Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Western Skink

We saw one.

Hiking the New Almaden trail at Quicksilver Park, on a sunny afternoon after extensive rain, we came across this reptile sunning himself in the path. Although we tried not to scare it, this is a pretty skittish reptile. After extensive arguing, we believe that this is the animal we saw -- it's so great that we could look it up on the internet while our memory of it was still fresh. Maybe now we can go to the library for some follow-up research.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Afternoon at the Ballet

As I was leaving the house, Ziad said to me, "Aren't your legs going to get cold?"

As we were standing in the Opera House lobby, Maya said to me, "Why is your skirt so short?"

Sheesh. My dress may have been above the knee, but it was hardly a miniskirt. This is what happens when you spend most of your life in blue jeans. It's nice at my age, though, that my kids can actually make me feel so daring. A short skirt! What next?

The ballet, of course, was incredible. It was Swan Lake. That ballet inspires so much love in people that apparently many ballet companies are heartily sick of it, but there are so many reasons why it's a perennial favorite.

The music is beautiful. The costumes are beautiful. The story is structured so that the ballet covers all the bases -- romantic swans in the moonlight, richly costumed character dances for variety, joyous pastoral celebration, and of course, the beautifully sad ending. It was the perfect choice for the opening ballet of the season. The clip above has excerpts from each of the first three acts, and you should watch it to the end, because that's Yuan Yuan Tan dancing the black swan.

Here is a clip of her dancing in Othello.

Just amazing. She danced Odette/Odile on Sunday. What a perfect afternoon.