Wisconsin…you cold and kind and wonderful jerk.

I don’t know how I did it, but I survived Wisconsin. Damn it was cold. We had numerous van issues because of the -29 nights. We had tire problems, and had to get all new winter tires. I hardly do much, except for watch TV and movies after work. I have been running, but I can’t run outside and some of the hotels don’t have treadmills.

Meghan and I signed up for our first half marathon, called Seawheeze this summer in Vancouver. I will have a lot of training to do once we get to Chicago.

I booked my flight for Easter break to Portland. Meghan and I will have a couple nights together and my flight was insanely cheap. I have never flown United, and I haven’t heard good things, but as long as I get there safely I could care less.

I am posting a few pictures of a random church I found in Wisconsin. It was in the middle of nowhere, up on the only hill around for miles. It was called the Holy Hill Shrine of Mary. It was stunning. I tried to walk around the grounds but the wind chill was so intense.

Madison was a great stop. Finally I had real food again. Food affects my mood so drastically. I am like a new human being when it feels like I am putting healthiness into my system.

Here is the Mermaid Theatre blog which is updated occasionally.

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia | Have Puppets Will Travel
http://mermaidtheatre.wordpress.com/

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Sorry sorry sorry, Ohio was cold and boring.

I apologize to anyone who is wondering what the heck has been going on, and why I haven’t updated the blog. Mostly, it is because there has been nothing to do but stay warm in the hotel rooms. We have had many days of -20 or -30 with wind chill. We have even lost a few shows due to weather and cancelled school.

I do have a few photos to share from Cleveland, where we were for a week. We rented a house from a really kind and generous couple. The only notable thing I did was go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which was pretty sweet. One of those things you only need to go to once in your lifetime. Mostly it is filled with memorabilia and costumes, which isn’t truly my thing. I felt the same way last year at the Hockey and the Baseball Hall of Fames. We did get our van back though, as Jason flew to Toronto and drove it down to us. We went out for a way to epic grilled cheese sandwich. It was gluten free, but had soooo much meat.

I am trying to remember where we have been now…from Cleveland we went to Dayton Ohio, to Toledo Ohio, to Benton Illinois, to Indianapolis Indiana, to Springfield Ohio, to Mansfield Ohio, and last night we arrived in Hartford Wisconsin. We were only 1 hour away from Hartford when we got a flat last night. Yeah, it was cold and that happened.

I did enjoy a few spots in Indianapolis though. This great little area called Broad Ripple. I bought a record, and a had some amazing coffee. I will try to update more…but seriously….I will just be sending pictures hotel rooms. Haha.

I will include a photo of the ring though!!!! We have applied to book Whytecliff Park in West Van for the wedding, and Meghan has begun to look at dresses. Our wedding rings are ordered as well. It is all happening, which is truly getting me through some of these cold days!

Other highlights include an amazing breakfast at a mennonite road side kitchen in Ohio, and a solo ride on the Richmond Carousel in Mansfield Ohio.

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It’s now called the tour of perseverance.

Writing this from Detroit, MI. Motor City USA. It took a lot more to get here than we thought it would. He is how it all played out.

Flew from Vancouver to Toronto last week to get back into the tour. Van did not start in the parking lot. That night it got towed and the next day we rented a Ryder rental. It was not just a dead battery. The shift lever assembly was toast. So, after we did our shows in Ontario, we were to take the rental truck to South Carolina.

We luck out and were able to meet the other Mermaid touring company for dinner in Mississauga. It was a truly fun night.

On Tuesday we drove into the craziest blizzard of my life. The I90 and the 219 were closed in the states. Also, the truck crossing bridge was closed into Buffalo. So we were stuck in Fort Erie, Ontario for the night. I had never seen weather like that. We hung out there for the night and drove to a suburb of Detroit on Wednesday. Our shows in South Carolina had to be cancelled.

So we hung out for 3 days in the middle of nowhereville. There was a movie theatre close so I basically spent 3 days watching movies at the theatre and catching up on movies. American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Actually, I sorta overdosed on movies.

Saturday night we stayed in Detroit proper. I came down with some 24 hr bug yesterday, and I spent my whole night trying to get warm and keep food down. I slept from about 10pm – 7:30am. I feel much better today. We have a show at the Music Hall at 4pm and then we are off to Cleveland for a week of shows there, and we also rented a house. Our coworker, Jason, is flying to Toronto from NS to drive us our van, so we will get it back on Wednesday. So I have dubbed this tour, the tour of perseverance.

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With Christmas and New Years over…why not get engaged!

It has been awhile since I have updated on here. At least before our hiatus. As I write this, we are in Mississauga experiencing van troubles. We have a rental truck at the moment and are awaiting word as to whether we have to head to South Carolina with the rental or not. But let me go back to the holidays.

