Busy With Nothing – 13th May 2023

Stuck in traffic going home
I’m busier than a bee
I’ve got no real friends to phone
To hear my annoying plea
My girlfriend or my shoes?
Everything is a problem to me
I got everything to lose
And that’s all that I can see
Running round in circles 
Is this all I’ll ever be?
Searching for the exit sign
Will you come and set me free?

Today I’m feeling:

A little inspired. My brain is gearing up slowly. A slow start off the grid but preparing to hit cruise speed as quickly as I can.

Today I’m grateful for:

Can I say coffee again? Art mixed a blend for me this morning that was delicious and smooth. So good that I stayed for three cups.
But I can’t always be putting coffee here so let’s be thankful for my back door, of which a big chunk of wood came off today. Pounded by intense sunshine, wild variations in temperature and cold mountain rain it was only a matter of time until it would start disintegrating. We have a screen door so no critters can get it thankfully.

The best thing about today was:

Watching a little lizard in my living room suddenly run out from behind the tv cabinet with its head held up. It was looking at the wall and an ant appeared from behind the curtain. After a second of stalking the ant was in its mouth and it dashed off to safety behind the cabinet again to enjoy its meal. This is a lizard house and without them, it would be an ant house.

What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?

Today the aircon repair people called me but they couldn’t speak any English and my Thai wasn’t good enough but I did understand enough to hear ‘add LINE’ and I said ok. I put their phone number into LINE and their profile came up but when I clicked ‘add’ it said the account had been deleted. Thankfully it’s cooler today and there seems to be enough cool air coming through to keep the bedroom at a good temperature. I haven’t had the air on in the living room today as it has been just cool enough….but only just.

Something I learned today?

I watched a Jerry Grey video about the Chinese ‘police stations’ supposedly around the world and all roads lead back to a Swedish guy who was deported from China (I forget the reason ) who has a grudge.  The alleged ‘police stations’ are nothing more than administration offices offering services to Chinese citizens who need documents processed to save them from having to return to China to do it and all the people working in them are not diplomats so they don’t have immunity to local laws. Two people were arrested in New York and as Jerry says it is likely that no crimes will be found to have been committed but there will be no reactions or apologies ever offered and either way it’s just another small piece of propaganda on top of a huge fucking pile that has been building for years.

What’s on my mind right now?

I’m feeling a nervous excitement for the new semester and meeting new students. In some ways, I’m glad that the main classes I taught last year I will only see briefly this semester. I loved them all dearly but they sure did exhaust me testing my patience. I’m wondering if I can disconnect myself a little from my students this year. Connecting in such a way has upsides and downsides. It fills up a reciprocal affection that warms the heart yet devastates at the end of each semester when everyone goes their separate ways.

I took this picture because this tree is fully in bloom again. It seems like only a couple of months ago it was blooming. The tropics are wild.

7th June 2023 – All the flowers in this picture dropped again but now another new lot is blooming. Weird.

One Less Star – 12th May 2023

The light has gone out
The night sky one less star
Aimlessly shuffling about
Wondering just where you are
Left alone to ponder
Bereft of the joy of tomorrow
Blinkered as I wander
Drowning in all this sorrow

Today I’m feeling:

A bit more upbeat and lively today. I ended up having a reasonable sleep last night though woke up before my alarm. A quick workout and a cold shower got me going and I ended up at House preparing lessons for about three hours without feeling tired or bored.

Today I’m grateful for:

Eventually realising I could take the covers off the sofa cushions that have cat spray on them and I was able to wash them. Why didn’t I realise this before!?

The best thing about today was:

Getting in the zone whilst putting together lessons this morning at House. I ended up drinking three coffees whilst I was there. I’m starting to look forward to being back in the classroom.

What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?

I didn’t manage to finish writing this on Friday as I got distracted by reading comics instead. I’m handling it by updating here on Saturday morning.
Some days are tough to write. Somehow the feeling is that nothing is important. Everything is just time wasted until it’s your turn to die. Yet still I strive. Because not all days feel like that. I sometimes envy happy people, funny people, warm inviting people. But it’s impossible for me to put on the act that would be required for me to be like that. I try to be sincere and true to myself. I want my brain to tell me I’m happy. Sometimes it works.

Something I learned today?

