The full scoop from the horses mouth...dating back to early 2005.
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EXTRA!  EXTRA!  The FULL scoop on the NEW businesses!
**UPDATE 10/24/09 - our anticipated opening date would be the end of January 2009**
Here’s a full update from my original new business venture posting on June 9th; at that time several details had to be left out for various reasons, but it is definitely OK to talk about it now!

TODAY (August 4th)our family – being my father, my sister’s family and us – will officially close on some beautiful commercial real estate in the heart of downtown Barrington IL. They are two separate buildings that are interconnected in several ways, which is what makes it possible to achieve the full scope of our new business goals. Our plan is to share several aspects of both businesses; though we are offering two very distinct experiences, working together will help both businesses grow and truly provide something unique and special for the Barrington area.

McGonigal’s Pub (105 S. Cook St.) will occupy both levels of the building, with the first level being a traditional Irish Pub...providing the type of experience these establishments do best. Besides an expansive variety of libations, there will be a full kitchen offering a menu of traditional Irish food along with many pub favorites - in fact we’ll aim to serve the best burger in the area. McGonigal's Pub will present to its patrons a warm, inviting, fun atmosphere, and you won’t even need to be Irish to enjoy yourself! The second level will be an extension of the pub, primarily used for extra seating for diners, banquets, private parties, special functions and of course plenty of extra space for the pub during busy times. There will be enough HD televisions to satisfy all sports fans, plus we plan on bringing live music & entertainment to town on weekends.

This building was originally built in 1911 as the First State Bank of Barrington, but since the 1940’s has a rich history of being popular restaurants. For the past ten years it has been used for retail purposes, best known in town as the Wolf Camera building. We have quite a bit of work to do to get it back into bar/restaurant form, but I can promise that once done you will not be disappointed! Assuming all goes relatively smoothly, the target date for opening would be late fall of this year.

Park Avenue Wine Bar and Merchants (205 Park Avenue) will occupy the first level plus probably some of the basement for true wine cellar storage. This will be a distinctive destination for wine enthusiasts in Barrington and the Chicagoland area. Park Avenue’s wine bar will feature wines and other libations in a chic, comfortable bar setting. Patrons can enjoy carefully crafted food that compliments their wine choices. Park Avenue’s retail selection will provide shoppers with an array of fine wines and liquor to choose from. The second level may offer some special seating for a small group of wine patrons. Additionally, there will be direct access to the upper level of the pub side for additional overflow seating & special events.

My brother in law, Steve Berry, will be the owner and operator of the Park Avenue Wine Bar, which is located adjacent to the other building and has been used by Phillips Menswear for the past five years. It’s a beautiful structure that shouldn’t take much work to get into shape, so the target date for opening would be mid to late fall, most likely before the pub is ready.

If you’re familiar with downtown Barrington you’ll know exactly where the new businesses are located. If not, suffice to say it’s probably one of the most visible spots in town – off of Cook Street a block east of Rt. 59 (Hough Street), a block south of Main Street (Lake-Cook Rd) and on the south side of the Metra train tracks just a couple blocks west of the Barrington train station. Easy access, a ton of public parking and surrounded by shops and other businesses. Additionally, these are historical buildings and the one that will contain the pub is labeled as a landmark building in Barrington.

To find contact info for both, including links to both websites, we’re creating a catch all one at www.barringtonwinepub.com. At the moment you can send all inquiries to info@barringtonwinepub.com or contact me directly. FYI, the official website for the pub is www.mcgonigalspub.com, with the wine bar one coming soon. There’s obviously not much available now, but we’re working on it and promise to provide more updates in the near future. I would encourage everyone to check out our group and fan pages on FACEBOOK as updates may be very consistent there... 
McGonigal's Pub (fan page)       Barrington's Irish Pub and Wine Bar (group page)

 

Facebook seems to be THE place to be - so get on it!
Back in October of 2006 I joined both social networking sites Facebook and MySpace, the former of which required some proof of school affiliation at the time to join (which I did through my Loyola Alumni status).  I then proceeded to use neither of 'em for ages.  While MySpace appeared to just get too wacky with unreadable & unattractive pages, Facebook started allowing everyone to join and made progress into what is now the premier social networking site, with over 175 million users to date and growing.  This past summer during our 25th class reunion time I finally jumped in and really started using it....and I'm glad I did as this really is an excellent way to reconnect and stay in touch.  Due to my reunion work my friends list is heavily weighted towards old high school classmates, but of course there are other business and social acquaintances, family members, college buddies, prior and current co-workers, politicians, neighbors, celebrities and various other pals whom I've already known or met through other friends.  Whew!  Talk about making the world a smaller place, this takes it to a whole new level!  To clear up any misconceptions, it is NOT a dating site and is NOT just for the younger generation.  It's like a huge, interactive living, breathing rolodex at your online disposal anytime!
 Bryan's Facebook profile link

If you are already a Facebook user feel free to do a "friend request" to me...obviously if I know you we can be friends here too!  If you haven't tried out Facebook before, join it as it's completely free - no credit card or sensitive info required - and it's VERY easy to set up and use.  Hope to see you online!

