Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Friday, May 29, 2015

I ordered a mailbox from the lower 48 because I wanted a bird box. You can imagine how thrilled I was to get a deal with free shipping. Free shipping, that is, until I got this e-mail from the company. And do take note of how much they want to charge to ship a mailbox to Alaska!
“We can only offer free shipping on items shipped within the continental US.  An additional shipping cost of $111.00 is necessary to ship the Parrot Novelty Mailbox to your location.  Please note the shipping costs are transit costs only; payment of additional duties, taxes, or customs fee may be required upon delivery of your order.  Please get back to us with consent to process the charge or an agreement to cancel the order.
Thank you.
Lupe Barragan
The Mailbox Works
1734 Quincy Avenue, Suite 151, Naperville, IL 60540
Toll Free: 800.824.9985 | Local: 630.355.9989 | Fax: 630.355.9619
http://www.mailboxworks.com”

This was my response.
Thank you for your note but I’m a bit confused. If you offer free shipping within the continental USA, then why is it not available to me? What continent do you think Alaska is on? Believe it or not, we share the same continent as the rest of the country except for Hawaii so I expect that my shipping costs will be the same as everywhere else in the continental US.
Elise Patkotak

Can’t wait to hear back from them.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:02 AM •
Thursday, May 28, 2015

Between trying to destroy our public schools by underfunding them, refusing an expansion of Medicaid that would help children throughout the state, and now trying to twist Erin’s Law so that it becomes nothing more than a bastardization of its original intent, I have to wonder just how much our current legislators really hate children. Or maybe they owe so much to their money overlords that they are not allowed to provide for children if it comes out of the pockets of the people who pay to get them into office.

I’m not sure how we elected a group of legislators who apparently have no concept of the reality of child sexual abuse and the fact that most abuse happens in the home with people the children know. To allow an opt out clause on this law simply means that the sexually abusing dad can keep abusing and keep his child from ever learning that childhood should not be a horrible nightmare.
How horrible, you ask? Let me give you an example. I sat in a courtroom once and listened to a man being sentenced on 10 counts of first-degree child sexual assault and 3 counts of second-degree child sexual assault. In testimony during the trial, we heard how the abuser took a child’s virginity while she screamed in the bedroom. The child was five. After that, she didn’t scream so much because you can only lose your virginity once.
That child’s abuse lasted a long time. It only ended when she finally found the words to tell her mother and her mother did the right thing and protected her daughter. It wasn’t easy for the mom and it was horrible for the child. But they got through it and as I sat in that courtroom waiting for the sentencing, I remember thinking that finally they would get some peace of mind and closure. That thinking lasted until I heard the judge hand down the mandatory sentence of seven years for first-degree child sexual assault and then add two weeks for each additional count except for the count pertaining to this child’s loss of virginity. For that the abuser was given an additional six weeks. The child, meanwhile, will serve a sentence of life because we can never give her back her innocence.
It’s possible that Erin’s Law might have given this child the ability to express herself earlier, might have given her the words to tell a trusted adult what was happening, might have stopped the abuse so that it didn’t color all her childhood memories. But she didn’t have what Erin’s Law could have given her. She didn’t have the words and she didn’t know she had the right to make it stop. And that meant suffering abuse for way too long.
So why the cretins in our legislature are having such a problem passing this law is beyond my comprehension. Why would you not want to protect children from this horror? Why would you not want them given the ability to express themselves from the earliest possible age if someone is hurting them? Why would you need more than ten seconds to bring this to a vote and pass it? 
And please spare me that tired old argument about not wanting Planned Parenthood in the school or near your child. They are not there to sell abortions, which, if you listen to some in this misbegotten group of legislators, would seem to be their only concept of what Planned Parenthood does. In actual fact, Planned Parenthood has the staff, skills and ability to provide an age appropriate curriculum in the schools that will help our children find their voice if they are being harmed.
The fact that when I was growing up child sexual abuse was never discussed or mentioned doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening. The fact that these programs weren’t offered when some of us went to school doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be offered now. Objecting to this law isn’t a Christian thing and it isn’t a conservative thing and it isn’t a government interfering with a family thing.  In fact, the only people I can imagine truly objecting to this law are people who have the kind of secrets in their family that destroy a child’s mental, physical and emotional health. And they really aren’t the ones who should be having the last word on this law.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:30 AM •
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I remember when I was young and watching Sandra Dee and Annette Funicello movies (everyone under sixty will just need to look up that reference), I dreamed of the day when two guys would fight over me to win my affection. It never happened. But now in my old age, at a time when I really don’t need this crap, I wake up at 3 AM to the sounds of soft growling in my ears. One dog is laying practically on my head. The other is curled up into my side. And yet, without moving, without shifting position, without even actually being able to see each other, they lay there growling at each other over me.
Finally, two males who want me only for themselves.
This would be so much more flattering if their desire wasn’t based on the food, treats, stuffed animals and walks I give them. Hmmm.... maybe that’s what I should have tried with their human counterparts…

