Solbit Hangs On

Dear Nicalai,

Ever hear that song, “Hang on Snoopy, Hang On!”?  That’s what I was “singing” to my self, “Hang on Solbit, Hang On!” when Nona and Papa went for a bike ride along the canal here in Apeldoorn.

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I felt like I’d fall off or the wind would push me off and onto the road.

Papa had said, “Let’s take Solbit out of your purse, Nona, and let her ride outside.”  He put me on the brake cable, and I hung on for dear life.  I had to look sideways and couldn’t see what was coming.

At first, I thought, “This will be fun.”  Then we got going and the wind rushed around my head, the pavement below me got blurry, the trees were whooshing by (or were we whooshing by them?), and the thought occurred to me, “what if I fall off this cable?” I yelled to Papa, “I’m scared.  Do something! Quick!”

Papa stopped. Then we tried a new position, with me looking forward.

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This way of riding the bike felt ever so much safer, AND I could really see what was coming.

That worked much better.  I got used to the wind in my face and liked it.

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I know some people think riding bikes in the Netherlands is scary, but, trust me, it can be very pleasant. Like this.

The bike paths here in the Netherlands go everywhere, from town centers to lovely tree -lined lanes.

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How many places can you go to and enjoy both a tranquil canal and a pleasant bike path at the same time?

This is where we spent most of our time, riding along a canal.  When I say “canal” what comes to mind?  I bet it isn’t “cow.”

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This cow, like most Dutch people, understood both English and Dutch! So we had a chat.

We had biked only 15 or 20 minutes from the town of Apeldoorn, and already we saw cows in pastures!  We stopped to chat and parked our bikes.

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Usually we locked our bikes, but out here by the pasture we didn’t. (Don’t tell Cat & René, though; we borrowed their bikes.)

These friendly Dutch cows told me that they had never seen a dinosaur before, much less a plastic jurassic.  They wondered if all dinosaurs were as small as I am.  I said that dinosaurs were both very small and also very large.  In fact, some dinosaurs were much, much bigger than they are.  I asked them if they knew that today’s birds are probably descendants of the dinosaurs.  They expressed amazement and asked me, “Do you mean that some of these birds might be relatives of yours?”

That’s something that had not occurred to me.  What an interesting question.  Could I have an aunt who is a bird?  I don’t think so, because, truth is, I’m just a piece of molded plastic, but I didn’t tell the cows that.  I want them to be able to tell their story of how they once met a bike-riding dinosaur.  Why spoil their story, right?

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

September 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, “What Do I Do To Become A Royal?”

Dear Nicalai,

You know that I love you and the family, but I’m ready to make a move.  I want to become a member of the royal family here in the Netherlands.  Look what the Dutch royal kids get to do.

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Isn’t this a cool car?  The royal children get to drive this car.  How good is that?!

That’s not all.  Just imagine you’re a kid — well, actually you are a kid, so you don’t have to imagine that — but imagine you’re royalty.  You say to your friends, “Hey, come over to my place, and we’ll play in the garage.”

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This is an old stable and carriage house of the Dutch royal family.

They show up, and you take them into this “garage” at the Paleis Het Loo.  Amazing, huh?  Yeah, it looks so big, you would think it was their palace, but, no, this building is for their horses, buggies, and cars.  Now, this is where they lived.

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Ah, I’m already thinking “Home Sweet Home.”

I can hardly ‘bear” to show you my next photo.  I took this inside that royal palace.

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This did upset me.

I don’t think people should go around shooting bears and then walking on them like a rug.  Do you?  If I were to become a royal, I’d do something respectful with that bear rug.

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Now here’s the right way to show off animals, if you ask me.

Instead of killing them and laying them on the floor, you make a sculpture of them, create what Nona calls “a water feature.”  (Papa said, “Water feature smeacher. It’s a fountain.”) Then you live and let live, while enjoying the outdoor art.

