Thursday, May 31, 2007

Totally stealing blog ideas here...

I've pretty much stolen this post from a friend's blog. There's a new (new-ish?) networking site that's focused on books! Awesome! So check out Good Reads and create a profile for yourself so I can learn all about the books you love. Seriously! I never know what to read next, and now I can just steal book reading ideas like I'm stealing this blog post idea. Whoo hoo!

On Good Reads, you can add all the books you've read (seriously), write reviews, add the books you're currently reading or hope to read, and look at all the books your smart friends think are amazing. You can check out my profile here. And I highly recommend the recommendations of my co-clerk Peter, who is one of my "friends" on the site. He knows more about books than anyone I've ever met.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lots of Near Misses

Our holiday weekend seemed to be marked with lots of near misses with fun. Most of this was my fault as I spent the bulk of the weekend working, and much of the rest of the weekend under the weather. So Rob spent most of his weekend just keeping me company. Throw in some car issues on the side, and we ended up missing just about everything we planned. Saturday night we went out for a dinner and a movie date, with plans to meet our friends Ali and Eddie at a nearby bar when the movie was done. But with me feeling under the weather, we ended up heading home once the movie was done. Sunday we were hoping to head out to my aunt and uncle's house for their monthly family birthday gathering. But I was still feeling lousy and staring down a pile of work needing to be finished by Monday. The pile didn't end until about 1am... due mainly to my inability to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time... so we never got out the door. With most of my work done, we planned on Monday to spend the afternoon at our friends' Kate and Chris's BBQ. But car issues bogged us down until dinner time. So we missed just about everyone we wanted to see this weekend.

We finally were able to jump in a cab and head to my sister's for dinner on Monday night, which included two lively rounds of Apples to Apples with some of Resa and Nick's friends as well. It's a very fun game, especially when your friends like to argue. Shockingly my sister and I both have lots of argument-loving friends. :) I'd like to think the game is mainly about luck, but I'm really terrible at it while Rob's consistently amazing at it. People always pick his cards. I'm not sure what to make of that.

Anyway, for everyone we missed this weekend, we are lame, we know. We really know.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Heartwrenching Piece from the Post Today

This piece really affected me. I think it would strike a chord with most people regardless of their thoughts on the war in Iraq.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mega Match!

More often than not, Rob and I are feeling lazy on Saturdays. We wake up late and even then we want to veg out for a few hours before starting our day. Thankfully, the game show Mega Match is on every Saturday morning at 11am, and wow is it awesome. I think it's on the Telefutura channel. I actually first saw it in Mexico when I was vacationing in Cancun with my mom in 2002 and had regularly described it to Rob ever since as one of the most awesome things I'd ever seen. Recently, Rob heard someone else talking about it, who mentioned that it's aired on Saturday mornings. I was thrilled, to say the least! It's in Spanish, so while Rob understands a decent amount of what the announcers are saying, I'm mostly at a loss.

You really don't need to understand the language to be entertained, though. It's a bit like that old kids' show Double Dare, except it's all about the stunts and it's college students or (I think) families competing. (But there might be different versions, as the one in Mexico had a different final round than the one we watch here.) No matter because every show has made us laugh so hard we cry. The stunts are simplistic but brilliantly comical. I'd try to describe some of them but I'd do them no justice. In words, they sound horribly lame. So just trust me, and if you're ever bored at 11am on Saturday morning, turn on Mega Match. I promise you will love it. I think the show started in Venezuela, which only increases my affection for the country that produced the greatest defensive shortstop ever to play in Major League ball.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lean Cuisine Challenge, Post No. 1

An integral part of Operation Portugal involves serious starvation. Starvation may be a strong word, but for those who know me, I am an eater. I love food. I obsess about it. Even eating food involves plots, codas, stanzas, and final acts. My mother was an amazing cook, so my addiction was well "fed" from the get go.

But now I find myself comfortably north of 30, and my once insane metabolism has decided to become... lazy. So my food obsession is in need of an overhaul. That is where the Lean Cuisine comes in to play. If you haven't tried them lately, you should. They have every variation of food imaginable... in portions smaller than most elementary schools serve. What I have learned in my brief love affair with the Lean Cuisine is I used to eat WAY TOO MUCH FOOD.