Catching up with the family, 2009-style
**Originally written in mid-January 2009**
Let's see...since my last update of any substance was probably late October/early November, what's happened since?  Here's a very brief rundown of general events and happenings:

Dad's hip surgery update:  ALMOST a total success...
(3/14/09 update) It's been about three weeks since the latest dislocation, and the good news is that there have been no relapses.  He's under strict doctors orders to "take it easy" for three months, which means NO golfing or exercise that would put undue stress on the healing process.   Assuming it doesn't happen again in this time frame odds are slim that it will happen again...but if it does, another surgery will be mandatory.  My dad is getting some other opinions and contemplating going ahead with the surgery anyway, but the problem is that a sort of locking mechanism would be included thus potentially and permanently limiting his flexibility quite a bit.  SO, there are some decisions he will have to make but odds are that he'll let the healing process take its natural course.  Inevitably this may mean some lifestyle changes, such as driving a car that's easier to get in and out of (bye bye Aston Martin), but at the moment full concentration is on him being bored out of his skull doing nothing.  More later!

(2/23/09 update) Sunday February 22nd featured another dislocated hip for my dad...he was simply bending over to pick up a towel after showering and out it came AGAIN.  This was approximately ten weeks since the first time it happened, and about 4˝ months since the surgery.  As of this writing (Monday 3/23) he's on crutches but doing OK.  No golf or workout for a while, just time to take it easy and hope it finally heals properly...otherwise more surgery will be required.  The family is heading to FL for vacation in teh near future, and he has support there now, so all should be fine.  More updates as the become available, and I hope they will be good ones!

(12/9/08 update) On the evening of December 6th he dislocated his surgically repaired hip...at the time he was doing nothing crazy, he was in the process of getting undressed...turning to put some clothes down and out it popped!  Fortunately it happened in his bedroom at home (in Wynstone/N. Barrington), and I was able to get over there to help.  Well, the paramedics showed up to give him a ride to the E.R. room at Good Shepherd Hospital, and a few hours later they "popped" it back in.  No real worries, he is doing fine and though unusual it is not totally uncommon for this sort of thing to happen so soon (eight weeks) after surgery.

(11/14 update) Everything is fine, he's been walking without a cane or any other support, can drive, and with his daily exercises is getting back to fully normal.  Well, he won't be swinging a golf club anytime soon, but eventually!

(10/16 update) About nineteen years ago my father, to relieve a degenerative arthritic condition, had hip replacement surgery.  At the time they figured he was good to go for about 12-15 years but fortunately exceeded expectations.  However, it's time for an "oil change" so he hit the surgeons table for a partial replacement of some parts on his right side last Thursday (10/9).  Everything went extremely well; he was using a walker the day after surgery and as of yesterday (10/15) is moving around quite well, even taking some steps without the walker!  I was down in Florida to help him out since the day before surgery; Laura and AJ joined me on Sunday, and my sister's family came out yesterday evening (and we left for home).  A full and quick recovery is expected, then he just has to decide when he will get the other side done (probably within the next 6-12 months).

Bryan is buying...Duffy's Sports Pub???
As it turns out, NO.  We started working on this deal in early 2008 only to have it all fall apart in mid-September...and I can safely say that it was the sellers who were at fault.  Since I had a lot of postings on the subject, I've given this process it's own page - you can visit it here

CN Railroad = Huge Assholes, safety issues and bad congestion for many communities
(9/1/08) It's amazing how large corporations really don't give a shit about society, communities and individuals when a chance to make more money takes center stage. Case in point, CN Railways - a foreign company who is attempting to move their trains to the EJ&E line, resulting in an increase of 400% in train traffic going through such communities as Hawthorne Woods, Barrington, Lake Zurich, Bartlett, West Chicago, Aurora, Frankfort, and several others (including Indiana).  "It's good for the entire region" they claim.  Bullshit says a huge contingency of individuals and civil servants - including basically everyone along the EJ&E train lines, IDOT, numerous congressmen and representatives, and yes even Barak Obama has given the deal a thumbs down.  There is no need to rant about it here - check out www.fightrailcongestion.com for more info.  Here's a quick fact sheet that covers the issue.  Please help in the cause to stop this from happening!

(1/15/08) I recently attended a village meeting that was on Canadian National's proposed purchase of the E J & E train lines, which will increase freight train traffic as much as 400% on the line.  You know what it's like to be stuck at a train track - now imagine that happening four times as often.  Additionally - and of greater importance - what happens in case of an emergency when an ambulance, fire truck or police officer needs to get through - which will now be four times more likely to occur.  Ugh.

This affects more than just the Barrington areas as the E J & E lines circumvents the city of Chicago by passing through numerous communities throughout the north, northwest & western suburbs - including Libertyville, Mundelein, Lake Zurich and many others south of these areas.  Take a look at the info provided at http://www.fightrailcongestion.com, and perhaps you can add your name to the cause.

Condolences to Steve Berry & family
(5/7/08) James Berry, the father of my brother-in-law Steve, passed away today (May 7) at the age of 84.  He had been in poor health for quite a while and was in hospice in Tucson AZ for the past several weeks.  I refrained from prior postings on this subject as Steve preferred to keep it a more private matter, so hopefully this announcement was OK to include here.

Cubs Stuff
(3/30/08) In prep for the new season, here's their 2008 schedule in pdf format.  Also, you can check out this great fan site: www.chicagocubsonline.com, and of course the "official" site www.cubs.com.  Some good baseball predictions from the "experts" can be found in this pdf document.  A funny banter posting I did from last year can be found here, and a recent article is located on my blog.  Finally, for those of you who cheer on that other baseball team in Chicago, Amazon.com is selling some sports gear made especially for you!

