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Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Realization

Aging brings with it lots of nagging little irritations, such as stiff joints, aches and pains, and strokes.  One might be tempted to complain.  I cannot.

Our Creator has blessed me with an amazing life.  This blog and its predecessor ( report much about my blessings of the past decade, but those are but the latest in a series of blessings far too long to enumerate.  Please indulge me as I cite a few.

As a boy I was blessed to attend the outstanding Wilmette Public Schools, in Wilmette, Illinois, and to learn to swim at the Evanston YMCA, and in Lake Michigan at Wilmette Beach.  As a teenager at New Trier Township High School, I went out for their famous swimming team.  Coach Robertson timed me, as a freshman, in both freestyle and breaststroke.  I will never forget his looking at his stopwatch, then asking me, "Do you like to dive?"  Three years later, this was the outcome:

I was a pretty good student, at least after my first year, when my 2.50 first-semester GPA caused my father to insist that I quit the freshman swim team, and focus on my studies.  I guess his wisdom proved out, as I scored well enough in later years and on the SATs to be admitted to Amherst College in Massachusetts.  At Amherst I continued to dive, but got into motorcycling, and was, at best, only a so-so student.  In searching for a subject in which to "major", I took the first course in most of the sciences, as well as many courses in the liberal arts.  When the day came that I had to declare my major, I learned that there was but one department whose major requirements not yet taken would fit in my remaining semesters, and allow me to graduate in the Class of '65, and that is how I came to be a Fine Arts major.

I am not an artist.  But I had taken Technical Drawing at New Trier, and I knew how to use a T-square and triangle.  So, I took the general fine arts classes at Amherst, and an architectural drawing class down the road at Smith College, a famous women's college in Northampton, Mass.  In fact, I was working on an examination drawing in that class on 22 November, 1963, when a student opened the door to our classroom, and reported, "President Kennedy has been shot to death."  John Kennedy was from Massachusetts.  My classmates were appalled, and released from the exam by our professor.  I asked him if I might stay and complete my drawing, since returning would require another trip from Amherst.  He consented, and I did so.  I do recall, however, that in the perspective drawing I forgot to put a "vanishing line" in at eye level, and hence produced a ground-level view of the fast food restaurant we were drawing.  As it happened, I caught my own error, and labeled the perspective "worm's-eye view."  The good professor did not penalize me for this error.

So, I had sat through many slide shows and heard many lectures regarding the fine arts as practiced through the centuries, all around the world.  Hence, forty-five years later, when I visited the Romanian Orthodox churches of northern and eastern Romania, doing so as a visiting professor of business on a Fulbright Scholarship, I knew of the tradition of illuminating the walls with frescoes, a tradition that had led to such amazing murals as these:

 I was thrilled, therefore, when at the Putna Monastery in Județ Suceava, my students and I came upon the master painter Mihai Moroșan at work, creating exactly such a level of art.
The blessing of this chance meeting has only grown since that day, as Master Moroșan and his wonderful wife Waltraudi have come to be among my closest and most-cherished friends in Romania.

So, where am I going with this reminiscence?

I am in recovery from a stroke of 3 September, 2016.  I have come far, but was not until this week sure that I wanted to continue living.

It has been difficult since September.  Then, two days ago, the Lord visited my brain with the realization that He has been playing an active role in my life for many, many years.  I realized that I have Him to thank for the many wonderful interpersonal relationships I have had, the breadth of professional experiences I have had both in manufacturing and in teaching, my wide-ranging travels, the six marvelous children I have fathered, etc., etc., etc.

I told my beloved wife Shirl two days ago, "I am going to get well, and I am going to stay alive, because I believe that God has some use for me still, and I owe it to Him to stay alive to fulfill that purpose, whatever it may turn out to be."


Monday, January 16, 2017

An Important Thing To Do

Yesterday we received the news that my wife Shirl's brother, David Kimball, just days shy of 70 years old, has been admitted to the hospital with blood clots in his lungs.  He awoke yesterday barely able to breathe.