I saw a preliminary student list and thankfully most of the classes will have fewer students than last year and my M4 class (15/16-year-olds) only has 16 and 14 of them are girls. That class is looking like it will be a breeze.

7th June 2023 – I just finished a lesson with this class, which now only has 15 students as one boy left. It is indeed a breeze even though there are only two students with reasonable English. The rest are mature enough not to fuck it for everyone and they struggle through.

What was a small detail I noticed today?

I ate a tube of Pringles today and as neared the end I thought that I could use the tube to make a little birdhouse by cutting a hole in it. There are birds nesting everywhere around our house and there’s a spot between the panels and the roof I can put the tube and see if they go inside. They already have a bit of a messy nest up there and it would be fun to see if they adopt themselves into this new home.

7th June 2023 – They haven’t used it so far, preferring their mess of dried grass instead.

I took this picture because this is the school cat, Garfield. Almost the spitting image of little Kim and has a similar carefree attitude.

No Readers – 26th April 2023

Just a recording, a memory
A gentle nudge to remind
One day in the future
I’ll look back and find
No readers were here to see
What these words meant to me
In another time and place
Some comments will be made
Either an idiot in the making
Or a compliment to be paid
Either way, it’s all good
And no readers misunderstood

Today I’m feeling:

A little tired. I’ve been waking up before my alarm, though unable to stir myself out of bed, as my mind is slowly getting around the fact that it’s back to work again next week. I’m starting to feel the stress and tension, my mind anticipating obstacles in the class. Self-preparation for self-preservation.

Today I’m grateful for:

Being able to park illegally at the airport as no one cares that much about it. It’s surprisingly busy here even though it’s 8 pm.

The best thing about today was:

I struggled through getting my head around a lesson plan and how, when and why I would use it. At least I could do this whilst sipping good coffee and watching people coming and going. I pushed on until finished and was quite happy with the result in the end.

What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?

It seemed Runa was going to stay around the city rather than near home so figured I wouldn’t need to pick her up at the airport but then she called just before getting on her flight and asked if I was ok to pick her up and that’s ok with me.  Runa is never on time for anything and it’s already 29 minutes after her flight has landed. I can imagine her still sitting on the plane trying to get organised to get off. She cracks me up but I don’t need the drama that comes along with her chaotic life.

Something I learned today?

Again I don’t feel like I really learned much useful. I watched Netflix and comedy on YouTube. Trying to keep my mood up rather than go deep into anything.

I took this picture because all our different frangipani trees are blooming. Big bunches of flowers get blown off in storms but each year there’s more and more. I love to see old frangipani trees. Ours are still young but I hope to see them old one day.

Sitting Still – 25th April 2023

There’s not a sound about
No electricity on the hill
I’m sitting still

A brain that has quieted
With no thoughts to fill
I’m sitting still

Contemplating how much longer
With only time to kill
I’m sitting still

As days speed up, I slow down
Swallowing a bitter pill
I’m sitting still

Time is the only master
And I have to pay the bill
I’m sitting still

Today I’m feeling:

Tired from staying up late and then getting up early as I slowly train myself for 6:15 am starts again next week.

Today I’m grateful for:

The lady at the market stall who gave me an extra mango today. It’s mango season and they are juicy and delicious.

The best thing about today was:

Finishing the Brix Smith and Jack Dee biographies. Both were good easy reads as I visualised their lives unfolding. New books to start! 

What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?

I’d been checking out my flights to Australia on the Airasia website and was ready to book on Sunday night. I sent the itinerary to Amy to double check but she was drunk and replied ‘I’ve got no brain.’ No problem, I can just figure it out on Monday. And that’s what I went to do. The problem this time was that somehow I didn’t have enough credits left to cover the costs. I assumed it was something to do with cached data from going through the process the day before but investigating further I found that my credit had expired in the 12 hours since first looking! Damn it! Oh well, what can I do?

Something I learned today?

Our Sydney friend Runa will visit a relative in Chiang Rai for a couple of days. It seems typical of her that we only find out a day before she arrives. Never organised or good at planning or decision-making. I’m ok to pick her up from the airport if she needs.

What went well today?

Everything went as expected. There was nothing in particular that needed to go well and there was nothing that usually happens that didn’t go well. Not all days are like this.

