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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Twenty-Fourteen, Welcome!

Happy New Year, Fellow Earthlings!
Magnolia tree at our home, white with snow.
( follow in May, to whiten once more its branches.)
From our wintry home to yours, wherever you may be,
We wish you Happy New Year, La Mulţi Ani! An fericit!

This year, though tinged with sorrows, has also brought us joys,
It brought us two new grandkids, darling Brynn and Angus boy! 

For the coming year we pray for you a healthy, happy time,
And for our children, friends and selves, we ask His Grace sublime.

-Duncan and Shirl

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seasonal Memories: At "Hotel New Hampshire" and the Pullman Farm

It is Sunday.  In a state of relaxation, I sip on my homemade ciorba de fasole cu pui (bean soup with chicken) and await the start of the New England Patriots' final game of the regular season, which will begin at 16:25 this afternoon.  I am enjoying this view of the wood stove, feeling its warmth on my legs as I type.

There is no main goal in this post, only to record a few memories of this Christmastime in our family.

Here we see Shirl and her "Teddy Bear" Dani Rusu, who gave her a hug as he said, "Goodbye," and headed home to Cluj for Christmas with his family. We sent him home with our warm wishes for his parents, Maria and Teofil, at their beautiful home in Cluj-Napoca.

As this shot shows, Dani is a BIG teddy bear, and Shirl is a darling in every respect.

As you might have read in previous posts, the biggest Christmas gift of the year came in a small package, directly from God and our daughter-in-law Cally.  For, on the 18th of the month, she bore Angus Stevenson McDougall, firstborn son of the second second son of the second son, Jesse Stewart McDougall.  (There are no typographical errors in that last sentence.  If you want an explanation, ask in a comment!)

On Christmas Eve, 24 December, Shirl, Alex and I went to The Pullman Farm to meet our newborn Angus.  The next batch of pictures are of that event.
A now-familiar scene in a later season of the year.

Signs from the Wedding of Jesse and Cally, held here in June, 2012.

The workbench in the garage, remarkably orderly this time!

Papa awaiting his son, who is upstairs with his mother.

And the living room is decorated for Angus' First Christmas.

Sometimes it is hard to tell Alex (28) from Jesse (35).  This is Alex.

You know this lady!

Grandmama and Mama!

Looking so cute, I had to include it!

And finally, Angus!
 And now, let's go upstairs and visit the nursery:
His crib.

A nursing chair?

A shelf full of wonderful stuff, and diapers!

A bureau that doubles as a changing table.

Essential reading material, especially since his Dadiu plans to take him to Romania one day!

And a biology lesson on a tapestry.
 Outside the nursery, this 213 year-old home has the collected treasure of the generations that have dwelt here.
Hallway scene just outside the nursery.

I love the toy cook stove, made of cast iron.

Why so serious, Shirl?  "Mae Mae" is a cute Grandma name!

Once back home in Campton, we got some snow, and had our Christmas dinner as a quiet group at this table.  This morning, I saw this scene, and had to shoot it.  I have named the photo "Fallen Leaf."
Fallen Leaf
Dear friends, the world around, please join us here for tea in 2014!  Happy New Year, şi La Mulţi Ani!!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Call me "Dadiu"

Shirl, Alex and I spent Christmas Eve at the farm with Cally, Jesse, and Angus.  

Jesse has given me the Grandpa name "Dadiu."
What a perfect Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Verse, 2013

When Comes the Day of Christmas
By Duncan C. McDougall

This year has been a hard one,
(Though not as tough as some).
We're safe and warm, and have good friends,
And God, and love, and home.

The losses of the year gone by,
Dear Barbara, most of all.
But also my friend Craig,
Still sadly made tears fall.

Then born this week was Angus,
Our grandson strong and well,
And in my love of all our kids,
And of theirs, my heart doth swell.

I'll never know for sure my fate,
Until my last Earth day,
But in this time of Christmas,
I shall love, and hope, and pray.

When comes the day of Christmas,
What joy that day renews!
Our spirit lives forever!
Dear God, Thy Son! Good News!

Copyright 2013, by Duncan C. McDougall, all rights reserved.
Permission is given to share this poem with proper citation of the author and this web site:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Birthday Boy

Presenting Angus Stevenson McDougall,

born 18 December 2013 at 00:44, weighing 7.65 pounds (~3,5 Kg.). Proud parents are our son Jesse Stewart McDougall and his bride (of June, 2012), artist Caroline (Cally) Wheeler. Angus is the first McDougall in our branch of the clan to be born in Vermont, and the first in at least five generations likely to grow up a farmer!

Life Goes On: Angus Stevenson McDougall Born!

