Thursday, November 29, 2018

My bucket List and Ramblings

Malcolm's Bucket List and Ramblings

I know you've heard the ole saying "been there , done that ". well, I'm reminded of a song that a group of young men from Australia sang in a church service that I was in in Alaska in 1968, one of the lines was like this " I've been a lot of places and I've seen a lot of faces , but there's still a lot of things that I want to do ."They were know as the Gospel Firebrands .And I never forgot those words and I have tried to cram as much places and as many faces into this life of mine that I could . but at 76, I find that I have still come up short of all the things I want to see and do and some faces that I want to see before I leave this old world. I guess that was the idea behind the hit movie The Bucket List , staring Jack Nikelson and Morgan Freeman, two ole farts each dying of incurable diseases, and each regretting , that there were things that they always wanted to do, so they made up a list and set about doing and seeing all of them they could before the kicked ,THE BUCKET, so to speak.

"I've been there and done that", we hear people say that all the time ,and if they were really truthful about half of the time it's just wishful thinking and not reality. and the same goes for me . I think sometimes we all embellish the truth , when we are together with old and new friends and sometimes it gets into a Bigger , Better, Best contest and pretty soon a little exaggerating here and there, and down right tell of lies. Ever happen to any of you ?, be truthful now
I lived in Alaska for 25 years and there are two kinds of folks in Alaska , sourdoughs and cheechakos, the later being simply put , a newbie or a new comer to the last frontier , and life ain't easy being a tender foot in this great frontier land,and to be a full fledged sourdough you had to do three thing before you could claim this right of passage .Everyone after all those years of living there considered me a Sourdough ,and all thought for sure that I had done them all.

1.--kill a grizzly bear
2.-ride a caribou
3- take a pee in the Yukon River.

Well, before I die, I want to take a pee in the Yukon River , I want to walk , not just see , but walk on the Great China Wall, I want to go Camping in the Out Back of Australia, I want to float down the great Amazon River,I want to fly a ultra-lite airplane, I want to hang glide off a mountain top somewhere in Thailand or (anywhere). And last ,I want to get together with all my ,Sizzler, buddies face to face , and swap life's stories.

I'm not dying of any incurable disease that I know of, and I don't have one foot on my the grave and one foot on a banana peel as they say, and I'm not quite over the hill yet(getting close to be sure ),But from time to time I do find myself making a mental list of things I would like to do., call it a Bucket List , if you want to , I just hope I'm a long ways from kicking it yet.

But, if Ciejay has a say in any of this ,about as far as I will get will be out to the Hammock and with my mind and thoughts in the clouds over Wang Pho ville, and not in a ultra-light or a hang glider . So don't bother looking up.

Maybe , just maybe , I can skip down to the very bottom of my list and and get to see a Buddy or two, anyway I hope so. Malcolm

