Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Dizziness not associated with pot or alcohol is not half as much fun.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:07 AM •
Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I recently spent almost nine hours on an ER bed waiting for a hospital room. I’ve decided, based on the soreness of my ass, that ER beds are made of the same material as airline seats back in the cattle car section. Yep, those same airline seats they always tell you can double as flotation devices. Just stick your arms through the straps and float. Right. You will sink like a rock. Those airline seats have all the floatibility of a cement brick. And less comfort. So I have to wonder why hospitals went to the same manufacturers to get ER mattresses.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:07 AM •
Monday, July 07, 2014

When I nursed, we had no pretenses about what you were served for meals. It was hospital food. No frills. No muss. No fuss. No taste. No visual appeal. But it did not pretend to any other aspirations.
Now in hospitals they call it “dining”. You order your own personal preferences from a menu that would not be out of place in a decent bistro. The descriptions were clearly written by the same person.
Then the food comes. And guess what? They can call it what they want, but it’s still hospital food.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:04 PM •
Sunday, July 06, 2014

Spent the night in the hospital with dehydration and other stupid things wrong. I knew I was in trouble when I lost my appetite and didn’t want to eat at all. I always figured in my life that would be the first sign of imminent death.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 01:02 PM •
Saturday, July 05, 2014

A wasp gets in your house and you still can’t move fast to get rid of it. Not only that, you don’t even get that excited since excitement would require a level of energy you simply don’t possess.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:52 AM •
Friday, July 04, 2014

My birthday wish for you this year is that the US Congress stops fixing the infrastructure in countries all over the mid-east and instead concentrates on making you whole again.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:14 AM •
Thursday, July 03, 2014

I grew up in a time when Americans did not run around waving rubber fingers and screaming, “We’re number one” at every possible opportunity. Of course we believed America was number one. We felt we proved it every day in the way we lived and thrived, in the way our middle class grew stronger, in the way the world looked to us for moral authority because, in America, we didn’t torture, kill or discriminate. At least, that was the illusion.


The truth, sadly, was that we did discriminate against any citizens we felt were different. If you were black or brown, Italian or Polish, mentally or physically handicapped, you felt that discrimination on a daily basis. Our moral authority rested on the cooperation of the media in not publicizing the extracurricular sex lives of politicians or the CIA backed government overthrows and assassinations that seemed endemic in those “innocent” days.  These things were just not discussed in polite society and respectable news organizations cooperated with government by covering up, not covering, these stories.
The other thing polite society didn’t do was run around tooting its own horn when the toots being broadcast could be, to put it mildly, somewhat suspect. Americans seemingly have lost that sense of propriety. We now run around waving rubber fingers and screaming “We’re number one” whether or not we can actually name anything at which we are still number one. It’s not health care. Almost every first world country has better and more accessible health care for its citizens. It’s not education. Our students are lucky to be in the top ten in science or math rankings. Children’s health… not number one. Enlightened day care and family friendly sick leave policies… not so much number one as nowhere in the top ten. Space race… we rely on Russian rockets to get us to the space station.
I could go on, but you get the idea. As we approach the celebration of our nation’s birth, we should really take a look at the road we’ve gone down in recent years and assess whether or not we’ve taken a very wrong turn.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gives America a D plus for its infrastructure and estimates it will take an investment of $3.6 trillion by 2020 to bring us up to minimally acceptable standards. Congress says we do not have that kind of money. We apparently blew a great deal of it building Iraq’s infrastructure after we blew that infrastructure to pieces searching for WMDs that have mysteriously never been found. Now that same Congress that can’t find money to rebuild America wants us to go back to Iraq and rebuild it again. Or bomb it again. Depends on where the insurgents are. But I’m sure if we bomb it again, we’ll rebuild it again. And then their bridges will be safer to cross than ours.
Somewhere in the past few decades America has decided that it is more important to police the world than take care of its own problems. Interestingly, the nations we choose to police, the nations we choose to “free” from the heinous dictators in charge, are only those nations with oil. I’ve yet to hear a hue and cry for America to invade North Korea. And seriously, if you are looking for a crazed, repressive, repugnant little twerp to take out, how much further do you have to look than Kim Jong-un. And we probably wouldn’t have to look hard in Africa to find some scuzzy leaders as repressive and evil as Kim.
But when the repressive dictator is our “friend”, like the Saudis, we give them a pass. Women are treated as less than cattle in their country, but because they sell us their oil, we look the other way while they allow men to rape and murder women in the name of family honor.
While our bridges and roads crumble, while children go to bed hungry, while our schools struggle to fund the programs needed to propel us back into the number one spot in the world, while all this is going on, Congress wants to rebuild Iraq, not America.
I love this country. I want the best for it. So how about we stop rebuilding other countries and rebuild our own. It’s time for that to again become America’s number one priority. 
Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:28 AM •
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
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Happy Anniversary, Snowy. You came to me one year ago today and, in a house already filled with love and animals, you showed me that there is infinite room to add more love and animals. No matter what BuddhaBubba and Carm might occasionally mutter, and no matter how much the birds scream at you, our lives would not be half as full of love and fun without you.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:01 AM •
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

