based in Bangkok, but the mother and sister live here.  They will run the coffee shop, which has a name I can’t tell you because it has a Thai pronunciation, but means ‘breakfast’ in Northern Thai.  We didn’t have coffee, but maybe tomorrow.  The place has a modern vibe inside and it will be a treat to hang out.  

Our phone ‘bills’ come in the form of a text message.  Lisa’s was due so we stopped at a 7-11 to pay it.  It took a long time for the clerks to get things to work, but finally the transaction was completed.  My bill isn’t due for a few days but Lisa urged me to go ahead, since they seemed to have figured it out.  Well, it took another piece of time before they were ready for my money.  The phones are ‘topped up’ and we’re ready for another month of cellular bliss (555).  The nice thing about our arrangement is that if WiFi is weak, we can turn on our phone hot-spot and get the benefit of the 4G network, which is usually very fast.  

We were going to do a few more things but I was feeling the aftermath of the trip.  Driving through the storms took more energy than I realized.  

Today’s photo was taken in Palo Alto a few summers ago.  Hmm.

Now that Nitchanan is back in school, Natcha is going full steam ahead with her cookie business.  The house smelled so good today.  The aroma of chocolate chip and coconut cookies were enough to drive one mad.  The coffee shop she delivered to on Monday was sold out before the day was over.  

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Funny thing is that the poorer 
people are, the more generous they
seem to be.”
~Dolly Parton

Tuesday, May 21, 2019



Then the rains came!  About half way through the highway construction the rain started.  We had about 3 hours of rain that varied from showers to storms, complete with lightning that danced across the sky.  Here in Chiang Rai it stormed before we returned.  There was a lot of wind and thunder also.  The air is much cooler, finally.

Here’s a little more of the ‘Easy Monday’ song:  “Well, I’m a-standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see.  It’s a girl, my Lord in a flat-bed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me…__ __ __, __ __ __.  Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy”.   Clue: Kick back, relax, slow down, etc. in 3 words. 

Just to be clear, getting up at 7am in another city means it is not a vacation!  That’s what we did, but it had to be done.  We got to the hotel dining room just before the morning rush, so it was worth it.  Things worked out and I got a Grab (like Uber or Lyft) and made it to the Consulate with time to spare.  That spare time turned into waiting time once I was inside.  It would have been cool if I could have kept my phone, but it was confiscated at inspection. So you sit there, waiting.  There was something on the TV, but it wasn’t anything to watch, plus the sound was off.  Finally, my number came up and I went ‘inside’ where the windows are.  It took three separate windows to do the business, but it got done.  Another Grab and I was back at the hotel.  There is a controversy in Chiang Mai about the Grab cars.  The Tuk-Tuk and Taxi drivers are upset because they’re losing business to this service.  Personally, I would rather pay the cheaper fare, ride in a cleaner vehicle, and not get hassled about tourist side-trips.  Interesting evolution, or devolution going on with transportation.  

We stopped at the hospital for another visit with Dr. Parry before leaving town.  Sometimes the second day helps get a few things in proper placement.  Today, Lisa became the ‘student’ once again.  She learned how to put a couple of things in place that are crucial to the improvement of my comfort level.  I told him that if he keeps this up, she could become his replacement.  As it is, there are ‘treatments’ that Dr. Lisa does that give me much relief.

When we finally got home this evening, Daku was all excited.  Lots of tail-wagging circles in the kitchen.  When we asked if he’d been out recently, Natcha said he went out just as the rain started and ran around the yard, so happy.
While we ate our dinner, Natcha sat with us and brought us up-to-date on Nitchanan’s school progress.  Natcha was going to pull her out of the weekend school, but the teacher told her that Nitchanan is very smart and showed her what she’s learned in a short time.  Natcha’s letting her stay one more month, and then she’ll see how she’s doing.  

Today’s photo is from last week’s visit to Doy Din Dang.

It’s time to rest my weary self and do like the song says (555), subtle hint.

