Dear Friends,

After more than a year-and-a-half, I have revived my blog!

However, it is at my original blog address at:

http://cameronkopf.blogspot.com/

Now that I’ve added a new twist, typing all my posts, my interest in blogging has been rekindled. My switch to Blogger is because many fellow typewriter enthusiasts have their blogs on that particular platform. In fact, it’s a nice, rather extensive network.

For those (few) of you who have my old blog linked on your blogs, please change the URL to the Blogspot one above.

I look forward to your comments on my “new” blog! Your participation is very important; it’s a big part of my motivation to resume blogging and keep blogging!

Thanks very much.

Cameron

Hairer and hairier…with “UP-doos” today.

No, we are not at ALL crazy.  ;)

Except preceded by “stir”-  — because this was Day #6 of the power outage up here in The Woods.

NEWSFLASH: The power finally came back on at 5:30 this afternoon. But I will keep what I wrote about it earlier today:

Monday noon: James called the utility company hotline again last night. A woman assured us in pleasant tones that we were amongst 156 other people without power at this point, after the worst of the storm earlier this week. Is this supposed to be reassuring?

We are a select group. It is a dubious honor at best.

She told James the same thing that he heard the day before — that the power was scheduled to be restored by 11 p.m. on Sunday night.

It’s still off now, in the early afternoon on Monday. James remarked that the utility company hotline folks should simply admit that they don’t know when the power will be restored, so we don’t get false hopes.

We are discovering, as we experience our fourth winter out here in The Woods, that during power outages we have every amenity for a number of days (with a small generator), but that WATER is always the first to go.

It’s because we have a well which runs on electricity. It requires a LOT of juice. We would have to buy a huge generator in order to operate the well pump.

So we’ve been getting by on filling the 20-gallon tank in the Airstream trailer, which lasts us a few days with judicious use. But after five days we’ve had to fill this tank (from the well) a second time, and now the tank is empty.

We’ve been using the toilet in the bathroom off the barn, which is hooked up to the well tank by a garden hose! Now that the pressure is almost gone, today James had the idea of filling the toilet tank with a bucket of water from a small “pond” which forms whenever it rains. This is a temporary body of water which disappears once the dry season starts in late Spring.

This water is crystal-clear. If this power outage continues for a few more days, we’ll probably be filling a lot of buckets!

Whenever we get impatient about the power being out, we bring ourselves back to reality by remembering that we have everything we need, and that this outage is actually just a minor inconvenience.

We’ve come a LONG way since that first winter of ’07-’08 when the power was out for nine days and we didn’t have a generator! Luckily we had heat from the woodstove. We did end up running out of water after five days, and reluctantly went down to my brother’s house in Sacramento.

But this time we are better-prepared, and will be even MORE so in the future. We plan to set up an elevated water tank in the barn (there used to be one when the previous occupants tapped into a spring) which will alleviate the water problem during an outage.

There is another spring which one of our neighbors uses, and we’ve discussed the idea of hooking into it. There is a lot of black plastic PVC pipe still on the property.

We will also install the new woodstove (in the Music Room) that we’d bought the first year but couldn’t get running properly, because we tried to use a combination of six- and eight-inch stovepipe. This did NOT work, and the stove smoked horribly. We ended up putting back the ancient Franklin stove with the original 8-inch stovepipe, which served us very well that winter before it finally died (the rusty bottom part dropped out).

We need to look at our living experience out here in The Woods as a process of evolution. The rustic nature of our existence can be daunting. But it gets a little better each day. As a friend recently observed, “Cameron, you are living the dream.”

I hope I never wake up.

After raining constantly for three days, it has now begun to spit reluctant snow. At this stage it is very wet and isn’t sticking. Yet, at any rate.

James and I miss our daily walks on the various paths wending their way past all the cabins around the Woods. There are several differents routes ranging from low- to high-impact, depending on the contour of the land. I tend to like the steeper paths which offer the best exercise.

But since Sunday we’ve spent most of our time indoors because of the rain, and are now going a bit stir-crazy.

Meanwhile, our hair continues to grow.

Yeah yeah, I know this looks like Hair Thursday instead of Hair Sunday, but I’m sure you understand.

It’s been quite an adjustment being home in The Woods for the first time since September, along with continuing to process our dear friend Laura’s sudden death.

It is both reassuring and sad to be on the land that Laura loved so much. I sense her spirit in every song of the bird, sigh of the pines in the breeze and rush of the water over the rocks in the river.

But she is no longer here to enjoy these things and we feel empty. A huge gap has been created in our lives and it will take some time to heal. Life does go on, and Laura would want us to enjoy it as much as possible. But we need to honor the grieving process right now.

After working so intensely since September, it is actually a relief to have some down-time. I can now turn my musical energies towards more creative pursuits. I am currently working on a synthesized ambient piece.

James is putting the finishing touches on a brass sextet (two trumpets, horn, trombone, euphonium and tuba) which is a suite of five movements in honor of our cat Rupert. It is truly a remarkable piece, and will hopefully become part of the brass repertoire. I view James’ progress as a composer with great amazement and pride. I’ll be able to say that “I knew him WHEN!”  ;)

Unlike much of the rest of the country, the weather has been unseasonably mild here in The Woods. Now that I don’t have any gigs lined up for a while, I actually HOPE that it snows; we have nowhere to be, and could afford to be “snowed in” for a few days. We missed the one major snowfall around Christmastime. It is so beautiful here when it snows.

