Dalia Was In The Hospital

I had a terrible cold a couple weeks ago and its still lingering.  Unfortunately, my infant daughter Dalia caught my cold as well and because she’s so little, we had to take her to the hospital.  They kept her overnight and had oxygen going into her nose through some little tubes and she had a saline solution going through an IV into her little baby hand.  They also had to take a urine sample for testing purposes and to get a urine sample from a baby, a catheter needs to be applied.  Must have been a purely awful experience for the little girl, but she’ll never remember it – thank god.  She was released tonight and she’s now back at home and so is her mother.  Everything’s fine, but it the whole experience injected a lot of anxiety into our holiday break. 

Here’s a great commercial, when I see the kid jumping onto the table, I can only think of Winston.

What A Year (2008 Edition)

What RKDeem Has Learned This Year: 
1. Catching a 200lb Marlin off the shores of Cabo San Lucas was incredible, watching the captain beat it to death with a wooden club was a little depressing. 
2. I learned how to negotiate for everything in Mexico, I missed having the option to negotiate once I returned to the US 
3. Martin Luther King Jr. Day happens to be on the most depressing day of the year…coincidence? 
4. On February 4th, I begged the gods for a parade in Philly and in late October, I got one. 
5. Hands down, the best product endorsement amusement ride that I’ve ever been on is in Hershey, PA. The hotels give you tons of chocolate and they even have a zoo. The Hershey Grille serves a $45 bottle of water. 
6. Getting laid off really sucks and it can happen to someone who’s never had a bad review in their entire life. If you’re ever in a position to interview someone who was laid off, please give them fair consideration. If you’re ever laid off, be honest about it and tell the truth, many of the people I interviewed with were really understanding and wanted to help out. 
7. Getting laid off, which was a really crappy event, resulted in excellent change. Got a job closer to home, with a profitable product, and a client who’s very appreciative of my work. 
8. I learned that it is good to marry a woman who will love you even when you’re not proud, getting laid off was embarrassing and humbling, but she still made me feel like a king. 
9. The best view of Niagara Falls is on the Maid of the Mist boat (I think it was $7 a person and you got a free poncho) and the second best view came from the public sidewalk that goes within inches of the Horseshoe Falls. It’s definitely worth the trip. 
10. Rubbing alcohol removes permanent marker off a brand new flat screen TV with ease. 
11. Tom Petty’s puts together a fun concert, maybe it was the ecto-cooler margaritas (one of which, I spilled all over the the exterior of the car). 
12. Siren Records went out of business, but was saved by people who care. It’s cool that people still care about things. 
13. Gas prices have been at extreme highs and extreme lows. Let us not forget the high prices and make sure the next car we buy is okay for the environment. 
14. The Philadelphia Zoo is really big and there’s plenty to see, but Philadelphia should help out the destitute neighbors, you can’t walk by those homes from the parking lot to the zoo without feeling extreme sympathy or disgust that we’d let something like that stand. 
15. Police in Ithaca are quick to respond to notifications about nearly dead groundhogs. The blueberry wine from the farmer’s market made me appreciate Ithaca for a couple months after visiting. 
16. The Raggamuffins and Ray Charles are the greatest bands ever. 
17. My 30th Birthday in the Pocono’s was everything I wanted it to be, I hope to get back to Jim Thorpe in Spring to finish the hike. 
18. I didn’t vote this election, for the first time since I was eligible. Glad people voted for Obama, I hadn’t given up on democracy, I had given up on all the people who could vote for Bush twice. 
19. Camden Aquarium is just as good as the Baltimore Aquarium, the trick is to get there around 3PM and enjoy the final two hours, lots less people to contend with. 
20. My blogs ads won’t make me a millionaire, in fact, I will be lucky to break even. I’ve earned $12 and I need to raise $6 more to break even over the next year. 
21. Having two children complicates parent logistics exponentially. 
22. Love really evolves throughout a relationship. I remember first seeing Jaclyn jumping and giggling enthusiastically at the fish market with concert tickets in hand, she hugged her friend Krissy and then gleefully skipped back out the door. I needed to know her and had Krissy arrange an introduction, we stayed in touch for years. We finally started dating and it consumed my life, we wanted to be with each other every minute and be talking on the phone when we weren’t together. Jaclyn’s so beautiful, passionate, compassionate, intelligent, artsy, and she even showed interest in all the dorky things I do. It was a crush. She moved in and it was bliss. We had the incredible wedding at Font Hill and perfect honeymoon in Key West. Now that Winston and Dalia are with us, we can no longer spend an hour long romantic dinner staring longingly into each other’s eyes, we’re typically managing Winston’s acrobatic escape attempts from his booster seat and with the other hand continually bouncing Dalia or else she’ll start to groan and scream. The fancy dinners, deep conversations, and peaceful evenings alone are currently on hold. It’s tough, because I miss a lot of that intimacy, but know it’s still simmering. It’s just that so much of our love is being channeled into the little children who have started off as OUR blank slates. We’re really pumping in so much love, affection, patience, and knowledge into these kids. So, while we’re not hot and heavy basking in candlelight, there’s no love more profound than that of a parent who gives everything they have to offer to their family. Winston, Dalia, Jaclyn, and I are all part of the equation now. At first it was almost entirely one way, you just pump all of your energy, time, and love into the infant, like watering a seed, and it’s tough to really see anything, they just groan, sleep, throw up and poop. But now there’s so much wonderful coming my way, especially with Winston at nearly 2 years of age. He typically lights up the room with his smile when I come home from work, he runs to greet me, we share everything, we play cars together, we have hundreds of little games we play together…this love is growing, just like the seed and so is my definition of the word. It’s no longer that intimate, passionate crush, that’s now just a small part of what love is for us now.

