Elise Sereni
Thursday, November 30, 2006

If a politician can’t go on the Daily Show and “get it”, they don’t deserve my vote.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:38 AM •
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mr. T came home a few days ago. He joins Morris the bird on my little table. It’s good to have him back. Now I can say goodnight to him again like I did for the past 16 years.  To all those wonderful people who called and sent cards, let me say thank you.  It’s nice to know this state is filled with people who can love pets so much and be so kind. I think that bodes well for our future.

Meanwhile, I went to Friends of Pets and found two wonderful new friends who are helping to fill the gap left by Mr. T.  It’s a large gap but I think these two are up for it. 
They are an odd couple, to say the least.  Blue is a lot of blue heeler with a little bit of something else.  She worries a lot.  After all, she’s come to a home with quite a large and diverse herd and it’s not easy to keep us all together so she can finally get a good night’s sleep. 
For starts, she can’t figure out how to get the downstairs and upstairs birdcages herded together so she can keep an eye on all of them at once. And I’m infamous for being restless and going up and down the stairs a million times a day. Sometimes I see a look of resignation in her face as she heaves herself up after finally having five minutes of peace to follow me up the stairs again.  I realized quickly that there would be no convincing her that she could just wait for me at the bottom of the stairs.
But how could I resist the allure of an older dog with diabetes that needed insulin every day. It’s like we were made for each other. Now I have someone right in my home to compare blood sugars with and to gloat over when mine are better than hers.  It’s a match made in heaven.
Her gal pal Blondie is the polar opposite. Blondie has a little of a lot of breeds in her and the result is a dog who is basically very happy she’s a dog.  Everything is utterly fascinating and amusing to her. A leaf that blows by, a snowflake that falls on her face, a drop of rain that hits her head - all are greeted with wonder and joy.  She’s one of those dogs who, if she could talk, would probably spend a lot of time saying, “I’m a dog!  I’m a dog!  Life is great!  I got to sniff things today.  I got to chew something unrecognizable from the street today.  I got my belly rubbed.  I’m a dog. Ain’t’ life grand?”
We have had a few moments in the adjustment period where I thought I might actually be in control of my animals this time. Luckily that moment passed and I am back to the happy acceptance that I’m just one vote among many when it comes to issues affecting my little household. For instance, I thought that since I earned the money that bought the kibbles that keeps everyone happy and well fed, I should get a majority of the room on my bed.  I was obviously wrong.  There are three of us who need to be accommodated and two of the three of us apparently need to stretch their legs out as far as possible in marking their portion of the bed. But I don’t mind clinging to that last three inches they leave me in exchange for the warm bodies that snuggle next to me on cold nights.
Getting used to walking two dogs at once took a little more adjusting.  Here’s what I’ve definitely learned from the experience. You can’t tie the bag you’ve scooped the poop with when you have a dog leash in each hand. You have to carry it home untied until you put them in the house and have a free hand to dispose of the bag.  And when you are carrying an untied bag of scooped material, you should not swing that hand over your hand while twirling around to untwist the dogs’ leashes.  Let’s just say it can cause some things to become fast traveling projectiles that should probably stay in the bag.
My African Gray parrot Abdul used to call Mr. T every morning when it was time for him to wake up and go out.  He hasn’t said T’s name since the day Mr. T crossed the Rainbow Bridge. But he still yells, “Go out” the minute I get up in the morning. And the dogs respond with alacrity to his command.
My world is complete again. Mr. T is home. Abdul is in charge of everything. Blue covers our rear. Blondie reminds us all about the simple pleasures of life. And the other birds are once again on the phone to their attorneys asking if I can really bring not one, but two new dogs into their home.
Now if I could just get Blue and Blondie to share the blanket....

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:34 AM •
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

For years when I was preparing for a trip East I’d say I was going home to visit. I don’t know when that changed.  But one day I heard myself saying “I’m going East for a visit” and using the phrase “I’m going home” when I returned to Alaska.  Today I come home.  I miss my birds. I miss my dogs.  I miss my bed and my refrigerator and my computer with the big keyboard instead of the little keyboard on the laptop that makes my fingers feel like they are big fat salamis. I’m coming home.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:58 AM •
Monday, November 27, 2006

Everyone who votes must wear a blue armband. Everyone who is of age to vote and didn’t must wear a red armband.  If a red armband is ever heard complaining about politics or government or taxes, the blue armbands may pull out foam bats and beat the red armbands till they shut up.  Just an idea.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:54 AM •
Sunday, November 26, 2006

If Thanksgiving is turkey day, today is officially the day when you can admit that you don’t want to see or taste another piece of turkey for at least a year...unless, of course, someone makes you a great sandwich with turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce on crunchy bread with mayo and lettuce and the tiniest smattering of roasted pine nuts.  Yum. Yum.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:46 AM •
Saturday, November 25, 2006

Never get between any seemingly kind and gentle old man or lady and their penny slot machine, even if they are using four machines at once and can barely reach them all. It is not a wise move.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:42 AM •
Friday, November 24, 2006

I might have had the calories don’t count on Thanksgiving Day thing that I posted yesterday wrong.  Calories may actually count that are taken in at the holiday table.  Sometimes god just isn’t fair.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:35 AM •
Thursday, November 23, 2006

Enjoy the one day of the year when you can eat as much as you want and none of the calories count. No, really. Trust me on this.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:32 AM •
Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It being Thanksgiving, I think it is appropriate to give thanks.  Since I use New Year’s as a time to count the people and things that most annoyed me throughout the past year, this is the best time to list the things for which I am most grateful.

