Sunday, June 30, 2013

It’s Different Up Here

I know there are places in the Lower 48 where people say “if you don’t like the weather, wait’ll change.”  In Alaska...not so much.  We have weather and it sticks.

We recently went through what could very likely be our whole summer: two and half weeks of sunny, hot weather.

“Hot” of course is a relative term. I know parts of the West Coast and Southwest are hitting 100+ degree temperatures in the next few days. My mind can barely comprehend that kind of heat!

In Anchorage, when it hits 80 degrees...the TV weather people start to put fans and air conditions on the weather maps. And when it hits 85 (if it hits 85) we get the bright red fiery “HOT” on the TV screen.

I know, in many parts of the world, 80 isn’t hot (I’ve been told this quite clearly from my family in Nevada).

But it’s different up here.

Our city’s average high temperature for this time of year is 65 degrees. So, yes, 80 is a wee bit toasty compared to that. 

And Alaskans love it. It’s so rare we don’t dare waste a moment of sunshine. I had a movie scheduled with a friend and she said “it feels like sacrilege to go inside a movie theater on a day like this.” We ended up at restaurant with an outdoor patio. The patio was packed!

That was the first weekend of the sunshine. By the second weekend, we went to movies to escape the “heat.”  Now, it was still only in the upper 70s but no one has air conditioning and every fan for sale had been snatched up. I went for five days with my house never cooling off below 76 degrees. Ugh. I actually was excited to get in my car (air conditioning) and go to work (air conditioning turned up so high we had to wear sweaters) just to cool off.

The warmest (official) temperature ever recorded in Alaska is 100 degrees.  For Anchorage, it’s 86.
It clouded over and cooled off two days ago and I’m not unhappy. I like being able to sleep with blankets on me.

I’ve lived in Alaska going on 43 years. I’m not used to hot weather. I’ve talked to people who have moved up here and they’ve said that the heat is different, that 75 in Alaska feels a lot hotter than in other places.

I take comfort in that. Makes me feel less like a weather wimp.

On the other end of the scale, in winter, when it’s 20 degrees outside, I can say “that’s just about perfect.” And my Lower 48 family and friends think I’m nuts. 

What can I say? It’s different up here.

Stay cool!
Tielle St. Clare
* * * * *
Tielle's Book News
Crimson (Book 1 of the Red Panty Diaries) is free for one more week. Find it at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Also, A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing (Book 2 of the Welsh Wolves) is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

And I got the new cover for Fire Engine (Book 4 of the Red "Panty" Diaries! Lovely huh? Coming soon from Ellora's Cave!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Summer Solstice -- I Think

Summer Solstice is pulling its usual trick of not letting the sun actually shine through. It was sunny last night as the actual moment of Solstice hit, but today, on Friday, when people who work can actually stay up and play through the shortest nights of the year, the sun has done a runner on us. Or rather, it's called in the thick, gray cloud cover. 

So, Happy Summer, Alaska. It's business as usual here!

It's a bittersweet celebration. Those of us who love the light and accept the winter's darkness as the price to pay for all this lovely brightness, are sad that the planet has now turned the corner and the northern hemisphere will now start slowly sliding further away from the sun.

When I lived "Outside" solstice, winter or summer, never really crossed my consciousness. Up here it is far more noticeable and as people who live half the year in boots and coats, we revere the sun. 

We love the long summer days, although we can live without the mosquitoes, and we use the time to get out and play. Windows and doors are thrown open, houses and heads are aired out. Gardens are grown either for show or food or both. Dogs are walked, people exercise outside, time is spent on decks burning offerings to the gods of summer. Lakes are popular spots for swimming, fishing, boating and all manner of water play. The canoeists shake their paddles at the jet-skiers and campers listen for the call of loons drift hauntingly across the water. 

This is when I miss the cabin we used to own about a thousand years ago. It sat on a hill above the lake and from there we watched wild life cross a narrow channel from one side of the lake to the other. Moose, bear, muskrats and all manner of creatures used the same trail. The tall birch trees would filter the sunlight creating dappled shade and the leaves rustling in a gentle breeze played a lazy song. We'd sit by the firepit on the edge of the lake, telling stories, arguing politics and catch up on life with friends far into the night. Good days.

So however you celebrate the turning of the season, the official end of Spring and start of Summer, take time to relax and enjoy the day. Have a beer or iced tea with a friend or loved one. Grill a burger or two and remember to sacrifice one to the spirit of summers past, present, and future.

Remember to live and enjoy the warmth and ease of summer. Before you know it the sun will be setting before 10pm and you'll begin to wonder where summer went.

Morgan O'Reilly

Friday, June 7, 2013

 Real Alaskan Men - 'Mr. June 2013'

As Alaskan Romance Writers we are always on the lookout for
Hot Hunky Hero types.
So please, Mr. Alaska Man - tell us about yourself.

