Like every other Tacoman right now, I, too, want a Monkeyshine of my own.
Every Chinese New Year, Tacoma glassblowing artists create hundreds of glass floats and medallions and hide them around the city. Each one is stamped with that year’s animal sign (this year is the horse). The tradition began in 2004, and may end next year, when the full cycle of the zodiac (12 animals total) is complete.
I’ve spent countless hours over the years hunting down the beautiful glass orbs while operating on very little sleep, but the excitement and anticipation are always worth it. In 2011, a few days after my husband proposed, I found my first Monkeyshine orb. It was the Year of the Rabbit. It felt like it was meant to be.
No luck for me this year, but I did find a pretty green and white marble placed by the “Marble Man,” another mystery Tacoman who hides treasures around town during this time of year. Others have found 12th Man stones, octopus marbles, and ceramic figures. I decided to hide something myself this year, and I hope it’s found and treasured.
This is what I’ve realized over the years: it’s not entirely about the physical object you get to keep. It’s about the joy of discovery. Each time I catch a glint of a shiny object, my eyes grow wide and I feel like a kid on an Easter egg hunt. (Then I realize it’s another discarded Red Bull and move on.) It’s addicting, the hunt for this feeling, this accomplishment.
And though each year I claim I will only search the first morning, I continue to go back out with hope. So, with all the Monkeyshines fun happening this weekend, I wanted to share my top 10 signs you’ve become obsessed with the hunt. I should know, as it happens to me every year.
Good luck looking, if you’re still out there! I hope you enjoy it, even if you don’t find a thing.
10 signs you are Monkeyshines obsessed
1. While out driving, you constantly scan the streets for anything round and shiny—even when you’re not even in Tacoma.
2. When you do spot something that even remotely resembles a glass float, you get wide-eyed and dash toward it (or pull over immediately).
3. You’ve stopped caring about looking suspicious and poke around in every planter and bush you find.
4. You regularly check the comments on Exit133’s Monkeyshines post, as well as the #monkeyshines hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
5. You’re weary, sore, and sleep deprived.
6. You don’t care about being weary, sore, and sleep deprived, so you keep going out to keep looking.
7. You schedule time off work months in advance of the Chinese New Year.
8. You can list a few dozen locations where Monkeyshines have been found in previous years.
9. You’ve revisited the same spot a few times … just in case.
10. You dream about Monkeyshines.