Solbit’s Unique Jurassic Perspective on Canada

Dear Nicalai,

Oh, Canada! I love you! You’ve taught me so much in the few weeks I’ve been here.  Nicolai, if you come up here, you might become an architect in a jiffy just like me.  Well, you wouldn’t be a Jurassic, but … What would you think if I told you that I just finished building a lighthouse on the beach up here in Victoria BC?  Take a look and tell me what you think.

Sand isn't just for making castles.

Sand isn’t just for making castles.

Isn’t that a terrific lighthouse?  Not what you were expecting.  Sand.  All Sand. You’re asking yourself, “Did Solbit really make that lighthouse out of sand?” Well, the answer is … tah-dah!  No. I just saw it and got Nona to take a photo of it.  But I wonder, “How did someone do that?”

You can guess where we are: at the beach.  Nona and Papa asked me if I wanted to get into the water.  No way! It’s cold up here, even in August.  Beautiful beach. Cold water. Don’t ask me to take a dip.

Beautiful beach. Cold water. Don't ask me to take a dip.

I can’t believe people go swimming here. I even saw kids your ages playing in the water, and they hadn’t turned blue and weren’t shivering.  I shivered just looking at them.

Papa says Canadians have anti-freeze in their blood, but I don’t believe that.  That can’t be true, can it?  Anti-freeze is just for cars, right?

Now here's a big tree with many branches, or should I say limbs? Which is it?

Now here’s a big tree with many branches, or should I say limbs? Which is it?

Besides the beach, we’ve gone back to Government House. They have some fat trees there, like the one in the photo above.  Have you ever noticed all the different shapes and sizes that trees come in?  I guess trees are sort of like people.  From my Jurassic point of view, people come in a lot of different shapes and sizes, and, I can’t say I have a favorite. I like them all.  Hey, look at this.

If totem poles tell stories, why don't we call it a story pole?

If totem poles tell stories, why don’t we call them a story poles?

Do you know what it is?  It’s called a totem pole.  Someone turned a big tree into a pole and then turned the pole into this wonderful sculpture.  Amazing.  Nona says that these totem poles tell stories, if you know how to read them.  I wonder how someone learns to read and write in totem poles.  Maybe instead of a pen and paper you have to have a chainsaw and tree.

Oh, here’s what Government House looks like.  Too big for us.  We wouldn’t like it, but I guess it’s just the right size for Government, whoever she is.

Government House is so big that I could never keep it clean. Too much work to live in that place.

Government House is so big that I could never keep it clean. Too much work to live in that place.

Hey, here’s another big tree.  I’m thinking that no one should cut it down to make a totem pole to tell a story, but …

Why do these big trees make me feel so much at home?

Why do these big trees make me feel so much at home?

… if it were made to tell a story as a totem pole, then I think it would have to be a story about someone with a rather large bottom. Know what I mean?  Gotta go.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

August 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.”

Solbit Refuses to Work at Government House

Dear Nicalai,

Oh, girl, did I have a scare today!  You remember that before Papa retired, he was what he called a “non-profit, public interest lobbyist” in Washington.  That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?  Over the past 3 years, I’ve figured out what that means, I think.  He tried to influence what the government does.  BORING! So, this morning when Papa said, “Hey, let’s take a walk over to Government House,” I thought maybe he was taking us to work here in Victoria.

“Papa, let’s not do that, OK?” I pleaded with him.  Something was a bit off though.  He didn’t have on his dress shirt and bow tie. He always wore those to work.  So, I asked him, “If you’re going to Government House, why are you wearing your raggedy hiking outfit?  And, by the way, Papa, I’m not putting on a bow tie for you. Please let’s not go to work.”

Here’s Papa walking in the garden at Government House and not trying to influence government.

Here’s Papa walking in the garden at Government House and not trying to influence government.

Of course, I had jumped to the wrong conclusion. He just meant that we could walk the beautiful grounds around Government House. “Solbit, I promise no lobbying here.  We can do that in November when we go to Washington.”  I liked the first half of what he said, but I didn’t argue with his second part.  I can do that in November or on our way to Washington.

We saw some things that interested me outside Government House. For instance, I’d like to learn to paint pictures.  Then I would make a picture of these leaves.

You wouldn’t think plain old leaves would interest an iguanodon like me. Back in Jurassic times, I would have just chomped these down for a snack.

You wouldn’t think plain old leaves would interest an iguanodon like me. Back in Jurassic times, I would have just chomped these down for a snack.

As a modern Jurassic, I’m finding my “inner artist.”  I look at these leaves and my first thought isn’t “I wonder how these would taste?”  Nona has helped me to develop an appetite for beauty.  Now I look at these and ask myself, how could I compose a painting that would convey how these leaves make me feel when I see them.  My Jurassic ancestors must be rolling over in their fossil beds to hear me say that.

When we saw these flowers, I got a little sad, because they looked to me like maybe they were at the end of their too short lives.

