They are hitting the road

rv

So I went downstairs yesterday morning and there was a big RV sitting right outside and one of my neighbors got out. He told me that he and his parents are driving up to New York and will make stops along the way. How exciting! They are living one of my dreams!

I got this picture of him backing into the street and heading out to pick up his parents. He has his bulldog sitting next to him in the passenger seat and they’re off! They are driving to avoid the quarantine but I see that now NYC is setting up check-points at bridges and tunnels to check people entering the city, so I’m wondering how that will work out. New York state has had 0 deaths from covid19 in the past few days. They are terrified of outsiders coming in at this point.

They are sort of driving along the Hurricane route, but I guess they’ll be behind it so as long as it doesn’t do any damage, they are ok driving up I-95 I suppose.

I went inside and it’s just like you see on tv and in the movies. I said it was his little bit of Breaking Bad, although this RV was shiny and new. It wasn’t huge  but had plenty of room. There were two sleeping areas and a kitchen and table and places to sit. So great.

I still have it in my mind to drive up to the Carolinas at the end of the summer. I won’t do it in an RV, I’ll do it in a car, but RV travel across the country has always been a dream of mine. I think everyone thinks about that one time or other.

I wanted to take a picture of me inside, but felt silly with my neighbor standing there, but it looks like the one above. I wished them luck on their travels. They may be gone a month or so. So cool. I’m envious.

Paul McCartney on the tube

paul-mccartney-print

I like today’s cartoon because on Instagram you scroll through it. I like the scroll ones.

I did this a few years back. I’m thinking if Paul was in London, he would probably say he was on the “telly” rather than the tube, when on tv, but for the sake of this gag, he says “tube.”

I looked up Paul McCartney on the subway and came up with many images of him on the tube/subway, so the cartoon is not too far off!

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My new addiction; 90 Day Fiance

90-day

Love in India – she is 62, he is 32.

I found another tv show that I am now addicted to. It’s called, 90 Day Fiance, the other way. I’ve never seen the original show, 90 Day Fiance, which is about people meeting on the internet and then coming to the US to meet in person and get married. “The Other Way,” is the reverse – Americans go to foreign countries to get married and it’s all a disaster.

I had seen the show before while flipping channels, but the title, 90 Day Fiance, seemed silly to me so I never stopped to watch. The name doesn’t fit the show. I don’t know what it should be called, but the name doesn’t fit. Maybe it should be called, Love is Blind or something like that. But for some reason, the other day, I started watching and I couldn’t stop.

It’s hilarious and hard to believe that grown people will do this – move away from America, give up family and friends and try to start a new life with someone they met on the internet.

There are a bunch of couples that the show follows and each are featured throughout episodes. The stories continue from episode to episode. So one episode follows five or six couples and jumps back and forth throughout an episode, you follow the couples through the whole season.

One girl moves to the Middle East and the guy is very disrespectful to her. He and his parents insist they get married in a day, but she is secretly still married to someone else. The guy gets jealous of American customs like if she hugs someone hello and things like that. The worst part is that they want her to give up her American ways the second she arrives and be dominated by the man – his mother tells the girl that she is being disrespectful, and the girl doesn’t understand how, because she is just being herself. And the guy’s mother is yelling at her telling her that the rules are that she needs to forsake her own family and they will become her family now! That’s how it is in those countries.

Another girl moves to South Korea, where the guy lies to her and has her living in the slums. Another girl moves to Africa and the Korea slums make the African slums look like paradise. But the guy is so sweet, you sort of root for him, he doesn’t understand how is has the girl living in such poor conditions. You’ll want to throw up when you see the kitchen and bathroom.

I can’t believe this is real, but I assume it is.

One guy moves from his family – he leaves his kids – and moves to Mexico. Another guy moves to Colombia. One of the best is a lady who is 62, who moves to India to be with a 32 year old guy who is still married and trying to get divorced so they can get married. She has been back and forth three times already, because he keeps lying to her. Why she keeps going back, I don’t know. She has children and grandchildren and she leaves them all behind for this guy. They go through rituals like a cow walking through the living room and things like that. She keeps insisting on seeing his divorce papers, which may or may not exist.

