Holidays in India

Going for my va

Dad is going to India next week after 7 years.. Last time I went.. I got terribly sick and this lasted for almost 6 months. Lesson to be learned here is NEVER EVER drink milk products in small restaurants!

Even as I love food, I know this time, I have to watch what I eat and be very careful.

I’ll be partaking in a real Indian wedding in Mumbai. Yes, Indian weddings are not just one day of celebrations, it’s a culmination of a week long celebration with hundreds and at time thousands of your friends/relatives!

I’ll be blogging while I’m there with unique perspective on what changes I’ve seen over the past 7 years. I’ll try to make it interesting.. I’m trying to figure out how to do video blogging, but am struggling right now.. As a techie, I should know how to do this, but am still struggling with the right venue for the video blog..

I was thinking of Facebook Live, but that’s just too “Public”.

Any suggestions?

 

I’m thankful for

As another holiday season approaches, I’m on annual staycation during Thanksgiving week and have had a chance to reflect on things. I know I ramble and I don’t necessarily stay on point on my postings, but today, as a I sit here listening to some great music on my Echo device, I am truly thankful for many things in my life

What am I thankful for today and every day of my life?

  • My Family – My kids and my brother. They are the ultimate barometer of me as a parent and as how I’ve influenced their lives. As they have grown up, they continue to showcase everyday their independence and their ability to persevere.
    • The last few years have been difficult for them, but yet both my girls have thrived and become the young ladies I always wanted them to be. Resourceful and successful each in their own rights.
    • Over the past few years, I’ve started to see life through their eyes not only as my children, but as young ladies growing up in today’s society. My girls are truly my pride and joy.
    • My brother has been my rock for the past few years. For many years, we didn’t get along, but over the past few years, we have healed our relationship and become not just true brothers, but really good friends. Over the past few years, he has gone out of his way to support me emotionally as I rode my roller coaster of emotions. Spending time with my brother and his family in Texas (yes it is hot in Texas!), I’ve managed to maintain my sanity, and at the same time realize that blood is always thicker than water.
  • My Life – My life over the past few years has been chaotic to say the least. Many don’t know that I’ve been working on version 2.0 of me. Why? Well when you don’t truly appreciate what you have and fight to keep it, you tend to lose it. Well that’s what happened to me.
    • Many don’t know that I become a divorced dad over 2 years ago. After almost 24 years of marriage, my married life ended. The cause for the disintegration of my marriage was multi-dimensional. I won’t go into it here. Yet let’s say, that relationships will either fail or succeed with communications and compromise. If you and your partner are not are not able  work together on both, you will end up a part of the divorce rate which now exceeds 50%!
  • Rebirth – Divorce is like death and rebirth of the individual. Even as you are going through the various stages of grief for the loss of a relationship, you are always walking forwards and looking for that light at the end of the tunnel where the sun will shine through once again.   Oh yes,  I  have spent the past two years plus in various stages of grief (anger is the one stage that is pervasive and a consistent formula in my daily life). I’ve learned to cope with my situation with various mechanisms for introspection and several parts humor (mostly sarcasm which is my forte).
  • My friends – I have very few friends, but the friends I do have have shown me over and over again what the meaning of true friendship is. These friends have now seen the best of times in my life and been and the worst of times.  There are only a handful of friends that can be honest with me and stand by me in my times of need. My friends helped me to keep my sanity when I felt totally isolated and didn’t know when it would stop raining and the sun would come out again for my life.
  • Tennis – Playing tennis has enabled me to re-direct my negative energy into a positive force on the courts. I found that the more negative emotions I had, I focused more on the game to be a better player and focus on the game as a “safe place” for me to be in my darkest hours. At times, I entered into a Zen state when went on the court and all the grief, anger and the overwhelming angst was left on the court. I actually became a better player over the past few years!

