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Random Blog Journey-2-Peace: May 2007

    Trish Monaco.
    singer. songwriter.
    dog walker.
    human. living.
    loving. laughing.
    in Los Angeles

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Finally, A Bite

I've been applying for jobs left and right, up and down, all around. I've received a few "thank you for your interest" emails. I've made new friends in the state offices. They know me by first name now. I've applied with temp agencies that are dry as a bone when it comes to administrative positions.

Today was the first phone call I received with encouraging news. I have an interview next week and I'm looking forward to it. I don't want to jinx it by getting too enthusiastic, but the position sounds both challenging and rewarding.

One of the best parts is the full time schedule with Mondays and Tuesdays off. As PBX is working in the restaurant business this summer, we could conceivably create a similar schedule.
I'm hoping to spend some time at the lakes and beaches around New England this summer. I'm also not a huge fan of overcrowded touristy places. So having Mon-Tues "weekends" could be the best thing for us.

I guess I am already overly-excited about the possibility of this position. Nothing I can do about it now. Just hoping for the best.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Clarification

I guess after a few years of consistent blogging, there's bound to be some confusion. Readers come and go. Many stick around for the long haul. Some check in year after year. And some stumble on these pages at random.

I write the way I talk and I talk the way I think and my feelings usually rule the roost. Sometimes I'm not even clear about what's going on. Today I am. So I thought I'd take this lucid moment to clarify a few things.

1. I am in New Hampshire temporarily. My home is in Los Angeles.

2. I was never married.

3. I am not a man-hater. I like women and men.

4. PBX does not stand for Peanut Butter X-treme.

5. Psychology will not replace the guitar.

6. I drink alcohol occasionally and socially - and I like it when it doesn't close my throat or make me break out in hives.

7. I eat meat on occasion - I don't like it but my body needs it.

8. I eat fish - I love it and I wish I didn't.

9. I talk about having "an extra ten pounds" of weight on my body as if it's the end of the world. In reality, it's the difference between a size 6 and a size 4.

10. Now that we have internet access in our New Hampshire home-away-from-home, all is right with the world. :)

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Still Out of Sorts


Still no internet access at home. It's ready but the lines are crossed somewhere in the boonies. So they're scheduled to come out Tuesday to "uncross" the lines, or whatever it is they do to remove static.

So it's still all about an internet cafe for me. I've come to rely on the internet for just about everything -- from checking the day's weather to applying for work and everything in between. Instead of instant gratification, I'm writing things down that need to be done. I came here with a list. (pay bills, check email, update netflix queue, change address with the bank, etc.)

It's been a quiet weekend. As much as I love the idea of a holiday weekend, it's difficult to relax and enjoy the peace when I'm sitting on the edge of my seat regarding a job. I've applied with two temp agencies (because three others just don't have any work for anyone right now). I've applied with the state of New Hampshire, Easter Seals and two other facilities looking for entry level mental health workers and teachers. I've also put the word out to a friend who works with autistic children.

I'm doing the footwork. I'm eager to dive into something. It's too quiet around here. There's only so much shopping I can do. And I've been too tired to take long walks. Oh and don't get me started on the mosquitoes that love me on walks through open fields. Did I already mention it's tick season? Makes me shiver.

And I don't remember wasps and yellow jackets being this big when I was a kid. These buggers are way bigger than city bugs. We have ants in Los Angeles -- but they don't go crunch when stepped on. There are some tough critters in these here woods.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the adventure. Aside from a minor meltdown the other night that is.

I miss home like crazy. But I think I'd feel this way anywhere. It was time for a change and this temporary move is the perfect way to force me to make some internal changes. It's just ... difficult.

3400 miles from home. 15 miles outside of the (small) city. Two people with different schedules. One car. Makes for a fun challenge.

I guess that's about it for now. I need coffee.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

City Slickers





Day Two in New Hampshire.

Hunny thinks she needs to protect and serve. It’s a dog’s job, I suppose. But she’s a total city slicker when it comes to facing creatures of the back woods.

I was in the house when I heard PBX yelling from the garage, “Hunny just went one-on-one with a porcupine!”

The next thing I saw was my poor baby running toward me with these in her snout.
They looked like extra whiskers.

I ran around the kitchen in a panic (arms flailing and all), “What do we do? What do we do?”

