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Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Gentleman's Graceful End

Craig D. Zamzow, 1943-2013
Surrounded by loving family, my friend and colleague Craig D. Zamzow, 70, died peacefully late this morning at Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, New Hampshire, after a three-month illness.  Craig, who retired just last May, had been Director of our MBA Program at Plymouth State University, and also Director of our nationally recognized Small Business Institute.  I shall refrain from further details, so as not to preempt the family's right to prepare a full obituary.  Suffice it to say, I have lost a great friend, our University has lost a fine leader and teacher, and we have all lost an exemplary gentleman.
With granddaughter Vanessa, 18, in June, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Special Birthday Present

Roxana Adriana Fera is a graduate student at Plymouth State University of diverse interests, amazing energy, and many talents.  Born in Sibiu, Romania, but a graduate of Keene State College, Roxy came to PSU in 2012, directly from her second job in southern China, where she had been teaching English for a couple of years.  She had taught previously for several years in both China and Oman, and had also lived in the U.K. for a year.  Like several Romanian graduate students before her, Roxy has been staying here at "Hotel New Hampshire" as she pursues her master's degree.

Early this past July, I came home from my month in Romania to find an easel set up in our sun room, the painting above perched on it.  The palette and paint tubes were carefully arranged nearby.  Roxy had been at work.
I had known Roxy could write poetry.  I had known she could dance.  I had known she could organize and execute colorful cultural events for our many foreign students.  I had known that her teachers thought highly of her ideas in her classes.  But this was my first exposure to Roxy's painting.

When I next had a chance to talk with her, I told Roxy that I loved the chiaroscuro aspect of this acrylic painting.  To me, it bespoke the contrast between summer and winter in New Hampshire.  I think Roxy was a bit surprised.  She had not considered the work to be finished.  I told her I liked it as it was.

Yesterday, when I went into my office, I found the easel with a gold bow on it, and the painting inscribed to me, a gift for my birthday.  Thank you, Roxy.  I shall treasure it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Fantastickest Party Part 2

Roxy Fera, Sandra Chioralia, and Diana Doroftei in the lobby of the Jerry Orbach Theatre.
 Following our theater date, we four walked a bit in Times Square, till the old man got sticky and cranky.  Then, we recovered the car, and tried to take Roxy to Union Square, where she planned a brief meeting with some childhood friends from Sibiu with whom she has stayed in touch, but whom she had not seen in twenty-odd years.  Unfortunately, the traffic snarls made walking faster than driving.  Roxy wisely decided to go the distance by foot.  It turned out to be "a marathon," but God bless her, she made it there, and back to our dinner in Stamford by about 9:00 PM.
With Diana Doroftei in Times Square

Roxy, shepherding the foursome in Times Square traffic
 At Cappricio's in Stamford we were joined by more of the Romanian diaspora of Connecticut, friends Diana Cristea and Loredana Britka, Loredana's parents Mia and Zoltan, who are visiting from Baia Mare, as well as Sandra's good friend Ionuţ and Diana Doroftei's partner and co-author, Matthew Cross.  Please excuse the soft images... the light was dim, the quarters tight, and the wine was flowing.

Loredana and Mia Britka

Our side of the table.

Sandra and Ionuţ

Zoltan and Roxy
Unfortunately, I don't have a shot of Diana Cristea at the table, but she is in the group shot, coming below.  The two Dianas, Loredana, Sandra, Ionuţ, and the three Britkas all broke my rule, and brought cards and presents, and at dessert, everyone sang "Happy Birthday!" to me.  I've never heard so many "La multi ani"s directed at me! Thanks to you all for the presents and memories.
Sandra's Photo of the Balloon Flag
And, I loved the red, blue, and gold "Romanian Flag" balloons provided by the Stamford contingent!

At Cappricio's for dinner with Zoltan Britka, Sandra, Diana Cristea, Loredana Britka, Roxy, Mia Britka, and Diana D.
Roxy stayed with Sandra Wednesday night, while I enjoyed a cool room at La Quinta.  The next morning, we accepted Matt and Diana's invitation to coffee at Zumbach's in New Canaan.

