I feel like I need an outlet for the little life treats and shorter thoughts.
I will not restrict myself to 140 characters or less.
You certainly don’t have to either. I would very much appreciate hearing from you and value your input/feedback.
Please use this private address – firstname.lastname@example.org or choose one of these other very public options to share more broadly.
There have been a lot of concerts recently. My wife and the girls went off to one last night. If you are unaware, a concert here plays until just before dawn, so the crew returned home as I was getting up.
Ponra got up a little bit ago. She immediately started chopping bamboo. Once the tea was ready, she took a break and peeled our diurnal apple.
That wasn’t enough. She informed me that she was going to town to get a very very very very spicy papaya salad. I’ve tried such a salad, once, but only the “not too spicy” version; and it almost made my head explode.
FYI – If you want to try some Thai at a restaurant: pet = spicy; mak mak = very; niht noy = a little; may ow = don’t want; moo-en kahn boo-cohn Thai kin = The same as Thai people eat. Be aware that last one is dangerous!
Our street is buzzing with activity. There is a wedding at our neighbor’s tomorrow. The one that had her house lifted up a meter or so, if you remember.
Ok, ok, ok … I said street, but you know I can be very picky about my words. It is sort of a street; more like a wide dirt path.
Our neighbor … I don’t know the Thai word for neighbor; she is called Nung Souw Mum, which would be the younger sister of my wife’s mother, but really doesn’t necessarily mean she really is an aunt. It could be an honorary or respectful title.
And, yes, I think of this as a neighborhood, which it isn’t! It is a village; and the better for it! Dare I define the difference? (I obviously haven’t tired of rhetorical questions.) A neighborhood is where houses are huddled together and a bunch of people live. A village is where a bunch of people become one big family.
Spring cleaning arrived, supported by blustering sheets of rain. I call such a storm a “Punch Squall”, but the punch part may be redundant. I still like adding it, though, because it is reasonable to over state the intensity.
All in all, Thailand is spared much of the miserable and devastating weather endured in many other locals. Hard rains and high winds are about as dreadful as it gets; and last night was a prime example.
Bam! The wind drove the rain in sideways. My bags of cement are a meter off the floor and in the middle of the house. They were soaked. The few slabs, or parts of the new floor, I recently added are on the side the storm approached from. Consequently, all that water was pushed inside. Several inches (25mm to an inch) fell in about a half an hour.
My wife cracks me up. We did a lot of rapid rearranging and once the blow had passed a lot of wet sweeping. Her response to the whole situation, “Everything nice and clean, now!” … and she sat back down to finish chopping her bamboo.
As you may have already observed, Bob Dylan has had, and continues to have, a major impact on my life …”May you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift ….” and I paraphrase the next line often “… may you stay forever Jung.”
That’s the foundation. It is finished. Today I start on the floor. Yes, some of the vertical support is already there. That’s because, as I like to say – poon rak lehk – cement loves steel. They could no longer wait to get married, so there they are bonded for life.
What I do (did): I made an enclosed perimeter with two parallel rows of blocks. They rest on a mini slab of cement and steel and are filled with cement and steel. The whole inside area was filled with dirt. The dirt here has no rocks, but has a high percentage of clay. I flood the area with water to get the air out of the dirt, thereby compacting it. The last step, completed over the last two days, was to add a layer of gravel (2 tons) and tamp that in. Again using water to achieve maximum compression. (Huh! My shoulders are sore, as I lift my arms to type)
I put the cement on in sections because I can only mix so much at one time or so many batches a day.
Is every day New Years day?
Even for those who stride through life one day at a time the 24 hour cycles add up. Segments of years seem to hold more importance than weeks or months. Eventually, many start mentioning decades or fractions of centuries.
When does your year start?
Mine starts today and, as it did smack dab in the middle of the twentieth century, once again I arise to the command – March fourth.
It is chilly today. I chose to put on a shirt. The birds are chirping and there is a feeble rain attending to a rhythmic introduction of the day. My cat is hungry, so she is perched on my mouse pad squinting her yellow eyes at me. My wife is still resting because there was a big concert last night and it was girl’s night out. I am supposed to go buy 4Q of gravel today and get back to mixing cement.
We’ll see what happens when our morning tea is done.
Question du jour:
Is there an awareness, acknowledgment and even perhaps an appreciation of the value found when what is shared and compared is done so as a supportive and empathetic individual; when done so with the intent of offering one’s own perspective wrapped in the aspiration that there could possibly be a synergistic expansion of amelioration?
I met a little boy today. Introductions don’t seem important here, so I don’t know his name. My wife wanted me to go with her to pay our respects to a dying friend. I don’t know much about her either; probably a friend of her mother’s – someone she has known her whole life. The boys grandmother; maybe great grandmother.
Anyway … he impressed me. He’s about five. He greeted us with sawadee and a bow, unprompted. As I sat on the wooden couch, he bounced around. The plastic cell phone replica around his neck performed various tunes.
It is … it is one thing to stare death in the face; another to gaze into the eyes of a fading life.
The Thai are quite tactile. Comforting caresses and hand holding accompany soft words.
The child was hopping, skipping and jumping between the floor tiles. He wanted to get his toy truck and share. The tone of his mother return the object to the shelf. He slowly wedged himself between my wife and the bed; where he rested his head on the matriarch’s hand. He was cat like with his affection. When he was done, he ran to me, automatically evoking a hug.
His father showed up and immediately chided him. “Say hello.”
“I already did!”, he retorted.
As we walked back to the house, Ponra wondered why the woman spoke today. She hadn’t muttered a word for many days.
Why? … is easy to follow with because … because she wanted to.
Welcome to 2556 or 2013, as the case may be. I posted this picture in a few Facebook groups. One individual got … got talkative. I tend to be conversation starved, so I play tennis for a bit.
Second Opinions by BC – God isn’t all. (That’s an incorrect assumption here, in this photo, based on the words “Love is All” and …. God is Love”
Love isn’t all. (If it isn’t already clear.)
There are people in the world who hate me, for whatever reason. And, in doing so, they don’t love me.
Additionally, as I’m sure you well know Sammi, that it’s possible to be very still, and very silent, and the absence of light means darkness is the default.
Without silence or stillness, most people would never experience peace.
So, Sammi Law, I’m grateful you posted the image with the words if just because you have exposed lies, that might normally be considered truths, if just because someone used technology to put the lies onto a pretty picture.
Brilliant job Sammi.
Sammi Law – I feel thankful for your gratitude. That is very loving of you. I have a deep appreciation that your faith and belief system is of paramount importance in your life. I have no wish or intention of negating any part of your positions.
Let me just affirm that we have a different point of view. Perhaps different life experiences have formed different images. I share how I see, perceive and understand my Higher Power.
If I were to write God is all, perhaps an exception could be taken; but to state in words that God is All … well, that’s intrinsically irrefutable because the capital A turns the word into a synonym.
Perhaps our definitions of All are highly dis-similar? We can discuss it in more depth in our next incarnation.
Sammi Law – PS: It is not an assumption. It is an observation via faith filled direct experience … and you may want to consider that sarcasm does not edify.
BC – There was no sarcasm intended. I honestly don’t know how you thought I was intending to be sarcastic.
And, I do disagree with the statement “God is All,” if only because I genuinely believe that it is an entirely untrue statement.
But, you are free to believe it if you wish. I’m not trying to convert you. I’m just trying to point out the fallacy of the message.
I actually thought you might agree with me, but it’s all right if you don’t.
BC – Ahhh. It occurs to me why you thought I was being sarcastic.
You didn’t believe me when I wrote “Brilliant job Sammi.”
Actually, if you dissect the words on the photo, who ever put it together was amazing, all by themselves, to reveal how the message is untrue.
That’s why I thought it was brilliant. The questions at the bottom of the photo are the perfect questions to ask for seeing the fallacy of the argument.
I almost didn’t need to comment at all, except that many people wouldn’t see the obvious inconsistency and inaccuracy of the statements.
That fact that it seems so obvious is why I genuinely thought it was brilliant.
Please forgive me for appearing to be sarcastic.
BC – It’s also possible that who every put the message on the photo wasn’t being brilliant at all – that the brilliant orchestration of the message was quite accidental.
Sammi Law – Confidence remains high that there is more than one way to see that image and its accompanying words.
I hear what you are saying about brilliance. It feels right.
BC – But, Sammi Law, confidence can be very deceiving.
And, how do you know that confidence remains high? Is this confidence yours alone or, if it’s all right to ask, did you take a poll?
Now, changing direction for a moment, regarding the accuracy or the veracity of the statement “God is All”, you wrote the words, “sarcasm does not edify”.
Would I be incorrect to think that you, Sammi, would consider “sarcasm” as part of “All”?
