“Help!” Solbit Cries Out in the Desert.

Dear Nicalai,

Do you have any idea what it’s like to be nearly strangled in the desert?  Well, I do, and I’ve got photographic evidence of the attack.

Walking along in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California with Nona, Papa, and their four friends from Sandpoint, Idaho — Steve and Elizabeth and Bob and Marty — I felt completely at ease … and safe.  Then I saw something in the dirt, and, well, you know that I am inquisitive, so I went over to take a look.

“What’s that?” I wondered and wandered over to get a closer look.

Then swish, bam, before I realized what was happening this anonymous hand came at my neck.

Well, I wasn’t expecting that! It’s not as if I had said, “Hey, give me a hand, will you?”

Where’d that miniature human hand come from? Is a little man under the dirt there? Does he want me to pull him out? Oh, no, he’s trying to strangle me! Help! Even though I panicked, I had time to wonder, “Hey, how does he keep his bare arm so clean under that dirt?”

Getting away wasn’t easy. I kept bogging down in the soft dirt. “Help!”

“OK, Solbit, that’s a take,” our friend Bob said. “Well, done.” Everyone applauded my performance, and, truth be told, I am a good actor.  Yes, we were just play acting. What fun!

What you see is not always what you get. Get it? We staged these photos, just for fun.

After that scene, we all sat around on the rocks and had a snack and some water to drink.  Then we hiked back down to town.

“I had no trouble getting down the canyon. Just hitched a ride in Nona’s pocket! She and the others did slip and slide, though.

You know what I learned today from our hike with our friends?  I learned that you don’t have to be a kid to kid around and have fun.  Even grown-ups enjoy play acting!

Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

 

 

 

Solbit

February 2017

*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 Marilyn Monroe, a famous long gone actress!

Dear Nicalai,

We’re enjoying our time in Washington, DC, and it just got better with visitors.  Uncle Jim and Aunt Pat came out from Ohio. On Saturday morning, we all got together at Uncle Tom and Barbara’s. Uncle Tom made pancakes for all of us.  Then we went for a walk on Capitol Hill, and we did have fun.  Doing guess what?  Seeing more art!

First, we stopped for lunch at the National Museum of the American Indian; they have the best food there — you have an amazing array of choices!  After lunch, we walked over to the National Gallery of Art’s newly renovated East Building. Girl, did we have fun there looking at all the art, going out on the roof to see the blue rooster, yes blue, and visiting the gift shop, too.

Let me show you some of the art that we saw. Even though a woman takes up the whole thing, the artist gave it a man’s name,  “Gordian Puzzle.” Go figure.

Marilyn Monroe, a famous actress, was photographed by Richard Avedon in 1957. Then artist Via Muniz turned her into several jigsaw puzzles in 2007!

I get the “puzzle” part of the name, of course,  but Gordi or Gordon?  Nah, doesn’t make sense to me.  How do you explain that? Let me know if you figure out what a Gordian Puzzle is.

Nona said that guests are allowed to go out on the roof of this great big tall art gallery.  Really?  Yes, really.  She invited me out there to see the blue rooster.  Rooster? What, they raise chickens on the roof in our nation’s capital?  I just had to see that.  Look at this …

Katharina Fritch, the artist, can turn glass fiber, polyester, and resin into something big and beautiful, but who ever saw a blue rooster? Do they come in blue?

Never before have I seen a rooster that big or that blue. Have you?  He hadn’t turned blue because of the cold outside, either.  It was a perfectly comfortable day. I wonder what got into the artist.  Do you think she just woke up one day and said to herself, “I’m going to make a big, blue rooster today, and I’m going to put it on top of a big art gallery?”  Whatever, I have to hand it to her, she got it done, made it happen, over came all the challenges.  After all, a lot of people must have complained about a blue rooster on the roof of an important building. She’s my kind of woman.

One thing I noticed as we rambled around this big art gallery was how a piece of art could set off Nona and Barbara talking and talking and talking about something they were looking at on the wall.

Nona and Barbara liked to stand and stare at certain paintings. A painting could keep them chatting for a long time.

Really, girl, how much can you say about this painting?  I just don’t see all those words being generated by a piece of canvas and oil paint brush strokes.  Guess I’m just a plastic Jurassic that doesn’t understand humans, yet.

Here’s another painting that baffles me. It doesn’t have in it what the name says as far as I can tell.