Still pretty yellow and with a pleasing repeating pattern, these flowers looked to me like they are beginning to droop.  I guess they made me feel droopy, too.

Still pretty yellow and with a pleasing repeating pattern, these flowers looked to me like they are beginning to droop.  I guess they made me feel droopy, too.

Nona said, “Solbit,I think you feel droopy when you look at those pretty flowers because you feel for them.  Do you know that you are experiencing something called empathy?”  I asked, “Is that bad, Nona?”  She told me that empathy is a good thing to experience, “because it means you can feel what someone else or another thing is feeling.”

We had not yet caught up with Papa. (He was wondering into the garden solo.  I think he likes doing that.) We came to these red flowers.  I looked at them and perked up.  Something about that color made me feel happier.

Nona asked me to remember that, in Chinatown,  I learned that red was considered a lucky color. I’m thinking of these flowers as my good luck blossoms.

Nona asked me to remember that, in Chinatown,  I learned that red was considered a lucky color. I’m thinking of these flowers as my good luck blossoms.

Well, I hope you’re having as good a summer as I am here in Victoria, but the news of forest fires, smoke, and mudslides there in California doesn’t sound good. Please write soon and tell me you’re safe and enjoying the summer flowers, too.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

August 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.”

Solbit Sees Victoria (the city, not the woman)

Dear Nicalai,

I think you’re going to like my first picture in this email.  Here it is:

Among the attractions at Beacon Hill Park  is going to be this woman with a clay body on which moss will grow.

Among the attractions at Beacon Hill Park is going to be this woman with a clay body on which moss will grow.

I’m naming this sculpture “Moss Woman Reclining.”  What do you think?  You’re going to tell me she’s “Reclining Woman Stuck in Mud,” aren’t you?

We saw her on our walk today in Beacon Hill Park.  This park has something to offer everyone.  If you don’t like moss covered women emerging out of the ground, that’s okay.  Then you can enjoy something else, like this.

Looking at trees from a distance gives me a pleasant feeling, but best is getting under them and looking up.

Looking at trees from a distance gives me a pleasant feeling, but best is getting under them and looking up.

Sometimes Papa and I just lie on the ground under these trees and stare up into the beautiful leaves.  I like the different patterns that I see.  I think he likes the part where he falls asleep.

We like walking over to the harbor too.  We talk about which sail boat we like most.  Sometimes we watch the little water taxis (little orange boats in this picture).

A bee hive of activity, something is happening in the harbor all the time.

A bee hive of activity, something is happening in the harbor all the time.

I didn’t take a picture of it, but sometimes the water taxis will do a performance, sort of a ballet of boats. Big ferry boats come and go.  Kayakers paddle by. Sail boats idle out to sea. When I hear the roar of propeller engines, then I know that a seaplane is landing or taking off.

People here like to do things that are fun.  For instance, when we walked over to Cattle Point, we heard piano music in the distance.

As we walked the pathway, the music got louder.  Then we saw it.

My first sighting of a seaside piano was in Canada this summer!

My first sighting of a seaside piano was in Canada this summer!

A man playing an outdoor piano.  Who puts a big piano outside so that anyone can play it?  Canadians, that’s who.  Need I say that we’re enjoying our summer here in Victoria?

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

August 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.”

Solbit Encounters a Dragon and a Naked Old Lady

Dear Nicalai,

My boring afternoon prompted me to say, “Let’s go for a walk around the harbor and over to Chinatown.”   Of course, Nona and Papa can sit and read or write for hours and hours and not be bored, but what about me?

After suggesting the same thing about 7 times, Nona looked up from her laptop, “I guess we won’t get any peace around here until we take a walk with Solbit.  Let’s go Papa.”  Off we went to Chinatown.

Ever hear the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for?“  No sooner had we arrived in Chinatown than I found myself between these great claws.

DSC02395

For just a moment the claws frightened me, but, almost immediately, I realized, “Oh, this is a wonderful Chinese dragon and just like ones I’d made friends with when we were in China.”

“Hi, what’s your name?” I asked. “Speak up a little louder, please. I can’t hear you from down there when I’m way up here,” replied the dragon.

DSC02397

I had to yell pretty loud so this tall dragon could hear me.

“HI, MY NAME IS SOLBIT,  I SAID. WHAT’S YOUR NAME?” I yelled up to the dragon.  “Oh, how do you do, Solbit, my name is Vicky.”  That surprised me.  I thought a dragon would be a guy, and I expected to hear a Chinese name.  “But aren’t you a Chinese dragon?  Shouldn’t you have a Chinese name?” I asked.

“Well, I’m a Canadian-Chinese dragon, and I’ve never been to China.  I’m from here in Victoria, so that’s how I got the name Vicky.”  “Pleased to meet you,” I said, “I think I’ve met some of your distant relatives in China when we were there in 2012.”  “Yeah, you’ll see a lot of us in China. That’s for sure.  Hey, for a little fella, you get around.”