At 12:44 this morning, a healthy baby boy named Angus S. McDougall took his first breath.  We received a picture shortly thereafter on Shirl's phone, but have not yet gotten one available for posting.  Suffice it to say, Angus is a dark-haired, blue-eyed baby boy!

His parents, Caroline and Jesse, have now spent thirty-five hours at the hospital in Bennington, Vermont, and are both tired, and happy.  Well done, Cally!  Congratulations, Jesse, on your new fatherhood.  May yours be as fine and has been mine.  (It has been a great joy.) 

Angus is your blogger's fourth grandchild, joining Christal's Hannah, Brian's Moses, and Jamie's Brynn in the new generation of the Clan McDougall in America.  Welcome, laddie!  We hope soon to welcome your first visit to your paternal grandparents, here in New Hampshire.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Re: Two Romanian Connections. "Hope Springs Eternal... ."

Alexander Pope — "Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest."
Shirl and me on the Someș Mic, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Connection Nr. 1: Wednesday 11 December

On Wednesday, 11 December, I drove two hours to downtown Boston, meeting the (on-leave) UBB Ph.D. candidate Titiana MORARIU (din Sebeș) there, where she had just gotten off work at noon.  Titi took the afternoon off to accompany me to New York for the Romanian cultural event that evening at Columbia University, as described in the previous post.

We drove from Boston to Port Chester, NY, grabbing a Turnpike lunch along the way, and arriving about 5 PM.  We stopped in Port Chester to pick up Diana Doroftei (din Bîrlad), co-author of The Little Book of Romanian Wisdom,  As it was dark already, and as Diana is a competent driver in the New York traffic, and as I had by then a very tired set of eyes, I turned the wheel of my Hyundai Santa Fe over to Diana, and we headed into Manhattan to find 116th and Amsterdam Ave., in the heart of Columbia's urban campus.  It was supposed to be an hour's drive, so arriving on time for the 6:30 event seemed feasible.

At 8:00, after two hours stuck in gridlock, we got to the event as refreshments were being served.  (That was a very good thing, because the two ladies were by then close to starving.)  Fortunately, my New Trier High School classmate Connie (Heaton) Goddard had told the group that her Fulbrighter friend from New Hampshire was on his way, so our arrival was greeted with enthusiasm.  I was pleased to renew my acquaintances with both Dna.Mirela Hadaller (din Constanța), and Prof. Mona Monescu, who teaches Romanian at Columbia.
Mirela Hadaller, Mona Monescu, and David Hadaller, taken in 2012 
I was soon happy to be introduced to the two distinguished visitors from Babeș-Bolyai University, Prof. Ioan-Aurel POP, Ph.D., Rector, and Prof. Virgiliu-Leon ȚÂRĂU, Ph.D., of the Faculty of History and Philosophy. Rector POP told me that he was himself a Fulbrighter, having spent a year at the University of Pittsburgh back in 1990!  (He said that in that same year, my colleague and friend from the EURO Faculty at UBB, Prof. Mircea Maniu, Ph.D., had done his Fulbright at the University of Tennessee.)

Both my UBB colleagues were most gracious about our tardy arrival at the event.  I expressed my disappointment at having missed their talks, which was made more acute as I learned that Rector POP had talked about religious architecture n Romania.  (Followers of this blog know how I have loved visiting and photographing the Romanian churches and monasteries.)
16th c. Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, in Breb, Maramureș

I presented to Prof. POP the Plymouth State University pen that our University president, Sara Jayne Steen, Ph.D., had provided for me to take to him.  I told Rector POP that he has an invitation to visit our New Hampshire campus, on his next visit to America.

Connection Nr. 2: Thursday, 12 December

I do not recall posting previously in this blog the fact that I have applied for a Fulbright Grant once again, again in Romania.  Well, I have done so for the 2014-2015 Academic Year, and upon returning to Campton on Thursday, exhausted after a 25-hour round trip of approximately 700 miles (Campton-Boston-NYC-Boston-Campton), I had energy only to check my e-mail before crashing into bed.  Therein came news from the Center for the International Exchange of Scholars (CIES).  My new Fulbright application has passed peer review in the United States, and is on its way to the Fulbright Commission of Romania for final review. That was welcome news, indeed.  I slept that afternoon with a happy heart.

Please keep your fingers crossed for Shirl and me.  We are very much looking forward to our next professional and personal experiences in Romania. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cultural Contact Continues

My friend David Hadaller has sent me this flyer. I look forward to attending the event!