I do not know much yet about Dave's condition, nor about its cause.  I do not know if he was able to drive himself to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) where he spent last night.  But after my 07:15 physical therapy appointment this morning, I called DHMC and learned that he is able to receive visitors all day, today.  DHMC is just over an hour from here by car, and I shall head over there, leaving in three minutes.

As an inpatient at HealthSouth in Concord for the month of September, 2016, I learned how important such visits can be.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Randolph, NH, Honors A Great American

At the invitation of Marjorie Cross, my wife of seven years (1965-'72), I attended today the interment of her father's ashes in Randolph, New Hampshire. 

Hershner Cross was the name of her father.  He was a fine man in too many ways to explain.  His obituary is at this link, and gives the gist of the story. 

RIP, dear Hersh, my first father-in-law!

Life Goes On... with a New Challenge

On the 3rd of September, Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, in my trusty 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe, I made my weekly run up to the Campton-Thornton Recycling Center (aka "Town Dump").  Returning to home (HNH) about 10:00 A.M., I parked in the garage and entered the kitchen via the garage steps.  As soon as I started to cross the kitchen toward the master bedroom, I sensed that my walk was unstable.  I managed not to fall, but perceived that my legs were not obeying my brain.  I went into the bedroom and flopped next to Shirl on our big bed, saying only, "I think I am dying."

Some two hours later, I awoke and felt mildly disappointed.  There had been no pain, so it would have been a quick and easy way to go.

But that noontime I was expecting a visit from Flavius Stroia from Târgu Mureș, Romania, a friend met several years ago, and three of his colleagues from the company they work at, whose headquarters are in southern New Hampshire. When I had learned that Flavius was back in the U.S. with two Romanian colleagues for a couple of weeks' training, I had invited them up for a cookout. So, I got up, learned that while still not feeling normal, I could walk and talk, and decided to have lunch with the visitors.

That was probably a mistake.  Flavius and I agreed that "I had not been myself"during our cookout, and it turned out to be a short visit.  They left at about 3:00, if memory serves.

Shortly thereafter, I dialed 911, and told the emergency operator, "I think I am having a stroke, and my wife doesn't drive."  In less than fifteen minutes the Campton police and Plymouth ambulance arrived, and took me to the Emergency Room at Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth.  I was admitted, a CT scan was done which showed no intracranial bleeding, and I spent Saturday night in the hospital.

Since then, I have been in rehabilitation for the non-hemorrhagic stroke, or Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA) that had me hemiplegic in my right limbs for most of September.

I am far better now, thank God, though still far from free of the lingering symptoms of that stroke.  I offer my thanks to son Jesse, to Shirley, and especially to daughter Piper for their assistance over the past ten weeks. However, the bulk of the credit for my progressing recovery goes to the occupational therapists and physical therapists at HEALTHSOUTH Rehabilitation Hospital in Concord, New Hampshire, where I spent four full weeks, and to the therapists at Pemi-Baker Community Health Services where I continue to be treated on an outpatient basis.

I am again able to drive my car.  My target for improvement is to be back on my motorcycles by the spring of 2017.

Finally, please remember the stroke-symptom rule that I have learned since becoming a stroke-survivor:

FAST, meaning Face, Arms, Speech, Time.
If you note a drooping face or side thereof, if your arms do not work normally, or if your speech becomes uncontrollably slurred, call 911 and get to a hospital immediately.  Caught within the first three hours, many clot-caused brain blockages can be treated with drugs that will dissolve the clot before it starves brain cells to death. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sorry, but in good conscience, I must contribute a politically oriented post.

Message body

" Past behavior is the truest indicator of future behavior"  Dr. Phil
When Bill Clinton was president, he allowed Hillary to assume authority over an attempt to health care reform. Even after threats and intimidation, she couldn't get a vote in a Democrat controlled US Congress. This fiasco cost the American taxpayers about $13 million for studies, promotion, and other efforts.

Then, President Clinton gave Hillary authority over selecting a female attorney general. Her first two selections were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood - both were forced to withdraw their names from consideration.
Next, she chose Janet Reno - husband Bill described her selection as "my worst mistake."
Some may not remember that Reno made the decision to gas David Koresh and the Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco, Texas resulting in dozens of deaths of women and children.