Were you born in Alaska, and if not, then how did you end up here? What do you do for a living, and what do you do for fun. Age, height, favorite food, and any other statistics you are willing to share. Just remember though, we are a PG 13 site and blush easily.
I was born in northern Minnesota. The trek to Alaska came right after I graduated college in 2007. One of my best friends in college was from Wasilla. My biggest desire when I graduated was to move somewhere, anywhere with mountains.  Alaska’s a place I have grown to love & call home!
I am a Civil Engineer for a communication company and primarily design communication sites. 
When I’m not at work I enjoy hanging out with my friends whether it is movies, a bonfire or going out for drinks. I like a good adrenaline rush so white water rafting is always a good time. Hiking in the mountains with my dog while listening to the sounds of wilderness. Wood working is a big hobby of mine. I’m always down to try new things.  Life is too short to not keep an open mind.
I’m an avid snowboarder and power lifter, and love competing.
I'm 29, 5’7” 185 lbs. 
Favorite food - well I eat a lot of bacon and eggs. I love bacon. Ha-ha. Generally I eat pretty healthy but I am always down to try some new foods at least once.

What kind of woman appeals to you, and who do you let make the first move, you or her?
I very much enjoy an active woman that takes care of herself. Being active myself I seek someone that can keep up. A woman that displays intelligence, family orientated, caring, self-respecting, fun, sensual and adventurous. Not much beats being able to get lost in your companion's eyes.

Where is your favorite place to take a girl on a first date, and why?
I tend to keep it pretty traditional. Maybe go for a walk in the park followed by dinner. I enjoy something that gives us a chance to chat a bit and get to know each other.  Then, if that all goes well, let the adventure begin.

Winter can be long, dark, and very cold here in Alaska. What are your favorite frosty pastime activities? And, what is the coldest temp you’ve seen/been in?
Snowboarding is by far my favorite winter time activity. There is something about riding down the face of a powder covered mountain that just can’t be beat.  Wood working projects, good movie snuggled up on the couch is always a good time. Not much beats a good movie snuggled up with that special someone. The coldest I have ever seen was in Minnesota in ’97. The temps dipped down to -60 degrees. That was pretty dang miserable!

And, if we ask about winter then we simply must inquire about the too short, wonderful summers.
Fishing, camping and shooting some guns. My favorite though is having a big BBQ with all my friends, an ice cold beer and a bonfire for some s'mores! 

Alaskan men take their vehicles very seriously. What is your favorite mode of transport and why?
My snowboard. Ha-ha. Floating on the snow, ripping down that mountain, gives me pure serenity. However, I do LOVE to fly. Especially in a helicopter, which is something I get to do from time to time at work. We do a lot of remote communication mountain top sites that are only accessible via helicopter.

What is your favorite Alaskan animal – to see along the highway or on your dinner plate?
That’s a tough one. Well on the plate is easy, moose.  I love a good juicy moose burger. 
Bears are super neat animals. The power and strength they have amazes me. Also a reason why I never go into the woods without a fully loaded, powerful pistol! 
I’m not much of a 'bird for pets’ kind of guy, but in nature they amaze me., so seeing an Eagle soar through the sky is cool. Skydiving is something that comes to mind that is a must try some day!

Have you ever wrestled a polar bear, mushed a dog team, panned for gold, eaten muktuk, done the polar bear plunge, climbed Denali, run the Mt. Marathon, or any of the other Found Only In Alaska activities?
One of the neatest things I got to do was one day at work. They sent me out in a helicopter to look at a couple mountain top sites out in Prince William Sound for five hours. The Chugach mountain range is so powerful from the air. We even flew over the Knik Glacier and got to see it calf.

In your opinion, what exactly is it that makes an Alaskan Male so wonderfully macho and appealing?
My upbringing and roots are Minnesota born. Minnesotans are a bit friendlier. Alaska is the melting pot of the lower 48 so there's a diverse crowd up here. I’m an honest, hard working gentleman. I don’t much feel the need to prove my macho image. I’m perfectly happy being the nice guy that I am.

What’s the biggest fish you’ve ever landed?
The first summer in Alaska I pulled in a 60 lb halibut. Probably the funniest one was last summer when I finally hooked into the elusive Alaska king salmon. It was around 30 lbs and provided quite the exhilarating adrenaline rush!

Other than making love under them, what is your favorite thing to do when the Northern Lights are out and putting on a show?
Typically I just sit in silence and enjoy the visual stimulation they bring. I have a bit of a personal connection with them. A story I would be happy to share on a more personal basis.

And last but certainly not least, what is the most romantic thing about Alaska, and why?
Well I suppose if one doesn’t mind doing a little work to make it happen, a picnic on top of a mountain would be incredibly romantic. As long as no slips, trips or falls occur that could compromise the bottle of wine, it would be a peaceful little getaway. Hopefully the wine will calm some inhibitions while we are alone!


Our thanks to ROSS - 'Mr. June 2013' for a great interview on what REAL ALASKA MEN are all about.


Check back on the AKRWA blog to see what 'Mr. July' says!

Thanks for stopping by - see you next time!