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March 2011Late, as usual for me, but not so embarrassing late that I refuse to send out a year-end life summary. (Previous years are available here). I always have a good excuse, and this year's is detailed below (see November.)
Paul celebrated 2010 by buying a light sport aircraft (Evektor SportStar), and coming out of retirement (again!) to open a sport aviation flight school (AvSport.org) This required a lot of training, parts acquisition and travel. March 21 was its official grand opening. AvSport gets lots of free publicity/press. Paul is applying his 37 years of experience in academia to developing more efficient flight training methods and curricula. He also spent a month in class in California, to earn his FAA mechanic's certificate. There's a huge market in flying for fun. It appears to be on every man's Bucket List.
I have developed a system for when there's an inequality in savings and the one with money has expensive hobbies. It's called the Hobby (Hubby, in my case,) Tax. Every time he buys a large ticket item for himself, I get 10% of that sum for my hobbies. So he doesn't get any complaints about what he spends. He knows that whatever he buys has a 10% tax on it, buying my assent, as it were. It works great for both of us.
One of the India Institute of Technology campuses paid for Paul to return to India as their featured speaker for a week in February. (A good time to go to the southern hemisphere.) He wasn't home long when he left for a week in California for the AAAS convention. He got to spend time with his family in Northern CA, commuting between there and S. Cal for the convention. He spent time with his sister, Robin, who had a tumor on her adrenal. Sadly, Robin died the day after Mother's Day. We flew out to San Jose to spend time with his parents and her husband in May. It's so hard for a woman to lose a child, even if the child is over 60! Poor Phyllis!
Though not exactly family, we suffered another loss when Paul's best friend Mal was diagnosed with a fast-growing brain tumor the first of August, and died at home three months later. Paul visited him in Berkeley shortly before his death, and had a chance to say goodbye. Mal had just turned 70. He was a brilliant astrophysicist, biotechnology innovator, and gifted flight instructor, who had been like a brother to Paul for three decades.
Erika continues to distinguish herself in the San Francisco arts community, as a prominent choreographer, dancer, and director. Andrew still lives in Berlin, and continues to make innovative music all over Europe and the Middle East. The two of them will be going to Korea together in 2011, to create a new show in collaboration with a Korean dance troupe.
Paul remains active in the International Academy of Astronautics. He went to the conference in Prague in September. While Paul was telling Muriel how safe he felt walking the streets of Prague, a friend of his was having his arm broken in a mugging in the same city! (We communicate by IM and Skype when he's out of the country.) The Academy marked its fiftieth anniversary with a meeting of Academicians in Washington DC in November. Muriel wanted to go but didn't have the energy or stamina. Paul enjoyed staying with his sister and brother-in-law in Chevy Chase that week.
The 2010 elections drew us in. We put up lawn signs. Paul was elected to the County Democratic Committee during the primary. (Muriel and her best friend launched a write-in campaign. He was quite surprised! LOL.) Midterm election results were very disappointing. It's just a shame that people blame Obama for the mess he's been left to clean up. The good thing is everyone (under 50) we know who wanted to work is back to work. I wish I knew the answer to age discrimination. Companies can afford to hire only the best and most healthy, while the rest of us are supported by those small numbers. We found two guys who wanted to do odd jobs and showed up when they promised! Muriel used up her savings, getting things done around the house that had been put off for years. We still have to re-do the kitchen and Curran's bathroom. Soon, the outside of our cedar house should be cleaned and restained. Hopefully, that can wait a few more years.
Last Feb, Muriel had a CT scan with a lot of abnormal findings which required a lot of follow-up exams. Ironically, the kidney that is causing this year's panic, was not flagged as having anything more than her normal cysts in it. A later CT scan in November caused a lot of alarm. It turned out, with 95% certainty, to be a cyst which grew large and then collapsed.