It’s been a very intense week.

We traveled all the way across the country from Ft. Lauderdale to Sacramento, starting on Monday Dec. 28th. We finally arrived safely at the family home on January 2nd.

Just before we left, we got a call from the partner of our dearest friend Laura, who told us that he had to take her to the hospital (near Nevada City) the previous day. Later on Monday, he called to say that she had died.

This is all very sudden and unexpected. Laura was only 72.

We are reeling in shock from this. It is too early for me to write in more detail about it, but I will do so soon.

For the past two days, we’ve enjoyed visiting my brother and family in Sacramento. It’s been a healing time; we need to show the love we have for the people still in our lives.

Today, James and I go up to Nevada City to help Laura’s partner deal with some of the “nitty-gritty” stuff associated with this sudden loss. We’ve been frustrated this week, being so far away. Now we can finally be with Desmond.

We’ll leave the Airstream parked in the driveway for a few days until we figure out what to do. Meanwhile, it is important for us to go see Desmond and provide whatever love and support we can give to him.

My 7-week stint with Phantom ended last night in Fort Lauderdale. I played the opening week here.

Although we’ve been here exactly a week, it has felt twice as long because the experience has been very unpleasant.

Way too much traffic…obnoxious tourists with a sense of entitlement…pushy snowbirds from the Northlands…hot and humid weather, very UN-Christmas-like.

Southern Florida is a very strange place.

The RV park where we are staying has about 250 lots, all crammed together. On our strolls up and down the narrow byways, bristling with speed-bumps and mobile homes and trailers nearly touching each other, we’ve noticed that more than 80 percent of the park’s vehicles’ license plates are from Quebec.

What’s up with THAT? It’s amazing. I feel like a foreigner in my own country. The Quebecois seem to be an extremely reserved group, almost dour. At least, this is my perception as someone from the United States. Perhaps they are very nice people and I just don’t understand the culture.

I’m just bowled over that the vast majority of the people staying here are from one particular province. In all our travels, I have never seen this phenomenon at an RV park until now.

We’re driving to Orlando today to visit some of James’ friends, since he lived there for most of his life. We’ll stay a couple of days.

Then on to James’ Aunt Pearl in south Georgia (his birthplace), where we will spend New Year’s Eve.

I’m looking forward to seeing all these folks.

On New Year’s Day, we will begin our nearly 3000-mile drive back across the country to the Left Coast, where we belong. It will be HEAVEN to be home, for the first time since September!

We’re now in double-digit weeks with this hair growth thing and I’ve just emerged from the first awkward stage where I needed to use “product”. Now I can get away with going au naturel until the next awkward phase, whenever that occurs.

I know it will happen at some point.


Tonight is the longest night of the year and I take comfort from the fact that the days will start to get longer from now on!

We were relieved to miss most of the big snowstorm which swept through the mid-Atlantic states this weekend. The Raleigh/Durham area received a mix of snow and sleet totaling less than two inches.

It is clear and cool today, which will make for good traveling weather.

We are packing up to leave Durham tonight after the final show. James will pick me up from the new Performing Arts Center downtown at about 9:20 p.m., and we’ll drive for several hours before stopping. We plan to stay at a KOA in Florence, SC which is midway down the state.

This turnaround is not nearly as long as the one from Tempe; it is only 811 miles to Ft. Lauderdale. We don’t need to bust our a** driving as we did last month, so we may stay over somewhere along the central Florida coast tomorrow night and then arrive in Ft. Lauderdale sometime on Tuesday afternoon.

But then again…we might get a wild hair (no pun intended!) and get there sooner! ;)

Well, the weeks of hair growth are accumulating at an alarming rate.

Not only is every day a “bad hair day”, but every day is a SCARY bad hair day now.

James is trying an “UP-do” which startled me when he picked me up from the theatre yesterday afternoon.

It’s a cross between Christopher Walken and coincidentally, another crazy gentleman named Christopher, but with the last name of Lloyd — i.e., the mad professor from the movie “Back to the Future”.

You GO, boy.

I am starting to look like my dad. I can hardly wait to show off this new “do” to my brothers and their spouses and children, and hear what they have to say about it.

I hope they’re not too scared.

You get a bonus picture this week! More whacky facial contortions.


I’ve got one more week of Phantom shows here in Durham. It’s going to be another 9-performance week, so the schedule will be heavy.

Today is my last day off here. It’s damp and cool and overcast. I’ll probably spend much of the day right here, in front of the computer, as usual. It’s doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy OR sunny — here I sit!

;)

It was a VERY busy week at work; nine shows between Tuesday and Sunday instead of the usual eight.

This heavy schedule is due to the fact that it took the Phantom company an extra day to travel the 2000 miles between Tempe, AZ and Durham, NC. So we could fit only six shows into the first week, between Thursday (Thanksgiving) and Sunday.

The company certainly needs to extract its pound of flesh, however, so the two missing shows have to be made up!

So we on weeks #2 & #4 we have nine shows. This week will be the regular 8-show routine; a brief respite from the extra performance.

It feels like I’m living at the theatre lately. But I am thankful to be employed for the moment!

After Christmas week (in Ft. Lauderdale) I will once again be “on the streets”. I need to embrace the concept of not knowing where my next paychecks will come from, rather than fight it and be worried about it.

Okay, the Hair Thing. What can I say — it’s still growing! Are you sick and tired of this yet? Discuss!

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