Conversely, if sarcasm is not considered part of All, then how do you define All, if it’s allowed to exclude sarcasm, or anything else that might not be deemed as good?
If everything that is not deemed as good cannot be part of All, then, by the process of elimination, God cannot be equal to All.
Or, am I missing something in this logical breakdown?
Sammi Law – … Here’re more words for BC, et al.
Yes, the confidence is mine and in me it is part feeling, part reinforced memory from repeated experience and part intuitive sense. The later being the mystical metaphysical interface.
As I recall from past exchanges, we are not aligned on our perceptions of God. Remember the question – what is not God?
I my belief structure God is Omnipresence, Omnipotence and Omniscience. Some consider God to be Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient. Regardless, for the sake of this exchange, there is agreement on the “Omni-”.
From my perspective, the parts of your world that you consider not God are the co-created parts man has contributed. They are none-the-less aspects of Everything or All; it is only in the human mind that this world is removed or distanced from God.
And here we are back around on the circle to – “Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
I agree that any aspect of incarnation may be deceiving. “There lies the rub.” to quote Bill S. again. For me, that’s where faith comes in … “the evidence of things unseen and the substance of things hoped for.”
Please remember … I share what I share to affirm my beliefs, for myself; and offer my perspective to anyone who may wish to view my canvas. If there is a benefit, wonderful. If total disagreement adds reinforcement to the strength of anyone’s convictions, that could be a blessing, also.
BC – Sammi Law, if it’s acceptable to correct you on paragraphs 5 and 6.
Paragraph 5 says:
“From my perspective, the parts of your world that you consider not God are the co-created parts man has contributed. They none-the-less aspects of Everything or All; it is only in the human mind they this world is removed or distanced from God.”
This is not accurate.
For example, nature is not God, and yet nature is also not “co-created parts man has contributed.”
So, my definition of God excludes everything that is not God – things that you probably believe are God, like nature.
Also, you said in the same paragraph:
” it is only in the human mind they this world is removed or distanced from God.”
That is also untrue.
First of all, if God is distant or removed, that is completely different from God being All. In other words, God can be at one with his creation and still NOT be His creation. He doesn’t have to be removed or distant.
Second, God is generally only removed or distant from people, if just because people distance themselves from God. That is not just in the mind of the person doing the distancing, it also happens in reality. God specifically says in scripture that He removes Himself from the places where He is NOT wanted, and He abandons those places to be unprotected from anything that Satan wants to do – at least until they repent.
Now, regarding paragraph 6:
“Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
BC – Now, regarding paragraph 6:
“Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
This is also completely untrue. And here’s why:
Murder, rape, lying, stealing, cheating, and a host of other activities are all evil (bad). It is irrelevant what anyone thinks, in regard to making it so. If the entire world wants to think that rape is good, that does NOT make it so. It is still evil, and thinking otherwise will not change it.
Sammi Law – Brain, when you grasp the concept that you can not correct my perspective our interaction will become more fruitful.
I find a value in receiving your input, but am put off by you need to “correct” (which is synonymous with control) my perspective. It is clear we don not see things the same way. When you are done walking in my shoes, please leave them by the door.
BC – Again, Sammi Law, you are incorrect. You wrote:
BC – You wrote:
“when you grasp the concept that you can not correct my perspective … our interaction will become more fruitful.”
That is not true at all.
To turn the tables for a moment, I would love it if you would correct my perspectives, if they might be wrong. To suggest otherwise is foolishness.
And, yes, I’m saying that your statement is foolishness. That’s a blatant correct on my part. But, you are free to disagree and correct me back.
If you disagree, I wish that you would correct me back.
Regarding my need to correct, I will be diligent in doing so whenever anyone write something that is completely wrong. All it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.
I find it both disturbing and disappointing that you not only continue, over and over and over again to make foolish statements that are completely incorrect, but now you don’t want them to be corrected.
In this regard, I want you to know that you are completely free to make all the foolish and incorrect statements that you’d like to, but I will also choose to be free to correct them.
One of those statement is that “thinking so” is what makes something “good or bad.” You’ve said that before and, frankly, I’m shocked that you still made it again. It makes me think you have no interest in improving yourself. But, I’m probably wrong in that conclusion and you are free to tell me how wrong that I am. I welcome it.
BC – If I’m wrong, and you correct me, I will deeply appreciate it, which will be highly fruitful, even if you disagree.
BC – Also, Sammi Law. there is a particular need to correct you when you offer your thoughts on what I believe.
If you were correct in your assessment of what I believe, I wouldn’t need to correct it at all. I would support you in the conclusion.
BC – I should also mention Sammi Law, that I have a far higher interest in supporting you than in correcting you.
If you write something profound that I like, I will attempt to be the first to support you, which is what I did, in sincerity, at the end of my very first posting in this discussion.
BC – And, that support was before I understood what you intended by the discussion. I drew an incorrect conclusion.
And, for the record, when you corrected me on you intention, I was grateful, even if it meant I was disappointed with your real intention – not the intention I thought you had.
Sammi Law In my school it is not possible to “correct” another person. Everyone has the inalienable right to their own perspectives and opinions. It is a blessing when, within the sharing of the aforementioned, anyone makes a choice to change their own internal ideology. We are each uniquely responsible for our own inner content.
BC – So, in your “school”, children should not be corrected and criminals should not be corrected, and if you’re about to give me a 50 dollar bill, mistaking it for a 20 dollar bill, I should not correct you?
That means your school severely limits your ability to be taught – claiming that nobody is teachable, unless the teaching manages to completely avoid correct misinformation and lies.
Thanks for telling me about your “school”. It
BC – It’s rather ironic that a school encourages people to avoid being “teachable” by way of correction.
BC – After all, schools are in the business of teaching, including the use of correction. It’s sometime called discipline.
So, it’s also odd that a school encourages students to avoid being disciplined.
I wonder if there are any “disciples” of this schools of yours. After all, can a disciple, really be a disciple, if they are encouraged to avoid discipline and correction?
BC – Psssst: In a moment of humour here, thanks for the correction, regarding what it is that your school teaches – or doesn’t teach.
(Please forgive me Sammi Law – that was a moment of sarcasm. I almost couldn’t help myself. I just think it’s extremely funny. But, probably not from your perspective.)
Sammi Law – Ya see … one person’s sarcasm is easily another’s irony.
BC – Nicely said Sammi Law. I genuinely appreciate the correction. That was highly fruitful of you.
BC – That was an opportunity for me to be supportive of you.
Sammi Law – Consider my shared thoughts more of an opportunity for augmentation. I can not correct you, but I can provide you with an opportunity to make new choices.
A representational morning: Just after 4:30am the Tuk-tuk showed up to pick up Ting and her daily bundles of bamboo for the market. That always stirs ups the dogs, of which there are many, on this tiny dirt road.
The monks were up a little earlier than usual. There were several sets of long chants broadcast into the pre-dawn darkness.
My cat heard me stir and attempted to curl up on the edge of the bed where she prefers to wait for her breakfast. My wife doesn’t not approve. Gato made a modest chirp and settled on the nearby mat. There seemed to be fewer roosters; perhaps the village economy is in a slump.
Once the cacophony of English sparrows erupts there’s no point in ignoring the inevitable shift to vertical. First a big stretch; then a squat to free the first groan of the day, as I plug in the tea pot, beeping battery backup and computer tower.
Then it’s into cyberspace, interface at a random pace of visiting your space(s).
My grandson, a handsome 2 meter (6′ 6”) tall young man almost out of his teen years, came to visit in the end of July. He stayed a few days here. Yes, it was weird to be repetitively called, “Gran’ Pa.” It didn’t make me feel old, though. I was too overwhelmingly thrilled to be speaking English in full sentences and complete paragraphs.
He chose to go off and explore Chiang Mai solo. He discovered a community of Farang travels, explored a mountain town called Pai and reportedly had an amazing time.
He came back here yesterday. The tuk tuk driver at the Kalasin bus station told him it was 400 baht to get to our village, so he walked. As proud grandparents say, “That’s my bloodline!”
We went exploring on bicycles yesterday. He’s still, understandably, not use to the heat. We took a few pictures with our respective Canons. Back at home we reviewed them and compared notes. He confessed to being a little tired and decided to lie down. As he was headed downstairs, he paused and said, “It sure is good to come back here and visit again, Gran’ pa. It gives me a chance to detox.”
That’s when I felt old!
My grandson noticed first. I didn’t pay much attention because I didn’t have my glasses on and I had often experienced the intensity of Thailand’s star filled sky. He had said something about, “That red one up there.” Again, dismissively, I said it was probably Mars.
