Sunday, June 23, 2013

Space Oddity

Well, it's summer. Whoop-dee-doo!  I approached the end of the school year with no unrealistic expectations of beds being made, the television being turned off from time to time, and all of us eating trail mix while reading books together. That is not to say that I am not slightly disappointed by the complete lack of participation in devising a plan for how to maximize my our their fun. I realize there is a possibility that I am nowhere in that fun equation beyond possessing the car keys, yet I still suggested things like bike rides, long walks and kayaking (before the ninety degree weather hit, of course). I was met with little to no enthusiasm. I suppose none of those activities can hold a candle to the latest itouch app or Minecraft, but sound infinitely more appealing than vacuuming or emptying the dishwasher. I probably should make some adjustments to whose options are whose.

My daughter did take me up on the offer to go get some flowers that she could plant near the mailbox, since it looks like bunnies made off with the violas from the first round. We even braved the warming temperatures to plant them two days later. (Apparently it would have been too much of an event to garden upon returning home.) Oddly enough, my son wanted to go grocery shopping for a graduation party I was helping out with. On the way to the store, I asked him to explain his expectations to me so that he would not go home disappointed. When he responded that he liked to retrieve things on the list, I asked him if he realized that was an option every week when I grocery shopped. I am convinced that neither of us really understood the attraction. We each grabbed our own cart, and did cross paths a couple of times since the lists were by recipe, instead of by aisle. We were headed to the registers in less than fifteen minutes. My son was pleased with the mission. I will celebrate the small victories!

There are definitely moments when we all still come together. Sometimes they take me by surprise. Here is the most recent example...A friend mentioned to us the other day that the space station would be visible that night in the north northwest sky at 10:15. My first thought was "whatever". In fact, I think that might have been my second thought as well. At around 10:00, the kids started to get excited because "it was almost time". Seriously? I was half asleep on the couch, but knew I was a complete idiot if I turned down their invitation to go stand in the driveway. I grabbed my blanket, set aside my fear of stepping on a toad, and gazed at the sky with them. We saw it! It was a bright light travelling right where it was supposed to be. Huh. We were pretty impressed with ourselves.

The next day, I noticed someone on facebook had commented that the space station would be visible again. They had even included a link that showed all of the whens and wheres of it all. Sure enough, I found myself following them outside just after 10:00 that night as well. There was a lot of distraction in the sky that night, but each of us set our sights on what we thought we should be looking at. The warming temperatures had added some bugs to the equation to distract me from squishing any toads. The bugs weren't really all that noticeable until I inhaled one. A party at the neighbor's house was wrapping up as we were gazing skyward. There is a strong possibility that one gentleman actually believed what we were looking at, while some of the other people looked in a completely different direction while uttering "how nice".

Once I knew the website for space station sighting information, I had to check yesterday's time, direction and degrees above the horizon for appearance and disappearance. I still had no real information about what a space station is. I suppose that is probably rather shameful, but it really didn't seem important. This time, I was told that I was getting off the couch too early. There was also some skepticism from the girl child because it was cloudy, and lighter out since go time was 9:26. I ran to get my camera, only to find out that the kids had both still and videos from the other sightings. Sure, I knew they had those handheld electronics with them, but thought they were only for entertainment backup. We headed out the front door, toad patrol on alert...
After I possibly blinded him, the mosquitoes wanted to take us on. The three of us ran inside, and by our calculations, determined that the back porch was a better venue. From the safety of our sliding glass door we could see the mosquitoes, the space station AND the the Strawberry moon (also called the super moon). 
Typically the June full moon corresponds with the strawberry harvest. There is no reason for me to get any more technical than that, as it is far more information that I can provide on the space station. We took some more pictures, then went back about our own business. I tried turning my flash off to get the best pics for you, so let's see how that worked out...


Um..uh...well...I do see some progress in my skill at holding the camera still, I feel it is important to note that the bright light was actually traveling in a smooth, speedy arc, as opposed to this detouring and zig-zagging spectacle.

Years ago, I would have spent time researching what we were looking at, and probably gone to the library for books to read each evening. Most likely, last night's addition of the super moon would have called for a rousing rendition of Goodnight Moon being read aloud. There might have even been star, moon and rocket shaped cookies, as I functioned best when I had a theme to work with. That all sounds lovely, and exhausting. I am just happy something, even in its most simplest form, has brought us together. The peanut butter cookies on the counter will more than suffice.

Check it out for yourself...and take it to whatever level you choose, and have fun!

Here is some video the girl child took. She is her mother's daughter with the steady hands! 
video

17 comments:

  1. So nice that you did all this TOGETHER!

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    1. The husband sauntered out too late, but you can be sure that wasn't an option night 2!

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  2. Anything to do with the night sky fascinates me! Thanjs for sharing! Will be looking up tonight! :)

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    1. Hope you are due for a sighting in your neck of the woods soon!

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  3. And they will probably remember it too! the night you all went out to look at the space station.
    What is it with Minecraft? I obviously haven't got involved enough but it seems soooooo boring to me.

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    1. Day four: my son said he didn't feel like he needed to see it again. Hey, I was impressed we got 3 nights out of that! Ah, Minecraft...I am starting to see the allure and that scares me!

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  4. Are you sure that's not a sea gull?? Weather balloon? UFO? I'm going to need better documentation. Aren't space stations supposed to be more...I don't know....colorful? Because I'd totally make a red one.

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    1. How can you doubt me? You were there! Wait, maybe it was a UFO!

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  5. Sounds like some fun! And you're right- always celebrate the small things in life! :)

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  6. What fun! Stargazing is always exciting, for kids and adults. The international space station? Gravy!

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    1. I keep meaning to look it up to at least see what it looks like a little closer up!

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  7. Always good when things bring families together, if only for a little while. My there be many more such moments for you all. :-)

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  8. The super moon WAS super cool. ALso, I love that it took place during my parents' 50th wedding anniversary! So romantic, don't you think?

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  9. The supermoon was on the evening of my son's birthday. We watched it rise as we drove home from Hershey Park. I got a pic of it with my iPhone in the car as it was still a bit light out, but when we got home and it was it's true huge and bright self, when I tried to take a pic with my real camera, it was like taking a picture of a spotlight. It just wouldn't work. Good job capturing it. The space station, however . . . meh, at least you had cookies. (And lollipops). ;)

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    1. Wait, are you saying the space station photo isn't fabulous? I kind of get that impression. I knew I should've posted the single white dot photos my daughter has! (sooooo much cooler? ha)

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