No offense, Hillary, but would someone please make Elizabeth Warren run for president. Please.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:39 AM •
Monday, June 30, 2014

Being a dizzy blond is fun. Being dizzy because you’ve puffed on a joint is fun. Being dizzy because you have vertigo and fall over if you turn your head the wrong way is not. If this is the flashbacks our parents warned us about, I, for one, am terribly disappointed.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:27 AM •
Saturday, June 28, 2014

Bubba doesn’t like the rain. She sleeps curled up on her bed for as long as possible without moving on rainy days. Then, when the poop and pee are about to pop out of her because she’s waited so long, she jumps up like she was shot from a cannon, races to the nearest pee pad, does what she has to in the fastest time possible and is back curled up on her bed before I can scream, “No, wait. Go out!”.
I guess ending my life as the chief pooper scooper for birds and dogs isn’t the worse thing in the world.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:19 AM •
Friday, June 27, 2014

You’ve got to give it to him… just when we thought he couldn’t be more embarrassing, he went and one upped himself. 

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:14 AM •
Thursday, June 26, 2014

Last week I asked where Alaska Native men were when their sisters, mothers, daughters and classmates were being abused within their own community. I asked because I firmly believe this problem will never be resolved so long as we continue to view it as only a woman’s issue. I asked because if Native men are not part of the solution, they automatically become part of the problem. Those women and children who suffer violence and sexual assaults in their homes are often damaged twice – first by the abuser and then by a community that looks the other way.

This week I ask why the good men in those communities are often so reluctant to say or do anything to stop the violence.  What are they waiting for? What is holding them back from taking a stand and making it clear that they will not tolerate anyone who so distorts the values of their culture?
The answer seems to be that some of those cultural mores stand in the way of men taking action. Most Alaska Native cultures are communally based. Unlike Western civilization, which is based on the achievements of the individual, Alaska Native cultures do not encourage standing up and being noticed above others. Their survival in a harsh land was based on the critical need for everyone to cooperate and pull together. The person who stood out was someone viewed with suspicion and fear that he would not work well for the survival of the group.
So it seems that for many Alaska Native men the problem is twofold. Many worry that by standing up and standing out they will be violating long held cultural norms. Many also feel that their culture gives status to Elders to address these problems and they have a long way to go to reach that stage. So they say nothing while being internally conflicted over what they see happening. They don’t seem to realize that time is running out. They don’t have the luxury of waiting until they are old enough to be considered Elders. If today’s Elders are not stopping the carnage, then the young men must step in no matter what their age.
The reality is that Alaska Native cultures, which have withstood enormous pressures from an outside world wanting them to simply disappear, may ultimately succumb not to anything outsiders are doing but to their inability to confront those destroying the culture from within. For any culture to survive, it must have strong family bonds – whether those bonds are within a nuclear or extended family – that pass along the cultural heritage as a part of everyday life. But women and children who experience the ravages of sexual assault and domestic violence on a regular basis are unable to pass on any culture other than a culture of violence and fearful submission.
So here’s the question to those worried that by standing up against the men who perpetrate this violence they are somehow violating a cultural norm. What culture do you think you will have left if nothing is done? Will your culture become so perverted by multigenerational violence that the original values are completely lost?
If Alaska Native men are unwilling to confront the abusers, they risk losing their culture altogether.  This is already evident in many small villages where the best and the brightest leave and make a life for themselves in the cities. They do this both because that’s where economic opportunities are greater and because it is a place they can raise their families without daily reminders of the violence in far too many village homes. In the city, men do not have to explain to their children why their neighbor’s wife always seems to sport new bruises and black eyes after every weekend.
But this kind of village exodus means that those left behind to carry on traditional village life are too often the people who are perverting and distorting the culture. The good people in those villages are sometimes fighting a losing battle to pass on their true cultural traditions in the face of such horrifying violence.
By doing nothing, Alaska Native men are ceding the definition of what it means to be a man in their culture to those men who rape and abuse women and children. That has to change for their culture to survive.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:45 AM •
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The good news is that mosquitoes are not half as bad as they were last year and I can sit in my office and get my work done without first having to smash a dozen of them against the wall.
The bad news is that their incessant buzzing and annoying hovering has been replaced by political ads.
The good news is that I can turn the tv off or use the mute button.
The bad news is that I have to because those damn ads make me long for a dictatorship.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:50 AM •
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My body will be found crumpled next to an overturned chair beside by office desk, a bloody magazine clenched in my fist and a dead mosquito on the back of it. I will go out swatting!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:53 AM •

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