It's been a busy few days for us. Thursday night we had dinner atthe Fifth Floor restaurant before going to the Opera. Dinner wassuperb. I had sea scallops for the first course with venison for thesecond and crepe suzettes for desert. Sarah had Romaine hearts for thefirst course, salmon for the second, and freshly made ice cream for thethird course. The staff was very attentive to every detail. Itold them when I made the reservation that we had opera tickets and neededto be out the door of the restaurant no later than 7 PM PST. Theywrote that information down on the reservation sheet, and the serviceclicked right along with that time frame in mind.

The opera itself was interesting. We saw The MerryWidow presented by the San Francisco Opera company at the War MemorialOpera House. Since this was the first opera I had ever seen, it ishard for me to judge the quality of the production. The buildingitself is fantastic. There are subtitle screens to either side of thestage that display the lyrics being sung. All the chandeliers wererecently cleaned and refurbished. My only complaint with the buildingis that the seats weren't too comfortable for three and one-half hours ofsitting. The opera itself was sung in English (with English subtitleson the subtitle screens) and was probably 40% singing and 60% talking. My understanding is that this ratio is very unusual for an opera. Regardless, Sarah and I both enjoyed ourselves. For the record,however, I was not the one who fell asleep during theperformance.

Last night, we attended a Christmas party in Oakland. During theday we did a touch of Christmas shopping, and a variety of work around thehouse. I cleaned out Ira's pen and took him out into the backyard forsome supervised backyard exploration. Ira main interest was finding aspot in the yard where he could lie undisturbed among grasses that weretaller than he is. Our landlord is less than vigilant about keepingthe back lawn mowed, so finding tall grasses was no a problem for arelatively short tortoise. It was fortunate that I was supervisingIra's playtime, however. The neighbor cat decided that a tortoisewould make an excellent kitty plaything and started stalking Ira. Fortunately, I was on hand to discourage the kitty and to remind the catthat being tossed into the yard of the large dog next door is probably notthe way the cat wanted to spend his Saturday. After coming to anagreement (basically that I wasn't going to accidentally forget the cat wasaround and that I intended to protect my tortoise from felines with lessthan benevolent intentions), the cat wandered off to bother someoneelse.

Tonight we're off to Sarah's company's Christmas party.