Maybe you know what “smeacher” means.  If you do, please let me know what it is.  Papa’s too grumpy to ask.  Nona told me he’ll be OK once he has his nap.  Golly, 69 and he’s still taking naps?  Do you even take naps anymore.  I sure don’t.  Too much to do in a day, right?  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

September 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 Goes to Holland; Makes Dutch Acquaintances

Dear Nicalai,

Girl, is this place different.  What place?  Holland.  That’s where we are.  What’s the story with the people who live here?  When they talk, they make sounds like Papa makes when he’s trying to clear his throat, but I don’t think they all have bad colds.

Also, they can’t decide what their country’s name is. Sometimes they say “Holland” and sometimes “Het Nederlands,” “the Netherlands” in English. And, why do they put the letters of “the” in all the wrong places?

Of course, they don’t speak English.  Their language is Dutch, except where it’s Frisian.  I don’t have time now to explain.  Just trust me.  Some people in this country speak a language called Frisin.  Almost sounds like “freeze’n,” doesn’t it? Maybe because it gets so cold here?  I don’t know.

So, we were walking around the Hunting Lodge in the Hoge Veluwe National Park near Apeldoorn, when I met this monkey.

A monkey at a hunting lodge is not what I had expected.

A monkey at a hunting lodge is not what I had expected.

What self-respecting monkey is going to hang around a hunting lodge, especially in Northern Europe?  That’s where we are now.

The poor guy had been stuck in that position for years.  Good weather and bad.  He didn’t speak English, just Dutch.  So we couldn’t chat. I could tell that he had a stiff neck, though.  Still, he was okay with me walking around on him.  As I say, these Dutch folks are nice.  Oh, by the way, don’t worry, no one hunts there today. Now its a nature preserve and museum.  So the animals are safe.

Hey, did you know the Dutch have a lot of canals?  What are canals?  You know, waterways.  That’s where I met this Bean Goose.

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The Bean Goose has no beans as far as I could tell.

Isn’t she pretty?  She lives most of the time on a canal in Apeldoorn. I guess, before cars and trucks were invented, the canals were used a lot by Dutch people for transportation.  Now, the canals are used mostly by ducks and geese.  Ms. Bean Goose likes the canal life, because she and her babies — called goslings — can go swimming all the time.

When we went to another art museum, The Kröller-Müller Museum, I met another dinosaur!  Imagine one plastic jurassic meeting another at — of all places — an art museum in Holland!  That doesn’t happen often. Her name was Dina Saur.  Papa said that’s a Dutch name, but I think he’s just kidding me.

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A dinosaur head at an art museum is not what I expected.

You can tell that we hit it off, but I had to go home with Nona and Papa to Bjorn’s house.  Bjorn could tell that I was sad to leave Ms Dina Saur.  When we got home, he found a way to cheer me up.  Look.

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Dinosaurs on bedroom wallpaper is not what I had expected.

He has very special wallpaper in his bedroom.  It has dinosaurs on it!  I spent some time with his wallpaper dinos, and that cheered me up.  Thanks, Bjorn, you are so thoughtful!

Well, my new Dutch acquaintances make me happy to be in Holland.  You’ll be pleased to know that we haven’t once been under water in these low lands and, more than once, I’ve had a high time seeing new places and meeting new friends.  Isn’t travel wonderful?  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

September 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 Plays A New Game That Makes Her Disappear

Dear Nicalai,

Bjorn introduced me to video games.  You know, Nona and Papa haven’t a clue about these things.  So, this game, called Skylanders, was completely new to me.

He puts a Skylander action figure on a portal. Then, that character gets “beamed up” into their TV!  Camo, the action figure asked me to go along.  Before Nona could say “No!”, I jumped on the porthole, and Camo and I disappeared into the TV!

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That might have been a mistake, because I got lost in the TV.  Everyone could see Camo,

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but I was off somewhere in the scenery yelling, “Help me to get out of here, please!”  Oh, girl, I wondered if that was the end of my around the world trip with Nona and Papa.

Fortunately,  Camo found me and got me transported back to the real world.

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I suddenly reappeared on the portal in the living room.  Papa said, “Welcome back, Solbit, how was the trip?”  I acted just as if it was an everyday experience for me.  “Fine. No big deal.”

