Is New Jersey for Solbit? Maybe Not or Maybe

Dear Nicalai,

When we got off the Greyhound Bus in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, everything seemed normal.  When Cousin Susie and Tom picked us up in their car, everything still seemed normal, too, but, by the time we reached their home in Pittsgrove, something weird happened. Cousin Susie and Tom showed us their newly renovated kitchen.  Wow! Really nice.  Then Susie excused herself “…for just a minute.”

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After many years of “discussion,” Cousin Susie and Tom renovated their kitchen.

When Cousin Susie came back into the kitchen, she wasn’t herself anymore.  No, she was an iPhone!

See what I mean? Weird, huh?

See what I mean? Weird, huh?

Now, I’m afraid to leave the kitchen myself.  Who knows what Cousin Susie’s house would change me into?  Imagine me as a blue-tooth earpiece for that iPhone.  No way I’m leaving this kitchen, I thought.

Gee, things had been going really well up to that point.  At the bus station, Papa loaded our luggage into their car.  Tom drove us all to a wonderful art center, The Perkins Center for the Arts. That’s where I went to my first ever fundraiser! Fundraisers are also Funraisers. Get it?

They raise funds for the Food Bank of South Jersey and for an Arts Scholarship.  Know how they do it?  Empty Bowls.  Yep, artists make beautiful ceramic bowls and give them to the Center.  Then others make huge pots of homemade soup.  All kinds of soup. Once you buy a soup bowl, you can get any kind of soup  you want.

Nona and Papa bought soup bowls, and the volunteers filled the bowls with delicious soup.  What a great idea for the December Holidays.  Right?  Then everybody sits around and talks and talks and talks.  So, as I was saying, everything was normal up to that point.

Then we drove to Cousin Susie and Tom’s home, and the next thing I know, Susie wasn’t Susie any more.  I was upset.  Everybody else was laughing at what had happened to her.  “What’s so funny about a human being turning into a handheld phone?” I asked.  “We’ve lost Cousin Susie, and I only just met her!”

Jokes on me, of course.  Turns out she was just showing Nona and Papa her award winning 2014 Halloween Costume.  You’d think she might have told me before she put that thing on.  My first impression of New Jersey might have been better, less weird.

Since I thought maybe I should give New Jersey a second chance, I googled it to learn more.  What a surprise! I found out that New Jersey has a Jurassic past, just like me!  Yeah, here’s what Wikipedia said, “Around 180 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period, New Jersey bordered North Africa. The pressure of the collision between North America and Africa gave rise to the Appalachian Mountains.”  Now I’m thinking maybe New Jersey is my kind of state. We’ll always have Jurassic in common, if you know what I mean.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

December 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit says, “Horses are big, really big, but, oh, so friendly.”

Dear Nicalai,

Oh, my goodness, I forgot to send you this letter from Philadelphia. Here we are about to leave New York City. Hey, Nona says, “Better late than never, Solbit.” I think she’s right. Here it is:

Made another animal friend. Yep, her name is Libby. Libby lives in a stable in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Our friend Ann rides her on the trails in that park. She is so big, but she was really nice to me. I asked her, “Hey, can we be friends?” Libby answered with a whinny — that’s horse talk for “yes.” Isn’t she pretty?

Ann with Libby the horse: Our friend Ann introduced me to her horse, Libby.

Our friend Ann introduced me to her horse, Libby.

Did you know that Fairmount Park is the biggest green space inside a large city in the US.

Philadelphia has it all. First, a terrific art museum (remember that iconic scene in the movie “Rocky”) and the place where the founders argued and debated what would be in the Constitution of the United States of America! That place is called Independence Hall. I learned something from that: arguments can be creative and constructive.

And don’t forget Philadelphia’s inner city parks.

Papa used to commute to work on his bike from Chestnut Hill to Center City Philadelphia through this wonderful park. We just walked this time.

Papa used to commute to work on his bike from Chestnut Hill to Center City Philadelphia through this wonderful park. We just walked this time.

Uncle Josh, Auntie Kir, and Auntie Anna are soooo lucky to have grown up in this city! I hope we come back here some time.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

December 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.
*You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.

*You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit wonders what’s a “Big Apple?”

Dear Nicalai,

When we got on the Bolt Bus in Philadelphia, they told me we were going to a place called Manhattan, but I suspected a deception when I overheard Nona and Papa saying we soon would be “…in The Big Apple.”  In an apple for goodness sake.  No way.

Then I heard Nona say that she couldn’t wait to see the new apartment of our friends, John and Angela, “…on the Upper West Side.”  West side of what?

Well, their deception upset me, and I put my foot down.  “Hey, wait a minute, I thought you said we’re going to Manhattan!”  Papa said, “Solbit, we’re almost there, and you’re gonna like it.”  We stepped off the bus, and the next thing I know I’m looking at this guy.

This is certainly the tallest and heaviest resident of Manhattan I met on this visit.

This is certainly the tallest and heaviest resident of Manhattan I met on this visit.

