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 Seeks Peace and Quiet (and then discovers something more)

Dear Nicalai,

Wow! Nona found us a wonderful AirBnB. We’re living in a tree-lined neighborhood in downtown Portland. We walk only a few blocks to be in “The Pearl!” Believe me, this area is a pearl of a place to live. Everything is here.

That’s good and bad. Good because we walk to whatever we want or need: ice cream, coffee shop, foodie places, outfitter stores, post office, and more! Bad because sometimes I can be overwhelmed by all the excitement and stimulation. Hey, and I don’t even drink coffee or any other caffeinated drinks!

No worries, as our Aussie friends say. Why?  Because whenever I need some peace and quiet, we just walk to peace and quiet places nearby.  Here’s one.

At the Lan Su Chinese Garden Papa and I sit quietly and watch this sinking boat.

At the Lan Su Chinese Garden Papa and I sit quietly and watch this sinking boat.

You would think that a sinking boat would make me churn with stress, but something about it calms Papa and me. Every time we go back, the boat lies there. So, it never really sinks. We also like sitting by this place with lily pads.

Lily pads resting on calm water convey a restful feeling to me.  Why is that?

Lily pads resting on calm water convey a restful feeling to me.  Why is that?

Maybe the calm water that holds up the lily pads makes me feel serene, but, then, water isn’t necessary, because so does a dry rural scene like this one on Sauvie Island, another of our favorite places.

If you ever get to Portland, you want to visit Sauvie Island.

If you ever get to Portland, you want to visit Sauvie Island.

Funny thing, I get the impression that other animals like this place on Sauvie Island, too.  Doesn’t this bug look content?

IMG_6234 - Version 2

When I’m here the bugs don’t bug me.

When I told that to Nona and Papa, Nona said, “Solbit, you know that a lot of people think, ‘If I just got this one more thing, then I would be happy, content.’ Then they get that thing, happiness doesn’t come, and they think, ‘Now, if I just got this one more thing, then I’ll find happiness.’  Again and again this cycle repeats.  Guess what, Solbit?  You’ve already discovered the pathway to real happiness. Try to stay on that path.”

“OK, Nona, I think I can do that.  Where’s the path, again?” I replied. Nona said, “Solbit, think about it.” I’m still thinking on what she said.  Do you get it?  If you get it before I do, please let me know.  Thanks. Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

 

 

 

 

Solbit

June 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.”