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

WHO'S KILLING ALL THE BIRDS AND BUGS

Inspiration for this post comes from the latest post by My Thai Friend,about birds and dogs .I have always loved birds as long as I can remember, altho some of my memories or not from just seeing them and taking pictures as I do today .My first memory comes from as a five year old kid growing up in rural South Carolina, in the 40's . My dad was always teaching my Brother and me about life and living, every occasion he got , this time he was showing us how to make a sling shot from a tree branch and rubber from a old tire inter tube, he made a good one and to show us how it worked he said" see that bird in that tree" ,he shot a rock and Bonk, he hit the bird and killed it , now another lesson in life comes quickly , and "remember that whatever you shoot and kill you have to eat" well we ate that little bird after Mom cooked it , and cried the whole time . But needless to say we ate lots of little birds and frogs and squirrels,and rabbits.My brother and our friends loved to play in the woods in our forts and tree houses , and we always had our trusty sling shots with us . When we were teens we moved to Florida for a few years and I can clearly remember early in the morning walking or riding to school ,seeing the power lines just filled with wild parakeets of every color ,I read a few years later, where the last male parakeet that was in captive died ,gone forever. During my adult life I had lived in Oregon for a few years and can remember driving along the country road and seeing ,red winged black birds sitting on all the farm fences, and wild pheasants,running thru the rye grass fields, now they are no more or very few , gone now or soon ,forever.I could talk about memories and birds forever , but then it would be a book and not a post.
Well, you might ask "what happened to all these birds that caused them to disappear",well I have my theory, and here goes > The state road crews used DDT to keep the grass off the sides of the roads and ,farmers use pesticides to kill the bugs from their crops and people use weed killer and pesticides to control the insects and unwanted grass around their house and this has resulted in the killing off off many species of insects, the beautiful butterfly's that used to visit your gardens and flowers and many, many birds.We have a beautiful yard and hundreds of plants and flowers growing , if the grass gets to high or in the flower beds or around the rocks for the walkways , I get off my lazy a-- and pull the weeds and cut the grass with a blade , not a mower to kill lots of bugs and insects in the process and never use any kind of pesticides to control anything , and be careful of all the fertilizers you use these can kill too, but if you use these thing go ahead, but don't cry when no birds come around to sing you a love song and you look up in one of my trees and see a bird nest with a couple little heads sticking out saying " the next worm is mine ",and yours are empty of birds, And you look over and my yard is full of birds , butterfly's , and my pond has frogs and snakes and winged visitors all the time , and I don't even feed them. they eat the bugs if the population gets out of hand , altho they do love some table scraps every once in a while , and you have no visitors to your yard all I can say to you is SOM NAM NA. And stop being one of the problems and save the birds. Here are a few pictures of a couple visitors to our back-yard hope you enjoy them.
"This is my post and I'm sticking by it" as the song goes Malcolm

