Category Archives: Stories

Adventures and encounters

Concerts that cross generations!

As a 59-year-old father, I never thought I’d be attending a Taylor Swift concert, let alone enjoying it just as much as my 16-year-old daughter. But here we are, both huge “Swifties” excitedly anticipating her upcoming concert at MetLife Stadium, May 27th.

It’s amazing how music can bring generations together. When I was a teenager, my parents didn’t understand my love for rock music. But now, I find myself connecting with my daughter over music that we both love. We sing along to Taylor Swift’s hits in the car, dance to her songs at home, and watch her music videos together. It’s a special bond that we share.

My daughter’s love for Taylor Swift started when she was just a little girl. I remember her dancing and singing along to “Style” in the car, and it’s been a love affair ever since. She’s grown up with Taylor’s music and has connected with the lyrics in a way that only teenagers can. I’m so proud of her for finding something that she’s passionate about, and it’s amazing to see her excitement for the upcoming concert.

As for me, I was a bit of a latecomer to the Taylor Swift fandom. I’ll admit, I didn’t really “get” her music at first although I knew I liked it. But as I listened more, I found myself drawn in by the catchy melodies and relatable lyrics. Now, I can proudly say that I’m a “Swiftie” too. And my daughter thinks it’s pretty cool that her dad loves Taylor Swift just as much as she does.

We are both feeling a bit nostalgic about the fact that this will be the second time we see her live. The first time we saw her was during her “reputation tour,” and it was an unforgettable experience for both of us.
The excitement we felt during the first concert was something we will never forget. The atmosphere was electric, and the energy in the arena was palpable. It was incredible to see my daughter’s eyes light up as her favorite artist took the stage, and I couldn’t help but feel like the coolest dad in the world for sharing that moment with her.

In addition to Taylor Swift, my daughter and I have attended several other concerts together. Most recently, we saw Post Malone, who has quickly become one of our favorite artists. Seeing Post Malone live was an entirely different experience from seeing Taylor Swift. The crowd was different, and the energy was wild, but we both loved every minute of it.

Our shared love of music extends beyond just one or two artists. We have attended concerts by U2 and other classic rock bands that are popular with my generation, as well as newer bands and artists that appeal to younger generations. It’s been incredible to see how music can cross generations in both directions, bringing people together through shared experiences and emotions.

As a father, it’s important to me to share these experiences with my daughter. Not only does it create a special bond between us, but it also helps me understand her better and appreciate her taste in music. It’s easy for older generations to dismiss the music of younger generations as frivolous or lacking in substance, but attending concerts together has shown me that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In conclusion, attending concerts together has become a cherished tradition for my daughter and me. We are counting down the days until we see Taylor Swift live again this week, and we know that it will be another unforgettable experience that we will cherish for years to come. Whether it’s Taylor Swift, Post Malone, or any other artist, music truly has the power to bring people together and bridge the gap between generations.

The Story of the “Woobie”

So I’ve been meaning to write about this one since Christmas and just kept putting it off.

25 or so years ago I bought my niece Vanessa and my niece Ashley (sisters) a couple of blankets for Christmas. You know, those blankets that are snuggly and warm and usually are a big hit during the holidays? Well 20 years ago they were probably not as popular and at the time I thought they would be pretty cool gifts for them. But I never in a million years would have thought at that time that these blankets would give them as much joy and comfort and start a family tradition.

There was a movie in the early 80’s called Mr. Mom where one of the kids had a security blanket and the dad was trying to ween the kid off of it. They called the blanket the “Woobie”. I am sure that many of you have either seen this movie or have heard of it. You may remember this little speech from the movie “I understand that you little guys start out with your woobies and you think they’re great… and they are, they are terrific. But pretty soon, a woobie isn’t enough. You’re out on the street trying to score an electric blanket, or maybe a quilt. And the next thing you know, you’re strung out on bedspreads Ken. That’s serious.” Here is the clip from the Movie:

Well, when I gave my nieces these blankets I told them both that it was a “Woobie” and warned them both that they should not get hooked on it. 