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Girl in Elf = She & Him

Howdy greenhorns, ranch hands, and ol’ cowpokes.  I’m writing in with my 198th blog posting…Yeehaw!!!

Last night the Deem family watched Elf, it’s safe to say that we all love the movie.  One of my favorite parts of the movie is when the girl is singing in the shower and Will Farrell the elf follows the singing into the bathroom and starts dueting with her.  It’s such a beautiful juxtaposition of cute and creepy, I can’t help but love it.  Anyways, that girl from Elf is a really talented singer and has an awesome CD out there where she teams up with M. Ward to craft vintage sounding pop songs that are really perfect for any occasion. 

If you’ve spent all of your Christmas money on presents for other people and you can only afford one song, buy Sentimental Heart. 

Other CDs I have like from this year:
– MGMT (electro pop) – the key song is Time to Pretend
– Wood Brothers (acoustic folk) – the key song is Postcards From Hell
– Ray LaMontagne (soul folk) – the key song is You Are The Best Thing
– Ben Sollee (cello plucking soul folk) – album is great from top to bottom

Songs that I liked this year
– Cold War Kids (Something Is Not Right With Me) – If the name of the song “Something Is Not Right With Me” speaks to you with way to much conviction, then something is probably not right with you and you will love blasting this song and singing along with pride
– Jessica Lea Mayfield (Kiss Me Again) – sad and somewhat miserable song, if that’s what you’re looking for

By the way, Jack Johnson’s record label just release an awesome Christmas music with the “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” I wrote about earlier plus other songs that sound great by G. Love, Matt Costa, Rogue Wave, Mason Jennings, etc.  The CD is called This Warm December: Brushfire Holidays

I am probably going to end 2008 with my 200th entry, so we’ll get two more entries in between now and December 31st. 

Santa Claus & Jewish People

Like a lot of children, I grew up as a huge fan of Santa Claus.  Good lord, I just loved thinking about the jolly guy coming to our homes and dropping off presents, enjoying cookies I left for him on the kitchen table, and if I started misbehaving – my parents would warn me about Santa’s list of children who’ve been naughty or nice and I’d immediately correct my behavior. 

Santa is one of the finest human beings on the planet, in fact, there’s a part of me who still loves the guy, I mean, how can you not love Santa Claus?  But the other day I started to think about what other religions might think of Santa Claus, in particular, what Jewish kids must go through growing up in a country that’s so infatuated with the man in red. 

I imagine the conversation going like this:

Jewish boy and mother walking through Willow Grove Mall and walk by Santa Claus cabin where he’s getting photographed with adoring kids and elves. 

