Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

...but then I see a picture of Laura Bush looking adoringly at her husband and think that alien abduction can be the only explanation.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:28 AM •
Monday, September 25, 2006

Gee, an intelligence report just came out that shows that the war in Iraq has increased Islamic extremism and created a new generation of extremists.  DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:42 AM •
Sunday, September 24, 2006

I have proven once again that there is not a piece of clothing alive that I can’t shrink when I wash it.  In case you’re wondering. I wanted these pants to become capri length.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 01:39 PM •
Saturday, September 23, 2006

Muslims are mad at the pope for what he said.  Christians are mad at Muslims for what they claim is said on a daily basis around the world about destroying Chritianity.  The pope goes off to some country and reads a quote from some 16th century writer that could not be more inflammatory but wants us to believe that somehow he just didn’t get how it would sound.  Fundamentalist Christians all but leap with glee at the war in the mideast, sure that this means the end of days is upon us and they are the only ones who will go to heaven. Muslims bomb each other’s mosques in a centuries old feud over who is the real follower of the Prophet.
So if Mohammed and Jesus were on earth right this very minute, raise your hand if you think they would approve of what either of these groups are doing? Or would they just walk off into the desert together shaking their heads at just how much humanity has destroyed/distorted/bastardized their most dearly held precepts?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:55 AM •

Muslims are mad at the pope for what he said.  Christians are mad at Muslims for what they claim is said on a daily basis around the world about destroying Chritianity.  The pope goes off to some country and reads a quote from some 16th century writer that could not be more inflammatory but wants us to believe that somehow he just didn’t get how it would sound.  Fundamentalist Christians all but leap with glee at the war in the mideast, sure that this means the end of days is upon us and they are the only ones who will go to heaven. Muslims bomb each other’s mosques in a centuries old feud over who is the real follower of the Prohet.
So if Mohammed and Jesus were on earth right this very minute, raise your hand if you think they would approve of what either of these groups are doing? Or would they just walk off into the desert together shaking their heads at just how much humanity has destroyed/distorted/bastardized their most dearly held precepts?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:55 AM •
Friday, September 22, 2006

I was cleaning out my closet and found Tom Cruise all the way in the back, cowering.  What could that mean? Does he know he’s in my Hall of Fame of Annoying People?  Is he afraid the press will find out? Could it be something else?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:26 AM •
Thursday, September 21, 2006

When I was little, my Aunt Adeline cut my hair without telling my mother. She was a hairdresser...a very bad one for a little girl. She believed, and who knows where this came from, that if you had thin hair and cut patches of it out, it would grow in thick.  My head looked like a checkerboard when my mother came to pick me up. She brought me to my dad’s barber who said the only thing he could do was to shave it all off.  And so he did. We have a great video of me as a cowgirl that year at Halloween totally bald with just the beginning of a crew cut coming in.  And my hair grew back as thin and curly as ever.
After that, she didn’t ever do anyone’s hair in the family again.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:10 AM •
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I remember going down a river in China back in 1983 and turning to my sister and saying, “What’s missing here?” Something seemed odd or wrong.

