Solbit’s High Times in Portland

Dear Nicalai,

Bridges at night, when the light is just so in a city, give me the shivers — the good kind of shivers.  I sit on Papa’s shoulders. Breathe slowly in and out, and take in the lovely view.

Evenings by a riverfront are the kind of thing I look forward to.

Evenings by a riverfront are the kind of thing I look forward to.

That’s one way that I like to spend an evening.  Do you know what I mean? How the calm settles in?  How time slows down? How peaceful you feel?

Another wonderful way to spend an evening with Nona and Papa, when we’re here in Portland, Oregon, is to sit on a hill side by Chapman Elementary School.  We wait — with a lot of other neighbors and visitors — as the sun sets.  Now you’ll think I’m making this up, but it’s true.

We all sit there staring at a chimney on that school building.  The chimney is big, so some people call it a tower. A hawk likes to join us.  It sits on a tree branch and stares at the tower too. We all watch the Vaux’s Swifts gathering in the sky, circling the tower, again and again.  Then, just before the last sunlight goes poof, a most amazing thing happens.

I hope the school doesn’t turn on its furnace when the swifts roost in the chimney.

I hope the school doesn’t turn on its furnace when the swifts roost in the chimney.

Hundreds of Vaux’s Swifts fly in a downward spiraling line into that chimney! They disappear into that tower for the night. Where do they all go? (One or two swifts may disappear another way. Don’t ask me how. I’ll just say that the hawk isn’t sitting with us for our company.)

Of course, we don’t just wait for evening time to do pleasant things.  We do daytime activities too.  When the new — and beautiful! — Tillicum Crossing Bridge opened, the city had a big “everybody come bike ride.” Uncle Josh and Aunt Tanya, Aunt Kirsten and Uncle Ian, Cousins Luke and Nick, Nona, Papa, and I went on the ride.  A nice photographer from Providence Health and Services took our family portrait, for free!  Here we all are!

I’ll always remember our family bike ride.

I’ll always remember our family bike ride.

The bike ride day included a “rodeo” course for bicycles that Luke and Nick really enjoyed, more than once.  Papa and I even did it — only once — on his old man’s recumbent bike. Bumpy ride!

Another day, we took Luke and Nick out to Our Table Cooperative, a farm where Uncle Josh was harvesting some squash that he had been testing.  We all got to help him sort the different squash, weight them, and load them on a cart.

Surprise: Did you know that Papa grew up on a farm and drove farm tractors when he was just a boy?

Surprise: Did you know that Papa grew up on a farm and drove farm tractors when he was just a boy? That’s Luke, Uncle Josh, and Nick walking Our Table Cooperative farm.

We also got to walk all around the farm too.  We saw a pond, old machinery, barns, and their beautiful new store.  Perfect weather too. Who says it always rains in Portland?

Well, now I’ve told you all about my high times in Portland. Gotta go. Let me know how you’re doing.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

September 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 Observes, “All Signs Indicate We’re Back in Portland, Oregon.”

Dear Nicalai,

All signs indicate that we’re back in Portland now.  Portland’s signs are often weird and funny.  Because my reading and writing have improved, I’m starting to notice signs.  When I saw this crazy sign in Portland, Oregon, it made no sense to me.  Can you explain it?

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Is it “slow children” or is it “children texting” so go slow?

When I asked Papa, he taught me a new word, “Baffling.”  He replied, “Solbit, the sign is on a sidewalk; it has no punctuation…” (that means commas, semi-colons, periods, and the like) “…so I find the message baffling.”  Whew! If Papa’s baffled, then it’s ok for me to be baffled too.

Hey, speaking of Papa, you know that he has big troubles with dairy products.  He’s what is called “lactose intolerant.” If he accidentally gets cheese, milk, ice cream or cream in something he eats, then, oh, girl, get out the Fabreze Air Effects — their Mediterranean Lavender fragrance works best, I think. So, when I saw this sign, Papa and Fabreze immediately came to mind.

Great sign for an ice cream truck, right?

Great sign for an ice cream truck, right?

