2013 Season’s Greetings

2013 Season’s greetings from the San Jose Ross family

We hope you are having a lovely Christmas and Holiday Season.  For us, 2013 marked the end of a magnificent era … and featured many events and milestones for which we are very grateful.

Mike’s mom died in her sleep on April 5 after her long decline with dementia.  She was happy to the end. Her wit, hospitality and embrace of innovation was a powerful inspiration to us all. The entire Ross family, with spouses and their children and grandchildren, gathered for her memorial service in Fremont, Ohio. In October, most of her children (and one grandchild) attended the Oral History Association’s national meeting,  which had a session in her honor. We know her spirit is enlivening all those near her celestial repose, as our memories of her encourage us here on Earth.

Mike’s dad celebrated his 90th birthday in August. He is healthy and enjoying his life with Mike’s sister and her husband in Fremont, Ohio.

Lilian’s mom had two successful knee-replacement surgeries this year. Lilian traveled to Malaysia for two weeks in December to help with her recovery from the second. Lilian also arranged for a hearing test; now with hearing aids her mom is enjoying the many sounds she’d been missing.

Most of the Rosses began the year in Honolulu, celebrating Mike’s niece’s lovely January 3rd wedding: Joanna Lees to Bobby Snyder. Rainbows and revelry abounded; we consumed much poke, musubi, udon and Spam.

In September, Mike & Lilian reveled in the company of his first cousin, Carol Nieman of Tampa, Florida, and her friends at her son Joel’s marriage to Shannon Greenley in a lovely Sierra Foothills setting.

EMILY had a momentous year, with a second National Science Foundation-funded National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network summer internship, this time at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan. She enjoyed learning new materials characterization techniques, experiencing many aspects of Japanese cultural and traveling throughout Japan with the other American interns. Highlights included wearing a kimono, climbing Mt. Fuji, riding the bullet train, visiting the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb memorial and eating Kobe Beef.

Now halfway through her senior year at Harvey Mudd, majoring in engineering with concentration in materials science, Emily is weighing her postgraduate options.  She’s going to work for a year or so before deciding whether to enter graduate school. She’s applying for jobs with nanodeposition companies and is also intrigued by the possibilities with a Silicon Valley patent law firm.

Emily still sings with The Claremont Shades a cappella group and gave a stunning solo performance of Adele’s “Hometown Glory” at this year’s Southern California A cappella Music Festival (SCAMFest), which Shades hosts annually at Pomona College.

She has also been active with the Dean of Students’ “DOS Muchachos” event organizers and worked as a campus tour guide and in the admissions office.

PHILIP had a very successful senior year at Lincoln High School and is now a freshman at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. He’s majoring in computer science and software engineering. He’s enjoying the independence and personal responsibility that college brings. He got good grades and had fun winning the campus-wide game of “Assassin,” which is played with nerf guns.

Musically, 2012 was also momentous for Phil. In his last semester at Lincoln, he was the lead drummer for the school’s bands, orchestras, choirs and musical theatre performances. Philip  was named Outstanding Student in Jazz Band and also won one of two David Schramm Scholarships. He volunteered at DRUM! Magazine’s fantastic Drum Night in San Jose in August. Philip is a active percussionist at Rose, too. Mike & Lilian saw him play in three different groups during Parents Weekend in early November: snare drum for the pep band at the football game, drumset with the jazz band at dinner and tympani in the pit for the musical “Jekyl & Hyde.”

(Click link to see/hear highlights from  Philip’s Three-Gig Saturday at Rose-Hulman 2013 Fall Parents’ Weekend)

LILIAN is now in her third year working in the Vascular Access unit at Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, after more than 20 years in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit. In this unit, she inserts intravenous (IV) and “peripherally inserted central catheter” (PICC) lines with the aid of ultrasound imaging. The patients receive their medications through these lines, instead of by repeated syringe/needle shots. To learn more about this emerging field, Lilian attended a conference in Nashville and several classes in Sacramento.

Two of Lilian’s convent school classmates visited this year: Swee Cheng came in May from Singapore, and Beng Choo and her sister came in September from Melbourne, Australia.

Always creative in spare time, Lilian made numerous pieces of jewelry for herself and friends. These included gorgeous pendants for each of the Ross women sliced from a beautiful pink rhodochrosite stone that Mike’s cousin Carol Nieman had saved from their grandfather’s collection. She also made her first glass bowl and garden sphere at a local glass blowing studio.

MIKE, although retired from IBM, is now working five days a week, as he accepted an offer to help HGST, the descendants of the IBM hard-disk drive business, and write material for their new “Science of Storage” website. The  other three weekdays he’s reporting on world-class science being conducted at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Among his top 2013 stories were reports on a new lithium-ion flow battery, accelerator on a chip and an atom-thick form of tin, called “stanene,” predicted to conduct electricity perfectly above room temperature.

Ever the fan of his alma mater, Mike watched the Rice women’s tennis team compete in the NCAA tournament at Stanford in May and the men’s basketball play at Santa Clara in November, and in December arranged local “watch parties” for Rice’s Conference-USA football title victory over Marshall and the Owls’ New Year’s Eve Liberty Bowl game against Mississippi State. He continues to conduct alumni interviews of local Rice applicants and helps at several college information sessions.

San Francisco Specials this year included a) Mike watching an America’s Cup race on San Francisco Bay, fulfilling a dream he’d had since writing about two Livermore Lab scientists who’d aided an innovative 1986 San Francisco-based challenger, and b) Mike & Lilian seeing “Beach Blanket Babylon,” thanks to free tickets he won on Facebook.

In food and garden news, Mike did a little more gardening this year, planting nine heirloom tomato varieties propagated by a neighbor. We enjoyed the salads and a luscious tomato jam from that bounty. Mike’s also been active in the kitchen, making  Three-Citrus Marmalade and Shaker Lemon Pie with our Meyer lemons. Lilian also make several batches of Lime Marmelade using fruit from a friend’s tree. During one trip to Rose-Hulman, we discovered Indiana’s official state pie: Sugar Cream Pie, which is as delicious as it is simple to make at home. Mike also bought a smoker this year and is learning how to use it to make delicious ribs and other delectable treats.

We wish you all a very merry holiday season, and a fabulous 2014. Please visit us when you’re in the Bay Area. Contact us at mikeross2@prodigy.net (www.facebook.com/mike.ross1) & lilianross@ hotmail.com (www.facebook.com/lilian.ross.50).

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