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“Before a child talks they sing.
Before they write they draw.
As soon as they stand, they dance.
Art is fundamental to human expression.”
~Phylicia Rashad

Monday, May 20, 2019



Today we are in Chiang Mai, where the high was 105°F.  It’s 9pm and it’s still 92°.  It was even hotter in Chiang Rai.  We will return to the extra hot place tomorrow, after a visit to the U.S. Consulate office and the doctor again, maybe.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Heat Wave” by Martha & The Vandellas.  ‘Easy Monday’ should be easy, it’s by a prolific band that is named after a majestic creature.  “Well, I’m a-running down the road tryin’ to loosen my load, I’ve got seven women on my mind.  Four that wanna own me, two that wanna stone me, one says she’s a friend of mine.  __ __ __, __ __ __.  Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.  Lighten up while you still can, don’t even try to understand.  Just find a place to make your stand and __ __ __.”  Hint:  Complexities of finding romance on the road?

We left Chiang Rai this morning at 7:15am.  Our mission was to get to Chiang Mai in time to see the chiropractor before he finished his day at 12:30pm.  Considering the unknown time delay through the construction zone, we added an extra hour for good measure, plus time for food and pie, an early start was wise.  We arrived at 11:45, just in time for lunch-hour traffic and extra cars due to the Buddhist holiday.  We still got to the hospital in good time.  After our treatments, we needed food so we went to and S&P Restaurant, which is a chain throughout the country.  Not long after we ordered, our doctor, Dr. Parry came in for lunch.  Lisa talked him and learned that he’s leaving Thailand in August.  I tried to explain to him that it would be unacceptable, but he just laughed.  We also learn why there are so few chiropractors in Thailand.  In order to get a permit to practice, one must speak Thai.  That explains a lot.  

Below is the place mat at S&P.  Disney ‘lives’ in the form of ‘Princess Cakes’, even in Chiang Mai.  Hmm.

This evening we had dinner with a friend of ours from New York who has lived here for 13 years.  We tried a spot we haven’t been to in years.  Might not return, we’re such delicate, picky eaters (555).  We all had fun and the ambience was wonderful.  

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment at the U.S. Consulate to have a document notarized.  There are times when institutions in the States need to know the it’s really me doing certain business and the only way to ‘prove’ it is having me swear, as in raise my right hand and swear, that what I’m saying is true.  In order to do this I must go through a metal detector, have my bag x-rayed, and have it’s contents sorted before I can enter.  Not complaining, just find it interesting.  

After the swearing bit, we may go back to Dr. Parry, then it’s lunch and back on the road.  I’m finding that listening to an audio book can really take the tedium out of the long drive.  That is, of course, if it’s a good book with a good voice narrating, which usually means playing all the characters. 

Have a Great Week.


“Every science begins as 
philosophy and ends as art.”
~Will Durant

Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday Funnies


The weather in Chiang Rai is HOT.  There, I said it.  This afternoon our shade temp was 103°F.  The air is still not well, but getting better.

The ‘Middle Song’ was “Nowhere To Run” by Martha and The Vandellas.  Here’s their last tune for an ‘Old School Friday'“Whenever I’m with him, something inside starts to burning, and I’m filled with desire.  Could it be a devil inside of me or is this the way love’s supposed to be?  It’s like a __ __, burning in my heart, I can’t keep from crying, it’s tearing me apart.”  Hint:  You might say it’s something thats plaguing northern Thailand right now.  

This morning Dang and his crew arrived to begin work on several projects.  They set up a scaffold between the house and the pool in order to rebuild some drainage from the roof.  I’m still not clear on what he’s doing, just that it won’t leak in the next storm we have.  Natcha kept an eye on them for us.

Today we went to Doy Din Dang, one of the places we had to avoid during the burning.  It was so peaceful in the woods, and only a few staff could be seen.  We had coffee in the garden and Tamako joined us for one of our special conversations that seems to fly all around Chiang Rai and beyond.  While talking about the preservation of artistic traditions, she mentioned that Somluk, her husband, is training a local young man in the art of making giant pots.  Apparently it has become a dying art.  The student is enthusiastic about it and that makes Somluk happy.  In addition to making ceramics and painting, he also designs various environments.  He has completed a meditation center outside of town and is finishing up a restaurant within the complex.  The woods surrounding their workspace has been growing for 30 years.  As Tamako says, ‘It’s a slow process’.  Below, is a photo looking into their coffee shop.