Here is how the "diet", or as I like to call it, "life change" works. Katherine and I eat a small breakfast (1 packet of oatmeal for me, similar size bfast for K), 1 LC for lunch, one LC for dinner w/ a side of vegetables. All cravings are satisfied with a Diet A&W or Diet Sunkist (diet sodas have come a long way people). My caloric intake for the day is usually around 1200. With the treadmill, that means I'm only consuming between 900 and 1000 calories a day. I do get hungry, but the pounds fly off! What's more, I'm training by body to accept the correct amount of food. I sit at a desk all day, I don't need much "fuel" to do that. The upside to this is I take the weekends off a bit. I still eat a small breakfast and small lunch, but I'm much less critical of what I eat in the evening. I eat what I want, but never finish my plate. This becomes much easier to do once your stomach shrinks. Then when Monday comes around, it's back to normal.

I know some of you are thinking this diet is crazy (I'm being very presumptuous here, I know we don't have that many readers). But my coworker and his partner have been doing a variation of this diet since Jan 1 and they have lost almost 40 pounds each (they also incorporate Lean Pockets with his LC's). Plus, for those of you who work as much as K and I do, you seldom have time to cook a large meal. Popping the LC in the microwave makes "cooking" dinner a snap.

I'll be charting my progress over the course of the summer. Right now I've lost 4.5 pounds since last Monday. If you want to join the challenge, post your progress as a comment to my LC Challenge posts, so we can all keep each other motivated!

Word of caution - you will be hungry the first week. But it subsides. No really, it does!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Operation Portugal is a Go

Rob and I are heading to London and then Portugal for 11 days a few days after my clerkship wraps up in August. The problem is that when we get there, we don't want to be the out-of-shape Americans that we currently are. Being married to an awesome cook like Rob can be hazardous to your waistline. So we've launched a plan that involves lots of healthy eating, massive cuts to our regular snacking ways, and a new treadmill. Today our treadmill arrived after much ado and eight phone calls to Sears (see super long story below). The treadmill is currently parked right in our living room by the television because we know ourselves, and we know real exercise is only going to happen in close proximity to the television, which we love.

As happy as we are with the treadmill -- we both got 2+ miles out of it tonight -- I can't really recommend buying anything at Sears that involves delivery. We were supposed to get a phone call yesterday telling us the treadmill delivery window today, but instead we got an automated message telling us our treadmill was available for pickup. Um, what? So I called the delivery phone number on our receipt. They had no record of us at all and told me to call the store. I call the store, play fun games of press-the-number even though none of my choices were something useful like "Customer Service." I finally get to an operator who expresses sympathy with my plight. She says she'll transfer me to the right person. A couple clicks and the line is ringing, ringing, ringing [insert two minutes of ringing here] and then I'm bizarrely back to the opening message, which promptly hangs up on me. Again, um, what? That scenario repeats itself three more times, with each interaction with the operator growing more testy as I beg not to be transferred to some place where no one will answer the phone.

The last time, the operator gives me a special national customer service problem line "for this type of thing." Wow, I thought, this happens so often that you have a special phone line dedicated for it when really if those people were just staffed out to the original ringing, ringing, ringing lines there'd be no need for the special line. So after I'm transferred into never-never land again, I call the magic number. I explain myself again when I get someone on the phone. He calls the store and connects me directly to someone he promises will help me. Finally. I speak to a woman who asks what I need. Apparently she had no idea. I explain and she tells me she'll get a manager. She comes back and says the manager will have to call me back because she's in a meeting. I flip out a little at this point and insist someone help me. The woman says she'll look up my receipt number, but a few minutes later tells me "the system is down." So I'm stuck waiting for the manager. I don't hang up without assurances that the manager will call within an hour.

One hour and fifteen minutes later I call the magic number again. I explain everything again. She asks for my phone number and then tells me rather snippily, "There's no record you've called here at all today." A little more flipping out and she says she'll try to get someone for me to talk to at the store. She comes back after several minutes on hold with the phone numbers for NordicTrack (we bought a NordicTrack). I ask what they can possibly do. She says, "Well, you bought a NordicTrack at Sears, so any problems you have with the merchandise go through them. They provide the warranty." I ask what on earth this has to do with a warranty -- my product isn't defective, it's not delivered, and I paid Sears for that, not NordicTrack. I tell her if I get sent on one more wild goose chase I will call my credit card company and ask them to reverse the transaction because Sears refuses to give me the merchandise I bought. I'm on hold again.