“Where are we?” I asked.  Nona said, “Solbit, you’re in The Big Apple.  That’s another name for Manhattan. You are in Manhattan.”  Papa added, “Yeah, and we’re on the Upper West Side, too. That’s a neighborhood of Manhattan.”  “Oh, now I get it. You weren’t deceiving me, were you?” I said.

Right away, we walked to John and Angela’s apartment, and then they took us for a walk in their new neighborhood.  Wow, what a city.  It has a lot of concrete, glass, brick and asphalt, but, oh, what a lovely park.

This entrance to Central Park made me feel welcome.

This entrance to Central Park made me feel welcome.

Central Park has fountains, ponds, walking paths, and, of course, a lot of people, birds, and squirrels, too.

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I think Manhattan has to do a lot of maintenance here to keep it so nice.

My favorite view in the park was these trees in winter, but I didn’t see any apple trees.  No apples. Wonder why they call this place The Big Apple?

I love the way the bare tree limbs fill the space so gracefully.

I love the way the bare tree limbs fill the space so gracefully.

Of course, Manhattan isn’t all park, it has streets, office buildings, and traffic.  Oh, also, noise.  Very noisy in some places.

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I liked the clear blue stars hanging in the huge glass lobby of this building.

Well, we’re leaving Manhattan tomorrow and going to someplace called New Jersey.  I haven’t even seen the Old Jersey yet, but already we’re seeing the new one.  So, it’s goodbye to John and Angela and hello to Nona’s cousin Susie and her husband Tom.  I’ll write again soon.  Bye. I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

December 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Finds the City of Brotherly Love

Dear Nicalai,

What’s the City of Brotherly Love? Philadelphia!  Yeah, I guess “Philadelphia” actually means “brotherly love” in some old language.  Who knew?  Now with progress made by us girls, maybe they need to update to an old language word that means City of Sibling Love or City of Sisterly and Brotherly Love.

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Hey, speaking of love, look at me with Charlie. I just love this dog, and I think he loves me too.

Well, there you go.  We need an updated name for Philadelphia that includes girls, boys, and others-than-humans, like dogs.  Look how friendly Charlie is with little me.  He takes after John and Ann, our hosts, who made us all feel so comfortable and welcome at their home.

As you know, we’ve visited a lot of old friends and family out here on the east coast of the USA.

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We’re still living out of our suitcases and back packs, even though we’re back in the USA

In Philadelphia, we saw Nona and Papa’s friends, and I made new friends with them but also with dogs and birds too!  One of my new bird friends said, “Solbit, I’m sorry, but I have to go back to my nest now. It’s getting late, but I’m going to leave you something to remember me by.”

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My new friend left me one of her feathers to remember her by.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t could remove one of my orange, plastic scales to give her to remember me by.  As she flew away, I got a virtual tear in my eye.  I hope she can remember me, too, even without one of my scales.

Do you ever feel that way when you leave a good friend?  Kind of a happy and a sad feeling all at the same time, isn’t it? Often when we leave friends, Nona starts crying, but I think she’s happy to have spent time with old friends.

Well, as usual, I gotta go.  Yeah, we’re all packed up and headed for The Big Apple. Know what that is?  New York City.  We’re going to see friends of Nona and Papa’s who live in a place called — get this — “Manhattan.”  Do you think any city in the world is named “Womanhattan”?  I’m going to google that.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

December 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit’s Around the World Trip in Four Photos

Dear Nicalai,

I’m just not fair to myself.  I’ve given myself only four (that’s 1, 2, 3, 4) photos to give you a look back at our 14-month around the world trip.  It’s just not fair.  I need to give myself at least one photo a month (that’s 14 photos), but you’d go off to play soccer or read a book before you got to my number 5. So, four photos it is.

Remember this one from our time in New Zealand?  Here’s my scariest moment …

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If I weren’t plastic, I would have wet my pants when I ran into this Maori Warrior. [Photo from: Kiwi Vista Scenic Collection; http://www.kiwivista.co.nz]

Fortunately, his scary face was only a pose, and he turned out to be a wonderful man with a jolly sense of humor.  Papa says, “Solbit, there’s a lesson in that, if you take time to think about it.”  Maybe, but I’m too busy right now and don’t have the time to think about it.

Oh, here’s a really good one.  Remember my special shower at our Tokyo AirBnB?

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Girl, this toilet had every gizmo. Look at that control panel!

That shower was THE perfect size for me, right there on the toilet top!  We’ve never seen one like that since Tokyo.

Now, think about the color orange.  That’s me and the Buddhist monk in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Remember that, when Nick and Luke and our aunts and uncles came to visit us in December?

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Don’t you think that our color, orange, invites a calm and yet strong presence?

Oh, no, I’m down to my last photo, and I’ve only just gotten started!  I just have to close my eyes and pick one photo.  OK, here it is …

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As co-pilot, I knew absolutely nothing about airplanes or flying — other than that both scared me. Fortunately, our pilot knew exactly what he was doing.

