Giving life to the neighborhood

constructionThere are these construction workers across the street building one of those big boxy, white, zero-lot-line townhouse projects, which I usually hate. But I’m glad to see them and hear them every day. It brings a sense of normalcy.

For some reason, construction work is permitted to proceed in the county while most other businesses are at a standstill, I’m not sure why, but in this one case I’m glad.

Each morning I hear them banging away, yelling back and forth to each other and giving life to the neighborhood.

Strange how things have changed in this crazy time. Things we hated we now love, things we loved, we now hate.

comic-conMy new favorite person is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, I always liked him, but love when he is on tv or the internet, speaking to us in his clear, calm voice.

I see the Jacob Javits Center is being turned into a field hospital in New York City. That’s where New York Comic Con takes place ever October. I don’t want to rush the year, but I keep dreaming of that day, when all is right with the world again and we’ll be walking through the huge complex thinking of what was there some months before. I pray for that day.

I’m wanting to go back in time

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New York Comic Con, October 2019

I think the depression is starting to set in. I know I wrote about being positive and I still am, but now I am starting to feel like I am in prison or house arrest, which I felt was an easy thing to do. I was concerned about money for the month, but I think I got that sorted out, so now my attention has turned to life itself and our world during the coronavirus.

I know that the real heros are the doctors, nurses and all the health workers out there who are at ground zero, dealing with this daily. And of course the sick people, the patients and their families are all suffering. I am just writing this from my own selfish perspective.

I have not seen my family or friends in person, I don’t think I have seen any of my neighbors. I just ran downstairs to pick the newspaper up, which was thrown on the front walk and a guy I didn’t know was walking his dog. He lives down the block I assume. I was glad to see him. I kept starting at him and the dog. A human and a dog! Wow. But again, I am well, all the people I know are well. I am thankful for that.

I keep reminiscing about the past and by the past I mean a few months ago – October in Upstate New York pumpkin and apple picking and Thanksgiving in November. Also, a lot of the summer photos keep popping up on my phone. I did a lot this past summer. This image above is New York Comic Con in October. Will we ever be that physically close again? Comic Con takes place at the Jacob Javits Center, which is now turned into a field hospital; just that thought is so depressing.

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Filming Summer House, July 5, 2019

I watch a tv show on Bravo, a reality show called Summer House, it was on last night – it’s on every Wednesday night. It’s about a group of friends that rent a house in the Hamptons for the summer.

It always brings back memories because I am usually in the Hamptons at the time they are there. The image here is from a restaurant where they filmed last summer on July 5. I headed back to the city on the morning of July 5 and then there they were filming at a place where my cousins were eating later that night. One of my cousins sent me this. They show the date of each episode when it airs and as it airs I think to myself, where was I that day? What was I doing when they were doing this?

But as I watch the show I see all the places we would go, they film at so many of the places. I keep wanting to go back in time, but maybe I should wish for the future when this whole mess is over since that is a reality – facing the future when the world is healed.

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Taking things positively

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I’ve been trying to take everything positively. I’m not worrying, I’m making the best of things and I love how so many others are, too.

One thing I love is how at 7 pm in many cities people are hanging out their windows and balconies and applauding the service workers. That is the best. I live next to a hospital, on the bay, so the sound travels on the water and I’m sure the life savers at the hospital hear it all.

The hospital has a large campus and I try to walk over every day, just to get out of the house and walk along the bay. I don’t usually see anyone and if I do, we don’t interact, it’s just a quick 45 minutes for me to get out of the house. I saw these signs (see above?) at the hospital entrance. Aren’t they great? There are about 20 of them scattered about – a nice way for the doctors, nurses and hospital workers to start the day. And end it.

I noticed a few little winding streets in the area which I never walked or drove on before and I sometimes walk along them. There is a lot of shade and peacocks and lots of old mansions. It’s a little vacation for half an hour or so.

I also noticed kids are taking this quite seriously. Friends are posting pictures of their kids being home schooled either by teachers or parents and the kids are really into it. They don’t seem to be fooling around, they are really into the school work. One day, years from now, they’ll have some interesting stories to tell their own kids and grand kids. Maybe tell them about how we used to have this funny custom of shaking hands when we met each other, which we may never ever do again.

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And reporter Cynthia McFadden wins the Zoom/Skype tv game. Remember I posted about all the house scenes from people skyping in to tv news shows? Well this was the scene this morning on the Today Show – a nice lit fireplace, nice background, pretty green wall, the light in the background is on and not a bookshelf (or award or diploma) in sight!

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Just one of the many “Thank You” signs at Mercy Hospital in Miami.

Travels with Farley

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The famous Gerald Ford WIN buttons, when turned upside down meant NO IMPROVEMENT NOW! according to many.

One of my favorite older comic strips is Travels with Farley. I remember seeing it in The San San Francisco Chronicle when I would visit, but I see from an article by Bill Van Nieekerken, that it was a nationally published strip for many years, starting in 1975, and in 1985, Phil Frank, the Farley cartoonist, moved to San Francisco and the strip was then only posted locally mostly about local issues, those are the ones I remember.

The strips are popping up along with other older strips on a Facebook page called The Batavia Funny (and Not So Funny) Pages and I love seeing them. Even though they are dated, for some reason they speak to me. They always remind me of San Francisco, but they are funny.

A lot of the reruns I’m reading covered the 1976 elections and Jimmy Carter/Gerald Ford and so many of the strips reflect life in the ’70s from elections to inflation. In the ’70s, Farley travele around the country and met people from all walks of life and they discussed the issues of the day. Reading them now makes me want to go back.