A couple minutes later a man's voice asks if he can help me. I ask who he is, expecting NordicTrack, or maybe the North Pole. He says he's with the Sears extended warranty department. Oh my. I tell him I need nothing from him. Not only do I not have an extended warranty, I don't even have my merchandise. He starts to reply when a woman's voice comes on the line. She's at the Sears where I bought the treadmill and she says "I'm looking at your treadmill right now. What time was your delivery scheduled?" I wonder briefly if the warranty man is still there, but don't really care either way, and then before I can reply to the local Sears woman the operator from the magic number is back saying, "This woman will help you now." Whoa! Was the magic operator there the whole time? Were was she?

So now it's just me and the local Sears woman. She says the treadmill can't be delivered today but she's going to find out what time tomorrow for me. She needs to call her delivery person and call me right back. I risk it and lo and behold, she actually calls me back 15 minutes later. She says she can't reach her delivery guy, but as soon as he calls her back, she'll call me back instantaneously. Twenty minutes later my cell phone rings. Local Sears woman had been calling my office phone, but they also have my cell number. Since the call is from a Chicago number, I answer. It's the delivery guy. He says he is heading to the store right away and can be at my house in 90 minutes. Awesome, except I'm not at home. So I scramble to grab some work to take home, worried that even if I go home, nothing will come because the store woman will tell the delivery guy to wait until tomorrow. Minutes later the store woman calls back. Her keeping her promises is putting me in a better mood. I tell her I just talked to the delivery guy and he's coming today. She says good, she was going to ask me if that was okay. I tell her yes, it is, but I want the delivery charge taken off my bill. She says, "I have to transfer you to a manager." Uh oh. I'm on hold again for a couple minutes, and then the line goes dead. Shocking.

Not wanting to miss my treadmill, I run out to catch a cab. I'm home thirty minutes when the delivery guy calls and says he's outside. I'm in disbelief, but he is indeed and my treadmill is inside our house about ten minutes later. I run back out the door and jump in a cab back to work. (Thirty bucks in cab money for the round trip that I was not happy to have to pay today.) I return to my office and have a message from the Sears manager giving me her direct number. Wow. So hopefully I'll reach her tomorrow. In the mean time, I'm just happy that phase three of Operation Portugal is finally a GO!

14-Year-Old Girl Wins Geography Bee

This has nothing to do with me or Rob, but this girl looks so exhausted yet pleased post-victory, it's awesome. Plus she said this after winning:

"I don't know why more girls aren't interested in geography. I wanted a girl winner this year."

Love it. Apparently she was the first girl to win the Geography Bee in 16 years. You go girl!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Another Day, Another Bar...

No, not that kind of bar. :)

I, along with 20 other Seventh Circuit clerks, got sworn into our Circuit's Bar today. It was right before an en banc sitting of our court, which is the only en banc sitting we've had all year. So now I'm licensed to argue cases in front of the Seventh Circuit. Probably won't be doing that any time soon, but a nice thing to have in my back pocket nonetheless. Rob snuck out of work to come watch, even though he joked he wouldn't come unless he got to make the motion. My dad also came for the very brief ceremony. He was coming to Chicago tomorrow, so he decided to come early to see me get sworn in. Very cool.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Work is Too Busy

Not much time to post these days. Work kept me crazy busy through the whole weekend, even though Rob's friend Peter was in Chicago visiting, which was a great distraction.

In the mean time, I am happy to report that the plant Rob and I purchased several weeks ago is still alive and is showing no signs of dying. This is pretty huge for us. Maybe one day we can get a pet.