Jewish Boy:  Mom, who is Santa Claus?
Jewish Mom:  Oh, he’s this mythical figure that some people believe in.  On Christmas each year, he comes to all of their homes and delivers presents.
Jewish Boy:  I heard he gives presents to all of my friends, how does he get to all of those places in one night?
Jewish Mom:  The legend has it that he travels on flying reindeer and then sneaks into their houses through their chimney.  His presents are manufactured by elves of diminutive stature.
Jewish Boy:  How come he doesn’t deliver presents to us
Jewish Mom:  Well, he only delivers presents to people of a particular faith – Christianity.
Jewish Boy:  I think we should become Christian.

It’s funny because Jewish people are probably put in this wacky situation of explaining this completely irrational story over and over to their children because of all the Christmas decorations, Christmas songs, and Christmas Specials that are ubiquitous at this time of year.  I think Jewish people should create some wacky mythical character of their own, let’s call him Grandpa SeaBass and make up all kinds of bizarre folklore and music to force Christian parents to explain it.  In addition to Grandpa SeaBass, we must include stories about his most famous Hermit Crab, Randy the Red Clawed Hermit Crab.  Unfortunately, Hannakah is so literal, you really can’t embellish too much.  I mean, one vial of oil burned for 8 days doesn’t leave much to the imagination and it’s not that juicy of a story, if someone came up to me at work and told me that I had to sit down because they had the most amazing story to tell me and then they proceeded to tell me about a vial of oil burning for 8 days, I’d probably say, “Okay, that’s pretty cool, nice job.”  If someone told me the whole Christmas thing, I’d be like, “Holy smokes my man, whatever drugs you’re on, I want some.” 

I’m not sure what the point of this entry is, I guess it’s just really funny to me that innocent bystanders have to perpetuate this pretty bizarre story and if I was Jewish, I might be tempted to think that us Santa lovers might be a little looney.  I doubt anyone complains though, it’s very rare that something makes so many people so very happy, it’s just funny that this wacky little story generates so much happiness, most retail store’s entire livelihood completely depend on this story, and this story generates so much generosity and giving.  Maybe we don’t need an economic bailout, we might just need another story, Mr. Obama may need to consider introducing Grandpa SeaBass.

Awesome Christmas Mix CD

Winston & I woke up early this morning and mom and Dalia were sound asleep.  Instead of puttering around the apartment with an intensifying case of cabin fever, we decided to bolt for Philadelphia.  Shortly after 8AM we arrived in the Italian Market and walked by produce, pig’s heads, burn barrels and shops full of cheeses.  We then relocated to center city and hit up the shops of Liberty Place and put the finishing touches on my Christmas shopping.  We then wandered through City Hall and emerged at the Macy’s.  I’ve heard that Macy’s had a light show, but I never imagined their light show would be over 200 feet tall and filled with all the best Christmas songs.  Winston was paralyzed with awe, he just smiled and stared consumed with Christmas glee.  There were lots of moments like that, he just smiled in amazement as he tilted his head way back to take in an entire skyscraper, he clapped appreciatively as a street musician performed holiday music, and whenever a car beeped in rage for being cutoff, Winston assumed they were jockeying for his attention and he emphatically waved in their direction.  I heard a lot of Christmas music today so I’m going to share with you all of my favorite music. 

1.  Robert Earl Keen – Merry Christmas from the Family:  This is a really funny country Christmas song.  While most Christmas songs strive to present the most glorious shimmering holiday scene, Robert Earl Keen sings in the first verse:

“Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party
We were drinking champagne punch and homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn’t know what to think of him until he sang
Felis Navidad, Felis Navidad”

2.  The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping:  This song can either be really catchy and high energy or it can just give you an aneurysm, depending on your mood.  Either way, it fills that mandatory void of a new age Christmas jam for your mix CD.

3.  Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis:  I know what you’re thinking, will a rap song fly if I try to play this at Grandma’s Christmas extravaganza, the answer is simple, yes.  This is one of the very best Christmas songs ever, it’s in my top 3, it’s gotta go on your CD and plus, you don’t want a CD filled with Bing Crosby, you’re striving for something better aren’t you. 

