Posted on May 22, 2015

Beautiful Whittier, AK

Welcome to beautiful downtown Whittier, Alaska!

 

Whittier has a special place in my heart. When I was growing up, my dad had a boat based at the small boat harbor and a condo in Whittier, and I spent many happy hours there. That part of Prince William Sound is still my favorite place in the world. Dad sold the boat many years ago (that old adage about a boat being a hole in the water into which you pour money) but he kept the condo, and now my generation owns it. I still go out there as often as I can.

 

One day I’ll have to write a book about the history of Whittier. To summarize briefly, it was a portage area for millennia, a deep-water port, and the tunnel to it was one of the engineering feats accomplished during World War II.  It remained a military base during the Cold War. Now it’s a fishing and tourism hub.

 

I went out to Whittier this week, and hit town on one of those golden sunny days when you can’t imagine why anyone would live anywhere else. You’ll see what I mean when you see these photos. The town itself is a little ugly (unless you like Cold War-era concrete buildings). But the setting—well, those mountains and the bay are amazingly beautiful. Hope you enjoy these!

 

 

Here are some shots from the east side of town:

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These last couple shots are from the west near the tunnel:

 

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Whittier, photo by Lynn Lovegreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever you live, I hope your favorite place is beautiful this time of year.

Posted on May 14, 2015

The Fourth Avenue Theatre

The Fourth Avenue Theatre: the neon sign is a landmark, and the building is an icon in Anchorage, Alaska. It is listed in the Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey (where I found these photos and more at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=Photograph:%20ak0096&fi=number&op=PHRASE&va=exact&co%20=hh&st=gallery&sg%20=%20true) and the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

 

Cap Lathrop, a prominent Alaskan, started construction of the movie theater in 1941, but war postponed the project, and it was completed in 1947. It is also known as the Lathrop Building, in his honor. Designed in Art Deco style by B.Marcus Priteca in association with architect A. A. Porreca, it was the most opulent building in town. The theater lobby featured a gold leaf mural of Denali, and inside the theater, silver and gold murals celebrated Alaska history. Twinkling lights in the shape of the Big Dipper adorned the ceiling.

 

I was lucky enough to go to several movies at the Fourth Avenue Theatre. It was always a treat. I would arrive early to look around the building before the movie started. Even if the film wasn’t very good, I could look up at the the Big Dipper. My husband and I had our first date there (The World According to Garp).

 

I was sad to see the Theatre close, and even more now to see the sad state it’s in. Anchorage is now considering the next chapter for the building, and I hope some history fans and sentimental Alaskans will pull together to save this special place. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out the Facebook group Save the 4th Avenue Theatre at https://www.facebook.com/Savethe4thavenuetheatre?fref=ts.

4th Avenue Theatre, Library of Congress

4th Avenue Theatre, Library of Congress

4th Avenue Theatre, Library of Congress

4th Avenue Theatre, Library of Congress

Posted on May 8, 2015

Spring Has Sprung in Alaska!

It’s been a mild winter for most of Alaska. but we didn’t really get spring until this week. It’s great to feel warm sun on my face and hear robins sing.

 

It’s break up in the Arctic. The birds are migrating to their summer breeding grounds. Cordova and Homer are having their bird festivals now, and the sandhill cranes are coming back to Fairbanks.

 

Now here in Southcentral Alaska, temperatures are in the 40s and 50s (F) and things are greening up. It’s time to take a big breath of fresh air and enjoy the warmth. Summer will be here before we know it.

 

Here are a few photos I took yesterday. Enjoy spring, wherever you are! :-)

photo by Lynn Lovegreen

photo by Lynn Lovegreen

photo by Lynn Lovegreen

photo by Lynn Lovegreen

photo by Lynn Lovegreen

photo by Lynn Lovegreen

Posted on May 1, 2015

Fellowship of Romance Writers

Last weekend, I attended the Writers Touch conference hosted by WisRWA, the Wisconsin chapter of Romance Writers of America. I had a wonderful time with my fellow writers.

 

Writers tend to be a nice bunch of people. We share resources and celebrate our friends’ book release dates. We give workshops and conferences to help each other in our writing. I have found romance writers to be some of the most generous writers around.

 

Midwesterners, in my experience, tend to be friendly and down to earth, and this group was completely so. At the conference, everyone was helpful and made sure I had everything I needed. They gave me a warm welcome, and by the end of the weekend I had a new set of friends.

 

Thanks to WisRWA and everyone there who made it such a fun, inspiring weekend. There’s nothing like a writers’ conference to get the mind whirring and the soul refreshed. I had a great time, and I’m ready to take on the next chapter of my writing career.