Because of the workers, we took our afternoon nap in the guest room.  It was a bit quieter than being upstairs, next to the actual repair area.  It was nice to have an alternative.  We were all set to go to the Indira Hotel near our house for our swim, but the workers told us they were done.  We finally got into the pool and they came back and began reversing some of the clean up they had done.  Apparently, they weren’t supposed to dismantle part of the scaffolding.  That’s when we got out of the pool.  We may end up at the hotel tomorrow.

Cat gave her presentation at the ‘Pongference’ in Melbourne, Australia and posted some pics.  Here she is speaking to  the audience.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.      Time for the ‘Funnies’.   Note: The management does not endorse this behavior (55) 


Thursday, May 16, 2019



Today we reached a milestone on the air quality front.  We woke up to a reading of 25, in the ‘very healthy’ range.  As the day went on, it rose, and crept up to the moderate zone, even after an afternoon rain.  The battle is not over, but every time it rains it’s harder to burn part of a forest.  Rain gives hope on so many levels.

This week’s ‘Middle Song’ seemed to be easy for lots of you.  There is a break in the song that was fun to sing along with, see if you remember:  “Everywhere I go, your face I see.  Every step I take, you take with me, yeah.  __ __ __ to, baby, __ __ hide…”  Clue: At the end of the road, no escape, no disappearing. 

Before we tackled Big C this morning, we stopped by The Wanderer for coffee and roti.  It’s been a long time since we were able to do that.  Sipping coffee with a face mask on is very difficult (555).  While we were there we checked out the progress of the puppies that Kwan and her sister Kern rescued.  They managed to save 4 of the pups who are still undernourished.  They’re getting better, with just enough energy to climb over each other and respond to voices.  

At Big C it was shopping as usual, almost.  The one thing on our list that they didn’t have was lettuce.  What?  It’s hard to imagine but it’s true.  I wonder if the lack of rain and the high heat has anything to do with it?  While browsing for light bulbs and a power strip, I noticed that Big C has very few incandescent bulbs.  They now carry LED light bulbs.  They apparently last forever, but don’t work with dimmer switches.  Oh well, changing the mood is sometimes worth it.  As we were leaving, we noticed a new touch in the parking lot.  They have a crossing guard to help shoppers get past the sometimes heavy stream of cars entering the lot.  Great idea, but his whistle has to go, or at least be a little softer.  He helped us across and we nearly lost it, the sound of the whistle was so loud and shrill that Lisa said something and he apologized and stopped.  I guess he doesn’t know his own strength yet (555).  As soon as we were in the van and pulling away, we heard the whistle.

About half way through our dinner, Nitchanan came out to the dining room with two big bowls and a handful of dough.  First she set up her kitchen on a little couch in the corner, but Lisa averted a disaster and brought her to table.  While Lisa and Daku were outside, Nitchanan and I ‘made things’.  She handed me a lump of dough and that meant I was to do something with it.  She talked the whole time, occasionally throwing in ‘I don’t know’ in English.  Then she told me, in Thai, that I was a boy and she was a girl, twice.  Sometimes when my dough actually looked like something she’d exclaim, ‘Oh, wow’.  Lisa took over and it continued.  Natcha was grateful for the break to do things in the kitchen. 

