Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
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The bad news is that their incessant buzzing and annoying hovering has been replaced by political ads.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 •

Today is my Bird TLC shift. It being summer, there will probably be over 50 hungry baby mallards, gulls and goslings waiting very impatiently for their meals. At this time of the year, you really, really have to love birds to keep showing up.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:47 AM •
Monday, June 23, 2014

Because he is not polluting my television with commercials that make me want to take a shotgun to the screen. 

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:54 AM •
Sunday, June 22, 2014
image

“Will she remember to give me the chicken skin in my dinner tonight? Will she try to throw my toy out of bed just because it’s a bit moist from my gumming it? Will she ever understand how much the world will collapse if I don’t jump out of bed at 3 AM barking wildly at the noise being made by passing geese? When will she finally let me chase those fun toys she keeps in cages all over my house? Will I ever convince her that licking your own butt is actually kind of fun?”
Such are the deep thoughts of the dog philosopher.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:44 AM •
Saturday, June 21, 2014
image

but BuddhaBubba is clearly contemplating fall and getting her autumn color palate in order.
Note to my sister Judy… no, you can’t make a snide comment about my dog having more fashion sense than me, even if it is true.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:41 AM •
Friday, June 20, 2014

Am I the only person in the world unable to get a second use out of a jar/bottle/tube of super glue. It seems if I wait more than an hour between uses, nothing more ever comes out.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:53 AM •
Thursday, June 19, 2014

Another group has come through Anchorage to talk about the problems of abuse and violence in our villages. Panelists take testimony, listen to horror stories of lives lived in fear, collect data on Alaska Native children showing them on par with returning war vets for PTSD and declare the situation intolerable. Each time this happens, I wonder where the men are. The only time men get mentioned is as the problem. But there is no solution without them.

A few years ago I wrote that for Native women to be respected, that respect must begin at home. Since the majority of Native women are abused, assaulted and raped first in their home villages, clearly Native men bear a great responsibility for the subsequent disintegration of traditional family life and subsequent damage done to the next generation of Alaska Native children.
I got a lot of angry responses, mostly from Native women telling me how wonderful their husbands, boyfriends, brothers and fathers were. I don’t doubt there are strong, good, ethical and kind men in the Alaska Native community. I’ve known many of them. Bu the reality is that most Alaska Native women first suffered abuse in their homes as children, sisters, wives and mothers. And that abuse came from within their communities.
So I again ask the question – where are the men in this discussion? While some of them may be the perpetrators of the abuse, most of them aren’t. And it is those good men who must be pulled into the conversation if any real solution is ever to be found. Not the drunk who sobers up at 60 and demands to be a respected elder.  Not the “community leader” who chairs a meeting at eight and drunkenly beats his wife at 10. Not the “good Christian” who takes his granddaughters for long solo rides down lonely roads and returns them silent and haunted. They should not be the men showing boys what being a man in their culture means.
There is a lot of debate in America today about the importance of fathers in children’s lives. I don’t see how there can be a debate about something so obvious. Clearly if the father is an abusive drunk, the family is better without him. But that does not translate into meaning that fathers are extraneous to healthy family life. They are, and should be, more than just sperm donors. While women have raised children alone for millennia, there is little doubt that a healthy, intact family produces the best results. But if dad teaches his daughters that they should suffer abuse quietly and teaches his sons that rape and violence is just part of another Saturday night at home, then there is no chance that we will ever stem this tide.
Alaska Native men need to get involved in this discussion in a vocal and visible way. The good men of the community have to make a very public statement about their culture’s family values. They have to take steps to shun those men who make a mockery of those values. They have to take the time to mentor their young men who are all too often growing up with a twisted vision of what it means to be a man.
By the time we take a young boy out of a violent home, he’s already absorbed the lessons of his family life. The person with the strongest punch wins. By the time a girl is removed, she’s learned it’s best to shut up and take the punches. No amount of therapy will ever truly erase those lessons.
But the male leaders of every Native community can make a major difference just by standing up and proclaiming, “No more. Never again. Not in my community. Not in our families.” Without the involvement of the male half of the village, the battle will always be uphill because it will always be about mopping up the mess and not preventing it.
Where is the council of Alaska Native men addressing the problems created by their peers, their sons and brothers? They have the power to make a difference. They should make clear that domestic violence and those who perpetrate it are no longer welcomed in their circle – not as hunting partners, not as corporate board members, not as village councilors.  The power is in their hands. They need to exert it.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:29 AM •
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Is it just me or does he remind other people of the villain in a Tom Clancy novel?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:07 AM •
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

So does anyone think Don Young will even bother coming back to Alaska to campaign for re-election? I mean, it’s not as if he has to. Most Alaskans will keep voting him back into office in an attempt to keep him out of the state anyhow. When he comes back here and we see him up close and personal, well, let’s face it, we’re all a little abashed that he’s the only thing representing us in the House.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:04 AM •
Monday, June 16, 2014
image