 

Wishing you inspiration of your own! :-)

Posted on April 23, 2015

Happy Shakespeare’s birthday!

Happy Shakespeare’s Birthday!

 

I was introduced to Shakespeare by my mother (who was an English major) at a young age. I’ve always enjoyed his work, and he’s still in my top 5 list of favorite writers. There are a lot of Shakespeare posts out there, from the academic to the humorous. To honor his birthday, here are a few links.

 

NCTE gives teachers some ideas of how to teach Shakespeare:

http://blogs.ncte.org/index.php/2015/04/working-with-shakespeare/

 

Here’s an old Book List post of wise lines from Shakespeare’s fools:

http://bookriot.com/2012/03/30/8-wisest-lines-from-shakespeares-fools/

 

Author Ian Doescher has a page devoted to his William Shakespeare’s Star Wars books:

http://www.iandoescher.com/william-shakespeares-star-wars/

 

And in case that’s not silly enough for you, here’s some clips of the Reduced Shakespeare Company parodies, appearing as a category on Jeopardy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOWC5zf8YMw

 

Enjoy, and have a great weekend celebrating all things Will Shakespeare! :-)

Posted on April 17, 2015

A Love Letter to Librarians

April 12-18 is National Library Week this year. It seems a good time to write my long-overdue love letter to librarians.

Dear Librarians,

First, thank you for helping my mother and father become readers. Second, thank you for helping me discover the power of words. My parents and older sisters read to me from the time I was a baby, and many of our books were library books. I recall my first local library at Fort Richardson (now JBER), Alaska. The children’s books section was to the right of the main door, and I loved scanning the shelves and choosing books to take home. The librarian often recommended books once she saw what my tastes were. And when I grew old enough, the entire library was at my reach. When I was done with my browsing and waiting for my family members to choose their books, I would often go see the huge Earth and constellations globes, just another reminder that there was a whole universe to explore out there. Wow.

At school, my mother volunteered at the library so I got to know the librarians there more than most kids, some long enough to remember their names. Molly Bynum at Ursa Minor Elementary and  Kelly Christenson, Leah Hoffman, Carol Pryor, and Virginia Rehder at Bartlett-Begich Junior-Senior High School gave me tons of books and a safe place to be when I needed it. In high school, the library was my hangout before school. A bunch of us nerdy girls talked and read at our regular table every day. And Leah Hoffman became my mentor in stage makeup class and beyond. Her kind words and easy laugh are still a comfort to me.

When I became an English teacher, I often found the librarian to be a kindred spirit. They all helped me and my students with many book recommendations and research presentations. Some of my teaching friends later became librarians, and one, Jim Curran, is now the teen librarian at my local library. I enjoy watching him interact with the teens and have had the opportunity to work with him on a couple projects. And another local librarian, Charlotte Pendleton, has been invaluable arranging author events.

For every librarian I have named, there are a handful I didn’t. And for every librarian I’ve known, there are thousands I don’t know. All of you help young people and old, rich and poor, find solace and adventure and themselves in books. You provide other services too, enriching our lives in so many ways. Thanks for all you’ve done and will do. I love you. Happy National Library Week.

Sincerely,

Lynn Lovegreen

Posted on April 10, 2015

Happy National Poetry Month!

Happy National Poetry Month!

I think most of us are exposed to poetry as soon as we’re exposed to words. Nursery rhymes are poems. A. A. Milne’s Pooh books and Dr. Seuss books have them too. As Shakespeare noticed, the English language is often spoken in iambic pentameter. No wonder so many of us love poetry.

I enjoyed all of the above at a young age. When I was growing up, one of my favorite read-alouds was a book of poetry for children. When I got a little older, I discovered Emily Dickinson. I wrote my own (pretty awful) poetry as a teen and young adult. Later, I found Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou expressed my thoughts better than I could. And I still enjoy reading poetry today.

Many of the keynote speakers of the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference are poets. Even though I am a novelist, I always learn new things about writing, and sometimes about life, from them. My favorites (so far) are Billy Collins and Rita Dove. We are enriched by poetry and poets. I am glad we give them their due for one month a year.