As 2016 draws to a close, I’ve turned the corner into a new sense of individuality and purpose. Perhaps its just that I’m getting older, but perhaps being retrospective allows me some gain some perspective on where I’ve been and where I’m going.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.. Be sure to tell your loved ones, how grateful you are that they are in your life and be thankful for everything you have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas – Y’all -Not gonna happen

Life has been crazy for the past few months.. Yes.. crazier than usual.

I spent most of September in Dallas for my annual visit to my brother’s place and see the Cowboy’s opening season opener (We’ll call this the 2nd annual meet of 5 lifetime friends).

We spent way too much money for the tickets, but to see the Cowboys lose by 1 point it was worth the overspending. Even as I’m not really a Giants fan… to see the Boys lose, it’s “always a good thing”. At least this year we (Giants Fans) didn’t have to walk the gauntlet of Cowboys fans booing and heckling us when they won last year on a last minute field goal!

Random Rant of the day: I was looking for Gov. Christie in Jerry Jones’s AT&T Stadium but could not see the our dear Governor anywhere. Perhaps he was at the food court??  Let’s not get started on Gov. Christie.. (Thank you for the .23 cent per gallon gas tax you signed Gov. Christie! I’ll think of you every time I fill up my gas tank!). You will always be near and dear to our heart for Bridge-Gate, the Gas Tax and your tremendous support of Trump and the Cowboys.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Even as we sat 9 rows behind the end zone, I realized that instead of watching the game, I found myself watching the HUGE television for each play. Now you tell me did I just pay $300 for a ticket to watch television? oh Yeah.. I forget the cheerleaders!

I’ve been debating whether on making a permanent move to Dallas and this visit finally established one thing –> Not gonna happen Y’all. I’m a Jersey homey and I like my 4 seasons. It seems every time I go to Dallas, I’m going during the heat season. I just cannot stand this heat… Yes.. Yes.. being from India, I should be able to handle this heat, but remember I’m a New Yorker and we like to complain when we are uncomfortable.

When I was in Dallas it was 90+ degrees every day.. This is blistering heat with warm gushes of wind..You can’t go anywhere.. The only time you can really do any kind of exercise outside is before 6 AM and after 7 PM.. Rest of the time. Stay indoors and let your Air Conditioner hum.

I also realized that I really like where I live (being near the beaches, living in Red Bank, Near hiking trails and bike paths).. In Texas (Plano).. all I saw was huge mega strip malls and heat beating down on me. No Thanks.. I can stay in NJ to see my smaller strip malls and have the heat for only a few days a year!

I think the best place in Texas is Austin.. I love the city life and the campus that is U of T in Austin. I visited the state house and saw my niece! It’s also a nice drive from Plano to Austin! The culture, environment of Austin is appealing to me.. so maybe Austin is where I should go? Nah! It’s still texas and —> “Texas is Hot!”. BTW that was the favorite line of my late father.. whenever I told him to go visit his son in Dallas!

Well I’m back in NJ and getting ready for my next trip.. I’m going to India in December!

This time.. I’m gonna try something different.. I’m gonna Video Blog my trip as well as Instagram my trip.. Yeah baby.. Dad’s Taxi is finally getting into Social Media!

 

 

 

 

Pokemon Go – I’m addicted

Last week when the Pokemon Go game came out, I was determined not to be the last person on earth to start playing the game.. As you can guess, in the past, every craze that happens on the APP scene, I’m the last one to catch on.

At work during lunch my friends were discussing Pokemon Go and I decided then and there that I’m not letting this train out of the station without jumping on it. Oh boy was that an early warning sign that I should not have ignored.

I downloaded, created my avatar and went forth.. within a few days.. after finally figuring out that I needed to earn my Poke Balls by going to Poke Stops, I was fully immersed in the addiction.