So 25 or so years later. Their “Woobies” are still with them both. The “Woobies” have traveled with them from that time till now on vacations, sleepovers, college, and Vanessa brought it with her to her wedding. As the years past, I made a statement to the other kids in the family and to my nieces that only the owner of a “Woobie” can gift a Woobie to the next generation. Vanessa gifted one to my daughter a few years ago and I think she is also going to be attached to it for life. Abby (my daughter) just gifted one to Vanessa’s 6yr old girl. So the tradition continues.

Now for those in the family that are still deprived of this precious gift. You need to start begging those wobbie owners to gift you one. Alternatively, I’ve recently told Santa that he’s got the go-ahead to start giving them out if he feels you’re on the good list.

I started something that ended up being a great tradition. I hope it continues long after I am gone.

Here’s Abby with her Woobie too!

Allie sharing her Woobie with her Mom!

Vanessa with her Woobie

Losing a bet might get your name changed?

NZPoker-1024x576 This is a good one. Figured I’d share to make you laugh a little and to remind you that you should never make silly bets when drunk!

A Dunedin man has changed his name to the longest legally allowed, after apparently losing a bet five years ago.


The 22-year-old man from Normanby is now legally known as ‘Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The SuperheroesNewname Combined With Frostnova’ – just one character shy of Department of Internal Affairs’ (DIA) 100 character limit.

A message on an online body building forum, written by someone describing themselves as a friend of the man, said the name change was the result of a lost poker bet and the man realised his drunken consequences only when his passport expired.

DIA Births Deaths and Marriages spokesman Michael Mead said the change of name was registered in March 2010.

The name met the requirements of naming rules and the applicant paid the fee and completed the form correctly, he said.

Mr Frostnova could change his name again any time by completing the form correctly and paying the $127 fee, Mr Mead said. The process takes around eight days.

Under Birth Deaths and Marriages rules, new names must consist of one surname, and one or more other names, unless religious, philosophical beliefs or cultural traditions require the applicant to have only one name – in which case the applicant is required to provide a letter of explanation.

Names may not be accepted if they cause offence to a reasonable person, are unreasonably long, or without adequate justification include or resemble an official title or rank.

In 2008, Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt publicly criticised some parents’ choice of names, after he ordered that a girl named Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii be taken into court custody so she could change her name.

Names can also not include numbers or symbols.

Rejected names in recent years include Majesty, King, Knight, Princess, Justice, Anal, V8, 89, Mafia No Fear, Lucifer, full stop and *.

In 2007, a New Zealand couple tried to name their child 4Real Superman but were turned down because it contained a digit.

They settled instead for just Superman and continued to call the child 4Real unofficially.

Credit to New Zealand Herald – Click here – to see article.  

In Memory of Tia Angelita

One of my favorite pictures of my Aunt...
One of my favorite pictures of my Aunt…

In order to begin this story I must go back in time 50 years to the day I was born, August 9th, 1963. My mother and father lived in a small town outside of Buenos Aires in Argentina called Merlo. They lived in a relatively small house. I guess in Argentina in those days it was fairly common for someone from that town to be born in their home with the assistance of a midwife. I was no exception. I’ve been told stories that my mother was so large during her last months of pregnancy with me that people thought she may had been carrying twins.

My Mom went into labor that day and the midwife was called or brought to the house (in those days my parents didn’t have a phone). My aunt Angela was to be with my Mother for support so she also arrived at the house as well. When the midwife examined my mother she asked my Dad to go get the town doctor as she thought that my mother may have complications with the birth. So my Dad went off on his bicycle to get him while my mother remained in labor.

Well I didn’t wait for the town doctor to arrive, I decided to come out. I was born 14 pounds natural birth and my poor mother obviously needed tending. When the midwife took me out of the womb she handed me to my aunt Angela. The midwife then proceeded to tend to my mother. Meanwhile my aunt was welcoming me into this world. She bathed me, clothed me and prepared me to see my parents.