Spent one short day in Toronto at the beginning of the hiatus. Then I flew out from Toronto Island to Ottawa on the 20th. Meghan picked me up at the airport through the thick snow that had fallen. Hadn’t seen her since Florida, and it was so wonderful to be reunited. We headed into the city to pick up her sister and had a quick sandwich. Mistake. Why must I always toy with gluten. Argh.

We spent most of the 6 days at her parents house, but also had 2 nights downtown at a hotel. We hoped to give me a tourist visit, but it was so cold and so snowy that we spent most of our time in the hotel watching the Home Alone movies. We did have a great brunch at Manx Cafe, and delicious Mexican dinner at Ahora. Christmas morning with her family was wonderful. A great substitute for those at home in BC. I made french toast croissants, which is now my annual xmas meal. We all soiled each other with thoughtful presents.

I met a bunch of Meghan’s friends at a party and also home visits. Even had a chance to see my friend Kat and her bf David for lunch, as well as Dan and Laura for coffee. We flew out to Vancouver on the 27th. Arrived at 12:30am. Cabbed to Meghan’s apartment around 1ish, and then were up at 9am to head to the ferry. We had one night in Courtenay with my family there, then 2 nights in Powell River at my house. I was lucky enough to be home in time to dig a hole in the front yard so a plumber could repair a couple leaks.

We drove to Vancouver on the 31st. Our night plans worked out soooooo well. A fantastic concert called One Night Stand at the Rickshaw Theatre in Chinatown. Truly a great night of cover songs from artists we both like. Then off to PL1422 for a theatre folk party. Saw some great friends and also had a chance to reconnect with people I haven’t seen forever.

On New Years Day, Meghan and I unconventionally got engaged and set a wedding date. We were chatting with family, and we both decided that yes we really do want to marry each other. July 12, 2014

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Too cold to explore…

I haven’t had much to write of before our holiday break. A few days off here and there but they are mostly in nowhereland.

We had some shows cancelled in Lindsay Ontario due to a snow day. Then we headed to Ottawa to visit Simon’s family. As always it was great to have a home cooked meal with a wonderful family atmosphere. We saw Simon’s dad Paul on stage at the Gladstone in a Norm foster play. I shudder at Norm Foster, but Paul was a pleasure to watch. I saw a matinee Ottawa Senator game, and they got thumped by the LA Kings. Then off to Meghan’s parents for a home cooked steak dinner. Oh man, soooo good.

We had a couple shows in Kingston, which was still as nice as I remember from last year. Then down to Buffalo for a day off and then a day of shows. It was again quite cold, so I spent my day off in an AMC theatre on a red leather lazy boy watching the new Hobbit. Much better than the first one. The 3 of us went to a Buffalo Sabre/Winnipeg Jets game. The Jets lost, but sometimes it is fun for the home team to win.

We drove to Toronto and parked the van for the break. I had one quick day before I flew out from Toronto Island. Had a delicious coffee with Ronnie Burkett and we shot the shit in his studio for nearly 2 hours. Then I walked through the city and met with David Yee for a drink and a late lunch. Then back to hang with my host for some decent late night sushi. Headed back to Ottawa on the 20th through a snowy sky.

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A good ole fashioned cold Ontario Slog.

Haven’t had much to update on tour in Ontario. From town to town. Same as last year. Except this year we are one month later into winter. It is cold. Argh.

We rented an apartment in downtown Guelph for 4 days. It was actually a great little university town. So surprised.

An overnight stop in Owen Sound. Walked along the canal through some amazingly cheesy and awesome xmas lights and displays. Soooooo cute.

Had a great stop in Toronto for a few days. Spent as much time as I could with Adriana and Annika. Tried to pack in a lot in 2 days. Great food. Gluten free waffles. A tearful matinee of Dallas Buyers Club. The Christmas market at the Distillery. Some delicious indian food. So much laughter.

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Truly the best surprise visitor ever…

I think I wrote in the last post that Meghan surprised me by showing up in West Palm Beach, Florida without me expecting it. I actually just walked into work in the morning, and there she was. Standing in the theatre lobby. Kat and Simon’s plans for the weekend were to spend it cramming as much Disneyworld in as they could. Originally I was just going to hang out in the hotel for the 2 and a half days, but instead I had Meghan as company!

We spent the first night at the same hotel as the Disneyworlders, and Meghan and I checked out the free Downtown Disney. It is basically an area devoted to buying stuff. It was sorta charming, but I may have gone a bit crazy without a partner to walk around with. It is Christmas there already, which is super weird.

The next day we headed to Cocoa Beach with is just south of Cape Canerval, and got a hotel on the beach. It was stunning and truly a perfect break to the touring life. It wasn’t the greatest little town by any means, but the company and sitting on the beach all day Saturday was so worth it. We played in the waves and were both nearly concussed.

Dinner was fine, but nothing fancy. A sort of all american seafood joint. We were both happy with it, but not really bloggable I suppose. After some late night ice cream we walked along the beach and stared at stars.