Let me start by saying that although I may not agree with Sarah Palin on many issues, I am prouder than punch that Alaska not only has its first female governor, but has one who has shown she actually has a working moral compass.
Back in prehistory when I was young and burning my bra in a trashcan on the Atlantic City Boardwalk outside of the Miss America pageant, I thought that by the time I reached such an advanced age women would have no firsts left.  I thought my generation would knock those firsts out like dominoes set up to fall.  But that didn’t happen.  Instead, life happened.  And life has a funny way of throwing the best laid plans off track.
So some of those women who burned their bras with me went out the next day and bought new ones and entered what I thought of as the world of our mothers. It was a world bounded by school and children and soccer practices.  They became the legendary soccer moms.  And thank god for them because they raised the generation that produced women like Sarah Palin, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Butcher, women who broke through glass ceilings like they were made of soap bubbles.
Some of those bra burning women went into the home to raise a family and came out energized to change the world.  And some never left the business world for a second. They became Secretaries of State, Supreme Court Justices and Martha Stewart. These women broke into the board rooms, church hierarchies and halls of government power, blazing a new trail with every step they took. Yet despite all that movement, each year brings another first for women because there are just that many firsts to be had.  I’m grateful that the firsts continue to pile up, that I’ve lived to see them and that the next generation of women will know that you can have it all even if they don’t want it all simultaneously. Because what women have hopefully learned over the past four decades is that you can go to school, raise a family and then get back into the workforce and still be successful.  Or you can never leave the workforce and still have a healthy family. Or you can concentrate on business and not have a traditional family and still have a fulfilling and healthy life.
I am immensely grateful that we have all those options now and that our children and grandchildren and every generation succeeding them will see less and less firsts as women become ubiquitous in all facets of life.
I am also extremely grateful this year to all those people who take their immense talents and skills and use them to support volunteer organizations all over this state, this country and this world.  This volunteer work is no longer the sole purview of “the women who lunch”.  Men and women together keep the doors open on charitable and civic organizations that feed and clothe the hungry, provide scholarships to students, offer shelter to abused and unwanted animals, give TLC to wild critters in need of some quiet time to heal and sit all day at polling places to make sure we get a chance to exercise the greatest right we can have in a democracy.
This Thanksgiving I will be sitting down to a meal with cousins who grew up to be some of my best friends. Their children will also be at that dinner table listening to us tell tales about their parents when they were young and bursting the pomposity of anyone who dares to pretend they have no skeletons in their past. When you dine with family, the skeletons dine with you.
I’m especially grateful that at least two people from my parents’ generation are still sharing that meal with us. The connection is so tenuous now that it has become all that more precious.
Mostly, I’m grateful that the world is looking a little kinder and gentler this year than it did last year.  As Martha would say, “That’s a good thing.”

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:36 AM •
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It’s still strange to come back here and see the casinos, even after all these years.  In my childhood Atlantic City was an aging resort with the kind of faded glamour you think of when you watch the movie Sunset Blvd. I know it’s better this way for all the workers, but I miss the Steel Pier and the Million Dollar Pier and the Italian Village at the back of the MIllion Dollar Pier where you could get the best Italian lemon ice in the world.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:26 AM •
Monday, November 20, 2006

I will be in Washington DC jamming in as much time at the various Smithsonian buildings as humanly possible.  And no, I will not do anything as childish as going to the White House, sticking my tongue out and saying “Nyaaaa!  Nyaaa!”. I’ll think it, but in these days of Homeland Security, I won’t do it.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:21 AM •
Sunday, November 19, 2006

Let the games begin!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:33 AM •
Saturday, November 18, 2006

It occurs to me that men once wore the high heeled shoes.  But they wised up quickly. Could that be why they still dominate the world?  Or is it that they don’t have to struggle with panyhose five days a week?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:31 AM •
Friday, November 17, 2006

As I struggle with lap tops and desk tops and internal and external hard drives I have to keep reminding myself...it’s better than a typewriter and white out.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:30 AM •
Thursday, November 16, 2006

So I’m sitting here with an external hard drive that is smaller than my little finger and holds what used to take four hundred floppy disks. I think it’s probably significant that the clerk thought to use the floppy disk analogy rather than a CD analogy.  He probably thought I’d be more apt to relate to the older model.  Now my problem is I can’t figure out how to plug it in.  Sigh.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 06:26 AM •

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