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:32 AM •
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This is a four minute video on how the re-introduction of wolves into a national park changed everything… for the better. Take a break and watch it because every once in a while, it’s good to be reminded of our interconnected everything on this earth is.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/ysa5OBhXz-Q

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:39 AM •
Monday, May 25, 2015

The saddest thing about this Memorial Day for me is that so many of the young generation have been maimed and hurt in a war in Iraq that was as unnecessary as the one in Viet Nam. Will we never learn? When the drums of patriotism are beat, will we always just cave in for fear of being seen as unAmerican, even when we know in our hearts that the war is wrong? So many wounded and damaged. So much money for war. So little money to heal those we send off to war.
I salute our veterans for doing their jobs as best they could. I point a finger of shame at the old men who sent them across the world to be blown up for no good reason.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:45 AM •
Sunday, May 24, 2015

That lingering smell of vomit under the dinner table from your dog’s foray into god knows what in the back yard just as people are coming over for a meal.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 04:43 PM •
Saturday, May 23, 2015

I’m in my office working away when I hear sounds that indicate one of my dogs is choking to death. So I go into SuperMomma mode, jump up from my desk and run upstairs. There I find Carm with his newest toy (thanks Auntie Sonya) stuffed so firmly in his mouth that it is blocking his nose and he can’t breathe. But because Snowy is sitting right in front of him waiting for the toy to drop, Carm would clearly rather suffocate than give it up. I would have taken a picture had I not been laughing so hard. I grabbed the toy out of his mouth as he looked to be about to pass out and pointed out to him and Snowy that Auntie Sonya had sent EACH of them a toy and they didn’t have to compete for the one. They were totally unimpressed. The only toy worth having is clearly the toy the other dog has.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:40 AM •
Friday, May 22, 2015
image

They say people and their pets eventually start to look alike. Well, this isn’t exactly a pet but it seems to me that perhaps Katie needs to take a short break as she is having a sympathetic tongue reaction to the eagle’s tongue. And that says “Take a break” to me.
The eagle is one of the many we are caring for at Bird TLC here in Anchorage. The bird is getting ready to be placed in an education program. And no, the eagle’s tongue doesn’t usually stick out like that. Katie’s maybe, but not the eagle.
Thanks to Phil Quinn of Light’n Up Inc (333-0879) for being both a great volunteer, a wonderful electrician and someone who knows a great picture to take when he sees it.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:28 AM •
Thursday, May 21, 2015

It must have been the dental surgery I had last week. That can be the only reason I missed my legislators coming to my door to find out what I really think about the work they did this session. They did come around, didn’t they? Isn’t that the reason they gave for their little two-week working vacation? So did anyone have a Republican legislator come knocking on their door to see how they felt about budget cuts? And remember, if you were one of those foolish people who thought the legislature existed in the 21st Century and so used e-mail, Twitter and telephones to express your feelings, you don’t count. 