Nona and I shared a big ice cream cone of salted caramel chocolate, though.  We both support lactose tolerance, a lot. Papa didn’t have any, even though he likes the taste.

The “Nerd” word used to seem like a put-down word for people who knew a lot about one thing, but, knowing Uncle Josh changed all that for me.  He knows so much about plants that he is definitely a “plant nerd,” but he’s a really great uncle.  If he’s a nerd, then nerds are good people.

We need to keep our distracted nerds safe from distracted drivers.

We need to keep our distracted nerds safe from distracted drivers.

I wonder if this sign was put up on the road just to protect our Uncle Josh?  He used to work a lot on Sauvie Island, you know, where we saw this sign.

When you hear or read the word “rip”, I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not about fabric.  Right?  Well, when you see this sign in Portland, …

 It’s about basketball! 

It’s about basketball! (and offers a great wedding photo backdrop, too!)

it’s not about fabric or making wind (Nona said that’s the polite way to say what you’re thinking).  No, Nona and Papa asked a lot of people in Portland what “rip city” meant. Most Portlanders said they had no idea. So, they also researched it and found this story.  Yeah, some basketball coach jumped up and yelled “rip city!” when one of his players made a winning three point shot in the final second of a basketball game.  The newspapers reported his exclamation, and that’s how Portland got the name Rip City.

You gotta admit, Portland has some crazy signs, doesn’t it?  Whenever signs like these come into view, I will know they indicate that I’m back in Portland, Oregon.  Bye for now.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

September 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, Seal Lions, and a Dead Guy … in Newport, Oregon

Dear Nicalai,

Amazing!  Uncle Josh & Aunt Tanya biked from their home in St. Johns (Portland Oregon) all the way to us, here at Otter Crest on the coast of Oregon.  Girl, their ride covered more than 100 miles! They did it in two (I mean, 2) days! And, you know, they are really old, must be over 40!  That earned them a treat.  So, the next day, Nona and Papa took us all to Newport for a walk by the harbor and to have supper at Local Oceans Seafood.

As we walked the harbor, we heard loud barking from the water, and wondered, “Why would so many big dogs be in the water?”

When we got to the place where all the barking came from,  no dogs.  None. Instead, we saw even bigger animals. Seals or sea lions. As you know, I don’t know a seal from a sea lion. Neither do Nona and Papa.  So, when Nona took this photo of what we were watching …

Sea Lions enjoying a lazy afternoon on the dock.

Sea Lions enjoying a lazy afternoon on the dock.

… we had to ask local folks, “Excuse me, please, may we ask you a question? Are we looking at seals or at sea lions down there on that dock?”

What luck!  A local woman there sounded like a walking Wikipedia entry on seals and sea lions.  Now, I didn’t check her facts, so maybe she was just making it all up on the spot, but here’s what she told us.

The boy sea lions like to pile on top of each other on the docks in the sun. They keep nudging each other.

The boy sea lions like to pile on top of each other on the docks in the sun. They keep nudging each other.

All of these huge animals are sea lions.  Also, they are all boys, and, just like you, they are from California.  They swim from their home in California to here in Oregon.  She told us that all the girl sea lions stay in California, where it is warmer.  Smart, huh?

I guess the boys come up here to Oregon for a guys-only type of trip, even though the weather is cooler. Or maybe, they’re all too hot in California because of all that blubber on them?  I didn’t get a chance to ask the lady about that.

The nice lady told us that, once the boy sea lions got enough rest on the docks here in Newport, they begin to miss the girl sea lions, and so they swim back home to California to see the girl seal lions. (I noticed that she looked at me while she was saying that and then gave Nona and Papa a secret wink. I don’t know what that was all about. Some adult thing, I guess.)

Sometimes a sea lion is pushed off the dock and gets all wet.

Sometimes a sea lion is pushed off the dock and gets all wet.

Because of all the pushing and shoving among the sea lions, you hear a lot of barking complaints and see more pushing and shoving. Plop, another sea lion slips into the water. We so enjoyed watching them bickering and sliding on top of one another that we almost forgot to go have supper.