And in other news, Rob went out without me late Thursday night post-Wonka Ball (more on that to come) because, yes, I had to go home and do more work. Friday night we were hanging out with the same folks (two of Peter's friends who Rob and I just met on Thursday). One of those friends, Lisa, said to me about Rob, "I have never heard a husband speak so highly of his wife as Rob did last night." I was kindof flustered and replied something lame like, "Awww, well, it's very mutual." Then she said, "No, really. It was very impressive and very refreshing." Well, shucks! How sweet is that? When I relayed the story to Rob he just said, "Well, I don't exaggerate, I just talk about you. And that should be standard behavior for husbands." How awesome is my husband? It totally made my week!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ginger Peach Tea

Just in case you've never had it, ginger peach tea is the best tea on the planet. So good. So good. Especially if you like milk or cream in your tea. No sugar necessary.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Some Updates

First, I have to say another huge thank you to everyone who has donated money in support of our running the Teb's Troops 5K this July. We are now over $800 in donations and I'm really floored by the generosity of our friends and family! Thank you all so much! We're well on our way to blowing past our goal.

Second, we added a link on the left to the blog of an exceptional writer, who just happens to be our friend Chris. So if you ever need to procrastinate, his blog is updated much more frequently than ours and not only does he actually have substantive things to say, but he's also less verbose. Quite a feat. Or maybe not.

Not much more to say from our end though. We had a nice weekend hanging out celebrating Emily's birthday on Friday -- although she made us feel old because she's a few birthdays behind us. Then on Saturday we had fun catching up with my friend Danielle, who is newly settled in Chicago. I have some pictures from Friday and eventually I'll catch up on posting pictures. I lost the cord to download pictures from my camera to my computer and have yet to buy a new one, which is why I'm all talk about posting pictures these days.

Tonight we did take some time out to watch the Bulls take another step away from the edge of the cliff in their playoff series. Go Bulls (except when playing the Pacers)! Then we watched the series finale of Gilmore Girls, which is one of Rob's and my favorite shows. Truly love it. The thermos line made both of us snort. And I admit, I got a little teary-eyed when (spoiler alert) Lorelai and Luke reunited. Yea! Yea! I'm way too empathetic with my favorite television characters, so the whole thing makes writing a bench memo right now (um, yeah, 11pm) seem like such a let down. Ah well.

Pictures coming soon, I swear.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Our five nieces and nephews at various levels of enthusiasm while celebrating Easter at Nordstrom's where they got to meet the Easter Bunny. (Those would be bunny ears on their heads.) Have I mentioned that we have the best nieces and nephews ever? I wish we weren't so far away!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Another Great Organization

I recently got an update from an old college friend, Jamie. In our email exchange he let me know that his cousin Lizzie, who also went to Penn with us, passed away from late stage breast cancer after a five-month battle with the disease two years ago. She was just 31 years old, months away from finishing her JD, working full-time, happily married, and a new mom to a baby girl. I didn't know Lizzie very well, as I only met her a handful of times. But I remember her well because she was just that impressive.

When I find out news like this, I have this voice in my head that starts saying "That's so unfair!," which was my standard complaint as a kid. Then I hear my dad's voice saying "Tough. Life's not fair," which he always said when I would complain about the unfairness of one of my sisters getting to sit in the front seat or some other silly privilege. I would get so annoyed at my dad for saying that. At some point growing up, I started saying back to my dad, "But it should be." He never bought it. And I guess that's because life still isn't fair, no matter how much we want it to be.

There is a hopeful end to this sad news. Jamie told me that Lizzie's husband and friends have launched a nonprofit organization called MetaCancer to build an online community for and generally help individuals battling late stage cancer. So I wanted to help spread the word about this organization in case it's either a cause you'd like to support and/or an organization that could be of use to you or someone in your life. You can even support the organization by buying red shoes, apparently one of Lizzie's favorite accessories. Fantastic.

And I suppose it's also a good time to announce that Rob and I have raised almost $600 so far for the Teb's Troops 5K in July... along with recruiting several friends to run with us. Not to mention the fact that my mass email has put me back in touch with several old friends. Thank you so much!!! Feel free to keep those donations coming or sign up to run yourself.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Name Games

I just got an email from Penn Law asking for a donation. I think the email was meant for me, but I can't be sure. It began "Dear Mrs. M-narik P-zold...." I'm kindof fascinated by this as I can't remember writing Rob's name on any form for the law school, although I must have done so. But I know I've never identified myself as having his name or even as a "Mrs." I'm not sure whatever mass email program the school is using is working in their favor.