My Dad eventually returned with the doctor and saw me for the first time. I’m sure at that point the attention was all focused on my mother though, who was pale with loss of blood and not conscience. Blood transfusions were necessary from my Dad to keep her alive. She finally recovered a few days later to see me and her family. But it wasn’t without a scare. I’m sure my aunt helped tend to me while my mother recovered.

My birthday became a moment in time that would eventually foster the relationship I’ve had with my aunt since. I can only imagine the meaning of that day to her, but I assume it was special. She was 24 years old then and she had just begun her life with my uncle Benedicto (Benny). Less than a year later they immigrated to New York and my parents and I followed soon after.  As I grew up both Angela and Benny played active roles in my life. I’ve always admired their relationship and the life they led. Role models to all of my cousins and I. They eventually moved out of New York in the early seventies and settled in Miami. We all kept in touch and frequently saw them during holidays or vacations. My family and I made several trips to visits to see them through my adolescent years.  My first trip to visit them without my parents in Miami was in 1980, I was 17. I went with two of my best friends from high school at the time. Three teenagers visiting the sunshine state on our own.  I remember that Angela would drive us to all the tourist attractions  each day and let us just hand out. Eventually she would pick us back up and take us home for a great dinner. They treated us like adults and we loved to be around them. Between her and uncle Benny, they took great care of us and offered awesome hospitality. I clearly remember my friends telling me how cool my aunt and uncle were, which of course always makes you feel good.  Through the years that followed, I visited Florida many times and always had a special connection and love for my Aunt and Uncle. They were indeed dear to me and continue to be.  My aunt was always soft-spoken, tender and full of joy. I don’t ever remember my aunt being mad.

Last year my Aunt Angelita was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphoma. Aunt Angela would then begin a long struggle with cancer that she fought valiantly.  She remained positive through her treatments and  tried to battle it with all her will. In mid July 2013 the cancer had spread and she eventually passed away on August 5th, 2013. She was 74 years old.

I was traveling on business that morning and had just arrived in Toronto when my Dad left me a voicemail that my aunt had died.  I was devastated and struck with sadness that I had lost a person in my life that meant so much to me.. Later my Dad informed me that the funeral would be held on August 9th. Without hesitation I booked my flight to Miami.  I believe that everything happens for a reason and this is no exception.

My 50th Birthday now has a significance that will live with me forever. There is something very profound in being welcomed into this world by my aunt and then 50 years later to the day here I am saying goodbye to her as she leaves this world. Celebrating my birthday and celebrating my aunts life. My uncle Benny calls it  “Synchronicity”. I believe that it is entirely possible to have a connection to someone that transcends understanding. My aunt and I somehow have that connection. I can imagine on the day I die that she may be the first person to welcome me into that next world all over again.  As I write this I weep in sadness for the loss of my aunt but I take solace in knowing that she is no longer suffering and is finally at peace. I look forward to seeing her again one day.

Tia Angelita,
Thank you for being a wonderful person and for being there for me during moments in my life that mattered. Thank you for teaching me to love and respect. Thank you for being a role model to me that eventually helped me to become the person I am today. I will always cherish the moments we spent together in this world. I pray that you are now healthy, strong and smiling again and at peace with God.

I will always love you.

This was my first solo trip to visit my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin.
This was my first solo trip to visit my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. SCAN0004


Does Safety Trump Privacy?


The NSA has your phone records!

The Guardian published an article (click here) revealing that the NSA has been spying on Verizon wireless customers phone records. There’s a “Top Secret” court order from the FISC (Federal Intelligence surveillance Court) that was issued in April that required Verizon Wireless to hand-over phone records to the NSA, meaning the location of the phone, the time of the call, the duration of the call and other “Identifying Information” for the phone and the call.

