Category Archives: Toys

Monkey business


I made another sock monkey tonight. I wanted to give it to Jamie, but I ran into some problems as I was making it, and it didn’t come out quite the way I wanted. I have two more socks like these (I mixed and matched between two pairs), so I’ll just keep this one and make a sturdier, better constructed specimen for Jamie.


Despite its flaws, I still think it turned out pretty cute.


Here it is with my first monkey, a traditional Rockford Red Heel specimen.


In case you are wondering, Scout is no longer speaking to me. She did not like sharing her chair with that sock monkey one little bit. She looks awfully cute with the monkey’s arms around her, though….


Fabulous prize

You had to know this was coming:


This is the fabulous prize for the trivia contest.

Actually, this is the prototype for the fabulous prize. I am making a sturdier, more neatly constructed sock monkey to be the fabulous prize.

I would have announced the prize when I announced the contest, but I wanted to wait until my socks came in and I’d confirmed that I could, in fact, make a monkey out of them and would not have to resort to Plan B (which involved a duct-tape wallet — a cool prize, to be sure, but much stickier and messier to make).

I think the socks arrived yesterday afternoon, but the mailman set them on a chair next to the porch, and I didn’t notice them until late last night. I am now busy making a monkey for the contest winner (or, more likely, for his toddler, who — if he is like most toddlers — will probably grab it and take off with it as soon as it comes in the house), along with a CD containing both the songs from the trivia contest and several other songs by those artists.

Sock monkeys are fun to make. I think they are also very cute. I intend to make a lot of them in the future. I will probably give away more of them on this blog, so watch this space if you would like to have one of your own. I might eventually make a duct-tape wallet and use it as a prize, too. Stay tuned.

Oh, and for those of you who missed it: Here are the answers to the trivia contest.

The question was: Two songs begin with the line “It was the third of June….” Finish the line for both songs, and name the songs and the artists who wrote and performed them.

The answer:

1. “It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day.” From “Ode to Billie Joe,” by Bobbie Gentry, recorded in 1967.

2. “It was the third of June on that summer’s day when I became a man at the hands of a girl almost twice my age.” From “Desiree,” by Neil Diamond, recorded in 1977.

“Desiree” is not my favorite Neil Diamond song, but it’s one of my favorite songs to hear him sing in concert. It’s from the album I’m Glad You’re Here With Me Tonight, and I’d heard it — and largely ignored it — at least a dozen times before I attended my first Neil Diamond concert, where I stood in the front row and watched him do a killer live version that pretty much knocked my socks off.

The greatness of “Ode to Billie Joe” is pretty much a given. If you haven’t heard it, go straight to iTunes and download it, because it’s maybe the greatest ballad ever. The backing music — guitar and some creepy-sounding strings — is very eerie, and Bobbie Gentry’s voice is just sublime. Plus it’s loads of fun to sing at karaoke shindigs, because most people my age have never heard it, plus it’s weird and sad and written across a part of my range that sounds better after I’ve spent a few hours talking to friends in a smoke-filled room. 🙂

On a quest

I went on a quest this evening to find a pair of Rockford Red Heel socks for making a sock monkey. I’d hoped they might be available locally (I seem to remember seeing them at a craft store not long ago), but I couldn’t find any at my usual haunts, so I finally gave up and ordered some online.

I’m not exactly sure why, but I have decided that it is simply wrong for Jamie to go through life without a sock monkey. I have also decided that it is simply wrong for me to go through life without a sock monkey. I intend to right this wrong as soon as my socks come in.

I think my fascination with sock monkeys started a few weeks ago, when I stumbled across the aftermath of’s sock monkey challenge.

Then I got online today and found these hilarious Halloween monkeys, and after that, it was all over for me — I can’t possibly survive much longer without making a sock monkey of my own.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have something else I need to be doing. Lots of somethings, in fact. But what I want to do is make sock monkeys.

I didn’t have the right kind of socks tonight, so I just worked late, laid out my section of the paper, and then came home and made stroganoff for dinner.

I know I still haven’t uploaded my cute Jamie photos from last weekend. I really am going to Photoshop them soon. Honest I am. I’ll have to do it before tomorrow night tonight, as I am heading to Sapulpa to take pictures for work and need to clear off my card before I go. Hopefully I can slip out of the office early enough to get that done….




