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!

 

 

 

 

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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?

 

 

2016 – New Beginnings

2015-16

Today is the first day of 2016 and I could not be happier that it is finally 2016. For Dad, 2015 was a mixed bag of good, bad and absolutely ugly. I can honestly say that regardless of the issues I faced (and I won’t go into them here), I forged ahead and dealt with the issues and tried to maintain some semblance of sanity in my life.. It was definitely not easy.. but I tried.

Yet, that’s not the reason, I’m writing today’s blog. I’m writing to encourage everyone to start 2016 as a fresh start.. How often can you take the opportunity to take a “hard reset” of life to look forward? Perhaps I’m being too optimistic, but from where I stand, using the first day of the new year to do a hard reset of life, is a good thing”

The start of every new year is an opportunity to start anew. Do something good! Both for yourself and the society you live in! Yes it may seem like a daunting task, but even if you do one thing, you can make difference!

At the start of every new year. Your prior year’s slate (and baggage) is (unofficially) cleared and you are starting a new year with a blank slate. Of course you will have baggage from the prior year that (ahem)  that you will bring forward, but deal with each peace of baggage on a one by one basis.. but on the whole starting a new year gives you the opportunity to improve yourself emotionally, physically and at the financial level.

I know that I will be taking this opportunity to “live in the moment, and look forward”.  I know I have a tendency to look back and be retrospective, but now I’m going to focus on the positive things in my life and build on that. How about you?

Look at the calendar below and what do you see? Well what I see is the opportunity to look forward and be a happier person. I also see this year as an opportunity to achieve a sense of inner peace.. This is something that everyone wants. How do you get to this point? Well look around and make a note of all the good things that exist in your life!

For me:

  • I have good health (well I can afford to lose a few pounds, but hey that’s an on-going battle of the bulge)
  • I have amazing friends – My friends are always there for me. In my darkest hours, I can turn to my friends for support and they are they when I need them.. Which is of course quite often.
  • I have great kids – I’m so proud of my kids, they can be annoying at times, but without my kids, my life is empty. They amuse me, they keep me on my toes and they challenge me to be a better father.
  • I have a good job – My job enables me enjoy the good things in life. You know the saying: “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!”
  • Tennis – For me being “tennis fanatic” allows me to get to a state of Zen and when I’m on the court, all I see is the ball and my slate is clean and I’m  to focus just on the ball and winning the next point!
  • Walking – This year I became an avid walker. I walked 3 to 4 miles almost every day.. and I found that when I was walking and listening to music, I was in a refresh mode for the day..
  • Good Food– I continue search out good food in NJ.. yes.. I Yelp a lot!

So take the first day to not just make resolution that you know you cannot keep, but take the new year as an opportunity to find inner peace and be grateful for what you have!

Remember happiness is what you make of it. Always look within your self for self actualization.

Don’t get me wrong.. Dad is not always successful in being happy, but in retrospect, happiness is a state of mind! For every month below, choose one week/day, that you will use to make your self happy.

2016_yearly_calendar

2015 – Reflections

As 2015 I’m reflecting on the good-bad-and ugly of 2015. As I reflect and think of how 2015 has been to Dad, I’d like to hear from my followers on their list of good-bad-ugly of 2015.

Remember this is  a PG-13 site, so let’s keep it ahem at that level.

So share with Dad your list of 2015 good-bad-ugly!

I’ll start:

Good:

  •  I took my kids on a 10 day vacation to Vancouver, BC and a Disney Cruise of Alaska.
  • My tennis addiction has increased.

Bad:

  • Bad – Most of the year, my finances were good.

 

Ugly:

  • Working through the justice system to deal with issues related to the home..

Your Turn!

Free Music Playlists on Google

Who doesn’t like Free Music Play lists? well here’s the mother load from Google.. Dad..

Here’s a great link I found today.. for many free Google play lists on Google Play..

Free (legal) music is always a good thing!

Dad

Netflix and Amazon Fast Instant Watcher

Are you addicted to Netflix and/or Amazon.. here’s a site you can use to find out the latest streaming available on both services!