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When Bjorn lifted me off the portal, I whispered to him, “Thanks for getting me back to earth.  I sure was scared.”  He said, “I know, but we won’t tell Nona and Papa.”  Of course, the Skylanders make the trip back and forth all the time, so I shouldn’t have worried.  Now, I’m ready to go again.  “OK, beam me up Camo!”  Bye, Nicalai.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

September 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 Can’t Say It, But She Likes It

Dear Nicalai,

Hi! Today’s the day we went to that place in Amsterdam that I can’t say, The Rijksmusem.  Even though I can’t say it.  I really, REALLY like it.  Look.

Nona studied architecture, that’s drawing buildings, and she said this is an amazing building.

Nona studied architecture, that’s drawing buildings, and she said this is an amazing building.

Well, I couldn’t say Rijksmuseum, but our friend, Bjorn, taught me: “rikes” and “museum.”  Now I can say it!  It’s not really hard at all.

Guess what?  René said that our timing is good for visiting here.  Know why?  Because the Rijksmuseum had been closed for restoration work for — get this — ten years!  A whole decade!  It re-opened only a year ago.  So, we’ve gotten here at the right time.  Lucky us.

New word: "stabile," another sculpture by Alexander Calder.

New word: “stabile,” another sculpture by Alexander Calder.

Inside is a famous painting by a famous Dutch artist.  Here I am with the painting; Kai suggested that I take a selfie, and then Papa helped me to take a kind of selfie.  As you can imagine, his little iPhone is way to big for me.

My "selfie" with the "Nightwatch" guys is a little blurry. Sorry.

My “selfie” with “The Nightwatch” guys is a little blurry. Sorry.

I know. It’s not too good, but I’m going to work on more selfies until I get it right.  Oh, I forgot to say, the painting is called, in English, “The Nightwatch,” and the painter is Rembrandt.

The museum had so many paintings to see that we had to stop to eat lunch in the cafe.  We sat looking at something Cat called a “mobile.”  It hung from the ceiling and the air moved it.

Mobile by, you guessed it, A. Calder.

Mobile by, you guessed it, A. Calder.

Nona explained that an American artist, Alexander Calder, made this mobile. I guess he enjoyed making mobiles, and he made so many that you can see them in many different countries. 

While they ate and looked at the art, Papa stared at a dessert, a green cake.  I think he was going to order a dessert.

Papa said, "too guey," and decided against dessert.

Papa said, “too gooey,” and decided against dessert.

When he found out the green was “gooey,” he decided not to have dessert.  What’s wrong with “gooey?”  Sugar and food coloring sound pretty good to me, but, then, I’m just a Plastic Jurassic.  What do I know about human food? Give me a nice piece of green plastic jurassic fern, and I’m a happy iguanodon.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

September 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 Plea, “I Don’t Want to Live Underwater.”

Dear Nicalai,

Nona and Papa were packing, and I was pleading, “Papa, I don’t want to live under water. Let’s not go!”  I know what you’re thinking: Solbit never wants to leave where she is, and Solbit never wants to go to a new place. Well, that’s sort of true, but, believe me, this time is different. They said they’re taking me to a country where about a quarter of the place is BELOW SEA LEVEL!  I know what that means, wetsuits and scuba gear.

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So, this picture shows where they took me.  To the land of big telephones!  Just kidding.  Really, here’s where we went.

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Surprise: in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands!  I’m breathing air without scuba gear! I guess we’re in part of the country that is just a little above sea level.  Papa says that, where the country is below sea level, they use levees or dikes — long wide walls — to hold the sea water back.  No wet suits required.  Gosh, the towns and the countryside are beautiful here!  Can you see the magpie, the black and white bird?

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I thought everybody would have a boat! No, everybody has a bicycle!  Nona says that makes Papa feel very much a home.  You know how much time he spends on bicycles.

We’re leaving now with our friends Bjorn, Kai, Cat, and René, to go to a place I can’t pronounce.  Nona spelled it for me while I wrote this: R-I-J-K-S-M-U-S-E-U-M.  I’ll try to send you some photos from there.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

September 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.”