May 24, 2006

Start Spreading the News...

... I'm leaving today!

May 18, 2006

It's in the Stars

...from Freewill Astrology:
This is a time when you must put one concern above all others: being true to yourself. Don't you dare elevate other people's needs above your own. Don't you dare let their guilt trips manipulate you into watering down your interesting quirks. You have simply got to devote yourself exuberantly to your idiosyncratic dreams. You owe it to yourself to learn all you can about your innermost secrets and ripening mysteries. You need to be ingeniously obsessed with serving your deepest, wildest, most noble longings.

...from MetroWeekly:
In the midst of your profound, transformative process, you're discovering truths that explode myths you've held regarding your internal order. Delight in this new perspective on your self and your motivations. Release all you can of the old to make room for new growth.

...and of course from Crazy Aunt Purl:
I look at your end-of-May chart and all I see is … feet. I haven’t had a great deal of time to ponder the meaning of this clearly significant sign. Feet. It can mean so many things! Begin walking? Walk away? Tired feet? Foot traffic? Foot soldier? Go shoe shopping? Foot the bill? Foot in mouth? Footsteps? Beat feet to the food court? Follow or lead? Ah, yes, follow or lead! A question you’ve given some thought to. I believe this symbol can mean anything you choose - progress, change, or Roxy flip-flops in a Hawaiian print. But then again, I’m not standing in your shoes, and neither is anyone else. So how can anyone but you decide what is best for your own feet? You know your true direction, deep down, and you can trust your own decisions this month, and let others follow in your footsteps. Maybe those footsteps will lead to cake. I do not know.

Clearly the stars are saying - no matter what - get thee to Chicago and stat!


One week from today I will be moving - permanently - into our place in Chicago. At that point in time I will be aged 32 years, 1 week.

Rock Star doesn't appreciate the Mona Lisa. You may remember her guest appearance from last fall, but here she is again in all her glory*:
Mona Lisa
Because Rock Star and I have agreed to decorate the place together and iterate on a style that works for us - instead of me and him - she needs to go (let's all sigh a collective 'boo!' - just kidding, Baby. ... Mostly).

Also, the retro Hawaiin theme isn't going to work in our new old place. That's why I'm sell ing my stuff.**

Besides, I don't want to carry any more down the stairs than I have to.

* Please excuse her tired-looking appearance. It was early in the morning and she hadn't had any caffeine yet.
** I'm only posting this here in case someone local really likes something. I know it's doubtful that anyone would want my old stuff! but if you're interested and you're near the Lehigh Valley I'm happy to give you a cut-rate deal.

PS - I know I talk all the time about my place being dirty and gross and a crackhouse. It is. But this stuff lived most of its life in the house I just sold or the apartment I had with Rock Star, both of which usually smelled nice. And I *did* clean my room before I moved into the apartment. I mopped and everything.

May 15, 2006


Dear Creepy Guy at the Laundromat and His Friend:

It shouldn't take you two hours to mop one spot on the floor, even if it is under the Coke machine. And your loud talking to each other about your exciting putang-filled weekend is not very exciting. The girls in my neighborhood already have enough Baby Daddy and I just find you annoying.

Also, please stop looking into my basket when you think I am not noticing. My underthings are not that exciting.



Dear LandLordess:

I would think it was cute that you expect me to clean the apartment before you come over to show my room to a prospie if you weren't so completely delusional. You and I both know that place is a crackhouse and hasn't been cleaned since the Reagan administration.

I still expect to get my deposit back, and I have witnesses who are willing to fight on my behalf even though I will be leaving town soon.


A Public Service Announcement for all you gardening pet owners

I just got an email forward from a friend about the dangers of using cocoa mulch around your pets. Apparently, it's true.

Thank you for all your well wishes for my parents. Dad reads my blog and they will certainly appreciate your thoughts.

May 14, 2006

Rest In Peace

Still Life with Dogs
Barney (foreground) with Barley at my parents' place (2005)

I just got off the phone with my parents. They had to put their companion of nearly 14 years down yesterday. I was a freshman in college when Mom and I walked into the pound to look for puppies for Dad's Christmas present. My eyes locked with Barney's from across the room and he has been part of our family ever since.

He was named after Barney Rubble, but when Barney the dinosaur became popular my brother and I unsuccessfully campaigned for a name change on his behalf.

He always sat on the stairs in the evening, so he could keep one eye on my dad snoozing in the living room and the other on my mom in the kitchen while she made dinner.

He was good at kissing lots but avoiding lips.

His favorite snacks were scrambled eggs and toast with peanut butter.

Dad buried him on the south side of the house, under his favorite spot to survey his territory.

May 13, 2006

A Breath of Fresh Air

I brought some of the seedlings that Sweet Basil gave me last weekend in to work with me today. They need a place to squat that is sunnier than my crackhouse while I'm finishing up my third chapter over the next couple of weeks.
Seedlings from Sweet Basil

I keep forgetting that there is a woefully underused greenhouse in my building. Thus, I always feel a sense of discovery when I do make it into the space.

