Solbit asks, “Nona, What’s a ‘bun’s eye?’ Some kind of bread?”

Dear Nicalai,

I thought Nona said, “Hey, Solbit, let’s go see the bun’s eye; I think they are just your size.”  So, of course, I asked her, “Yuck! Who wants to see a bun with an eye? Oh, you’re kidding, right? Buns don’t have eyes, do they?  And why would we leave these lovely gardens to go to a bakery now?” All three of them — Nona, Papa, and their friend Claire — laughed.

Do you know what a ‘bun’s eye’ is?  No? Well, I didn’t either. Here’s what happened.

You know how Nona and Papa — well, at least, Nona — love going to gardens everywhere in the world, right?  So, we’re in Pasadena, and their friend, Claire — she’s really nice, and she and Nona look like sisters, I think — took us all to the next town over, San Marino, to spend the day at The Huntington Gardens. Well, Nona asked to see the “bun’s eye” after lunch.

As you probably know, she didn’t say “bun’s eyes,”  even though that is what I heard. When Nona stopped laughing, she explained, “Solbit, what I said sounded just like what you heard, but, that’s not what I said.  I said “bonsai,” spelled b-o-n-s-a-i.  That’s a Japanese word that we use for artfully shaped, miniature trees.  Bonsai are real plants, and some live to be very old, too.


Huntington Garden w Clare Gorfininckel

Someone who is both a gardener and an artist pruned this tree over many years to create its size and shape.  Papa said, “Looks like the Leaning Tower of San Marino, doesn’t it?”

Bonsai! I haven’t mastered English yet, and already they’re throwing Japanese words at me!  They must think I’m pretty smart, huh? Do you think I could learn to cultivate a bonsai tree? That might be fun.

Huntington Garden w Clare Gorfininckel

If I grew a bonsai, I think I’d make mine straight and tall; no, I mean straight and short.

When we go to most gardens, I feel “dwarfed” by the huge bushes and trees, but, now, I have found the garden where I can feel really at home. Nona said, “Solbit, you’re in your element now.”  I corrected her, “No, I’m not in an element, Nona, I’m in my bonsai forest.  You need to learn the difference between elements and forests.  Even I know that.”

Huntington Garden w Clare Gorfininckel

Here I am taking a walk in “my” forest of bonsai. I think a bonsai a day would take all my cares away.

Hey, if you meet someone who is really little like I am, be sure to tell them about bonsai.  Not everyone will know about them. If they’re like me, they may hear “bun’s eye” — an awful thought, especially for us vegetarians — so be sure to spell it out and explain that bonsai is a Japanese horticultural art.  Oh, no, that’ll just make it more confusing.  I only just learned the word, “horticulture;” it’s an English word, but you know that already. Just tell them it is not a bun and not an eye and to google b-o-n-s-a-i; that’ll be easier. OK?

Gotta go. Yeah, time for my Spanish lesson with Nona and Papa.  We’re getting ready to go to South America next year.  We’re having fun learning Spanish with the Duolingo app.

I’m your friend.










March 2015

*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.”

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