Tag Archive | aquarium

The hidden pitfalls of volunteering

When I was at the aquarium yesterday, I picked up an application to be a volunteer there.  Glancing at the front page, I could tell that it wouldn’t work; the schedules they had all conflict with my school–plus, the aquarium is a good half-hour or more away, depending on traffic.

Still, I’ve been amused by the application–I’ve filled out less-intense applications for jobs.  You know, where they’d actually pay me.   I was also amused by the variety of tasks they trust to volunteers–like husbandry and throwing birthday parties.  Which I guess explains the intense application, you’d be working with small children and delicate, expensive animals.

Even with the whole weirdness of the situation, I was kind of tempted to apply anyway for an education position.  I’m an insufferable know-it-all, I might as well be an official insufferable-know-it-all, right?

And, in a segway that is both seamless and unnoticeable, I somehow got talked into heading to my parent’s house tomorrow.  I’m still not 100% sure how that happened.

This is the situation–there is a guy I went to high school with–he was in the grade just above mine, who suddenly died of a massive heart-attack last Saturday.  His funeral is this Saturday.  Both Mom and Sis want to go to the funeral–and Mom chastened me when I told her I wasn’t planning on going, until I explained that I don’t think I’ve ever said two words to this guy, and I know I haven’t talked to his wife in the past 11 years.

And I’m still going.

Actually, it’s because G’s been a handful lately (Sis, you should appreciate the careful editing I did of the first word I used) and Mom wants me to help Dad watch he and E while she and Sis are at the funeral.

I don’t know what’s going to happen.  I don’t want to go, but, as I’ve already established, I can’t say ‘no’ to my family.  Which means I’ll end up going and resenting every minute I’m there.  Unless Mom reads this in the mean time, and calls and makes me feel guilty for agreeing to go when I don’t really want to…

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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.

this is PHOTODUMP!

I was doing some digital housecleaning, and decided to upload some of my favorite pictures that were on my camera.  They range from me trying to be artsy fartsy, to nature, to Max and Lulu, and even a trip to the aquarium and zoo.

I wish there was some sort of chronological order to these picture, but my camera thought some of these pictures were taken before I was born.  You can click on the individual pictures to see a larger image.

Anyway, enjoy.

Barely Contained Chaos

My sister talked me into coming up to her house on New Years Eve.  She didn’t have to talk very hard.  My sister and I are about a year apart in age, and have been best friends since we were little girls.  And by best friends, I mean she would tell me what to do, and I would do it.  That still happens.

We went to the Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy on Thursday, mostly because a local radio station was doing a satellite and selling hot dogs for 93 cents.  (I wanted to go to the aquarium, so I refrained from mentioning that 93 cents is a horrible price for hot dogs, when you can buy a package of 12 for a dollar).  A note for all people who are as agoraphobic (and claustrophobic, weird, I know) as I am–when a popular radio station is doing a satellite in a small, dark, fish-filled building, it might be a good idea to stay away.

The trip to the aquarium was–interesting, if not quite as educational as I would have liked.  First of all, I must be better with kids than I’d always claimed.  They had an exhibit where kids could touch stuff like a python and a Madagascar hissing cockroach (I’m not squeamish around bugs, but I don’t like cockroaches.  I just wanted to smash that thing).  They had a gray parrot and a blue and gold macaw in the background, so we thought they were going to do a bird show.  G and I sat down to wait for the show, and the space I chose was right next to a man with a baby girl, neither of whom I knew. I was being polite and ignoring them, talking to G about the birds and the snake and the other critters they had, but the baby had no such social graces.  She started trying to get over to me, hitting me, and making cute little baby “pay attention to me noises”.  When I finally turned to look at her, she started begging for me to pick her up, which, being the kind and generous soul that I am, I did.  Of course, once I was holding her she realized that she, in fact, didn’t know me, and instantly wanted to go back to her dad.

G was, of course, too shy to touch any of the animals, but didn’t want to leave because he didn’t want to miss the bird show.

Speaking of G, that kid makes me laugh.  He’s super-shy, but, at the same time, will do anything for attention.  At the aquarium, there is a section called “Journey to South America” which is filled with critters from the Amazon.  (Because, you know the fourth largest continent is nothing but a big rain forest.)  You can’t have an exhibit talking about the fish of the Amazon river without paying special attention to the electric eel.  There is a display near the eel tank where you can feel what it feels like to get zapped by an electric eel.  So, guess who likes to just hold his hands on the diodes?

The best way I can describe what this feels like, is one time, I was pulling a plug out of the wall, and I accidentally touched one of the prongs while it was still connected to the current. DON'T TRY THAT AT HOME! Go to the aquarium and try it there.

Um, for my readers who don’t know me personally, have I mentioned that G was adopted, and is African American?  Yeah, that’s not just some random kids hand.  And have I mentioned that he’s 3?

So home from the aquarium, for a fun night of wild partying, by which I mean putting the kids to bed too late, and then staying up and playing the wii and card games with my sister and brother in law.  So of course I spent the night rather than going home.

New Years Day got together with some of our cousins.  On my dad’s side of the family, there are about 10 girl cousins all around the same age, with my sister and me right smack-dab in the middle of it all. Family reunions rocked! (As long as you have a good place to hide when it all got overwhelming.  But that’s another story for another day.)  Three of us, plus assorted male hanger-on-ers in the form of husbands and children, met for lunch.  I have to say, the Red Robin didn’t do a good job with the food for the amount of money we spent, but it was fun to spend time with the extended family, especially the cousin who, for some reason, married a guy who, in a bid to find out exactly how crazy we all are, is attending school in Chicago to learn how to be a psychologist.

I had spent all morning yesterday entertaining the children so my sister and bro-in-law could get some much-needed rest, so by the time we got back from the restaurant,  I was feeling the late night “partying” the night before, then getting up early with G, so I laid down for a nap.  By the time I woke up, I didn’t want to go home that night, so, the bro-in-law suggested I spend another night.

So, I just spent the last 883 words basically describing the life of my sister and her family.  I honestly don’t know how she does it.  I think I could handle the mommy thing, but not necessarily 24/7.  I used the words “Barely contained chaos” to describe my sister’s house, and she just nodded.

That being said, my sister and her husband have done a really good job with G. (E’s only 2 months old, so it’s a bit too early to tell with him.)  He does a good job of doing what he’s told, for a three-year-old.  He very sweet and loving, and has a magnetic personality that makes him a joy to be around.  I’m so grateful he’s a part of my family.

I’m also grateful he doesn’t come home with me at the end of the day.

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