Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lest You Think I Was Joking...

Here's a photo taken on the way home from Cranbrook. Same crazy little plane - only difference, the captain's name was Mike.

New Author Photo?

Ah, yes - another fine moment in the life of a storyteller! This taken earlier today at Parkland Middle School during a performance in the library... Yikes!

Freakish Hand!

I am not quite sure what I was doing when this photo was taken during my presentation yesterday at Laurie School, but since my back is to the audience I was probably either ascending or descending a cliff during a performance of The Marriage of Sir Gawain. Despite the strange elongation of my digits during the show, a good time was had by all. A big thanks to the teacher-librarians of Cranbrook who arranged this trip - it's been great! Not a blizzard in sight, either!
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Sunday, May 27, 2007

10 Things One Does Without

... when flying with a really small airline.

1. baggage handler (on the tarmac, outside the plane in Vancouver, handed my bag to Craig, the guy who I thought was doing double duty as a flight attendant... turns out Craig was actually the co-pilot, doing triple duty as flight attendant AND baggage handler...)
2. flight attendant (see above)
Even if I had been absolutely desperate for a drink of water during the flight, there was NO WAY!!!! I was going to yell up to the cockpit, "Hey, Craig! Can you bring me a decaf?" Shoehorning himself into the copilot seat had involved some spectacular yogic contortions and it didn't seem like a good idea to ask him to repeat the maneuver in reverse while we tootled along somewhere high above the Rocky Mountains. He could easily have kicked the 'down' button. Or the pilot.
3. food service (see above. Not even a help yourself candy basket.)
4. tray tables (not that this was a big worry since there was no food)
5. head room
When Craig welcomed me aboard he warned me to watch my head as I passed through the door. I did and foolishly straightened up once through and promply cracked my head on the ceiling. Had to walk folded in half until I found an empty seat because another thing we did without was,
6. assigned seats.
It was a scramble for who got to sit beside the emergency exit. The big guy (a bear hunter?) won.
7. Overhead compartments.
It was a good thing that Craig was willing to take my carry-on bag because there was nowhere to stow it in in the cabin. And, a good thing I am very short because my laptop bag and purse took up every available inch under the seat in front of me.
8. Last names
Toward the end of the flight, Craig announced, "On behalf of me, Jamie, and Pacific Coastal Airlines, welcome to Cranbrook."
Jamie? You mean Capatain Someone-or-other? Jamie? Mind you, Jamie and Craig were pretty chatty during the flight, a fact I was able to determine because I could see them due to the lack of a
9. door
leading to the cockpit. Now that was a first for me since 911. I didn't think they made planes like that any more!
10. Best part of flying in a teeny, weeny plane with about a dozen seats is that nobody can sit beside you in the seat-aisle-seat configuration. So no worries about inappropriate conversations or unpleasant odours or crawling over a sleeping seatmate to try to get to the bathroom. Though Craig never mentioned an on-board loo... Nah. Surely not?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cheam Students Rock!

What a welcome I received from students in Chilliwack! Cheam Elementary students had gone all out and decorated the walls with fabulous posters and artwork! Amazing! I'll post more on the blog when I have a little more time - I just wish I'd been able to photograph every one of the students' wonderful drawings!

This scene from No Cafes in Narnia was inspired by a real life incident that took place in a boatyard in Florida. My mother drove around the corner just a little too fast and ran right into the pointy end of a forklift. The accident poked out one headlight and skewered the grille of the car! Fortunately, the forks weren't a little higher or Mom might have been decapitated! Like most of the embarrassing or slightly dangerous things that have ever happened to members of my family, this one wound up in a book. Like Dani says, I really don't know how to make anything up!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The 911 Habit!

I sure hope I don't have to call 911 every time I set out on a book tour! Remember the freakish blizzards, the flipped over truck and the bladder panic near Skookumchuk? Well today, this! Just as I was cruising along the Trans Canada Highway heading for Chilliwack (where I will be doing school presentations over the next couple of days) I saw a big semi-trailer just ahead pulling over on the shoulder... not a big deal, except as I was passing him I noticed the driver jump out of his cab looking a bit panicky. And for good reason, flames were licking the dash, the seat... I pulled over as fast as I could, grabbed my cell phone and called in the request for a fire truck, and by the time I had run back toward the accident, realized I had a camera in the truck, retrieved the camera, and run back to the fire, the whole tractor trailer cab was engulfed in flames!

It wasn't long before traffic was snarled for miles, emergency vehicles swooped in from all directions... rumours flew from bystander to bystander - the most thrilling being that the truck had two full tanks of gas that could blow any minute... I would have got closer if it hadn't been for that piece of information! As it was, I couldn't get any really great photos of all the drama, though I did snap a few while I was waiting to see how big the bang would be if those tanks blew... Alas, the firefighters were efficient and before long the excitement was over.

I have a very, very slow internet connection here in the hotel, so I'm probably not going to be able to post any more photos tonight... but once I get home I'll pop up a few more.
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Small Explosion

... note the debris whizzing past the firefighter...

"Did you see that? Missed me by that much..."

"Clean-up on Aisle Nine!"

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Should I Be Worried?

There wasn't much left of the cab when all was said and done!
If I were the jittery type, I might consider cancelling my bookings and heading for high ground. After I checked into the hotel I jogged across the street to the huge supermarket to grab a sandwich and it was like I had arrived in a pre-apocalyptic planning session. EVERYONE was talking about bottled water and candles and flashlights and batteries and how the power could be out for four or five weeks and how were they going to eat all the food in their freezers before it all melted...

I arrived at the till with my sandwich and juice boxes in hand and the woman in front of me, making polite conversation asked, "So do you think it's going to flood?"

At which point the penny dropped. "Ahh... flood - yes, that could happen." There has been a LOT of snow in the mountains and it's feared that if we have a fast, hot spring, the whole Fraser Valley could find itself under water.

The young girl at the till said, "It's going to be bad. The worst ever, they say. Do you have a lot of stuff in your freezer?"

To which I replied, "Ahhh... not too much." I didn't add that since I had arrived in town, was on a book tour, and my phone has 911 programmed into the speed dial, that perhaps we should all vacate the premises immediately.

"Well good luck," she added as I picked up my bag and left. Good grief! What was I thinking, leaving home? At least all I have to worry about there is The Big One (as in - earthquake)