4.  Bing Crosby – White Christmas:  Okay, I just took a dig at Bing, but for God sakes, it’s not a Christmas CD without him.  He’s got an awesome voice and you can sing along perfectly (assuming you’re well enough inebriated).  This song also reassures Grandma that your not turning her extravaganza into an all out gangsta Christmas party. 

5.  Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town:  This is another is my top 3.  Never got sick of it even though I’ve heard a 1,000 times.  It’s Bruce and it’s Christmas, pretty awesome combination. 

6.  Otis Redding – Merry Christmas Baby:  Terrific Christmas song with some good ol’ fashioned soul.  People will want to know who sings this one.  As they say on Oldies 98, it puts some cool on your yule.

7.  Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan – Baby, It’s Cold Outside:  Beautiful song, perfect winter song, but sort of lost some zing when Jaclyn’s brother convinced me it had some date rape elements to it. 

8.  Jack Johnson – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer:  Nice acoustic Jack Johnson song that the whole party can get behind. 

9.  Elvis Presley – Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me:  Elvis has some awesome Christmas songs, this one’s a lot more upbeat than Blue Christmas.

10.  Vince Guaraldi – O Tannenbaum:  Right from Charlie Brown’s Christmas Special, great jazzy song that takes up 5 wonderful minutes on your Christmas CD.

11.  Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You:  Personally, I don’t care for Mariah, but every girl I know loves this damn song, throw em a bone and put this on the CD.

12.  Arthur Fiedler & Boston Pops Orchestra – Sleigh Ride:  Class up the party for a minute, make a toast to Grandma, and grab some bells and start jingling baby!  If you want another great version of this, try Ella Fitzgerald’s.

I hope this helps you with your Christmas mix CD efforts.  Let me know if I missed something. 

Robstapo – Blog Censorship

First of all, I want to let everyone know about the sleep deprivation a new born baby brings.  Just imagine yourself getting really tired, changing into your pajamas, brushing your teeth, snuggling up to your significant other and giving her a goodnight kiss and closing your eyes to go to bed.  The day starts to fade away, you’re relaxed, your comfortable, you’re snuggled up, it’s just about time to fall into that deep and perfect sleep when…gaaaaah….Gaaaaaaaaaah…..AHHHHGAAAH….AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!  You and your wife freeze, like two soldiers hiding in the brush as an enemy battalion walks within inches of you.  You think to yourself, “Please God, let me get away with this, just this one time” and all of the sudden an enemy soldier sees you out of the corner of his eye, the troops surround you and it’s WAAA..WAAA!!!!  The baby persists, the house is rattles and reverberates the baby scream.  

This scenario takes place on a nightly basis, showtime starts at 11PM.  

Act 1 – Mom tries to feed baby, this muffles the William Wallace baby scream
Act 2 – Mom whisks baby away downstairs and performs several baby calming techniques (bouncing, burping, pacing, steadily intensified “Shush”es, place baby in swing, swaddle baby, give up all hope.
Act 3 – Mom gives up all hope, baby plays possum, falls asleep.
Act 4 – Mom and baby return upstairs, baby is ready to party again. Dad is awoken by a weird dream where he thinks a rabid dog is attacking him, it’s just the baby making weird grunting noises next to him.
Act 5 – It’s 4AM, Dad takes over and repeats Act 2, but in a more comical and pathetic manner which has minimal effect on the baby.
Act 6 – It’s 6:30AM, baby feels satisfied to have fully tormented parents, falls asleep.
Act 7 – It’s 7AM and your 2 year old wakes up!

Anyways, let’s talk blog censorship briefly.  My intentions for this site was to be a place for everyone to visit, I purposely post content that is suitable for a wide audience and try to shed some insight on my life for anyone that’s interested.  I also sincerely hope that this site generates good conversation and that people post some interesting comments.  There is no one in this world who I would feel uncomfortable showing this site to.  With that being said, I would not want comments posted by other people to make visitors to feel unwelcome.  Ultimately, this site is my little clubhouse where anyone is welcome to hang out and I don’t want wacky graffiti to keep some people from entering.  I will continue to remove postings, but only if I feel like they are harming someone.  If someone wants a post removed, they can just post a request to have it taken down.  It is very easy to post anonymously or under someone else’s name as has been demonstrated numerous times.  