A coincidental juxtaposition?

Roxy and I then drove the four hour trip home in twelve hours, as we had to loop back from the Massachusetts border to recover a left-behind laptop, and had to buy a battery for the Santa Fe, as well.  But experienced road warriors that we are, Roxy and I made it a fun, interesting, and edifying journey.

I awoke Friday in a golden glow of warm emotions, with great feelings for all who had been at the play, at the party and here at home, for my dearly beloved wife Shirl has been most kind in encouraging such adventures, as have Alex McD. and Dan Rusu in helping to watch over HNH in my absences.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Fantastickest of Birthday Parties

Sandra's shot of the "curtain"
This show became New York's longest-running musical.

On Wednesday, 21 August, Roxy Fera (din Sibiu) and I left Campton at 06:15 and drove in my Santa Fe to Stamford, Connecticut, arriving at 11:32 at the home of Sandra Chioralia, PSU MBA '13, (din Târgu Mureş), where Diana Doroftei (din Bârlad) was waiting with her to begin our day of festivities.

We proceeded to Manhattan, parking at a 49th Street garage, crossed to a deli for a to-go sandwich, and walked the short block to the Snapple Theater Complex on 50th to attend the musical "The Fantasticks" in the Jerry Orbach Theater.
Jerry was in the Broadway cast of The Fantasticks, and sings beautifully.
(He also played the father in "Dirty Dancing.")

Jerry Orbach, whom Roxy likes a lot!
This off-Broadway play was causing a sensation in New York back in 1962, when I was a student at Amherst College, and some of its songs I have known for fifty years.  But, though it later moved to Broadway and became the longest-running show in the history of that great theater district, I had never seen it, and did not know much about it, other than that it was about a teenaged girl and her first romance.  However, I knew enough to warn my three lovely Romanian companions not to worry if they caught me weeping during the performance.  Here is A PLAYIST of the songs, can you guess which ones set me to sobbing?

What I had not perceived before Wednesday was that this delightful show shares many staging and costuming characteristics with Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," for which I had served as stage manager of a student production by fellow Amherst types, when delivered at the East End Theater, 84 E. 4th Street, NYC, back in 1964.  The memories flooded back.

What I had also failed to perceive before was that The Fantasticks is not merely a musical comedy, but a touching drama as well, carrying messages for all about parenting, about life, and about truth.

Most of the famous songs from The Fantasticks are in Act I, such as one teaching us that parents should "Never Say NO!"

But the central message of the play comes from Act II, expressed in the reprise (and final verse) of the theme song.  For truly, "Without a hurt, the heart is hollow."  And finally, as I turn 70, I must agree, "Deep in December, it's nice to remember, Although you know, the snow will follow."
Roxy, Sandra, and Diana, with their happy host.
 [I shall soon post pictures of the dinner that we later that evening shared with our friends from among the Romanian diaspora of Connecticut.]

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lost Phone: A Verizon Chat

Please hold for a Support Representative to assist you.
Thank you for contacting Verizon Wireless.

Your Chat Session ID is RT18472011560.