Now residing in the Chicagoland area... the Berry family!
(4/8/08) At the time of this writing (4/8) the movers are at the new Berry household in downtown Barrington.  Both of the house closings yesterday went fine and by the end of the day today they'll be officially settled in.  If anyone wants to send them a "welcome" card, the address is 423 N. Cook St., Barrington IL 60010.  E-mails stevedberry@gmail.com or melissa@mcgonigal.org.  They also have one of those crazy new 224 area code overlays, with the number being 224-848-4003.

(3/31/08) A quick update - Missy, Steve, Isabella and Rory are moving to Barrington this week...well, officially as of next week but they'll be here this week!  Their house closing in Long Beach is Tuesday (4/1), while the house closing here is scheduled for Monday, April 7th.  They'll be camping out at my dad's house for a few days until move-in day. 

(3/21/08) It feels like I've been holding off on mentioning this for quite a while, but in reality it's been just a short time as so much has happened so quickly.  Here's the scoop - my sister made the decision to leave her job as a law professor and become a full-time mom.  Steve's work is primarily of a consulting nature and not tied into their area, so without Missy's job there's nothing really to keep them in California (and the cost of living is, shall we say, high).  SO, after looking around and considering several other options they chose our area.  This was absolutely the right decision as Missy not only has her family here but some of her best friends...lots of support for the entire Berry clan.  Great area, great schools, tons of opportunity, and the weather is excellent...well, OK, guess you can't have it all, but the pros greatly outweigh the cons. 

Additional great news - it took them less than a week to sell their home in Long Beach, California for more than the asking price, they subsequently purchased a very nice home in Barrington, and came out ahead in the entire process!  They will officially be Illinois residents as of the second week of April, and maybe, just maybe, spring will arrive before they move!

2008 Plans for this site
(1/11/08) With the new year comes people making "resolutions", which of course usually just end up being an empty promise made to yourself.  For that reason I don't really believe in making them, but I may have found one that is quite attainable.  My resolution is to do at least one thing each and every week with this site.  It may be very minor (such as a new quote), major (like new pages or redesign), but odds are the efforts will fall somewhere in between.  The problem is that whenever I go to update I want to do a huge one...which of course takes a lot of time...that's not always ideal...thus the site doesn't get updated that often.  Small bits each week will have a big impact on the site later this year.  Perhaps by 2009 mcgonigal.org becomes more than just a personal page?  We'll see...

I did start already - last week I fixed a couple small site errors, nothing on the main page so the date didn't change.  From here on out I'll mention recent changes, fixes, adds, etc. so you know where to look for the latest content.

I'm also thinking about starting a blog - a real blog, not just the occasional stuff posted on this site.  I enjoy writing and this would be a good way to keep active with that hobby.  If so, I may slightly redesign this main page and use links to the postings in the "bloglike banter"  section vs. the actual text.  A benefit to blogs is that it gives people a chance to comment back on some of my rants!  

Keep checking back as there's more - much more - coming consistently AND soon...

Best wishes and prayers out to Leon Rebodos
One of my very good friends since grade school, Leon Rebodos, underwent emergency open heart surgery early morning on Thursday, December 6th. 
From what I've been told he had an aneurysm in his aorta that extended up to his carotid and down to his iliac; this is rare for someone of his age (42) but extremely rare that it was affecting both his upper chest and abdomen, as apparently it's usually one or the other.  He had not been feeling well the past couple weeks; doctors thought it was Vertigo and had been running some tests to determine the cause. Leon also suffers from Lupus though this apparently was not a side effect of the disease. 

Friday morning update (12/7): actually very good news - he made it through the Thursday surgery, which was about an eight hour event, and after some time in recovery was moved to ICU.  Very early Friday they removed the ventilators and he was not only responsive but able to talk a little bit.  At the moment, according to reports the doctors are extremely encouraged as he has progressed much faster than expected.  He's at Swedish American Hospital in Rockford IL - the Heart Hospital Critical Care Unit, Room #227 - and is scheduled to stay in the hospital for 5-7 days.   His brother Larry is keeping me posted with updates and I'm planning to visit him Saturday morning...so I will have more news to report right here (probably by Sunday AM).

Saturday/Sunday update (12/9): I was able to visit Leon on Saturday, and though he was in an expected drugged-up state was able to talk and seemed to be doing well.  Everyone, including Leon, was well aware about how lucky he was to still be with us.  The night before they had him up to walk a bit, plus he had a little solid food, so at the moment he appeared to be "all there" without any apparent signs of brain damage.  The doctors were still very pleased with his faster-than-normal healing process and there was a thought he could be released from the hospital as early as Monday (unlikely but possible). I'll provide another update in the next couple days on his progress, but right now all signs are positive!

Tuesday/Wednesday update (12/12): progress has been very positive, and later on Tuesday the hospital moved Leon from ICU to a progressive care unit.  I spoke with Leon today (Wednesday) and he's been up and about trying to get some exercise, though it's tough for him right now - also, he still has symptoms of Vertigo.  He's more or less limiting visitors and phone calls during this period, but it appears he may be released by Friday.  Generally good news overall, and more later!