It is so funny and unbelievable at the same time.

All of the Americans, which of course appear as ugly Americans in foreign countries because they are used to a better lifestyle make you almost root for the foreigners, but it appears as if most of the foreigners lied to get the Americans to relocate to their foreign lands.

If you get a chance to watch, be prepared to binge watch. It’s something like a train wreck, you can’t stop watching.

The North Fork

northfork

Halyard at Sound. Photo courtesy ILoveNY

I was watching a show called TasteMakers yesterday and it featured an escargot farm in the North Fork of Long Island, NY. One of my favorite places – the North Fork, not the farm, although I love that, too. You can watch that episode here. Notice the scenery of the area – the farms, the Long Island sound, the villages.

The North Fork of Long Island is closer to New England in feel and location than it is to the rest of New York. It’s closer to Connecticut and Rhode Island than it is to NYC and the North Fork has a New England flavor. There are a lot of farms and wineries and old villages; the South Fork is where The Hamptons are and it’s more beachy.

Most people prefer The Hamptons, especially in the summer, but where I live in Miami it’s like The Hamptons, 365 days a year – so I prefer the New England-y feel of the North Fork, which is different than my normal life.

Map of Long Island

Map of Long Island

Long Island is shaped like a fish and the tail, the east end, has “two forks” – North and South. You can see here how close it is to New England, rather than NYC. That inlet just above the North Fork, in Connecticut, is New London to the left (west) of the inlet and Mystic to the right (east). Also, one of my favorite areas. The Cross Sound Ferry, is a car ferry which takes you  over the Long Island Sound, from New London which goes to Orient Point, the tip of the North Fork on Long Island. It saves driving all the way around, through Manhattan, The Bronx, and Queens and the rest of Long Island to get to the eastern end.

Anyway, there’s a place that was shown on TasteMakers regarding the farm called the Peconic Land Trust. The conserve and protect land on Long Island – 13,000 acres, which are farmed and protected from development.  23 acres are shared by farmers who are new to farming and want a place to get started, so they may be given an acre each to do their thing and try their hand at farming. The Trust encourages and helps working farms and farmers.

If it wasn’t for the cruel winters out there, I would love to live on the North Fork of Long Island. I’ve written about Riverhead before, one of my favorite towns on the north fork.

Related story: 48 Hours on the North Fork of Long Island

No need for a vacation

beach

Me getting out of the water on Key Biscayne.

I was mentioning going to the beach every day in a previous story. I did do that for many years. I need to get back to that. I live right near the beach but I’ve neglected to go. But again, for many years I would be there daily.

Living in Miami, I had many choices and I would be all over. I would go to Miami Beach or Key Biscayne or Matheson Hammock – wherever the mood struck me. Sometimes I would go for an hour to just have lunch and then I’d get back to work. Other times I would spend the day. The first time I ever had sushi was at Matheson Hammock, I got it at a local store and ate it at a picnic table. It was the first time I put the whole ball of wasabi in my mouth, too, not knowing what that putty-like green ball was!

There was a period of time, maybe about three years of my life, where I didn’t travel anywhere, and I was an avid traveler, so this was odd for me, but I don’t think I noticed it. My mother and one of my cousins thought it was because I was afraid to fly. But it wasn’t. My life was perfect, I felt no need to go anywhere “to get away.” And it was true.

I was a printing broker, so my life consisted of working a few hours in the morning – that was it, by 11 am I was free for the day! I would have lunch and then head to one of the beaches. I would come home, shower and many days go to happy hour with friends, then head home and repeat the next day. This was my life. I didn’t need a vacation from vacationing.

Since the pandemic and all the changes we are going through, I feel that that part of my life may return. I’m doing a lot of cartooning now and I could easily fit the beach in around that.