Recently there was a parade in town and a guy in the parade looked like Farley! I took his picture and said, “You look like the old Farley comic strip character!” he just smiled and I don’t think he knew what I was talking about, but he was the spitting image of the comic character.

The strips here are a few random ones from 1976 and 1977.

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Every day is a winding road

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So in my last post I was talking about the Boho van, which I would love to own and use, but in reality, I don’t like to drive – not even a mile away, so I don’t see myself on long road trips any time soon, plus, where would I park the Boho while in different states? Do you just pull up to a parking meter and that’s that? It seems so glamorous and easy on old tv shows like “Movin’ On” and Route 66.

For many years I would drive down to Key West, maybe five or six times a year. I didn’t mind the three hour drive because I guess I was driving through so many small villages and there was something to see. I had friends who lived on the west coast of Florida for many years and when I would drive up to see them in Sarasota, Port Charlotte or Venice, that was torture. It was just nothingness for hours on I-75. Naples is just about an hour and a half and I often think of going just for the day, but that’s a long boring drive even thought it’s not a very long drive.

But this pandemic has me thinking, there is lots of time to think.

My realistic plan, and Universe, I hope you are reading this – is to sell my condo, I have a lot of equity in this place. I’ve lived here many years and I can make enough money to retire on if I choose. The good part about that, too, is that I have about three neighbors who have relatives or want the place themselves. So I don’t have to look for buyers or pay a realtor commission.

The only reason I didn’t sell it to neighbors in the past is that none of them is willing to give me an offer that they are willing to pay, and I never gave them a figure that I wish to sell for. So we’ll have to pin that down now.

I would love to move to a lower cost place, in the area, not far away, and then travel and cartoon. I have always dreamed of spending the summer in Italy or even North Carolina or Connecticut or New Mexico, and just live there for the season, cartooning while I am there. So my main goal is to cartoon and travel.

I have a business I would sell, for whatever I could get. It’s either that or just shutting it down, but if I can get a few dollars, why not? I think the website URL and the mailing list is what competitors would want; they probably wouldn’t want the actual business, they would just fold it into theirs.

I could live on the equity I get from the condo I sell and I could make money in the future by re-investing the money and also from the comics/cartoons. If I get enough followers on social media, I could get paid for product placement. It’s done all the time with people that have thousands, if not millions of followers. And I have a plan to start doing commission work now.

So there is my manifest. The goal now is to clean out the apartment, you don’t realize all the crap you collect over the years. A friend told me a few years back that the worst part of his move was all the books, and he is right about that. But little by little, I am going to empty this place out – books, old clothing, old electronics, old plates and kitchen stuff – everything. I am making way for new owners – you know, telling the Universe that I am out of here!

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Moving on down the road

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I’ve been wanting to move for the longest time, but I’m too lazy to move. This whole lock down/Caronavirus thing is sort of resetting our lives; it’s resetting the whole Universe. I have been thinking differently about my future and how I want to live.

I want a change of pace and I would also love to take the money out of my current place and re-invest it and live. I need to start enjoying it. I started cleaning closets and other things out so that there wouldn’t be so much to move when and if the time comes. With all this free time now I guess I should start the “spring cleaning” again. I think if there is less stuff here it might be more motivating in getting me to move.

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I saw this thing on Shark Tank last week, it’s a van turned into a sort of trailer. So basically you live in the van, there is a kitchen, bed, shower, everything, but it’s easy to drive and maneuver since it’s not a huge RV. Trouble with that is I hate long driving trips, but I still do love the concept. The vans are called Boho campers. But I’m sure there are similar vans available, too.

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Oddly enough, on the same episode, this girl had portable solar panels, which you hang on a window, it charges up, and you use it to charge things. That would work perfect in the small camper. That can be seen here.

Now all I need is the balls to go ahead with it and see the country, but first, I need to sell this condo I’m in, and clean it out first. I’m putting it all into the Universe along with the end to the Caronavirus so all this can start happening. Oh, and I would draw comics and post them from my Surface Pro along the way!

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But I do have a more realistic plan that will work better for me. And I can retire in the process if I want. Stay tuned, I’ll explain that in the next blog post.

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Things seem to always work out

Shelter-in-PlaceI don’t mind the self quarantine or shuttering in place. I’m not sure why, perhaps because I work from home normally and I’m used to it. Some days do seem drawn out and I’m tempted to invite friends over, but I know that’s not the thing to do.

Last night, the City of Miami was put under a “Shelter in Place” order. Which sounds quite a scary proposition, but I’ve been doing that anyway, I guess it just didn’t have a name and order attached to it before. We are still permitted to go outside, take walks, do things that need to be done – go to get groceries, go to the pharmacy, pick up food, etc.

I think my only concern now money; my business is at a standstill and that’s a concern, but things have always worked out so I’m not panicking. So many times over the years I would tell the Universe I needed this amount of money or that amount of money to make it through the summer and the money appeared in my checking account.

Now I’m not saying it happened by magic. Most likely I forgot to make a notation of a deposit or two earlier in the year, but more than once this has happened and it saved the day, or the summer. I am seeing that happen now, when needed.

I am cartooning, that is going great and I’ve started Spring cleaning, first time in my life I think, but I’m doing it. I just dumped a lot of canned food with expiration dates on them from 2008! A few years ago I got a new refrigerator and when I emptied the old one out, there was frozen food in there from 2007; and this was in 2015 or 2016!

Anyway, I know this is frivolous talk, but I”m just trying to fill this space every day.

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