Art took this picture because this has been my morning home at Utopia for the whole month of April.

The Whys Men – 28th March 2023

Kojaked caveman meditating
Declares life is a fountain
No ears received this pronunciation
At the hole in the mountain
Yulled madmen levitating
In boxes across the skies
Searching for any piece of wisdom
To answer the many whys
For fifty years the mystic
Held his arm above his head
Heard the echo from the cave
And suddenly fell down dead
The market stopped a breath
Then continued walking about
The circle of life and death
Is all it’s ever been talking about

Today I’m feeling:
Sick, headache, tired from lack of sleep because my eyes were sore and kept waking me up.
Today I’m grateful for:
The fact that I can take a day off work, go to the hospital, afford medicine and sit inside with the air purifier. I know these are getting repetitive but when I see labourers working outdoors in this pollution I must feel very grateful.
The best thing about today was:
Getting prescribed pseudoephedrine at the hospital for my nose being blocked and irritated and then lorazepam to help me sleep. My body is a medicine cabinet! The pseudoephedrine has put me off eating though. Not sure if I will go back to work tomorrow yet.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I felt like lots of things were out of my control today but just let it go. My health, the air, waiting at the hospital, the medicines provided and then the effects of taking the medicines. Amy was critical of me wanting to stay here but what can I do right now? I’m here and our cats are here. Yes, this situation sucks and we could change it if we wanted but that would involve us buying a place to live in South Thailand. Hopefully, this pollution problem goes soon, it’s already better today but I hope it gets fixed properly for the future. The last couple of years have been really good here. Wherever we go has its good and bad points.
Something I learned today?
Watching Tim Newton talking about Thai news today was interesting as it featured the pollution problem here in the north. Apparently, there were protests at the district office in CR yesterday and there are more people speaking out now about the issue. I’m still doubtful anything will get done quickly or anything substantial but who knows.
What changes am I experiencing right now?
The change from teaching to holiday is fucking me up. I’m getting lazy though other things factor into that too, such as the weather and pollution. I have to find some things to do during this time to keep my brain occupied and body moving.

I took this picture because after finishing at the hospital I went to Utopia for coffee and was presented with this!

Definition – 23rd March 2023

I don’t need attention or money anymore
I’m no longer the person I was before
Staring into the sky, wondering what to be
Scared that I no longer know what is me

Today I’m feeling:
Happy and hopeful though a little tired.
Today I’m grateful for:
A message from my student Aoi to our class chat saying that she missed me (perhaps a little tongue in cheek) and then Jeng said he did too. I’m glad it’s not just me that feels a void after the intensity of the semesters.
The best thing about today was:
Unexpectedly being home by 10 am was pretty sweet, getting to enjoy all the things I enjoy such as reading, grooming our cats, watering the garden, putting together lesson ideas, drinking coffee and playing cards at Daytripper.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I got to school late because I knew nothing would really start until around 9 am but then when I got to the hall it was all locked up and no one was around. I went back to our building and found out that we won’t be in the hall again until next week. Ok, no problem, though I had left all my flashcards that I was making in there. I just hope they are recoverable. I asked Kru Mai what I should do today and he just shrugged and said to start putting together presentations for the next semester, which is what I would be doing whether I was at school or not anyway. I said cool, no worries and came home! I’m thankful the environment here is flexible in this way, not like at previous schools. In the afternoon I did start putting together my plans for my classes whilst enjoying coffees at Daytripper. Well, why not?
Something I learned today?
I watched a video advising how best to play barre chords on guitar. I’m still struggling with these and my hand and wrist get tired quickly so I’m looking for all the tips I can get. Want to keep playing, improve my skill and speed. It’s going to be slow for an old bloke like me.
What is something positive happening in my life right now?
I’m feeling pretty positive about everything at the moment though I’m trying to think of something specific. It’s just me and Cap here in bed, in the aircon and…and what? So long as my brain doesn’t fall into a loop of negative thoughts I consider everything positively. Ok got it. The positive thing happening in my life right now is my thoughts.

I took this picture because I thought this plant had died as all the leaves had curled up brown. I secretly held out hope but there was nothing for six months until a couple of weeks ago, new growth and now the unfurling. Amazing.