Winston running under the County Theatre on Thanksgiving night

Winston running by Nuts Plus and down towards Bobby Simone’s on Thanksgiving night

Winston checking out an electrical meter on Thanksgiving night

Winston running through our neighborhood on Thanksgiving night

Winston’s climbing on the TV on Thanksgiving night

Deem family on a very low key Thanksgiving night

Winston and his mom on movie night, the night after Thanksgiving

All is well at the Deem household.  It’s nice having family and great friends stopping by.  Lots to be thankful for, so much love in this community. 

Business Trip – Rainman Style

Monday, November 24. 2:45AM – Alarm goes off, I stumble out of bed.
3:30AM – I’m in my car, heading to the Philadelphia Airport

4:40AM – Arrive at the airport, park car in economy parking lot and wait for shuttle bus.

5:00AM – Enter airport, go through security
5:40AM – Plane takes off.
7:55AM – Plane lands in Atlanta.

8:15AM – Hunt down a cab, get a call that the photo shoot is canceled, so I head directly to my office.
9:00AM – Arrive at our office in Buckhead.  We have clients coming in for a big tactical planning meeting where we discuss all our projects next year and get an idea of our entire year’s scope of work.  We work through lunch putting the final touches on this presentation.
1:30PM – Clients arrive and the meeting goes really well.  They appreciate the thought behind our ideas and agree to lots of projects for 2009.  This will be good for the brand we support and good for the company I work for. 
6:00PM – Meeting concludes.  We walk to the Westin hotel and have a drink before we head off to dinner, I have a Dos Equis.
6:45PM – We arrive at the Capital Grill for dinner.  The steak was phenomenal, but the highlight of the evening was when a colleague of mine had his napkin taken away by the waiter and he said, “Whoa, I’ll need that napkin, can you give it back?”  The waiter kindly replied, “I am replacing it with a napkin that matches your attire sir.”  We had just blown our cover, we are not regulars at fancy establishments!
10:45PM – Get back to hotel, call my wife and talk for a little bit.  Too tired to talk much, just let her know that it’s been a good day and I’m still alive.  I’m about to turn off the light and see a big blood or wine stain in the carpet.  I call the front desk to inform them it wasn’t me and I did not want to be charged for it.  They said they were aware and were waiting for new carpet, I said okay, and immediately fell asleep.  

Tuesday, November 25.  6:45AM – Alarm sounds, I bounce out of bed.
7:20AM – Arrive at my office to greet clients and take them to the photo shoot.  We head to Piedmont Park which is beautiful and designed by the sons of  the guy who designed Central Park in NYC. 

9:00AM – Photo shoot begins.  Don’t want to give out competitive intelligence, so I’ll just attach a single picture from the shoot.  You’d be surprised at how many people are required for a photo shoot, it’s dozens.  You have the photographer, videographer, set up crew, props people, makeup people, style people, racks of clothing, caterers, models, lighting, etc. 

2:00PM – Head back to the office.  I took more pictures, but this is already a long post with plenty of pics so I’ll just include my favorite thing from the office.  This is a big 3-D piece of art with many layers.

4:00PM – Head back to airport, sit in lots of traffic and pass some cheap gas (we’re getting damn close to my $1.50 prediction)

6:55PM – Plane takes off.
9:05PM – Plane lands.
9:20PM – I am in shuttle bus taking me back to economy parking lot.

9:30PM – In car and heading home.
10:45PM – Arrive home, exhausted. 

There you go people.  For anyone who thinks business travel is fun or desirable, it’s usually not.  It’s a long, hectic, trip typically devoid of any pleasure.  At least the steak was damn good. 

Sometime later this week I’ll give my detailed thoughts on the new era of comments censorship.  But please know this, I appreciate all my readers and everyone who checks this site, and that’s the bottom line.  I appreciate the crazy comments, I appreciate all the people who visit, I want to make this the best site for everyone.  Thank you for your time and thoughts. 