Sigh… four different dogs beds, two couches, three soft chairs and still they all gather on one determined to be the last dog sitting.
As my friend Stewart so wisely wrote, “Mommy, he’s touching me!”
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:04 AM •
Sunday, June 15, 2014

Today is Father’s Day. My father is gone now so I can no longer wish him a happy father’s day. But I can wish it to all the wonderful fathers I’ve known in my many years of work in social services and with the Alaska Court System in Barrow. Some were foster fathers. Some were grandfathers. Some were uncles. Some big brothers. All stepped in to help kids whose birth fathers were unable or unwilling to be the dad the kids needed. These other wonderful men stepped up to the plate and tried to provide love and guidance to kids in desperate need of both. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it was simply too late. But that doesn’t matter today as much as the fact that these men were willing to try. Hats off to all of you. 

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:38 AM •
Saturday, June 14, 2014

Until this campaign season ends, I will no longer pick up my phone after 6 PM. My ears are already bleeding from all the obnoxious tv ads. Picking up the phone and hearing push polls disguised as public opinion polls or robo calls from the same candidates I"m fast forwarding through on TV or any other politically connected calls has totally destroyed what is left of my normally sunny disposition. Since I have one of those phone that doesn’t do much more than have a dial tone, I can’t tell who is calling when the phone rings. That’s why god made answering machines. If you want me to know you called and to call you back, leave a message. I may never actually answer my phone again at this point.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:09 AM •
Friday, June 13, 2014

Is it just me or are the Begich/Sullivan ads trying to out-macho each other? Begich is running around on a snow mobile. Sullivan all but has Rawhide playing in the background as he stands there looking like a rough and ready Alaskan. Couldn’t they both just whip it out, measure it and get it over with?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:05 AM •
Thursday, June 12, 2014

It’s baby bird season in Alaska. So when I read all the debate about feral cats and whether they should be sterilized and released or killed, I have to admit to being very torn. On the one hand, the thought of ending any animal or human life before its time is in many ways abhorrent to me. On the other hand, roaming cats provide an added layer of danger to baby birds and their chances of survival.

Full disclosure – I am a volunteer at Bird TLC. This is our busiest season as we take care of hundreds of baby birds brought into our facility for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a tree is cut down and only after it falls is the nest noticed. Sometimes a baby leaves the nest a tad too early and can’t get back in. Sometimes a motorist doesn’t stop when a momma is trying to cross the road with her babes. They become instant orphans. And far too often, babies and other little birds are brought into us with puncture wounds from where a cat bit them.
Whatever the reason, come summer our facility is filled with orphans. The littlest birds go home with volunteers who have taken our baby bird training class. They care for the babies until they are old enough to leave the nest. These are birds not easily imprinted on humans. Once able to fend for themselves, they can be released and almost immediately revert to their innate wild behavior. I have often felt that this program should be required for all teenagers as the most effective birth control program ever imagined. There is nothing like taking care of a clutch of little birds that awaken every few hours and scream until they are fed to make a teenage rethink the fun of parenthood.
Our other orphaned birds, like ducks, geese or gulls, are very susceptible to imprinting on humans. These birds are kept at the center to be raised and released by volunteers trained to not allow the birds to imprint, no matter how darn cute those fluffy little critters are.
The problem with feral cats is that the destruction they wreak on our bird population cannot be easily fixed. While we do our best to raise the little ones injured by cat attacks, often the damage to such tiny critters is such that there is no way they can survive. And this is not just a problem during baby bird season. All year long we receive “cat got” birds. They frequently have air sac damage that makes survival iffy at best. Between the trauma of the attack and the resulting injuries, nursing them back to health is often simply not possible. Sometimes all we can do is ease their passage from this life.
I am not one to advocate killing any critters outside of the need to hunt for food. I figure we all share this earth and we should learn how to share it fairly and equitably. There are many cat people who feel that allowing their cats to roam outside is merely allowing them to live out their inherent nature of stalking and hunting. This would hold a lot truer if those cats didn’t have all the food and water they needed in their homes, thereby negating the need for that stalking and killing.
Other cat people will claim that their cats are miserable if left indoors and do nothing all day but cry and scratch at the door until they have to let them out. I don’t buy that argument. And I don’t buy it not only because of the destruction those cats cause to the bird population in this state but also because of the “gifts” I find that they’ve left me on my lawn and in my flower beds. I clean up after my pets. If you think your cat has a right to roam the neighborhood pooping at will in anyone’s yard, then you should routinely patrol the neighborhood and pick up all the little gifts left behind.
Loving your pets means controlling your pets. Cats doing what cats want to naturally do is not the problem. Owners letting cats dictate the conditions of life in their homes are. Give the baby birds a chance. Heck, give my flowerbed a break. Curb your cat.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:39 AM •

Page 3 of 228 pages « FirstP  <  1 2 3 4 5 >  Last »

Subscribe to My RSS Feed: RSS 2.0