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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!