From left to right: Aunt Pat, Uncle Jim, Nona, Uncle Tom, Aunt Barbara, Orange Purse in front of several paintings called “stations of the cross.” Didn’t look like gas stations and where’s the cross?

Papa told me that “stations of the cross” has something to do with western religious traditions.  I didn’t get it all, but I get it that this painting wasn’t about gas stations.  Did you know that Papa studied Comparative Religions when he was in college? Yeah, surprised me too.  Well, maybe that’s why he took this family portrait in front of  this painting? I guess it’s religious, whatever that means.  I don’t know.

As you can see, Papa’s photos are not as good as Nona’s.  I think he doesn’t try hard enough.  Know what I mean? I mean he could have asked them all to turn around. Also, maybe he should use a real camera and not just his phone camera.

Hey, we’re going to see you in a few weeks.  We’re flying to the west coast pretty soon. Bye! I’m your friend.

Love,

 

 

 

Solbit

December 2016

*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 the Extraordinary as Ordinary

Dear Nicalai,

“So, are you going to just keep smiling like a bump on a log and not answer me,” I asked in an annoyed tone of voice.  After all, I had introduced myself, “Hi, I’m Solbit. What’s your name?”  He just smiled and said nothing.  That bothered me…

…and then I realized, hey, that’s what he is: a bump in the log that someone had carved into the wood.  Fooled me! Just wood with a familiar pattern.

…and then I realized, hey, that’s what he is: a bump in the log that someone had carved into the wood.  Fooled me! Just wood with a familiar pattern.

We were walking in Moorten Botanical Garden when I saw another piece of wood with an interesting but unfamiliar pattern, and I enjoyed that, too.

If I were a sculptor, I would try to make a beautiful pattern in something — maybe a rock — that looked just like this piece of wood, and then watch to see if I fooled anyone into thinking the rock was wood.  Fun, huh?

If I were a sculptor, I would try to make a beautiful pattern in something — maybe a rock — that looked just like this piece of wood, and then watch to see if I fooled anyone into thinking the rock was wood.  Fun, huh?

Speaking of beautiful patterns, they don’t have to be complicated, you know.  Sometimes simple is best.

I just love the simplicity of this natural pattern in the rock.

I just love the simplicity of this natural pattern in the rock.

We saw the boulder at Joshua Tree National Park.

Maybe you can go to these places one day, and write me about the ordinary things you see that turn out to extraordinary, if you notice them as I did. I’m going to boast that no one appreciates what’s in view more than I do.

(Nona says that I shouldn’t boast, but, then, she also says I should always tell the truth.  In this case, how can I tell the truth about myself without boasting? I asked Papa about that, and he said, “Solbit, you’re on the horns of a dilemma.”  I pointed out that, actually, I was in his hand, not on any horns of any kind.  He just giggled.)

Hey, by the time you get this letter, we should already be in South America!  I’ll try to write you from Ecuador.  Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

 

 

 

Solbit

January 2016

*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 Dragged Along In Search of Desert Greenery

Dear Nicalai,

Nona and Papa went hiking to see greenery in the desert here, but I knew that deserts aren’t green, so my goal was just to see the trees that are named for Uncle Joshua and find out what a Palm Oasis looks like.

Papa drove us to a place called Joshua Tree National Park. It is big. You can drive miles and miles in there. We stopped to hike at Barker Dam. That’s where I got up close to a Joshua Tree for the first time.

I have to disappoint you. The tree was named long before Uncle Joshua was even born, so they’re not named for him.

I have to disappoint you. The tree was named long before Uncle Joshua was even born, so they’re not named for him.

Well, even if Joshua trees came before Uncle Joshua, they do have the stubble look just like him. They’re kind of skinny like him too, don’t you think?

One of the reasons to like Joshua Trees is that they make really interesting shadows.

One of the reasons to like Joshua Trees is that they make really interesting shadows.

On another day, Papa drove us to the Coachella Valley Preserve.  Not preserve as in jam or jelly but a place to protect and preserve wildlife and plants. It has 20,000 acres!  They say that, if you come here, you can see what “The Old West” looked like.

The desert is so dry but right there in the middle of all that dry is a green patch, that’s the Oasis.

The desert is so dry but right there in the middle of all that dry is a green patch, that’s the Oasis.

The Oasis gets water mostly from underground. That’s where the California Fan Palms gather to drink water.  Looks like they’ve been drinking a lot.

Nona takes her camera everywhere we go, and she never has trouble finding something interesting for a picture.  I’m trying to learn from her.  She says I’m a good student.

