Solbit loves good food as she travels

Dear Nicalai,

All I have to do is whisper to Nona, “Salt and Straw,” and she will immediately think, “ice cream.”  Or, I can whisper to her, “ice cream,” and she will immediately think, “Salt and Straw.” Sometimes, she goes beyond “thinking” to “I’ve gotta have it.” Then off we go to the Salt and Straw ice cream shop to stand in line with a lot of other foodies.  Portlanders do like good food, including desserts!

I especially like going out to the farm for one of those suppers where a local chef comes out from town to cook fresh produce right out of the fields for a whole bunch of guests.  Papa likes that a local beer maker and a local wine maker usually come out too.

Tables set, chairs in place, long shadows indicate late afternoon. Time for an Our Table Cooperative supper on the farm!

Tables set, chairs in place, long shadows indicate late afternoon. Time for an Our Table Cooperative supper on the farm!

Uncle Josh and Aunt Tanya took us out to Our Table Cooperative for one of those dinners.  I got to meet Narendra! He’s the smart guy that got the cooperative going.

The food’s great. Being an herbivore, I can nibble on almost everything, and nobody seems to mind having an iguanodon at the table — well, really, “on” the table would be more accurate, but my feet are small and clean!

The other guests focused on the food so much that maybe they didn’t even notice me.  That’s a bit disappointing, but then I’m not the main attraction.

Tasty food, fine wine, convivial company, gentle sunlight combine for a delightful evening, just before sunset, among the guests.

Tasty food, fine wine, convivial company, gentle sunlight combine for a delightful evening, just before sunset, among the guests.

Actually, the main attraction was the farm produce and the great chef, Joshua McFadden, from Ava Gene’s. He even came over to say hi to us. Fine cook and nice man.  That reminds me of another sign I saw, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice.”  Isn’t that true?

Oh, one more thing before I go, speaking of a nice man, Uncle Josh is a fine baker.  He knows that Papa really likes deep dish apple pie.  (I think that’s why Papa likes bike riding, because he can find bakeries along the way with fruit pies.)  So, anyway, Uncle Josh made this for Papa.

Uncle Josh knows how to make and bake a deep dish apple pie.

Uncle Josh knows how to make and bake a deep dish apple pie.

Papa gave me some expert pie eaters’ advice, “Solbit, you just add a little bit of coconut or vanilla ice cream and you have the perfect dessert!”  I’ve tried them both, and he’s right. Well, almost right, I do think the chocolate hazelnut ice cream in a freshly-made waffle cone might be better.  Have you had one of those?

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 explains, “Portland has a gift for surprise.”

Dear Nicalai,

Remember a couple letters back when I told you about the weird signs posted in Portland?  Of course, I enjoy weird signs. Most people do, but, as a plastic jurassic, I have to remind myself that I’m not in the “people category.”  So, I’ll add that weird signs are not just for people. This iguanodon likes weird signs too.

Today I’ve got something else I enjoy, what I’ll call “Portland surprises.”  As Nona and Papa take me around town, we enjoy being surprised by unexpected things that different people have put in our way.

Just the other day on a walk, Papa and Nona suddenly stopped. “Oh, look at that, Solbit! What a surprise!  I haven’t seen a portable typewriter in years,” Nona  exclaimed.

“Was a ‘writing station’ something like a gas station then?” I asked.

“Was a ‘writing station’ something like a gas station then?” I asked.

The first thing I said was, “Nona, what’s a typewriter?”  She tried to explain that it’s a machine for writing, and it was used before the age of MacBook Airs and iPhones. “Really?  Gee, I just thought we always had MacBooks and iPhones, didn’t we? Did everyone put them out on the sidewalk?

Nona, explained, “Solbit, slow down with the questions.  First no, we did not always have computers.  Yes, we used typewriters, like that one.  No, we’ve never seen a “writing station” before; we think that’s somebody’s joke, but it’s a good one.”

So, then Papa showed me how you put paper into this machine and hit keys that make metal letters slap the paper and put ink letters onto the paper, all in a straight line.  How odd? What a surprise!  Who knew?

