Happy Holidays 2021

We’re being a bit briefer this year, because it feels as if the world is in a holding pattern, and we are no exception.

Liam graduated from DePaul last June in the midst of the pandemic, and took a little break to decompress. Finding that remote work is flourishing, and remembering that his skills include his staggering 100 WPM typing speed, he signed up with a temp agency and began a remote job in April. The work was undemanding and led to a much healthier bank balance by the time his contract ended in November, so he hopes to pick up another contract soon. He has continued to develop his digital art skills on the side (we have included an early example), and spends much of his time focused on (greatly) outdoing Loch as an over-the-top Chicago Bears fan (a demoralizing avocation, to be sure).

Maisie moved into her own apartment on the Near North Side of Chicago in May, and, along with her cat Finley, has been loving both the independence and the location. The shutdown regrettably forced her to suspend her endeavors in theatre, so in June she accepted a full-time position at ShopRunner, where she had worked as a contractor since August 2020. She began taking on multiple projects in other departments which, in combination with a course in User Experience Design, has left her quite stressfully overloaded. She expects it to calm down post-holidays, and is looking forward to applying for jobs in UX Design next year. She is the only one of us who traveled this year, to Cancún in August for “cousin” Ian Coley’s wedding, and to Disney World in November.


Finley, in Maisie's apartment

This is Oliver, who views Spencer as his primary meal ticket

Spencer has for now been unable to resume his music composition work remotely and thus has reluctantly followed his brother’s path to a remote office job. He currently works for a company that administers health benefits, and has progressed to the point where they are having him train other new recruits. He took the lead in setting up a family movie night on Saturdays; we take turns choosing the movie, though Eileen usually prefers to read and opts out. Thanks to Japanophiles Spencer and Liam, Loch has seen at least five times as many anime movies in the last 6 months as he had seen in the previous 65 years.

We lost Eileen’s mother early in 2021. Her health had been on the decline throughout 2020 after a bout of pneumonia in late 2019, plus the effects of her ever-advancing dementia. Due to Covid, Eileen was not allowed to see her in person for many months until one last visit, in full PPE, in late January, at which point Nell was not fully conscious. Fortunately, Eileen’s father Jim, vaccinated by early February, was allowed to spend Nell’s last days sitting by her side. She passed away on February 17 at the age of 91. Happily, Jim, who will turn 95 in two months, has weathered this loss, and the many lockdowns in his senior living facility, in good spirits and good health. He has an amazing caregiver, Martha Amador, and we have even managed a few full-family hangouts after all were vaccinated.

Eileen has continued with her vintage resale business, Stuff and Nonsense Vintage Goods. The antique mall where she has booths was open the entire year thanks to Illinois’s data-responsive Covid mitigations. Once fully vaccinated in March, she got back to sourcing merchandise at thrift stores and estate sales. Business has been brisk all year, no supply chain issues in the vintage world! Check her out on Instagram, @stuffandnonsense503.

Loch continues to work too hard, with Saturday as much of a workday as the weekdays. His company (Epsilon) had a great year, but fast-changing privacy legislation and the responses by Apple and Google have meant a lot of adaptation and changes to the industry. He managed to complete a backyard landscaping project, replacing the plants that have struggled under the constant assault of our local deer with more deer-resistant varieties, and is looking forward to seeing the results in the spring (certainly nothing exciting at this point - see below!).

Breaking News: we bought our first new car in 13 years, a 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. We’re still getting used to new-fangled innovations like keyless ignition, synced GPS, and decent mileage.

This year it was tempting to not write a letter

Since little has happened—but then what seemed better

Was trying with effort to keep our report

Somewhat streamlined and uncustomarily short.

This included the need to dispense with the poem

We have always appended to news from our home.

So instead, we’ll conclude without trying to rhyme:

Season’s Greetings, y’all! And Best Wishes for 2022!