Here are the signs of Pokemon Addiction that you need Poke-Therapy:

  • At first all you want to do is see the Pokemon in your world and take pics of them using your phone.. but suddenly that’s not good enough, you want to take pictures of them in their environment, because it’s easier to capture them there.
  • Taking pictures and capturing one or two will not do, you want to capture them all! How dare these Pokemon’s enter my world!
  • You start having a panic attack when you can’t go after any Pokemon’s because you don’t have any Pokemon balls.
  • You are constantly looking for Pokestops so you can reload with balls so you have enough when the Pokemon’s come at you.
  • You almost break your (“If it’s not free, I’m not gonna pay“)  mantra and ALMOST break out the credit card so you can have enough Poke balls to capture as many creatures as possible. I have not gotten to this point yet, but I feel that I will be there pretty soon.
  • You break out into a cold sweat when you realize you don’t have any Poke Balls and that you can’t get more till you go out into the REAL WORLD and find the pokestops.
  • You want to get to the next level desperately and all you are thinking about is those Pokemon creatures and how you are gonna get all of them. This is where the obsession really begins!
  • You start asking complete strangers (ahem teenagers that will look at you with disdain) where is the nearest pokestop so you can get your fix of 2 or 3 poke balls so you can continue your hunt.
  • The line between reality and virtual reality becomes blurred when all you see are Pokemon’s all around you! When you are in the real world and instead of doing normal walks, all you do is stare at your smart phone and say to yourself –> “How can I be that far away from the poke stop? I need more!”.
  • You start “googling” –> “pokemon Go hacks” so you can get yourself to the next level as quickly as possible.
  • You join a team for battle and then realize you have no idea what it is to do battle in a poke Gym.. when you get to level 5 and join a team..
  • You walk heads down and expect others to get out of your way, be they cars of be they any inanimate objects (cars, poles) You almost walk into a pole, because you can’t seem to find the poke stop even as you are right on top of it!
  • You start writing notes to yourself and adjusting your schedule so you have sufficient pokemon and me time so you can capture more Pokemon’s and go up another level!
  • You power up your app and start crying when you see all these pokemon’s around you and you see the dreaded “No Poke balls remain” indicator on your phone.
  • The temptation to stop your car and look for poke stops so you refill on pokeballs is so great, you break out into a cold sweat thinking about it.. Yeah that’s happened to me over the past few days.

There are plenty more signs and I anticipate that there will be a whole new legion of Poke-therapy sessions and support groups that will form for addicts like me. I’d like to hear from you on what lengths you have gone to feed your addiction.

This morning a friend of mine sent me a few links which I’m gonna share with you which exemplify this global addiction and the Pokemon Go Craze:

The most important thing for me right now is that I’m at  higher level than both of my daughter’s and I’m not sharing with them my tricks. There I said it!

Yes they would destroy me on a regular basis on Trivia Crack, but now I’m cracked using Pokemon Go and I have no intention of losing this battle!

No Pokemon were hurt in the writing of this blog posting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day 2016

Yesterday, was one of the best Father’s day I ever had in many years.. I got to spend a whole day with my kids! Spending a day together with my girls is the best gift I can ever get from my girls.

The day got off to a rough start when I missed the train from Hazlet, NJ to NYC… but that’s what happens when you don’t anticipate traffic from point A to B. The day almost got cancelled before we got started, but of course it was my fault as my lack of planning can always cause unnecessary chaos.

Taking New Jersey Transit and Path to World Trade Center is pretty exhausting.. I still don’t understand why they have escalators that don’t work on weekends in Newark, NJ Penn station.  By the time we changed trains from NJ Transit to PATH.. I was huffing and puffing and sweating profusely.

If you are traveling from NJ to NYC.. you always know you are going to be on the move and be prepared to spend money every step of the way.. I was shocked that PATH was now $2.50 for a ride.. I can remember when it was $1! Yet when you think of the NYC subway’s costing $2.50, this PATH fare just seem to be over priced!

Tip of the Day: If you are in NYC, make sure your Metro Card is loaded! This same card can be used on NYC Subways and Path!

When we finally got to WTC, I was in absolute awe at the changes and the rebuilding that has happened and is ongoing. WTC continues to evolve but for me it brought back memories and sorrow. I used to commute to work through the original WTC in the late 1980’s. Yes I’m that old..