The Obama administration has defended the NSA’s actions, but even the author of the Patriot Act says that they have overstepped their rights. Al Gore has come forward and condemned the Obama administration for supporting the actions of the NSA.


Does our safety trump privacy? This allows the government to have the right to our communication records regardless of whether we are suspected of any wrongdoing. I have always been a believer that if someone wanted to find information on you, they would and will. But I used to believe that to be true of hackers and identity thieves, not our government. Although some would argue that the government is filled with thieves. So should we really be concerned about this issue? or is it better to give the government free rein on all our privacy being that they can obtain it anyway at anytime they want it?

Moral of the story is that if you have nothing to hide this is probably no big deal to you, but if you want to hide these days you’re probably shit out of luck!


Jerk of the Day!

I read this article today and I must say that this is a clear example of how educated people can still be fucking idiots. How did this guy get a job title of high importance is beyond my comprehension. There is really nothing else I can say about it. Kaya has since complained that his remarks were taken out of context by reporters. That may be somewhat true (maybe), but I don’t think so. I think he is easily the “Jerk of the Day” in my book (or BLOG).

I have a few friends that have autistic children and this made me think about them today and how offensive this all may sound. The guy is an idiot!!

Here is the article:


According to Fehmi Kaya, head of the Health and Education Associations for Autistic Children in Turkey, autistic children lack the part of the brain that instills faith.

Faith in God is what Fehmi Kaya is referring to, of course, since faith in humanity, your friends, family and parents doesn’t really count as “faith”. The Turkish head of the  Health and Education Associations for Autistic Children stated:

“Autistic children do not know believing in God because they do not have a section of faith in their brains. That is why they don’t know how to pray, how to believe in God. It is needed to create awareness in these children through methods of therapy.”

Kaya then added that autistic children should undergo treatment to create the areas of faith that their brain lacks. The infallible idea comes from research that links atheism and autistic children. Kaya even claimed that researchers in the US and Canada say that atheism is a different form of autism.


Dedicated to Boston…


“It’s sad that our children will never feel the safety we felt when we were kids” – Tom Brokow

This quote resonated in my mind last night when I was watching the news about the tragedy in Boston. It’s such a simple but true statement. We can’t take our children to a sporting event, a parade, a show, or any public event without having fear of something tragic happening. It’s so sad that we live in one of the most powerful countries in the world and yet we are powerless to the evil around us.

Those of you that know me have heard me joke around about wanting to move back to Sydney, Australia where my family and I had the opportunity to live for 2 years. I seriously would move back there in a heartbeat if the opportunity arose. Not so much for me, but for my family. I am not saying that Sydney has no faults or is free of terror, but life there reminded me more of what it was like here when I was a kid. The safety I felt as a kid still resonates there and life is calmer and you get the sense of peace. It’s possible that the reason for this may be the fact that Australia’s total population is equal to the population of the state of Florida and terrorists have no interest in doing small damage to non-westerners. Nonetheless, peace and safety are still present there, not to mention the fact that it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

I’m still a New Yorker at heart and always will be. I am resilient and I don’t want to give in to the evil terrorists and crazy people who perform these senseless crimes. I stand besides Boston today and feel their pain, pray for their victims and hope for recovery. Yesterday was a harsh reminder of 911 for me as well as many other NYers.

I believe that there is only so much our government and law enforcement can do to restore order. I believe that they do everything within their means to protect us. But I strongly believe that the problem we have in the world is the way we educate and bring up our children. The only way to restore peace is to teach our children to breakdown barriers between nations and religions. Teach them to love by demonstrating love to them each and every day. This must be a world effort and it most likely is a pipe dream but I do continue to have hope that one day the world can achieve that feat.