“I’m no fella.  I’m a girl!” I protested.  “Oh, sorry, I guess I just thought that a dinosaur would be a guy and would have a name like something-saurous.”

Isn’t that funny that we both had assumed that the other one would be a guy and would have a typical name.  Papa said that it’s good that I had that experience and that I want to always keep an open mind when I meet strangers.  I’m going to have to work on that.  We said goodbye to Vicky, but we did go back a few times to see her on our walks in town.

Nona has exposed me to art that is made from found objects and about public or street art.  One of my favorite pieces of art is both made from found objects and is in a public place, Fisherman’s Wharf, in the harbor here in Victoria.  Look.

DSC02390

I imagine that this is made from drift wood that has been shaped and painted or maybe from found buoys.

When I saw this next sculpture, I asked, “What is that, Nona?”  She said, “Solbit, that’s what I would call a flight of fancy.  Don’t you love it?”  I looked again.  I wasn’t really loving it.  I said, “but Nona, that looks like an old woman with her clothes off.”

Despite the fact that Nona loves this sculpture, I can’t say I love it.  In fact, I can’t say I like it.  I think she needs more clothes on.  What do you think?

Despite the fact that Nona loves this sculpture, I can’t say I love it.  In fact, I can’t say I like it.  I think she needs more clothes on.  What do you think?

Oops.  Maybe that’s why Nona loved the sculpture, huh. She’s old.  Maybe when I get old I’ll like it better.  Do you think?  Gotta go.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

August 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.”

What to Look for When You Travel

Dear Nicalai,

I like being here in British Columbia, but I’ve got to tell you, these Canadians have an odd sense of humor.  As we walked downtown Victoria, Nona saw this sign and said, “Oh, let’s stop in here. We can get something to eat and do some reading too.”

DSC02763

This wolf could wolf me down in about a nano second, but, turns out, the picture is not a warning but a joke.

“Are you kidding me!” I yelled back at her.  That sign tells me that we’d be on their menu.  “Keep walking, Nona.”

Papa told me, “Solbit, that sign is just an eye-catcher. It doesn’t literally mean that a wolf is in there waiting for you to drop in. It’s a joke.”

So, I asked, because — really — I didn’t know, “Papa, what’s a joke?”  Without a hesitation, Papa said, as though he were a walking dictionary, “something that someone says to cause amusement or laughter, especially a story with a funny punchline…but it could be just a picture, like that one.”

“Well, maybe it’s somebody’s idea of a joke, but I wasn’t amused, and you’ll have noticed that I did not laugh. What’s so funny about scaring me?”  Nona said, “Solbit, lighten up, girl. Find your sense of humor.” Well, that opened up a whole new line of questions, but I won’t bother you with those now.

We walked on.  No stopping to eat or to be eaten.  No reading either.  When we travel, I like for Nona to take photos that will remind me of the places we’ve been.  Here’s one that reminds me of our neighborhood walks here in Victoria.

Have you ever smelled honeysuckle in the summer?

Have you ever smelled honeysuckle in the summer?

When I see Nona taking a picture of that honeysuckle wall, the sweet aroma comes back to me almost as though the honeysuckle was actually in front of me.  I even remember asking Nona, “Please take a picture of that,” and watching Papa take a photo of Nona taking a photo.

Here’s a photo that reminds me of when we went walking in Beacon Hill Park, and I made a new friend.  This mallard — a kind of duck — saw me and quacked, “Hey, you are really tiny and really orange.  What are you?”

Ms Mallard said she travels too, mostly by air, and that Canadians are very friendly. She likes it here.

Ms Mallard said she travels too, mostly by air, and that Canadians are very friendly. She likes it here.

I replied, “I’m a plastic Jurassic, and I’m made to look like a little iguanodon.”  She said, “Oh, yeah, I see the resemblance to the iguanodon, but I thought they went extinct eons ago. Are you real?”  I said, perhaps some what defensively, “Of course, I’m real; you’re talking with me aren’t you?”

“Say no more. Know what you mean,” she said, and then, “Hey, my chicks have never met an iguanodon or a plastic Jurassic.  May I introduce you to them.  I know they’d like to meet you.”  Well, I couldn’t wait to met the chicks.

From left to right are One, Two, Three, and Four.  Really, that’s how she named them. Something about the order of when they came out of their shells.

From left to right are One, Two, Three, and Four.  Really, that’s how she named them. Something about the order of when they came out of their shells.

So, she brought One, Two, Three, Four over to meet me.  She sternly told them that they may not eat me, because I was her new friend from the United States.  Something I’ve learned about traveling to new countries is that it breaks down barriers and opens the way to make new friends.  Would the world be a more peaceful place if everyone got to travel more? I wonder.

So, what I look for now when I travel are opportunities to make new friends, and on most of our walks we find those opportunities.

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

 

 

 

 

Solbit

July 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.”