This evening we got a call from Tatt.  He just completed his basic training in the Thai Army and they let him make a few phone calls.  He’s doing OK, told us it was very hard but that he’s alright.  He will call us after 10 weeks and his plan is to come visit us.  We also got a call from Cat, who had settled into the apartment in Melbourne where she’s staying this week.  It’s on the 65th floor and looks out over the city.  She rode a train for the first time and had a talk with the director of the project that invited her.  It turns out that Cat had inspired him to create a fundraising platform in Melbourne revolving around a ping-pong tournament.  She will speak tomorrow evening at the opening session of the conference.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“Words make you think a thought.
Music makes you feel a feeling.
A song makes you feel a thought.”
~E. Y. Harburg

Wednesday, May 15, 2019



Our weather forecasts are much friendlier these days.  Oh, it’s back up to ‘hot with no relief’, but the quality of the hot air is so much better.  Occasionally, during the day, we will smell the smoke of burning trash but it passes as the small fires go out.  More rain is predicted and that would be wonderful.

As most of you know, the ‘Easy Monday’ song was “Dancing In The Street” by Martha & The Vandellas.  I haven’t settled on what to call the mid-week song, since most of them won’t be ‘Zany’, so here’s the ‘Middle Song’:  
“__ __ __ to, baby, __ __ hide.  Got __ __ __ to, baby.  __ __ hide.  It’s not love that I’m running from, it’s the heartaches that I know will come.  ‘Cause I know you’re no good for me, but you’ve become a part of me…”  Hint:  Impossible to go undetected.  Remember, this is set to a Motown R&B groove from the mid 60’s.

This morning we went for coffee at Work@Home, one of the places we’ve had to avoid because of the bad air.  To our surprise, our friends Katai and Towan were at home and came out to greet us.  We had not seen them for many weeks, due to their business traveling.  Catching up and hanging out, learning more about their lives was a great way to spend the morning.  Towan is a navigator on the international car rally scene, but here in Thailand he has an older car that he drives on the Thai circuit.  He recently won the first rally of the season.  Katai is going to South Korea tomorrow for a week.  They lead very interesting, busy lives.  It was good to get a peak inside.

Now that the burning seems to have slowed, there is lots of discussion in the Thai press about what happened and what could keep it from happening again.  We will watch with great interest.

Right now we’re having a video chat with Cat, who is in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia on a layover before their 7 hour flight to Melbourne, Australia.  It’s pretty amazing how easy it is to stay in touch, if you know what to do.  

The Adventures of Nitchanan and Daku:  Today, Natcha made bread and gave Nitchanan a little piece of dough to play with.  It’s made from coconut flour, which is one of Daku’s favorites.  Being a dog, he took a little piece of Nitchanan’s dough and that’s when the meltdown started.  Lisa went into the kitchen and Nitchanan proclaimed that
“Daku was bad”, in the saddest voice possible.  It wasn’t until Natcha gave her more dough that things settled down.  Then she walked around taunting him with her new dough.

Today’s photo is from the trip to Hua Hin.  It’s the balloon giraffe and his little monkey friend at the BluPort Mall.

Feels like a Wacky Wednesday.


“Kindness is ever the beggeter 
of kindness.”

Tuesday, May 14, 2019



Overnight we finally got the rain we’ve needed for weeks.  We woke up to breathable air in the ‘Good’ range.  Doors and windows were opened, and with morning temps lower than ever, there was rejoicing.  The rejoicing part had to end by mid-day as it got hot anyway.  The air stayed in the better place until the evening.  It’s in the mid 50s on the scale, which is still better than it had been.  Another good rain and things might get back to normal. 

This week’s ‘Easy Monday’ song is from 1964, but it has spanned decades as a get up and boogie kinda song.
“Aw, it doesn’t matter what you wear, just as long as you are there.  So come on every guy grab a girl, every where around the world.  We’ll be __, we’re __ __ __ __ (__ __ __ __).  This is an invitation across the nation, a chance for folks to meet.  They’ll be laughin’, singin’ and music swingin’.  We’re __ __ __ __.”  Clue:  This tune was a big hit on American Bandstand.  What did they do on that show?

This morning Daku was on high alert.  The air and ground suddenly smelled different.  It was a doggie potpourri, a wonderland of wild odors.  Who could think about responding to commands with all this to investigate.  It happens every time.  It’s always new to him and we’ve learned to let him have his time with it, within reason (555).