Friday update (12/14): Leon was released late Thursday evening.  For the time being he's staying at his parent's house in Palatine - less of a burden on his wife & kids, plus his mom (a retired RN) can really help him.  I had a nice talk with him and he sounds great!  He's certainly not feeling wonderful just yet and knows it will be quite a lengthy recovery process, but the good news is that he's definitely on the mend.  He's still limiting phone calls and visitors for now, but you can e-mail him at lrebodos@dls.net or send "get-well" wishes to Leon Rebodos, 10 Bloomsbury, Algonquin IL  60102.  

Thursday/Friday update (12/21): It's been an interesting week for Leon - he sounds much better and is in great spirits, but is experiencing some "healing pains" so to say.  He made one trip back to the hospital early this past week for a checkup, but generally has been home at his parent's house trying to get some rest.  I was able to visit him on Friday, and he seems to be getting back to his normal self (at least in attitude).  To be honest if you're just sitting there talking with him, you wouldn't even know he had surgery.  THAT'S great news!  He does get winded, doesn't move too fast, things like laughing and coughing are very painful for the chest, but his appetite is back and he's getting more and more exercise every day.  On Saturday his stay with the parents is over and he'll head back home just in time for Christmas.

Friday Update (1/11/08): yes I have spoken to Leon over the holidays (and he continues to get stronger) but had a chance to go out and see him again today.  I'm extremely happy to report that he's pretty much back to normal...well...they're still playing with his meds a bit to balance out the blood pressure, and he still has quite a bit of rehab, but mentally and physically seems fine.  Of course it hurts to laugh or cough (stress on the healing chest) and he's not allowed to lift anything over five pounds for the time being, but that will all get better over time.  Assuming nothing else major happens, this will be my last update on the subject which is ending on a great note!

August Update (8/4/08): Many people have been asking me about Leon so thought I'd include a very brief update here.  Leon's heart surgery recovery has went fine, but he does have some additional problems with some of his arteries that  may require further surgery in the future.  Of greater concern at this time is that he's experiencing some unrelated illnesses that has hospitalized him three separate times in June & July.  He recently spent nearly a week at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where they ran a battery of tests to determine the problem.  There was a bacterial infection in his blood, along with some sort of genetic defect/mutation they uncovered.  As of 7/25 he's been home, and the infection is being aggressively treated with several antibiotics (which should last for about six weeks).  He is doing OK but is mostly resting as the drugs tend to have that effect.  Feel free to send him some get-well wishes at lrebodos@dls.net.  As I get more updates on the situation I'll post them here and on the main page.

Football is finally back!
It's September, which of course means football season is officially under way!  How are the Bears going to do this year?  How about my beloved Huskers?  To my friends who are ND fans, condolences on what looks like may be a long season.  Michigan, fuggetaboutit!  Anyway, for the 11th season I am running my fantasy football league (SFFL) which you can view here.  
***BEARS 2007 SCHEDULE***  ***NEBRASKA LINK***
Additionally, I received a pretty cool NCAA football spreadsheet which shows the schedules for all division 1 teams, and includes graphics of all their helmets!  Please note it is a 2 MB Excel file that is has been zipped, so you will need to download it to view.

Happy 40th, Julie Lamberty!
(9/3/07) My sister in law celebrates the big 4-0 on September 4th.  We had a nice party for her this past Sunday...and though the party wasn't a surprise, the bike really shocked her!  By the way, her husband Jimmy (Laura's brother) isn't far behind as his 40th is at the end of October.

Congrats to the Berrys!
(8/23-8/25/07) The newest member of the Berry family - Welcome Rory Finnegan!  Born Thursday August 23rd, 5:58 AM PST, 7 lbs 9 oz, 21" long.
My sister and her husband Steve are new parents again, Isabella has a baby brother, my dad has his third grandchild, Laura and I have a nephew and AJ has yet another cousin!  The bundle of joy arrived about a week early (the c-section was scheduled for August 29th), but he's very healthy!  Not totally surprising is that despite having months to decide, it still took them more than two days to come to an agreement on the name (similar to Isabella)!  A huge CONGRATS goes out to the Berry family, and of course we're planning on taking a trip to CA in the near future.  At the moment I've received almost a dozen pictures from 8/23 - 9/2...and though it is a work in progress, you can now view the official Rory picture page.

(7/24/07) The due date for the baby boy has been moved to August 29th - it's a c-section so unless the little guy really wants out earlier the date is set!

(5/20/07)  My sister and Steve just couldn't wait until the birth this time, so they now know that they are having a baby boy!  Isabella will have a little brother in September.

(4/28/07) So far so good with the pregnancy.  A recent ultrasound and other standard tests have reported no noticeable issues.  Missy is about twenty weeks into it now, and they're in the process of picking out names (the sex of the child will, like the last one, be a surprise).

(2/12/07) Just found out on Saturday (2/10) that my sister is pregnant with what will be their second child!  Currently they're about ten weeks along, and so far everything is going well.  Hopefully after what was a somewhat difficult pregnancy with Isabella, this one will be virtually worry-free.  If you want to drop Missy a message, you can reach her at melissa@mcgonigal.org

A HUGE Anniversary Celebration in Branson, MO...
(7/3/07) Laura and I just celebrated our 5th anniversary on June 22nd, but my great aunt & uncle (Doris & Gene Wolfe) celebrated their 50th on the same day!  We ended up having the big party in Branson, Missouri, where Gene & Doris have lived for the past 14 years.  First time there for Laura and I (and of course AJ)...despite the fact that Branson does NOT have casinos as I had believed, it didn't matter as the weekend was great and the party on June 30th had an amazing turnout.  By the way, the relation to the McGonigal side is that Doris is the sister of my dad's mother, Irene.

