2017 highlights – people, birds, bush, flowers ….. Enjoy!

December 25, 2017

Hi Friends and Family,

This post will feature a few highlights from 2017 for Paul, Boo and me….along with the birds and other creatures where we live.   We did the usual things we do including nice walks in the Blue Mountains and beyond, watched loads of birds, enjoyed beautiful flowers and more.

Paul turned 65 and we had a party! Wow. The mountain air and weather agrees with him – it has “activated” him! We had a few friends over to celebrate the big day!


JoAnne and Paul looking younger and younger


And the water fall beyond JoAnne is Wentworth Falls, the lovely spot our village is named for. JoAnne is carrying a walking stick made by a Darug elder.

The view up close and in the distance – lovely foggy day.

Wentworth Falls Lake very close to our home.








Our feathered Sulphur Crested Cockatoo friends post grooming. They are looking splendid in the autumn trees.

JoAnne helped out with a protest event with the Blue Mountains Conservation Society. Keep Radiata Plateau wild! It is in the middle of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, is privately owned and wanted by developers…..

Highlight of Spring 2017 – three Mapgie chicks. However, only two left now. One was killed by a cat a few days ago. One of the saddest days of the year. I love cats but I love birds, too!

Two crested pigeons – look carefully!

Paul in his Aussie hat in the Gardens of Stone National Park

Capertee Valley – one of the top 50 birding sites internationally and place you are most likely to see a Regent Honeyeater (very endangered). We did not see one yet!

Rejuvenated bush after a file in 2013. Finally it is coming back. This is Cahill’s Lookout.

What is this? No, not a mistake you see. Paul did indoor sky diving last week. Yes, he is getting younger and younger!

Beautiful rhododendrons in our back garden.

Another beautiful flower we see in Spring

We went to the Rydal Daffodil festival in Sept this year.

Closeup of the pink flower!

Brown headed cuckoo dove. He is a regular visitor.

Another regular inhabitant of our garden – a blue tongue lizard.

A beautiful Australian sunset……with gum trees.

The newest home for us (and hopefully this is the last one)

August 1, 2015

One reason for not updating Chai Mai Blog for a long time is because we moved to Sydney in 2013.  It was a job offer that could not be refused although we gave up beautiful Queensland to come. We discovered the Blue Mountains west of Sydney in 2014 and spent almost a year researching, testing, dreaming and finally deciding to buy a new home in Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains.


Blue Mountains, Merriwa Street Katoomba

Blue Mountains view in June 2014

Blue Mountains view in June 2014

In May 2015 we moved into our new place, a weatherboard house about 50 years old.  Australians say it is very cold however we have central heat and a great wood stove.  We have already had snow (postcard snow) and this weekend there is a bush fire which is not affecting us.

Our new house came with responsibilities for koi in a fountain in front and we have many, many birds who visit us everyday. Check out the birds in our back garden and the list of our photo albums in Oz.




Beautiful Gallah

Beautiful Gallah

Crimson Rosella

Crimson Rosella

Female King Parrot outside our window

Female King Parrot outside our window

Where in the world?

February 12, 2012

The birds love Paul

Have JoAnne, Paul, Boo and Miles gone now?  We escaped the very cool British weather for the subtropics of Australia and now live in Queensland.  Yes, we do see kangaroos outside our window and it never snows where we live now.

The natural beauty here is fantastic. Here are a few photos to give you a glimpse of life in Oz. Check out the links on the Travels page in this blog for more photos of Australia. [Post updated July 2015.}

Roos outside the window

Roos outside the window

Having a nap!

Brunswick Heads, NSW

Rong Wongsawan

January 23, 2012

Learning about a great writer from another country where you can barely read the script (we can now read some Thai letters!) is an honor.  On this trip to Chiang Mai, we had the privilege to learn about Rong Wongsawan and to visit the Tuned In garden for lunch.

Rong Wongsawan passed away in 2009 and his memory and life is celebrated by his family and friends:


He used his typewriter (even after the advent of computers) to write many, many books and articles and it is displayed outside his office.

Thank you Khun Tim for sharing your garden and your wonderful food. This is one of the most special places we have been in Thailand on all our trips.