We thought we were going to go out and have coffee at one of our favorite, but forbidden places this morning.  You know, the ones without walls, the ones without fresh air.  Khun Dang, a contractor, came over to look at what needed to be done in preparation for the rainy season.  He stayed past the time for us to leave.  It was a mostly productive meeting and work may begin this week.  It’s hard to believe that next month will be our 10 year anniversary in The Big Brown House.

Natcha made Nitchanan a hot lunch and took it to the school this morning.  She’s a great mom, always thinking of new and interesting things to try.  After school today, I was standing half way up the stairs, watching Nitchanan and Gop playing their games.  She looked up at me and said (in Thai), “Be careful”.  We’ve been saying that to her for what, 2 years?  All I could do was smile and say ‘OK’.

Yesterday, while shopping at Top’s Market in the mall, I couldn’t resist this photo op.

While the goal of many here is to have a white complexion, after our swim today we sat in the sun and soaked up some rays.  

Have a Happy Tuesday.


“All we have to decide is what to do
with the time that is given to us.”
~J.R.R. Tolkein

Believe (Monday's Message)


Our weekend weather was actually a little better.  The air was in the moderate zone,  the sky had a bluish look and we began seeing forecasts for rain.  It’s still well over 100°F so being outside is not really fun.  Predictions are for rain possibly on Tuesday, and an 80% chance on Wednesday.  The burners started up again today, but not as bad as before.

The ‘Old School Friday’ song was “Get Off Of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones.  Here’s an ‘Easy Monday’ that’s been on your screen before.  “Callin’ out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat?  Summer’s here and the time is right for __ __ __ __.  They’re dancin’ in Chicago (__ __ __ __), down in New Orleans (__ __ __ __), in New York City (__ __ __ __).  All we need is music, sweet music…”  Hint:  This song could create a major traffic jam.  It’s by a group of young women from Detroit who lifted our spirits.

Since the air has been a little kinder to us, we’ve gone into the pool a few times.  The water has been perfect and it hard to resist the urge to just swim.  Saturday and today, we mildly moved through the water without wearing masks.  We always check the air quality site before we go in, just to make sure it’s OK.  This afternoon’s swim was interrupted by the smoke from someone burning trash.  How obnoxious.  

On Sunday, Cat came over while I was at my meeting.  Lisa had some warm clothes for her to take on her trip.  Then they picked me up and we went to The Wanderer, where we met with Lucy from The Freedom Story.  We learned more details about Cat’s trip and what she will be doing.  It turns out she’ll have some free time to explore the city of Melbourne.  Hmm, we’ve never been there (555).  We also learned that one of her teachers can give her school credit for the trip, since she’ll be practicing her communication skills.  

  Her Saturday and Sunday classes went very smoothly.  They started with English vocabulary, and every three sessions they will add new elements, going to phrases and then sentences.  Natcha told us that she was excited about returning to her regular school.  This morning was Nitchanan’s first day back.  Some kids were crying, but Nitchanan was ready to get started.  Here are a couple of photos before they left for school.

When Nitchanan returned from school, she was a bundle of energy.  When asked if she went to school, she used the Thai word for school and pronounced it very carefully, as if to teach us the correct way to say it.  This should be an interesting school year.

Tomorrow Khun Dang will come over and determine what needs to be done to make the roof rain-ready and clean the rain gutters.  It’s that time of year.  

Have a Great Week.


“Believe you can and you’re
half way there.”
~Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, May 10, 2019

Friday Funnies


I was going to say that today was like all the rest, but the AQI index number came down a hair.  Now it’s hovering just above ‘moderate’, which isn’t cause for a parade, but it lifts some of the gloom.  The heat is another story.  Once upon a time it was hot, it’s still hot, the end.

The ‘Zany Day’ song was “Get Off Of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones, of course.  ‘Old School Friday’ is easy:
“__ __ __ __ __, yes it is, __ __ __ __ __, yes it is.  You’re searching for good times, just wait and see, you’ll come running back, you’ll come running back, you’ll come running back to me.”  Hint:  He looked at his watch before singing this song.