Then I went to close the two big north windows. I noticed a flashy set of lights; like a plane. It had white and red and green lights. Then I put my glasses on went back to the one my grandson had spotted. I noticed another dimmer version adjacent to that spot. Just at that time, my wife wheeled the scooter home with her two daughters. I enlisted their sharp eyes.
Whatever the lights were, there were quite a few of them. They were viewable out every window in every direction. They seem to be various distances away, but not moving. Naturally, I was convinced that they were an alien invasion, but nothing in the news this morning.
It was the strangest thing I have ever seen in any night sky. There is no air traffic over this area of Thailand. The colors were bright with a distinct space between them; and obviously I feel compelled to share the experience.
Here’ a few parts of Facebook chatter in which I beat my old drum about thinking vs. thoughts.
At every opportunity present, I am compelled by a strong commitment to emphatically reaffirm that “thinking” is most rightly done when it is done as a conscious choice – when it is a behavior we exercise dominion over.
Excuse my neurosis. I campaign for a distinction between thinking and having thoughts. I believe thoughts are sort of like feelings. They have a mind of their own. They pop into our heads. They can take root and get caught in loops, if we grab hold of them and start thinking about them. If we practice observing them, the rate at which they pass by will change. We can actually become friends with them.
I am in agreement with the concept. I only wish to add a perspective.
If there is a serious commitment to the responsibility of thinking, then there is a choice to take everything Lightly.
I absolutely have no intentions for being argumentative. I realize the hair splitting is somewhat semantics. Here’s my give and take, for your consideration.
A thought is a noun, but the word is also used as the past tense of the verb – to think. I whole heartedly agree that “thinking” is a responsibility of primary importance. “As a man thinketh …” However, my studies have led me to believe that “thoughts” have a mind of their own. In a quest for balance, thoughts can, and often do, stimulate a lot of thinking. However, I believe thoughts have autonomy or, as I also believe, they are translations of Source. Albeit, the human brain is generally confused about incoming info.
So, thinking is a behavior; thoughts are an experience – much like feelings.
I sum it up this way: There is a Cosmic Vibration. We as humans are exposed to it and may be transducers of it. The first translation is into imagery. Those images then become a variety of languages. Then we talk about the ideas presented.
Taking dominion over thinking and observing thoughts is a powerful combination.
From what little I know of other languages. The distinction is less confusing in languages other than English.
The Fruit Cart
So, there is a huge cart filled with a plethora of fruit, let’s call it a fruit cart. The fruit cart has many many qualities. There are beautiful and delectable samplings available on the surface; some prefer to search a bit more deeply, perchance there is an apple in the stage of perfect ripeness. The fruit cart is not involved in what happens. It simply is there and holds the fruit. To call it a fruit cart and talk about it in general terms … well … do you understand how that ignores the layers and levels, the samplings that are still green and the ones that have begun to spoil; how it fails to describe the tastes and smells of the rectangular cornucopia.
It is a movable feast. It is not pulled forward by the horse. The horse pushes the harness; none-the-less, if the cart is placed in front of the horse there is no motion – no change in direction.
I highly value the information this documentary provides. I was delighted to find it on Youtube today.
There were several titles suggested for … for the process and the results of pursuing a few ideas about image alteration.
I settled comfortably on calling the continually evolving project: “LSD – Nevermore”
There’s an old Karlie Simon song, purportedly about Warren Beatty “You’re So Vain” (released December of 1972)
In that song there is a line about flying a Lear jet up to Nova Scotia to watch the total eclipse of the sun.
That was the last time I took acid, during that total eclipse. It was March 7, 1970. It was the third day of my twenty-first year.
On an isolated hillside in Palermo, Maine, I basked in warm beaming rays showering down from the bluest of skies, gazed across a gently slopping blueberry patch to the farm house in the distance. I was braced by a fiery stand of leafless white birch trees, clear, clean and dancing behind my perch. A solitary crow glided from north to south repetitively protesting the peek-a-boo game the sun was playing.
Some might say that I got my money’s worth, and then some, from that little green tab.
My grandson, a handsome 2 meter (6′ 5”) tall young man almost out of his teen years, came to visit in the end of July. He stayed a few days here. Yes, it was weird to be repetitively called, “Gran’ Pa.” It didn’t make me feel old, though. I was too overwhelmingly thrilled to be speaking English in full sentences and complete paragraphs.
He chose to go off and explore Chiang Mai solo. He discovered a community of Farang travels, explored a mountain town called Pai and reportedly had an amazing time.
He came back here yesterday. The tuk tuk driver at the Kalasin bus station told him it was 400 baht to get to our village, so he walked. As proud grandparents say, “That’s my bloodline!”
We went exploring on bicycles yesterday. He’s still, understandably, not use to the heat. We took a few pictures with our respective Canons. Back at home we reviewed them and compared notes. He confessed to being a little tired and decided to lie down. As he was headed downstairs, he paused and said, “It sure is good to come back here and visit again, Gran’ pa. It gives me a chance to detox.”
That’s when I felt old.
Today I learned that Thailand has a Mother’s Day. It is on the Queen’s birthday – today.
Well …. I just got the dirt on the neighbors … (yard). Back when we had run out of money for a while, my wife visited them just about every meal time. During some of the dinner chatter, it came to pass that she committed me to the purchase of several truck loads of dirt. Two loads were dumped today. Happy Mother’s Day, I said.
Ponra lured me over there to inspect the dirt (which is “din” in Thai) Hahaha, there was a cubic yard of gravel left over from the work Mum may had done on her house. It had to be relocated. Happy Mother’s Day, I said.
Mum May was very appreciative of the help, so she went and bought some beers and cookies. They are very nice cookies. I don’t drink, so I asked which beer was mine, gave it to my smiley wife and said, Happy Mother’s day.
Any Princes Bride fans around? “Let me sum up.”
My digital camera has archived several thousand images. There are an unlimited amount of great quotes all over the place. That creates a nice hobby and seemingly pleasant marriages of those mediums.
Take a picture – edit in Picasa – edit more with a very old Ulead program – back to Picasa for the text and final touches – give each photo a memory jogging title – upload into blog – add to Pinterest – send each upload as a Tweet and/or Like it over to Facebook. – before the tweet is sent, copy and paste it into log for re-Tweeting – then copy Pinterest URL back to Picasa as the images caption.
So, with Picasa open any comment or subject threat can be responded to with a quip and a post-it; and all logged Tweets can be resent. With an email open, immediate feedback can be given to tweets that take hold.
I just keep thinking, I should get Adobe Photoshop; then I could really do some editing! Today I looked at the price. Once I was done crying, I consoled myself with the idea that, What the heck, I would need an HDR camera to have the best stock for that software, anyway. So, I stiffened my upper lip, grabbed an old 6 meg image from my archives and messed around.
I had come across a nice Danny Kaye quote a few days ago. I loved that guy. He was one of my childhood heroes. Well, one thing led to another; I learned a few things and remembered that it is acceptable to do the best one can with what one has.
So … as many … most know, pain can be a bit distracting. For some reason, while I was on my knees with abdomen pressed into a heating pad and my forehead on a small pillow, I was reminded of triangles. triangles are nice, aren’t they? They are quite a popular symbol; particularly the equilateral variety.
So … first I noticed my triangulate posture; then I started thinking about “Fight or Flight”. Mostly because I was not being receptive to the visitation. Naturally, I acknowledged the futility of fighting; but to where could I take flight?
Then I realize that the apex of that triangle that pulls the process out of duality is surrender.
Thanks, Jimmy … this is really great stuff.
Today I was soaking in my cooling off tank and I decided that I will now consider myself to be officially re-tired. I turned 62 in March. I applied for Social Security in February. The acknowledgment of that process being successful and the pay schedule arrived a couple of days ago.
I have been calling myself semi retired for years. I even did so during my tenure with the longest job I ever had. 2002 – 2006 Almost four whole years. “Can you hear me now!”
I went off in a different service direction and started saying I was retired because I was tired of being fired, but I knew in my heart of hearts that I was still working for monetary gain.
Today a typical day? Mai lroo I don’t know!
My wife woke me just before dawn and said we needed bamboo cut.
I decided to tell her my plan for paying off her debts. I was correct in my precognitive assumption that she would not like my idea. She most certainly did not!
She was a little tense to be around, so, I went upstairs and visited cyberspace for a while, but felt a tinge weird, so I took a nap.
When I awoke hunger was tapping to get my attention. Just as I looked into our empty refrigerator (Not really empty, we keep a lot of water in there and a few apples.) Ponra announced she had fixed me breakfast.
I still felt weird. I think it was the sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves I ate first thing – too much sugar. I figured that I would feel better once the egg protein got circulating, so I lay down again.
I did feel better soon, but started feeling thirsty. Once I stood up, I realized how hot it had gotten, grabbed my ear plugs and went to soak in my cooling off meditation tank.
