The importance of paying attention

I was thinking about it last night, and it kind of makes sense that my allergies are a) the worst I’ve had in years, and b) a couple of weeks behind schedule.

We had a warm, wet winter followed by a cold spring.  So while the grass (what I’m really allergic too) has grown prolifically, the cold spring delayed the growth.

So, a dozen benadryl (not at the same time!)coupled with psudophrine to keep me awake, a hot shower, and enough Vicks VapoRub to knock out…an animal notorious for a poor sense of smell later, I’m actually feeling ready to rejoin the world of the living.

I’m not sure how the stuffy ears fit into all of this, though.

I’m notoriously bad at checking my mailbox, and apparently, my email as well.  At least the one that I primarily use for bills.  I opened it up this morning, and found a note my dad sent a few days ago, pointing me to a geocache. (GC29C5X) (You don’t have to be logged in to see information about the cache, but you do to get the specific location and download it to your phone/GPSR)

The story associated with this particular cache made me laugh. It reads:

This is a Cache at the old Sinks Dance Hall. It was opened sometime around the end of World War I. 1919-1920. It was a place to go to Dance and have a drink or two. The Railroaders in Lynndyl Opened a Club so they could go to a private place to drink and party. It worked pretty well until around 1925 Shell Nielson got into a fight with one of the Railroaders, They had both been drinking. Shell took a swing at the guy and hit the potbellied stove and it knocked it over. He thought the guy was real solid. The stove tipped over and caught the place on fire and it burned to the ground.

Shell Nielson is my great-grandfather. (The son of August, who needed dynamite to dig a grave before he was buried.)  He died in the 60’s, so I never knew him, but from stories I’ve heard–not to mention various uncles and cousins that I do know, it seems perfectly in character for him.

Another cacher (my dad has told me several times who the handle belongs to, but I don’t remember) commented upon finding the blog:

I talked later in the day with some Oak City old-timers who couldn’t recall or were unaware of the dance hall, but did remember Mr Nielson from the story. One of them said, “Yeah, that sounds like him!”

I’m choosing to imagine my very proper Great-Grandmother, who I did know, at the dance hall at the time of this incident, and how she would have reacted.  It’s not pretty.  Hilarious to observe from the safety of 85 years away, but still not pretty.

Apparently unrelated story #2:

I was chatting with my sister this morning, and she mentioned that she was going to take the kids to the aquarium, and asked if I wanted to join them.  As I love my nephews AND the aquarium, not to mention the fact that E’s grown a tooth since the last time I’d seen him, I jumped at the chance.

For the record, E LOVES the aquarium.  He refused to stay nicely in his stroller, and would grin whenever he could be right up to the glass.  He was even brave enough to touch the sting-ray, or probably more accurately, didn’t comprehend why it would be scary too.

G loves the aquarium too, but it’s more a matter of being able to run around, and splash in the tide-pool exhibit (as long as the sting rays aren’t too close). While Sis was getting E’s stroller ready, G and I went in ahead, and promised Sis that we’d wait for her at a certain point. G got bored, and ran on ahead, with me following behind.

The layout of the Living Planet Aquarium is such that the first two big exhibits you see are the jellyfish and the octopus.  However, before the jellyfish exhibit there is a small tank that has a few eels in it.  G LOVES those eels, and stopped to look at them. They were hiding under some of the rocks in the tank, so they took a little bit to find. The eels also share there tank with two yellow tangs.

While G and I were looking at these eels, another family came up behind us.  They glanced at the tank, and the mother tried to draw her son’s attention to it  “Look at these fish!” she said, “They’re yellow!”  The son didn’t respond, and they moved on.  I wondered if they thought it was strange that they had just payed $9 a ticket*, and the first tropical tank they saw only had two fish you could by at any pet store.

G lost interest in looking for the eels, so we headed into the jellyfish display.  The same family was there.  I heard the mom say “Last time we were here, they had a gross octopus.”

At this point, this mother was starting to get on my nerves.  I was wondering if she payed attention to anything?

Of course, I’m the kind of person who likes to study things in minutia. But still, you take you’re kids to the aquarium so they’ll learn something, while they think they’re having fun.  For me, anyway, the best way to learn something is by paying close attention to it–from figuring out why an aquarium would have two common fish in a largish tank, to paying attention when the education guide teaches why octopi are, well admittedly gross looking, but unbelievably cool.

TLP doesn’t change their exhibits around that much–the animals are all too delicate to undergo that kind of stress, but every time I go, I see and learn something new.

So, the point of the last thousand or so words is simply to remind everyone, but mostly myself, to pay attention.

Of course, y’all are smart enough that you figured that out for yourself.

*I’m all over The Living Planet, and I feel like I need to spread the word as far and wide as I can; a year pass costs only a couple of dollars more than two individual tickets.  It’s a great deal, and if you go more than three times in a year then you’re money has been well spent.

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