Last Saturday, Sarah took me to the East Bay Vivarium to buy my birthday present from her. My present was a Russian tortoise. I've been wanting a tortoise or a turtle for a while, so it was great of her to do the research into where we could get one and then to buy it for me. The tortoise lives in a terrarium in our dining room with a heat lamp and a UV lamp. The first tortoise we brought back from the store had to go back on Sunday as he had developed a respiratory tract problem which made him wheeze every time he breathed. Thinkingthat the store could take care of a sick tortoise better than we could, we brought him back and they swapped tortoises for us gladly. Ira, version 1.0, went back to the store's room for sick animals, and we brought home Ira, version 2.0. So far, Ira (that's the tortoise's name) seems to spend most of him time under a log in his pen. He comes out at night and during the day, when we're not home, to nibble at the salad plate that we put in his pen. So far he's eaten sage that I harvested from the bushes around the house, bok choi, sorel (from the yard), beet greens, and some zucchini peelings. We're hoping that as he gets used to his new home that he ventures out from under his log a bit more. This weekend, I might take him out and let him roam, supervised, in the backyard if the temperature and weather are agreeable. So far, Ira has proven very temperature sensitive. If the temperature is too cold, he tendsto go into hibernation. If the temperature is too warm, he goes into summer hibernation (aestivation). If the temperature is cold and the weather is damp, he is susceptible to respiratory infections. He's a delicate little creature for all that he's got a hard shell on his back.

UPS continues to astound me by breaking new grounds in the realm of incomprehensible behavior. They claim that they can't deliver any packages to our house because the packages weren't addressed with an apartment number. The reason that the packages didn't have an apartment number is that our place doesn't use one. Our official US Postal Service address does not have an apartment number. In fact, the USPS does so well at delivering mail to our place that they sometimes deliver "extra" (read: other people's mail) to our place. So, let's pretend that our address was, in fact, incomplete on the packages that UPS wasn't really trying to deliver. What would be the best way to get the whole address? Sending a postcard to the address in question, of course! Geniuses!