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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

Okay, we took the pictures on Sunday but are posting a day late.

We were so busy packing and getting ready to leave Tempe after my two-week run of Phantom there, that posting slipped my mind.

James reminded me about Hair Sunday just as I was walking out the door for the second show. Uh-oh! We hurried back into the Airstream for our photo-shoot and I resolved to post after we started our long drive east to Durham, NC.

James picked me up from the theatre after last night’s show ended, and we started the first leg of our journey. James had made reservations at the KOA in Holbrook AZ, which meant driving a few hours until about 1 a.m. This is our usual pattern when we leave a city.

So here we are in Holbrook. It is sunny and in the low 50s (got down to 27 last night!).

We have a Mi-Fi card which allows us to connect to the internet wherever there is a 3G signal. So I can post during our travels (dream on!).

Here are the latest Hair Sunday pics:

As you can see, we’re getting wild and wooly!

Here is where we are parked at this very moment. We’re sipping on our little Japanese thermoses of black tea and surfing the internet at the KOA. I stepped out to take this shot.

Have I mentioned that our cat Rupert has his own blog? Please check it out in my link list: “The Adventures of Rupert”. Rupert is a better writer than I am, and has been posting more frequently than I have lately (after a very long absence).

I’ll share one of his blog pics here, from today. He is waiting for the inevitable get-picked-up-and-hauled-off-to-the-truck routine. We will be pulling out of Holbrook shortly.

We hope to make it all the way to Oklahoma City tonight. That’s  a twelve-hour drive, but we have to cover 2000 miles in only three days!

“You must WRITE more”, a little but persistent voice whispered to me over and over as I tossed and turned in bed last night.

Little Voice added, “You must also curtail playing games on Facebook — it’s a huge waste of time!”

My husband James reiterated this last sentiment to me only a few moments ago. So I know that I need to pay attention.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve felt so blocked writing in this blog, for months now. What’s going on with me?

Well…part of me wants to avoid the tendency to become mundane, which can happen in blogs. But people seem to like the day-to-day musings and ramblings of Life, even if they seem trite at times. Bloggers often refer to their posts being mundane, yet their readers always assure them that the posts are interesting.

Hmmm. So maybe I should just GO for it, and run the risk of being mundane.

The definition of “mundane” is indeed illuminating:

mun⋅dane [muhn-deyn, muhn-deyn]
–adjective
1.
of or pertaining to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven; worldly; earthly: mundane affairs.
2.
common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative.
3.
of or pertaining to the world, universe, or earth.

So in other words, people are interested in feelings and events having to do with the world in which we live. And that’s exactly what a blog is.

(Lightbulb turns on.)

Perhaps what is ‘common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative’ to some people is not to others.

I was thinking the other day — always a dangerous enterprise — that blog-writing seems to be an all-or-nothing thing. Either post every day (or at least every other day) or don’t do it at all!

I believe that my many three faithful readers enjoy reading my very occasional postings. But there could be much more of a sense of continuity in my blog, a consistency, a regular “checking in” which has been absent thus far.

Well, we shall see.

So what am I thinking about, today?

Yesterday, I discovered a new place to hang out near the Golden Gate Theater in San Francisco. Occasionally I am able to catch an earlier train to work than I had planned to, which gives me enough time to sit down with a cup of coffee and write in my journal before heading to the theatre. I’ve done this at Starbuck’s on a few occasions, but it’s in the opposite direction from the theatre and I usually don’t have enough time to go there.

Yesterday I had an extra service-call which involved videotaping the entire cast in costume and orchestra in tuxes. We taped the most popular numbers from “South Pacific” for advertisement purposes. The call was from 1:30 to 5, followed by our usual show at 8. Busy day!

I emerged from BART onto Market St. and walked the two blocks towards the theatre. I took a slightly different route this time; usually I take a short-cut on Jones St., wending my way around the homeless lying on the sidewalk. But I stayed on Market St. in order to look for some place nearby to have a cup of coffee, since I had an extra half-hour.

There was a “donut”/coffee shop on the corner of Market and Golden Gate which I had never noticed before. It had about fifteen tables and picture windows giving out onto both streets, affording an excellent view of the colorful passerby.

