Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sweet! Just found this great article about what looks to be a great book called "How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time." It's a book about the defunct teen magazine Sassy, which was my favorite magazine in my younger years. My mom bought it for me in middle school (in hindsight, a very cool move, Mom) and I read it religiously through the end of high school, right about the time it was taken over by corporate America leading to the whole staff being replaced and readers decrying the changes. I'd forgotten how much I loved that magazine until today. :)
One of the fabulous Board members of Teb's Troops gave me some updated figures... namely that Teb's Troops had raised over $100,000 as of last week, and their big event in Indianapolis on Saturday raised another $30,000. So the organization's success is even greater than I portrayed below, and even more worthy of support!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I just sent this out by mass email to pretty much everyone who's ever been in my email address book, but in case I made any typos and missed you:

Rob and I will be running in a 5K this July to support an organization called Teb's Troops. Teb's Troops was founded by a group of law school classmates of Tricia E. Black ("teb") after teb was diagnosed at age 29 with stage IV melanoma in the spring of 2005. Tricia battled the disease for 13 months and passed away in July 2006, leaving behind a husband and a two-year-old son. I met Tricia at age five -- she was a kindergarten carpool mate and grade school friend (to both me and my twin sister Libby). The last time I saw Tricia was in the fall of 2004 at our high school reunion where she was just a couple years out of law school and a beaming new mom.

To date, in less than two years of existence, Teb's Troops is closing in on raising $90,000 to help find a cure for late stage melanoma. The organization is run by very loyal and impressive volunteers, so virtually all of this money has gone directly to the fight against cancer. (Visit for more info.)

Rob and I would love it if you'd make a pledge of support for us in the Teb's Troops 5K. You can do so here at our fundraising website.

And if you're in or near Chicago, definitely consider signing up to run the 5K yourself! You can sign up here.

We'll keep you posted on our fundraising progress (along with the other mundane details of our lives) here on our blog. And even if you can't donate or run with us, please wear sunscreen!

Much love,

Monday, April 23, 2007

We had a really busy weekend, with lots of work on the house and lots of work for work. It was hard getting up for work this morning because I was up so late last night working. Bummer. We also did enough painting this weekend to make us realize that we hate painting, although we are glad to be rid of a significant portion of the mustard-colored walls left by our home's previous owner. Yellow is one of my favorite colors, but the color just didn't work for our place.

Happily, we were able to squeeze in an excellent concert at the last minute, courtesy of Rob's friend Adolfo. A needed break from the paint fumes. Adolfo was emceeing a concert very close to us featuring Los Folkloristas. The music was beautiful - traditional Mexican, Argentinian, Chilean, and Dominican music and more. It definitely put me in a calm state of mind. Maybe too calm. The concert didn't start until 10pm on Saturday and we'd been working all day, so we had to sneak out at 12:15am to go home and go to bed because we were so exhausted.

While our weekend adventures took place, way across the country in Delaware, our nephew Daniel was playing a great couple games of Little League baseball. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have the world's greatest nephews and nieces. I love being an aunt. I can't post the actual pics because they're real news photos from!), so you have to follow the links.

Daniel pitched a perfect one inning, striking out two batters of the three batters he faced! Daniel also batted 3-5 in his two games. Way cool!

Friday, April 20, 2007

And finally... some pictures of Gena's visit to Chicago last weekend, courtesy of Gena. Although not many pictures of Gena herself.

This is Rob's wonderful sister Gena with the equally wonderful Rob. We hit the Chicago nightlife scene on Saturday night. Well, as much as thirty-somethings do.

Earlier in the day, we went to Navy Pier where we all raced toy boats. Here, Rob and I are looking like the total nerds we are while trying to crash our boats into each other.

Awww. Here's me smooching my husband's cheek while out at the bars.

Here are the sisters-in-law. My sister Resa with Rob's sister Gena.

Here's the GIANT drink Resa ordered for the table. Resa is sipping here with her two best friends Steph and Steph.
The thing about having tons of awesome, talented friends is that sometimes they are on tv!

From the AG hearings yesterday. That's our friend Elliot right behind his boss, a Senator. Nice suit and tie combo, Elliot.

One thing I've learned about having an enormous family is that just when you think you know everything about your family, you find out some crazy huge new thing you never would have expected in a million years.

It turns out my cousin Tim, who is about six years older than me, and his wife Kim have been competing in adult figure skating competitions for a little while now. Yup, that's them in the picture. They won their level (the bronze level) at nationals recently. Although there are still a couple levels above them, I'm no less impressed! You can check them out more here. Congrats cousins!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Not much new to report from our end. Work has slowed down a wee bit for me because the court is in recess, but now it's time to catch up on quite a bit of opinion writing. Sixteen opinions to go and counting, if we're keeping track. So while I can get a full night's sleep every night for the next two weeks, which I don't take for granted given the past couple weeks!!, I won't be getting a whole lot more than that. And as always, there will be work on the weekends too. Still, I can't complain because my job rocks and I'm going to be very sad to leave it in August.

