Sunday, December 6, 2009


This was not a weekend for sleeping in. At 9am we were off to see “Nutcracker” with friend Tracy and her kids. This was a mini production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet presented by the Mark Foehringer Dance Project in San Francisco’s Zeum Theatre. Geared specifically for children, this production was short and sweet – only 50 minutes, no breaks, and a live orchestra.

After the ballet I asked K & H what they thought. I think they were a little stunned, especially by the lack of dialogue. It was also the first time they experienced this kind of music and dance. H said he liked it, "kind of."

Our next stop was Union Square for lunch and to see the puppies and kittens in the window of Macy’s. We ate at the Westin-St. Francis for no other reason than after walking from the theatre we were all too hungry to look for another restaurant, and we happened to be standing in front of this hotel. It turned out to be a good choice. The place had some fun holiday decorations, including a glowing castle, and the restaurant had a kids menu that K & H appreciated.

I remember the first time I visited San Francisco. I was in elementary school and my parents took me on vacation to The City by the Bay. We were living in the Los Angeles area at the time. We stayed at the St. Francis Hotel. My only clear memory of this hotel now is its outside elevators. What a thrill for a kid.

On the way from the restaurant to Macy’s we stopped for pictures in front of the giant Christmas tree in Union Square. In nice frames these photos might make nice gifts...hmmm.

Both Tracy and I are thinking about getting new pets. Tracy is considering a puppy, and I want a kitten -- or maybe two. Earlier this year (before I started this blog) my cat of eighteen years passed away. His name was Tarzan, but we all called him Pussle. My Dad, Tioga-George, posted about this in his blog on Feb-08 of 2009. Anyway, Tracy had nice memories of pressing in to look at the cute pets in Macy’s windows, and thought our kids would enjoy it, too. And maybe, just maybe, we would be enchanted by one and bring it home with us.

As it turned out there were only two pets in the window; one kitten and one puppy, and inside all but one kitten were already adopted.  Oh well!

By mid afternoon we were back on BART, headed for home. But our day was not finished yet, for today we were going to pick out our Christmas tree! Tracy and I have gone tree hunting together for the last five or six years. While we scrutinize each and every tree, the kids dart around playing tag and hide-and-seek. Our favorite tree farm serves up wonderful hot chocolate and marshmallows, and this year had a fire pit – a welcome addition!

The kids and I helped Tracy rearrange her furniture and put up her tree, then we said our goodbyes and went home to set up our tree. By this time it was dark and the lights we put up on the house yesterday were just clicking on.  Oooh, aahhhh!

Our tree was selected because it had an interesting bluish tint, not becaues of its shape. In fact the shape left something to be desired, but this trait reminded me of a Charlie Brown tree; imperfect but memorable.

We only had time to put up the star and one strand of lights before bed. We’ll finish the tree over the next couple of nights.