For the life of me I don’t know why I hadn’t see this place before. It was as though it suddenly materialized out of thin air just when I needed it. I suppose that’s the way it is with many things; we tend not to see them until we look for them.

I went into the bright and airy room and walked up to the large glass counter containing many different kinds of doughnuts and pastries. I was reassured to see an espresso machine, so I could have a “specialized” coffee rather than just a cup of regular joe.

I ordered a capuccino and a butter croissant. The coffee was better than average and the croissant was pretty much just a big roll with a slight butter glaze, not at all like what I envision a croissant to be — flaky and buttery — but it was passable and accompanied the coffee nicely.

I found a tiny round table by the plate-glass window overlooking Market St. I could see the Golden Gate Theatre a half block beyond. I took a sip of cappuccino and a bite of the croissant and brought out my journal and pen from my knapsack.

Several working-class black men were talking in loud voices at the adjoining tables. They really didn’t have to speak at such a high volume; there wasn’t much ambient noise and the tables were close together, but this is the nature of people everywhere. I am often amazed at how unncessarily loudly most folks speak.

It’s as though they want an audience. But these men were in the middle of a conversation about one of their cronies, which I wouldn’t have been able to follow or relate to anyway.

One of the men left and the remaining two immediately started talking about him. “He’s juss like his biological father,” one of the guys stated. The other one responded emphatically, “Sho’ is!” Then the first one went into great detail about the father’s physical characteristics and tendencies to womanize, a bit more sotto voce. But I got the gist in spite of myself.

I wrote a few lines in my journal, took more sips of cappuccino and bites from the doughy roll. I looked out onto the Market St. sidewalk, where a parade of interesting characters ambled by. One middle-aged man, with greased-back dirty blond hair and attired in plaid shorts and clashing print shirt open to expose his fish-white Buddha belly, staggered up to a trash can and dug for treasure. Then he approached the plate-glass window with me on the other side and gestured at me…for something…maybe money? I contemplated giving him the rest of my croissant, but then the man abruptly staggered away from the window and ran across the street.

A group of German tourists arrived and sat down at a table, not realizing that they needed to go to the counter first to order. They sat there for the longest time before realization set in, whereupon one woman, serving as spokesperson and interpreter, got up and placed their order in a thick Teutonic accent. The man behind the counter responded in an equally thick Asian accent.

That’s what I love about San Francisco — the rich variety of people from all over the world. It’s truly a melting-pot; quite different from the almost exclusively white (and American) population of Nevada County where I usually call home.

As I got up from the table to go to the theatre, the more verbose of the black men nearby said with a smile, “Have a good day” and I responded, “And the same to you, sir”.

Yesterday was one of those days in which it was easy to embrace the City life and not feel overwhelmed by it, as I sometimes am. On its best days, I am wonderfully stimulated. I think it has something to do with being able to go with the often intense flow, instead of resisting it.

The longer I go between writing posts, the more difficult it becomes to resume.

Part of me resists writing because the blog title “Living in The Woods” does not currently fit my life working in the San Francisco bay area.

Lame excuse, I know.

I keep telling myself that someday we WILL be back in The Woods permanently. But for now, financial necessity requires me to go far afield to make a living. I’m still not ready to retire from active professional horn playing, for personal as well as financial reasons.

I figure that I can continue playing horn at a high level for another five to ten years, if I choose to. But I’ve finally grown smart enough to avoid giving myself a deadline; who knows how I’ll feel in five years (or even two!), and what my life circumstances will be then?

For now, I am thankful to have show work in San Francisco a few times a year. The long-running show “Wicked” has created opportunities for more musicians to be hired to play other shows which come to the City. I have been lucky to play three shows since late November: Phantom, Spamalot and now South Pacific, for a total of nineteen weeks’ employment.

Along with this work is my occasional subbing with Phantom. After the six-week run of South Pacific is over in San Francisco on October 25th, I’ve got seven consecutive weeks of work lined up with Phantom in Tempe, Durham and Ft. Lauderdale. The last city is during Christmas week.

After that…who knows?

My first blog in 2005 was entitled “On The Road”. Should I rename this blog?

After this show closes, James and I will take the Airstream down to Arizona, where I will play the last two weeks of Phantom’s run in Tempe in mid-November.