Husband Bill allowed Hillary to make recommendations for the head of the Civil Rights Commission. Lani Guanier was her selection. When a little probing led to the discovery of Ms. Guanier's radical views, her name had to be withdrawn from consideration.

Apparently a slow learner, husband Bill allowed Hillary to make some more recommendations. She chose former law partners Web Hubbel for the Justice Department, Vince Foster for the White House staff, and William Kennedy for the Treasury Department.
Her selections went well: Hubbel went to prison, Foster (presumably) committed suicide, and Kennedy was forced to resign.

Many younger voters will have no knowledge of "Travelgate." Hillary wanted to award unfettered travel contracts to Clinton friend Harry Thompson - and the White House Travel Office refused to comply. She managed to have them reported to the FBI and fired. This ruined their reputations, cost them their jobs, and caused a thirty-six month investigation. Only one employee, Billy Dale was charged with a crime, and that of the enormous crime of mixing personal and White House funds. A jury acquitted him of any crime in less than two hours.

Still not convinced of her ineptness, Hillary was allowed to recommend a close Clinton friend, Craig Livingstone, for the position of Director of White House security. When Livingstone was investigated for the improper access of about 900 FBI files of Clinton enemies (Filegate) and the widespread use of drugs by White House staff, suddenly Hillary and the President denied even knowing Livingstone, and of course, denied knowledge of drug use in the White House.

Following this debacle, the FBI closed its White House Liaison Office after more than thirty years of service to seven presidents.

Next, when women started coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and rape by Bill Clinton, Hillary was put in charge of the "bimbo eruption" and scandal defense. Some of her more notable decisions in the debacle were:

She urged her husband not to settle the Paula Jones lawsuit. After the Starr investigation they settled with Ms. Jones.

She refused to release the Whitewater documents, which led to the appointment of Ken Starr as Special Prosecutor.

After $80 million dollars of taxpayer money was spent, Starr's investigation led to Monica Lewinsky, which led to Bill lying about and later admitting his affairs. Hillary's devious game plan resulted in Bill losing his license to practice law for 'lying under oath' to a grand jury and then his subsequent impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Hillary avoided indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice during the Starr investigation by repeating, "I do not recall," "I have no recollection," and "I don't know" a total of 56 times while under oath.

After leaving the White House, Hillary was forced to return an estimated $200,000 in White House furniture, China, and artwork 
that she had stolen.

What a swell person - ready for another four or eight years of this low-life fool?
Now we are exposed to the unsecure keeping and attempted destruction of beyond Top Secret emails while Hillary was US Secretary of State and the "pay to play" schemes of the Clinton Foundation. What "shoe will fall" next?

But to her loyal fans: "What difference does it make?"

Electing Hillary Clinton president would be like granting Satan absolution and giving him the keys to heaven!

Please tell others. Our way of life depends upon it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The number 73 is also prime!

In under an hour, on August 25th, 2016, I shall turn 73.

I am grateful to God for my life, for my health, for my family, for my friends, and for my many and varied experiences, many of which you, gentle reader of my blogs, have learned of herein.

Yesterday, I loaded our 1990 Honda 4518 lawn tractor onto my trailer, and started toward Manchester down Interstate 93.  This loyal old workhorse is in need of a new mower-deck drive belt, so I decided to take him down to Nault's Powersports, where I bought him some 26 years ago, and have him serviced professionally.  I have done that only once before in the 26 years that he has been in the family, and Shirl offered to pay for it as her birthday present to me.

Climbing up the Ashland Hill, just a mile south of the Plymouth-Holderness exit (No. 25), a car passed me, and its driver waved, and pointed back at my trailer.  Oh my God!  It was vibrating wildly, at 65 miles-per-hour, with a blown-out right tire.

I pulled off to the side of the highway, and considered my options.  There was a guard rail where I stopped, so I couldn't really get far off the road, only to a narrow breakdown lane.  I decided to creep on the flat tire down to Ashland, and deal with the problem there.