(Edited so you can't get to this post by googling our names.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Post-Cubs Victory on Saturday

Rob, me, Tim & Emily basking in the glow of a Cubs victory!

Rob's new blogging adventure

It appears Rob liked his blogging adventure yesterday so much that now he'll be blogging about all things NY Giants at a separate blog as well. So you can check it out here.

Also, I'm trying this new thing -- putting titles on blog posts.

Thoughts on Milwaukee

Warning: To the non-lawyers and non-nerds out there, this post probably won't be much fun. :)

Sunday through Tuesday I was in Milwaukee for the Seventh Circuit Bar Association's annual conference. I had a great time and actually learned quite a bit as well. Sunday night there was a reception at Milwaukee's Discovery Center, which is on the lake and gave us some nice views. I spent most of the evening talking to other clerks from the Seventh Circuit (the court I work for, if that is still unclear), although the two other clerks who work for my judge did not attend the conference. I also got to meet a couple district court judges from our circuit. It's nice to put faces to the names we regularly see on decisions being appealed.

The substantive parts of the conference began on Monday morning with an opening address by Joan Biskupic who covers the Supreme Court for USA Today. She had some interesting anecdotes about what her job is like. She told a story about how part of her job is reading clues about pending cases so that she can provide more depth in her immediate articles on the day an opinion is handed down. Next up was a panel of journalists who cover the Supreme Court, including Biskupic. Nothing too earth-shattering, but always interesting to hear from experts who have been watching the Court for decades. Following that panel was another panel about law blogs, featuring Howard Bashman of How Appealing, Ann Althouse of Althouse, and Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy among others. I read the first and last in that list pretty often, so it was fun to see those bloggers in person. The highlight was a contentious moment at the end when a member of the audience asked if bloggers felt that they were acting unethically as lawyers when they use their blogs to try to sway judges' opinions of cases. The panel seemed to strongly disagree that blogs do anything differently from other means of influence we view as innocuous -- legal scholarship, op-eds, etc. Interesting food for thought.

At lunch on Monday, following Chief Judge Easterbrook's short update on the State of the Circuit, we got a short talk from Brady Williamson, a lawyer who was involved in the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution. This was one of my favorites parts of the day as Williamson walked the crowd through some interesting turns of phrases (translated, of course) in the Iraqi Constitution that are vague as the result of necessary compromises and will likely require court interpretation. Fascinating to see that, if the Iraqi government is sustainable, its judiciary is facing down some extraordinary constitutional interpretation tasks along the likes of what our Supreme Court (and other courts) have been doing for 200+ years.

One example Williamson gave is that the Iraqi Constitution says that Islam "is a fundamental source of legislation." He pointed out the use of the article "a" instead of "the" and said this word choice came after significant debate. Another clause says "No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established." Williamson pointed to the phrase "established provisions" and said that no one knows exactly how "established" a provision of Islam has to be to qualify. Another piece of trivia about the ratification of the Iraqi constitution is that it had a ratification provision that if 2/3 of three or more provinces (18 or so total provinces, I think) in Iraq voted against, then the ratification would automatically fail even if popularly supported. In the Al Anbar province, which is majority Sunnis, 97% of the voters said no. In the Salah ad Dun province, 82% said no. The constitution was rejected by a majority in one other province, Ninawa, but only 55% of voters said no. The vote was very divided on ethnic lines in every province. I had no idea about any of this, so I'm glad to have a better understanding, and please forgive any spelling errors I have made.

Williamson's talk was followed by another talk on Iraq, this time by James Santelle, the current DoJ attache to Iraq. (The link explains in more detail exactly what he's up to in Baghdad.) He works with Iraq's judiciary, police and prison system. I'm not sure I can say much about the content of his speech without sounding political, but his obvious and enormous respect for the Iraqis with whom he works was impressive, to say the least.

