2019 Holidays

Happy Holidays 2019

Welcome to the 30th (what??) annual Rose Family Christmas Letter! It’s going out late this year because Eileen’s mom Nell has had a series of health crises throughout December, and the writing has always been a team effort. Loch is now on vacation and has volunteered to take on a larger share of the task, which works for both of us, because it makes him seem noble, and if the letter turns out not to be up to the usual standards, Eileen has someone to blame.

This was a year of individual development more than one of family togetherness. We took no trips this year, but we all derived satisfaction from achieving some personal goals in 2019.

A true highlight of the year occurred when Spencer graduated with his MFA degree in Composition for the Screen from Columbia College Chicago. He donned a robe with a colorful hood and fancy long sleeves and received his degree in person, which delighted his family because his bachelor’s degree arrived by mail. Seeing a child who struggled through primary and secondary school ultimately earn a master’s degree was a particularly proud moment for all of us. Here is a short video of one of his senior compositions being performed by a live studio orchestra; Spencer says that while he is nominally conducting the orchestra, they are really conducting themselves.

Spencer then began an internship with Mint Potion, a video game composition firm in L.A., and got to attend seminars with prominent industry composers in Hollywood as part of the final “semester” of the MFA program. A highlight was having one of his compositions, Hologram, played by the 60-piece 20th Century Fox film scoring orchestra:

He decided to stay in Santa Clarita to continue his internship, with the goal of learning enough to be offered a job. While in residence there, he was treated to two earthquakes and a wildfire visible from his backyard, and concluded that while Chicago has climate issues, California seems to have more to offer in the natural disaster department. He spent 8 months of 2019 in southern California, and he intends to return in January—his 2020 goals are to find paid employment for doing what he most loves (video game composing), and to have health insurance where he actually lives (alarmingly, his is only good in Illinois). Another proud moment occurred at the start of 2019 when he won his Fantasy Football League championship.

Maisie continues to pursue her passion for performing. This was compellingly demonstrated during one of her last performances as Tracy in Hairspray last December when she managed to perform for an entire show with a full-blown case of the stomach flu. In February, she accomplished her 2019 goal by signing with a talent agency in Chicago, DDO Artists Agency. During the year, she played the titular character in Pinkalicious, the quirky sidekick in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and just finished playing the titular role in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Due to the marvels of copyright, most of her performances go unrecorded, but we can now at least show you a high-quality video of her performance of Let It Go from Frozen at the mcubed concert in 2018:

We can also offer a grainy but still enjoyable video of her performance of a song from Urinetown at a benefit in Highland Park:

To support herself, she picked up a job selling eyeglasses at Warby Parker (and has enjoyed the perk of acquiring 12 pairs herself thanks to free pairs, employee discounts and the excuse that the company wants their staff to model as many styles as possible), as well as continuing her standardized patient work at Northwestern, where she pretends to be sick to help train 2nd and 3rd year medical students become better clinicians. In 2019, thanks to her agent, she went on many auditions for voice overs and on-camera film and TV work-- her goal for 2020 is to expand her performing horizons by booking an acting job that isn’t in musical theatre.

Liam was excited to realize both that he is on track to graduate on schedule in June 2020, and that if he keeps up the good work he will graduate with honors. To the right you can see a work-in-progress example of a 3D model that he was building as part of a team project for his major:

Living in an apartment has been a good education for him and his self-sufficiency has notably improved. He achieved a goal of sorts for 2019 when he turned 21 in June thereby becoming the last member of our family to attain the status of a legal consumer of alcohol. Being a rule-following sort, he did no experimental drinking before his 21st birthday, having no temptation to drink beer in college as it is not gluten free, but drained a glass of rosé wine with gusto at his 21st birthday dinner. While “rosé all day” cannot quite be said to be his new motto, he now wants a glass every time we go to a restaurant. Gaming is still his passion, and his college major is game design, but we are not convinced that he will be able to make a career of it. His goal for 2020 is to graduate and find a job, while basing himself at home. He has floated the idea of going off to Japan to teach English post-graduation, to the chagrin of his mother given that he speaks no Japanese--stay tuned.

Eileen’s year consisted of the usual attempt to balance caring for her two aging parents and putting in the sweat equity to help her vintage resale businesses flourish. Our big accomplishment this year was moving her mom Nell to memory care in July, and then her dad Jim to a smaller apartment in independent living—a much better arrangement for them both—though Jim still spends a lot of time with Nell as they are in the same building. Jim turned 92 in February, walks more slowly now and has been battling failing vision, but his hearing is still perfect, and he doesn’t have dementia. At 90, Nell has advancing dementia, is blind in one eye, and extremely deaf. In early December she was hospitalized with a UTI and suspected pneumonia, sent home two days later, then re-hospitalized a week later with a terrible cough and wheezing, along with unexplained severe anemia. She is not an ideal patient—she often can’t remember or understand why she is receiving treatments or help—and due to her myriad health problems, she was sent home on Christmas Eve as a hospice patient. Impressively through all of this, she still recognizes Eileen every time she visits, though now occasionally calls her Maisie—Eileen feels flattered to be mistaken for a 25-year old.

Eileen’s goal for 2019 was to become more adept at using social media to promote her business, and this led her to discover a great and abiding love for Instagram. It’s the perfect format for connecting with the large and supportive community of other vintage-lovers, and she managed, by posting diligently all year, to grow from 20 to 700 followers, while promoting her antique mall booths, and (don’t tell Loch) finding some amazing items to add to her personal collections from sellers who sell direct on IG. If you’re interested in following her vintage exploits, her Instagram handle is @stuffandnonsense503. One unanticipated benefit of her frequent pilgrimages to estate sales, thrift stores and flea markets is the opportunity to press any child (read: son) who happens to be at home into service as her personal porter, which will likely do more towards getting the nest permanently empty than anything else we’ve tried. In 2020 her goal is to be more attentive to caring for herself, a task that has been woefully neglected due to all the other demands on her time and attention.

Loch continues to spend too much of his time working, though it did pay off as he helped his company to sell itself for $4.4 billion, and in fact he was one of those asked to represent the company in meetings with potential investors. Now part of Publicis, a leading global ad agency holding company, his company is busy reinventing itself once again. Since the acquisition he has contributed to pitches to small, obscure companies like Disney and Walmart, the latter of which took him to a meeting with the CEO in Bentonville, Arkansas, which turns out to be a very tidied-up version of a small American town. At home, he has come to believe that improving the soil will help our garden to flourish, despite the usual challenges of shade, deer and drought, and he spent the latter half of the year working on it. His non-work goals for 2020 are to see the garden flourish as intended and to take an actual vacation during the summer. As the builder of this holiday website, he hopes that you enjoyed it!

Despite our implying that Loch wrote this letter,

Turns out Eileen found time to help make it better.

We hope that you’ve had a productive Old Year:

Best Wishes to All as the New one draws near!