When you are in NYC, your attitude just automatically changes.. Once a New Yorker always a New Yorker.. I grew up in NYC, went to school in NYC and worked in NYC for many many years. Yet if you are not used to the hustle and bustle of NYC, you will get overwhelmed by the speed of NYC (from walking to running to subways).  I felt that I was walking in slow motion and everyone else was walking in high gear!

My girls took me to a great “bottomless” mimosa restaurant on 14th street. I forget the name of the restaurant.. but needless to say.. I left very happy (if you know what I’m trying to say here!).. When you have enough Mimosa’s your happiness level goes up exponentially!

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I think the highlight of my Father’s day was walking from 14th street to 30th street on the High line.. This is an elevated walking platform where trains used to run and now is an elevated park that runs for about 5 miles!

The art, culture and the ability to enjoy the various art and neighborhoods that surround the High Line is truly amazing.

I bet you are asking yourself.. what was the best gift that I got? Well it was given to be my younger daughter.. She got me a Dad’s Taxi tag for my car.. This made my entire day.. So if you see a car with Dad’s taxi in the back window.. you will know that it’s me!

Dad's Taxi Yes simple things like this can really make me happy!

By the time we returned to NJ, I was exhausted and I needed a few hours of nap time to recover.. This is when I truly felt old! I used to commute to NY for work in the 80’s and 90’s! Now just one day trip wore me out..

Well I’d like to hear from my follower’s on how was your father’s day.. For me, yesterday was one of the best father’s day I ever had!

 

 

 

 

 

Have you been hacked?

With all the leaks of emails that you hear.. here’s a site that you should absolutely use to see whether your email has been sold or stolen.

I found this really great sight while I was reading one of the daily emails I get.

Check if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach

Just key in your email address, the system will tell you whether you email has been pawned off. Unfortunately for me.. my email was pawned in 2015..

I’m always changing my passwords so I’m safe for now..

Enjoy!

 

Chance Encounter: Psychic

Sometimes a chance encounter shakes you to your foundation.. this is one of those times

Today I was at Trader Joe’s with my friend Deeb and I met this woman who was psychic.. Initially I didn’t know she was psychic, but my friend who was with me knew the psychic for many year told me she was a true psychic with real powers.

I’ll call the psychic Linda. Linda looks at me and without me telling her anything she says to me that I’m troubled.. and she stepped back.. I was perplexed..

For anyone that know’s Dad, knows how cynical I really am, and am not a believe in things that I don’t really know much about. Yet.. something about Linda captured my attention. Imagine me.. being captivated by a woman who was doing a watermelon demonstration at Trader Joe’s and her being a psychic.

My friend Deeb told Linda that I was in despair because I had a house that I could not sell and was in a situation where I would have to move back into the house and give up my current place. Linda closed her eyes and said to me: “If you give off positive energy every day, you will get that positive energy back in your direction by tenfold. Also every day I need to say at least 5 to 10 times “I’m Relieved the house is sold“. Even if the house was not sold, this mantra would give me back some positivity and reduce the stress and anxiety that I was feeling.

Linda also told me not to move back into the house for 3 months.. She didn’t know why the 3 months number was important, but she felt that number was important to my true self relief and the resolution to my issues. This chance encounter moved me to my foundation. Here was a woman I just met me telling me that my anxiety and stress would be over in 3 months. 

Before I had gone to Trader Joe’s I had told my friend Deeb that I was moving back into my house at the end of June.. Now this chance encounter had thrown my emotions and my decision into a state of upheaval. Now what? Would I listen to this stranger and take it a face value of what she was telling me to do? Or do I just ignore her advice and go with my decision. What would you do? I’m open for input from vast legions of followers (LOL)..

When Linda stepped back and closed her eyes,  I felt something.. I felt an electrical energy passing from her to me.. I was almost frozen in my spot.. If you know me, you know that I’m not that easy to get frozen or be moved by external influences..