The East Central European Center, the Nicolae Iorga Chair for Romanian Language and Culture and Institutul Cultural Român New York
invite you to the conference
 Twenty Five Years and Counting: the Perspective from Romania 
December 11, 2013, 6.30 p.m, Rm.1219 Intl. Affairs Bldg420W 118th Street (118th @ Amsterdam Ave) Columbia U
Guest Speakers: 

Professor Ioan Aurel Pop, historian, Rector of the Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj Napoca, Romania
Dr. Virgil Ţârău, Associate Professor, Faculty of History and Philosophy, Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj Napoca, Romania
 Followed by a reception to mark Romania’s National Day

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

An Impressive Romanian Lad

Have I told you lately how much I enjoyed my teaching in Romania?  I found my Englishline students at Babeş-Bolyai University to be smart and well-educated.  Maybe the lad in this video is exceptional, but he is not alone among the youth of Romania.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

La Mulţi Ani, România!

The flags were flown at 5:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time; it was midnight in Romania.

The McDougalls at "Hotel New Hampshire" salute all our friends in Romania on the First of December, Ziua Naţională de România!

And both the Romanian tricolor and Old Glory were lit through the night.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Joys and Eyebrow Raisers of a Hospitable Septuagenarian

What a Thanksgiving week it has been, so far!
Roxana, Natalie, Titiana, Iulia, and Shirl.

Early in the week I went shopping for a big turkey and some goes-with-its, in anticipation of our annual Thanksgiving gathering.  This year we had invited back Alex Mican and Titiana Morariu, plus Titiana's Colombian roommate, Natalie, who shares an apartment in Revere, Massachusetts, just a bit north of Boston.

Hence, I straightened up the two guest rooms on the second floor (etaj unu) at Hotel New Hampshire, putting clean sheets on both their queen-sized beds, vacuuming, setting window shades, etc.  I can be quite the innkeeper for such occasions!  Shirl, my beloved wife, tolerates my congenital hospitality, but rarely sees it as her job to help with the physical preparations.  (Shirl does her part in the kitchen, by keeping us all laughing.)

On Wednesday, I drove to Revere and met the young ladies at their brand new apartment complex.  I was a bit early, and I had forgotten to bring my cell phone, but fortunately, I remembered their address and room number, so I was waiting in the hall for them to get home from their office in Boston (both work at the same company).  As I waited, I met six or seven dogs.  It seems that this building is known as "The Dog House," the only one in the complex that allows pets.  And at about 4:30 on the day before Thanksgiving, everyone was arriving home from work, and taking his or her dog out for a "walk."  Fortunately, I love dogs, so was not intimidated, and fortunately, none of the dogs saw this stranger as a threat to home and family, so none raised a ruckus over my being there.

After about a half-hour's wait, Titiana and Natty arrived, and shortly we were headed north, singing Christmas carols as we rode.  It turned out that Natty is the daughter of a choir director in Cartagena, and that she has a beautiful clear voice, perfect pitch, and knows many traditional carols in English!

On the way home, we stopped in Saugus at Kowloon Restaurant and ate, bringing home at about 7:30, some Chinese food for Shirl, Alex McD. and Dani Rusu.  As it turned out, Dani was the only one interested in it, though there ensued a party in the kitchen once Alex Mican, Septi and his friend Iulia arrived.  It was quite a raucous event, with decorum thrown to the winds, and bawdy stories told in two languages.  Dare I admit that a bit of beer flowed, as well?

Then, about 10:30, the young folks all took off for Waterville Valley, and the Silver Fox Inn, which Alex Mican helps to manage, and where we had planned to have our Thanksgiving Dinner.

The next morning, Dani dropped Titiana and Natty off, then headed out to go shopping.  The girls reported that they had not slept.  Somehow, they managed to stay up and keep me company and I made a bread stuffing, and prepared to roast our turkey for that evening's meal.  Then, we watched a movie and a half, as the wonderful aroma of roasting turkey slowly spread through all of HNH.  Natty, not surprisingly, fell asleep in from of the TV, and missed the second film.  But Titiana stuck it out.
Dani, Iulia, Alex McD., Alex Mican, Roxana (standing), Titiana and Natalie
Then, last night, we had our feast.  It was great!  Among the biggest hits was the mincemeat pie that Titiana had prepared that afternoon.

Of course, on the ride home from the valley, my Santa Fe carried only the three McDougalls.  The Romanians and the Colombiana all stayed to continue their party for a second night.

What do young people do at such parties?  Hmmm?

And, please remind me why I made beds for our guests?

One eyebrow rises as I ask myself that!
Aw, shucks!  Dani just came into the kitchen!  He tells me he brought two pretty, but tired young ladies home at about 1:00 A.M.  That changes the story!  (I am sure glad that I made those beds!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

De ce nu te place curcan?

