Saturday, August 28, 2010

Monkeying Around in Downtown Seattle

It was a beautiful Saturday in Seattle, so we piled into the car for an adventure! Wendy, Ken and I had chosen downtown because there is SO much to see there! We had no idea of the excitement ahead - and how great it would be to be a little sock monkey on this very sunny day!

We approached the Emerald City. They call Seattle that ... and honestly, with how much the skyline looks like Land of Oz, I was actually looking for Flying Monkeys! With my eyes to the skies (I do not like Flying Monkeys), I saw something amazing! I yelled, "KEN! STOP THE CAR! THEY ARE EXPECTING ME!"

A huge sign welcomed me, exclaiming that this is in fact the Year of the Monkey in Seattle! Well, that's what I thought it meant until I saw it was just a store name, but it was fun to think that I was so welcomed here. The store next to it is called Island Fever, and they actually hire pirates to work there. I felt safe outside, but I got nervous when I saw one of my cousins inside who appeared to be positively blue with fear! I was reassured, though, when he gave me the "thumbs up" and I didn't have to worry that the pirates were after him.
We headed even further downtown after that because I was getting hungry and Ken said he knew a good place where I could get an almost-as-good-as-Detroit-my-hometown falafel sandwich. There was a nice policeman directing traffic around some construction, and Sgt. Vela told us it was okay to park where we wanted to park. He was so NICE and FRIENDLY! I like people in Seattle! 

Well, imagine our surprise when right there next to us where we parked (actually, Ken did the parking. Wendy and I just sat there quietly), there was a restaurant called, "Cocoa Banana" and they have a MONKEY in their sign! WOOO HOOO! I pretended I was the monkey, and we all laughed.
Oh, the falafel at Zaina was mmmmmmm-mmmmmmm-MMMM! When we were done, I heard a television set in the back dining room. I had to see what it was! OH MY STARS AND GARTERS! It was Ben Stiller in one of the "Night at the Museum" movies. And to my delight, I saw my cousins, the Capuchin monkeys, were on the screen! I think they saw me because one of them smiled at me!

We walked over to a toy store called "The Magic Mouse" and I'm glad it's not called the Magic Monkey. The man there was so mean! They had a whole bunch of my sock monkey cousins, even the realllllly big ones, and I wanted to have Wendy take a picture of me with them. I was trying hard to just sit there and stare like they were, but when the man said, "No pictures allowed in the store. The owner says no pictures allowed in the store," I got really mad. Wendy smiled, gave him my business card, and asked if maybe he could make an exception. He crossed his arms and said, "No pictures allowed in the store!" (He reminded me of the really mean guard at the Wizard's palace in Oz, actually!) 
Next we went to an outdoor market downtown in Occidental Square Park, with all these booths with people in them, and they were selling their stuff! Mostly things they made. I met a nice lady, ALSO named Wendy who makes adorable stuffed animals. She calls her business "Adorable Seattle" and I think she is so smart! 

There were so many things to DO in Occidental Park! They have a HUMONGOUS chess set that is there for people to play with. I thought sock monkeys might be able to play too, but I nearly got exhausted trying to use my famous knight opening move. I could not help but notice that the white bishop looked JUST like Grover, without the blue fur and pink nose. He had his mouth open, and I thought he might want me take something out of it, but he just had his mouth open. We had a nose to nose staring contest, and Bishop Grover could not help himself from giggling!
There is a way cool group of sculptures there, honoring the fallen Seattle firemen. At first I did a doubletake because I thought that there was a fire! But, no, they are just metal firemen. They were a little scary because they looked like what I think Darth Vader would look like if he grew up to be a fireman. I pretended to play with them, doing the Fireman Crouch with one, helping another use the chainsaw, and helping to steer the big fire hose with a couple of other guys. I was making Darth Vader breathing noises, and they said I sounded like their oxygen tanks! Wow, was that fun!
And THEN just when I thought things could not get more fun, there was a GIANT tarp with about two gazillion Legos just spilled all over them! There were some kids playing, but they were pretty busy, so I just helped pull more and more Legos out of the box. 

I met the NICEST girl there! Her name is Carrole (AKA Cirquesse) and not only does she hoola-hoop, she also smiles all the time! Carrole was hoola-hooping to some music that was playing nearby, and people were dropping money into a box. She is going to be a nurse and the hoola-hooping helps pay for her school! I think I would like Carrole to be my nurse if I had to go to the hospital because she could hoola-hoop for me... and she has a really nice smile!