After a while in the tank, this seemed like a good day to officially start my retirement.
Ponra came in to the “bath house” to prepare for her bamboo delivery run to town. She has such a strange way of brushing her teeth. After the paste is on the brush, she dips a bowl into the barrel of rain water, fills her mouth with water, shoves the brush in there and scrubs as froth cascades. Ultimately, she rinses her mouth and the floor and that’s that. Never mind what the tooth brush holder looks like and try not to think about that bowl or barrel.
Me: I keep my tooth brush in the refrigerator and the Sensodyne on top. I tried keeping the paste inside, but cold is one of the things my teeth are sensitive to. Anyway, I start brushing before I go down stairs. I walk around a while, visit the bath house, maybe watch the fire, if there is one, check out the stars or rain or merge momentarily with the temperature and give the cat some food. Eventually, I head back upstairs and spit over the wall into the back yard as I do. The brush goes back in the frig and that’s that. No water, no rinsing.
It is probably worth mentioning that Ponra’s teeth are beautiful. They are sparkly white. Mine are kind of yellow and dingy, although we’re pretty even with ones that are missing. No issues about the tooth paste cap! However, I would like to go to see a dentist. She has gone once, but only because she wouldn’t let me pull the extremely painful offender. In hind sight, I will not offer any extractions in the future. It was a very reasonably priced procedure.
Also worth noting is that Ponra rarely gets sick. I think she was a bit off part of one day. My experience is quite a bit distanced from that end of the spectrum.
For some reason I started thinking about an old parenting guideline: be sure the child understands that they are always “loved”; it is just that “sometimes” their behavior leaves room for improvement, which seems like an important lesson – drawing a clear distinction between the person and their actions. So, if I personify LIFE, I can stay in love with IT and have various opinions about how the little segments of time act out.
In order for me to get upset about, or by something, somewhere inside my head I have to think that I know better; as in, If only things had gone MY way! I can sometimes see that such arrogance can present itself in a variety of subtle ways.
If I just don’t know, or at least recognize my lack of ability to understand, then I free myself from “second guessing”. If I can understand that much of what goes on is outside of my control then the feeling that I need to change the past or future wanes.
I have long admired Shakespeare’s line – “Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Yes! It is a very simple life here; and a lot can be, as well as is, said about that.
We were being lazy – just lounging in bed until twilight strengthened the shadows. Abruptly, Ponra sat up and announced she was going to do laundry. I relaxed a bit more, eventually plugging in the tea pot and computer. Before starting my morning cyber exercises, a few slices of papaya and an apple were released from their cold dark dungeon. Once the water was hot, the morning blend was brewed and allowed to steep on the table. There was a short trip downstairs; and while I was there I made sure there was enough bamboo cut to produce the ten bundles being chopped. Ponra soon figured out that the tea was ready. She came upstairs and peeled our apple.
With the sharing of our brief diurnal ritual completed, we went back to our respective projects.
There was a nice Twitter Facebook volley in play when I heard a request through the floor. To improve comprehension, I went down stairs. Ponra had a wonderful suggestion. “Goot ideeha!” “Motorcy mai me benson. khoon tahm jak-ah-yan pi Kalasin du-ay mi-pi. Torn-kan tahm-kang-lang.” Basically – The scooter is out of gas, take these ten bundles to Kalasin on your bicycle. You need the exercise.
It was wonderful. What a beautiful day. I shot a water buffalo. Then I notice a patch of rice paddy that seemed to suggest I stop. There was a man tending the area. That was quite a bonus. THEN ….. once back in the village, I walked my bike and took repetitive stills and video. If it all ever gets edited … when it is edited, I believe it will be great stuff. It certainly felt amazing to interact with everyone!!!
I think I’ll switch to coffee and edit NOW!
Well, I’m pretty much caught up with my list. Maybe I’ll remember more stuff tomorrow. In any event, I decided to put this poem into a presentable format. I took the picture with a 35mm film camera in 1978 off the west side of San Juan Island, Washington. Moments earlier I was eyeball to eye ball with that spec of an Orca, which was easily twenty feet. He was the Alpha of the pod and had come right up to where I was squatting. If he was a Killer Whale, he could have easily eaten me.
I wrote the poem after a pleasant morning meditation while on the Oregon coast in 1997. Yup! Different whale. I believe the one that day was a grey whale. It hung around and frolicked for a while. I had not carried my camera because it was dark when I head out to find a spot to perch on.
Yeh! I was dusting and I uncovered those files. I find editing a good way to not think. I do my best to just turn the process over to my knowledge base and stare at the project until it is finished.
While immersing myself in social media today, I had an idea. That idea took me on a merry adventure and I learned a few things I had wanted to understand better.
Here is the resultant product. It is a poem I wrote when I lived in May’s Trailer Park in Pompano Beach, FL; and let me just say – that trailer park would give your image of a trailer park a black eye. Seriously! Bad trailer park jokes elevated the social status of our neighborhood. Well, so did the forty foot limo I would park adjacent to my twenty eight foot TT/aluminum cave.
Anyway, I’ve been reading more poetry, so I decided to dredge up a couple I wrote during that era. This one in particular refused to hold the two column format when I converted it to a web document. I figured out a way around that by converting it to a jpg file. I like jpg and all the options that go with it.
In my relationship to life one of the most romantic experiences has always been laying quietly in the dark, listening to the silence of the night and then being carried away by the realization that the refrigerator just turned off.
There is something vacuous about that event that enthralls me.
In that vane, I arose today before the sparrows. The Wat was broadcasting a melody. My hard drive was humming. My little lamp was softening the emanations of my monitor. I was leaning more about Facebook and how to interact. I found a new friend. I was asked to enter a one word description of “my now” and copy and paste something. I typed “awakening”. The power in the village was interrupted. Only natural sounds survived and all was black.
So, I went and fixed my morning brew of tea and wrote this when the power came back. (The water was already hot.)
I had just finished reading an article and was half way through the first sentence of my comment when the first thud reverberated.
Our next door neighbor’s house is being raised today. Not razed – lifted up. Well, several of the first floor walls were razed to make way for the tripods and pulleys.
I think it is interesting that pulleys are used and not jacks. Anyway, I am recording video and hopefully it will be available to review in a while.
As you may or may not have heard, Thailand had a VERY intense rainy season this year. Our area was spared much of the flooding. Run off caused a problem in a few spots. In our village, and perhaps many others, several of the houses have the main floor below the level of the outside dirt.
I can’t understand why they would build them that way, but there’s more that I don’t understand than do, on average. Actually, I don’t fully comprehend what is being done next door. Hopefully editing the video will make things more clear.
I mean, I understand needing to raise the floor, but it didn’t seem like they need to raise the second floor to do that. The lower level had a high ceiling.
At this stage in the game everything is up in the air. There are cement collars waiting in the wings. I look forward to see how they get them around the pillars.
Time to check on the progress …..
A few things I forgot to mention:
My sister-in-law was over by my rack of wood scraps. She had a serious look on here face. I did that little shoulder shrug with a modest squinch of my face. Ponra informed me that there was a snake in Ting’s house. She was looking for a weapon.
She found one; went back in the house. There were a few minutes of crashing and bashing. She came out with an almost meter long snake.
My kitten is now a cat. She is in her first heat or season or is that just for horses.
I don’t feel good about letting her have litter after litter, which is the o’natural way it goes around here. I can’t afford to get her fixed; or so I thought. Supposedly, there are two choices; an operation, which I can’t pay for; or an injection that is only 100Baht, but only good for three months.
Well, a shot is a reasonable alternative to bagging baby kittens and dumping them in the river. One could call it a stay of execution or even a reprieve.
Then I found out my neighbor can administer said injection and is sort of a Veterinarian.
Ponra told me to take Gato over there when I was ready.
Ya know, cats don’t travel well; and there are several dogs over there. I thought it best to suggest to the Vet guy that he bring the chi-yah to our house.
He was ok with that.
Naturally, Gato, being a normal cat, sensed the event and disappeared. So, instead of making two trips or waiting around I was given the syringe. (I self inject vitamin B12 sporadically/regularly.)
Ponra is WAY afraid of needles. She was strongly against helping pin Gato down.
It worked out.
The neighbor chose not to charge us. That was great. I did promise to give him pick of the litter if the elixir didn’t work.
I’ve been having many feelings and a plethora of thoughts about the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Today, they summed themselves up in less than140 characters and I tweeted.
#OWS”99% of the Universe is hydrogen. Ever notice how supportive the 1% is? Nice model, aye?” Sammi #Amelioration #IDWP
The inertia of ignorance is easily maintained by fear; even a petty apprehension born out of laziness can perpetuate it; or worse yet – apathetic complacency.
