Thanksgiving Break

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Went back to the suburbs of Philadelphia for Thanksgiving break and made a brief detour into NYC. I had seen the twin towers, I had seen ground zero, I had seen the Freedom Tower being built, but it was very powerful to see the Freedom Tower completed. I recently read a very good quote by football coach Mike Shanahan, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do”, this building is emblematic of the tough people who reside in America. We got tickets to go up to the observatory on the 100th floor of the building, it only took the elevator 48 seconds to reach the destination. My ears popped several times on the way up.

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You can walk around the entire floor and see in all directions. The above image is looking east down onto a “tiny” Statue of Liberty. In fact, as you drive into NYC from New Jersey, all the skyscrapers look tiny next to the Freedom Tower.

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We walked up to Soho and stopped in one of our favorite shops called Pearl River, we picked up a variety of imported bric-a-brac. Dalia modeled this lovely conical hat.

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We passed through Rockefeller Center and they were still in the process of putting up decorations. Winston is pleased with the efforts.

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Had to hit up the Nintendo US Headquarters, even Donkey Kong was in the Christmas spirit.

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At a John’s Pizzeria near Times Square, its an old church converted to an upscale pizzeria, well as upscale as a pizzeria can be.

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Jaclyn introduced Rosie to Tootsie, everyone was happy.

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If you find Conshohocken Brewing Company beer, you should try it out. We found some at The Hattery in Doylestown. We were in the downstairs bar and it was worth checking out.

Brief Recap

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Jaclyn has become a fan of Kombucha, strange fermented tea with living organisms in it, oh yeah, I also forgot to mention it tastes like vinegar. Gross stuff, but I guess she could say worse about my moonshine.

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Jac got a puppy, Rosie. Rosie was at first overwhelmed by the Deem household, but has nicely integrated into the insanity. Benny & her are starting to develop quite a bond. Benny is still less than a year old, but enormous and strong, he wants to play with her and puts his big paw on her back and it collapses her little frame. She now gives it right back to him, last night while Benny was laying down, Rosie snuck up behind him and latched onto his tail with her teeth and pulled with all her might. Benny just laughed it off, rolled over and barely noticed.

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Winston loves his wizard hat and Minecraft, he enters codes into the computer to modify the game, he is becoming very articulate when he wants to be.

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Had special visitors over the weekend! We were all battling exhaustion and a variety of maladies, but it was a great time and loved the company. Molly got quite a kick out of the doggies and loved hanging with her big cousins.

 

One Time Special Credit Card Offer

I am sure you’ve all experienced the magic of floating in the Atlantic. Bobbing in the salty water, assessing the horizon, watching the ocean swell and identifying the wave you wish to carry you onto the shore. The wave presents itself, perhaps a crest of foam emerges and you swim like hell to stay ahead of it. The wave is temptation, inspiration, motivation, or in some cases, desperation!
Some days you catch that wave just right. Holy shit, what a wonderful feeling. All 250lbs. of your mass glides effortless across the top of emerald green water, an enormous dumb smiles spreads across your face like the Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland, and it gently delivers your fleshy mass perfectly onto the beach in front of friends and family, as if to present you to the world as a premier specimen: “Introducing the world famous, supremely talented, divinely handsome RKDEEM!”
Man, the world is great when you catch that wave just right. However, anyone knows that a human who tries to catch a wave can sometimes mess up the whole experience. No matter how good you think you are. That wave swells up, revealing a foamy lip, you swim like hell, rushing to get on its cusp and it creeps right past you, the wave leaves you behind. You missed the moment, you missed the ride, you didn’t time it right. The wave passing you by, you paddle back into the ocean and hope to catch the next opportunity to redeem yourself.

The other scenario is even worse, you see the swell and foaming cusp, you swim like hell and the wave breaks. You try to stay in front of it, but paddling too far ahead. It all starts to crash, the wave envelops your body, it sucks you inside and thrashes your 250 lbs. of mass effortlessly into a swirling violent eddy…absolutely no control, you cannot steer, you are at the mercy of the ocean. Your lungs fill with saltwater, your body is upside down, face dragging across the sandy bottom and your toes burst into the salty air, tumbling onto the beach and your wife meets you in the wash to make sure you’re okay. Not good.

Man oh man, if you ride a dozen waves, you realize you better damn be humble, that next wave can make you look like a clown. My mother said that you’ll meet the same people coming up as you’ll see coming down and that is sincerely the truth.
Without spilling the beans on all the details, I’ve been catching a couple good waves lately. Work is good, family is good, there’s a sense of optimism and pride, I hope to ride this wave all the way to the beach. Kids, work, wife, dog(s), and all that stuff and just going supremely well.