I’m a fan of both Netflix and Amazon video streaming and I struggle to find the one movie or TV show that I must watch.. Well I was reading one of my on-line papers and I saw this site Instant Watcher and I was really impressed!

I added it to my side links for Netflix as well.

As noted in Tech Crunch: Netflix in November of 2014 removed support for some of their API’s which allowed sites to filter and see popular titles, so this site is one that is still supported with Netflix API’s.

Below are some more sites that still work:

UPDATE: In a blog post, Netflix said that it would continue to work with a small number of select partners, including:

  • Instant Watcher
  • Fanhattan
  • Yidio
  • NextGuide
  • Flixster
  • Can I Stream It?
  • FeedFliks
  • Instant Watch Browser for Netflix

As I always say.. You can never get too much of streaming.. especially when you have your own man-cave!

Texas Heat – Not For me

My annual visit to Dallas truly showed me how really really hot Dallas is in the summer.. No thanks.. I’ll take NJ anytime.

As I sit here indoor in the comfort of air-conditioning, I can’t help but say.. OMG. I would not want to call Dallas, Texas my home. Texas_heat

I’m on my annual working retreat at my brother’s house in Plano and enjoying the mid-summer weather that is Texas heat.. My dad (RIP) used to always say.. “I don’t want to go to Texas.. Texas is Hot!”. Of course me being the skeptical person that I am.. always was amused by his statement, For every time I came to Texas, I found the heat to be bearable.. Not this time.

I’ve been here for almost a week and let me tell you, the heat and humidity is unbearable… coming from the sweltering lands of Mumbai.. (Yes as you may have already known Dad.. is South Asian!) Even as I grew up and visited the motherland every year.. and was exposed to the Monsoons and the heat, the heat I’m seeing here is just unbearable. It’s at least in the 95 degrees every day (in the shade) and even the breeze (when there is one), is hot and humid. You step outside and your are hit with whiff of the heat and humidity and you race to get to air-conditioning as quickly as possible.

Last night, I attended my first concert in Dallas.. Actually Frisco, Dallas. I was fortunate to get a good seat (courtesy of my brother and his family), but after about half hour of sitting in the almost dead air.. I felt like I was going to implode with the heat.. I had to get out and find some solace.. Fortunately they had tepid cold water at Toyota Stadium and the bathrooms had the A/C going full blast.. I was tempted to stay in the Men’s room for the duration of the concert to stay cool, but that would have just been creepy..

After cooling off, I went to the field level to hear Ed Sheeran blast out some awesome hits and amazingly, there was more of a warm breeze at the field level than at the seats..

We came home drained, by the heat.. I’ve never been so exhausted and drained of my heat than last night.. So   as my dad said “Texas is hot!”.. I’m saying Amen to that.. I prefer to stay in my over priced New Jersey, where we only see a week to 10 days of brutal heat.. rather than 4 month of this heat and humidity.

The funny thing about this heat.. the temperature comes down to about 85 to 90 degrees at night, with a “mild” heat that envelops.. and of course the brutal sun is not there..

Both my Nephew’s  play High School tennis in this heat and let me tell you.. as an avid tennis fanatic, I don’t know how these kids do it. Not only do they play, they practice daily and are outstanding players..

Before yesterday, I was actually thinking of moving here in the next few years.. but after feeling the discomfort of the heat over the past week, I’m rescinding my plans.. I’m not EVER going to move hear.. Unless I’m forced to!

Btw if you are fortunate to live in Dallas in the summer.. here are some basic tricks:

  • If you have a car.. always search for a shady spot in a parking lot.. So even if the spot is out of the way, it it’s under a tree, grab it.
  • Always carry water on you.. the person that won’t dehydrate is you!
  • If it looks sunny and not a cloud in the sky, you are guaranteed to burn if you are out in this heat for too long.. Always wear SP 45.
  • Have lots of shorts and T-Shirts!
  • If your air conditioning in your car is broke.. do not come to Texas.. you will swelter and die in your car.

So now that you have some experience with some real Texas heat.. Of course the natives say this is only for 4 months.. those  4 months are brutal..