My name is Ebony, how may I assist you?
Duncan: I am on a PrePay Plan bought thru Net10, but using the Verizon Network. I have lost my LG phone. What do I do to prevent its use by the finder? Can I recover its minutes?
Duncan: Hi, Ebony.
Duncan: Beautiful name.
Ebony: Hi Duncan! You would need to contact Net10 to suspend your phone so your minutes are not used up when you replace it with a new device.
Ebony: Thanks!
Duncan: I talked with them for the last 30 mins. They said I needed to contacte Verizon.
Ebony: Hmm, the xxxxxx6124 doesn't come up for me to be able to suspend your service.
Duncan: The phone number is xxxxxx8124. Do you show that number active on your system?
Duncan: I must have mistyped it.
Ebony: Ok, let me try that one
Duncan: Thank you!
Ebony: Nope, the 6033698124 didn't come up for me either in any of my systems
Ebony: Let me contact Net10 for you
Duncan: OK. What do you recommend.
Ebony: One moment please
.[five or six minutes' pause...]
Duncan: Still here...
Ebony: Yes, I'm talking to them now.
Duncan: OK, I shall wait.
Ebony: They are saying they can't transfer the balance to a new phone unless the account is active.
Ebony: I asked her how do they make sure the balance on the lost phone does not get used during that time and she told me to hold on
Ebony: while she consults with a supervisor
Ebony: I'm holding
Duncan: I know that. I have ordered a new SIM card. My job ticket at NET10 is 1075305453. So, all I want to do is to prevent unauthorized use of my lost LG.
Ebony: That's what I'm trying to find out for you. They don't seem to know.
Duncan: Amateurs?
Duncan: LOL
Ebony: Surely others on their service have had that happen previously.
Ebony: It did give me a chuckle
Duncan: Of course. 6,433,907 cell phone3s are lost daily.
Duncan: Precisely.
Duncan: It is a law of nature.
Duncan: I learned it in third grade, in 1951.
Ebony: Ok, they would need you to call 877-836-2368, option 5, option 5 again to get a representative and then they can deactivate it for you so no one can use it. They assured me that the deactivation would not cause you to lose your number.
Duncan: They made us memorize the cell phone laws, such as the probability of dying while texting and driving is 62%, if done over a ten year period.
Duncan: Great. I will try again.
Duncan: Thank you for your time and humor.
Ebony: LOL
Ebony: No problem Duncan! Have a wonderful day and weekend!
Duncan: You too, my dear Ebony!
Duncan: D-out
Ebony: Thanks!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Losing Trot

I can find no simple portraits of Trot, so will let these two pictures, taken during Alexandra's visit of spring, 2012, honor his memory.
Shirl, Trot, and Alexandra (Muțiu)
Trot lived with us since his puppy-hood in 2006.  Yesterday, he was out running on a beautiful Saturday, when he was struck by a car on Route 175.  He was a great dog, a black lab cross, a scamp who always wanted to run loose, and who often bolted past anyone who opened a door to the yard.

We live in the country, though on a well-paved country road where cars often break the 40 mile-per-hour (~60 Kph) speed limit.  It seemed almost cruel to keep Trot tied all the time, so on nice days this summer, we got in the habit of letting him run.

Yesterday, while I was at the market in Plymouth, Trot was out running, headed home from across the road, where some neighbors have a dog with whom he was always friendly.  Trot, running fast, came from between a building and a tree into the path of a car driven by a good man, who immediately stopped, called the police, and reported the accident.  I was at the supermarket in Plymouth when my cell phone rang, and Daniel Rusu, an MBA candidate from Cluj who lives with us, told me Trot had been hit, and was "breathing, but not moving."  On my motorcycle, I rode home as quickly as I could, and found Trot wrapped in a blanket, and lying on his right side on a plywood sheet that those neighbors had provided.  He was breathing, but clearly unconscious.  His tongue lay out on the board, bloody, and not moving.  I petted him, as Roxy Fera and Shirl were also doing.  The police car was protecting Trot from oncoming cars, but, as I could see in the officer's eyes, it was time to move him out of the roadway.  Calls had already been placed to the local animal hospitals, and a call came from Dr. Cody in Plymouth.  He agreed to meet us at his hospital in ten or fifteen minutes.

Roxy brought my Santa Fe around, and we loaded Trot, still on the plywood, into the rear of the car.  Shirl and Danny followed in Dan's car as we drove Trot to the Plymouth Animal Hospital.

Once Trot was in the hospital, Dr. Cody quickly diagnosed his injuries as extensive, including a crushed pelvis and bleeding in both his lungs and his abdomen.  Dr. Cody told us that even if he did everything he could, Trot would probably not survive the night.  After brief consideration of his plight, Shirl and I agreed to have him euthanized.  So, Trot died while still unconscious, avoiding the pain of a crushed pelvis, most likely a blessing.

Trot was an energetic, warmhearted, friendly dog. He did not have a vicious molecule in his body. 

A sad day, indeed.   

Alexandra and Trot at the wood stove.