The other thing slowing me down right now is my obsession with the news. There's just so much I can't turn away from -- from Virginia Tech, to the Gonzales hearings, to the Supreme Court decisions. Of course I have no comment on the latter two. The Virginia Tech massacre (what a horrible word) is devastating. I remember when the Columbine shooting happened in 1999. I was studying in London, so I didn't have any access to American television, but I read every word of coverage on the internet. I read every detail I could find about the victims' lives. And here I am doing the same thing now. I don't know if I'm desperate for some bigger meaning or just desperate, but either way I'm so saddened for the loss that so many people are suffering. Then there's the news that we just had the deadliest day of the year in Iraq, and it seems like there's not nearly enough good news out there at all.

The one happy thing I can report is that my friend Roxanna set a date for her wedding. So I am currently looking forward to an amazing wedding this September. I really cannot wait.

Oh, and Rob has a trip coming up with his dad. A weekend in Arizona. He promises to take pictures and blog about it. We'll see.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Late last week, Rob and I headed east to the DC area for my Uncle Jon's funeral. It was a very emotional couple days, but the funeral service was very touching and I was grateful to be there. My uncle's two kids -- Anne (age 30), Mike (age 29) -- both spoke, as did my Uncle Jim. All of their words were incredibly moving. Anne's remarks really struck a chord because she spoke about being her father's daughter, about her father being a great writer and lover of words. Then she read such a moving tribute that she had written about her dad and you could really hear my uncle in her words.

My Uncle Jim told the story of the 24 hours before he was shipped out to Vietnam. My Uncle Jon and Uncle Jim were stationed at the same base in the U.S. in my Uncle Jim's last couple weeks before heading overseas. Uncle Jim said that Uncle Jon came to sit with him in the airplane hangar for the final hours before the big departure, but that those hours stretched into the next day as they waited for a fog to lift. Uncle Jim said they just sat silently together until finally it was time to go and Uncle Jon just stood up and smiled at him. My Uncle Jon was always smiling, so the story struck a real chord. You could just picture the moment and understand exactly what it meant to my Uncle Jim.

It was also very nice to see my Uncle Jon's friends show up in droves at the service. I know my cousins in particular were grateful for that. All in all, it was very good to be around family for a couple days. It was calming, although still a bit draining emotionally, and I think all of us there were given a renewed sense of appreciation for family. That is certainly a silver lining of sorts.

I made it back to work on Friday morning for our early morning meeting before the judge's sitting, on about two hours sleep after finishing my final bench memo for the day's arguments at 4am. Needless to say, my emotions were a bit raw from the lack of sleep, so I didn't make it a full day. Luckily, everyone in my office was very sympathetic and kindof just let me be for the day.

This past weekend, on a much happier note, Rob's sister Gena came to visit us. So I'll post some pictures of our weekend in the next day or so. We had a wonderful visit and it couldn't have come at a better time. Just when I needed a weekend to relax and enjoy the moment I got one.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

As little upper, I thought I'd post some pictures from our honeymoon last March. These are among the many photos I only recently downloaded from my camera. :)

We honeymooned in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, thanks to my second parents, David and Nancy. This is a view of downtown PV.

This is a view of our resort from the ocean a little before sunset.

And here's the happy couple at dinner a few steps from the ocean one night. Needless to say, the seafood in PV was amazing.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

With everything that's been going on lately, it was a pleasant surprise to have a nice - if hectic - weekend. My little sister Resa is relatively newly engaged. I can finally post that on this blog because all my relatives who read this and didn't know the news now know the news. Resa and her fiance Nick have been together for two years and we love love love him, so we're very happy to welcome him to the family. Resa and Nick also recently bought a house just a couple miles northwest of us in Chicago - one of those adorable bungalows. There was a lot of work to be done when they moved in, but they are rolling full speed ahead. It's amazing. Rob and I keep looking around at our place, which we moved into way back in December, then looking at Resa and Nick's place, and feeling wildly inadequate. We are hoping to paint our downstairs big, open room in the next few weeks so we'll stop feeling so lazy.

That digression was triggered by the fact that Nick's family was in town this weekend, helping Resa and Nick do some significant work in their kitchen, along with some rewiring. We were happy to be able to pop in to see them a couple times over the last few days. It's very exciting that they'll soon be family. Then Sunday we got to head out to the suburbs to visit some of the Minariks in the area for Easter. It is always fun to watch all of my cousins' kids run around for an afternoon.