When Papa and I went for a bike ride in town on his old man’s recumbent bike, we got another surprise.  Someone with a wonderful sense of humor and some artistic talent had painted a little something onto the bike lane logo.

Don’t go painting on the streets by your house; you could be run over by a truck.

Don’t go painting on the streets by your house; you could be run over by a truck.

That little painting on the road made us both giggle. Portlanders seem to have a good sense of humor. I’m inclined to think that cyclists may have the best sense of humor, though.

All three of us liked what this bike shop put on their roof.  I saw it first, and just for the most brief moment, I thought, “Hey, what are those cyclists doing on the roof?” Instantly, I felt a little giggle because then I knew someone had played a little trick on me. Just iron sculpture up there, but those iron bikers gave me a happy surprise.

In the right light, rusty iron can look like something else, real people and bikes.

In the right light, rusty iron can look like something else, real people and bikes.

I wonder if I surprise Portlanders as much as they surprise me?  What do people think when they see an itsy-bitsy, plastic jurassic jumping on the shutter button on top of Nona’s camera in order to take a picture?  Do they stop to scratch their heads when they hear a squeaky voice yelling to Nona, “Take me out of your purse, I want to look too” ? Do they think, “Am I going crazy? I thought that little orange iguanodon on that man’s shoulder said hi to me?”  Giving Portlanders back a surprise or two makes me feel good. I hope they enjoy my surprises as much as I enjoy theirs.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

In the right light, rusty iron can look like something else, real people and bikes.

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’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?

IMG_7118

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,

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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 asks, “Hey, when is a haystack not hay?”

Dear Nicalai,

We went walking along Cannon Beach when Nona said, “Hey, look at that big Haystack out there in the water!” We had a long view down the coast, and I didn’t see anything that looked even a little bit like a hay field.  Just a great big rock dominated our view.  I said, “Nona, that’s not hay.  That’s a big rock, almost a mountain right there in the surf.”

Hey, when is a haystack not hay? When it’s a rock!

Hey, when is a haystack not hay? When it’s a rock!

Nona explained, “Solbit, we people have fun naming things with the wrong word just because the shape reminds us of something else. You’re right, that’s a big rock, but doesn’t it look like a haystack?”  Well, I had seen haystacks before but never that big and tall.  On the other hand, I had to admit that it had the shape of a haystack.  “So, you see, Solbit, that’s why they call it Haystack Rock,” Nona instructed me.  OK, whatever.

Another weird thing about the way people name things.  The place where we were visiting in Oregon that day is named Cannon Beach. Now, I know what a cannon looks like, and that beach definitely does not have the shape of a cannon.  Why would someone name a lovely place for walking and relaxing “cannon?”  Go figure.

Getting up close to some of the big rocks in the water, I could see that hundreds — maybe thousands — of small creatures lived on those rocks.  The creatures had hard shells, and the shells covered the rocks.  When the tide was high, they would be covered in water.  When the tide was low, you could walk up and touch them, but you would have to work hard to pull one off the rock. They must get super glue from the hardware store, or maybe they make it themselves? Wonder what it’s like to spend part of your day under water and part of your day on dry rock?

I’m fascinated by the life forms on these rocks.  Papa says that maybe I should study marine biology. I guess that’s something about studying life forms of the seas, huh?

I’m fascinated by the life forms on these rocks.  Papa says that maybe I should study marine biology. I guess that’s something about studying life forms of the seas, huh?

What a strange life form I saw under water here! It looks like a star, but it isn’t a star; it’s a living thing.

If I counted right, the sea star had 5 arms, flexible, too. I wonder if sea stars come in orange, like me?  To me this one looked sort of pinkish.

If I counted right, the sea star had 5 arms, flexible, too.
I wonder if sea stars come in orange, like me?  To me this one looked sort of pinkish.

We looked around the edges of the rocks and could see other things living in the pools of sea water.

I think Nona said that one of those creatures was something called an urchin. Can you see it there in the middle?

I think Nona said that one of those creatures was something called an urchin. Can you see it there in the middle?

So many things get names because they look like something else — a haystack, a star.  I’m going to start a list of those kind of names.  If you think of some, please send me your list so I can add it to mine.  OK?  Thanks!

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.”