Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Wednesday, July 11, 2007

So I’m catching up on all the Alaskan news that occurred while I was out and come across the article about Matanuska Maid Company not allowing the governor in after she showed up for a tour of the troubled company that had announced plans to shutter its doors.  She handled it the way I’ve come to expect Sarah Palin to handle things. No hissy fit. No headlines. No feet stomping, childish behavior. No press releases excoriating the company and its board. She simply went home and fired the entire board and replaced them and now she can go there whenever she wants.
I’m liking this woman more and more with each passing day. What a class act.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:59 AM •
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I hate to have to admit this, but flying on Continental Airlines was acutally not obnoxious. The attendants were nice, they actually showed up in the aisles to make sure things were ok throughout the flight and we were fed something that at least resembled food.  Wow. Who knew that still existed?  I thought all attendants now had that deer in the headlights look that went into total panic if approached by a passenger.  But Continental seems to have people who actually still seem to enjoy their job. Good for them.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:18 AM •
Monday, July 09, 2007

Ever wonder why it seems that no one uses turn signals anymore?  I know the answer. Because when you are steering and turning with one hand and holding a phone to your ear with the other, you have no hand left to use the turn signal. Cell phones...they’re not just for rudeness anymore.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:38 AM •
Sunday, July 08, 2007

In my misspent youth, dressing up meant wearing something very fancy, very pretty and, often, very uncomfortable. Now, in my wiser old age, dressing up means wearing a bra. And REALLY dressing up means wearing my good bra.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:49 AM •
Saturday, July 07, 2007

I guess I’m just too old to understand but I have to ask. What kind of a world do we live in where Scooter Libby goes free but Paris Hilton goes to jail? Is there no justice left anywhere?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:48 AM •
Friday, July 06, 2007

The humidity of the East Coast has left me with a hairdo that most closely resembles the largest Afro ever seen since sometime in the 1970s. It is not a flattering look for an old Italian woman.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:32 AM •
Thursday, July 05, 2007

I think it is probably appropriate on many levels that my column should first appear as part of the Daily News on the Fourth of July.  After all, this holiday celebrates the new beginnings of our country and my appearance here celebrates my new beginnings with this paper.
Ok, I’ll grant you that’s somewhat of a stretch.  But stay with me here. I’m writing this while on the East Coast, the temperature is higher than a moose’s shoulder and the humidity is something most Alaskans can only dream about.  There is every chance I’m delirious and don’t know it.
There are a lot of new beginnings happening in my life right now and I guess that’s why the Fourth holds even more meaning than usual for me this year.  I came East for two reasons. One was the marriage of my cousin’s son. The other was the birth of my godchild’s first baby, Rhodes.
While each in its own way is a new beginning, in both these cases there is a little something extra that makes them particularly special starts. In the case of the wedding, my cousin’s son married a Chinese/Vietnamese woman on the beach with a pony tailed Internet licensed minister after first having a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Not exactly your traditional Italian Catholic wedding with little bags of candied almonds at every table.  My cousin, father of the groom, showed up in a three-piece suit, slogging manfully through the sand in shoes more suitable for a business meeting than an Ocean City beach.. My brother, on the other hand, showed up in khaki shorts, flapping Hawaiian shirt and sandals. He took the beach wedding theme seriously.
In heaven, our parents and grandparents looked down on this scene with, I’m guessing, mixed emotions.  On the one hand, I’m sure my mother was taking note of the day and time her son showed up at a family wedding looking like a surf bum so that when he eventually joins her, she’ll have something to discuss with him.  On the other hand, our immigrant grandparents were probably looking down at the scene, shaking their heads in wonder and muttering, “Only in America....” And that’s a good thing because this is part of why they came here - to give their families new beginnings that shook off the cobwebs of the fully circumscribed world into which they’d been born.
After the wedding, I headed further south to see my new great-godchild.  He is, of course, as beautiful as babies get and his mother is as good as mothers get.  His father, unfortunately, is missing all this because he is in Iraq.  So our new mommy sends him pictures, writes long e-mails, and fills him in whenever he can call about all the wonders of their first child, his son Rhodes.  Their new beginning together will be slightly delayed while he continues the tradition of service to our country that started this whole grand experiment of a democratic republic over two hundred years ago.
So there we were, Rhodes’ mommy, grandmom and great-godmother, fussing over him as though he were the boy king, trying our best to make it all seem ok for now and in the future, beating down the fears that came late at night before we fell asleep.
I don’t support this war. I resent the lives of our men and women being sacrificed to it.  And yet I am so proud of Emily’s husband Greg for serving.  Those two seemingly disparate ideas are held together by one thread.  It’s not about his serving in this war. It’s about the fact that he is willing to serve in any war. It’s about his sense of honor and duty to his country. It’s about his courage in following through on the promise made on that July 4th over two hundred years ago by others who willingly put their lives and fortunes on the line so that we can live so free today.
I’m not sure I’ll fully exhale again until I know that Greg is back and is holding his new baby for the first time and smiling into his wife’s eyes in joy at what she has given him.  I do know that I will always be proud of the code he has chosen to live by.
And I think our Founding Fathers would be proud of the children their country has produced. Happy fourth of July.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:28 AM •
Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Love the country. Hate the president.  In America you’re allowed to do that with no fear of consequences.  Or, at least you were before Bush and Cheney took control.  If you don’t hear from me again, check Guantanamo Bay.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:17 AM •
Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tomorrow my first column for the Anchorage Daily News will appear in the paper.  It will appear on this site the next day so as not to scoop myself. If you can’t wait till July 5 to read it, check out ADN.com tomorrow and you’ll find me on the editorial page.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:15 AM •
Monday, July 02, 2007