Before I resume work, we will have two weeks to get our house ready to sell, in a certain small town in the extreme southeastern corner of Arizona. We left there over two years ago and the house has been vacant; we decided that it was too much of a hassle to be long-distance landlords.

We recently contacted a close friend who still lives in the area, to go over to the house and assess what needs to be done. Spiderwebs and dust need to be vacuumed, the fridge needs cleaning (someone turned off the breaker box at some point and the inside of the fridge is black with mold!) and of course the jungle of a yard needs to be hacked down. We’ll probably do at least some of this work ourselves.

We’re going to stay in the Airstream in an RV park on the edge of town while there. The house is livable but our little trailer is really our HOME — everything we need is already in place and we enjoy living in it.

I could write a lot about what’s been going on in my life since my last posting in mid-August — or very little. I’ll opt for the latter, since most of it is work-related, anyway.

James and I have been busy composing and arranging music for recorder ensemble, and have gotten together with a core group of four excellent players several times over the past few months. Our eventual goal is to sell our music online. Someday this will happen when we’re more settled.

The beach at Pacifica has been beautiful for nearly two weeks now; no fog! Autumn is the best season in the Bay area, I think.

We like our little spot in the back, in the corner of the RV park. It’s close to traffic but is actually quite private; most of the short-term tourists rent the spots in the rows closer to the ocean.

We arrived here on September 11th. Here’s a video of our drive from The Woods to The Beach:

Well, this isn’t the most exciting blog post in the world but it will have to do! 🙂

Although I have not written in my blog in the longest period of time since I started it a couple of years ago, I read my usual list of other people’s blogs daily. It’s part of my morning routine.

I have had flashes all summer of feeling like life is passing me by without documentation, while my blog-mates are busily recording their day-to-day existences to share with the masses.

However, I have been handwriting my journal almost every day since I arrived in the San Francisco Bay area on May 17th. My penmanship, once admired by the recipients of my profuse handwritten letters “back in the day” before computers, became rusty from disuse over the years of clacking away at the keyboard.

In these cyber times, it seems that many people have forgotten about handwritten letters or journals.

This summer, it has been very satisfying for me to revive and refine my handwriting after all these dormant years, penning my journal. I started writing at age fourteen and continued writing in that mode until I was in college, when I switched to typewriters of various sorts. Then I kept a journal on the computer.

Handwriting a journal feels so personal. Of course I don’t get any comments because no one else reads my entries except for me. This is okay.

I celebrate the fact that my penmanship is gradually coming back. I am beginning to love it again. My third-grade teacher instilled in me the beauty of handwriting at age nine. She had the best hand.

I am starting to feel less stilted in my handwriting, having to form my thoughts complete before setting them down, without the benefit of computer editing. It is improving with each page that I scrawl out.

Sometimes my handwriting is VERY jerky on the fast-moving train!

I write on the BART train every day on the way to my various music gigs, and then again on the way home.

It is a good release for me to write down my private thoughts.

I write mostly about work and the freelance scene of musicians here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a very different world than the peaceful, idyllic life that James and I live in The Woods, where we do not interact with very many people.

I do not play in any musical organizations when I live in The Woods. So I have to go other places — big metropolitan areas — to work. Most freelance musicians have to settle in such places in order to make a living.

For me these days, the San Francisco bay area is the “happening” place work-wise. James & I are very fortunate to be able to travel in our Airstream trailer to wherever my musical employment is.

Right now it’s in the City by the Bay.

The freelance musical scene here is a curious combination of comeraderie and competition. It is an extended network of classically trained musicians, scattered throughout the Bay area, highly qualified in their field. We are all vying for the same gigs. It is a tight-knit, friendly group of people from their mid-twenties fresh out of music schools to musicians in their seventies, playing in orchestras all over the area.

Everyone keeps the pulse of “who’s hiring who” and why aren’t they being hired any more for this gig or the other? Buzz…buzz…buzz…it’s very incestuous. Yet, almost everyone accepts the vagaries of the music business and manages to remain cordial with each other.

It is amazing, really. An exclusive club of musicians trying to make a living from their craft.

