A Gulling Experience

Dear Nicalai,

Greetings from the Beach! We’re in San Diego.  How is it here? Well, you might say that we’re having a “gull-ing” experience, but that could mislead you.  We’re just having a good time observing the behavior of a certain type of beach bum, the gull.

We’ve learned to watch our food around gulls.

These juvenile western gulls just heisted someone’s apple from a lunch bag!

Another behavior trait that I have observed among these gulls is that they like to make noise together. Maybe they think they’re singing, but their “vocalizations” hurt my eardrums.

Squawking, squawking, squawking, they’re driving me crazy!

I was beginning to think that gulls are just another kind of pest. Just when I was wondering how to get rid of these pests, I discovered this gull performing an important service at the beach.

A lifeguard gull! Amazing.  Now I’m wondering how does a gull save lives lost at sea? I can’t imagine, but the sign is very clear, isn’t it, identifying this gull as a “lifeguard”?

As we strolled the beach, Nona said, “Solbit, look there, even gulls dare to be different.”

Sure enough, a Heerman’s gull — looking different — stood there proudly and apparently comfortable with the many western gulls sharing the beach with it.

Well, squawking gulls still jangle my nerves, but I admit that a lifeguard gull and a gull that dares to be different have both taught me to appreciate gulls — even those little apple thieves amused me.

Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

 

 

 

Solbit

March 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.”

“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 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,

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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,

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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’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,

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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.”

Farewell, northern CA; hello, southern CA

Dear Nicalai,

How do you Californians wear t-shirts — even tank tops! — in this winter weather? We gotta get outta here!

We took off to meet the warm and sunny skies of Southern California.  Couldn’t wait to get out of this chilly Northern California weather.

Please, don’t misunderstand me. We’ve enjoyed being with you during our December holiday stay in Los Gatos and San Jose, but we have to get back to what we do — what we do all the time — traveling…where the weather is warm.

Milo, the cat, said goodbye to me, and then went right back to what he does — what he does all the time— snoozing on someone’s bed…where, I bet, it is warm all the time.

Milo, the cat, said goodbye to me, and then went right back to what he does — what he does all the time— snoozing on someone’s bed…where, I bet, it is warm all the time.

Yep, goodbye Northern California and hello Southern California.  Nona and Papa have old peoples’ bones, and they like the warmer weather down there.

We traveled in Nona and Papa’s new car, a Prius C. It has that knock-your-socks-off bright yellow paint. It’s called “Sunglow,” and does it ever. Papa misses our old Civic, because “I want to shift the gears.” The Prius has automatic shift.  I guess old farm boys like Papa like the old ways. One thing he does like about the Prius is 47 miles per gallon of gas. Nona likes that too when she looks at our budget.

We stopped at a lot of places on our way south. One place we stopped was Morro Bay.  A gull surprised me there, when she walked right up to me on the dock.  I thought she was going to eat me! But I was wrong.

“Hey, I know you.  You’re a plastic iguanodon. Are you the blogger of ‘Tales of A Plastic Jurassic?’” squawked the gull.

“Hey, I know you.  You’re a plastic iguanodon. Are you the blogger of ‘Tales of A Plastic Jurassic?’” squawked the gull.

Imagine my surprise, when she asked me if I were a blogger.  Amazing! I said, “Why yes, m’am, I am.  How did you know?”  She said that she heard a woman with an iPhone on a beach talking about me, “Can you believe it? A blogging plastic jurassic. So what’s next? We’ll be reading a beach blog by a California gull?”

The gull said that the woman’s husband replied, “Hey, just imagine the pictures on that blog.” The gull told me, “He’s right, you know.  I could get some great photos as I fly over the beaches.”  Maybe I should do a blog. How hard is it to do? I said, “Wordpress makes it easy, so the most important thing is to get yourself a good editor.”  I also added, “Papa edits mine, and he does an okay job, but, don’t tell him, I’m looking into someone who is a bit more professional.”

We arrived in Palm Springs on New Years Eve, but we didn’t go to any parties.  Parties usually start after Nona and Papa have already gone to bed.  I think it was just six days later that I experienced my first earthquake.  4.5 on the Richter Scale and centered in Banning, California.  Did you know that earthquakes build mountains? That was news to me.

We have a great view of the mountains around Palm Springs, especially on our walks out by Araby Lane.  That’s where we go to see birds.

We can see all kinds of birds on our walks AND see the beautiful snow capped mountains, without getting cold.

We can see all kinds of birds on our walks AND see the beautiful snow capped mountains, without getting cold.

Another benefit of living in Palm Springs in the winter time is oranges … and grapefruit.  These tasty citrus fruits are everywhere.  We don’t even have to go to the grocery store to buy them.

We can just walk into our backyard and pick an orange or a grapefruit for breakfast or for a snack.

We can just walk into our backyard and pick an orange or a grapefruit for breakfast or for a snack.

Oh, I forgot, we have lemons too.  That won’t surprise you, because, even in San Jose, you have a Meyer Lemon tree, and it is full of lemons, I know. Hey, we’re going on our Thursday night walk to the street market to have those wonderful burritos from the booth at the corner by the old library.  Have to wear a jacket tonight, even though we’re in Southern California. See you later. Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

December 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.”