I thought taking the train from Atlantic City to Charleston would be an adventure. It certainly was.  I finally found a mode of travel that makes airline travel seem civilized and timely.  Maybe Amtrak should go to Europe and figure out how to run the trains. Then perhaps people would be a lot more willing to use them. As for me, I don’t think I’ll be doing that again in the near future.
Look for more about this later...after I’ve stopped shaking at the absurdity of it all.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:11 AM •
Sunday, July 01, 2007

I can’t believe how much I miss Blue and Blondie and all the birds.  I hope the dogs haven’t forgotten me.  Geez, that sounds geeky beyond belief even for me to be writing. But I think of them every night before I go to sleep and hope that as nice as their foster parents are, when I get home, they’ll still prefer me. The birds have been through this drill before and know I’ll be back. But this is the first for Blue and Blondie and I’m so afraid they’ll think I’ve left them forever.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:06 AM •
Saturday, June 30, 2007

While visiting my godchild and her new son I was struck by the thought that he has every chance of living to see the year 2100.  How weird is that?  Do you think by then they’ll have flying cars and computerized houses?  Will the obesity epidemic mean that anyone smaller than a size 18 is considered underweight?  Or will the world have collapsed in on itself, a victim of too many cell phones wielded by too many people in fast moving cars.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:58 AM •
Friday, June 29, 2007

You know a place has too much humidity when you return from it to Atlantic City in the summer and think Atlantic City is bearable. Every time I think of Charleston I think two things. It was very pretty. And breathing its air was like breathing warm water.  I think I’ve reached that tipping point in longing for Alaska.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:55 AM •
Thursday, June 28, 2007

...next to golf, it is the most boring thing in the world to watch on tv. Wait, I stand corrected. A Republican presidential candidates debate beats it for boring. But then one of those debates beats boiling water for boring. And I can only hope I’m not the only person completely embarrassed by the fact that not one of them believes in evolution. On the other hand, I look at those candidates and can understand why they wouldn’t. Evolution certainly hasn’t helped their gene pool.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:51 PM •
Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Do you think it would help if I promised god that if she just let me win the lottery once I’d give at least half of it to charity? Moses bargained with god.  why can’t I?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:02 AM •

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