This morning we got things done.  After dropping off some garments at the seamstress, we tried a new place for coffee.  It’s called Le Patta Hotel and their restaurant is enclosed with air con, and the coffee was good.  We’re making a new list of ‘clean air coffee spots’ and hotels seem to be the easiest to fill the bill.  

Nitchanan decided that today would be the day she started speaking to us in English.  She’s been throwing phrases at just the right time, letting us know that she knows what she’s doing.  She’s also responding to things said to her.  One of her big joys lately is helping.  She likes to have little jobs, regardless of how small.  Pressing the button on the air cooler to turn it off brings a big smile.  Tomorrow she begins her weekend school.  Each session is one hour long and Natcha will stay for the classes  Then, on Monday her regular pre-school begins. 

This photo was taken at BluPort Mall in Hua Hin.  It’s a novel way to decorate a wall and have an indoor garden.  

Sunday we’re having lunch with Cat and Lucy, a Freedom Story staff member who will travel to Australia with Cat.  They leave on Wednesday for a five day conference where Cat will be speaking about her experiences.  One of the biggest challenges will be the weather.  It’s winter time in Australia.  Daytime temps will be 40° colder than Chiang Rai.

Have a Wonderful WeekEnd.    Time for the ‘Funnies’.  Formula 1 will be in Barcelona, Spain this weekend.  Zoom.


Thursday, May 9, 2019



Another monster day in Chiang Rai.  Temps over 100°, air still unhealthy, and no rain in sight.  One forecast says maybe Tuesday.  That’s not helping at all (555).

This week’s ‘Zany Day’ song is another tune about infringement on personal space.  “The telephone is ringing I say, ‘Hi, it’s me.  Who is it there on the line?’  A voice says, ‘Hi, hello, how are you?’  Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine.  He says, ‘It’s three a.m. there’s too much noise, don’t you people ever wanna go to bed?  Just ‘cause you feel so good, do you have to drive me out of my head?’  I said, ‘Hey! You! __ __ __ __ __ …. Don’t hang around ‘cause, two’s a crowd…”
Clue:  Something that floats in the sky is involved.

This morning we went out into the world, armed with our masks.  Our first stop was Dr. View, one of Daku’s vets.  She is one of two doctors that we go to and I think he likes her.  She has a special hotspot cream that seems to work most of the time and we needed a refill.  He has some a new ‘issue’ developing and it’s always better to catch these things early.

Makro was right down the road so we stopped in for a few things.  I say that lightly, because one doesn’t just ‘stop in’ at Makro.  First one has to find a place to park, then the stopping in can begin.  In and out in about 10 minutes.  That had to be a record.

After we got home we decided to go next door and see who was working on the coffee shop.  It looked like it might be people other than ‘the workers’.  We met the owner Give", and learned a little bit about the place.  Besides coffee, they will have breakfast, local desserts (whatever that means), and something we didn’t understand.  Her English is limited, but we communicated just fine.  I saw a small child darting around behind the shop so I asked her about children.  She has two, I think a boy 5 and a girl 3.  We told her we have a 3 year old at our house and maybe they can meet.  There was a big inflatable pool on the deck and you know who that was for.  She is going to let us know when they have their opening.  It may take awhile since she wants it to be ‘perfect’.  

Here’s a photo I took today.  Now we need to find out the name of this place. 

The afternoons have been so hot that the air is barely cooling things off, even on the lowest setting.  We have been missing the pool and after the weekend of cooling off in the hotel pool, Lisa decided we should go in with our masks on and just relax.  There is a reflex that says, ‘you’re in the water, you should swim’.  We both got the bottoms of our masks wet but it didn’t effect the filter part.  We waved our arms, walked around and then got bored so we got out.  It still felt good and hours later, I feel like I went for a swim, so there must have been some benefit.  The water was ‘refreshing’, not hot like we thought.  I can see this being a regular thing.

Have a Thrilling Thursday.


“It is amazing what you can
accomplish if you don’t care
who gets the credit.”
~Harry S. Truman