Solbit wonders, “What if we stopped traveling? What would life be like then?”

Dear Nicalai,

After spending time with you this spring, I got to wondering what would life be like if Nona, Papa, and I stopped traveling.  We’d live in one place like you.  I think I might like that.

Maybe I would get to go to school?  When I saw you with your class, that looked appealing to me.

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Oh, how I’d like to be in a class choir and sing with the other students!

Do you think your school would take a plastic jurassic like me?  If they would, I wonder if I could have a really little desk?  You do have desks, don’t you?

If we settled down some place, I could ask Nona and Papa to give me a birthday party — like you had — and then I could invite you and all my classmates for cake and ice cream and BOUNCING!

Camden’s 7th BD party

Your birthday party was at a place called Bounce, because it has big inflated things you can bounce on. Fun!

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Oh, seeing this picture of Camden gives me another idea.  If we stopped traveling, I could have a place to set up my own Legos since they are just small enough and light enough that I could build things by myself.

We can’t have a pet now, because it wouldn’t be fair to keep a pet in a kennel for months at a time while we travel. If we stopped traveling, though, we could have a pet!  Nona could feed it.  Papa could take it for walks — pick up and bag the you-know-what — and give it baths, and I could play with it and keep it company.

If cats and dogs can be friends in the same house, then I think a Plastic Jurassic and a dog could get along fine, especially since I’m a vegetarian iguanodon.

If cats and dogs can be friends in the same house, then I think a Plastic Jurassic and a dog could get along fine, especially since I’m a vegetarian iguanodon.

So, I asked Nona if we could stop traveling and settle down some place.  Know what she said? “Solbit, why would we want to do that?  We haven’t seen South America yet.  We need to go back to Italy.  Papa wants to go back to Siem Reap, too. Oh, and what about visiting your cousins in Tasmania. Remember them?”

I see her point.  Whatever choice we make — stop traveling to settle down or continue traveling to see the world — we have to give up something, but we also get something we want.  Nona and Papa want to see new places and people.

When I think back on our travels so far, I’d have to say that I look forward to more travel, and I can settle for just dreaming about what life would be like if we settled down.  Some of us travel; some of us live in one place. Nona, Papa, and I are on the road again.  I’m happy with that.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

March 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 Is Making Friends on the California Coast

Dear Nicalai,

It happened suddenly. Without warning. Whoosh! Papa lurched backward in Nona’s and my direction. “What was that!” Nona cried out. Our friend Henriette stifled a laugh. I think she knew what would happen. Papa caught his balance and turned to face us.

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Mochambo the Llama is a champion spitter, for sure.

“That was the Llama spitting in my face.  Wow, Mochambo (name of Llama) must have a powerful diaphragm,” Papa said, with respect, admiration, and perhaps a tinge of fear.

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Scooby jumped a little and barked, as if saying, “Do it again Mochambo!”

Right away, I knew I liked both Mochambo and Scooby, and we became instant friends. “Yeah, Mochambo,” I said, “please spit in Papa’s face again. That was so funny!  You really surprised him!”  Mochambo declined though, “I have to wait until another time when he’s not expecting it.  Bring him around tomorrow, and maybe we can surprise him again.”  Alright!

Well, I’ve been making one friend after another as we travel up the coast of California.  I’m surprised where I find them.  For instance, the other day, I was looking at a hole in the ground, and just before I could ask Nona what’s that hole for, this guy popped out.

Digger the gopher makes his home by, you guessed it, digging a tunnel in the ground, and he makes rooms underground for his nest.

Digger the gopher makes his home by, you guessed it, digging a tunnel in the ground, and he makes rooms underground for his nest.

“Hey, I’m Solbit, what’s your name?” I asked.  “Digger’s my name. Mucho gusto!  You know that’s Spanish for “pleased to meet you”, and I am.”  I guess California gophers are bilingual.  I wish I was.

Everywhere we go, we meet strangers, and, then, when we part, we’re friends.  The thing is that you have to go out to meet strangers face to face, and, then, you can make new friends.  Sometimes, though, it’s hard to meet strangers.

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I was pretty sure someone was out there in those flowers, but we needed to get closer.

For example, I have the hardest time making friends with strange birds, don’t you?  By the time I get close enough to say hello, zoom, they’re flying away.

This California towhee let me get a good look, but flew away before I could greet her (or was it a him?).

This California towhee let me get a good look, but flew away before I could greet her (or was it a him?).

Even though the birds usually fly away before we meet, I think that we could be good friends.  You know, maybe they just need their space.  I think I can be their friend by just admiring them and giving them their space.  Right?