Thursday, October 25, 2018

THIS IS OUR HOME AND MY CASTLE
THIS IS THE HOUSE WE BOUGHT

The first time we saw our house it was anything but a castle , in fact, it was in really bad run down ,forgotten shape,and it was the subject of bad Karma ,so to speak. The couple that had built it had split up ,even before they had finished the house and so as far as all the village and neighbors were concerned it would just sit there empty till it fell down.When we saw it for the first time it had sit empty for eight years and the bathroom roof ceiling and part of the unfinished kitchen roof and ceiling, had already fallen in and it was in really bad shape .Ciejay and me had decided just a few days before that we wanted to retire in Thailand and we had been lots of places in Thailand while on our vacation , but we just didn't  feel right about any of them , well on our last day before going back to BKK for our flight back to America , we drove down the mountain into the valley to a little village called Whang Pho and our hearts said to each other "this is the place ." We didn't get off to ourselves and talk about it, we were with two other couples, we just knew this was it.It was already five o'clock in the evening and we looked at a piece of land a friend of Ciejay's brother had for sale , but it was to far out of town and no utilities run anywhere near it, so we said we would come back another year and look around, as it was getting dark and the others were in a hurry to get on the road , well out of the blue I ask Ciejay's brother if there was a piece of land in town with a house already on it for sale , I was thinking we could tear and old house down and build what we wanted , as long as it was close to town and had water and electricity available. To my surprise he pointed up the road, fifty yards away and said that old place there belongs to a friend in BKK he might want to sell this place, because he is married again and his new wife will have nothing to do with the house and none in the village will buy it as it is full of bad spirits and bad Karma.( they all being Buddhist of course)being Christians that didn't bother me at all.
It was dark , the doors were locked and all the windows had bars on them and were tinted and we could not see in at all , but my brother -in -law said it had three bedrooms and two baths and a room to be made into a kitchen and a huge living room the full length of the house with the bedrooms off to the side and he drew it with a stick on the ground , Me and Ciejay walked around it and said to each other it has strong foundation and walls and the major roof is in good shape , we can make it a home with a lot of hard work . We called the man while standing there, in the overgrown yard with the car lights shining on the front ,with a gecko telling us this was his place now, and Ciejay and my brother- in -law talking with him and in about five minutes we bought ourselves a house in Thailand , I felt like the opening lines to the movie Out of Africa , when she said"I had a home in Africa."I can remember saying to my self "I have a home in Thailand." That was one of the most emotional moments in my whole live , except when each of my boys were born.
We took a couple of pictures , it was already dark ,to take back home to America.We showed them to our friends and family and they thought we had lost our minds , and if you had seen it before we remodeled it, you would have said the same thing.We had one more year to work before I could retire with a social security check coming in every month, I knew nothing about Thailand , except what I had seen as a tourist for three weeks , and nothing about visa requirements , I thought we would just pack everything up and move to Thailand , was I ever in for a big surprise, And as I read and ask questions I found out a lot and it scared me a little to be honest with you . So we planned and saved and set our sights and hearts toward Thailand , the almost forgotten house as far as Thai's and anyone else were concerned on the other side of the world thousands of miles away in a land that I had only visited for a short time , but we did not forget about our dream , for one day, and we talked about what we were going to do every night after dinner and things were done for the day and readied for tomorrow. I made a cardboard model of the house with a removable top so we could see what we were going to do , inside and out , we put a huge calendar on the wall and begin to mark the days off . That was the longest year of my life ,but it finally did come (a lot of stuff and preparation happened in that year, but that is another story) and on October the 6th 2004 we arrived in Whang Pho and got the keys and walked into the house for the first time ,at six o'clock in the morning on October the 7th,we were shocked to say the least ,it needed more work than we thought,but we had a dream and before the day was over we had a crew cleaning the property and cutting down trees and bushes, and we found a wonderful man named Piak, that said he would make our house a home , I knew not one word Thai and He knew not one word English , him and Ciejay talked and when me and him shook hands I knew I could trust him completely.What a wonderful person he turned out to be , he told me what we needed he would go buy or order and give Ciejay the receipt and she would give him the money , five years have almost gone buy and I have learned a little Thai and I have learned a lot about Thai folks and Thai workman and labors and I can say that Piak never took advantage of us for nothing , even his final bill for all the labor and labors was well under what I was prepared to pay, five years later (almost) and we have not had to redo are repair anything he and his crew did . And I want you to know that I have read and heard so horror stories from farangs that have built houses in Thailand, (most of the time unskilled relatives of their Thai wife or girlfriend) using Thai contractors . And of course we have done a lot of work ourselves , adding a patio and gazebo and carport and a deck all the way around the house, landscaped and planted lots of trees and plants and flowers and "oh ya " built a pond with a water fall out front and got us a dog. We have made the dilapidated ,forgotten , cursed house into a HOME and also into my CASTLE.
And I can say for certain, that the thing that makes this King to have a home to call a Castle is the QUEEN that lives there with him. Malcolm




Growing Old gracefully

Getting old is not all bad and there are lots of pluses and benefits to getting older , and if I can remember some of them I'll share them with you , just can't think of any right off the top of my head . ha ha ha

A friend of mine, Stan found these somewhere and sent them to me , I laughed a little and then relaized that most were true and good advise , hope you get a laugh or two also , after all whats a day without a little laughter. See if you can relate to any of them (just for fun )


First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.


Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.


Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.


Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra,and carrying out the garbage , and cleaning the yard every Saturday , before your folks would let you go to the Sat. movie picture show(as we use to call them ) .


Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.


Sixth ~ I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.


Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.


Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.


Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.


Tenth ~ Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it's called golf


And finally ~ If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old. Whats a day without a little laughter.



I'm sooooo glad that Ciejay is younger than me and tells me all the time that I'm not getting older , "I'm getting better" and she plans on keeping me around for a long time , and thats just one of the reasons why , I'm RETIRED IN THAILAND AND LOVING IT . Malcolm