Before we left the Square, we took a look at some amazing primitive sculptures. Me, being a primitive soft sculpture, I really liked the one called Bear. I was pretending that he was pushing me down! It was pretty fun, but then I started looking at his face a little too long, and I got scared. I told Ken that it was time to go.

It had been a while since we saw any monkey stuff, until I saw Smith Tower! That tower looks just like ME, the way it's shaped!

As we walked through Pioneer Square, we met a really nice guy named Rick. He works at Utilikilts. There are a lot of guys who wear kilts in Seattle. Okay, not a lot, but a lot more than in Detroit! Rick was so fun! I don't know how he knew I want to be a Biker Monkey, but he put me up on his bike with him! While he was talking to Wendy and Ken, I could not help but try to find out... what DO they wear under their kilts! (I'm not telling!)
It had been a long day, and I was getting hungry again, so we decided to head home. As we were driving through very slow traffic downtown, Ken (who was really doing the driving) said, "Look, Ernie! Another monkey!" Well, right there on a pillar were all these signs saying Massive Monkees with really scary monkey faces on them! I tried to look scary like them, and I even added growling, but I think I just ended up looking blurry.

My trip to the Emerald City was so nice. I want to go back again! I really enjoyed it and all the people I met. I am very glad that there were no flying monkeys!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Take Your Sock Monkey to Work Days for me!

Well, being back from vacation has been a little boring. Mostly I have been sitting around watching Wendy make sock monkeys or get ready to do her training work. Ken has been going back and forth to work all the time. Both of them sigh a lot. I don't think I'd like to be a human and have to have a job. I like being a sock monkey, but - like I said - it has been a little boring.

I asked Wendy if I could go to work with her one day. Okay. I didn't ASK... I kept saying, "Can I come with you? Can I come with you? Can I come with you?" until she stopped sighing and said, "Okay, Ernie. Today you can come with me. Today we will pretend that it's Take Your Sock Monkey To Work Day!" I was SO excited to be going to work! Of course, I don't know what people do when they go to work, but it was exciting to get out of the house!

Wendy was doing a training for some awesome afterschool professionals who work for Kids Company here in Seattle. She thought I could be helpful as a Junior Trainer because it was a workshop on "play" - why humans need classes to learn about playing is beyond me! Anyway, I went to her class and the teachers really liked me. I was able to join in at the end of a puppet "experience" (whatever that is!). All of the teachers were way cool and friendly. I made new friends with two guys - Cortez and Brandon! Cortez let me sit with him during part of the workshop! Brandon's dad is from Michigan, so it's like he and I are almost cousins! We both wear hats and really big grins too!

The next day, Ken was going to go to Lowe's to get some "stuff" he needed to work on the place. WORK! Another chance to go to work! It seemed like saying "Can I come with you? Can I come with you? Can I come with you?" did the trick with Wendy, so I tried it with Ken... and off we went to Lowe's! 

I don't know if you have ever been to Lowe's, but it's SO much fun outside! Ken let me pretend to drive a giant lawn mower. That was fun - but what was even more fun was playing with the gear shift and then looking into the gas tank and yelling, "Helllllooooooo down there!" I cracked myself up! Ken was laughing too, even though later he told me it was a cup holder. I have a lot to learn...

On the way into the store, I saw all these beautiful flowers! And they were hanging on what looked like Monkey Bars! I love swinging on Monkey Bars, so I jumped away from Ken and started swinging from planter to planter. WOW was it fun. Well, it was fun until Ken told me to settle down and then put me in the shopping cart... with the seatbelt on. 

I think Wendy's work is more fun than Ken's! 

As a special treat, Wendy and Ken took me to an outdoor concert with them. It was at this very awesome place - Marymoor Park - to see Rodrigo y Gabriela, and there were so many people there! And kids, too! We were there early enough to eat some dinner and then wander around (they called it "people watching" but I don't see what's so special about that - I do that all the time!). After a while, we found our seats. Then we waited some more in these chairs. 

Then I decided to pretend that the band was on the stage and I tried to start a wave like at Comerica Park. But there were not enough people there to do the wave with me. Finally, I played a really fun game of hide and seek with Wendy. Well, it was fun to start with. I hid in the backpack and would peek out to see if she was looking for me. Ken was calling, "Ernie? Where's Ernie???" and we were all laughing. So I decided to hide really deep in the backpack. I found some cookies down there, and after I ate them, I realized I was sitting on Wendy's sweater. And it was nice, warm, dark, and comfy. I missed the concert because I was doing such a good job of hiding that I fell asleep!

One thing I learned about going to concerts - I'm not going to play hide and seek next time, I'll tell you that!