Two new site additions are coming: initially I'm starting with the Wolfe 50th Anniversary Page, which will primarily be filled with pictures taken by me and a few others who attended.  I've started it here, and within the next week should have all the photos up.  Additionally, I will be putting together a major "Family Tree" and Contact Center on the site so any McGonigal relative, regardless of how distant, has a place to come and find updates on family members.  This may include an easy form for individuals to update their own information, leave messages on a bulletin board, etc.  The "spark" was just seeing everyone at the party and meeting many, many relatives for the FIRST time.  Looks like I now have a good excuse to finally expand on the "family bios" section that I've been talking about doing for the past five years!  I will of course need some help gathering info & pictures...so if I have your e-mail or physical address I'll be contacting you soon.

Dorsch Family - Moved to Arizona
(8/13/07) - I returned from a short vacation to Arizona last week, obviously out to visit the Dorschs.  The website www.dorsch.org is now officially active and has several pictures of their house for viewing.  Another trip will be planned around my sister giving birth, and I will hand over the web updating reigns (and the design program) to Jenny so she can do further updates.

(7/7/07) - movers have come & gone (the day before) and they're officially out of the house.  A wedding to attend is keeping Gene & Jenny here for a couple more days before they officially make the journey out West.  Eventually some of the postings and updates will end up on www.dorsch.org, which has nothing more than a front page at this moment.  If you want to contact either of them, try gene@dorsch.org or jenny@dorsch.org.

(6/24/07) The official "going away" party for the Dorsch family was held at Wynstone Pool (by my dad's house).  Pictures may be posted soon.

(4/28/07) Unfortunately the house deal in Palatine didn't go through, so the Dorsch house is back on the market, listing at $589,000.  Plans to move are still set for the weekend after the 4th of July, regardless of sale status...

(4/14/07) Gene & Jenny officially purchased a house in Scottsdale AZ about three weeks ago, and just this past week have sold their Palatine house to a couple former neighbors and friends (Pete & Liz Chaplinsky).  Closings on the Arizona house is happening within the next couple weeks, and the Palatine house in early July.  Stay tuned for other "exciting" developments!!!

(2/25/07) After a relatively long and somewhat frustrating job hunt, on 2/20 Gene accepted a job offer that will end up moving his family to Arizona (the Phoenix/Scottsdale area).  This was a big decision as both him and Jenny have lived in the Chicagoland area their entire lives...BUT it seems like a good opportunity and not terrible timing for a change.  YEARS ago Gene would boast to me just about everyone else within earshot that "someday we'll move to Arizona"...well, looks like that "dream" has finally come true!  Additionally, it becomes sort of a Dorsch family reunion as Gene's parents and two brothers have been living there for quite a while.  

They are tentatively planning on moving about mid-July of this year, so there will be at least one more 4th of July bash.  Though I'm truly sad to see them go, I of course pass along a heartfelt congratulations to the family on the job and wish them the best of luck in the desert.  Hey, on the bright side it's now become one more vacation spot for me and my family! 

Brown's Chicken Trial Update
(3/25/07, 5/11/07) Here's a document I put together containing major news stories; this includes the latest on the trial.

An Unhappy Anniversary
(3/11/07) It will have been one year ago on March 15th when Mary, my mother, passed after a courageous two-year battle with cancer.  The family will be getting together in Florida in remembrance.  Additionally, the original announcement page on my mom's passing can be found here, and info/logs on her fight with cancer are are still available in extended writeups.

(3/25/07) - The McGonigal and Berry families spent about a week down in Florida, as a vacation and in remembrance of the first anniversary of her passing.  A pretty relaxing several days which was a stark contrast to the same time last year.  Admittedly it's nice to have this milestone behind us, and yes we're all doing fine.

Happy 40th Birthday Steve!
(2/25/07) My brother-in-law, Steve Berry, turned 40 on February 26th. A brief celebratory page o' pics are located here.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
(12/31/06) Can you believe how fast 2006 went by?  In some cases it was a year I'd like to forget, but lots of good things happened as well.  For my last posting of the year, thought I'd give you a very brief update about what's happening
'round these parts:

The holidays went very well; everyone came to the Chicago area for Christmas.  Christmas Eve was spent with Laura's family, and Christmas Day was just the McGonigals & Berrys.  Many toys for the kids, no fights, no problems, some tears, lots of love, overall a great time.  However, even though the weather was nice it still would have been nice to have just a bit of snow.  Oh, and my main holiday gift was a 62" TV!

AJ is wonderful and getting into just about everything.  He's talking a lot (wonder where he gets that from) and is really a character.  As of about a month ago he's sleeping in a "big boy" bed since he learned how to easily get out of his crib (results to date are mixed).  I'm still working on getting numerous AJ images uploaded.  I'm about three months behind, but two of those three are "just about" ready to go.  There will be some of Isabella too. 

The job is going good too...there's been some work directly with BLAM, but I've been spending most of my time working closely with a friend who runs his own packaging & distribution company.  In 2007 this should blossom into something great for everyone involved. 