I’ve spent the past several years dreaming of a 1965 VW Microbus, but the one I wanted sold before I could get to Kansas City to look at it, and in the meantime, Ron’s friend Jeff Wall got on his MySpace page and waxed poetic about the old beater pickup truck he’d bought for $500 somewhere. (By “poetic,” I mean “foul-mouthed and sarcastic, but in an oddly endearing way” … so don’t click the link to his ode to old pickup trucks if you are easily offended. But if you like old trucks and don’t mind sifting through a sailor’s syntax, go ahead and take a look.)

I was still pretty set on buying a hippie wagon, but I don’t have any practical reason to own one, and Wall is a good writer, and he has the right sensibilities about things, and … I dunno … something just came over me when I read about that beat-up truck of his.

I picked up a Truck Trader magazine next time we were at QuikTrip and found out I could buy a truck capable of winning every car show in the state of Oklahoma for what we’d planned to spend on a Splittie. I dogeared about 10 pages and circled maybe a dozen trucks and left the magazine for Ron, who told me we weren’t going to buy a truck until he pays off his Insight in June.


A week later, we found this gorgeous thing on a used car lot on Route 66 in Red Fork. Ron liked it enough to call and ask some questions about it.

We found out it had a newly rebuilt engine, and it cost about half what I’d planned to spend on a VW, and on top of all that, it was a ’66.

We’d found a ’66 on Route 66.

So of course we had to take it out for a test-drive.


It felt like an old truck is supposed to feel.

It looked like an old truck is supposed to look.

It sounded like an old truck is supposed to sound.

It smelled like exhaust fumes and grease and old metal and dust and dirt and honest work.

It smelled like my late grandpa’s truck.

I looked at Ron. Ron looked at me.

“What do you think?” he said.

“I think it smells like Grandpa’s truck,” I said.

So we bought the truck.


I drove it to the feed store this morning to pick up a bag of growth formula for the Bond Chicks.

It burns a lot of gas. It doesn’t have air conditioning. It doesn’t have power steering. It doesn’t have power brakes. It doesn’t like to start on the first try. I will probably have to buy two Terrapasses and go vegan just to compensate for whatever it’s spewing into the atmosphere. I am not allowed to have my credit card and the truck in the same place at the same time, because Ron does not trust me to control myself at the hardware store, the nursery, or the feed store now that I have a way to pick up anything I want and haul it home.

That’s OK.

I love our truck.

It smells like Grandpa’s truck….


Another day, another toy


I bought this gorgeous puppet for Jamie on my lunch hour Monday. It’s a chameleon, complete with eyes that bug out and move independently and a spandex tongue that you can flick in and out of its mouth. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but the puppet — not including tail — is nearly as long as my forearm, and it’s got a long tail that curls up at the end and little mitteny-looking hands with weird pairs of toes like a real chameleon’s.

I bought it at Kiddlestix, which is a wicked cool mom-and-pop toy store that specializes in educational toys. I think the chameleon puppet — which is made out of baby-friendly twinkly green metallic fabric — is only slightly less cool than the peacock I got him a few weeks ago.

I’ll probably blog about Kiddlestix on Indie Tulsa in the next couple of days.

Oh — and lest you think I’m all talk and no action on that “shop independent” thing I’ve been yanging about: The stylin’ Route 66 futon cover you see under the chameleon’s pillow (and the futon that it’s covering!) came from Great Southern Bedrooms, and that white bag in the background is a 50-pound sack of Booster Feed Mill’s store-brand dog food.

I hope Jamie likes weird puppets, because he’s going to be well-blessed with them. I saw a cute otter today that I want to get for him at some point, and they had a huge display of fun little finger puppets, including a very fuzzy emu that Jamie obviously needs to own. I didn’t buy either today because I was trying to exercise something resembling restraint, but you can bet I’ll be back in there in a week or two, buying some other shiny object to indulge my magpie tendencies entertain my nephew….


I want one.

I want an iPhone.

Yes, they’re $600.

Yes, I still have a year and a half left on this contract with Sprint, which I signed in a fit of pique after getting jerked around by a Cingular sales rep with an attitude problem.

Yes, my phone already has a half-dozen different ringtones and a built-in Dayrunner.

Yes, I passed up the chance to buy a Blackberry last summer after realizing the service plans were $80 a month or more.

I don’t care.

There’s something charming about a phone that thinks it’s an iMac, and I’m willing to pay stupid money to own one.