PBX and her dad both said, matter-of-factly, “We take them out.”

Oh.

I looked at my girl again. She was licking and panting and pacing. I was following suit. “I can’t do it.”

Meanwhile, Piper is barking and whining like a madman. He worries and gets anxious enough for everyone.

There was a moment of deciding whether to bring Hunny to the vet or to deal with it ourselves.

We hoisted Hunny onto the table. I held her against my body while PBX ran for the needle-nose pliers.

She returned like a surgeon, “This is going to hurt her.” I think she was waiting for my okay before beginning the torture.

As PBX yanked each quill, Hunny squirmed and jutted her head back, nearly hitting my face with quills. She let out one tiny yelp. I think it was the second quill.

After that, it was a fight to keep her still. I used all my strength to hold Hunny in a hogtie while PBX braved the possibility of getting poked by quills -- or bitten by Hunny.

She did get poked. But Hunny never bit her. She never even tried.

I get teary-eyed just thinking about how agonizing the whole process was.

Hunny may only weigh 23 lbs but she put my strength to the test. She nearly escaped twice.

But we had to keep going. The last two quills were killer. In so deep that we could hardly see the ends.

The thing about quills is, they are barbed. They hurt more coming out than going in.
Hunny was a trooper. Amazing. Just a little blood, slight shaking and panting. By the time we were finished getting all thirteen (possibly fourteen because we dropped one) quills out, she was acting like her regular self: “Hey guys, where’s food?”

She knows she gets treats after she “takes her medicine” – and this was some medicine.

After her feeding, we still had to deal with the porcupine in the garage. The peacemobile was blocking an entrance – I needed to move it to the driveway to clear a path for the critter to leave in peace.

I had a rush of fear walking out to the garage without some kind of armored suit, but then I remembered PBX’s dad mentioned porcupines can’t “shoot” their quills – that’s a myth.


We got the little (big) guy out of the garage but he chose the nearest tree to climb. There’s a good chance he’s back – all toasty warm in the garage. But I won’t be reaching for anything in the dark, and Hunny will be on a leash.

Okay, so we’ve had our country-bumpkin initiation. I miss home. These critters put our house-dwelling black widows to shame.

...

PS - We don't have internet at home yet (next week) so I wrote this last night. This morning, I found another quill in Hunny's lip. Deep and bloody. Pooooooor girl slept all night, shaking, in pain, because we totally missed another quill.

Ack. Breaks my heart all over again.

We got it out right away. No more shaking or panting. She's resting comfortably.

They say some dogs learn to stay clear of porcupines after the first experience. Others keep going back for more. Apparently, Hunny falls in the latter category. She seems determined to even the score every time we open the door.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

We've Arrived - sort of

fallscloud1
click images to see more photos of our cross country trip

Spent Friday morning walking around Niagara Falls - on the Canadian side. Beautiful. I thought it might be very cold but we really lucked out with a clear sunny day.


kidsndogsfalls2

The dogs were a big hit with other tourists. This family especially stole my heart.


Getting back into the US was a breeze and we were soon on our way Home Away from Home.

We're not quite at our final landing destination yet. We made a pitstop in my hometown of Tyngsboro MA to spend the weekend with my best friend.

Her human-kids love our pet-kids! It's no matter that PBX and I are here. This visit is all about the kids.

We're hanging low today. Resting mostly. It's raining - a nice spring rain. Everything is so green. My friend lives on an apple orchard - so much land. I'm a fan of the grassy open land around the house. I get overwhelmed in the woods. Too cold and isolating for me.

Yay. We're here for the best months of the year!

...still feels like a vacation. I'm not even close to feeling settled in yet. It's a little ... unsettling.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Feline Friday - on the road

gracieperch1

Gracie spent the entire fifth travel day on her new perch. She's one amazing kitty.

Wow, has it really been five days?

Today we made it through the rest of Iowa and through Illinois. Touched parts of Indiana and Michigan. Talked our way into Canada and we're staying in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

It's almost 3am local time. We saw The Falls at midnight - all lit up in colorful lights. Beautiful and amazing -- and freezing cold and wet. We plan on seeing The Falls during the morning daylight hours before we head back to the US for the last leg of our cross country journey.

