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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Catching up: a few Recent Memories

 We'll start this potpourri of memories with this small landscape painting, an acrylic, purchased from the artist on the pedestrian mall in downtown Timişoara last October.  Thanks to Alexandra M. for the use of her Clio, which brought me to Timi from Cluj, and to Miruna N. and her husband for acting as my guides on my first visit to that beautiful city in the Banat.

 And here is Titiana M., Monica Z.'s friend in Boston, on her first visit to Hotel New Hampshire last November.  We took Rocinante out for a ride on Thanksgiving, and she enjoyed it!

Then came Christmas, which we spent at Campton, with none of our children present, though Valer S. was here to keep us company.  We love that lad, who has become part of our family for the past two years.

On Christmas night, Shirl and I left in our Santa Fe, and made it to Jamie and Amy's new home two days later.  Here Jamie and Shirl are loading our housewarming gift to the couple, a new kitchen table and chairs from IKEA.

It is a really nice house, in a neighborhood with good schools.  That was important, because Amy is going to deliver us a granddaughter about March 1st!

This is taken from their backyard.  Nice.  Ducks, a great blue heron and some crazy looking underwater-swimming bird were seen on the lake.
Note our project.  Jamie and I weeded the air conditioner fan, then trenched around it and filled the trench with drainage stone.

Guardian of the house is Bowser, an only-sometimes vicious English bulldog, seen here on the screened back porch.
Looking across the lake, a common sight in the more modern developments in the area, most of which have been built on filled land, with drainage ponds left where the soil was dug out to raise the level of the habitable land..
Shirl mugs at the kitchen counter.  Note the paint color test patches on the wall.  I liked them as they were!  Why paint the whole wall?  That is art!

See what I mean?  Nice pastels, no?

Next year, God willing, there will be five stockings hanging in this home: Jamie's, Amy's, Bowser's, Pepper's, and our grandchild's!
This is Pepper, a very old fellow, indeed, at about 14, but a wonderful dog.
My reliable, roomy, and comfortable 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe.  He is over 140,000 miles old, but well-maintained, and a great car.  The local Hyundai dealers send me offers to buy him, because demand for these models remains strong... but he is not for sale!

Here are Jamie and Amy, whose wedding we celebrated in this blog a couple of years ago.

While Shirl was in Colorado for her extended vacation, I drove over to Shaftsbury, Vermont, to visit our second son Jesse and his bride, Cally, whose wedding we also reported here back in June of 2012.

Suspicious character!
Shy to a fault?

The young McDougalls are "splitting their time" between an apartment in Rockport, Massachusetts, and the Pullman Family Farm in Shaftsbury.  Here, Jesse is seen with Jim Pullman, Cally's uncle.

And here is the handsome Orville, sleeping next to Jim in the living room of the farmhouse.

Our Christmas Tree, as seen from NH Route 175

Sunday, January 20, 2013

You GO, Shirl Girl!

Here is a picture of my happy wife!!!
Piper sent it today, with the message, "Go, Mom!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Missing the Missus

See that lady in the pizzeria, with her husband on the veranda of the late-lamented Roland Garros Restaurant by raul Someş Mic in Cluj?  She is Shirley Kimball McDougall, my wife, mama de patru de mi şase copii, my best friend on this Earth, my resident psychologist and therapist for almost 40 years, the one who finds lost things as if by magic, the warmer occupant of our marriage bed, and my emotional anchor.

Shirl is in Aspen, Colorado, over 3000 kilometers west of here.  She has gone to visit our daughter Piper for a week.  Isn't that wonderful?

Sure, it is!

Shirl is the woman who encouraged me to do a Fulbright year in Romania in 2008-09.  She is the woman who suffered through my taking our sons Jamie and Jesse on a transcontinental motorcycle ride to the California coast in 1995 on three Suzukis.  They were 18 and 16 at the time.  (Shirl did not like it, but she allowed it, one of the greatest bonding experiences of my fatherhood.)  This is the woman who tolerates my flirtations (with those irresistibly charming Romanian women), knowing in her heart, that I am hers, and hers alone.  She is the woman I love most.

Last night, I phoned Shirl in Aspen, and learned that she has rescheduled her return flight to a week later than planned. She and Piper are having a great time.  On Saturday they will go skiing, an activity that Shirl loved as a youngster and as a young adult, but has not done in decades.  And, she has never skied Colorado powder.  Both of them want more time to play together in the thin air.

When we discussed her rescheduling, my response had to be, "Go for it, lover!"

I miss you, dear wife!  But, did I not spend 41 days last summer riding Rocinante to Fairbanks and back?

With daughter Piper

 Have fun, dear girls!  I love you both!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Dear friend,

Our last conversation concerned "Cloud Atlas," and reincarnation.  I have yet to see Cloud Atlas.  The movie is not playing anywhere in the state, so I am seeking a DVD.

So, prior to watching it, I will share a thought regarding your obviously serious question, "Do you believe in reincarnation?"

I was just reading my post on the December death of Barbara Kimball, Shirl's mother.  It concludes with the sentence, "I trust that now she is hugging her husband in Heaven."

That hardly seems adequate for one who has given love for 97 years, does it?   God is great.  I do not know if there is a Heaven, any more than I know whether we (or some of us) will be reincarnated.  But, I hope for the latter.  Lives are fascinating things.  Hugs are fine things: a brief, sometimes intimate, pleasure for the living.  But Heaven seems boring, does it not, when compared with lives such as those we are living?  

Dear God, if You find my life worthy, may I please have another?


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year's Treat

This YouTube link was sent me by my friend Bert:  Thank you, Bert.

Can anyone tell me the language?  Is this sung in Gaelic? Finnish?

I believe that the song originated in Scotland, so I would guess Gaelic, but I admit, I cannot tell!