That’s what I discovered via a coconut yesterday.
No! It did not fall on my head. My stepdaughter caringly carried it to me. Its top had been hacked away exposing the pearly white meat and a blue plastic cup almost runneth over with nectar.
I have enjoyed coconut for as long as I can remember. It didn’t matter to me if it were Almond Joy or Mounds. (Put your list of favorites here.)
Don’t get me started on macaroons!
BUT, for some reason I have been skittish about scooping the fresh meat out of its natural bowl and consuming all of it. I had a sneaking suspicion that it was hard to digest and thereby would challenge my sensitive alimentary canal.
Of course, I’ve been eating one, now and again, anyhow.
I kept forgetting to take note of any ill effects.
Yesterday, I was blankly gazing at my monitor when the treat was delivered. I immediately sensed my reoccurring concern.
I chose to take the bold and courageous move of typing “health benefits of the coconut” into a search engine. I recognized that my wording selection optimistically indicated the hope for positive response, but I still felt like I was going to find out something that could cause me to feel MORE guilty when I partake.
I was shocked!
Coconuts are really a excellently great food and provide a super wonderful beverage.
[There are several links away from this post/blog. I hope you find them as informative as I did, AND I truly hope you keep coming back here.]
The meat is very high in fiber: 75%( In comparison, the carbohydrate in green beans is only 30 percent fiber, in okra it is only 25 percent, and corn it is 18 percent.); vitamin A & C; calcium and iron and more and more.
The “water” is low in carbs, 99% fat free and low in sugar.
“The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc”
The drupe (It’s really not a nut.) is one of two natural sources for Lauric Acid, which I am very very happy to have learned. The only other source is breast milk. (Not as readily available.)
So, how ’bout those coconuts?
I’m adding several a week to my diet.
This is the best piece of news, for me: “Although it takes up to a year for coconuts to mature, the trees bloom up to thirteen times a year, so fruit is constantly forming yielding a continuous harvest year-round. An average harvest from one tree runs about 60 coconuts, with some trees yielding three times that amount.”
Well, it is also good news to know the water can serve for a “universal” donor as a blood transfusion.
AND – good news closer to home: two very close neighbors have more trees than you can shake a stick at and I have a ladder that reaches the top of the tallest one.
I want to eat one right now.
Huh! I was proof reading and ……. Today’s treat was a Styrofoam box of coconut ice cream (dairy free I believe.)
Reading is a liability for me. It stirs up more than it ameliorates. None-the-less, I think it is a responsibility to expose myself to the activities of my fellow planet dwellers.
I often restrain my reactions, occasionally suspend expression of my responses, but will, at times, blurt out an opinion.
What I see is that the “Great Melting Pot” that attracted so many with the promise of a better life has been retrofitted. The population now bobs in a steaming cauldron, many barely even able to break surface often enough to catch a breath. Those that are able to fill their lungs and stay afloat spew what was historically designated for elimination through their lower orifices.
As I draw back from the fray, blink uncontrollably and refocus, I see a small select segment of society has hopped out of the kettle. It appears they have money to burn and are fanning the flames that are slowly raising the temperature in the population’s pot. In frog like fashion, few notice.
Out of the corners of the plutocrat’s mouths, come proclamations of their purpose. It is to serve humanity; and then they wink at each other acknowledging that their most recent recipe is a savory addition to their Cook Book.
I made a comment the other day that was perhaps a bit esoteric. I closed with a riff about honesty.
Someone responded with a query about the difference between honesty when “high” and after “crashing”. It was too ambiguous to be sure of the inference, so I said ……..
I’m not sure …, but I suspect the relativism of the concept begins more at conception and is less affected by how far and widely it travels. I do have a high degree of confidence that a firmly established personal relationship to the practice will morph, as time goes by, but essentially remain grounded in its original truth.
A Firm Formation of Positive Thought is a Prerequisite of Continued Evolution
The universe vibrates and creates images in the heads of humans. We all see the same images, but, nonetheless, languages created different sounds for them.
Furthermore societies instill filters of varying degrees, densities and permeability. If we want to re-establish a relationship with the universal language, we must choose to pursue that action affirmatively.
Thinking is, or should be, a voluntary behavior – a behavior, which we rightfully need to encompass within our personal dominion.
Conversely, we are each imbued with a responsibility, to each other, regarding the sharing of those thoughts.
There is really only one of us here.
If we are to steer this fellowship progressively towards our highest goal, there must be a concerted effort to animate amelioration.
Did I ever mention that my wife is fierce? Four feet eleven inches and potentially fierce.
The other day there was a big dog skulking around. I noticed that it was bothering the neighbor. The neighbor my wife does not like. None the less, I picked up a chunk of dirt an winged it at the mutt. I was hoping it would burst when it hit the road and the dog would flee.
Well, the dog did flee, but the round projectile skipped across the road and snuck under the wooden bench just to the right of the septuagenarian.
I sort of understand why Ponra does not like her. She went off on a tirade about how I was trying to kill her and that’s all Ponra would translate.
The next day her deceased son’s wife and her new husband dropped by to help fix something. The “almost got killed by the farang” story was broadcast to the already awkward helper.
Ponra yelled across the street, “Your lucky my husband threw the stone, if I had thrown it there would be blood from your head!” Or something like that.
The high volume whining immediately abated, but muttering continued.
July 25th is the day my wife was born. Sadly, this year we did not celebrate the occasion – budget cuts.
However, we did continue with our habitual practice of starting our day by sharing an apple and a cup of tea.
Jing-johk is in my Thai dictionary as lizard, but I get the impression that my wife considers it a common specific type. They look like geckos to me. Gecko has three translations in my dictionary; one being gap-gae. Unfortunately I can’t type in the accent marks.
Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying – “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Well, a jing-johk does not smell so sweet after deciding to nest inside a 220 volt junction box.
I’m writing a Tidbit.
The southern sky is a deepening shade of slate gray, the wind just burst upon the scene and now the crescendo of splatters overhead is becoming deafening. One clap of thunder and I’m outa here.
It has been too long since I added anything here. I finally came to a negotiated resolution. This piece will be long and usher in a new policy of NOT putting a date next to what I upload.
A very small part of what has been holding me back was a teeny sense of this journaling being “an assignment.” Didn’t matter that I set it up for myself.
A slowly simmering consideration was that my avoidance was a bi-product of my Twitter campaign. Yesterday, I did a test to see if I could bend the practice back this way. I commented on most of the stuff on my FaceBook wall.
I was beginning to suspect that being succinct was becoming a habit
I am pretty sure the recent heat has affected me. It is another form of Seasonally Affected Disorder or maybe I made that up.
Last week I started using a towel dipped in ice water to keep a cooler head. That prompted the realization that I was forgetting to keep up with my vitamin B12 injections.
Once upon a time, the AMA declared that I had a chronic B12 deficiency and was not able to absorb it from food or even supplementation. Maybe my body got use to getting all my B’s from Beer and was pissed because that source dried up.
Oh yeah! One shot at a doctors office in the USA was $15.00. I can buy 10mls. over the counter for about sixty-five cents. That’s ten shots. A syringe is about a dime.
Chi yaah! Thai for a hypodermic injection. Chi yaah vit-ah-min B sip song. Yeeha!
I sat down to write; poked myself in the thigh just as one of the many big bugs that can sting made it inside my net cover. Once the syringe was empty, I decided to raise the sides so the threat could fly away. I forgot that part of the cover was pinned together.
The irony was not wasted.
The first thing I remembered that I wish I had blipped into Tidbit(s) was that, on or about July first, I actually went and did something else first thing and didn’t boot my computer until late morning.
That something else was and has become sawing bamboo. That’s a part of my new job. We devoured our first load and I am happy to see the endeavor is reasonably profitable. We might be making approximately six dollars a day now.
It is not really fare to say we. I’m just a small part of the time helper. If I were an official employee, I would probably be fired by now. Fortunately, I get cut some slack.
Ponra was so angry with me a few nights ago. I did a quick pan around to make sure all the machetes were away. She ultimately picked up a section of bamboo, which I was sure she was going to clock me with, but hurdled at my feet instead.
I had made a bad call about lighting the bamboo scraps. The fire was just getting going when fifty mile an hour gusts began running through the yard chasing each other.
A few days earlier, I had thrown away all the flimsy tin roofing and constructed a cinder-block amphitheater type collar. I wanted to see how it would do. I was thinking more wind – bamboo burn faster.
Ponra was thinking, smoke not go up – smoke go offend neighbors. By the time I acquiesced, she was livid. It was, also, not so good that I tried to laugh it off.