Google Maps tells me we only drove 700 miles today -- but that seems modest. My mind tells me we did 900 or 1000. Twelve hours just seems...far.

Either way, the same map service tells me we only have 500 miles to go. ...and miles to go before i sleep. That's been a running joke this week - a Robert Frost poem written about New Hampshire.

I should be HAFH (Home-Away-From-Home) the next time you hear from me.

Peace All

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Home is Where the Bed is

hunnywindow
click on image to see more sites from our Cross Country Trip.

Hunny watched the vast lands of Nebraska for a few minutes before returning to her restful slumber in the back seat.

We thought we had the great idea of driving all night, into the next day, by switching off and sleeping in the back seat. We were sadly mistaken. Seems that particular back seat is made only for pets under 25 lbs.

Fatigue - mental, physical and emotional - got the best of us. We found ourselves on the side of a country dirt road in Iowa.

Just fifteen minutes and I'll be good to get behind the wheel again.

Yeah, no.

We managed to pull it off for 22 hours (not constant driving) but we just couldn't do more.

We made it through Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nebraska and most of Iowa.

More than half way across the country.

From desert lands to rocky mountains, we've watched deer and antelope play (not together). We've seen cattle, unaware of their impending doom. Horses, big and strong. Goats too. And prairie dogs in the fields of Colorado - just the cutest little things. Lots of birds -- some unfamiliar. Cactus of all sorts. Trees. Dirt, rocks, lava, boulders, snow ... And too many bugs. Poor things -- they're ruining the front of the peacemobile.

We're resting for today and tonight. Yay!

We've got about 1100 miles to go. We've gone over 2200 already. So we're looking at 2 more 10-12 hour driving days (with bedrest in between) before we reach our destination in New Hampshire.

Exciting. Exhausting. Expensive. And worth every moment. :)

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

On The Road - Day One

We made it to our first destination.
(In plenty of time to walk the dogs, go out for dinner and see the Survivor Fiji Season Finale.)

day1arizona


So far, so good.
We'll spend time seeing the Grand Canyon tomorrow.

As you can see, the kids saw a lot of the countryside.

day1kids1

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On The Road

Headed out for the first leg of our cross country trip.
2 people. 2 dogs. 1 kitty.
ready for an amazing adventure!

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

LA Animal Services - Useless in Emergencies

As we are preparing to leave Los Angeles, I was reminded of the overpopulation and lack of concern shown by the city. If it's not their department, no one cares about a dying animal.

Last night PBX witnessed a cat being hit by an oncoming car. I missed it. But I did not miss seeing the suffering kitty, struggling to crawl to the side of the road. The hitter never stopped. We did. And it wasn't an easy choice.

For the first time ever, the peacemobile didn't have any towels, gloves, blankets, extra jackets or leashes in tow. Everything was at home being washed or tossed, since yesterday was my last day as a dog walker for a very long time.

All we had were the shirts on our backs.

PBX and I both called different phone numbers to find out just what to do with a suffering cat.
The nearest animal hospital was 20 minutes away.
Emergency-911 quickly transferred me to "the department who handles such cases."
That number was "no longer in service."

So I dialed 411 for information, looking for Los Angeles Animal Control. I was transferred and put on hold.

Meanwhile, We stayed with the cat, letting him see he wasn't alone. His struggling calmed down. I sat next to him. He was in and out of consciousness. I just kept breathing with him and letting him know he could let go if he felt ready. When I said that, his entire body relaxed.

I sat on hold with Animal Control for the remainder of the cat's life. By the time someone answered, the cat was taking his last breaths.

It didn't matter that I said the cat was brutally hit by a car, suffering on the side of the road and dying at my feet.

The person on the other end said he had to find out if I was in his jurisdiction.

I handed the phone to PBX so she could stay on hold with them while I talk to the cat.

Eventually the person returned on the phone and said it was out of his jurisdiction.

He transferred us.

again ... "the number you have reached is no longer in service."

All we could do was thank God the cat was no longer suffering. He didn't have to spend his last minutes alone. He was warm and cared for. He probably wouldn't have survived, even with the best veterinary attention. Our hope was to help end his misery. No one should be left to suffer.

Today I checked the Los Angeles Animal Services website. Nothing about saving hurt animals after hours, or from a cell phone. I even periodically visit the General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services Blog. Still no information about how to handle such a situation.