Every once in a while I think that politicians cannot disappoint me any more than they already have. Then the Republicans in the Alaska Legislature prove that there is no bottom they can’t sink below. It’s as though we’ve reached a point where Republicans legislators in this state feel so sure that they can’t be beaten by anyone that they can pretty much extend their middle finger to the voters and do whatever they please. And what apparently pleases them is to fund their buddies at places like KABATA rather than funding our children’s schools. So it should be pretty obvious to us at this point that the people we’ve placed in charge of the people’s business don’t really give a damn what the people think.
The question we need to ask is will anyone remember this sad debacle of a legislative session when the next election cycle occurs. Or will everyone put on those rose-colored glasses and figure it was the other guy’s representative who screwed up everything while their legislator tried his best. Because that seems to be how we operate anymore when it comes to voting. We are simply too lazy to change legislators. Better to believe that we elected the good one and the people in the next district elected the idiot.
The good news, of course, is that our legislators got to enjoy their new digs in downtown Anchorage for a few weeks.  Going from the old capitol building in Juneau to the Taj Mahawker must have felt like a real step up for them. Glass everywhere they looked. Trashcans that cost more than my monthly rent in NYC did.  All the amenities you could want with the extra-added perk of no public parking. Shrewd move. Way to cut down on pesky constituents who might want to stop by and let you know how they feel. I guess our legislators aren’t complete idiots.
So what’s the next step? They say they’ve sent the governor a budget. He says the budget they sent has no money to pay for it and that makes it not a proper budget. They say he should sign it and then they’ll fix it. Hmmm. Kind of like if I booked a round the world trip and decided to look for the money after I’d already locked myself into paying for it.
Exactly what do we really have to show for the special session our legislature was supposedly in?  Aside from their obviously well earned and needed vacation, what do they have to show for the public money they took as state workers? Not a funded and completed budget. Not passage of a simple law that would provide protection for children. Not keeping their greedy paws off the education fund they just recently created to give our schools some security. Not giving poor Alaskans a break by expanding medical care. After all, legislators have coverage. Why should they give a damn if you don’t?
So in conclusion, they managed to accomplish pretty much not a darn thing. They would have, you understand, if they’d known what their constituents wanted. But they didn’t have a clue. And those darn Democrats screwed up what progress they could have made by actually demanding that something be done for the regular people of Alaska and not just the Republicans’ wealthy backers. These brave Republican legislators found a way to keep subsidizing programs that make their rich buddies richer while keeping the masses in their place. They found it apparently in their willingness to let the government run out of money so that it may have to shut down. I guess that’s one way to cut the budget.
Makes you proud to be an Alaskan, doesn’t it?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:29 AM •
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Congratulations. Welcome to the reality in which most of us have lived for the past 12 years or so.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:30 AM •
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Got the bill from my dental surgeon for implant surgery I had. Found a $450 senior discount on the bill. I guess growing old does bring some perks. If you live in Alaska, his name is Eric Nordstrom and he’s actually a pretty amazing dental surgeon on top of being nice to the elderly. What more could you want?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:36 AM •
Monday, May 18, 2015

Leonard Pitt’s column about the guy trying to crowd source $30,000 for his health care is a must read. The guy is a Republican who refused to get Obamacare because he could pay for himself and didn’t need no stinking government welfare. Well, he got sick. Used up all his savings. Couldn’t work. And apparently health care providers don’t take bootstraps as pay. He then tried to get Obamacare but enrollment was closed. He wasn’t eligible for Medicaid because he lives in one of those states where a Republican governor refused Medicaid expansion money. So, as Leonard Pitts so wisely asked, do Republicans really think that GoFundMe is a better way to deal with health care costs than Obamacare?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 08:32 AM •
Sunday, May 17, 2015

Come join me and Cache Crow Kodi at the Alaska Zoo today for International Migratory Bird Day. Bird TLC will have birds there all day. Eagles and owls and crows, oh my!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:21 AM •
Saturday, May 16, 2015

I awoke today to no pain in the surgical site and no need to take pain meds so I am back to being functional… ok, maybe functional is too high to grasp but at least I’m not sitting in a chair drooling while watching BB reruns. That has to count for something.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 10:19 AM •
Friday, May 15, 2015
image

So I get an e-mail from Judy that Ed Norton from the old Honeymooners Show (think early 1950s Jackie Gleason) will be at her casino/hotel in Atlantic City to sign autographs. I respond with a shocked expression of surprise. I thought for sure the guy was dead by now. And if he wasn’t, he had to be almost 100. She happily replied that yes, he was probably about 97. Then I thought about it a little more. But before I could e-mail her back that Ed Norton was the name of Art Carney’s character on the show and not an actual person, she sent a correction e-mail out to let us all know that she meant Edward Norton, the actor.
She was so damn close I almost want to give this one to her.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:36 AM •

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