Meghan departed late Sunday afternoon out of Orlando. Hard to say goodbye, but only a few weeks til the holidays!

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A week in one place…West Palm Beach

It seems each year, Mermaid is lucky enough to be put at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach for a week. It gives the touring company a chance to settle in a place for a chunk of time and regroup. It also happens that even in November it still feels like a Canadian summer in Florida. Pretty incredible. It even got up to 33 degree celsius while we were there.

On the Sunday we went to Improv comedy joint to see Damon Wayans. And what a disappointment. He started off doing some really good material about being a father to entitled children. Then he went off the rails and would not stop with the homophobia, racism and misogyny. I stopped listening after awhile.

I was able to get in some pretty good runs, but I would have to wait until after 6pm so that the weather was not too intense. I saw Blue is the Warmest Colour at the theatre. Truly beautiful and intimate movie. A french film with a tonne of sexuality and awakening. Very sweet but also heart wrenching.

On Wednesday night I got a comped ticket to see Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang. Wow. Guitar to the next level. I have no idea how Buddy Guy even plays like that still. Must be all muscle memory. And what an entertainer. Jonny Lang is also an insane guitarist. I am not much a fan of his songs or singing really, but I could listen to that guy play for sure.

I arrived at the theatre on Thursday morning and Meghan was waiting for me in the lobby. I had absolutely no clue she was gonna surprise me like that. All the way from Vancouver. I was truly speechless. I couldn’t have asked for a better surprise on the tour. So thankful am I. We already had a trip planned to the everglades that day to ride on an air boat and see alligators. It was so good to have her with us for that.

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Overheating in Florida still…

After our day off in Sarasota, it has been a slog of venues and towns.  Before we left Sarasota we had a brief round at an Adventure Mini Golf course which had alligators you could feed.  Very odd.  But the course was surprisingly fun and well maintained!

I don’t have much to write about the last 3 cities we were in as we would arrive at night, and then load in the next morning and then drive to the next place.

I was able to go for a run on the beach in Clearwater, which is on the west coast of Florida.  I also had dinner at the original Hooters.  I’d never been to a Hooters in my life, and would have never gone had it not been the original.  It even had a bit of a museum of their history.  The food was terrible, and in all honesty their short shorts are way more revealing than their deep v shirts.  Also, it was a family restaurant.  So many families and kids in their.

We drove from their to Coral Springs which is more east.  A middle of nowhere town.  Then from there to Aventura, which is just north of Miami.  A very rich and affluent place.  The strange thing was that the theatre put us up for the night in one of their sponsor’s buildings.  Which was a rich seniors home.  Where you have to have 1 million in liquid assets to get in as a retiree.  We were the youngest people there by 40 years at least, and got lots of looks.  The rooms were great though.

We are now in West Palm Beach for a week. We rented a townhouse in the downtown area.  So nice to have a kitchen!!!

Adventure Golf in Sarasota, FL.

Adventure Golf in Sarasota, FL.

Yup, the original Hooters in Clearwater, FL.

Yup, the original Hooters in Clearwater, FL.

Hooters food.  Disgusting.

Hooters food. Disgusting.

Hanging at the pool in November.

Hanging at the pool in November.

Kat and the turducken in Coral Springs, FL.

Kat and the turducken in Coral Springs, FL.

East Florida to West Florida…repeat.

I am calling Orlando the city I will never go to, but have seen plenty of times.  We keep driving through it from the east coast to the west coast and back.

Had a nice day off in Tampa.  Found some really really good Vietnamese restaurant called Bamboozle.  My chicken salad and tofu spring rolls were so delicious.  I have been getting a lot of take out lately, as I am so tired of tipping for every meal.  Not that people don’t deserve it, it is just expensive to add 15-20 percent onto every meal.  Also walked to the historic Ybor City area of Tampa.  Pretty cool area which is a mixture of touristy and run down hipster.  I watched the new Thor movie at a theatre there.

Then east to Daytona Beach, which the beach itself is gorgeous.  The city is just a haven for car racing, motor cycle rallies and spring break drunkenness.  Not really my kind of place, but the beach.  Oh the beach.  I went for a run around the Daytona NASCAR speedway, around the complex anyway.  Not actually inside.  What a hot day.  Yeesh.  29 degrees.

Then back west to Sarasota for a day of rest and then shows.  I found a cool little independent cinema and saw All Is Lost, the new Robert Redford film.  I am calling it Gravity on water.  Redford was better than the film.  Two nearly sold out shows at 1700 children per show.  Incredible audiences.  So much laughter.

Me in Ybor City, Tampa.

Me in Ybor City, Tampa.

I am so pretty when I run.  Daytona Beach, FL.

I am so pretty when I run. Daytona Beach, FL.

Daytona Beach and the pier.

Daytona Beach and the pier.

A great mural I found in Sarasota, FL.

A great mural I found in Sarasota, FL.

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