BTW, if you, or a loved one, have fatigue, stabbing stomach pain, gastritis and duodenitis with no explanation, fight your doctor to send you for B12 shots! The edema that Muriel suffered for 10 yrs cleared up along with most of the above because of the B12 injections. Very grateful to the Powers clinic for the B12. Taking large doses of iodine seems to have stopped the unexplained weight gain and calmed the thyroid. The visits that were useless were the endometrial biopsy, breast ultrasounds, muscle EMG and the endocrinologist. Muriel still cries in frustration of not knowing why she's in pain. The dermatologist confirmed Muriel's diagnosis of Dercum's Disease, (AKA adiposa dolorosa, which means 'painful fat!) After 12 weeks on hydroxychloroquine, Muriel's joint pains were much improved. Shockingly, the tendency to tachycardia and skipped beats which she'd had since age 9, disappeared. She suspects she'll have to do the write up on her autoimmune disease and name it Hykes Disease. Aubrey said he'll help but doesn't want a disease named after him. LOL
Curran turned 21 on 30 January 2011. He said he doesn't want to "have to" get drunk. We explained to him that people can drink in moderation. Curran's personal care aide, Karen, was a co-owner of a local bar for many years; she was especially amused. Karen is such a joy. We say everyone should have a Karen. Muriel has her life back and Curran's world is much larger. With her help, Curran's going bowling, square-dancing (with the seniors at Messiah Church,) scanning old photos for us, and hanging out at the Center For Independent Living. Curran started wearing a contact lens this year after a frustration with not being able to get custom sized eyeglass frames. (Everything comes from China in common sizes, no more mix-matching of temples, etc.) He loves his contact and his vision is much better. We're very glad that he doesn't have to get up at 5AM for school anymore! The agency which employs Karen changed in October, requiring more paperwork and meetings than usual, but things are stable now.
Because of the flight school demands, Paul didn't get to judge at local and State Odyssey of the Mind competitions this year, although Muriel did. Right after State OM in April was the state Future Business Leaders of America competition. Erin (then a High School junior) was one of four representatives from Williamsport. He totally loved the freedom to run around Hershey alone! He's been applying to colleges, but enjoys keeping his parents in the dark. He visited Drexel and RIT in the summer. He wants to major in Marketing!!! We have never had any business majors in the family. Well, at least it's not law.
Muriel's brother Dan went back to Alaska in the summer and got out of our hair. The less contact with him, the less stress for Muriel.
In May, we all traveled for a happy reason, Aubrey's graduation (Masters in Bioinformatics) at RIT. Haley (his fiancee) graduated that day as well. The RIT staff is very disability aware. They took us and Curran's walker and dropped us at the door of the auditorium. We strained our eyes looking for Aubrey to be in the procession and to see his name called. We were getting very puzzled when Aubrey rang Muriel's cell phone to ask where we were. It turned out we'd been dropped in front the wrong building! We took pictures and bought the CD of the right ceremony. Afterwards, Aubrey and Haley went out with his father and stepmother while I drove everyone else home. Aubrey started work at University of Pennsylvania Microbiology dept at the beginning of 2011. He is on top of the world and enjoying his FIOS! Their wedding is tentatively set for Oct 8, 2011.
Speaking of weddings, Devin and Samantha (Sam) are still planning theirs. Devin's working phone support for Wall Street Journal online. They live in Corning NY with Sam's parents. Sam is getting an electronic technician degree and has a 4.0 GPA. She also gives A+ hugs. Niece Ariel is getting married in April! Her brother Adam still works in Muncy, and continues to crash his mom's cars.
Bryn is living with us and paying rent. When people bug him about finishing something he started, or getting his life together, he responds with "I'm not into that whole materialism thing." He's perceptive, kind, and wise, so Muriel still counts him as a success. It would be nice, though, to see him become just a little more materialistic. Muriel is sure that when he marries it will be forever.
We only made it to one Science Fiction convention in 2010, Philcon. We were down to Philly again as PSFS guests for one of their meetings. It was great to sit and chat with their active members. I wish we had the money and stamina to go down there more often. Maybe Aubrey and Haley will have a nice cat-free guest room so we can stay overnight. (Right. LOL.)
Getting more organized now that I have larger uninterrupted time. Maybe you will get the 2011 letter before 2012 is too far along!
Love to all,
Copyright © H. Paul Shuch, Ph.D.; Maintained by Microcomm
this page last updated 28 September 2011