Chiang Mai – I am still in love

January 22, 2012

My continued love of Chiang Mai has inspired me to revive this blog.  Paul and I just spent a couple of days there in a very special place called the Ruen Come In and we will be back.  It is a beautiful teak house and restaurant with excellent Northern Thai food and macrobiotic food for breakfast.  Although we only stayed a short time on this trip, it was one of the most beautiful and restful places we have stayed anywhere in the world and even more beautiful than the pictures on their web site.

Ruen Come In


Too long, finally back

July 19, 2009
Paul punting on the River Thames

Paul punting on the River Thames

Hopefully someone will come back to read this blog.  Writing meaningful content is the most difficult part of blogging if you really believe in only posting something worthwhile.  So much of what we encounter in life and on the web is transient.  Since I last posted, we moved everything we have to a new country and downsized considerably.  We have been on foot for the past few months, trying out life without a car.  This photo is Paul punting on the river.  We do NOT get around that way normally. The size of the world gets smaller.

Things in Karen State have continued to worsen, especially in the past few months.  Please consider supporting the community based organizations we have highlighted on this site including the Free Burma Rangers, the Burma Volunteer Program, ALTSEAN, Global Health Access Program and the Displaced Persons Response Network.  In June 2009 another 5,000 Karen villagers were displaced and sent over the border to refugee camps in Thailand.  The status quo where the regime murders its own citizens continues in Burma.

Finally, go see Burma VJ, the new documentary by the Democratic Voice of Burma.

More photo’s and the Burma Volunteer Program

September 7, 2008

We are back and have not had a chance to write a post to wrap up the last trip. Enjoy these few more pictures.

Who needs to wrap up? Instead, we’d like to tell you about the Burma Volunteer Program. A number of people have asked me about going in person to help. This group is a great way to help in person. Check out their web site:

http://burmavolunteers.org UPDATED LINK January 2012

If you are serious, write to them for more information. They will help you to learn more and if you get to the border, you’ll be doing meaningful work that really matters via this excellent community based organization. There is much to do – we encourage you to engage in this most satisfying effort to support a population that has been displaced for so long. Every effort counts and you can be a part of it.

JoAnne, Paul and Rosemary

Computer classes one way or another!

August 22, 2008

Today we concluded a week of computer and Internet security classes, including one day on Ubuntu Linux,  for students from several of the health groups. We are having a great time and rising to every challenge. The students were from four different health groups and were great – very interested and eager to learn. Most days we did not have Internet access and we did not have reliable computer workstations. So we did screen shots and gave them thumb drives with all of the programs and information. We also had a fan that barely moved so it was really hot every day, especially in the front of the room where the projector was located. Thank goodness the projector worked!


August 20, 2008

Well, JoAnne’s big attachment is to coffee (as everyone knows).  She truly believes it is a magic elixir that will allow her to get the maximum amount of work done!  This morning the brand new immersion heater purchased at REI in NJ bit the dust.

Note the tears on the inside of the two cups.  No hot coffee for JoAnne this morning.

So, it is time to think about where to get coffee in Mae Sot really early in the morning.  JoAnne decides to try Charlie down the road at the Italian place.  Yes, we have Casa Mia in Mae Sot.  One of the American doctors taught the restaurant to make pasta.  So, JoAnne takes a walk to see if Charlie will sell her a nice cup of java this early in the morning (because he is not actually open yet). Of course he does!  And wonder of wonders, look at “to go” coffee in Thailand – a plastic bag instead of a cup!

JoAnne walks back as fast as possible. On the way she ponders about this “attachment” and sees a monk out with his alms bowl. She isn’t ready yet to give it up yet. She pours it in the cup, drinks it down and now she is just fine.

Teaching, learning, eating and sleeping (a little)

August 19, 2008

All of us are very busy teaching new classes, learning about new opportunities and projects, meeting more people, eating great food (of course!) and sleeping just a little.  The time difference is 11 hours at this time of year.  Thailand is 11 hours ahead of the east coast of the U.S. so we are not really sure what time it is!  Some of us wake up very early in the morning. Here are a couple of photographs of shopping in Thailand in the day market.