Nona takes her camera everywhere we go, and she never has trouble finding something interesting for a picture.  I’m trying to learn from her.  She says I’m a good student.

Speaking of things to take pictures of reminds me, next time I’m going to show you some of my wood photos.  Sounds boring, huh?  Wait and see.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

 

 

 

Solbit

January 2016

*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 Out Just What Papa Did On That “Bike Tour”

Dear Nicalai,

Aren’t bike tours a lot of hard, sweaty exercise?  I found out the truth about the bike tour Papa and his friend, Dale, took from looking at the photos of their 2012 ride in Northern California.  They started in Sacramento, cycled through Napa Valley, headed to Sea Ranch on the coast, then south all the way to Davenport.   Almost right away, I noticed a big problem with their bike ride.

No problem here. Early in their 500 mile California trip, they stopped to see this Wild West sculpture. Notice where the bike is: under the bike rider.

No problem here. Early in their 500 mile California trip, they stopped to see this Wild West sculpture. Notice where the bike is: under the bike rider.

 

Now, notice where the bike is: hanging on the inside of a Caltrain car next to the bike rider.

Now, notice where the bike is: hanging on the inside of a Caltrain car next to the bike rider.

 

When I saw this picture, I asked Papa, “Did you remember to bring your seasickness pills?

When I saw this picture, I asked Papa, “Did you remember to bring your seasickness pills?”

 

My first thought was,well, they just took the street car to get out of traffic and then ride, but then I see in this photo that they’re still sitting … on a ferry boat now

My first thought was,well, they just took the street car to get out of traffic and then ride, but then I see in this photo that they’re still sitting … on a ferry boat now.

Did you notice that the sign said, “Ryde,” but they weren’t riding; they were floating across the river.  I asked Papa about that.  He said, “Solbit, the ‘ride’ that you mean is spelled with an ‘i,’ and this ‘Ryde’ has a ‘y’ and is the name of a town.”  Ok, but someone needs to tell them both to ride the bikes. I think the sign was a sign, if you know what I mean.

You know what I think?  I think that, as Papa and Dale get older, they plan bike rides that call for more transportation than pedaling.  Don’t tell them that I said so, please, but, really, I don’t think they’re setting any mileage records these days.

However, Papa may be setting a record for most flat tires on a bike tour.  I saw a lot of photos like this one.

However, Papa may be setting a record for most flat tires on a bike tour.  I saw a lot of photos like this one.

OK, that’s it for bike tour pictures. The sun is out, Nona and Papa are taking me for a couple of hikes to a place where they have trees named after Uncle Joshua and another place with something they call a “Palm Oasis.”  I can’t wait to see what that is!

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

 

 

 

Solbit

January 2016

*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 on A Virtual Bike Ride from Pennsylvania to Maine

Dear Nicalai,

Nona found them! The pictures of Papa’s long distance bike rides.  So, we had a rain day, and Papa said, “Hey, Solbit, let me show you some pictures of my bike ride with Dale from Erie, Pennsylvania to Bar Harbor, Maine.

He has so many photos that I wonder how they had time to ride bikes.  Here’s a selection:

Papa looks pretty happy to have made it from Erie, Pennsylvania all the way to New York — the state, not the city.

Papa looks pretty happy to have made it from Erie, Pennsylvania all the way to New York — the state, not the city.

Papa said their bike trip took 14 days, and they had rainy days the first seven.  This is day two.

Papa said their bike trip took 14 days, and they had rainy days the first seven.  That’s Dale holding up two fingers to show it’s day two of the ride.

Papa saw this monument to “steel monkeys” in New York. “Steel monkeys” is slang for guys who build steel skyscrapers.

Papa saw this monument to “steel monkeys” in New York. “Steel monkeys” is slang for guys who build steel skyscrapers.

After so many commuter miles in all weather and then this long ride, Papa had to replace this ripped worn tire.

After so many commuter miles in all weather and then this long ride, Papa had to replace this ripped worn tire.

Dale and Papa enjoyed the Erie Canal Trail with no motor vehicles and no big hills either.

Dale and Papa enjoyed the Erie Canal Trail with no motor vehicles and no big hills either.

You get to meet people along the way, because biking is slow. Dale stopped for some local Kool Aid. Papa said that’s a flavored sugar drink that I can’t have.  At 50 cents a glass, I couldn’t afford it anyway.

You get to meet people along the way, because biking is slow. Dale stopped for some local Kool Aid. Papa said that’s a flavored sugar drink that I can’t have.  At 50 cents a glass, I couldn’t afford it anyway.