The unspoken part of the last several days, and even Sunday really, has been my Uncle Jon. I found an old picture in a photo album I have of my mom and dad, my dad's five brothers, my dad's sister, and my dad's mom. It's clearly from the mid-1970s, so everyone is decked out in awesome outfits. And my Uncle Jon is right there in the middle. I told Rob the other day that I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that my Uncle Jon isn't with us any more. It is still inconceivable. Everything happened so quickly that I never saw him when he was ill. Maybe that would have made it more real.

Most of my family have very deeply held Catholic convictions. So there is a lot of discussion among family members right now about this being the right time for Uncle Jon to die. I wonder if I were Catholic if I'd feel that way. I suppose on some level I can see the logic in that perspective about death, but I can't get myself to subscribe to it personally. I have been lucky not to face the loss of too many loved ones in my life, but never at any of those times have I been able to find peace in the idea that the person had lived all they needed to live. I have always found much injustice in the fact that there was always so much more for that person to experience. That's not to say that the loss of those important to us doesn't end up serving a purpose -- we probably learn more from loss than any other single moments in our lives. But that can't be enough to get to the conclusion that it is the right time for someone to die. That involves a type of belief that I just don't have.

That is the long update on how life is with the recent loss of an uncle, at least for me. I am very sad. I can't even say I miss my uncle because I don't yet understand that he's gone, if that makes any sense at all. But I understand that something is gone, that something is lost, and I am not looking forward to my feelings as this becomes more real.

Rob and I are heading to DC for the funeral in just a couple days. Perhaps that's when it will start to be more real.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

An older picture of Uncle Jon all decked out, on the left.

It's April, but it's snowing here.

Apparently a coyote wandered into a sandwich shop a couple blocks from my downtown office.

And my Uncle Jon, above right, passed away earlier today.

So it's been a pretty weird week, and it's only Wednesday.

My uncle was number three in my dad's family of seven kids; my dad is number four. He is the first member of his generation of M-nariks to pass away, and by my count, it was far too early for us to have to let him go. He is survived by his children (my cousins) Anne and Mike and his long-time companion Ann, along with his mother, five brothers, one sister, three sisters-in-law, 21 nieces and nephews (assuming all my math is right), and many more great-nieces and great-nephews. I don't really have a description for how I feel, except that I feel selfish for feeling bad myself because I am sure the grief of my cousins, my dad, my grandma, my uncles, my aunts is much worse to bear. Suffice to say, it is an enormous loss.

I am in the middle of my generation of cousins, so it struck me that my youngest cousins will now be growing up without one of their uncles. My aunts and uncles have played a huge role in my life for as long as I can remember, and even though they have often teased me to no end, especially about my un-M-narik-like liberal views of the world, each one of them has always been uniquely important to me.

The good news is that, despite a week long hospital stay and some very serious problems, my Uncle Jon was awake and himself this morning. I'm not sure how much speaking he could do, but my Uncle Tom relayed to the rest of the family that Uncle Jon was able to communicate a few things this morning to my dad, who was at the hospital, with thumbs up and thumbs down signals. Including, "The Indians this season?" Thumbs up. "The Yankees?" Thumbs down. So it's nice that the Indians squeaked out a win this afternoon.

Anyway, if you're reading this and I've ignored your phone call today after you heard my news, I appreciate the call and I'll call back soon. :)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It's not really up to me to post the details of my loved ones' lives, but it's worth sharing that a relative of mine (not in my immediate family) has been in the hospital the past few days with a fairly grim prognosis. These health problems have come as quite a surprise to most of the family and we are all very worried. To the extent anyone reading this has some time to think some postive thoughts, they would be very welcome.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Whoo hoo!!!! The Indians are undefeated so far this season!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

So long NCAA pool... it was great while it lasted.

I was feeling pretty good heading into the weekend. My co-clerks and I had submitted a joint entry into the Seventh Circuit clerk pool and we had three of the Final Four teams right. We had Ohio State heading to the final game, so their win last night was great. But then came game #2. Not only did we have UCLA winning that game, but we had UCLA winning the championship. An Ohio State-UCLA final game would have locked us into the top three, but thanks to UCLA's stumble, we're destined for the middle. Alas. I still feel smart for picking Georgetown to make it to the Final Four, but even more bummed now that Oregon didn't pull the upset over Florida in the Elite Eight as we hoped.

It's been an uneventful weekend other than that. My court is currently in session for two more weeks, which means the weekend was full of lots of bench memo writing. I did take a break last night so Rob and I could have dinner with Resa and Nick. Then Rob and I came home and watched the movie "The Last Kiss." I think it was good. Kindof. But it painted quite a bleak picture of coupledom. A bit too depressing without any catharsis or even understanding... so it wasn't really Rob's or my cup of tea.