I still get to do the burning, but the time slot has been moved to somewhere between 3am and 4:30am. The waking up part is not my favorite part, but it is very quiet then. A couple of times I was already in my contemplative mode when the first monk began banging the Wat’s gong, summoning the rest for their first mediation. If you are unfamiliar, the routine lasts several minutes. Each swing of the log that strikes the bell is spaced about half of the time between the preceding two blows – slow start – fast finish; and there are three sets.
I still occasionally start to count; thinking it is a clock.
What else? I was sawing bamboo and a huge butterfly visited to feed on my big pink flowers. I almost cynically abandoned the idea of dashing for my camera. I say “my flowers” because Ponra wants to chop them all down.
There is a volunteer squash by one of our water tanks. I trained it to climb up the side and am slowly helping it wrap itself around the top like a turban, sort of. There are a couple of babies, which will eventually get a bathed in hot coconut milk before I personally recycle them.
About a week ago there was a plopping and off balance falling sound to my left, here at my “computer station”. When I turned my head, I saw a little blur in my peripheral vision just before I felt a furry creature brush passed my right foot. I carried on with what I was doing; hoping it wasn’t a rat.
Two days later, again on the periphery, I picked up an out of place presence under a stool. It was a black kitten. (Kitten, by the way, is the Thai word for missing someone, I am certain it is not that simple though and is used to declare a more profound condition of one’s heart.)
Anyway, the kitty wasn’t the normal feral freaked out beast that occasionally makes it to this side of the wall. I had a sense that we had bonded when it bumped into my foot or that was all the info it needed to give me a chance.
It only took three attempts to get Ponra to stop throwing things at it. I caught Ooee dousing it with the hose. She accepted that the critter was under my protection more quickly .
I tried to feed it a few things. It is very picky (jew-gee); seems to only like fish.
Yesterday there was a crew of six working away at the bamboo. I was sawing sections. The kitty, that I chose to name Gato because Ming Ming would not come up with a suggestion, gingerly approached, tentatively zigzagged, carefully skirted arms reach of everyone sitting on the ground with a knife, stopped about a meter from my feet, sat down, made sure everyone saw her and casually strolled away.
The next “morning” I waddled to our bathhouse/outhouse before starting the fire. There was a noise under the red bin, but snakes don’t make noise, so I disregarded it and proceeded with my mission. A nice sized rat finally had enough adrenalin surging to scurry up the water hose, across two ledges and away.
Well, I should say, this certainly is no Tidbit.
I thought about continuing the use of dates, cutting this up into pieces and putting a chronology to the parts. I seem to be less motivated to perpetuate that old neurosis.
A part of me would like to have a nice consistent rhythm to dance through my days with. It feels like that would be nice. Maybe I can have little projects ……
Really, the best thing appears to be just doing what I do or don’t do, as the case may be. You know, if you know me, that all this “socializing” is counterintuitive, for me.
For those who don’t know me – How’d you make it this far? ha ha ha ha ha ha
This morning I was reflecting on the myriad of possibilities for counterintuitiveness, particularly when said phenomenon visits a dyslexic.
And the big news ………
I finally went on a bamboo-harvesting run. I had asked to do so once early on and received a unanimous chorus of MAIIIIII!!!
A guy named Poochi Loht helped with our first load. (Poochi Loht is Loud Man, that’s his name between Ponra and me.) Anyway, he was not happy about something; maybe not being in charge of the money. He also spent the money he earned on pill baah. (crazy pills – Xtasy or something like that.)
He got banned from the yard.
Ponra came along to be in charge of the money and I went to be reminded of how out of shape I have become since I started this blog. I didn’t die. I might have acquired a dash of heat stroke or maybe just had a hypochondriac type flash back to the time I melted with sunstroke.
I cut down a few – whatever the heck they are. They are not trees – more like stalks of a huge bush. It had been a long time since I swung an axe. I think that one time was enough for the felling. I have an idea for next time that involves me not doing the same thing again.
Ponra’s friend looked over the bush, cleared away some vines, put a mark on the good ones and walked back to the truck. From his bag, he jerked a small brown bottle of M-150, which seems to be a distilled extremely concentrated Red Bull type beverage. He chugged it, casually flipped the empty aside, picked up a long handle hatchet and attacked.
He dropped twenty-one. I helped five to the ground.
One piece fractured as he was chopping away. Quick reflexes! That stuff is sharp enough to inflict a major wound. Ponra said it barely missed his throat. That’s about when my job description changed.
Does anyone know the term – “landing rat”?
The four of us made it through without leaking a single drop of blood, which may be par for them, but very out of the ordinary for me.
Remember that pin when I went to free the bee. That was good for a couple of drops.
One of Ponra’s older sisters arrived by bus from Chiang Mai this morning. A cousin is getting married tonight. Another huge feast and the clamoring din of celebration. Maybe there will be someone who speaks English.
Almost Seventeen Hundred Words; and not because I read Tidbit backwards.
PS: There was no one who spoke English.
2011_0615: Today is the last day of our neighbor’s wake. She goes to the fire this afternoon.
We have been attending the series of evening’s services, which have three or four parts depending on how many groups of monks are invited.
Naturally, the first part is socializing. During that time, I practice relaxed openness. My language skills are not adequate to participate. There is a value to me in holding a humble acceptance and I describe my role with no wish for aggrandizement – I only wish to share the villager’s perspective.
It is a great blessing to have a farang/foreigner there. It lends great juju to the event and raises the status of the host and/or hostess.
It is strange for me to be elevated to such a stature. It is easy to loose sight of my position. I usually slide back to my par egalitarian plateau.
Ooops! I was reminded not to do that last night.
The village abbot and I have a causal relationship. Everyone here will bring their palms together as they bow – even kneel when the cadre arrives and departs. I follow the tradition less formally.
Anyway, as the saffron robed gentlemen made their way out of the house after bathing us in several chants, the abbot turned to me a yelled (actually pronouncing my name pretty well) “Hew cow may” “Are you hungry?”
Shoulda thought before I blurted out – Yes, very hungry! Waiting for you to finish so I can eat! (I said that in Thai and at an American level of volume.)
He laughed heartily, as about ten servers ran to the kitchen and returned to pile our table high with plates and bowls. My wife kicked me under the table and drew my attention to the fact that no one else was being served.
Oh yeah! The name of the departed is Joo. Before her accident, she liked to come over and visit. She was fond of sneaking up on me; sometimes tickling the back of my neck with a leaf.
Last night, well after sunset and while sitting in the blast zone of a strong fan, a bee landed on the back of my neck. It stung me as I removed it. Ponra laughed and said Joo just wanted to let me know she was happy that I was there.
2011_0611: I see it has been quite a while since made an entry here. Some health issues impinged upon the arch of my activity. Finally, the pain of maintaining the status quo exceeded my resistance to visit a clinic. I am starting to feel better.
The prompting for today’s comments came from death. Two more of the village’s octogenarian matriarchs moved on.
We were notified two days ago that Me’s mother had slipped in the bathhouse and succumb to a head injury. Me was a compadre for a while when I first arrived. About a year ago the family home was sold to the Wat and Mah went to stay with a cousin. We hadn’t interacted much, but would acknowledge each other in passing.
Now I have three memories of her.
The recollections of her lively and spirited demeanor touch me with joy. She enjoyed quietly creeping up on me while I was working and then hovering until I noticed. She also seemed to relish barraging me with words that sounded as if they were comedic. Everyone else laughed. It amused me that she had no regard for our language differences.
Sadly, she fell several weeks ago and fractured her spine. A Thai way of dealing with that is to lie around on a hard tile floor or wood bench and wait to die. She spent her last weeks moaning and wailing, eating less and less.
Today she rests more peacefully on her porch. Her daughter had her placed in a colorful coffin with air-conditioning. Normally the services would move quickly and the cremation would be on the third day. In this case, another daughter will be arriving from England next week – hence the refrigeration.
As my wife dipped her hand into my pocket, reviewed our meager resources and decided how much “tamboon” to offer to each family, she set aside a few baht so I could go get my haircut.
2011_0524: Today is Bob Dylan’s seventieth birthday. May he stay forever young!
2011_0523: We had a rare occurrence today. The sound of a helicopter approached from the south.
I leaned out the window and shouted to Ming Ming – si-ahgn ali (What is that sound?) She scurried to the top of the sand pile and did a few jumping jacks as the whirlybird whizzed by.
Only moments later, another buzzed overhead. Again, I cheered on her excitement – si-ahgn ali si-ahgn ali.
My wife calmly looked up from her work and flatly proclaimed, “Daughter King.”
Seems that up towards Sakon Nakhon, where we go to extend my visa, is one of the out of town palaces. I didn’t bother to ask how she knew it was a daughter.