One more thing: I am so glad that you are my friend and that I can write you about what I’m doing, feeling, and thinking.  You’re the best.  Thanks!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

March 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 Animal Behavior

Dear Nicalai,

“Hey, Dino Girl, you lookin’ at me?” The squirrel caught me by surprise.  I didn’t think he would notice little me, but I guess squirrels have good eyesight. I’m no scientist, so you better check that “fact,” the one about squirrels’ eyesight.

Bushy the Squirrel and I just met at  Huntington Gardens. We made eye contact, and I thought maybe we had a connection, but he went right back to work.

Bushy the Squirrel and I just met at  Huntington Gardens. We made eye contact, and I thought maybe we had a connection, but he went right back to work.

He said collecting nuts was his job, and he never has enough time to get it done. “Where does the day go?” he asked, as if I knew. “Typical animal behavior,” Papa said, when I expressed disappointment that Bushy had gone.  “Gathering food is more important than spending time chatting with a Plastic Jurassic. Hey, let’s go get a snack,” he suggested.

When we got to the cafe area, all the shaded tables were taken, except one.  Nona said, “There’s a table. Let’s grab that before someone else gets it!”

Proud Peacock stood his ground (or his glass table top, in this case) when we tried to take this cafe spot.

Proud Peacock stood his ground (or his glass table top, in this case) when we tried to take this cafe spot.

“Yuck! Who wants to eat from a table somebody has walked all over?” I protested. “What’s wrong with that bird? Doesn’t he know anything about table manners?”

Papa calmly replied, “Solbit, that’s just typical animal behavior. The bird doesn’t know about table manners. It just knows that the table is a good place to look for food. Food is more important to it than manners.”  He just got a wet napkin, shooed the peacock away, and wiped the table clean.

After a snack at the cafe table, we met a very different animal. It kept doing push ups on the side of a rock. Don’t you think that’s odd? So I asked, “Excuse me, Ms, my name is Solbit, and I wonder why are you doing push ups all the time?”

Liz, a friendly local lizard, was happy to take time to talk with me, “Not many visitors ask me anything,” she said.

Liz, a friendly local lizard, was happy to take time to talk with me, “Not many visitors ask me anything,” she said.

“Hi, I’m Liz. Mucho gusto. I’m not really doing push ups.  That would be human behavior, and I’m not human; I’m a reptile.”  “Oh, I said, maybe were related, because I’m a dinosaur!” “Probably, somewhere back in the past, we might have a common ancestor, but, to answer your question, look at me; I’m short, so I keep pushing up to get better views. I have to be on the look out for all kinds of animals that want to eat me.”

I wanted to reassure her right away, “You can be sure that we don’t want to eat you.  You are safe with us!  Nice chatting. Goodbye!” I said to Papa, “I’ll bet that’s typical animal behavior too, huh, looking out for something or someone who might try to eat you.”

As we walked further down the path, I exclaimed, “Hey, that’s not typical animal behavior!”

Bruiser was wearing black, leather shoes!

Bruiser was wearing black, leather shoes!

As we approached Bruiser, I said, “Hello, I’m Solbit, and I like your shoes.” He was surprised to hear my little voice, and it took him a moment to find me looking down at him from the zipper pocket of Nona’s purse.

“Thanks. I’m Bruiser, and this pavement gets awfully hot, so the lady I live with got me these shoes to protect my paws.  What a relief it is! Now I can enjoy walking these Gardens and staying on the path like the humans insist we do.”

“Papa,” I said, “You don’t often see a dog wearing shoes, so that’s not typical animal behavior, is it?”  Papa, trying to educate me, replied, “Solbit, you are correct.  That would be called “atypical” animal behavior. That means not typical.”

Solbit engages in “atypical” dinosaur behavior, just for fun.

Solbit engages in “atypical” dinosaur behavior, just for fun.

“So, Papa, why use a word like “atypical” that no one understands when you could just say “not typical” and everyone would understand that,” I asked.  Papa smiled and replied, “Solbit, you’re learning to ask good questions, and that’s a good one.  What do you think the answer is?”

“Maybe the person saying “atypical” animal behavior wants to show off his knowledge,” I guessed. Papa walked away muttering, “From the mouth of a Plastic Jurassic.”  Do you think he took my answer the wrong way? I mean I was just guessing.  Now, I think that maybe I should have said, “So that the person can teach someone else another word to put into her vocabulary.”  Hey, I learned two words or phrases today, typical and atypical animal behavior. Cool, huh!

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

Solbit

March 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 colored view

Dear Nicalai,

When ever someone asks me, “Solbit, what is your view on coordinating colors?” I like to begin my reply with, “Nature.…”  I think Nature does so well putting together colors that go well with each other, don’t you?  You can see Nature’s color sense at work in this photo.

