Tuesday, June 27, 2006

There and Back Again

The return home from C's fabulous first annual Sooke Writer's Retreat on Vancouver Island in British Columbia began Sunday with an early morning drive into Sidney in time to clear customs and catch the first sailing of the Washington Ferry.

No whale or porpoise sitings during the two-and-a-half-hour ride through the San Juan Islands. However, we did spot seals bobbing in the water both ways.

After docking in Anacortes, Washington (and making an "emergency" stop for lattes), we drove two hours nonstop to Seattle's awesome All For Kids Bookstore in time to make fox ears, and hear author and Vermont College faculty member Laura McGee Kvasnosky read from her delightful new book Zelda and Ivy, the Runaways. J met up with one of her college roommates after the reading. M, K and I hugged J good-bye, before ending the day with fish and chips along the waterfront.

Seattle was unusually clear and warm Sunday. Couples and families strolled the walking paths along the harbor. Mount Rainier loomed in the distance, its steep snow-covered slopes blazing in the afternoon light. After dinner, M and I drove K to the airport where we learned her flight had been delayed. Since K was officially a year older based on New York time, we combed the main drag near the airport for a Dairy Queen (K's first choice for a birthday treat), ending up at a Denny's instead. There, a very tired waiter good naturedly allowed M and K to give him specific directions on how he should build the banana split the two of them shared (chocolate sauce on chocolate, strawberry on strawberry, nothing on the vanilla, whipped cream and nuts on everything).

Once K was safely delivered to the airport, M and I headed north to M's for the night. By the time we unloaded the car and crawled under the covers, it was past 1 a.m.

Aside from the fact that I almost missed my connecting flight yesterday because I'd failed to account for a time-zone change, the last leg of my journey was less eventful. Sudoku and Short & Shivery ghost stories retold by Robert D. San Souci kept me busy on both flights. No luggage lost. Best of all, my girls met me at the airport.

On tap for the rest of the day: unpacking, laundry, organizing of notes from the week, more reading and analysis of ghost stories in preparation for writing one of my own for an anthology, and finalizing the work plan I drafted while in BC.

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