My friend Gene and I are heading out to Arizona for the BCS Championship game on January 8th.  We're making a long weekend of it, including some golf and perhaps a gambling trip.  Not to be left without a vacation, Laura is going to Florida with her sister & a friend for a few days as well, though she gets back the day I leave. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone, and enjoy your start to 2007!

New toys for my dad
On a weekend in mid-September 2006, the old man went crazy and purchased TWO (2) new luxury cars for himself.  Click here to check out the pictures.

My sister is in the Ovarian Cancer Walk
(9/14/06) It's always good to see Missy getting off her butt and forced into exercise!  OK...in all seriousness, this one hits home for my family as we know first hand how awful this disease can be.  I understand there are countless charities, causes and fundraisers that ask for donations, but it would mean a lot to the McGonigals if you could help by contributing to this research. 
As of September 18, she is nearing the halfway point of her overall goal and can easily reach it with a bit more assistance.  Her original letter and site link is below:

Dear Friends:
I am participating in the Team Spirit Breast and Ovarian Cancer 10K Walk on October 7, 2006 in Long Beach, California. I will walk in memory of my mother, Mary Catherine McGonigal, who bravely fought ovarian cancer for over two years. She passed away on March 15, 2006, but her spirit lives on. Throughout her battle she remained upbeat, displaying grace and gratitude in each moment. As a mother, wife, daughter and nurse, she gave generously to others her entire life, always putting them before herself. This is my chance to give something back by supporting ovarian cancer research that will raise awareness and someday end this terrible disease.

Any donation, however small, is a valuable contribution to this fight. The easiest way to donate is online at my secure webpage:  http://www.active.com/donate/teamspirit2006/MBerry16.  Thank you for joining the fight against breast and ovarian cancer!      Melissa

Eagle River Recap...
(8/6/06) I just returned from my yearly trip with a group of friends, which was for the fourth straight year in Eagle River WI.  It's kind of a big drinking trip that's not really kid-friendly, so Laura has opted to skip it and stay home with AJ.  We did quite a bit of boating on a new, high-powered pontoon and of course golfed a couple times (though rain canceled a couple other attempts).  For those rainy times, thanks to Erik for bringing the XBox and a bunch of new games...think I've become quite adept at Ghost Recon and Boxing by now!  SO, several bar trips later, along with great home-cooked food and lots & lots of booze, the group of us managed to have a good time overall.  Next year the location may be different as we've worn out northern Wisconsin by now...perhaps North Carolina or a return to the houseboat in Kentucky?  Anyway,
some pictures have been posted here for your viewing pleasure.   

Dad is in his new house!
(6/7/06) Officially my dad moved into his new "Chicagoland area" house (Barrington) in early June.  It's a good sized townhouse right off the 10th tee at a private golf course.  Yes, he is still keeping the Florida home...as the "winter" residence.

Bryan is leaving Medline?  No friggin way!  Say it ain't so!
(6/15/06, 6/30/06) - it's official as of today...my Medline career is history.  For more info, take a look at a couple of the writeups I had posted on the site.

(5/15/06) Well, I'm here to tell you it's true!  After fifteen years at Medline, I've decided to move on and try something new.  For well over a year I've been doing a lot (and I mean, a lot) of thinking about priorities in life, and what I’d like to accomplish on a personal and professional level.  It's just been a matter of making the decision to do something about it, and it's now the right time for me.  My official notification came on Friday May 12th, but my last official day is this Thursday, June 15th...the next "chapter in life" will be more entrepreneurial in nature and will take quite a bit of time and effort to develop, but as this progresses you can be certain I'll have more info posted right here!

Rick Neff - Heart Surgery Update
(8/30/06) Rick has healed 100% and his next appointment to see the cardiologist is in a year.  SUCCESS!

(5/12/06) Rick is doing just great - he's been following orders and getting lots of walking exercise daily.  His cardiologist is impressed with his "ahead of schedule" recovery time to date, and despite his battle with boredom is in great spirits.  Hopefully you'll be able to hear directly from him soon on our new website (still forthcoming).

(4/22/06, 4/27/06) Visited Rick at home, and I'm happy to report that he's doing great...getting his daily exercise and catching up on everything that he can (sleep, e-mails, TV shows, etc) and driving his family nuts.  For the next few months, even during rehab, he's not allowed to lift more than five pounds so that everything can properly heal.  However, the prognosis for a 100% recovery is excellent and he can generally go back to his prior lifestyle.  However, the somewhat clean-shaven Rick has lost about 25 pounds and looks good, so perhaps it won't be exactly the same lifestyle!  I'll keep you posted here for now, and soon we'll move all the news to a new website for the "LMB Corporation" news (won't explain that here, you'll just have to wait and see).

(4/15/06) Rick finally had his surgery on Friday 4/14.  It turned out that they were able to do a repair vs. a replacement, which is outstanding news in terms of his overall health and recovery time!  More info as it becomes available.

(3/10/06) The 2/28 surgery was POSTPONED as Rick is currently looking into alternatives to a full valve replacement.  At this moment there is no ETA as to the surgery and what type, though there should be more news within the week.  I'll keep you posted.

(2/23/06) News gets better as surgery is planned for February 28th.  The recovery prognosis is excellent, though there is about a six week recovery time (where he'll be off work & biding time by watching hundreds of DVDs at home), then ten weeks of cardio therapy.  He shared a great writeup on the upcoming process which I have at work and will post here for friends to view. 

