Missing Mom…

On January 5, 2015 we set the ashes of my mother, Muriel Crowe adrift at sea. It’s over 5 years since she died and I think about her and miss her every day.  Mom was a strong and courageous woman: a communist at the height of McCarthyism, a white single mother of a black child in the 1950s and a fierce anti-facist, trade unionist and civil rights activist. My earliest memories are of picket lines, protest rallies and poker games (where the talk was more about politics than cards). Almost until the end of her life she read the paper daily and kept abreast (and appalled by) the state of the world. We shared a love of reading, the ocean and swimming.

She was my first and finest example of living life on your own terms. I’m so grateful that she’s my mother! This quote was read at her memorial service.

Our Colorful Chiang Rai Trip

Chiang Rai is known for its colorful edifices. Our lovely group of 10 set off from Chiang Mai to explore the Blue and White Temples and the Black House. We left at 6 am for the 4 hour drive to Chiang Rai in a comfortable air conditioned van. Our driver, Pituk, was friendly and helpful. We made one stop half way there at a local hot springs. There we had a restroom break and were able to purchase some local fruits, goodies and clothes.

Arriving in Chiang Rai our first stop was Baan Dam. Commonly known as the Black House it’s a park containing a diverse and sprawling series of buildings, displays, sculptures and installations. The park and highly eclectic contents are the life’s work of local and nationally renowned artist Thawan Duchanee. We spent a delightful hour exploring the grounds and exhibits.Our next stop was for lunch. Lesson learned: don’t ask your driver for restaurant recommendations. Leelawadee was overpriced with not very good service. The food was delicious though and we had a nice view of the river.Full from lunch, we ventured on to the Blue Temple. For me this breathtaking temple was the highlight of our trip! I understand that this is a fairly new temple. It is built at the site of a ruin of an temple abandoned 80 to 100 years ago. In 1996, the villagers decided to rebuild a temple here. The construction started in October 2005, the White Buddha was completed in 2008 while the main hall was only completed on 22th January 2016. There are so many intricate carvings and paintings to enjoy!Our last stop was the White Temple which is the most famous temple in the Chiang Rai area. I’m sorry to say that the temple was closing when we arrived. It turns out there is a special event there right now where they illuminate the temple in the evenings. As we only had our van until 10 pm we had to leave for the 4 hour drive back to Chiang Mai before the illumination began. We did get some good photos, both of our own and a very kind Thai lady who shared hers with us.Overall our trip was wonderful. I especially enjoyed the time spent with members of our beautiful Chiang Mai community and visitors!

Running for Justice!

Today BOLT walked and ran for women’s rights and other social justice issues. It was a wonderful experience at beautiful Huey Tueng Tao Lake in Chiang Mai with over 800 people!

The event was sponsored by BABSEACLE. According to their website “BABSEACLE collaborates globally in the development of justice education and access to justice initiatives while simultaneously fostering generations of pro bono minded champions. BABSEACLE’s mission is to help establish, strengthen and support Access to Justice and Rule of Law in Asia and globally through justice education, including a core focus on legal ethics, professional responsibility and pro bono awareness raising.”

We hope you enjoy these photos of what we saw on this lovely morning!

Black Family 5K: We Did It!


Early in November I got an email from GirlTrek.org. They inspired me to start a new tradition, right here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Today, Friday, November 29 we gathered at a local park and got our walks/runs on. It was a wonderful way to work off our big Thanksgiving meals, talk and get to know each other better. The Brothers and Sisters of Chiang Mai were well represented! From Northern and Southern California; Louisville, KY; Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, the Cayman Islands; Eritrea; Little Rock, AK; and Lampang, Thailand we showed up and out!

Hope you enjoy the pictures from this glorious day and of these amazing folks!

BOLT REVIEWS: Huay Kaew Arboretum

One of the big advantages to living long term in a variety of places is that you get to explore some of the less touristy attractions. The urban forest at Huay Kaew Arboretum was just such a find!

Kathy and I spent a lovely hour walking around the peaceful and shady grounds.

It was kind of a whimsical place too, with lots of apparatus for children to play on.

I especially enjoyed the signs on the many trees, telling us their names, ages and reminding us to not forget their importance.

There were lots of informative signs too.

Arboretum admission is free and very close to an the busy Nimman area. So if you are in Chiang Mai and want a place to get a good walk in, visit the Huay Kaew Arboretum.

BOLT Salutes Girl Trek!

I first heard about Girl Trek back in 2010. These 2 sisters were on the radio talking about how we, Black women, are dying! Dying from hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and stress. They had a simple message: walking can save us.

Girl Trek Founders: Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison

In their own words: “GirlTrek is not a fitnesss organization, this is a campaign for healing. This is not recreation. This is a lifestyle. We walk to heal our bodies, inspire our families, and to reclaim the streets of our neighborhoods. We believe in the discipline and power of walking to transform our lives, enliven our communities, and restore our humanity.”

Inspired, I signed up right after and committed to daily walks. I also formed a Girl Trek team in the Los Angeles area and encouraged other sisters to walk for wellness.

Girl Trek is in fire! The organization has grown in leaps and bounds. They are now the largest public health nonprofit for African-American women and girls in the United States!

There are over 10,000 women walking with Girl Trek. Oprah is a sponsor, they’ve been written up in Essence, Ebony and have been on CNN.

Harriet Tubman is an inspiration for the Girl Trek movement. Their motto is “If Harriet could walk herself to freedom, we can walk ourselves to better health!”

Kathy and I participated in and completed their 100 mile challenge and are in their “Harriet Hall of Fame”. We received beautiful t shirts as gifts from Girl Trek!

I’m currently excited about the Girl Trek 30 Day Challenge: Walks and Acts of Service to Honor Harriet Tubman. I’m doing the challenge with my bestie and it’s great to share daily about how we met the daily challenge goals.

I hope this post will encourage you to check out Girl Trek, join and spread the word. #weareharriet

BOLT Reviews: Thai Plum Village

To honor the 94 Birthday of Thich Nhat Hanh we traveled to the south of Thailand. It was a wonderful and spiritually rewarding experience!

Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, founder of the Plum Village Tradition. He is a leader in the engaged Buddhism movement and a teacher in the practice of mindfulness.

Thay (teacher) as he is affectionately known established many retreat centers the world over. He spent most of his life at Plum Village in France. Sadly, he had a stroke and is no longer able to speak. He has returned to his birthplace in Hue, Vietnam to live out his days.

The retreat center we went to is the Thai Plum Village. For 3 days we enjoyed various types of meditation; remembrances of Thay by the nuns and monks; talks on mindfulness; periods of noble silence and meditation walks.


ur accomodations were in simple and clean dormatory style rooms. We were served three delicious vegan meals a day.

The center is in a lovely part of Thailand, surrounded by national park land. To get there it was an 11 hour bus trip to Bangkok and then a 3 hour ride to the center. We will definitely take a plane from Chiang Mai to Bangkok next time. The long bus ride was less than comfortable.

Despite the difficult trip there, Kathy and I are making plans to visit again soon. We highly recommend Thai Plum Village for those looking for an experience in mindfulness. If you art not in Thailand, remember, there are centers the world over.