A state trooper came up behind me as I limped the Santa Fe and its wounded trailer down the breakdown lane.  His lights were flashing, so I stopped.  The Trooper came to my driver's side window, which I had opened for him.  He could not have been nicer.  He looked to be a rookie, perhaps 23 or 24 years old.  He checked to make sure that the tractor was well-secured on the trailer, then followed me to the top of Ashland Hill, passing on as it became obvious that I would make it safely to the Ashland exit.

As it happened, I was able to unhitch the tralier and leave it in the parking lot at Ashland Lumber, while I went to find a replacement for a shredded 155/80R13 tire.  I removed the damaged tire on its wheel, and found a replacement tire in stock at WalMart in Plymouth.  The automotive guys there again proved most helpful, as was Gayle, the clerk at Ashland Lumber, a blonde lady of almost my age, who got me permission to leave the trailer there while going after the tire.  When I told her thanks, and that today would be my 73rd birthday, she said, "Happy Birthday! 73? You sure don't look it!"  I wanted to give her a kiss...

In fact, I feel younger today than I did back in 2008, when a case of plantar fasciitis made the walk from the parking lot at the UBB Faculty of Letters in Cluj to my apartment on Pta. Mihai Viteazul a serious challenge...not to mention the 62 steps up to my second floor (third floor as we Americans count them) apartment.

Thank God for such days as 24 August, 2016.  Little challenges in the overall scheme of things, but real physical challenges, the overcoming of which rebuilds our confidence!

It is now about 1:08 AM on the 25th.  I am 73!

Tomorrow, I shall have a morning coffee with the family Morrison, of whom William is my former student in management accounting (and, as he reported at our meeting, three other courses!) from the 1970s, and whose lovely daughter Rachel is the girlfriend of Șuteu Valer (din Satu Mare), one of the UBB grads who came to Plymouth State University for his MBA, and who lived with us for two academic years.  We shall meet at 9:00 at the Mad River Coffee House, then I shall complete the trip to Manchester with the tractor!

It will be a full and fun birthday!

Thanks be to God for this life!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Beloved Romania: Why am I not Visiting her in 2016?

As readers of this blog, and its predecessor blog ("A Fulbright Year in Romania"), may have noticed, I managed to spend time in Romania in every year from 2008 through 2015.  This year, I was invited by my dear colleague and friend, Prof. Dr. Monica Zaharie, to a conference at UBB-Cluj that occurred in June.  I did not attend it.  I post today to explain my absence.

On Our Wedding Day, 6 October 1973!
Shirl is not well.  Shirley Kimball and I were married on 6 October 1973, almost 43 years ago.  She has been an amazingly giving and tolerant wife, who bore us four wonderful children, who put up with my many job changes, who moved with me from Westborough, Massachusetts, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Campton, New Hampshire, then back to Westborough, then back to Campton.  Shirl has proved a brilliant mother and teacher of our children, all of whom love her dearly.  And, when the time came that I was offered a chance to spend an academic year teaching in Transylvania, Shirl encouraged me to accept the Fulbright Commission's and UBB-FSEGA's offer.  Moreover, she supported my teaching in Finland for a week, rather than my coming home for that Christmas.  And, she supported my taking a third semester in Cluj in 2010, and my going twice to Bangalore, India, the second time to teach for seven weeks at the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME).  A more generous wife I find hard to imagine.

S & D, Campton, NH, in 2015
So, with Shirl now suffering from a gastrointestinal ailment not yet diagnosed, but which has her in pain almost constantly, I feel it the least I can do to stay by her side, and to be her helper, and her driver, as we pursue the cause of her misery, and try to find a cure.  This pursuit has not been easy, as Shirl is a stubborn patient, and quite picky as to which doctor(s) she trusts.  But, we have made some progress this summer, so are hoping to learn the cause soon, and to find an effective treatment.

It is not that I love my friends in Romania any less, but that at present, I owe my wife Shirley more!  Dear friends, I am sure that you understand!