Skipping past the afternoon panels involving judges on my court... the dinner featured short remarks by Justice John Paul Stevens and longer remarks by Solicitor General Paul Clement. Again, I can't say much about Clement's remarks, but generally he talked about the different roles that different parts of the Justice Department play and why those roles are properly kept separate. Justice Stevens told some interesting stories about getting the nomination call from President Ford, who he greatly admires to this day, and about housing his plane at Midway airport a few decades ago. Who knew?? The highlight for me, though, was capturing a great photo of Justice Stevens smiling while talking to my friend Kate, who will be clerking for him next year. I will post the photo soon. Justice Stevens, who I learned on Monday is just the third Justice to occupy his seat on the Supreme Court in the past 91 years(!!), looked and sounded fantastic. I was honored to hear him speak.

So that's the round up from Milwaukee. I drove back to Chicago on Tuesday morning with Kate and her fiance Chris -- or rather, I rode in the back seat while Chris drove. Thanks Chris!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Weekend Travels

Whoo hoo! Rob has come alive in blog form. His post is probably a wee bit of a clue as to how we ended up married three and a half years after a first date involving a trip to the batting cages and watching NY Giants pre-season football. :)

And yup, we took in two great baseball games over the weekend. Tim & Emily, if you're out there, send us the Cubs game pic so we can post it! The Cubs game was very fun, but the sun never quite came out so I wasn't too sad to leave at the end. I was very impressed during the game with Emily's meticulous scorekeeping though. It was great to see the Cubs win. I'd love to be rooting for a home team in October... unless they're in a series against the Tribe.Tim and I might not be able to speak to each other during October if that happened!

Then Sunday we caught a Brewers game. Turns out that was a popular pre-Seventh Circuit Bar Association conference activity. Not only were we joined by a few other Seventh Circuit clerks (Kate, Jonathan, Ryan and Roger) and some of their significant others, but also Howard Bashman of How Appealing was in attendance, and so was the Solicitor General Paul Clement. Way cool. (Note to Rob: Sadly, I can turn baseball posts into nerdy posts too.) The game was awesome, with some excellent Brewers pitching, great defensive action, and back and forth run-scoring that kept things interesting in the final innings. It was also $1 hot dog day, a nice bonus. The retractable roof was kept shut for the game, though, which was too bad because it was beautiful outside.

In between baseball games, on Saturday night, Rob and I went to the 18th annual Bozo Ball -- a fundraiser for a Chicago organization called the Off The Street Club -- at the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. (Rob's friend Adolfo gave us the hook-up on free tickets. Thanks!!!) The organization provides community activities for kids from the west side of Chicago and runs a summer camp for the kids as well. Some of the kids performed at the event and they were fabulous. One of the boys spoke about the difference the organization has made in his life and there could not have been an untouched heart in the house. I really wish Rob and I had the funds right now to sponsor some of the kids' summers at the camp -- just $500 per kid -- which you could sign up to do at the event, but we will definitely be doing that next year and for many years to come. If you're looking for a good cause yourself, this organization really seemed like a class act and the kids could not have been more impressive.

The evening closed out with lots of dancing. I made Rob hit the dance floor early with me, and even though he refused to join me in the congo line that wound its way onto the stage, we had a blast. My husband is a fantastic partner-in-crime as far as cheesy dancing goes, one of the many reasons he's so awesome.

I'll post some pictures as soon as I download them and I'll post something nerdy about the legal conference in Milwaukee soon. All in all, the conference was fantastic and I'm so glad I got the chance to attend. But I have too many thoughts about it to squeeze into this post.
Baseball: My summer passion.
Times I've been to a game in the past 2 weeks: 3
Different stadiums I've visited during those occasions: 3

Arizona Diamondbacks:
I went with my dad to Arizona for a father son weekend (a much overdue experience and one I highly recommend. Not with my dad, with your own dad!). We did the tourist thing (Tombstone, which was pretty cool), and we did the sports enthusiast thing (D'back baseball). To say the D'back's stadium is large isn't enough. It's the the largest stadium complex I've ever seen. It was huge! The game was boring. They walked Barry Bonds 3 times (2 intentionals and one plunk, which in my book means 3 intentionals). But the stadium was awesome, so I enjoyed the experience.