Lastly, one thing that I notice when tragedy occurs is the how quickly the world responds to help. Everyone forgets about the barriers between nations, the color of your skin, and the religion you follow. People rise and help each other and turn into heroes. Even weeks and months later, you’ll still see people displaying loving acts as simple as giving up a parking space for someone, or lending a helping hand to someone in need. If we could only harness that power and perform these acts everyday we would make this world a better place in an instant. So thank you to all the folks that acted yesterday to help the victims of Boston. I hope that you continue to be heroes every day.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King

My thoughts and prayers are with all of the families…


RIP Bubba…you will be missed!

This is Bubba about 2 weeks ago!
This is Bubba about 2 weeks ago!

Today is a sad day for the Estigarribia household. Abby lost her pet Betta fish Bubba today. He was over 4 years old (taking into account that when we got him he was almost a year old). Which in Betta fish land is a pretty good lifespan for a fish that is in a 1 gallon bowl with no filtration system.

Bubba came to our family as a Hanukkah gift to Abby in December 2009. I think that Abby has learned quite a lot from this fish. Some of the experiences that I can remember talking to her about with regards to Bubba included mostly questions about life itself. Early on she questioned why Bubba lived alone in his tank and didn’t have friends. We had to explain to her that Betta fish are not fish that really enjoy each other’s company. She also questioned life itself. She asked us how long Bubba would live. We wanted to ensure we prepared her for the inevitable so we explained that the lifespan of a Betta fish is usually not more than 2-3 years. This prompting her to associate death with people and herself too. Which is not an easy subject to discuss with a 4 or 5-year-old, but it is part of life. I’m sure at the time she was a bit confused but over time she’s obviously getting a full understanding of the concept of death. She was sad about the fact that eventually Bubba would possibly die. But understood it.

As the years past we taught her the importance of keeping Bubba fed, his tank clean, and how he was her pet. Abby being very loving in nature accepted this responsibility and always kept on top of things. Over the last few months Ilyssa and I suspected that Bubba was getting old and would not make it through the summer. You could see that he was slowing down. So we started to talk to Abby about it and started to prepare her for what happened today.

Despite all the preparations, it was quite sad this morning when she discovered that Bubba was not moving. Tears rolled down her eyes as she came to me with the news. We held her and consoled her for a few moments and I promised her that when she got home from school later today that we would have a proper burial for him in our backyard. I’ll probably be tasked with doing the eulogy….what do you say about a fish? “Bubba was a good fish, he swam. He swam like no other fish…” Ok, that’s a good start!

I am sure that after a week or so we will go to the pet store to get another Betta fish for her. This is another thing we’ve told her throughout the years. A new friend will come into her room to keep her company for another 4-5  or longer years. Life will go on…but Bubba will always be remembered in our hearts.

Rest in Peace Bubba! 12/09 – 4/13.


Balls of STEEL!


I have a bit of a problem with heights. To be more precise, I have a fear of not being in control of the height. I have no problem with flying for instance because while I’m in the plane I feel safe that I won’t “Fall” out. But if you put me near an edge of a cliff or on a balcony of a tall building that doesn’t have a caged in fencing to protect me from falling off I get anxious and completely freaked out.

About 12 years ago a friend of mine lived on the upper east side and while at a party one night at his place he invited us to the rooftop. Pretty cool, we were having some cigars and having some fun. No problem. He asked me if I wanted to see a nice view of the city from the other side of the roof and I said sure. Well, what he didn’t tell me was that I had to swing over to the other side of the roof by dangling my feet over the edge of the roof and swing over to the other side. This required a very simple task really. You literally would sit down on the edge of the roof and flip your feet over to the adjacent corner of the roof. The building was about 50 stories high by the way. He of course did it by jumping up on the edge and swinging his whole body over in one swoop. I told him that there was no way I could do that. After a long debate and I guess because I was drinking a bit, I decided to go ahead and try this and luckily I am here to talk about it today. I sat on that edge and swung over to the other side. The view was nice, but I don’t know if it was worth the effort to see it. It was by far the most fearful thing I’ve ever done with regards to heights and my logic in doing it was purely to try to combat this problem I have. Well, it failed. I still have the fear and when I think about this story today I say to myself “what the hell was wrong with you that day, why did you even put yourself in a situation where you could have literally died”.