It took a few minutes for me to figure it out. There were no birds flying, no sounds echoing from their songs and conversations. It was eerily silent.  Unfortunately, the birds came later on a plate.  Little song birds roasted whole and eaten whole, bones and all.  My sister spent a lot of time in China being a vegetarian.
The kind of silence I found on that river in China is a large part of the Arctic winter. If it weren’t for the sounds of cars or snow machines, the silence would be total except for the occasional distant thud of snow settling on the tundra.
Two things meant that spring had arrived up north.  The whaling boats came down from their winter racks and the snowbirds returned.  You knew the birds were back the morning you woke up and heard their song outside your window.  From silence to their song, suddenly the frozen world of the north would come alive with a sense of renewal second only to that engendered by the return of the sun.
By the time spring turned into summer, the birds were back big time. Alaska’s North Slope is one of the biggest breeding grounds for migratory birds in the world.  The tundra is transformed by their presence.  Camping in the winter means a silence that absolutely envelops you like another dimension closing in.  Camping in the summer means going to sleep to the sound of loons and tundra swans that inhabit any body of water they can find. There were geese, ptarmigan, and snowy owls as well as a huge variety of ducks and seagulls. We even have seagulls that turn pink when they come to the land north of Barrow to mate.
By the time I left Barrow, ravens had taken up full time residence in town. The first year a pair stayed, we were constantly startled to see something flying around in the middle of winter.  They seemed to survive by finding warmth in the heating vents that sprang up all over town as the pipeline boom made it’s presence felt in Barrow through new housing and new commercial buildings.  Eventually it was four ravens, then six that over wintered, and soon we became blasť about their presence.
You knew winter was drawing near when the great migrations south started.  I was walking my dog on Fresh Water Lake road on a day when there was a low cloud cover over Barrow. Suddenly, the gray sky seemed to get even darker. I looked up and found what seemed like a sky full of ducks flying over my head. They flew low to get below the cloud cover and they seemed to be flying in absolute silence.  I instinctively ducked my head (no pun intended) because they felt close enough to have their wings hit me on the down swing.  When they reached the coast a little distance away, they turned left and were gone.
Both my dog and I stood there and watched the flock in awe.  I knew the length of the journey in front of them and was amazed once again at the stamina and strength they would need to accomplish it.  Talk about having the ability to focus on a goal till it’s achieved!  Is there a better example of this anywhere?
Here in Anchorage we watch the geese take off south, giving us the same message they give to our more northern friends. Winter is coming. But since we tend to be a bit more removed from nature than people who live in the bush, Bird TLC is hosting a Bye Bye Birdie event this Saturday from 11 AM till 5 PM at the old Rabbit Hutch property off Old Seward Highway above Potter Marsh.  It will give us city folks a chance to meet and greet some of the birds that call Alaska home all or part of the year and a chance to give a final salute to those heading south for the winter. There will be hands-on education activities for the whole family, lots of live bird presentations from TLC’s vast array of ed birds and a raffle that gives you a chance to win an eagle release.  And did I mention that, except for the raffle, it’s all free?
So grab the family and head on over to the old Rabbit Hutch site this Saturday, have some fun and wave goodbye to the birds...who apparently are smarter than we are in that they know to head south for the winter while we just sit here and put snow tires on our cars.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 04:09 AM •
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The pope has “sincere regrets” about the remarks he made that seemed to insult Islam? How about having sincere regrets for all the lives lost because he leads a church that considers condoms a way to hell in a world of AIDS?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:33 AM •
Monday, September 18, 2006

I buy two packages of sugar free hard candy to suck on in my office on those days when life just deserves a good suck.  I buy Werther’s Originals and Lifesavers. I know I like the former. I’m trying the latter for the first time.
I put the Lifesavers out and taste one. I don’t like them half as much as I like the others.  But I’ve already put them out in the dish.  And I paid for them.  And if I don’t eat them first and now, I’ll end up never eating them and they’ll be wasted.  So I put the Werther’s away with the promise to myself that I will have them as soon as I finsh the Lifesavers.
I am my nona’s child.  Nothing will be wasted.
And then tonight, after days of following that discpline and order, I just went nuts and had two Werther’s.  And now I feel as though the gods in heaven (also known as my nona) are looking down in disappointment because I blew it. And that just makes me want more of the Werther’s . And so another ugly eating cycle begins in my life.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:53 AM •
Sunday, September 17, 2006

When I play bridge on my computer, I rotate all the little computer generated players so no one’s feelings will be hurt and everyone gets a chance to play. 