With all that being said, these multitudes of waves are a blessing. It would be pure agony if a wave only came upon you once a month or year and you missed it, thank God, there is a next wave, you can redeem yourself, you just need to keep paddling. There is luck or there is determination, I am thankful for the luck and I am proud to have never stopped paddling.

Paddling like crazy isn’t so bad when you have an excellent soundtrack, special thanks to:

Luna – downloaded dozens of theirs song, saw their reunion concert and even read their book (Black Postcards), I am possibly obsessed, but their music earned it. Most excellent band, never got their due, one of my favorites.

Bahamas – Here’s a way to really make you feel like a horrible human being, try driving 5 hours away from the family you love, late on a Sunday night in the midst of a snow storm. Fortunately, there was an amazing West Virginia public radio show called Ecleptopia which introduced me to a band called Bahamas. A perfect band for such an occasion.

Regina Spektor – A couple years ago, I think I put her near the top of my list of favorite musicians. Not that many folks read this blog, but those who did were skeptical, but I swear she is the real deal, she is beautiful, sincere, unique, and sincere.

The Band – Just love their music. Long Black Veil, Up On Cripple Creek, The Weight. We were in Ohiopyle, PA and a couple kayak guides strolled into a diner/bakery and they were singing The Band’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”, you know this song was playing in some dive house party with cheap beer and regrettable behavior, but it was all perfect for them.

Bob Dylan – Man oh man, he’ll get his own review some day, but in the meantime, think about this, there is nothing close to him. Just listen to: Love Sick, Mississippi, Not Dark Yet, Standing In The Doorway, Shelter From The Storm, Visions of Johanna, Its Alright Mama, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright. His lyrics are hysterically honest and sad, that’s the biggest compliment I can give him.

“That Guy”

Werewolf

A colleague from my work hosted a baby shower party and all of us were invited. While I really like my colleagues and even babies, I really do not like baby showers. I just think that they should either remain a female only event or if men must participate, it should be adapted for men. Forcing men to attend a baby shower is like making women attend a Fantasy Football draft.

Anyways, since the baby shower was on the same weekend as Halloween, I decided to show up in a werewolf mask. There were several senior level people in attendance and I snuck up behind the couch where the proud parents were opening the presents and tried to scare them. The reaction was muted, I do not think anyone wanted to encourage me.

Benny

I have abandoned my dog the past couple of weekends, first we were in Coudersport then last weekend we were in DC. It was time to bond, so I took Benny on a bunch of errands with me. I put my hat on him and he didn’t mind at all, I think he kind of liked it. This is a disgusting story and Jaclyn doesn’t even know it because it happened last night when she was out, but it needs to be told. I was watching Sunday night football and runs into the room dry heaving and gagging. I ask, “What’s wrong?”

Winston: I went *gag* to the *gag* bathroom…*gag, dry heave, gag*, and I saw Benny *gag* drinking *convulsion gag* from the toilet *intense gagging* and there was *dry heave* a giant turd in it.

Benny just stared at me a stupid expression on his face, as if to say, “Come on guys, who hasn’t drank turd water before?”

I grabbed a wash cloth covered it in dish soap and washed his head as best I could. Then I started giving him water and food to try to flush out his system. Benny appreciated the extra attention and I reminded the kids of the importance of flushing the toilet and putting down the seat.

Party

Dalia’s birthday almost always falls on the same weekend as a big conference that I need to attend each year for work. Last year, this resulted in Jaclyn hosted a big party of 6 year old girls all by herself in our house. Dalia was also upset with me last year for missing her birthday party (rightly so!), so I was determined to make sure we didn’t miss it again this year. We moved her birthday up a week and had a nice party for her entire class at Flight, a trampoline place. The inside of the building is the size of a soccer field and filled with all sorts of trampolines and platforms to jump off from onto the trampolines. The kids run and jump on the trampolines for an hour and then they go into the party room, eat pizza, cupcakes, and sing happy birthday. The party went without a hitch, the kids had a blast, and Dalia loved the whole thing, in the picture above, she is surrounded by some of her best friends from the neighborhood.

Bday Girl

I took Dalia out for a little shopping trip for her present, she wanted to go to Justice, to pick out some clothing. On top of her list was a jean jacket, which I presume is because her mom frequently sports one. Here she is with her jean jacket opening up a card from Grandmom Ginny & Granddad.