2011_0519: It is with a mountainous mound of sadness weighing heavily on my heart, that I share this unpleasant news. I have been awash in mourning. I had approached the boundaries of despair. With the passing of a scant series of days I have successfully begun to arise from the entanglements of the loss.
It is time to announce that on Sunday the fifteenth of May, my table saw died; and with it many many pet projects.
In addition to loosing all my pets, I am no longer able to participate in the family bamboo business. The denial of that diurnal donation cuts me to the quick.
I draw a modicum of solace from the fanciful projection that perhaps some day I will restructure the residual carcass, re-adjust several parts and supplement the burned out motor; thereby reincarnating my old friend as a wet tile saw.
It served me well; and patiently awaits, as layers of dust accumulate – waiting for the day its arbor rises again with a diamond dusted blade.
2011_0429: I had a wonderful teacher once upon a time. To be able to lean my vision towards his repose and rest my eyes on his was a great blessing.
“The more you see, the more you will be!” he would exult.
The tone of his voice would straighten my posture.
A smile would blossom from my face when he softly quantified a certain activity with his catch phrase, “It is a rare opportunity.”
I thought about him recently, ended up on You Tube and visited. We have been visiting …. maybe I’m just listening better.
Anyway, last evening was “a rare opportunity”.
I had to shut down, unplug and disconnect the WiFi. We had a powerful set of fronts move through. They came out of the south, which is the best theater for viewing.
Ming Ming likes it when I visit down stairs. I have been trying to teach here patty cake patty cake. She is getting the hang out it. She also likes to hold hands and jump up or swing back and forth. Up and down. Over here – over there.
One of my long term goals is to help her learn how to pronounce R. She does the word “here” pretty well. However, she has no top front teeth. We had to settle for tear.
Once I was exhausted I pulled up a chair and enjoyed the activity overhead. Dusk was being accelerated with rolling waves of deepening grey. They do really look like an inverted ocean.
Ming Ming pulled a chair up. I was counting the time between the flash and the crash of thunder; then converting to kilometers. She kept a running tally of how many flashes.
Ooee was sitting under the florescent tube with one of her notebooks. She soon saddled her chair over. The three of us saw no evil, spoke no evil, nor heard anything more than the wind, rain and thunder.
After … during … at one point, Ooee turned to me and slowly with several pauses said, “How many …. seasons … are … there … in America.”
2011_0428: Yesterday my wife went to the market. She came home with some pineapples. We haven’t had any for a while, it is mango season and the turee-en are starting to ripen.
She told me she purchased them because they missed me; and then admonished me to eat them before the wedges fermented.
This morning I was doing just that and she offered my diurnal apple. I declined, however she said the apple would be sad if I did eat it.
So, I had both. Nice combination!
2011_426: There is a sneaking sense of apprehension spreading over me. Sometimes I feel like a warm pat of butter looking at half a loaf of bread.
Part of me would rather be back in time absorbing the early morning rays as I squatted on that ledge high above Lake Shoshone. I remember loosening my grip on the night’s chill, as the sun’s rays increasingly soothed me. To celebrate I lobbed a hunk of rock high and far and soaked in the sound as the mirrored surface swallow it. My thoughts dissipated with the expanding ripples, outward into the great open stillness.
For the last few days, I have been sprinkling breadcrumbs in the tempestuous torrents of Twitter. What a world! A new world to move in and watch ripples expand. Another exploration launched with only a modicum of comprehension and little concern for where my feet will be tomorrow. Trudging a fresh wilderness.
I have some confusion about the term “social networking”. No matter. I’ve talked to the trees ….
Maybe the word “social” changed meaning when I wasn’t being attentive. Admittedly, I have frequently looked away.
My cyber socializing has prompted more meditation; not longer sessions just more frequent. Upon awaking, after breakfast, once the bamboo is split – in the tepid red bin, later in the cool water of my float tank – after the saw has been dusted and retired, between sentences, at the end of paragraphs, before my afternoon snack of mangoes with sticky rice and when the bowl is empty, as I absorb the gist of WiFi signals, after my evening shower and while I await the conclusion of my wife’s day.
Unless the lightning gets too close, in which case I just go watch the rain.
The first was a bank officer who has several clients in the village. We met on his first trip when he was trying to find a particular residence.
He was very happy to run into someone he could practice speaking English with. So, whenever he is in the neighborhood he drops by.
It is nice to have a little chat and share a bit of learning. I learned Kwam sook – which is happiness. We were discussing meditation. I did my best to explain eclectic to him.
Another pleasant aspect of his visits is that he always brings something good to eat. This time it was a half dozen mangoes and a big bunch of bananas.
After he left, I retreated to my computer station and puttered around some more as I ate the fruit.
Suddenly, there was a very loud crash and a chorus of alarmed exclamation. I turned quickly fearing that a window had fallen off the wall. They were both still there. So, I stuck my head out, saw everyone had evacuated from under the porch type area and noticed a huge duck shaking his tail at me.
We managed to get it down. I wondered if it would be dinner. My wife and her sister were shocked and warned – kin quack quack; police jup jup (making the universal sign for handcuffs.)
The duck was gently carried to the back and locked in our bathhouse. I think the idea was that someone might come looking for it. This morning I gently carried it back to where I think it came from. Then bleached and rinsed the floor.
2011_0420: I have several favorite sayings. They help me practice not being so neurotic about repeating myself.
“Into each life a little rain must fall.”
Two days ago we had one of our first strong squalls punch though. There is actually a glimpse of it on that video down there. In that video you might notice a teak ladder I made.
Part of its function is to maintain the gutters way up there. With the heavy rains, an English sparrow nest was washed down a drainpipe and got hung up at a junction.
I was relaxing with a bland movie when Ponra came up and mentioned that the water was not draining out of our neighbor’s bathroom.
Last year I had offered to tie their drain into the cement ditch I ran to the road.
I went to see how this challenge was being addressed.
Doo (that’s his name) had excavated quite a bit of his yard. Some of the PVC was exposed. I wondered what his plan was. I mentioned that the part of the PVC that goes under the wall there was entombed in quite a bit of cement.
The primary two aspects that compounded the difficulty of the exercise: 1) I know very little Thai – Doo roo nit noy Ankit. I just didn’t know the word for Drano. 2) The other was the smell. Thai – hom mi dee mak maaaaak
Well, there was also the fact that water here is delivered by gravity and this area is mostly flat. There is practically no pressure in the pipes for forcing a flush. The good news was that we had ample lengths of bamboo to ram up there and the foresight not to have glued the PVC together. We sludged around in the aromatic mud as dust descended.
We got the flow to increase a little. I think I made my point that there was a more direct approach to the congested area on the other side of the wall. I know he understood that I was finished for the night.
I doused my arms and legs with bleach and rinsed with copious amounts of water. I found out this morning that he had persevered a bit longer and managed to extract the bird’s nest.
Well, here’s something that’s not funny.
As is common world wide, we are experiencing a financial pinch. I had to tell my wife and her oldest daughter that we could no longer afford to continue the secondary schooling. I wanted her to take a year off and work; then resume once my pension begins.
The information and suggestion were not well received and they are proceeding with some mysterious plan that I hope works.
A reaction my wife has when things don’t go her way is to tell me I should sell her. Yes, sell her. She thinks I should go online and have an auction.
Then we have a little debate about how high the price should be. I don’t know the Thai word for billion so I build up to a 1000 million.
She didn’t think I could get that much.
Then I had a more comprehensive suggestion.
Why don’t we just sell Eeoo. We could ask for less, get a quick sale, lower our overhead at the same time and continue or happy marriage.
That was the end of that conversation. They bought a few lottery tickets and burned a bunch of incense.
2011_0414:I was rousted around 4:30 this morning. The truck that normally picks up Ting and the clan’s product of the previous day’s labor did not arrive. The spontaneous back up plan was to have me transport Ting and all the bamboo satay to market.
Everything was secured inside recycled rice bags. All those bags where well balanced inside the old two-wheeled handcart that I know has one bad bearing. (Such a handcart is towed behind a scooter by sitting on the handle.)
It was slow going and bumpy in a lumpy snake kind of way. I found it apropos and vaguely nostalgic since I just finished Five Coincidences IV, which is framed in a tail about towing a travel trailer.
We made it to the market, ok. There was a short of game of chicken with a tuk-tuk driver. I must be getting soft. I let him cut me off. Maybe because I was aware neither of us had reverse.
I rode back home sitting on the handle, which adds a unique dimension to turns, as well as amplifying bumps.
I pulled into the yard, dismounted and was almost standing upright when I heard from above, ” Goot mohning.” Ponra’s head was wedged out a window. In doing so her hair tried to escape with its secret lover – gravity. I immediately started telling her the story …. was shut down and told to come upstairs.
THEN, I kidnapped her attention and waylaid her direction, so I could figure out how to explain Rapunzel.