Chicago Cubs:
Our friends Tim and Emily graciously offered to take us to the Cubs/Nationals game this past Saturday. I told Tim I was a Cubs fan, so he tested my allegiance early. I must say, I only had a "home team" for 2 years, but the bond is stronger than I thought. But in the end I rooted for the Cubs and in my opinion single handedly willed them to victory. An awesome stadium and a very enjoyable game (Brian Schneider had one of the best throws I've ever seen to second and caught the guy stealing in plenty of time... awesome stuff). I'm still a Cubs fan, but I'm a catcher at heart and I have to give a shout out when the shout out is deserved.

Milwaukee Brewers:
The day after the Cubs game, K and I went to Milwaukee. K was there for some intellectual lawyer thing... the very thing I try to avoid. So when the offer to go to a baseball game was made, I was all in. Miller Park is awesome (not as awesome as the Phillies new stadium, which in my opinion is the best I've ever been to). The game was even better, with a handful of homeruns and drama. I'm a bit of a purist, I like homeruns but also appreciate crafty pitching (and really appreciate awesome catcher play).

So, that's my baseball recount. Enjoy them while they last, NY Giants pre-season activities start soon. BTW - the Giants had a very solid draft. Aaron Ross should compete for a starting CB position. Plus, Steve Smith and Sinorice Moss (last years 2nd rounder) should augment Plax's vertical prowess. The D-line added a stud pass rushing DT, which should fit in well with Strahand and Umenyiora. Not deep enough yet at the LB position, but there's tons of SMART speedsters at the position. Okay, enough about the Giants... for now ;) Actually, there's never enough NY Giants talk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(This post was intended to offset the nerdy stuff my wife talks about. She's super smart, she can't help herself).
I think I got tricked into changing the look of our blog. I wanted to add something and blogspot made me choose a whole new template. Hmmm. Hopefully Rob likes the new look too.

We had a really fun and busy weekend. I just returned from Milwaukee this morning, so I'm digging out from under some paperwork. I'll post about all our adventures soon. Maybe Rob will post about it, although I'm still waiting for his post about Arizona....

Friday, May 04, 2007

In more uplifting, yet also nerdy, news, I am off to the Seventh Circuit Bar conference this Sunday through Tuesday in Milwaukee. One of the talks is called "The Rule of Law in Iraq," and will be given by the Justice Attache to the US Embassy in Iraq. And one of the speakers for the big dinner on Monday is Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Can't wait! Technically, I'm not yet a member of the Seventh Circuit Bar but my clerking credentials get me through the door... and I'll become a member of the Seventh Circuit Bar on May 22, which isn't too far away.

Rob and I are heading up early on Sunday to catch a Milwaukee Brewers game, which is an added bonus. Baseball and the law all in one weekend. Sweet. :)
Not much new to say, but I thought I'd pass this story along. In spring 2005, I helped put together a conference at Penn Law on Drug Policy Reform. One of the speakers was the Honorable Donald Lay, a senior judge on the Eighth Circuit for the U.S. Court of Appeals. He was there to speak out for reform of federal drug crime policy -- one of his late life passions. It was an honor to have him as part of the conference.

I didn't realize at the time that Judge Lay had authored the Eighth Circuit's decision in Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co., the nation's first sexual harassment class action, which brought a long overdue end to the fight of a female mine worker in Minnesota who, along with her female co-workers, had been brutally harassed on the job. (You may remember the movie North Country, which was based on the case.) Jenson's story was also the subject of an excellent book called Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law, a great read for lawyers and non-lawyers alike! Had I known this about Judge Lay, I might have been too nervous to even speak to himat all. One passage of his decision reads:

"It should be obvious that the callous pattern and practice of sexual harassment engaged in by Eveleth Mines inevitably destroyed the self-esteem of the working women exposed to it. The emotional harm, brought about by this record of human indecency, sought to destroy the human psyche as well as the human spirit of each plaintiff. The humiliation and degradation suffered by these women is irrepearable. Although money damage[s] cannot make these women whole or even begin to repair the injury done, it can serve to set a precedent that in the environment of the working place such hostility will not be tolerated."

Wow. He also admonished the lawyers in the case for causing needless delays, writing, "the buck stops here," and demanding that "[i]f justice be our quest, citizens must receive better treatment." On remand, the 17 plaintiffs were then able to turn their average of $10,000 in damages each, as awarded by the magistrate judge who called much of their complaint "histrionics" prior to their appeal, into a $3.5 million settlement award.Quite a victory for justice.

