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Whenever I’m on the road, time distorts. It either goes by in a flash or seems to stand still.

Or both.

Looking back on the past five weeks, there’s really not a whole lot to write about. Yet, I’ve been very busy.

Eight shows a week is a relentless schedule, especially when half of them occur in only two days, over the weekends.

It is a predictable work routine which I am very comfortable with. Although demanding, I know what to expect. After many years of doing it, I have learned how to pace myself.

I am amused (and gratified) to see how my father’s strong work ethic manifests in my nature. Over the past two years of on-and-off employment, I seem to be happiest when I am working.

As a musician, this means playing. My work is my play and my play is my work!

Lately, it feels good to bring home a paycheck every week too. I’ve been fortunate to sub with Phantom for a few weeks, literally here and there, over the past year.

Here’s a shot of me playing the harp with Ringo and Rupert providing an ever-appreciative audience:

I am now down to my last five days (and seven shows) in Hartford CT. This is the second week of the run here; James and I arrived on April 21st.

I still have a hard time believing that I’m all the way across the country! This is a BIG piece of dirt.

We left the Airstream at the RV park in Kansas City because the northeastern part of the country is not very RV-friendly; there are very few places to park.

So we’ve brought just the truck the 1200 miles to the East Coast, and are staying in a Residence Inn just north of downtown Hartford. In fact, we stayed at this place the last time Phantom played here, back in early 2002.

Thankfully, the dog and cat are good travelers and good sports. They’re doing fine!

We stopped in Delaware on our way to Hartford to visit briefly with our dear friends Caroline and Peter, who had flown from England to stay with their family who moved to the States. It was wonderful to see them, even if for only a few hours.

Backtracking: our three weeks in Kansas City were pleasant; it’s always nicer to stay in our own little space, the tastefully and artistically decorated vintage Airstream. It’s a very comfortable environment, and works well for us.

It was also nice to be able to spend time with our good friends Jerry and Judy. It had been several years since we’d seen them, and we always have a good time together.

This usually involves visiting Kansas City’s fine art galleries, seeing movies, and eating at various restaurants, including KC’s famous barbeque. (Yes, we’re 99% vegan, ha ha!)

Jerry is an enthusiast of the French horn and has a large collection of instruments, hanging from bicycle hooks in his basement. In fact, we originally met in 2000 when Jerry found out that I was selling a horn. We became fast friends.

It’s always fun to play on his instruments, and Jerry often invites other area horn players to his house to play ensemble music when I’m in town. I was particularly gratified that the horn section of the Kansas City Symphony came one afternoon to play through my new horn quintet. They sounded great on it and were very complimentary.

One of the other players at this fun gathering commented that my piece should be in the standard horn ensemble repertoire. High praise, indeed!

This has inspired me to finish the other two movements. Until this latest flurry of activity to finish the first movement of the horn quintet in Kansas City, it has been a long time since I’ve composed any music for horn; all of my energies have been devoted to writing for recorder ensembles.

When we left California on March 27th, Spring had arrived a couple weeks earlier. In Kansas City, the season was just starting to manifest with little buds on the trees and slightly higher temperatures. Three weeks later on our two-day trip to Hartford, we discovered that Spring’s clock was turned back yet again a couple of weeks.

Until a few days ago, when the temperatures soared into the 90s. Crazy!

This morning it is a more seasonable 57 degrees, and the weather is expected to continue cooler through the remaining five days that we are here.

Today I am busy editing video footage that I took on our trip from California to Kansas City. When I finish doing that, I will finally post!

(Later: The total footage was too long to put into one video, so it’s in two parts.)

Greetings from Kansas City!

I am here to play three weeks of Phantom. Then on April 20th, James and I will drive to Hartford, CT to play two weeks of the show there.

We look forward to visiting friends in New York City, Boston and Nashville after my five weeks of Phantom work are concluded on May 3rd. We should arrive back home in the Woods sometime during the second week of May.

We are staying in the Airstream trailer at an RV park in Merriam, just south of downtown Kansas City. We have parked here several times before; once with the show in 2001 and other times just passing through. This central location is a convenient stopping-place.

It is so good to be out of the car finally, after three long ten-hour days of driving to get here. On our return home we have decided to take four days to get back to California from Kansas City, which will be less wear and tear on our bodies.

Since my previous post, Winter has receded in the Woods, but it is not quite Spring yet up in the mountains.

The snow melted during the last week of February. The run-off from the higher mountains created a large amount of water rushing down the Yuba River. James and I awoke on the morning of the 24th to the sound of the river, which was positively roaring!

In the month since then, the signs of Spring have been subtle. The new season will intensify while we are gone, culminating in an explosion of lupin and bachelor buttons in the meadow by the time we return in mid-May. We can hardly wait!

In late February I took this picture of ladybugs (breeding?) on a holly bush close to the back porch.

A couple of weeks later, I checked the bush again:

In mid-March, temperatures crept up into the upper 60s during the day. James brought out the patio furniture which we installed on the back porch, and we enjoyed several lunches out there until it got cold again.

Springtime means that we can dry our clothes out on the line rather than in the Music Room (we don’t own a dryer). There’s nothing like the smell of sun-dried clothes!

Cat Rupert enjoys being outside more now that the snow has melted.

The only patch of snow which remained on March 13th was on the north side of the Music Room where the sun does not shine.

You can see the chimney which had fallen after the first heavy snowstorm in December. We didn’t hook up the new woodstove this Winter, as staying warm in the Airstream was much easier.

In my next post (which I will put up soon, I promise!) I will describe our current life in Kansas City, so very different from the one we have in the Woods.