 

Here are some links to help you celebrate National Poetry Month:

The National Poetry Month website: http://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/home

The Emily Dickinson Museum website: https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org

“Billy Collins: Everyday moments, caught in time” TED talk including animated poems: http://www.ted.com/talks/billy_collins_everyday_moments_caught_in_time?language=en

“White House Poetry Evening with Rita Dove, intro by Barack Obama” short excerpt of reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIT82Oy9U1Y

 

Posted on April 3, 2015

You know you’re an Alaskan when… Part 2

I had so much fun with this topic I wrote two posts! Here’s the second half:

 

You know you’re an Alaskan when…

you know at least one Alaskan politician and have shaken hands with a few more.

 

you keep track of the price of oil.

 

you’ve checked on a stranger stopped on the side of the road, or helped someone after a fire.

 

you have shared earthquake or volcano stories.

 

you have shared beer or food with a complete stranger.

 

you know which roadhouses have good pie.

 

you have used first aid outdoors. (Extra points if it was with improvised tools.)

 

you are comfortable socializing with people from varied backgrounds or professions.

 

you don’t judge people by their clothing.

 

you have cursed the cold, darkness, break up, or mosquitos.

 

you wouldn’t trade your home state for any place Outside.

Posted on March 27, 2015

You know you’re an Alaskan when…

You know you’re an Alaskan when…

 

your friend asks if you’re going Outside for vacation and you know he means out of state.

 

you follow dog mushers and Nordic (cross-country) skiers as much as football or baseball players.

 

you have a favorite mosquito repellent.

 

your freezer has moose, caribou, halibut or salmon from last season.

 

you own hipboots, rain gear, snow boots, a down, thinsulate, or fur parka, ice grippers or cleats, and at least one item made of fleece. (Extra points if you have a kuspuk or a real fur hat.)

 

you’ve seen XtraTuff boots at a formal event. (Extra points if you were wearing them.)

 

you own something made of qiviut (musk ox yarn) or you want one.

 

you’ve done at least a few of the following: driven just to see the view, ridden in a dog sled, panned for gold, seen the Northern Lights, paddled a kayak, flown over a glacier, gotten a vehicle stuck in snow or mud.

 

you know someone who had their vehicle totaled from a collision with a moose. (Extra points if it was your vehicle.)

 

you have a secret fishing hole or berrypicking spot.

 

 

To be continued next week!

 

Do you have one you can add to this list? Please comment below!

 

Posted on March 20, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers post

I thank Victoria Pitts-Caine for inviting me to join the Sisterhood of The World Bloggers. This should be fun!

First, before I get started, here are the rules…

The Rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you

2. Put the award logo on your blog.

3. Answer the 10 questions they’ve sent you.

4. Make up 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.

  1. What’s your happiest holiday memory?

Hearing sleigh bells outside my window on Christmas Eve. I was six years old.

2. Who was your favorite grade school teacher?

Mrs. Marioni—I had a lot of great grade school teachers, but she was so kind and understanding when I had a rough year in 6th grade.

3. If life had taken you down a different path, what would you be doing now?

I’d probably be a librarian.

4. What place in the world would you like to visit?

I’ve been to many amazing places, but one still on my list is Ireland.

5. What’s your favorite dessert?

Chocolate and peanut butter anything!

6. If you were told you only had one day to live, how would you spend it?

With my family, talking around the dining table.

7. Which do you like to do best: a movie rental and a bowl of popcorn, a good book and a cup of hot chocolate, or a day at the beach ending with watching the sunset?

Good book and a cup of hot chocolate!

8. What’s your favorite electronic gadget?

My laptop—great for writing, web surfing, and communicating via email and social media!

9. How will you (or how did you) spend New Year’s Eve?

With my husband, at a stupendous meal at Saks Café, watching fireworks, then a night at Copper Whale Inn.

10. Pets – cats, dogs, fish? What do you have?

Nothing right now—I’m in between cats. :-)

In turn, I nominate: Jewell Tweedt, Gail Pallotta, Linda Shew Wolf, Rachel James, Gisele LeBlanc, Lea Nolan, Stina Lindenblatt, Brenda Haupt Maxfield, Dotti Enderle-Dax Varley, Stephanie J Pajonas.

Here are my ten questions for the nominees:

1. What place in the world would you like to visit?

2. Who was your favorite teacher?

3. Which do you like to do best: a movie rental and a bowl of popcorn, a good book and a cup of hot chocolate, or a day at the beach ending with watching the sunset?

4. If life had taken you down a different path, what would you be doing now?

5. What is one children’s book that you loved, or maybe still love?

6. If you were told you only had one day to live, how would you spend it?

7. What do you like best about this time of year?

8. What’s your favorite movie or TV show?

9. What is your favorite part of writing?

10. If you had to be stranded on a desert island with only three books, which books would you choose?

Thanks for participating, hope you have fun with it!