Which reminds me. There was one period where I would go to the beach, I would have a rule – I couldn’t leave the beach until I came up with two cartoon ideas. And I managed to come up with two a day that way! I sold a lot of comics to newspapers and magazines back then – I guess the ideas I got on the beach where pretty good; good enough to be published!

The grass is always greener

tom-maskI received a text from a friend in New York. I hadn’t heard from him since April. He saw one of my full moon photos on Instagram and said he was jealous and wished he was here in Miami.

But of course, I wish I was in New York right now. I would be there now normally if we were in normal times. I’m wearing my New York cap (and a mask) in their honor, as you can see here.

Oddly enough, New York and the whole tri-state and maybe most of the New England area are the safest places to be these days. But of course there is that pesky quarantine for visitors. Which I guess is a good thing. They rid themselves of the monster, why open the door and allow it to re-enter. But he tells me the “liveliness” is missing in the city these days. He used that word.

There was a time when I was content to just be, you know, not to get up and travel. But now I’m feeling restless. I still feel that I need to visit the Carolinas this summer. Being cooped up in the house for months would make anyone want to escape.

I’ve been out and about of course, but just to run here and there and get back home.

It’s weird but at the beginning of the shelter in place order back in March, I think, I said I was fine with it. I’m not now. I’m over it as I am sure you are, too.

The summer house

shoecomic

Today’s comic seems to be very popular. In less than an hour of being posted, it already has 100 shares on Facebook.

I’m noticing that the silly comics get more play – more likes, more shares, more attention.

I personally like the esoteric ones, you know, the ones that make you think, but it seems that the comic reading public likes these silly ones. It’s something to think about.

When I look at this one, I wonder, where are they? Are they at a lake? Are they in the mountains? I know I drew it, but I didn’t give the location much thought.

I am always making changes, up until the last moment before it’s published and one thing I wish I would have changed now is changing the word “home” to “rental,” so it reads, “I love how you children are taking to our summer rental!” Like here.

new-shoe-COMIC

I spent July 4th alone

I spent July 4th alone. I don’t think I have ever done that before. In my whole life I was always with people. It reminded me of a few years ago when I did New Year’s Eve alone. I had never done that before, I was always with family or friends or at parties, but one year I was alone. And I liked it!

I didn’t like being alone for July 4th though. I normally would be in NYC, actually, The Hamptons, with my cousins. These photos are from a couple of years past in NY. I usually do the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and at times have watched the fireworks from Manhattan when not in the Hamptons.  This one picture of Molly and me, in the car, on our way to The Hamptons last July 4th, is one of my favorite pictures. Molly is my aunt and uncle’s dog.

On Facebook yesterday, one of my memories popped up from three years ago – it was a little video I posted from a crowd at Long Island City, where I went to watch the fireworks over the East River, with Manhattan in the background. I don’t know how to save it and post it here or I would. There were literally tens of thousands of people there – all on top of each other. Wonder if that will ever happen again. I remember all of us trying to get on the subway back to the city after the fireworks – the crowds were backed up all the way up the stairs into the street. The same thing happened one year in lower Manhattan, near city hall, where the fireworks were over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Will we ever be in crowds like that again?

Anyway, one of my cousins called me early yesterday morning to tell me that it was still on – that everyone was driving out for the day. No one was sleeping over. They are all being quite careful in New York due to the coronavirus and that’s why New York went from having the highest rate, down to the lowest.

I guess I didn’t have to be alone, but I chose to be. I could have been with family, as our town and even my neighbors weren’t doing anything, but I know my family was doing things – boating, barbecuing, etc. Yesterday was the 14th day of me sort of self-quarantining after being at a family party 14 days before.

I didn’t want to say anything, but I was at this party for my nephew’s 2-year-old daughter along with maybe 50 other people. And not one person had a mask on and there was no social distancing. While it was all family, a lot of the people I didn’t know from his wife’s side of the family, maybe 50% of the people there – and they insisted on shaking my hand – even when I would pull it away, they would grab my hand! And my sister-in-law’s mother, who sees me all the time, insisted on hugging me – three times throughout the day!