I am currently playing the two-week Midsummer Mozart festival. We play in four different concert venues around the Bay area each week. When this is over at the end of next week, James & I will finally be able to return home to our beloved Woods!

Until a few days ago, we had parked our Airstream on the front row of RVs closest to the beach. But we got tired of the constant shifts of energy as short-term neighbors were replaced by new ones. There were some good folks, but our most recent parade of neighbors was extremely invasive and obnoxious.

This finally pushed us into changing lots, to one “in the corner in the back in the dark”, as James puts it. It’s in the line of RVs furthest from the beach. We’re on the end, so there are no neighbors on the left side. The neighbor in the rig on our right is hardly ever there (I’ve never seen him) so it is very peaceful.

Here are some pictures of our life right on the beach, ending with our present location.

Dog Ringo loves the RV park because of the numerous dog smells here. Highly stimulating!

One of the advantages of having a lot right on the beach was that we had our own little “back yard” facing the ocean. This view looks south towards the Pacifica pier.

This view looks north towards San Francisco and Marin.

On my rare nights off, we would have cocktails and watch the sunset. It’s almost always cool by the shore, so we have to bundle up!

James doing his Kenny of South Park imitation:

This is the shot that EVERYBODY takes of the beach at sunset. If you’ve seen one, you’ve pretty much seen them all!

My attempt at being artsy with one of our bicycles:

I did enjoy our time on the front line closest to the water, but looked forward to moving to a quieter location.

It was a relatively quick and simple operation to move the trailer to this back lot, last Saturday, July 18, 2009.

It’s wonderful to open the windows on the side with the bushes and see a canopy of greenery instead of a rig parked only a scant few feet away.

Perhaps this recent flurry of blog posts — three days in a row is highly unusual for me, eh? — can be attributed to the fact that part of us is reluctant to leave The Woods for The Big City. Our appreciation for this place is always present, but it feels stronger and more poignant now on the eve of departure.

We had originally planned to leave today, but when James found out that my first rehearsal on Monday in San Francisco is not until 7 p.m., we decided to wait until tomorrow morning.

This has given James more time to attend to the Airstream trailer, inside and out. He secured everything that we had brought into it yesterday in “travel mode”, hitched the trailer to our trusty red Chevy truck and towed it out of the barn this afternoon.

He washed the barn dust off and it looks much better. Now it is parked in front of the barn, hooked back up with electricity and water, and I’m writing this blog post in it as I did yesterday.

Home is wherever we have our computers, we’ve concluded with a laugh.

Earlier today, on this morning’s walk, we took yet another route. James has been wonderfully resourceful with suggestions lately!

We went up to the point which joins the main dirt road into town, but turned left instead of right, which we had done yesterday.

This takes us on a slight incline towards the postmaster’s house, but we before we reached his driveway, we turned left again on a little logging road heading back towards our place.

I brought my camera along again, but didn’t see any photo-ops until we reached this logging path.

There are two very large stumps on each side of the road at the top, where in olden times a large, heavy chain had stretched between the trees as a barrier. Here’s the stump on the left:

And here is the one on the right, with James extending the chain:

The chain “au naturel”:

Another old stump further down the hill:

James speculated that this tree must have been over two hundred years old when it was cut; maybe older. We fantasized that it had sprouted from the ground before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. It was probably cut in the early mine-dredging days in the mid-1800s.

This logging road leads back to the intersection where we usually turn off to walk by our nearest neighbors’ house. To the left are two discarded Franklin stoves, grown rusty with time:

In the exact middle of the intersection is this section of dredging pipe:

And to the right of this pipe is an assemblage of other mining debris:

We walked to the left, going slightly downhill, where the path leads into our driveway. I captured the tail-end of the Fall colors on a couple of trees:

I snapped a quick shot of James and Ringo, who had reached the end of the driveway near our place. (Ringo can barely be seen to James’ left.)

Cat Rupert was there to greet us when we arrived, as he’s done when we’ve returned from our past three walks.

Since we’ve been spending most of our time in the Airstream these past couple of days, Rupert doesn’t quite know what to make of our absence. He’s been staying in the Music Room alone for much of the day, except when I’ve been there to practice horn. James and I have continued to sleep in the Music Room, and will spend our final night there this evening.

My next post will be from the beach in Pacifica!