Photo: Timisoara_Zoological_Garden_and_Szeged_ZOO
My beloved and respected colleague Roxana came up to me to remind me that, while she would be attending this year's Thanksgiving dinner, she would not be eating any turkey.  Practicing my (slowly improving) Romanian, I asked Prof. Dr. Roxana (Dima) Wright why she does not like turkey.  Hence, this post's title, which is how I asked her.  I have later learned that I inadvertently asked, "Why doesn't turley like you."  (Te should have been îţi.) The kind Roxana, after a one-second pause, replied, "I don't know, but I just don't like the taste."  

Curcan (kur-kaan') means turkey in Romanian.  

Chickens are everywhere in Romania.  One sees them in all villages, as many homeowners keep them for eggs and for meat, which in part explains why virtually all Romanian village yards are fenced.  But curcani are less common.  They are definitely not a regular part of Romanian cuisine.  One does not order a hot turkey sandwich at a diner there, as one might here in the States, and I doubt that the turkey club sandwich will be popular there until golf becomes so.

This year we are having Thanksgiving dinner at the Silver Fox Inn in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, hosted by MICAN Alexandru (din Bistrița), whom we have known (as an adopted nephew) for the past five years.  Alexandru is now working as a manager at that resort hotel, and has invited us to use its spacious dining room.  Many of our friends from last year's Thanksgiving celebration will be joining us there, including native Romanians Roxana (din Brașov), Titiana Morariu (din Sebeș),  and Daniel Rusu (din Cluj), along with Shirley, me, and our son Alex.  Tomorrow I will be driving down to Revere, Massachusetts, to pick up Titiana and her roommate Natalie Avilán (de Colombia).  We will be thinking also of our recent visitors from Romania, Monica and Alexandra, both of whom we will miss at this year's celebration.   

I am thankful to God for all of my friends and relatives, students and acquaintances, colleagues and fellow bikers.  I am thankful for my family, and for my health.  I am thankful for happiness.

To curcan-lovers and turkey-shunners everywhere, I wish you all a

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sorta For Sale

Click picture to see full view.
This is my 1990 Ducati 750 Sport. (It is sorta for sale.) European paint scheme, unique in America. (Magazine road test bike!) Under 18,000 original miles. With brand new Paso tires, not yet installed. Strong runner. Ducati handling. But, it does not fit me, as a slightly overweight 70 year old, and there isn't room in the living room for so large a sculpture. (So, $4400 takes it all, if you get here before I get emotional. Serious inquires only, please, to

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A True St. Louis Cardinals Story

The full-page ad above appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Thanks, Charles!) last weekend, after the Red Sox had beaten the Cardinals in Major League Baseball's 2013 World Series.  I loved this ad for its obvious good sportsmanship, and also because it reminded me of two other life experiences.

The first was in 1961, as we on the New Trier Swim Team were about to swim against Evanston, our arch-rivals.  Our coach, Dave Robertson, in his characteristic soft-spoken way, told us, "It is easy to be a good winner, but it's hard to be a good loser.  So, today, let's do the easy thing."  (We won the meet.)

The second was in 2005.  I was riding Rocinante west to California, to my brother Bob's house.  (Shirl would later fly to Burbank, then we'd ride together on a two-week motorcycle tour of California and western Nevada.)  As I headed across Missouri on I-70, I was following a maroon station wagon with a St. Louis Cardinals sticker on the rear window.  Both the car and I pulled off at a service area, and parked.  As I was following the woman and her two children into the restaurant, I called to her.

"Excuse me, Ma'am,  May I ask you a question about the Cardinals sticker on your car?"

"Sure," she said, "what do you want to know?"

"Well, I grew up in Chicago, and I was a Cubs fan, but I have always been curious," I asked, "how far across Missouri one must drive before he stops meeting Cardinals fans, and starts to meet Kansas City Royals fans?"

"Denver," she replied.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Son the Farmer

The farm that Jesse McDougall and Cally Wheeler McDougall are operating is a boarding horse farm in Vermont.  Its premises include their family's farmhouse, barns and stables, as well as a veterinarian's office, paddocks and dressage rings.  They farm many acres of fields where they grow hay for the horses, and a bit of fruit and vegetables for their own consumption.  Last Sunday, I captured these scenes of the farm and of some of its residents and tenants.
Jesse and Cally

"Follow me and I'll show you around."
Nosing his blanket on a chilly October day

Most paddocks corral one horse. 


The mustang.

Not a bad place, is it?

"The kids" out by the customers' horse trailers.

Indoor riding ring in "the new barn."

Hayfield equipment.

The biggest tractor, a John Deere 6310.

And the smallest, a Ford 1310 (Nu Dacia? Nu!)

Outdoor riding/training ring, with paint dating from the 1970s.

The "New Barn"

Pretty girl!

Walking back toward the farmhouse.

Farmhouse, old barn, and silos.

Godspeed to the young couple.

My son the farmer.