Total Victory – 18th March 2023

Nothing but total victory will suffice
Is at the heart of democratic advice
Diplomacy is an admission of defeat
Propaganda must make victory complete
Cutting off the head is seem to win
The hearts and minds of those within
Here we go again, history repeated
Total victory has been totally defeated

Today I’m feeling:
Woke up tired after not sleeping until about 1 am as I’d been busy setting up my computer again. Feeling right after coffees!
Today I’m grateful for:
All the people in the world who make it possible for me to get my computer running the way I want. It often involves a little bit of fiddling around to get dodgy bits and pieces of software going but once it’s done I forget about it until the next time I have to rebuild my computer.
The best thing about today was:
I took Cap back to the vet to check his blood and got the all-clear which was good news. Cap talked all the way there and back and was relieved once home again.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Amy was upset over something that happened with one of her friends and even though I thought I was saying the right thing it wasn’t what she wanted to hear so she hung up the call. Unfortunately, her upset transferred to me and I just felt grumpy after that so I took an afternoon nap which was enjoyable at least. I still feel a little uninspired and bored after that though. I didn’t feel like playing guitar which I had been looking forward to in the morning. I ended up just playing Xbox for a while and even that felt like a struggle.
Something I learned today?
I learned how to play Dishonored 2 on Xbox. I enjoyed the first game and this one looks good too but my head is just not in the right space at the moment for time wasting like this. That could change in a couple of days though.
What are a few of my favourite wise quotes?
Check out any entry from last year. One every day.

I took this picture because these plants are getting their new leaves. Even the one that looked totally dead has hung on for another year.

Sweet Lips – 13th March 2023

A trickster manipulates words
I’ll collect them in my box
Register them with internal affairs
And see what it unlocks
Adding a twist of lemon
They become spat-out sour
More honest than the saccharine
Used to give them power
Everything already said
Is gonna get said once more
A constant strive for meaning
Makes a profit to explore

Today I’m feeling:
Calm and relaxed.
Today I’m grateful for:
The delicious perfume of this candle that Amy brought from Australia for me. No matter how much you try to save money when buying perfumed candles the more you spend the better the smell and its lasting effect.
The best thing about today was:
Feeling in a great mood in the morning, chatting with students and spending time with them without any rush, then spending about three hours drinking coffee and updating the blog (1983 diary entries completed) and then back to school again for more chat and some play before shopping and home. After eating dinner though I’ve run out of steam and ready for bed before the sun has even set.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
I was excited to get a call from FedEx as it meant they would deliver the SSD I needed which will hopefully upgrade my iMac and get it running again. Unfortunately, when the delivery guy arrived he needed almost 800 baht in import tax before handing it over, adding another 40 bucks to the cost. What can I do? I hope this all works in the end otherwise I’ll just have ended up with an expensive SSD drive and still no desktop computer.
Something I learned today?
I’ve made some lessons that require audio input from myself and the students and I went to record this afternoon but it sounds really odd when played back. There’s an option to upload mp3s so that seemed like the way to go except there is no simple way to do that without downloading new software. You can record to m4a files and then hopefully (I haven’t tested yet) can convert them in Apple Music. I forgot how simple things can be once they’ve been set up, such as I had on my main computer and then just ran and worked forever. Now I’m back to fiddling around again to do this initial setup.
What is something I can do today to improve my well-being?
That would be the exercise I did this morning and the early night I’m about to get this evening so I can catch up on some sleep.

I took this picture because when I got home today I was greeted by this menagerie along with Tangmo and the white and black cat on the terrace. A few others in the village were investigating the herd just outside too. It seems to have grown as I only remember there being five last year though maybe he has smaller herds stashed around the village. My guess is that the aunties next door want the poop and the benefit of the jungle being kept at bay for free. Their vegetable garden is doing very well and none of the land belongs to the aunties or the cowman but it’s all for the common good.

Broken Mind – 12th March 2023

Giving in to the
Broken mind
You got me down here

Pinned to the floorboards
Can’t stand up
Falling down again

Every time I rise
With the sun
Comes the clouds and rain

Giving in to the
What is normal now?