Much Love,

My Favorite Meals In Doylestown

Let me start off by saying that I have two small children and haven’t ate at the “fancy” places in Doylestown for awhile.  My favorite local fancy places are all outside of Doylestown – Marsha Brown’s, Hamilton Grillroom, and the Black Bass.  Unfortunately, the Black Bass was closed down a year or two ago because it was taken over by new ownership, the new owner is Jack Thompson, the guy who owns Thompson BMW, Thompson Toyota, Thompson Lexus, etc.  The Black Bass website  has a section dedicated to the history of the place with some amazing old pictures.  I loved that place because it was super old (built in 1745), but didn’t feel old, it felt like a great timeless place, a perfect spot for a romantic dinner, and the food was always hearty and superb.  I can’t wait for renovations to be completed and to eat there again in the Spring.  The bar was really awesome too, pretty amazing to catch a drink in the same spot as a Hessian soldier 200 years earlier and usually someone with some talent was playing a piano nearby, just perfect.  

So here’s my favorite meals in Doylestown:
Summer To Be Scene – If it’s summer and I want to be in the scene, I’ll probably grab an outdoor table at Cafe America, grab a $10 bucket of tiny Coronas and enjoy their nachos while trying to decide with burrito to order.  Their burritos are huge and a notch above any other burrito in Pennsylvania.  You could definitely take a girl on a date here, only issue is that it gets crowded because it’s a fairly tiny space.

Fancy Sandwich – If you’re on jury duty, go to Lilly’s and get the best sandwich you’ve ever had

Best Cheesesteak or Hoagie – Steak & Hoagie Factory, Primo’s is a close second in the hoagie department, but the crust on their rolls is a tiny bit too hard for my liking, but the crusty roll is good if you like oil and vinegar

Best “Fancy” Meal On A Budget
– Cafe Alessio wins this one hands down.  The reason I like Cafe Allesio is because it has everything.  I originally thought of this place as an Italian Restaurant, but it really offers a lot more, including sushi…?  Anyways, it’s a BYOB which is super fantastic as well, if you’re grabbing your girl right after work and forgot the wine, there’s a wine & spirits store right across the street. 

Best Pizza – I have to go with Italian Delight, but I have to admit that I didn’t give Spatola’s a shot.  I recently had Nat’s and they disappointed me.  Papa John’s has the easiest online ordering system (which is key for people like me who hate interacting with people & they deliver), but when it comes down to it, Italian Delight rules Doylestown.  Not a good place to take a date, even if you’re in high school.  If you want to take a date to a pizza joint, you’re much better off with Jules, plus Jules is another Doylestown BYOB.  

Best Italian Restaurant – Domani Star rocks, it’s a BYOB, but it’s another place that’s hidden into a small, small spot.  This meal will set you back about $40 more than Cafe Alessio, but I think it’s well worth it for a special occasion.

Best Indian Place – There’s only one in Doylestown and I never ate there.

Best Chinese Place – There isn’t one.  Hong Kong Jacks is overpriced and pretty small servings, Golden Chopsticks is better, but still fairly expensive for deep fried food.  Best bet is to do the next option below.

Best Thai – Spice Thai Cuisine – it’s right up the road from the County Theatre, if you have a group of 4 or more, consider the appetizer sampler, it’s huge and glorious.

Best Sushi – I am not a sushi snob, I usually don’t go too deep into the menu to find whale sperm and black bass ear wax, give me a spicy tuna roll, california roll, salad, miso soup, and Sapporo beer and I’m happy.  Ooka has it all and does it in a nicer environment than Madam Butterfly.  Ooka looks great and keeps the habachi separated from the calming fung shui dining area.    

Best Bagel – The Bagel Barrel needs some competition, they make a great bagel and great sandwiches, but the long lines and high prices turn me off.  There’s a nice bakery behind the McDonald’s & 7/11 called Mary Ann’s, that’s the place to go for your bagel fix or to satisfy your sweet tooth.  

Cheap Eats – The Hot Spot.  The hot spot is just a great place when you can’t make up your mind, feed you family for under $20 and it’s really good food.    

I’m interesting on hearing your opinions about Knighthouse, Freighthouse, Black Walnut, Paganinni’s, and anything else I missed.