Even the plants and insects seem to be color coordinated! I told Papa, “This bee and I obviously have something in common. Look how it wants to be close to that yellow in the flower.”

Even the plants and insects seem to be color coordinated! I told Papa, “This bee and I obviously have something in common. Look how it wants to be close to that yellow in the flower.”

“I hate to burst your bubble, Solbit, but something else is going on here.  Actually, I may burst two of your bubbles.  First, what that bee wants to get close to is the flower’s pollen, and, second, that flower is both Nature and human designed, because some person bred that flower to look like that,” Papa explained.

I stood my ground though, “Well, the bee likes yellow then because yellow tells the bee where the pollen is, and Nature made human beings, as well as flowers, so the person was working with Nature, not alone, right.”  Papa stared at me and muttered, sort of to himself, “From the lips of a Plastic Jurassic.” I’m counting that as a win for me!

Take another example about Nature and color. We saw this lovely flower recently at the LA Arboretum.

Isn’t she lovely?  Even if this flower didn’t complement my beautiful orange complexion, I would still say she is lovely.

Isn’t she lovely?  Even if this flower didn’t complement my beautiful orange complexion, I would still say she is lovely.

I thought the next flower didn’t go with my complexion, but Nona said, “Solbit, I think this flower’s light lime-green and your orange actually work.”  I’m pretty sure that “actually work” means “go together,” not hard labor.  (Papa is working with me on something he calls idioms, and I think maybe that’s an idiom.)  Oops, there I go getting off the topic.  Back to colors.

J Paul Getty Museum (and gardens)

Saw this at the J Paul Getty Museum (and gardens). I guess ants like lime-green too.

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I’m partial to yellow and red, especially when they come together the way they do in this flower.  Nature just has a way with color.

When we walk in this Pasadena neighborhood, I feel especially at home.  Can you guess why?

Yeah, all that orange makes me just feel like I belong here.  Don’t get me wrong though, if I were green, or any other color, I could still belong here.  I don’t think it is natural to discriminate or exclude others by color.  We all belong here.  I’m just saying how the color seems to welcome me.

Yeah, all that orange makes me just feel like I belong here.  Don’t get me wrong though, if I were green, or any other color, I could still belong here.  I don’t think it is natural to discriminate or exclude others by color.  We all belong here.  I’m just saying how the color seems to welcome me.

Now, before I say goodbye, I’m going to show you a flower that we saw, and it was not the color that attracted me. I just love it’s name.  Nona says that it is a “passion flower.”

Look how Nature put together all those lovely shapes into one delicate flower. What a sense of design!

Look how Nature put together all those lovely shapes into one delicate flower. What a sense of design!

When I said that about Nature’s design sense to Papa, he said, “Yes, Solbit, Nature could teach architects and engineers a lot about design, if only they’d take the time to look and to listen.”  I wonder what is he talking about.  Does that make any sense to you?  He says some weird things sometimes, but I still like him.  Know what I mean?  Bye for now!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

March 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 chooses art

Dear Nicalai,

“The naked woman behind Nona!”  That’s how I answered Papa’s question, “Solbit, what was your favorite experience here at The Getty today?”  Yeah, that had to be the best.  Although, even better might have been if Nona had taken his suggestion.

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Reclining Woman by Aristide Maillol

After he took this photo of her and the naked woman, he said, “Now, take off your clothes and lie on your hip like her, and I’ll get both of you in the same pose.”  But, she didn’t take his suggestion.  Instead, she said, “Your pushing your luck, Buster! Let’s move on.” I like it when Papa asks me questions like that.  He’s not doing it like a teacher to get me to learn something.  No, he asks because he is really interested in what I’m thinking and how I experience things.  I like that. He also asked me, “And what was your least favorite experience here at the Getty?”  That was easy to answer.  “That poor little frog being caught in the boys fingers. He wants to get away so much, but the boy won’t let him go. I felt so bad for the little frog, but we couldn’t help him. Could we?” “No, Solbit, we couldn’t change that sculpture to let the frog go,” Papa explained, “but I bet the artist would be pleased that his sculpture made you feel like that.”

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Boy with Frog My “let it go” thoughts didn’t help.

Isn’t it odd how a piece of cold stone, shaped by hand, can turn on an emotion in me, even though I know it’s not real? How can art do that?  It made me think too.  I thought, if I had fingers and a hand, I wouldn’t do that to a helpless frog, and I wondered what makes that boy do that? As we drove to our next destination, Papa asked me, “Solbit, if you could take home anything that you saw today at The Getty, what would it be?” Another easy question to answer: “I’d take the Central Garden.”  Nona jumped in, “Me too!”

Robert Irwin’s not just any gardener but like many a gardener he’s an artist.

Robert Irwin’s not just any gardener but like many a gardener he’s an artist.

