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Welcome to the last year of the 20th Century (no, we won't subscribe to Millennial Madness for another year). On the eve of the dreaded Y2K, as Muriel and Paul celebrate their third wedding anniversary, and Paul his fifth anniversary with The SETI League, we are pleased to share with you our annual update of happenings.
In addition to our extensive travel and educational challenges, 1999 has been a year of health concerns in our blended household. Thankfully, we end the year with everyone doing well.
Muriel spent much of the past year attending to the medical needs of Curran, who will turn ten in January. Curran's overactive immune system ultimately rejected the Baclofen pump which had been implanted in June of 1998, and last Spring we finally had to have it removed. There followed several months of complications and infections, leading to further surgery in the Summer. He's now well recovered, and has just had surgery to lengthen the muscles in his legs and right arm. He will be in ankle casts for the next month. Throughout all this, Curran remains loving and cheerful. He played Challenger League baseball last season, making him the only athlete in the family. All five boys, however, are now in scouts.
When the Sunshine Foundation offered to grant Curran a wish, his first request was that the snow should fall only on the grass, and not on the streets! (Barring their ability to grant that one, we will probably have to settle for the traditional trek to Disney World next year.)
Erin (now six) started first grade in August. He is reading well above grade level, and would have been considered for placement directly into second grade, had he not fooled around during the required tests (he apparently prefers play to advanced placement.) In this respect, he is no different from his older brothers. He is currently memorizing the names of all 150 Pokemon, in order.
Devin (age 11) is struggling in his first year of Middle School. Although the school district has made numerous accommodations for his diagnosed learning disability, Devin still feels overwhelmed. His greatest pleasures at present seem to be ballet and singing. We enjoyed watching Devin perform in both Copellia and the Nutcracker, and he has an upcoming chorus concert.
At 13, Aubrey has gone through the trauma of his first girlfriend, and his first breakup. Throughout the ordeal he remained surprisingly level-headed (if you overlook the hours spent on the telephone each day). He is our first true teenager, being more emotionally mature than his older brother.
Bryn (now 15) is struggling in his first year of high school (and struggles to get up in the morning.) It remains to be seen whether placing him in Honors courses was a mistake. He does, however, enjoy his chorus and drama classes. They have allowed Bryn to hone his skills as the class clown.
The boys' last surviving grandparent, Marguerite, died in January following a lengthy nursing-home ordeal. We are now in the market for surrogate grandparents -- any volunteers?
Muriel has been fighting kidney problems, and insurance companies, for the past several months. We are relieved that she does not have Polycystic Kidney Disease (as we had feared), and though her occasional kidney cysts are not life-threatening, they are nevertheless painful.
Though we have spent nearly two years living in a construction zone, our dream home has shaped up nicely, with the laundry room, rear deck, and garage storage attic completed in the past year. In the game room, Muriel has networked three computers (seven more can be found scattered around the house.) She is always shopping online for parts to build and maintain still more computers. Paul has his radio telescope up and running, and his lab fully equipped. This place is a palace, and we hope you'll come for a visit. We're easy to find. Just take Interstate 80 to US Route 15, turn north, and go back 100 years.
The boys have been receiving neurofeedback training for their ADHD, impulsivity, and various other symptoms of high intelligence. Muriel has put her degrees in Psychology and Biology to work, along with her computer expertise, and is rapidly becoming a neurofeedback expert. She has attended training workshops and participates actively in a psychophysiology group on the internet. We have applied to the Blue Cross for funding for our very own neurofeedback training device. It remains to be seen whether they will see fit to pay one time for the home trainer, or would prefer to pay considerably more for our ongoing weekly visits to the psychologist.
Travel-wise, Paul and Muriel started the year with a trip to Miami to celebrate Paul's father's 80th birthday. Ben is in good health and spirits, and continues to crank out poetry at an impressive rate.
Paul's professional travels have in the past year brought him back to England, to Vancouver and Hawaii (Muriel went along on both of those trips), and all over the US for lectures and conferences. He was recruited to write a monthly column for Beyond, a new British magazine of (frankly) fringe science. He submitted six columns in advance. The first issue appeared in October and the second has yet to see the light of print (we're not holding our breath, although at least he did get paid.) He's had a few more documentaries air on British, US and Canadian TV, and enjoyed a bizarre four-hour stint on the Art Bell late-night radio talk show.
Muriel and Paul made it to California to attend Andrew's college graduation, a joyous celebration. Andrew is now 22, living in Berlin and pursuing his hip-hop music career. We hope to visit him there next September.
We don't see much of Erika, who at 25 lives in San Francisco and continues to dance up a storm. Erika will be spending the first two months of the new year performing in Germany. She did take her dad for a motorcycle ride on one of his recent visits to San Francisco -- Paul truly appreciates Erika's classic Honda CB350-F, and how well she handles it. Muriel has also passed her motorcycle test. Paul gave her a maroon Honda TwinStar as a reward.
We're leaving for Arizona in a couple of weeks to see Muriel's brother Dan (for the first time in about eleven years). Then as the year unfolds, Paul's off to lecture in India and Sri Lanka, followed by conferences and meetings in Mountain View, Toronto, Long Island, Baltimore, Trenton, Dayton, Green Bank, Winnipeg, Mannheim, Rio de Janeiro, and Portland ME -- with as much time in between as can be stolen to enjoy the house and family. It remains to be seen which trips Muriel and the boys will be able to make. We'll report back next year at this time.
Copyright © H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D.; Maintained by Microcomm
this page last updated 14 June 2007