IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2008
GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN
7 March 2008
It was a long day, but definitely a fun day. The plan had been to tour the Jelly Belly factory, my usual "breaking the ice" tour, since it's something different and interesting. I've now toured it many, many times, so it was not something I was eager to do (though I always enjoy it), but Mary had sounded positive when I suggested it to her via e-mail several months ago.
But then she discovered that there is a Charles M. Schulz museum a couple of hours from here and confessed to being a huge Snoopy fan and we scrapped Jelly Bellies in favor of Peanuts.
My boss, the biggest Peanuts fan I know, who has written a couple of books on the cartoon (which are sold at the museum) and who helped get the museum established (I think) gave me directions for how to find it. I promptly forgot to bring them with us and thank God I forgot or we would never have had lunch in Santa Rosa.
We went into downtown Santa Rosa, which was bumper to bumper traffic but then a car pulled out of a parking spot (thank you, Gilbert) directly in front of a huge Snoopy statue (Santa Rosa has decorated a decorated Peanuts character each summer...this was the only one we saw on the streets on which we were driving). It just so happened that it was a "Rainbow Snoopy" and of course I had to take Mary's picture.
We went inside the E.R. Sawyer jewelry store, which Snoopy guarded, and spoke with a man named Doug Van Dyke, who, amazingly, turned out to be from Wisconsin too, so he and Mary hit it right off. We asked him for suggestions of places to eat and he enthusiastically gave us several, one of which was the Flavor Bistro, which, he said, served "California cuisine." That sounded made for us, since Mary was visiting California, and so we chose that.
It turned out to be a lovely restaurant, with Brasilian jazz music playing softly over the speakers. The menu looked incredible and we decided to get a couple of starters, a salad and an entree, with the idea that we would bring the leftovers home for dinner. So we ordered "Pear Bruschetta ~ Topped with Sweet Red Pear, Mascarpone & Gorgonzola Cheeses" and "Rotolino ~ Rolled Layers of Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Mascarpone, Peppers, Flat Bread, Olive Relish." Mary also ordered a salad (but I can't remember which one), which was delicious, with dried cherries and roasted walnuts and some great vinaigrette.
For main course, I ordered butternut ravioli. Doug had told us their pastas were homemade and this pasta was light and airy and nothing like I'd ever experienced before. It was filled with a butternut filling, and garnished with sage butter and freshly grated Parmesan. It was possibly the very best ravioli I've ever eaten, and I could only eat 3 of them, bringing the remaining 2 for Walt's dinner.
Mary's main course was some pizza with sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and goat cheese. I'm not a big fan of goat cheese (or kalamata olives either, for that matter!), so only took a small piece, with the least cheese on it, but I had to admit it was tasty. We did bring most of that home, though, since I didn't do my share of eating it.
Next we were off on a Snoopy hunt. I did get mixed up and took the wrong street (which is typical for me), but it only delayed us for a bit and we eventually ended up at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center.
The museum, which Schulz worked on developing, did not open until August of 2002, two years after Schulz himself died, but it is a wonderful tribute to a man who brought such happiness to so many people around the world...as much as it is a delightful visit with a bunch of old friends you probably have known all your life.
You could only take photos in certain places, none in the galleries, so my photos were limited, but the main open area was dominated by a huge mosaic of 3,588 cartoon tiles arranged by Japanese artist Yoshiteru Otani into an image of Lucy holding the ball for Charlie brown.
The same tiles were used as trim in the restrooms.
The galleries where we couldn't photograph had drawings, cartoons, and memorabilia. They had also moved Schulz' office, lock, stock and barrel over to set up in the museum.
I also absolutely LOVED the little courtyard, with statues of several of the characters, and a kite caught in a tree.
(The kite is actually 44" x 66" x 1/4" thick impact-resistant acrylic, "imprinted with a holographically originated grating that diffracts into rainbows when struck by sunlight." Or something like that!)
"The tail is holographically embossed polyester film with five reflective holographic ribbons. 1,000 foot-long string is electroluminescent lime green wirethat looks like neon when turned on after sunset."
Or so they explain!
There is also a cute little crossword puzzle Lucy, where children who have tried to do a crossword puzzle at one of the rooms inside and check to see if their answers are right.
In front of the building is a Snoopy labyrinth, which is ringed with only ankle high plants, so that little kids can easily go round the thing.
But my favorite thing was really something very simple. A birdbath on a concrete patio area. But it was the covering over the patio that I just loved.
The museum also has a room where people (especially children) can try their own hand at drawing cartoons. It is replete with books and videos and paper and crayons and a big bulletin board to post their pictures when they are finished.
There are several resting areas, with comfortable couches, bean bag chairs and books of pictures of Peanuts characters, or photos from the Santa Rosa annual "decorate a character" events.
It's all very inviting...and fun.
After a somewhat profitable (for the museum) trip through the ubiquitous gift shop, we went across the street to the world class ice rink Schulz built. We sat on the bench which sits opposite the Snoopy Home Ice web cam while Mary called her family and friend Sherry so they could see us sitting on the bench.
(The only person I could think of who might be at home and at a computer was Jeri, but she wasn't, so I wasn't able to wave at anybody, but I did take a picture of Mary and me sitting together on the bench).
We made the requisite deposit of cash in the ice rink gift shop too, watched some of the skating, and had an apricot dessert-thingy in the Warm Puppy Cafe before getting back into the car, as the sun was beginning to set, and starting the long trip back.
It was really just a great day, though tomorrow I don't think we'll drive quite as far!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2902