It seems jet lag coming back from the states is much worse than going to the states.  Cole & I especially are struggling with getting our eyes open in the mornings, then keeping them open when late afternoon hits.  I would complain, but, well, I not only got to see my oldest son graduate college, but I also got to spend an absolutely perfect day in San Francisco.

Dave & I, five of our kids, my parents, plus two of Soren’s roommates made the trek from Stockton in three separate cars.  Dave took a little detour, and halfway down the bay bridge we got off on Treasure Island.  I lived in the bay area for twenty years, and I had never seen the stunning view of San Francisco from Treasure Island before.  If you are ever in San Francisco, just get off and take a look.  It was worth way more than the 15 minutes of our time.

Of course we also crossed the Golden Gate and I could’ve spent an hour just standing and looking.  I may have been born in Holland, but a big part of my heart (dare I say it?) belongs in San Francisco.  A big thank you to Conrad for trying so very patiently to snap a picture where all of us looked awesome in front of the Golden Gate.  At least we are all looking!

Speaking of Conrad, that’s him with the blue oxygen nose tube.   Pier 39 has everything a tourist could want, including an oxygen bar!  Of course we had to try it.  By we, I do not mean me, those things freak me out (things in my nose) but the boys were so there and completely willing for me to take pictures.  We also, and this was totally me pushing for it, walked through the Aquarium of the Bay.

I love aquarium’s, and now that Soren is really into building his own aquariums, it was easy to convince all the kids to go with me.  That picture of the jellyfishes?  My favorite tank.  Hands down. I am very, very grateful they were in a tank and not live in the sea, surrounding me.  Aquarium of the Bay has two walk-through tunnels, the second one filled with sharks and a “feeler”-less sturgeon.  That  means the poor baby is blind.  The staff at the aquarium has to ring a special bell till he swims over, then he flips on his back and they feed him by dropping food straight into his mouth.  A very unique way for sturgeons to eat, fascinating to us.  Soren has filled in his application to be a volunteer shark feeder.  This means donning a wet suit and getting into the tank.  He’s nuts.

At the very end of the aquarium, there are tide pools.  Here we were able to get to see some of the sea life up close, ask questions, and pet anemone’s, bat ray’s and even a shark!  Bat rays are beyond soft.  If you haven’t touched a ray, there are no words to describe that feel.  Sharks on the other hand, feel like sandpaper, a very coarse, 40-60 grit, sandpaper.  It took a lot of convincing and a lit bit of forcing to get Dane to pet a shark, but Dane too pet a shark.

Oooo I’m taking up so much space, but it was such an awesome day and we fit so much into that one day.  We also had a Starbucks coffee, how I miss Starbucks, and some Boudin sourdough on Fisherman’s Wharf.  It happened to be Christian’s 20th birthday, and he is my bread baby.  I bought him a sourdough teddy bear… and his brother & sister promptly took a bite off the ears.  It turns out, despite a funky shape, sourdough teddy bears are amazingly tasty.  It was gone in 5 minutes flat.  On the way back to the cars we walked past Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and, believe it or not, Optimus Prime was right there.  I could barely get Dane to leave his side.  He stood and stared.  Walked up & down in front of him.  Stared some more, and finally posed in front of Optimus.  On tippy-toes.

Normally, I’d stop babbling here, but I have to include the best part of our day.  Walking down the streets of San Francisco (I cannot stop with my silly references, I’m sorry), we passed a homeless man.  That wasn’t awesome or anything, in fact it breaks my heart, and please know, I spent many years volunteering in soup kitchens in the bay area.  While homelessness is horrible, It doesn’t take away that this homeless man won over our hearts (and quite a few of our dollars):

“Jingle bells, jingle bells help me get drunk.” He belted out quite beautifully… and Cole is still belting this out today.  Cole sings beautifully too.