So for 14 days I was freaking out – counting down the days until I was safe. Last week, a week after the party, my family had pizza night. I didn’t go and I explained why and they respected that, which was surprising, because in the past they would have said something like, “Get off your ass and get over here!” But they respected my decision.

Anyway, I spent July 4th alone. I didn’t like it. Hopefully next year it will be back to normal. Not the “new normal,” the old normal.

We made it to July 4th!

coconuthunt

So it’s July 4th weekend. Hard to believe we all made it to this date. I remember starting to shelter in place in March. I thought it would all be over by now. But I guess I was just fooling myself. This year July 4th will be different for so many of us.

Normally I would be in New York at this time – probably at my cousin’s house in the Hamptons for the actual July 4th holiday with the family. Many times I would be there for the weekend, but on the actual day, July 4th, I would be in the City watching fireworks over the river.

But for many years I did stay home and was part of big celebrations in our town. We did so much here from hot dog eating contests to fireworks with so much in between.

For a few years we had a coconut hunt! What we did was have painting parties for a month or two before. Usually on a Friday night at one of the local galleries, we had painting parties with wine and pizza. Anyone could come by and paint – and people did. By July 4th we ended up with hundreds of coconuts.

At a given time, we would have the contest. We would hand out clues to people and they would run out into the village trying to find coconuts. Certain coconuts were winners – for instance, the golden coconut was the grand prize coconut, then there were others. We had numbers on all the coconuts and they were called randomly at the end and people would win all sorts of prizes.

We even had Lucie and Desi Arnaz Jr. one year for July 4th. They recreated a famous Lucy and Desi Sr. photo at City Hall here in the village. Fun times.

Road trip?

asheville

Looking Glass Rock, NC

So I never made it to New York this year which is a regular summer thing for me this time of year. This sort of had me down for a minute until my friend Harry said to me, “Thousands of people are sick and dying and you had to postpone a trip. Thank God you are safe and healthy. Besides, there are thousands of other places you can go other than New York.”

And I thanked him and told him I needed to hear that. It’s true, we are all blessed to be healthy and safe, while many are sick and dying. I pray that this caronavirus ends already, I pray that no one else gets sick. Or dies.

I didn’t go to New York for different reasons – the city is still closed regarding restaurants, theaters, museums, they really are not set up for visitors, some of my cousins are still sheltering in place, so I wouldn’t really see them and mainly because of the quarantine – now there is a 14 day quarantine for people coming in from Florida for the tri-state area – NY, NJ and CT, three states I enjoy spending time in. But I sort of see it as a good thing. I have this problem where something happens twice and it becomes the norm – a habit for me. While there are all sorts of places to go all over the world, I keep returning to New York, out of habit, an obligation in my head, I suppose. Now that habit is broken.

I have always wanted to spend the summer in Italy, maybe on the Amalfi Coast, but again, most of Europe has a quarantine on American travelers, and I fully understand that.

One thing I always wanted to do is to rent a lake house in North Carolina for the summer and have an open door policy – you know, anyone can come and spend time there, in and out all summer. But for now I am thinking of flying up to Charlotte, spending time there, and checking out Lake Norman where I want that Lake House and then spending time in Asheville. I have friends who live there now and also friends who are visiting now. I’ve been checking in on them about the situation up there. Seems like places are open, not fully, but they aren’t shut down like so many other places. They are being cautious and social distancing, but it isn’t a ghost town, which is good.

I would then drive home to Miami, stopping along  the way to my favorite old cities – Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA and St. Augustine, FL. Then end up back in Miami.

I would take my time. Spend whatever time I like in places, three days here, four days here, a week here, and so on. I’m thinking of maybe doing this at the end of the summer, more when things open up and are safer hopefully, maybe August into September, spending Labor Day on the road. I’m still figuring that out in my head.