Local Oceans Seafood Restaurant sits right across the street from where we saw the sea lions, so we didn’t have to search for it.

We could sit in the restaurant and see fishing boats that had brought the seafood we were eating to the restaurant.

We could sit in the restaurant and see fishing boats that had brought the seafood we were eating to the restaurant.

Nona, Papa, Uncle Josh, and I shared everything, but Aunt Tanya said that the Tuna Poke was just for her, and that was ok, because she had earned it with her long bike ride.

Oh, I know you’re wondering, what about that “Dead Guy” that I put in my title.  I just put that in there to tease you.  No real dead guy in this story. Papa just had a “Dead Guy Ale” (a kind of beer) with his supper.  Remember my letter about the weird names people give to things and places? Well, why would you name a beer “Dead Guy”? Also, why would anybody drink something named “Dead Guy”?  Yuck.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

September 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 Wonders, “Where Did All the Otters Go?”

Dear Nicalai,

Grandmother Bernice loaned us her place at Otter Crest Resort in Oregon.  Remember, you’ve been there too?  Did you see otters then?  I’ve been walking with Nona and Papa up and down Otter Creek Beach, but we haven’t seen otters.  They otter be here, right?  (That’s a joke.  Papa says it’s called a “play on words” or a “pun.” Nona says, it’s a “pun-ishment,” and I should stop encouraging Papa.)

Bowl? Looks to me like a huge hole surrounded by rock. Punch? Just sea water rushing in and out. No way would I drink it!

Bowl? Looks to me like a huge hole surrounded by rock. Punch? Just sea water rushing in and out. No way would I drink it!

Another thing, we went to Devil’s Punch Bowl, and, guess what?  No devil. no bowl, and no punch.  Maybe these places will go onto my list of names that don’t make sense.  What’s with whoever names these places?

Hey, I’m not complaining, though.  Otter Crest Resort is a wonderful place to stop for a rest.  Everyday, somebody leaves something new that they built on the beach, and every day the ocean comes up and washes it away.  Nobody complains.  They just start making another sand castle or sand sculpture.

I enjoyed watching the waves lap at this sand castle and slowly destroy it.  Is that bad of me?

I enjoyed watching the waves lap at this sand castle and slowly destroy it.  Is that bad of me?

They put all that work into making a sand castle, knowing that, when high tide comes, swish, swosh, slosh the ocean is going to destroy it.  Hey, here’s something we saw on the beach that the ocean won’t destroy.  Papa called it a fossil.

A nice couple, the age of Nona and Papa (we’re talking old), showed us where on the beach to find rocks with fossils.

A nice couple, the age of Nona and Papa (we’re talking old), showed us where on the beach to find rocks with fossils.

Papa is confusing me, though.  I had thought that really old people with stodgy ideas were fossils.  Well, because that’s what Papa calls them, “Why you old fossil, you” or “What an old fossil that guy is” or “When’s that old fossil coming into the 21st century anyway.”

But now Papa tells me that a fossil is a “mineralized” part of a very old plant or animal.  He said it takes millions of years for the part of an animal or plant to get “mineralized” and turn into a fossil in a rock, but, I guess, it just takes a few decades for a person to turn into a fossil.  That’s what Papa would call “different time scales.”

Oh, but I’m getting off track.  I’m supposed to be telling you about our time here at Otter Crest Resort. (And, THANK YOU, Grandmother Bernice!) I took this rather artsie portrait of Nona and Papa on the Otter Creek Beach one afternoon.

Nona and Papa aren’t really that tall,  you know, the angle of the shadow makes them look tall. Neat, huh?

Nona and Papa aren’t really that tall,  you know, the angle of the shadow makes them look tall. Neat, huh?

Nona had to help me hold the camera because it’s so big and heavy for me, but the perspective was all mine. Next time, I think I’ll have some photos of a place we’re going to visit one afternoon. It’s called Newport.  I wonder if it will be new or even a port?  The way things are named around here, you never know until you check it out.  Bye for now.

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

 

 

 

Solbit

September  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.”