A Lovely Hideaway on a Rainy Day

You have to walk through a narrow hall to access it. The greenhouse is a solid structure, probably 100 years old. It's a beautiful utilitarian space with all sorts of pipes for delivering heat and water and wheels and levers for opening windows. No one is here today. Between the emptiness, the rain, the greenhouse hardware, and the quirky staircase, I feel like I'm in a Tim Burton landscape.

Wheels and Levers

One of my favorite memories in this building is hanging out in the greenhouse with Sweet Basil, harassing her tomato seedlings to simulate wind so they would grow up big and strong.

Rain helps seedlings grow up big and strong, too.

Rainy May

Dye-O-Rama questionnaire

Dear Secret DOR Pal:

Here are some answers to the questionnaire that was posted a few days ago on the group blog. I know you're also in the 'WTF!' group so I want you to know that there's no pressure! I'm easy to please.

I can't wait to 'meet' you when this is all over.


* Your favorite colors? Greens, reds, oranges - but I really like so many sorts of shades of many colors.
* Preferred yarn weight (Fingering, Sport, DK, maybe even Worsted)? Any is fine, but I like fingering or sport for socks.
* Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? Depends on the day - sometimes I like wild and crazy; other days I prefer subtle color schemes.
* If your buddy is able to do so, would you like a variegated, self-striping, or self-patterning yarn? Any of those would be great, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it myself! Again, no pressure.
* Would you be interested in a wool blend sock yarn (nylon, tencel, silk, acrylic, alpaca, etc.)? Sure.
* Imagine the perfect colorway. What would you name it? Nyang Jiang. It's a river in Tibet that is very blue and sandy.

* What was the biggest appeal to you for joining this dye-along? Meeting more knitters and giving myself a timeline to dye my first yarn.
* Have you knit socks before? Yes.
* Do you use sock yarn for just socks or in other patterns too? I use it in whatever inspires me. I made some convertible mittens from self-striping sock yarn that I love.
* Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages? 1 cat, Teak, 8 years old. 1 dog, Barley, 6 years old.
* If you were a color what color would you be? Green, I'm sure.
* Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read. This is a hard one because I'm often inspired by things I read. Recently, this is on my personal email signature:
"The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other - instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals." - Edward Abbey


Some of my Very Favorite People were engaged this past week.

Please hop over to see Dani and Dancing Fish to congratulate them. They are both very talented and loving and supportive women and I am so very happy for them.

May 12, 2006


I've got nothin'.

But if you have wanderlust, you should check out my friend Beth's site. She is writing some simple and beautiful posts about her recent trip to Indonesia.

(PS - hey Beth, I hope you don't mind! Leave a mean comment if you do. xo)

May 11, 2006

"911. What is your emergency?"

"Somebody is sending me subliminal messages in the night."

The following is a true story.

Rock Star called me yesterday to say that he awoke the night before, at 2:17 am. There was a car driving veeeerrrry slowly through our completely residential neighborhood. A woman was speaking softly into a bullhorn in a monotone, giving God-Knows-What message to the slumbering suburbanites.

Is there an important local election coming up? Does she want to save souls? Is she trying to sell something?

Most importantly, has Rock Star already fallen prey to her middle-of-the-night chanting without even knowing it?!

I just returned from lunch with one of my former housemates, G-dog. When I told her the story, she said, "Wow. I don't even know what to do with that information."

Which is how I feel. Now I'm passing this along to you in the hopes of diffusing that nagging creepy feeling I've had for the past day.

May 8, 2006


I know if you didn't go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (MSW, MDSW), you might not want to hear about it. feel free to skip this photo-heavy post* about The Adventures of a Monkey, a Fish, and Sweet Basil in a Fiber-Lover's Paradise if you're so inclined:

Update 5/11: Now with storyline!

Dancing Fish and I both had other commitments on Saturday night, so we woke up very early to drive down to Maryland. We talked Sweet Basil into meeting us there. We stood at the gates and were soooo excited. A quick call to Sweet Basil confirmed that we had about 20 minutes to snarf up some corn dogs before we became three.
Corn Dog Goodness

After meeting up with my favorite kim-chee yum-yum, we ran into some of these guys near the entrance. I am now trying to convince Rock Star that we need to adopt some to take on walks around the neighborhood with Barley.
Alpaca You Home With Me!

The tasty trio then headed to see the vendors, VENdors, VENDORS! - truly wolves in sheep's clothing, if you know what I mean.

We met some crazy hookers named Mary and Kunni from Forestheart Studio in Woodsboro, MD. These women are a HOOT and I will be ordering my first rug hooking project from Mary as soon as I become gainfully employed. It's a rabbit in a garden, but she doesn't have it up on the web yet.

We stopped by the Hunt Country Yarns booth, where I bought a skein of Mango Moon recycled rayon (viscose). No project in mind, I just liked it.