Papa laughed, “Well, girls, I hate to tell you, but I don’t think it would fit into the trunk of our Honda Civic.”  “No, but a girl can dream, especially when she’s in California, can’t she?” I replied.  “Dream on, girl,” Papa said, and we sped up Route 1 on our way to San Jose. I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

March 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, “Nona, What’s a ‘bun’s eye?’ Some kind of bread?”

Dear Nicalai,

I thought Nona said, “Hey, Solbit, let’s go see the bun’s eye; I think they are just your size.”  So, of course, I asked her, “Yuck! Who wants to see a bun with an eye? Oh, you’re kidding, right? Buns don’t have eyes, do they?  And why would we leave these lovely gardens to go to a bakery now?” All three of them — Nona, Papa, and their friend Claire — laughed.

Do you know what a ‘bun’s eye’ is?  No? Well, I didn’t either. Here’s what happened.

You know how Nona and Papa — well, at least, Nona — love going to gardens everywhere in the world, right?  So, we’re in Pasadena, and their friend, Claire — she’s really nice, and she and Nona look like sisters, I think — took us all to the next town over, San Marino, to spend the day at The Huntington Gardens. Well, Nona asked to see the “bun’s eye” after lunch.

As you probably know, she didn’t say “bun’s eyes,”  even though that is what I heard. When Nona stopped laughing, she explained, “Solbit, what I said sounded just like what you heard, but, that’s not what I said.  I said “bonsai,” spelled b-o-n-s-a-i.  That’s a Japanese word that we use for artfully shaped, miniature trees.  Bonsai are real plants, and some live to be very old, too.

 

Huntington Garden w Clare Gorfininckel

Someone who is both a gardener and an artist pruned this tree over many years to create its size and shape.  Papa said, “Looks like the Leaning Tower of San Marino, doesn’t it?”

Bonsai! I haven’t mastered English yet, and already they’re throwing Japanese words at me!  They must think I’m pretty smart, huh? Do you think I could learn to cultivate a bonsai tree? That might be fun.

Huntington Garden w Clare Gorfininckel

If I grew a bonsai, I think I’d make mine straight and tall; no, I mean straight and short.

When we go to most gardens, I feel “dwarfed” by the huge bushes and trees, but, now, I have found the garden where I can feel really at home. Nona said, “Solbit, you’re in your element now.”  I corrected her, “No, I’m not in an element, Nona, I’m in my bonsai forest.  You need to learn the difference between elements and forests.  Even I know that.”

Huntington Garden w Clare Gorfininckel

Here I am taking a walk in “my” forest of bonsai. I think a bonsai a day would take all my cares away.

Hey, if you meet someone who is really little like I am, be sure to tell them about bonsai.  Not everyone will know about them. If they’re like me, they may hear “bun’s eye” — an awful thought, especially for us vegetarians — so be sure to spell it out and explain that bonsai is a Japanese horticultural art.  Oh, no, that’ll just make it more confusing.  I only just learned the word, “horticulture;” it’s an English word, but you know that already. Just tell them it is not a bun and not an eye and to google b-o-n-s-a-i; that’ll be easier. OK?

Gotta go. Yeah, time for my Spanish lesson with Nona and Papa.  We’re getting ready to go to South America next year.  We’re having fun learning Spanish with the Duolingo app.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

 

March 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, “California Dreamin’ or what?”

Dear Nicalai,

Was I dreaming or did I actually see Papa in a tunnel of books? Look at Papa. Doesn’t this look like a tunnel?

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Papa under an arched stack of books at The Last Bookstore in LA.

From all I had heard, I thought that LA (that’s short for Los Angeles, California you know!) was just full of studios for making movies. Well, maybe the people here make movies, but they must read a lot of books to do that.  Look at this bookstore!

They have another floor full of books too. I wonder why they call it “The Last Bookstore” ?  I’ve seen several more bookstores since we left LA.  Maybe they just mean it’s the furtherest west? I don’t know.

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You know Papa says traveling and reading books liberates us.  We’ve been traveling and reading a lot, so we must be very liberated, huh?  Oh, we didn’t just go to bookstores in LA. We know that Ainsley really likes mummies, so I just have to show you this from the Art Walk that we took downtown.

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Have you ever seen such a big mummy?  Actually, this isn’t a real mummy.  You could probably see that.  It’s art.  Nona says art liberates us.  You guessed it.  We see a lot of art.  What’s with all this “liberate” stuff?  Do you think they’re obsessed with it? Maybe they’ve been here so long that they’re going all “California” on me? Is that going to be a problem?  Should I be worried? Please let me know what you think.  Thanks.

I’m your friend.

Love,

 

signature

 

 

 

 

Solbit

 

March 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.”