Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I sit on my balcony listening to the Mediterranean Sea crashing on the beach in front of the hotel and its soothing roar is broken by the sounds of wild parrots squawking and calling to each other. Our guide says they are not indigenous but escapees from an outdoor market that have successfully established themselves in their new environment. He adds that they are being aggressive towards local birds and something will have to be done about them.
We humans forcibly bring new life to a foreign land and then punish that life for adapting and thriving.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 05:32 AM •
Friday, September 26, 2014

The view outside my hotel window in Lisbon is a medieval castle high on a hill.  If only I were a princess… and I wouldn’t need a prince, just my puppies and birds.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:21 AM •
Thursday, September 25, 2014

I listened to Sean Hannity on Fox News last week talk about how his father not only disciplined him with a belt but also once punched him in the face when he was doing something wrong. Hannity claimed that he was just fine, grew up great, doesn’t need therapy, and is happy with the way he was disciplined. I’m betting the child he once was would have a different take on that. Mostly I wish he could have met my father.

Neither my father nor my mother ever really hit us. Oh we got the occasional swat across the bottom but it was just that. In fact, it was more of a “move it along” swat done with their hand over our clothes. And it happened so rarely that I barely even remember it.
Discipline in my family was handled through respect and love. My mom did most of it. She had a way of speaking loudly when she needed us to really pay attention. And pay attention we did. She never hit. She never threatened to hit. But we somehow knew that it was best not to push her.
The worse punishment that could ever happen though would be to have dad look at us and see disappointment in his eyes. It was devastating.  My father generally thought his children were pretty amazingly wonderful and we never wanted to do anything to cause him to think otherwise. Mom, on the other hand, was pretty sure we had our flaws and worked on us to iron them out.  But with dad it was a mutual admiration society. He was, and remains, one of the finest men it was ever my privilege to know. He never had to raise his hand to us because as kids and adults, we would have done just about anything possible to make him proud of us.
Adrian Peterson, the football player who was suspended from his team for a felony child abuse arrest, beat his 4 year old son with a tree branch so badly the boy’s body had welt marks and open lacerations on his thighs, lower back and hands. What in the name of all that is human could a four year old have done to deserve that? Yet Sean Hannity suggested that we are becoming a soft nation in which a parent cannot legally discipline their child without facing criminal charges. He added that he hoped that Peterson would get off on the charge and that it wouldn’t ruin his football career. I heard him make these statements and thought that maybe he should have gone into therapy because there is something very sick and sad in his statements.
If Adrian Peterson has any real interest in making a family with his children and raising them correctly, he should start by winning their respect and love through the way he lives his life. That’s what my dad did, and his values still reverberate throughout my generation. My two siblings and I are probably more honest and decent than anyone would have expected us to be and it’s because the man we grew up with was also decent and honest. I’m not trying to downplay my mother’s influence. This was the fifties and sixties. Men worked and fixed things around the house. Women raised the kids and cooked. My mother was always the active disciplinarian in the family and she still influences every part of our lives. But when we transgressed enough to be sent to our rooms, it was the look in our dad’s eyes that broke our hearts.
If you’ve reached the point when beating a child is the only answer you have to a discipline problem, then you’ve already lost the game. You have clearly so lost your child’s love and respect that they simply don’t care what the consequences of their behavior might be. And, most importantly, when you are talking about a four year old, you are talking about a child who has not yet developed to the point where a beating means anything other than pain and violence. The only lesson being learned is that one human being can inflict pain on another human being if they are bigger and stronger.
Yep, I wish Adrian had met my dad. Then he’d know how a good father raises decent children.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:25 AM •
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I figured out how to post from my iPad. Well, this may make me rethink not blogging while I’m in Europe.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:00 AM •
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It certainly doesn’t resemble the place where I grew up anymore but every once in a while I’ll catch a glimpse of something iconic to my childhood that still exists and suddenly I’m a child again.
Hello, Lucy the Elephant.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:00 AM •
Monday, September 22, 2014

I arrive on the East Coast today. Get to see my brother who has been very sick but now insists he’s ok. I’ll be the judge of that. And then on to Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. And so, for the first time since I started this blog, I am taking a two week hiatus unless I figure out a way to blog from Europe. And given my technological expertise, that’s a pretty slim chance.  This Thursday my regular column will still appear because I am nothing if not anal-retentive and so have already filed it with the paper. But that will be about it unless I get much better on my iPad between now and two days from now.
See in when I get back.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:26 AM •
Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thank you for the first ad of this never ending political campaign that has a sense of humor and doesn’t make me want to take a gun to my tv set. If people haven’t seen it yet, it features his mom and his wife. It’s not going to upend the campaign or anyone’s idea of either candidate, but at least you can watch it without wanting to scream. A little more humor from ALL the candidates would be very welcomed.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:29 AM •
Saturday, September 20, 2014

But I want some of whatever it is that the Fox News Team takes to make them so hysterically funny while they keep the straightest of faces.  They do know they’re funny, right?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:08 AM •
Friday, September 19, 2014

Got called last night for a Public Policy poll. One of the questions they asked was, “Who do you think started the fight that involved the Palin family? The Palins? The other family? You’re not sure?” Seriously? This is what is getting polled? Too bad they didn’t offer me “Don’t give a rat’s hairy behind” as a choice.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:07 AM •
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Happy Anniversary (a little late) Sandra and Harris. It’s nice to know some things do last.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:39 AM •
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I’m just saying…

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:32 AM •
Sunday, September 14, 2014

It’s been less than a week since Ray Rice lost his job for punching his now wife’s lights out in an elevator and there are already stories appearing about the road he will have to travel for his comeback to professional football. Sigh. Am I the only one who thinks most of professional football is made up of assholes who think their shit doesn’t stink and they can get away with anything so long as they can throw or catch a ball. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much defines the NBA too. American rings its hands over proof of domestic violence while celebrating perpetrators ad infinitum.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:34 AM •
Saturday, September 13, 2014

Eisenhower had it right all those years ago. Today the military/industrial complex is out biggest economic engine. We export guns, missiles, bombs and planes to the world. We are the world’s army, navy and air force. How terribly, terribly sad. When did we decide to fuel our economy with death?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:51 AM •
Friday, September 12, 2014
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Well, it looks like someone in the family is ready for the coolness of fall. Dig the latest in stylish wear for autumn. Of course, BuddaBubba does not tolerate winter so she needs no winter clothing. She sees no need to go out between fall and spring when she can do everything she needs to on those nice pads her mommy scatters so tastefully throughout the house.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:45 AM •
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I spent part of Monday morning babysitting a five year old boy. I may recover by the weekend. Meanwhile, be assured that having children is a task best left to the young and strong. He is an amazing kid. He also has more energy in his pinky finger than this whole house, including parrots and dogs, produces in a month. And I’m pretty sure he does NOT have an x chromosome anywhere in his body.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:51 AM •

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