Elise Sereni
     Patkotak
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

And to all who didn’t… if I hear one word of complaint out of you about how things are going, I will swiftly kick you in the ass. Either get involved with democracy by voting or shut up and live with the results you let others create.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:14 AM •
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I must not accept the fact that no matter how many times I step into the shower and step out through the same glass door, Carm will sit pressed against the shower door in the absolute certainty that there is a hidden door on the other side and someday I’ll step through it and he’ll never see me again.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:52 AM •
Monday, August 18, 2014

When Snowy is sitting outside ignoring my commands to come in, I try lowering my voice to its deepest register since ALL the experts say that dogs respond to the lower voice, assuming it’s the alpha male. Snowy just looks at me as though wondering if I’d lost my mind and then turns around and continues to stare into the distance, no doubt contemplating the eternal verities of the universe.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:09 AM •
Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tuesday is the primary here in Alaska. Please get out and vote. I don’t care how you vote. I mostly care THAT you vote so some small percentage of people in this state don’t end up making decisions for the vast majority.
And then after you’ve voted, pat yourself on the back and enjoy the approximately 25 minutes of silence before the ads for the general election in November begin.
God help us but democracy can be noisy!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:05 AM •
Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Snowy, as usual, snarfed down his doggie kibbles without pausing for air. He then went out to the porch about 30 minutes later and threw up the kibble in two nice little piles. I decided to see if the rain would wash it away before I actually had to go clean it. But there it was after the rain. I was going to clean it, honestly, but got diverted. By the time I remembered and went back to the porch, I was just in time to see a magpie making off with the last bit of it. Charming. Just charming.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:20 AM •
Friday, August 15, 2014
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:29 AM •
Thursday, August 14, 2014

I was thinking about this week’s column and kept coming up with topics that probably make us all want to run screaming into the night. I could write about the oil tax debate because, as we all know, you can’t hear too much about that. And the four million political ads we’ve seen the past few months certainly have affected my view of how great the summer has been. I could write about how these two issues have sucked all the air out of anything else on the ballot, but I think we’re all well aware of that by now. I could write about how I’m getting pretty discouraged with democracy in this current iteration. I get that corporations are people and can spend as much as they want based on their inherent freedom of speech guarantee. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to run madly through the streets screaming “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” at them.

We’ve all been immersed in it so long that we can’t remember what summer smells like, what baby birds singing sound like and what peace and quiet is at all like. So I decided to write about none of that. Instead I am going to write about the fact that I am a bird person. I’m a dog person too, but long before dogs came into my life, I had a parrot. Mark Twain has a great quote about this: “She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.” That describes me more than I care to admit.
When I moved to Anchorage a few years back, one of my great joys was to become a volunteer at Bird TLC and with a parrot rescue group. Lo these fourteen years later, I am still with Bird TLC and I now am the proud parent of a Conure, three Senegal parrots, an African Grey parrot, a Bare-eyed cockatoo and an Amazon parrot of questionable parentage.  I never meant for it to get this out of control. It’s like the lady who collects cats. You say yes to taking one in and the next thing you know…
Given the composition of my household in which animals, including three rescued dogs, outnumber humans by a large margin, inviting humans in can be problematic. I figured this out when I saw the look of horror that crept across my friends’ faces when I invited them over for dinner. Apparently not everyone enjoys sharing their meal with screeching birds whose whistles hit notes even dogs can’t hear but which can do serious damage to the eardrum of the unsuspecting.
So I made the decision to move all the birds together into one room downstairs, far away from my living room and dining room, to allow humans control over some small segment of the house. I won’t pretend that once I did it I wasn’t lonely. I’ve had at least one parrot in my life since 1970. I don’t know how to eat in silence without the whistles, chirps and requests for kisses coming from cages scattered across the room. I would have caved and moved them all back upstairs had it not been for the ulterior motive I have in all this.
Much as I love my friends and did this so they’d accept dinner invites with enthusiasm and not reluctance, the real reason I did it is that I have to concede that age has slowed my reflexes. With winter rapidly approaching, I had to come up with a way to exercise that didn’t involve cleats on my shoes and a terrified trek on an icy sidewalk. I emptied out the upstairs so I could install a stationary something. I’m thinking stationary recumbent bike but I’m still looking around for what will look best as a clothes hanger in the future. Let’s face it, we all know that is its inevitable end. Show me a person with a treadmill, stationery bike or solar flex machine that hasn’t been turned into a clothes hanger and I’ll show you someone who probably won’t ever be my friend.
So there you have it. An entire column that wasn’t about politics, oil, taxes or America’s place in the world. Wasn’t that refreshing?

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:12 AM •
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Last year I had a jungle full. This year I have so few I just pick them and eat them right there because there aren’t enough to bring in. I guess they don’t like sunshine and hot weather anymore than I do.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:26 AM •
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This Saturday, Bird TLC is having its annual Autumn Wings Festival to wave goodbye to all the birds smart enough to get the hell out of Alaska before winter hits.
Join us at our property above Potter’s Marsh off the Old Seward Highway right past the Russian Orthodox Church from 12 to 4. There will be birds, games, food, coffee… all kinds of exciting things to do and see.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:21 AM •
Monday, August 11, 2014

For the first time in 44 years I am not sharing my living room/dining room with one or more parrots. The final three were moved downstairs yesterday to join the other four. And now the top floor is only for people… and, of course, dogs. But it feels so weird and lonely. I spent half the evening downstairs because it felt so empty upstairs. I’ll admit that it was nice to watch tv without any competing sounds like screeches and high pitched whistles but still… It feels as though they are miles away. I imagine I’ll get used to the silence and maybe even eventually like it. But for now, I’ll be spending a lot more time downstairs.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:13 AM •
Sunday, August 10, 2014
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He is the newest addition to our large and extended beyond belief Italian American family. He may look like a frog now… a distinct improvement over those who come out looking like Winston Churchill… but given the overall size of his head, I’d have to guess he will soon look like all other Zeccardi males. His head will be a third as big as the rest of his body.
Welcome to the family, Luca. We may be a bit insane, but we are your family so live with it! We promise to love you more than you can imagine and hug you more than you can ever possibly want in your entire life.
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Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:32 AM •
Saturday, August 09, 2014

I was wondering why none of those obnoxious political ads were appearing on certain cable channels like Comedy Central. That channel has to be a cheaper buy than some of the others that are drenched with those ads. But I finally understand why they aren’t shown there. It would be impossible to tell the ads from the satire, the real ad from the joke. God this is starting to make me hate democracy.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:13 AM •
Friday, August 08, 2014

Thought I’d try something almost healthy and tasty. Made chili with ground lamb. Waste of good lamb. Once the chili flavoring is mixed in, it could be ground paper and it would all taste the same.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:03 AM •
Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The minute the first drop of rain hits, my dogs boycott the outdoors completely. This means changing puppy pads in my home about ten times a day. There seems to be no convincing them to just go out anyway and get a little wet. I believe the term I’m looking for here is PRIMA DONNAS!

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:29 AM •
Tuesday, August 05, 2014

It’s August and I still have no ripe raspberries on my bushes. I thought all the sun in May would have encouraged a bumper crop. Clearly I know nothing about raising things… animals, vegetables, fruits or otherwise.

Elise Sereni Patkotak • 03:27 AM •

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