Now, I have to decide do I take her advice and do the mantra and wait out the 3 months?

What do you think I should make of this chance encounter???.. because I’m teetering on the verge of going with the encounter and just letting it go..

Chance Encounter

 

 

Dad’s Taxi: No longer Needed

This week, the day that I dreaded finally came true. The days of Dad’s taxi came to an end.. No.. I’m not shutting down this blog!

My 17 year old daughter got her provisional driver’s license and now she is totally mobile with her own car.. A hand me down.. from my father. .. to her sister.. to her.. A 2003 Honda Civic with very very low miles..

Of course.. in my last attempt at maintaining some control I had to take some final steps to ensure her safety has she hit the perilous travails on the roads of Central New Jersey.

  • I signed a contract with my 17 year old.. on what hours she can drive using her provisional license (6AM – 11PM).. Nothing outside those hours
  • Only she can drive the car.. The car is NOT to be used by her BFF’s.
  • She needs to tell mom/dad whenever she goes out as to her destination and must text/call us that she has arrived at her destination.
  • She is responsible for ensuring car is in working order.. If any major maintenance is to be done, Mom/Dad will take care of it.
  • She’s fully insured (Courtesy of Dear Dad).
  • Drive defensively.. There is a reason why NJ has one of the highest insurance rates. If you live in NJ, you know what I mean by this.
  • No Texting and driving! Phone is to be turned off whenever she gets in the car if she is the driver.

She even started taking the care to High School!

So Dad’s Taxi is now officially out of business.. Unless of course my girls want me to drive them around when they are home!

 

 

Frugal Dad

In my family, over the years, I’ve become known by many names (Besides Dad’s Taxi).

  • Cheap Dad
  • Frugal Dad
  • “That was then, this is now dad”
  • Coupon Boy
  • Coupon Dad

Well I have to admit that what I like best to be called is Frugal Dad. My brother shared with me an article he read in Kiplinger’s and I just had to share it with my friends and vast legions of followers. Ok.. that’s an exaggeration.

When you read the 7 habits of highly frugal people, you may see yourself in parts of the article. Or you may not see yourself in any of the individuals described.

The best part of getting mail for me is getting:

  • Val-Pak – Local coupons. Especially love the food coupons, and the Midas Oil change coupons.
  • Money Mailer – Similar to Val-Pak, but more on household services, yet truly worth it
  • Community Coupons – These are like little books you can carry in your car. To me this is a bonanza of savings in almost every category for my local pleasure. I get these quarterly and I pore over these coupons and I try not to go out for dinner without using one of these coupons
  • Entertainment Book – Now I admit, I’m a junkie for entertainment coupons, but I just don’t use it enough to save money. I buy it every year and it just becomes an ornament. Yet this is the mother load for savings in your area

So next time someone calls you frugal.. Say “Yes I am, and proud of it”. You will probably have more money and less debt than the person calling you frugal.

 

2016 -Elections

As an American, I’m appalled  by the state of the elections this year. We have a multi billionaire that is leading the Republican party that is having rallies in which riots are breaking out. People are getting assaulted, and the candidate is encouraging his supporters to do this! 

When will this madness stop? Is this what American Politics has come to in 2016??

I was watching the Rachel Meadows video from MSNBC and OMG,  Rachel hit the nail on the head on so many of her points.

For me it’s like an almost perverse type of entertainment when I turn on CNN and I hear #therealdonaldtrump inciting his followers to “throw our” protesters. I always thought that this country’s 1st amendment gave the right of free speech.

When will the madness end? I’ve never seen an election where the voters will run from one party to the other because the Republican party can’t seem to present an unified front with a candidate that is truly deserving to be the president..

As an American, I’m truly disappointed and shocked at the state of the 2016 presidential elections.. I’m afraid that the Republican National Convention will turn into a War of “Anybody but Trump”.

Don’t we want a president that brings our country together and solves real problems, instead of one that flames the flames of racism and hatred?