She was very nicely dress and had doused herself in her favorite fragrance. Tahmi khoon sway mahk mahhhhhhhk dawn chow mai Phom poot Tahm aria Why are you sooooooo beautiful this morning? I said. What are you doing?
“Pi chuay luah bukon” “I am going to help the neighbors.”
I love this culture. Ponra sort of has a feud going with those neighbors. They complained about the smoke from our fire; said their clothes smelled smoky.
BUT, they had a Tahm-boon Service for their departed patriarch last night, were cleaning up and preparing breakfast.
2011_0411: It is a lovely morning!
My wife gave me one of those ropa dopa pugalistic snuggles by the fire. I got a note from a guy I met briefly in 97. Our meeting will be expanded in Five Coincidences IV. While I was typing a response within FB I noticed the mug of a cherished compadre from my Floridian incarnation. Ponra and Eeoo just went of to the Wat, perhaps to elicit support form their ancestors. (In absolutely NO way do I say that skeptically!)
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
2011_0410: Today was not a happy day. Today was the day I made the decision and took the action of informing my wife and her daughter that I would no longer be able to financially support her education. I strongly recommended that Eeoo take a break, come home, get a job and wait until my Social Security starts.
I was informed that I did not understand “the Thai way”. They went off and shared a long cry. Eeoo disappeared and Ponra looks at me like I’m dead.
I’m feeling cranky.
2011_0408: I was headed for the bathhouse. I overheard Ponra clapping her hands and doing her best to roust her two sleeping daughters. I clapped supportively a few times from the other side of the drawn curtains. Then stuck my head in the ajar door and did an ok impersonation of a rooster.
I do not like the roosters here. They have no conception of time. They crow all day long and start about 2:30am.
I just laughed about that as I sat down and remembered Peter Pan.
2011_0404: I have very strong feelings about ambivalence.
Attempting to mediate them has become quite a dilemma.
I had a nice routine established. It was working well for me. Mostly well. I was starting to get concerned that surfing around and reading so much was distracting me. In addition, the quaint custom of leaving little quippy comments was gaining. I could see mine shrinking and morphing towards less germane terrain.
That’s the attitude I went into the last piece with and I went over 500 words.
I’ve been practicing “tapping” more regularly. It is mysteriously relieving several aggravating physical issues.
Each morning I spend several hours making big pieces of bamboo smaller. I keep trying to do enough that there will be a surplus the next day. Flawed plan! All I am doing is increasing the work force that puts the finishing touches on the satay sticks. I forgot about Song Krah coming soon. Demand is way up.
Eeoo. Ponra’s oldest daughter will arrive for a visit tomorrow. She is very pleasant to have around.
2011_0328: Comb is Ting’s husband. He is going under the knife today. It is impacting me on a couple of levels. I have a concern for the continuity of the clan. Comb is the king pin of the cottage bamboo business. A hernia operation is most likely going to take the wind out of his sails for a while. Not that he has been getting around too easily for a while anyway. A lot of stuff is bubbling up because of my past surgery. (9/09).
Anyway, I’ll finish my tea, as the rain dances on our tin roof; then go cut some mai pi.
Ponra informed me she didn’t like the way the understudy was doing it.
2011_0327: Follow up on the intruding dog.
It turns out my wife not only told me she was going to poison it, but she had also clearly informed the owners. They took her seriously and moved the animal to a new locale – their son’s house.
I am relieved in more ways than one.
Also, I think I got fired from my morning chore of burning the bamboo scraps. A message floated back this way that our other neighbors were bothered by the smoke. Ponra has taken over and burns little bits at a time over a longer period. She is of the opinion that a smaller longer fire produces less smoke.
2011_0324: I lost internet service today for eight hours. The results were that I gained a day.
Yesterday we went to correct a misunderstanding about which WiFi package I had requested. This morning I had a good signal, but the DNS went AWOL. I sorta understand that, but in no way could I explain it in Thai. That did cause a bit of friction. I really wanted Ponra to use the letters DNS when she reported the issue.
Tension escalated quickly.
Plus, Ponra had some kind of problem with the neighbor’s dog. I think it snuck over and eat something, again. She said she was going to buy some poison tonight. I hope not.
How’d I gain a day? Easy, I rarely know what day it is. At one point in our debate about patience with or without understanding, I expressed a concern about dealing with the issue today because TOT would be closed tomorrow – Saturday.
That was the proverbial straw that ended our team approach.
2011_0319: Big Trouble!
Those are a couple of English words that have caught on here. Ming Ming has taught Mon Mon and the phrase gets repeated in the appropriate context regularly. This morning it was the first thing my wife said to me.
Ok! Maybe I did get a little carried away leaning sections of bamboo into the fire. I just wanted to clean up a bit and a roaring blaze carries smoke aloft better.
First I was scolded because “Maybe burn lot yung” (New Toyota pickup)
Oh! The one eight meters over there on the other side of the five foot tall wall?
BUT, the bamboo was not split and each length had several sections. So, what happens is the trapped air gets hot and there is a pop. A pop like an M-80 or three.
“Big Trouble! Mai tham eekrahn! Boukohn call police – stop fi!”
2011_0316: We had heavy rain last night. A strong storm blew in from the west. It brought cool air. This morning my feet are cold. I finally decided to put on long pants and socks.
I went to the sock drawer. There were my favorites. A special hiking design, so nice and cushiony and warm – three of them.
My first reaction was, “That’s sad!” Then I remembered that socks just run away sometimes and that’s the way it is. Then I was grateful and a wave of guilt dampened my pettiness; and I was appreciative of that remorse.
2011_0308: Here’s my little buddy. He likes to relax on that wireless transmitter when he drops by in the afternoon. Maybe the mouse and keyboard signals tickle his belly.
2001_0306: We visited the spralling market a few days ago. It comes to town now and then. I prefer to visit in the morning when it is cooler and the crows are smaller. Here is a video of our strole.
2011_0304: Two modestly noteworthy events of the day: I was born on this day; and we got our first bill for my pre-birthday present – the internet. It comes in Thai. My wife freaked out, ran upstairs and implored me to explain why it was SOOoooo high. Fortunately I have a big magnifying glass on my desk. It only took about seven repetitions to explain that there was a dot after the first 0. Only 130.16 baht not 13,016 baht.
2011_0302: Once upon a time I spent almost everyday of a whole year riding my boogie board. When there was no surf I went snorkeling.
The reason I mention this is because one time I had the delightful rush of being enclosed by the wave; lovingly referred to as “shooting the tube”.
Ultimately the curl over came me.
I had two rules in those days: Number One – NO breathing underwater; Number Two – Under NO circumstances break rule number one.
I’ve caught myself holding my breath as my sort of slow provider delivers the next wave of frothy flotsam and jetsam to swirl around in.
2011_0224: Took my first floating soak in my think tank. Don’t recall any new ideas, but the water was surprisingly tepid.
2011_0222: We had our first ripe mango of the season with breakfast today. They are my favorite fruit.
2011_0221: I was trapped in the net for a while. This learning curve is making my back tired.
We did go to a nice ceremony at a nearby Wat yesterday. That was an excellent break. It really loosens me up to bounce our scooter across several klicks of country road.
I like Tamboon. I liked it even when I didn’t know what it was, but now that I do it is even more fulfilling; and the format here is wonderful.
2011_0218: My brother’s birthday.
Totally unrelated – there is a small window of visibility into our western neighbor’s space.
As you can see the wall never was finished. I would like to add a few more horizontal rows. The objections are based on the restrictions to conversations that arch between houses.
I don’t really get it because there are conversations with folks to the east and they can’t be seen; and I was asked to put a wall over there.
I do understand that those neighbors are VIPs in this village. (I’ll call them the Jones’.)
My wife still hasn’t adjusted to the brand new Toyota pickup that showed up two days ago. It pulled in a short while after she found out that her lottery numbers were not in agreement with her desires.
2011_0217: I took a ride to town today. I saw four farangs. That strikes me as a lot. Kind of a Daniel Boone type of a lot. Fortunately, the Buddhist influence here helps me accept the encroachment. An old friend visited me while I waited at the bank. I decided to write about it.Also, I managed to finish watching Avatar today. Hmmmmm!
2011_0216: I was working on a wall one day when I realized that it was no simple thing to figure out the most complicated way to do something.
Today I exchanged a few thoughts with an old friend – that’s where this corollary showed itself: It is amazingly complicated to simplify one’s life.
2011_0214 – I feel a little better. My wife is upset because I will not go to the doctor. We had some rain yesterday and last night – first in months. This morning’s bamboo fire is slow burning and producing a whirling cloud of smoke that does not want to join the grey sky. It insists on visiting all the neighbors.