Useless.

We live a block and a half away from one of the LA Animal Shelters. This is not the first time we've encountered a hurt, dying or dangerous animal in our area. We asked an officer to help us once and she handed us a card of the person to talk to during business hours. The animal in question was standing just around the corner.

I've called the phone numbers. After twenty minutes on hold, I hung up.

Very disappointing, discouraging and frustrating.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tag

It's been ages since I've played a game of Tag. Well, now ten of us are "it" according to Maria. Thanks girly. I appreciate your support of my procrastination. :)

The Rules:
01. I will write 10 interesting (?) things about myself.
02. Then tag 10 people.
03. If you've been tagged, do your own list and tag 10 more people. (no "tag backs")

MY TEN THINGS

01. I'm the slowest grad school application-filler-outter on the planet.

02. I've been on TV, in movies and on the radio.

03. A reporter recently interviewed me and my blog for a Playboy article.

04. I danced with Paula Abdul at her house - long before her comeback as whatever-it-is-that-makes-her-famous-today.

05. I've gone cross-country by car four times - and I will do it two more times by the end of this year.

06. I've worked in so many industries/fields that I can hardly keep track: Entertainment, PR, Media, Production, Sports, Import/Export, Sales, Publishing, Education, Housekeeping, Computers, Childcare, Dog Walking, Music, Stage, Advertising...

07. I'm back on the vegetarian path but my body craves meat.

08. I eat the same junk food as always - plus I've been working out almost two hours a day - and still, I have weighed the exact same amount (to the ounce) for the last seven weeks.

09. According to my favorite Auntie, I look much older on my blog than I do in person.

10. I ate way too much ice cream last night.

I tag the following ten people to post their ten things:
Robbie
Gigi
Mary
Steven
Wil
Donna
Remo
Grace
Colleen
Amy

Geeeeez, that was more difficult than coming up with ten things...

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Freedom Writers

Powerful. Amazing. Moving. Painful. Educational. Inspiring.

If you haven't seen this movie yet -- rent it, buy it, borrow it.
Whatever you do, watch it!

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Thrashed

That's how I feel - thrashed.
Played racquetball last night and thought I was going to fall over the whole time. I never really warmed up. I just got more and more exhausted. Maybe, just maybe, I'm pushing myself too much.
I'm tired now but can't sleep.
That's when I know I'm stressed and overexerted.
So much to do.
So little time.

We're leaving this Sunday. First headed to the Grand Canyon and beyond. I don't really know the route or schedule. But apparently the first two days are mapped out for us.

So many things need taking care of before we actually get on the road. So I'm not exactly excited yet. I'll get there...I hope.

Still working on my application. There's the autobiographical statement (almost finished) plus two other essays (just started). I also need one more letter of recommendation. I hope to be done before I leave.

Uh, that's about it for the moment.

What's going on this summer?

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Procrastinating

So I have to write a five page autobiographical statement as part of my admissions application for the Masters in Psychology program. Sounds exciting. But damn - it's difficult.

Five pages of what? I don't really want to disclose too much but I want to disclose enough to exhibit my ability to self-reflect. It's going to take longer than just one sitting. I thought it might. But I was hoping it wouldn't.

Funny how I get up to do things I've been putting off when I'm supposed to be writing. I guess it's a good way to get me to blog. When I have to do something, I become more resistant. Must be the rebel in me. The part of me that doesn't like to commit. The me that doesn't want to be tied down or labeled or put in a box.

My college transcripts arrived and I must say, it's a good thing I'm applying to this particular psych program. While they care about an applicant's undergrad studies, they are more interested in current ability and less interested in past grades.

Whew.

As an undergrad, I knew Hollywood wouldn't care about my grades. Too bad, 'cause I kicked some acting and directing ass. Had I known my grades would matter elsewhere, I might have applied myself a teensy bit more.

My grades were fine. They just weren't excellent. And they certainly weren't my best. I remember. My college years were long ago but not that long ago.

I found out I have enough Early Childhood Education credits to qualify as a pre-school teacher and/or full-time substitute teacher. And those grades were great.

Anyway, I should get back to the task at hand. I'm suddenly remembering the key role procrastination played during my studying career.

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