You ask why I’m even talking about this today? Well I saw a video yesterday that reminded me of that day and figured I’d blog about it and share that story, but more importantly wanted to share the video(s) I found on this russian kid. He calls himself Mustang-Wanted. To me he is completely crazy, but to him and many others that are fearless of things like this it must be somewhat normal or maybe even a rush. He says in one of his videos that he does feel fear, but he’s simply learned to overcome it. Simply for some I guess.

As for me, I can barely watch these videos without my hands getting clammy and my heart racing. I kind of envy people who have the ability to do this but I think he is completely nuts and has no regards for his life by doing what he does. One small mistake and its over.

Then again, who am I to judge right? I’m sure he enjoys this “Hobby” as much as I enjoy a round of golf.

Anyway, here are some links to some of the videos that I saw that literally made me queasy simply watching them.

He’s also on Facebook – Mustang-Wanted Facebook Page

How do you deal with heights? Anyone else have this fear?



The “Sleepover” Story


Ok, so my daughter had a sleepover last night at our neighbors house. It wasn’t her first sleepover, it was technically her third. The first time counts but not as much because it was at her Aunt Karen’s house. You know, familiar person and surroundings, etc. Although it was a very big step for both Abby and her crazy parents that can’t breathe without her.

The first “Real” sleepover was a few months ago at a neighbor’s house that literally lives 4 houses away. Ilyssa and I were waiting for that phone call at 9-10pm of a desperate little girl asking us to come get her so she can come home. But that phone call never came. My wife texting our neighbor periodically until bedtime to make sure she was safe and sound asleep. And even after that we still thought we would get a phone call at 1-2am….but we didn’t. We woke up the next morning to find out that she didn’t want to come home and she still wanted to stay and play a while. So the ice had been broken….she can handle staying over without Mom and Dad.

Is this the beginning of losing her? I can’t take it…..

The sleepover last night was at our neighbors house that is 2 houses away in our Cul-de-sac. The event was planned days in advance and leading up to it Abby was very excited. She was packed early that morning. While packing (5 bags mind you) her mom told her that she needed to downsize a bit. The biggest items are usually the stuffed animals that she “Needs” in order to sleep. Well, mom went shopping and gave daddy the instructions to help her pack 1 bag and get ready. So, we proceeded to do so. The dilemma came when we got to the stuffed animals. So we compromised with a lot of pain in between, but she was allowed to bring her unicorn, her panda and her puppy but needed to leave the rest home. She cried a bit and stormed out of her room with one of her favorite bears. She came back moments later (without the bear) and just a bit teary eyed. I asked what she was doing and she said “nothing, I’m ok now”. I left it alone and we finished packing.

Moments later, the neighbors were knocking on the door and was one her way.

Most parents would be excited about this and begin to rejoice the freedom and some peace and quite. But I usually get a little sad because I won’t have my little buddy around and of course I need to always be entertained like a 5-year-old. My wife was still out, but we decided that we would go out to dinner as we had this bit of freedom. So I proceeded to our bedroom to get dressed for our date when I stumbled across this on our bed.

In case you can’t read the purple writing on the tablet, it says “Mommy can you take care ove my teddy bear, Love Abby”


I literally got teary eyed when I saw it. I think it may have been the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen Abby do on her own like that. When my wife saw it she felt the same way. Needless to say, Ilyssa slept with the bear that night. I was luckily not on the couch….

As for Abby, well while I sit here writing this post she is still at our neighbors house. It’s now after 11am and she just called us to ask if she can go to the mall with them this afternoon. I know it’s inevitable that your kids eventually begin to separate from you a bit and become independent, but no one ever said you have to like it. Although I am extremely proud of her and happy that she is having a good time, I still miss her dearly and can’t wait for her to come home later.