P.S. I’ve been having trouble formatting photos and text in posts lately; I create space between them in “visual” mode but they do not SAVE that way in the actual post. Everything gets crunched together. Do any of you have any suggestions? 🙂

Have any of you WordPress habitués ever gotten the error message, “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.” ?

I have tried posting comments on several WP blogs today and that very strange error message came up each time.

It’s not like I’m rapidly firing off comments left and right, blazing away at the computer keyboard til smoke rises from it, my eyes popping out of my skull as I frantically dash off fevered messages to everyone’s WordPress blog.

And the admonition “Slow down.” At least they could say “Please”!

It all sounds so cold.

…but Poetikat tagged me, so I will try to rise to the challenge.

You can visit her meme here: Poetikat’s Invisible Keepsakes: 10 Things you’ll never hear me say.

My version of “10 THINGS YOU’LL NEVER HEAR ME SAY”

“You’re the worst conductor I’ve ever worked with!”

“I need a cigarette”.

“I’m going to blow your friggin’ head off!”.

“I love my 3000 square foot house!”

“I’m upgrading to a bigger yacht”.

“I’m jonesing for a fix”.

“Let me slip into my walking shorts”.

“I’m just going to throw it out the car window…”

“You’re a terrible musician!”

“I love my pet monkey!”

* * * * * * *

I can’t believe I actually did this. But there ya go.



























Okay, so I’m a complete idiot when it comes to any kind of html or understanding any of my blog’s inner-workings. Today’s demon: RSS feeds and “feed URLS”.

I know that there’s tremendous potential to make my blog completely wonderful, bristling and clanging with all sorts of bells & whistles on my sidebar, drawing the blog reader in like flies to flypaper.

But it would be a miracle if I achieve ANY of it here.

No matter how hard I try to wade through the WordPress help sections, reading about RSS feeds and feed urls and permalinks on the FAQS and forums, I just don’t get it.

I love computers but don’t understand their inner workings as well as my younger counterparts seem to, or those of you Baby Boomers who seem to have grasped the concepts.

Today’s fiasco started with an introductory email offer from BLOGRUSH, which is a blog syndication service and looks like a good way to get my blog out there for more people to read.

Registration went swimmingly until I had to enter a “feed URL” for my blog. Thus began an extremely frustrating three hours of research, and repeated attempts at trying to find the correct feed URL. I still haven’t figured it out, although now I do know that the “code” that BLOGRUSH provided after my registration needs to be pasted into a text widget on my WP widgets page.

I was able to find my feed url from this page but after submitting it to BLOGRUSH it’s still not showing up in my side-bar. Grrrr!

I finally emailed someone on the forums who had thoughtfully replied to some other hapless blogger trying to figure out feed URLS. I hope he writes back.

I feel so incompetent about this. Not pleasant at all.

Plus, I’ve just come down with a whopper of a cold. James got it a few days ago and is still suffering.

‘Tis the season, I guess. Many people around here have colds now, and I’ve just heard that my dear friend in England has one.

I started getting sick during the Nutcracker show in San Jose yesterday afternoon. Luckily I got through the show with a minimum of hacking and coughing, although the storm front moved in BIG time towards the end of the ballet.

James and I were going to stop at a friend’s in Lafayette (an hour’s drive north of San Jose) to have dinner with her and her elderly father, but we decided to cancel. For one thing we were not feeling at all well, and of course we didn’t want to give our friends a cold either.

I’m taking zinc lozenges which were recommended to knock out a cold in half the usual time. I sure hope it works!

So we are at home, bundled up in the Music Room. James is making homemade chicken soup and tending the fire in the Franklin stove as usual, while I am getting close to throwing my computer against the wall.

I decided to take a break and write a post instead. I may be writing a LOT of posts over the next few daze. You may die of shock.

It’s supposed to snow up here tomorrow. I’ll keep you informed!

* * * * *

POSTSCRIPT: Several hours later:

At length, I discovered that WordPress doesn’t support javascript, which is why my “feed url” request to BlogRush didn’t go through.

So I have revived my blog on Blogger so that I can use BlogRush there. I now have two identical blogs; one here and one on Blogspot.com.

Twice the work and half the fun — LOL.