Remember when I didn’t want to get into that little airplane in Zanzibar? I said it looked like a toy and refused to get in it.  Then I overcame my fear and had the thrill of a lifetime helping to fly the plane all the way to Arusha.  Uncle Ian is a pilot, so he knows what I mean.

Well, that’s my four photos for our 14 month around the world trip.  If you ever want to see more, just ask me, because I have thousands of photos.  (Nona helps me to keep them in our iPhoto library.  She’s really organized.  Papa, not so much.)

Nona and Papa told me that our traveling days are not over.  They say that we’ll spend 8 months traveling in South America in 2016.  I’ve never been to South America, so I have something to look forward to, and I’ll write to you about that trip too.  For now, I’ll just tell you about our upcoming travels in the US and Canada.  Yeah, we’re already off on another trip.  Gotta go.  Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

November 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Does Washington, DC and Has A Capital Time

Dear Nicalai,

We’re here, Washington, DC. The nation’s capital!  Nona and Papa lived here for 22 years, but this place is all new to me!  Uncle Tom and Aunt Barbara picked us up at Washington National airport. We’re here in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

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Papa never thought his farm boy’s trophy would end up as a Thanksgiving table center piece in Washington, DC, but it did.

 

That’s Aunt Barbara’s center piece for our Thanksgiving Day feast.  Isn’t it unusual?  Know what it is?  I’ll tell you: a trophy that Papa won when he was a farm boy in an Ohio 4-H club.  Yeah, he had a girl beef cow (he says “breeding heifer,” whatever that is).  He showed her in a contest at the Clermont County Fair way back in the 1960s.  He won something called “best in show” with her.

Oh, one more thing, his breeding heifer looked just like the larger of these two figures on the trophy, and she had a strange name, “Potsie.”  I wish I could have named her.  I would have named her “Ms Chloe” or “Ms Bella.”  Something dignified.

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Papa’s cow trophy brought back memories for me of our bike ride in the Netherlands (Holland), when these bulls came out to see us.

 

Speaking of beef cattle, we didn’t have meat for our Thanksgiving meal.  Papa and Nona are “pescatarians.”  Big word for me.  It means they don’t eat meat — just all kinds of plants, vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, and some seafood.  Me? I’m an iguanodon (a type of dinosaur), and we’re “herbivores.” We only eat plants.  Of course, I’m plastic, and plastic model animals like me don’t eat.  Period.  Still, I like sitting at the table at meal time having a conversation.  Here’s what the whole table looked like.

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Isn’t it pretty?  Uncle Tom and Barbara sure know how to cook and set a table.

 

Uncle Tom carefully selects music for the evening, from beginning to end of the meal.  That music and candle light seem to please everyone around the table — even me.

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I took this Thanksgiving family portrait. Pretty good, huh? Front: Nona, Papa, Aunt Barbara, and Aunt Pat. Back: Uncle Tom and Uncle Jim. (They’re really tall.)

 

I have to apologize to you.  I was supposed to write to you this time with a look-back on our our around-the-world trip, but I’m having a very tough time picking just a few of my favorite places and photos.  Looking back on our trip, it seems like every place we went and everything we did was my favorite.  Maybe I’ll have sorted it out by next time. Gotta go sort through all my trip photos.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

November 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Asks, “Is That All There Is?”

Dear Nicalai,

Our cruise ship just docked at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  We’re back in the USA!

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Papa loved the ports of call, because he could get off the cruise ship. He wasn’t always the first one off, but he tried to be.

Papa said, “Well, Nona, put Solbit back into your purse, we have to get our bags, hop in a taxi, and run to the airport.”

I said, “Oh, no, Papa!”  He looked at me with concern, “What? You don’t want to get into Nona’s purse?”  I answered, “Papa, I like riding in Nona’s purse, but I don’t want our around-the-world trip to be over. I’d start crying right now, if only I weren’t a plastic Jurassic. Is that all there is?”

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Parting is such sweet sorrow, and I didn’t want to leave our beautiful cruise ship, but our cruise had ended, our around the world trip had finished, and I hated to have it end. End it did, in Nona’s purse pocket.

Nona held me up to her face.  She brushed the top of my tiny red head (Oh, yeah girl, I’m a red head.) She explained, “Solbit, our around-the-world trip is over now, but our flight this morning will take us to Washington, DC. So, no, that’s not all there is for you.” I asked her, “You mean that I’m going to get to see those big monuments and that big domed government building. What’s it called?”

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This big domed building has a name, The Capitol, and it is in the capital of the USA. The wind was strong the day I took this photo.

“You’re talking about the Capitol, that’s the big government building. Yes, you’ll get to see it and walk all around it, too.”  Oh, boy, we’ll be in an another new (for me) city tonight! That would be Washington, DC, the nation’s capital with it’s Capitol!

On our flight this morning, I’m going to try to remember all my favorites from our around the world trip.  I’ll collect them all and let you know what they are. I guess my next letter to you be from there.  Bye, we’re off to see the Wizards of Washington.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

November 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”