<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaworskihouse/8331748086/” title=”Opera House San Francisc, on Flickr”><img src=”https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8081/8331748086_80d9ccfb9c_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”213″ alt=”Opera House San Francisco”></a><br />n<br />nCousin family from Oceanside came to visit post-[solstice|christmas]. Always good to see them, see their little girl growing up, luckily we can allow that to happen alongside our own Penny. The two are only about 6 months in age difference.<br />n<br />n<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaworskihouse/8330689813/” title=”oceanside cousins”><img src=”https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8211/8330689813_63ba9ac392_n.jpg” width=”213″ height=”320″ alt=”oceanside cousins”></a><br />n<br />nHighlight of the visit was a trip to San Francisco to see the SF Ballet’s production of Nutcracker. I’m no ballet critic, so I won’t say much about it other than it was a fine venue (<a href=”http://sfwmpac.org/operahouse/oh_index.html” title=”war memorial opera house”>War Memorial Opera House</a>), a spectacular scene (my favorite was the dancing in the snow), and a great orchestra playing the music live.<br />n<br />n<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaworskihouse/8330689497/” title=”Opera House San Francisco”><img src=”https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8215/8330689497_b387147ccc_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”213″ alt=”Opera House San Francisco”></a><br />n<br />nOur day was supposed to start with a Caltrain ride up to SF, but after doing some research in time, cost, itinerary, etc, we determined it would be best to drive. We parked at the Civic Center garage and then hoofed it up Hyde Street to Jackson where we were suppsed to catch the cable car that could take us to Ghirardelli Square. When we arrived at the stop, there was already a tourist party of about 8 waiting for the cable car, and we were to add another eight to the mix. When the car arrived, it was already packed, with people hanging off the sides like you always see in the pictures. The operators asked if there was any parties of one, as that’s all the room they had available. We ended up walking the rest of the way to the Square, putting about two miles of up and down SF streets behind us. And I had an extra 40 pounds on my shoulders as Harold was enjoying a shoulder ride the entire time.<br />n<br />nBy the time we arrived at Ghirardelli Square, it was getting close to lunch time, so we found The Pub open for lunch, with an acceptably child friendly menu to appease the moms with us.<br />n<br />nAfter lunch, we went into the Ghirardelli shop next door to The Pub for a few chocolate bars, then it was getting close enough in time to consider making our way back to the Civic Center area, which is where the Opera House is located. We caught two cabs back all the way across town via Hyde Street (wow, we DID walk a long way!). Being early, we stopped by the parking garage so the girls could change into their fancier clothes they brought, semi-fancy dresses appropriate for the occasion.<br />n<br />nWe then made our way over to the Opera House and were seated. It was a fine show, and I would certainly do it again, though probably not every year. Going to the ballet is a singular affair, and I would certainly not want to spoil the experience by going too frequently.<br />n<br />nAfter the show, everyone was tired enough such that our plans changed. We had a vague notion of making our way to Union Square to view the Christmas Tree and see all the holiday decorations that should still have been up (despite it being several days after Dec 25). Instead, we decided to just head back down to the south bay and catch dinner at a local Italian restaurant.<br />n<br />nAfter living in the bay area for most of my life, going to SF still is a tourist experience for me. I used to dread going, but these days, I find it to be a treat as I have a different attitude about it. Flexibility and the right attitude make a world of difference.<br />n<br />n<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaworskihouse/8331763050/” title=”Seal of the State of Californi, on Flickr”><img src=”https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8497/8331763050_d487262446_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”213″ alt=”Seal of the State of California”></a>