(1/29/06) A good friend of mine for many years, Rick Neff, found out a couple weeks ago that he has a condition called an "Aortic Aneurism", which will require open heart surgery to repair.  To summarize, it's an enlargement and weakening of the artery, giving it potential to burst open.  This is exactly the same thing that killed actor John Ritter.  Rick is only 45 and generally in great health, so this came as quite a shock.  It was also found by accident as he was in getting tested for a different ailment.  It's good to note that recovery rates for this type of surgery are excellent, but as with any surgery - especially on your heart - it can be a very touchy situation.  Surgery scheduling is happening now; the doctors said it can wait, but since he doesn't want to be walking around with this "time bomb" inside he's having it done ASAP.  Our hopes and prayers are with him and his family, and I'll post his progress here once he's recovering from the procedure.

The Health of my Mom - Final Updates
My mother was put into hospice late evening on March 12th.  She finally lost her two-year long battle with ovarian cancer and passed away at 10:35 AM on Wednesday, March 15th 2006.   The main announcement page is located here.

(5/1/06) - Thank you for a wonderful day!  We had a great turnout for Mary McGonigal's "Celebration of Life" event on April 30th (Forge Club, Vernon Hills). It was terrific seeing everyone who could make it, sharing stories along with both laughs and some tears. My mom would have felt honored with this party. If you couldn't make it, or perhaps didn't know about it, please don't feel bad. We understand that people had other commitments, and this was several weeks after the passing. Also, though anyone was invited, we did only send notifications specifically to family and friends who knew her (and as with any occasion some people are inadvertently forgotten, so if that was the case please accept our apologies).
Some final notes - over the past year I've posted numerous updates which I will leave available on this special news page.  I'd like to say one more time that on behalf on the McGonigal and Berry families, we'd like to express our deepest gratitude for all the support and friendship over the past couple years. It will not be forgotten.

In Memory of the parents of some friends
Over the past half of 2005 and early 2006, some of my friends have experienced losses of parents.  My deepest sympathies go out to the following individuals and their families:

Kenji Kusumoto, who lost his father in August 2005
Carey Krautsack, who lost her father in February 2006
Chris Stevens, who lost his father in February 2006

Superbowl Party - at Splinters this year
(1/29/06) You're invited to the Superbowl party happening at Splinters (now called Duffys) this year.  Figured that despite taking last year off for respect to the newborn, after hosting the party for six years it would be nice to try something new.  It also seems like a lot of people are either out of town or not heading out for the game anyway, so this party is wide open to anyone who wants to come.  $25 gets an open bar and buffet during the entire game.  If you're interested in attending, let me know via phone or e-mail.  Splinters/Duffys is located on the corner of Rand Rd. & Hicks in Palatine, phone 847-991-0002. 

"Moxie Prophets"
(December 2005) My brother-in-law Steve Berry is lead guitarist in a band that debuted in a Long Beach club on December 12th.  Here's details!  Also, they have a new website www.moxieprophets.com.

Speaking of health...
(12/1/05)  GREAT NEWS!!!  Jimmy’s most recent checkup showed no adverse changes or growth in the leg tumors, so it officially appears that the radiation treatments have been successful.  Once big sigh of relief from all family and friends.  His next checkup isn’t scheduled for a year which also seems to indicate a pretty full recovery.  Now, if he can just get his bad back fixed…

(5/12/05) Jimmy Lamberty has been given the "OK" to return to work (SBC) after major surgery on his right leg this past fall, which has included a trip to the Mayo clinic and months of radiation treatment...all due to a relatively nasty tumor and some smaller ones.  These originated in his calf muscle and required the removal of some leg muscles...though the full leg is still intact and functioning well!  I won't go into the gory details on it here, but rest assured he seems to be doing well and the therapy/treatments have him moving around quite well.  After several months at home I'm sure he's one of the few folks who is actually looking forward to getting back to work!

Laura finally gets her wish...she’s left Medline to be a full-time mom!
(October 3, November 30) The title pretty much says it all.  At the end of September Laura talked to her direct bosses and our CEO about leaving the company she's worked at for 18˝ years...actually her first and only job out of college.  Admittedly she was nervous about the whole thing, but this certainly wasn't a big surprise to anyone (she's been part-time since April) and of course they wished her the best.  She continued her part-time work through October 28th, which was officially her last day as a Medline employee.  This works out well for everyone as AJ is much more mobile which makes it tougher on her mother to constantly baby-sit.  Of course we'll now be incredibly poor without that big part-time check coming in, but I think we'll manage!  In the event Laura ever gets the urge to get back into the working world, Medline has assured her that they'd be happy to have her back.  If that ever does happen, safe to say it may be quite a while...

A Wonderful 40th Birthday Surprise!
Laura pulled it off...I was surprised numerous times for my 40th on October 16th.  A brief page with a few pictures from the event is located here.

Congrats to Steve & Mindy May
Another sincere congrats to a good friend - on October 2nd Steve May and his wife Mindy had a baby girl, Frances Ella.  No additional details at this time (waiting for that elusive birth announcement), but everything seems fine.

Oregon Wedding
A good friend of Laura & Jimmy was married out in the middle of Oregon the weekend of September 24th.  Here's a full page of pics and info.