Today I’m feeling:
Some aching bones but relaxed and positive.
Today I’m grateful for:
My blow-up neck stretcher. I don’t know if it really helps my neck but it does feel like it helps keep it stable and forces me to sit up rather than lie down to read or watch tv. I go through phases of using it and it has felt necessary for the last few days.
The best thing about today was:
Forcing myself out and enjoying sitting at Daytripper and putting together more lessons with Quizizz. It’s making me look a bit more at my lessons to see how to improve them. I don’t like to do work at the weekend but I’m spoiled with actually doing so little work whilst I’m at school!
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
In my ongoing attempts to counter the smell of cat pee in my mattress, I pulled off all my bedding and shoved it into the washing machine and headed off for my morning caffeine injection. Waiting for that first cup I checked my phone and found a heavy rain warning for the whole day. Everyone is hoping for rain to crush the poisonous smoke in the air. But will it rain? It was forecast yesterday too but nothing eventuating. Just a smoky sky that even the power of the sun was unable to really penetrate. Either way, today looks like more of the same. I’ll stick the bedding under cover and hope the humidity dries it out by bedtime.
(It’s 8 pm now and there’s been no rain and the hot humid air dried everything before lunchtime. Tomorrow’s forecast is a 90% chance of rain so let’s hope that that comes true!)
Something I learned today?
A piece brokered between Saudi Arabia and Iran by China. Could this be the start of lasting peace spreading around the world or will the USA inevitably stick its nose in to destabilise things for its own gain?
What is a simple delight I have been enjoying lately?
My two bottles of Curcumin C, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, activate my tastebuds in the best possible way.
Talking with Hayden has also been nice the last few times we’ve talked too. He seems a lot more open and not stuck in his head so much.
Yoghurt, muesli, strawberries and of course, coffee.
Our cats, despite the pee issue, make me smile every day somehow.
My students, despite frustrating me to no end, are all also delightful.
Life is pretty good.

I took this picture because I often see this furball sitting here in the beauty shop next door to Utopia. What a beauty but I’m glad I don’t have to deal with all that hair.

A Moment, Please – 9th March 2023

Take me to the perfect people party
A room full of fancied dress
Smoke and mirrors cooperate
To make meaning of this mess
This picture painted is a fake
Yet within, contains the essence
Deeper than those apparitions
Chasing love over lessons
The traveller lives in joy
Following rules of thirds
From friends to lovers to art
The meaning is within these words

Today I’m feeling:
Very relaxed! Not many kids were around at school and I told those who asked that we wouldn’t have classes which enabled me a lazy time at House before checking back in with students I could find and then heading home before midday. Chill chill.
Today I’m grateful for:
The girl I met playing cards at Daytripper about ten days ago remembering my name. I remembered her friend’s name and almost got hers right too – she is Panan and I remembered Panon. I was busy with lesson planning so couldn’t join them this time but hopefully next time. I want to go there more as it feels to be more conducive to me working (blogging, writing, lesson planning) than home.
The best thing about today was:
Talking with Namkhing and Fah about study and what I’m trying to help them achieve. What was memorable was that they told me they prefer to study English more than Thai but then discovering the real reason is that they don’t like any of the Thai teachers because they complain all the time. But then I said that I complain all the time too and they laughed and indicated that that was ok because they didn’t understand what I was saying so much.
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
There has been nothing to make me feel upset about anything today so the best I can manage, and is a generalisation, is the air quality today and temperature tonight. Handled with the air purifier and aircon. I’m grateful to have these available.
Something I learned today?
In preparation for an event that may occur in the next few years, I watched a video about Marcel Proust. The event will be me reading In Search Of Lost Time. One of the points the video mentioned about the book was that we barely notice the 1000s of things happening around us each day and that things like art can connect us back to that. This made me think of my last four years of keeping a gratitude journal and how at times I have to search for something to be grateful for but there is always something new to be found. Also how my days are relatively uneventful but I am able to find happiness within them. I’m looking forward to reading those books but unsure when I can get to them.
What seems uncertain right now?
Isn’t everything? I don’t mean in a bad or negative way but nothing is certain. One day the sun won’t be coming up, just like yesterday there was no yoghurt at Makro. Everything that I think about is uncertain. It’s not that most things are likely to happen but they could.

I took this picture last month because all our cats enjoy Amy’s old bra box to sleep in. This time it’s Cap and then Kim will usually kick him out and then at other times Tig will steal this spot first.