This long story does have a point, and a sad one at that. Several days ago, Judge Lay passed away. I read about it on a the How Appealing law blog, a must-read for law-minded nerds, here. Because the post didn't mention anything about Judge Lay's recent work on behalf of drug policy reform, I dropped a short note to the blog author and was touched to see a follow up post noting just that here. So the point of this story is that the world recently lost a truly excellent judge and person, one who should be remembered and celebrated.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

So much news! Sorry it's been a while.

The first and most exciting news is that Rob just practiced law in the Supreme Court of Illinois!!! Okay, okay, I have to put some qualifications on that and explain the context, but it is still a 100% true statement, which is so cool! This morning I finally got sworn into the Illinois Bar. Long story short is that I didn't get sworn in with the other July '06 Bar Exam passers because I hadn't taken the ethics exam yet. I knocked that out in November and was told I'd hear from the Supreme Court of Illinois as to when I could be sworn in. I kept waiting until Rob made me call the court a couple weeks ago. Turns out my letter had long ago been misdirected and I was able to schedule my swearing in for today.

Justice Fitzgerald presided over the swearing in. There were seven candidates for admission there and a smattering of guests, including Rob. Justice Fitzgerald asked if any of the guests were attorneys, so Rob raised his hand. (No one else did.) Then the Justice asked Rob if he'd make the motion to the court to admit the candidates. How cool is that?!?!? Rob made a very nice and short motion from the podium in the courtroom, with a Justice-approved shout out to me. The Justice asked Rob if I was worthy for admission, to which Rob replied, "She's worthier than I am." Ha ha. The Justice then took the motion under advisement, gave us all a nice little talk about being honest and good thinkers, mentioned that we're now colleagues of Abraham Lincoln (bonus!) and that was it. So although the Justice didn't explicitly rule on Rob's motion, it still looks to me like Rob is batting a thousand in Supreme Court practice! :) And yes, I'm glad to be an attorney officially.

In other news, we bought new running shoes last night. Rob made me get expensive ones that are actually good for my feet instead of my normal way of picking shoes -- buying the coolest-looking cheap ones. But it's all so we're in prime shape for the Teb's Troops 5K in July, for which our friends have already generously supported us to the tune of $450, almost halfway to our goal! We've got another 5K a week from Sunday as part of training so we can have not just our best run in July, but also an objectively great run.

Rob and I also both took weekend trips last weekend. Rob and his dad went to Arizona for the weekend while I went out to visit my mom in Portland. Rob got to see a Diamondbacks-Giants game on Friday night, where he saw the brilliant and amazing Omar Vizquel in action. Although Rob's not allowed to watch Omar in person any more because he had an error in the game. I guess he was nervous playing in front of my husband. Rob has pictures that we'll post soon!

My mom and I visited a tulip festival. It was the end of the festival, so a lot of the fields were empty, but the giant field of purple tulips was still in bloom, which was fantastic because those are my absolute favorite flowers. We also hit a couple wineries on Saturday. Everything at Bethel Heights was great. And the 2005 and 2003 wines (but not as much the 2004 wines) at Cristom were excellent. Portland itself was also very fun, including the awesomely huge Powell's Books, where I dropped $60 on some great used books about feminism, poverty, and politics. I had to leave several other tempting books on the shelves. It's good for my wallet that Powell's is not in Chicago. My mom also bought a nice present for me at a cute store called The Dapper Frog. It's a wall plaque called The ABC's of Life that I just loved when I saw it. So I'll sign off with those ABC's:

Accept Differences
Be Kind
Count Your Blessings
Express Thanks
Give Freely
Harm No One
Imagine More
Jettison Anger
Keep Confidences
Love Truly
Master Something
Nurture Hope
Open Your Mind
Pack Lightly
Quell Rumors
Seek Wisdom
Touch Hearts
Value Truth
Win Graciously
Yearn For Peace
Zealously Support A Worthy Cause

*I admit, I had to look this word up. So for those with less than perfect vocabs like me, it means "environmental design of residential and park land using various methods for minimizing the need for water use." Cool!