Congrats to Leon & Jean Rebodos
I'd like to pass along a sincere congrats to one of my best friends and his family, with the birth of Lindsay Elise on Monday, August 29th (7:53 PM).  8 lbs, 4 oz, 20" long. 
For those of you who are counting, this is their fourth child, all daughters.  We think Leon is going to be working until he's 80 in order to pay for all the weddings!  I have a few pictures to share:  Here's Leon, Callie and Lindsay, here's one of Jean and Lindsay, and here's ALL the Rebodos daughters

California Dreamin...
(8/28/05) Last week we spent a few wonderful days visiting the Berry family (my sister, Steve & Isabella) at their home in Long Beach, CA.  The little one is doing great and is just as fussy & hungry as the average 1 month old should be!  Missy will be off work until the second semester at Chapman U begins (January), and with Steve working out of the house there will be no day care issues in the foreseeable future. 

For the most part, the time we spent there involved lots of walking around to different places, including a visit to Seal Beach.  There are several posted pictures (primarily of the babies) in both the Isabella section and the AJ section of this site.  Look for the ones dates August 21-23. 

A bit of a scare...but Ken is fine
(7/24/05) Laura's father Ken had a mild heart attack on July 16th.  After a stint was added and a couple evenings of observation in the hospital, it appears that he's doing OK.  He came home a couple days later and has been taking it easy for the past several days.  I'm happy to report that he seems to be doing quite well, and is gearing up for a regimen of exercise and better eating to help him get & stay healthy.

(9/4/05)  A brief follow-up...a couple weeks ago Ken went back into the hospital though apparently it was nothing serious.  He experienced some discomfort when his medication changed, but now again seems to be doing OK.  If anything else happens I'll post it here.

Eagle River Trip 2005
(8/6/05) Just got back a couple days ago with the "House Boat" crew (named that as they used to rent houseboats) of Erik & Kathy Spracklen, Russ & Rosalyn Fyfe, Rich & Carey Krautsack and Dave Bockman.  Beautiful weather, a bit too hot for me (got into the 90's every day), no A/C in the house itself, but we kept cool by drinking...a lot...and cruising around on a boat.  All in all a nice break from the daily routine, and it helps with you're with a fun group of people.  I may get some of the pictures posted in the near future. 

Old People Having Babies
(7/18/05, 5/23/05) It doesn’t appear that it’s just Laura and I who are producing children as we approach mid-life…I’d like to send a bit congrats out to Steve and Mindy May, who are expecting their first child in September. Additionally, Leon and Jean Rebodos should be having their fourth kid about the same time (betting odds are that it will be his fourth daughter). Exciting news on a McGonigal family (and just slightly younger) note would be my sister Missy and Steve Berry, who just had a baby girl (Isabella Sloane) on July 17th - you can check out that "home page" here.  Is there another one in store for the McGonigals?  Stay tuned...

Summer Party this year?  Nada...
(6/15/05) Due to other commitments & various pending issues, finding a date to have it has been a very difficult task…so it appears highly unlikely that the McGonigal family will be having another full-blown summer party. Perhaps we’ll break it out into a couple smaller functions this summer (time permitting) and/or the fall. Check back for details later.

Old People Having Birthdays
(8/6/05) A belated late "Happy 40th" to Mike Updike, who turned on July 30th while I was on vacation.  I'm sure between my last posting and this one I've missed a few people, so sorry!

(5/22/05) This is, of course, the year when virtually all the “Class of ’83” friends turn 40. Most recently is Gene Dorsch, who is celebrating his 40th (May 22) in Disneyworld. Of course my lovely wife Laura hit 40 on May 9th, Mike Kapsch on May 8th, Gina Miguel on May 4th, and Leon Rebodos on April 10th. Several already turned 40 earlier this year, and there are still quite a few to go. Myself (October 16) and Steve May (October 19) are the young ones of the group, which gives everyone time to plan a really big party and save up for expensive gifts!

Laura is Part-Time at Medline
(5/21/05) Before the birth of AJ, Laura put in 17˝ years of full-time service at Medline…what initially was going to be a starter job for her out of college turned into a nice career. We were quite aware that the transition into her “second” career of motherhood would require some changes, so effective April 1st she officially started part-time duties - working 20-25 hours per week. Laura’s experience is valuable to Medline, and this flexible arrangement allows her to balance out work duties with child care. During the reduced work hours, Laura’s mom enjoys taking care of the boy…and the fact that her parents live about five minutes from work is another very positive factor. So far, so good!

40th Birthday Celebratory Weekend in the planning stages...
(5/6/05)  ...or is it?  Seems like it's stalled, so I would think that IF it happens it may be later in the summer or fall.

This the year that me and many of my long-time friends all turn 40, so a group of us are planning a weekend getaway for some golf, drinks and fun. There is currently no additional updates on this event, though New Orleans sometime in the near future may still be an option.  I'll try to get together with some of the guys to discuss our options.  Time is passing and we ain't getting any younger...

McGonigals to Florida...and AJ takes his first flight in style!
(4/2/05)  Laura, AJ and I made a trip to Florida for Easter and had a wonderful time.  AJ enjoyed his first class seat (well, he didn't have his own but it was still first class) and though still a bit young to be in the sun, we picked some "shady" times to briefly expose him to the beach and ocean.  We have a few pictures posted from the trip in the March 2005 section of the AJ gallery. 


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