Dancing Fish picked up some beautiful stuff at the Seaport Yarn booth, where Susan was a very helpful enabler. You can hop on over to DF's site if you want to see what she's going to make with it. I don't want to steal her thunder, but it's gonna be bee-you-tee-full.
Dancing Fish Falls in Love

We only got through about half of the main exhibition hall before we tuckered ourselves out enough for a little break.
Soaking up some sun

I tried to get an action shot of my new yarn, but my camera focus isn't as fast as the Moon.
Flying Yarn

Here's a better shot of its colorway. It's called 'Dawn' but I call it 'Exploded Clown.'
Mango Moon Recycled Sarong

If you haven't noticed by now, I travel by my stomach. My all-time favorite fair food is Lemonade Shake-ups, though they seem to be called just lemonade out here in the mid-Atlantic. It's simple - 3-4 lemons squeezed into a cup filled with probably about 3 cups of sugar, crushed ice that tastes faintly of carny smoke, and a splash of water. Add a vigorous shake by a cute 16-year-old and you have one of the most refreshing. drinks. ever.

This was not one of those, despite my spending $5 ($FIVE!) of precious yarn money on it.
Bad Lemonade!  Bad!

Here are some loud and cute fiber animals. One very helpful Flickr community member told me that they are angora goats - not sheep as I originally thought (oops!).

We went to Sweet Basil's for an early dinner of grilled steak and corn, accompanied by beans and watermelon. Beverages were 'Big Fish' wine and 'Golden Monkey' beer. Yum! Thanks, D (and an exuberant, belated 'Happy Anniversary' to you both)!
Monkey Dinner

Sweet Basil gave me a TON of seedlings for our new garden. It was so generous and I'm so excited about them that they shall have their own post later.

We spread out our finds of the day, which included a delicious skein of Brooks Farm. A very friendly alumna from a certain TX liberal arts university that I attended sold me this bit of goodness. It was hard for me not to buy green, but I went with a shade that is more kind to my complexion because I'm finally making Clapotis, like Steph.
Clapotis, unconstructed

Lastly, what kind of obsessive maniac would I be if I didn't buy materials for spinning? Yes, I'm following the pack.
Dyed Locks
Our First Yarn

To say it was a beautiful day is an understatement. I even stayed within my budget. How sexy is that?!

* as usual, some of the photos are blurry because I've sacrificed clarity for true color.

May 5, 2006

Rite Aid Raid II: A Candy Review



Why is one good and the other ungood? I think the answer can be found in a small bit on writing on the back that I've conveniently made a starred inset on the photos. Note that one package contains a candy with a registered trademark and the other says nothing.

The lesson of the day, friends, is to use caution when choosing your childhood favorites from the discount candy aisle. There are imposters lurking.

And, oh. If you're here for stitching content, you may wanna wait a couple of weeks to check back in. Unless Dancing Fish and I decide to convince Sweet Basil to go here on Sunday.

Don't worry. After I turn in the diss, it's gonna be all stitch all the time at Chez Monkey.

Squirm much?

Oh, Rummy.

(Click on 'WATCH' about halfway down the page)

May 3, 2006

Can I have $20,000

for this?

Maybe I should start a send amandamonkey to Middle Earth campaign... I would totally blog about it!

::muses on the sorts of textiles they must make::

PS 5:3

Spring Leaves

I think I will start putting my Project Spectrum photos just on my Flickr site unless they have a funny or poignant or random story behind them - you can click the 'May' button under the 'Project Spectrum' button if you want to keep up with them - or the link above. Then I'll post a summary at the end of the month.

Maybe I'll even get around to making a green craft!

May 2, 2006

Nice Day for a White Wedding

My brother's wedding was beautiful, as was his new wife and the weather in Pittsburgh. Really, we had such a - well - beautiful time.

We arrived at the rehearsal and my brother was decked out in a serious vintage powder blue tux:

His wife didn't know he would show up so spiffy so she was relatively underdressed but elegant nonetheless.

We headed to the hotel bar afterwards and had a few of these (hey, Carrie, recognize this?!):

Iron City Beer

Rock Star and I took a few self-portraits that night:


The next day was gleaming. The wedding went off without a hitch. Nick and my new SIL cut the cake at the reception:


The reception was So Fun. Here's a shot of part of the Insane Cousin Posse that I think captures the mood pretty well:

Insane Cousin Posse

After a weekend of revelry, some of this had to go down the gullet before I could bear to drive home:

Holiday Inn coffee tastes like a$$

Despite making a wrong turn after dropping Rock Star off at the airport (I shoulda gone west instead of east), I enjoyed a nice sunset in the ridges and valleys of Pennsylvania on my long drive back.

Sunset over the Ridge and Valley

PS 5:2

My camera bag, purchased in SFO Chinatown as a set of three for $9. I use the medium-sized one to store my iPod, and the smallest one holds knitting do-dads.

Camera Bag

I am Marge, Marge is me...

You Are Marge Simpson

You're a devoted family member who loves unconditionally.

Sometimes, though, you dream about living a wild secret life!

You will be remembered for: your good cooking and evading the police

Your life philosophy: "You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head."

May 1, 2006

PS 5:1

Oh man, this is too easy.

It's the first month I'm involved in Project Spectrum and green is my favorite color.