Evidence that Dale and Papa made it to the south end of Lake Champlain in northern New York is this photo of Fort Ticonderoga.

Evidence that Dale and Papa made it to the south end of Lake Champlain in northern New York is this photo of Fort Ticonderoga.

Pancakes got them to stop at Eaton’s Sugarhouse in South Royalton, Vermont. “Did you have syrup, Papa?” I asked. “So, who has pancakes without syrup?” he asked.

You really want to stay away from Moose, Solbit.  They are big and dangerous,” Papa instructed me. “So, what’s a moose?” I asked. Have you ever seen a moose, Nicolai?

“You really want to stay away from Moose, Solbit.  They are big and dangerous,” Papa instructed me. “So, what’s a moose?” I asked. Have you ever seen a moose, Nicolai?

Papa says that New Hampshire’s state motto is “Live Free or Die.” Must be a human thing, because I don’t know what that means.

Papa says that New Hampshire’s state motto is “Live Free or Die.”  Must be a human thing, because I don’t know what that means.

Ta-Da! They made it all the way to the state of Maine on two bikes, and they carried all their things on their bikes in something called panniers. I think those are just bags with a fancy name.

Ta-Da! They made it all the way to the state of Maine on two bikes, and they carried all their things on their bikes in something called panniers. I think those are just bags with a fancy name. Dale must have been falling over tired when he took this photo of Papa.

First stop on arriving at their destination was the bicycle shop to have their bikes shipped home. They weren’t going to ride all the way back.

First stop on arriving at their Bar Harbor destination was the bicycle shop to have their bikes shipped home. They weren’t going to ride all the way back.

Well, that’s a lot of photos, but you get the idea what a long bike ride is.  Next time, when there’s a rainy day, we’ll look at more bike trip photos — a different trip. So, I’ll sign off now with “To Be Continued.” Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

 

 

 

Solbit

January 2016

*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 Sort of Tour de Palm Springs

Dear Nicalai,

Guess what Papa did after we got settled into our rental place in Palm Springs?  He rented a bicycle, a good one, too.  Nona and I went with him to the rental place, because he was determined to rent a really good bike and she was determined to not spend too much money on it.

On the way, Papa told me that his friend Dale — they both went to Miami University, a long time ago — would come down the next week from Sacramento, and they would go on long rides around Palm Springs.  That sounded like fun, so I piped up, “Great, can I go with you?”  Nona jumped in, “Solbit, it’s a guys only thing.  You’ll keep me company.”

I guess Papa could feel the disappointment coming off me, and he said just the right thing, “Nona, if you would let Solbit go on our bike rides, Dale and I will watch our language, and Solbit will set a new record: first iguanodon ever to bike Palm Springs, sort of a Jurassic Tour de Palm Springs.”   So, that’s how I got to help Papa take this panorama photo.

The views Dale and Papa get on long bike rides reward them for their pedaling efforts.

The views Dale and Papa get on long bike rides reward them for their pedaling efforts.

Hey, did you know that Dale and Papa have biked the Trans-America Bike Trail?  They did that in 1997, but they only went from Missoula MT to Washington DC.  Both of them had more hair then, I’m pretty sure. If I remember right, it took them 54 days.  That’s a long way. I wonder: what’s the purpose in doing that?  Seems like a big waste of time, doesn’t it?

Papa liked the rental bike and Nona said it was affordable.

Papa liked the rental bike and Nona said it was affordable.

Papa’s rental bike had a big problem though: flat tires.  Four of them in two days is too much.  Papa learned that something called “goat head thorns” were puncturing the tires.  He needed to have something called “liners” in the tires.  Don’t ask me. I have no idea what those are, but now I do have a pretty good idea how to fix a bike’s flat tire on the road.

After a few days with Papa and Dale, I realized that they like to go on long bike rides for something more than the good views and the healthy exercise.

Here’s what I think Dale and Papa love most about biking: the reward at the end! Me, too!

Here’s what I think Dale and Papa love most about biking: the reward at the end! Me, too!

If more bakeries had been way out in the desert, I think we might have made many more stops along the way.  Hey, Nona says she can find me some photos of Dale and Papa on one of their long bike rides.  If she does, I’m gonna share those with you. I gotta send this and go.  Nona and Papa are taking me for a hike to something they call a “Palm Oasis.”  I can’t wait to see what that is!  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

 

 

 

Solbit

January 2016

*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.”