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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Planning Our Honeymoon

I've added a little poll to the blog. See it over there? Just to the right? If you're here before March 1, then you can help us decide by submitting your answer. Since this will likely be the last time for a long time that we will be able to go on a big trip, we want to make it something special. So, random passerby, friend or family member, I'd love your thoughts. If non of the options seem good, add a comment! My thoughts...

- Relaxing and exciting, depending on the day
Scuba diving would be a huge plus. And beaches are great... but for a day or so, then it gets boring. A new culture and exotic food also big pluses.

- Can plan it ourselves
So no cruise or all-inclusive.

- Good weather in November
No Caribbean, most of the Northern Hemisphere. Japan would have been great... but too cold in November. Booo on the Sun heating up the Southern Hemisphere when we're not there.

- Somewhere neither of us have been
This knocks out most of Europe. Besides the Big Trip, we've made some separate trips that cancel out Spain, Eastern Europe, Ireland & Greece, among others. All of which could have been good options. I've seen a good deal of the US and Dana's been to Costa Rica already. Obviously Australia & New Zealand are also out.

So we found ourselves thinking about South America, specifically Brazil and Argentina. In Brazil we could check the Amazon before or after doing some great diving and sun-bathing. In Argentina, there are loads of interesting parks and gorgeous places to hike. Buenos Aires would feed us well. Plus Dana's fluent in Spanish, and I can get by. And we also are giving Hawaii a thought. My parents loved it 40 years ago.

Your thoughts, human?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Syd's New Home

Syd, our Russian tortoise, was getting a bit cramped in her home, so I built her a new one. Using these plans as a base, I constructed a 4 by 2 pen for her and threw some wheels on the bottom. Syd seems much happier now, cruising around in circles. Here's a clip of Syd checking things out:

A little more on these interesting animals... they're also called the Horsfield's tortoise. Agrionemys horsfieldii.
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Testudo (disputed)
Species: T. horsfieldii

Native to central Asia, around the border of Russia and Afghanistan, these war-weary animals are bred in captivity and make for low-maintenance pets. Unfortunately, many are smuggled into the country as part of the exotic pet trade. If you decide to find a Russian tortoise for your household, make sure he or she had been bred in captivity.

Russian tortoises like to climb and burrow. The bedding, made from recycled paper and cardboard, gives her something to dig in, and we're looking to add some more toys for her to climb on. For now, she has to make do with the tunnel and rock from her last residence:

When people meet Syd for the first time, they're always surprised by two things:
1. Her speed. Lightning.
2. Her compassion. She's the most affectionate tortoise you could imagine.

Here she is climbing over her retreat and then doing a faceplant:

Syd dancing - just a bit:

Friday, January 04, 2008