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:50 AM •
Saturday, September 16, 2006

...who feels just terribly sorry for Suri?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:18 AM •
Friday, September 15, 2006

Wow. Brad Pitt is getting a lot of votes for the “People who seriously annoy me” hall of fame.  And all those votes come from me so they count double.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:17 AM •
Thursday, September 14, 2006

On Tuesday morning I got out of bed, put on my slippers (thank god!) and headed out to the kitchen to turn the coffee on.  At my bedroonm doorway, I stepped into something soft, squishy and smelly. My dog had left me a gift. After depositing it, he then went to sleep downstairs since the smell apparently bothered him. I haven’t written about this till today because it has taken this long for my eyeballs to not bleed every time I think about it.
Oh yeah...Happy anniversary, Sandra and Harris.  May no dogs ever poop in your bedroom doorway.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:12 AM •
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

There seems to be a mind set among people in the lower 48, especially those people who show up on your front doorstep in the summer, that every Alaskan is a tried and true outdoor person with intimate knowledge of wildlife, firearms, bear avoidance and - perhaps more than all else - fishing in Alaska waters.

Let me set their minds straight once and for all.
I am an outdoor person only if your idea of the outdoors is the tundra at 40 below in the winter.  My idea of firearms is confined to my attempt to hide their various parts when I was married and afraid to have an intact gun in the house in case kids visited.  This made going hunting hard for my husband because I frequently forgot where I put all the pieces and apparently guns do not usually work unless completely reassembled.
My view on how not to get eaten by a bear tends to be limited to the idea that I just have to run faster than one other person and when I’m scared, I can run pretty darn fast. Finally, the only fishing I’ve done since moving to this state occurred in the middle of one winter at Teshepuk Lake because it was either ice fish or kill the person I was stuck with in that little cabin.  I did once attempt halibut fishing but found out that you can’t fish and be violently seasick at the same time.  It apparently does not enhance the experience for either the fish or your fellow fisher persons.
So each year when visitors start to make their reservations for my home during the peak summer months, I am inevitably faced with questions about the best fishing and how to get there and what to bring.  There was a time when I was embarrassed to admit my ignorance of such matters and would desperately scan websites for information and then feed it back to my visitors as though I actually knew this stuff first hand. Eventually, however, I grew to accept my limitations and overcome my dismay at my ignorance.  Well, actually, I just decided to blame it all on my father.
I grew up in Atlantic City. During my early years, dad would go fishing off a little pier nearby.  When I got old enough to realize that my brother got to do something with my dad that I didn’t, I grew highly incensed and had a little hissy fit.  I was not going to be left out.  I wanted to go fishing. So, and I’m guessing at this part, my mother nagged my father till he took me along.
I was just fine with the whole experience. Pulling up fish was a real hoot and, after all, we didn’t hurt them. My daddy walked me to the back of the car to show me where he had the cooler full of ice so the fish could be comfortable and not too hot and still have the water they needed.  I was thrilled.  The fish actually had it better in the cool of our car trunk than they did in that ugly old ocean where there were all kinds of other mean fish who would try to hurt them.
This whole euphoria thing lasted till we got home, dad hauled the cooler out of the car and I saw the dead fish being cleaned up for cooking.  I was horrified.  After that, my dad had a lot harder job selling me on the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny and I boycotted fish for a very long time.  Eventually I realized it was to my advantage to continue to buy the Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy tales.  But I would never fish again.
And so here I sit, almost sixty years old, trying to finesse my way out of my ignorance of Alaska’s great fishing adventures.  I tell people that if they want, I can bring them ice fishing in the Artic in winter.  But they seem to feel that forty below is a tad cold even if it is a dry cold.  So then I tell them that god invented the Internet for a very specific reason and one of those reasons was so they could go to it and find out where to go fish, when to go fish and what it would cost per pound of salmon or halibut to haul that catch home.
Meanwhile, I shamelessly accept all donations of fresh fish from friends without any qualms about the actual activity; equally shamelessly steal their best recipes; and then serve my summer visitors with fresh halibut and salmon straight from my grill as though I’d been the one who caught, gutted and filleted them.
One of the main things I learned about being an Alaskan is that summer visitors will leave long before the cold weather hits so they won’t be around long enough to actually detect the holes in the stories you tell about ice fishing.  And after all, aren’t all fishing stories ultimately just grand tales?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 07:44 AM •

Page 188 of 221 pages « FirstP  <  186 187 188 189 190 >  Last »

Subscribe to My RSS Feed: RSS 2.0