Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Adventure Wednesday at Reagan Library

Before I start, I just want to thank all of you for your support and outreach after yesterday's post.  I have been struggling, but this week has been leaps and bounds better.  More on that in an upcoming post, because today is Wednesday, and it's time for some Adventure!

I don't really talk politics on this blog.  It's not that I don't think about politics (though when I was younger, it was more of a focus.)  But politics is a fraught topic, and this blog is about the joy of living healthfully and creatively.  They go together like peanut butter and liverwurst.  (Except if you're my brother, who actually likes that.)

For the record - though you probably already know - I'm progressive/liberal with a basic belief that we shouldn't adhere to just one school of thought (capitalism, socialism, et al) because they keep each other in check.  Plenty of my friends and family members are conservative, and that suits me just fine, because, again, we keep each other in check.  In general, one really must consider perspective.

Take, for instance, my pal Erik.   Among our group of cohorts, he's one of the more conservative.  In another group of his friends, he's the hippie-dippy liberal.  So I found it apt and amusing that he took all of us - those to the left and those to the right of him - to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for his birthday.

We tend toward the rollicking when we're out and about, so I tried to be on my best behavior and keep the inappropriate jokes inside my head (or save them for targets who'd find them amusing) while visiting the museum that pays tribute to the 40th President of the United States: The Gipper.

Photo taken by my friend Audra

I'll admit, it was a little challenging to do that during the first multimedia presentation.  It was very much like a movie trailer.  They even said something like, "one man braved the challenges..."  One of our friends cracked, in a Don LaFontaine voice, "IN A WORLD..."

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  We met up in the front garden of the grounds, just past the entrance.  I'd never been to Simi Valley, and I didn't realize how beautiful the view from the library would be.

Vista from the meeting place.


It was nice to see a piece of the Berlin wall, which was donated to the museum.  Talk about symbolic contrast... the other side was totally bare except for the letter "E" (we presume for "East.")

Photo by Audra.

We started off with a little lunch at Reagan's Country, the cafe inside the library.  There was a nice range of options, including a barbecue chicken salad (with dressing on the side) which I enjoyed alongside a diet Snapple tea.

I don't know why my leg is pointed, but I like that we can see my cool kicks.
More on my outfit this Fashion Friday.
By the way, this, and the rest of these photos, were taken by Tom.

I spotted Reagan's favorite food quirk - jelly beans - for sale, and I couldn't resist picking up a bag for the group.  (There were jars of jellybeans tucked around the museum, and for sale in the gift shop as well.) You'll see them on the table in the photo below.

The birthday boy enjoys his lunch.  And some jellybeans.


I don't know what Audra is gesticulating about, but check out that VIEW!

The museum included a mix of Reagan's personal and political history, plus some general presidential-type fun, like a chance to stand at a podium and experience the phenomenon of teleprompting.  Did you know that teleprompters are basically a version of Pepper's Ghost, my favorite old-timey theatrical trick (and the technology behind the Haunted Mansion?) 

I take my podium seriously.


There were several interactive displays.  Our group got high marks on the etiquette quiz, and were very confused by the lack of explained consequences of our "break through regulations" game, in which we used a slingshot to break up things like business monopolies.  (We had video of it, but alas, it has been lost in the ether.)

 We also took a stroll through a recreation of the Reagan Oval Office.  Did you know that they redesigned it in unusual rust/coral color scheme to remind them of their southwestern ranch home?

Everything's a reproduction but the chair. The docent said after his presidency,
Reagan enjoyed coming to the library and sitting in his old chair.
Guests would commend them on their excellent Reagan impersonator.


The star of the exhibit, for me, was the decomissioned Air Force One, which we were able to walk through (but not photograph.)  We did get some fun shots of the outside (and some people purchased the souvenir photograph they took of us at the gate.  I'll post that in an update, later.)

The gang, admiring the tail.


Tom - in a bowling shirt that would come in handy later - looking dapper in front of the 27000.

My favorite of the batch - let's call it "View Beneath the Wing."

How often do you get to stand this close to the bottom of an airplane?
Let alone a presidential one.

From here, our camera battery gave up the ghost, so we missed photographing wonderous things like the very 1980s orange sherbet push-up pop I purchased in the Reagan "pub," plus  Nancy Reagan's Second-hand Rose outfit, and the official Just Say No Board Game (still available on eBay, people!)

Thus, we missed out on photos of our dinner at a local pizza restaurant (which had the nicest salad bar I've seen at a non-salad-bar-centric restaurant - they even had jicama!) or our post-dinner bowling... at an alley that looked very much like the one in my hometown.  One forgets just how much exercise one can get while bowling.  Especially when you're speed-bowling, which is the new sport we just invented.  (I think we invented it, anyway.)

Our time with friends was very refreshing... but I have to admit, that much time in a museum honoring a conservative president made my liberal brain feel a tad itchy.  Tom's too.  Partway through the museum, he whispered to me, "Can we do something really liberal when we're done here?"  We pondered through an amusing array of options, but finally decided that the best thing to do would be to donate to Obama's campaign.  So we did.

All right!  I think I've fulfilled my politics quota for... ever.  A big thanks to Erik for organizing our fun day with the Gipper, and to all our friends, who are awesome and amusing and supportive and fun.

And to you.  I hope you're taking good care of you.  I'll be back tomorrow to tell you about some of the ways I've been doing it this week.  'Til then!


  1. I had to wash my brain out with soap afterwards, but it was all worth it for the great fun. (And hearing that some of Erik's friends consider him the "hippie-dippy liberal" of their group was arguably more of a highlight than Air Force One.)

    So ... who's buying "Just So No" on eBay so we can make a drinking game out of it?!?

  2. Aww, I didn't realize your battery died. We should have taken more pics. I need to have a look at what I have and post them.