Tag: space

Sharing Space

With everyone home during the day, I find myself sharing spaces at home that used to just be mine—like my art desk.

Here are some ways we’re making this work.

① Communication: Share what is working for you and what isn’t. Decide on guidelines together for using the space. How to people schedule time? What can be left in the space? If something is left in the space, can other people use it?

Patience: If something goes wrong, wait until everyone is calm to discuss it. If it is not your turn for the space, wait until it is. Ask, don’t accuse. Suggest, don’t order. Discuss, don’t dictate.

Sharing is Caring: Remember that it is the relationship with the people that you are sharing space with that matters. Compliment their work. Respect their efforts. Be understanding when things don’t go well.

😊🍀Good luck!🍀😊

If you are learning to share space right now, what is working well for you? What isn’t working?

Charlie’s Room: Space Cats

“Tell me a story,” Charlie said. He leaned on Isaac’s desk, and a pen rolled off onto his keyboard.

Isaac picked up the pen and set it in the jar of pencils. “I’m working right now. Maybe later?”

Charlie slumped further and some papers crumpled under his elbow. “But I want a story now. Please? I’m bored.”

Isaac turned to look at Charlie. He knew that Charlie had homework to do, and books to read, and a yard to play in. But, he also knew that since the quarantine started everything was different and strange, and Charlie wasn’t the only one feeling unsettled. “Okay. I’ll take a break and tell you a story. How about some cocoa, too?” He shut down his computer.

Charlie followed him into the kitchen and started handing him the ingredients he’d need. He leaned in and watched the small bubbles form on the surface as Isaac stirred. “Is it done yet?”

“Almost.” Soon enough, Isaac was pouring the cocoa into mugs. He left the pot in the sink to soak. Marianne was in the bedroom on a phone call, so Isaac set her mug aside for her. He and Charlie took their mugs to the living room, sat on the couch, and turned to face eachother.

“What do you want a story about?”

Charlie thought for a minute or two. “Space cats.”

That was different. Space cats? “Alright. Space cats. Are they cat astronauts from earth? Do they live on the space station?”

“No.” Charlie frowned. “They always lived in space. They’re space cats.”

“Okay.” Isaac sipped his cocoa while he thought for a moment. Still no ideas. He needed more information. “Do they look like regular cats? What do they eat?”

“They look like regular cats except they’re purple. And they eat shooting stars, if they catch them. They chase them really fast.” Charlie waved his hand back and forth. “Really fast, like that, see?” He waved his hand back and forth a few more times.

“Got it. I’ll see what I can do.” Isaac set his mug down.

“Once, there was a family of space cats. There was a mom space cat, and a dad space cat, and a brave and smart little boy space cat. They lived in space and took naps on asteroids, unless they were in a hurry. Then they napped on comets and got where they were going really quickly at the same time. They were very smart space cats. The mom space cat was the smartest one of all, of course, so it was probably her idea.”

“But what about the shooting stars?”

“I’m getting there.” Isaac took another sip of cocoa, very slowly.

“Daaaaaaad,” Charlie said. “Finish the story.”

“Oh, alright. Let’s see, the space cats liked to nap on asteroids best, because that’s what they ate, so it was nice to stay close to their food. The type of asteroids they liked best were the ones that were fiery hot. They tasted better that way. They heated up when they go too close to a planet and were pulled through the atmosphere really, really fast.”

“Shooting stars!”

“Yup. But they had to catch them before they burned up all the way, and they couldn’t fly as fast in atmospheres, because gravity made things difficult. The little boy space cat was the best at catching shooting stars because he was the fastest. And then, one day, he had a great idea. He thought that they needed to think of a way to heat up asteroids without going into the atmosphere. And then he looked at the bright, shiny, sun”

“The sun is too hot for space cats,” Charlie said. “They’d melt.”

“Yes, and it wasn’t the same thing at all. But it was on fire without any atmosphere at all. He told his parents that they needed to find a way to set asteroids on fire without chasing them into the atmosphere all the time. They needed to find a way to steal a piece of the sun and carry it around with them. The mom space cat had an idea. She said that she remembered seeing a crystal on the other side of the galaxy that was strong enough to hold a piece of the sun. They rode a comet over and found the crystal.”

Isaac took a long sip of cocoa.


“Sorry, sorry. Let’s see. They got they crystal. And then the dad cat thought that if they sent it through the atmosphere and it got hot like a shooting star, it would be like having a piece of sun to carry with them, but not too hot. But they would have to catch it at just the right time. And who was the best at catching shooting stars?”

“The little boy space cat?”

“That’s right. So they sent the crystal into the atmosphere, and he caught it at just the right time, when it was shining its brightest. Then they took it back to an asteroid and used the crystal to cook dinner. A long time later, when it stopped glowing as brightly, what do you think they did?”

Charlie bounced on the cushion in excitement. “They sent it into the atmosphere again and caught it when it was just right!”

“That’s right. And they lived happily ever after.”

Charlie grinned and drank the last of his cocoa in one big gulp. “That was a good story.”

“I think it turned out well. You had a great idea.”

“Like the little boy space cat!”

Isaac nodded. “Just like him. You should write down our story so you don’t forget it. We can make it into a book.”

Charlie jumped up. “I’ll draw pictures, too. It’ll be the best book! We can put it on the shelf with the dinosaur books, and you can read it to me at bedtime.”

Charlie raced away, and Isaac finished his cocoa. He stood to take his and Charlie’s mugs to the sink. Just then, Charlie peeked around the corner. “Dad?”


“Thank you for telling me a story.”

“Of course.”

And Charlie raced away again, apparently no longer feeling bored and unsettled. Isaac took the mugs to the sink, and smiled when he saw that Marianne’s mug was gone. He hoped her phone calls were going well. Then, feeling less unsettled himself, he went back to work.

Flashback Video: Unlucky Thursdays

This story was originally posted December 8, 2016. It was posted again on May 3, 2019. It remains my favorite of the stories I’ve posted here, so I chose it to be the first of my flashback videos.

I had a lot of fun making the video. I hope you enjoy it, too. Please let me know what you think!

Flashback Friday: Unlucky Thursdays

For my first Flashback Friday, I am reposting my favorite of the stories I’ve written. This story was originally posted December 8, 2016. I hope that you like it as much as I do!

Captain Kirpatrick was always unlucky on Thursdays. He insisted that it began when he was eight years old and was cursed by an evil fairy. No one else believed in evil fairies, but the fact remained that Kirpatrick really was unlucky on Thursdays.

He spent his school years being tripped over by bank robbers and accidentally targeted by assassins. He learned extensive first aid after being in a number of car, train, plane, bike, and starship crashes. He was an expert at all the different ways to call for help.

As he grew older, the danger only grew. In order to stay alive, he learned advanced strategy and fighting techniques. He uncovered smuggling plots and terrorist hideouts. He mediated hostage crises and alien invasions.

After he graduated space academy, he flew through the ranks. He was still young when the Space Coalition appointed him Captain of a large spaceship and sent him to patrol the edge of their territory.

Every Thursday they survived yet another crisis and were soon the most decorated ship in the fleet.   One Thursday, Captain Kirpatrick set a course for a nice, empty area of space, far from anything important. This was normal for Thursdays.

As usual, it didn’t work. A large horde of alien spaceships flew in, trying to instigate a stealthy attack.   They weren’t expecting Captain Kirpatrick’s ship. Captain Kirpatrick warned them off and then ordered his crew to fire on the lead ships.

His reputation preceded him. Faced with losing the advantage of surprise and the fearsome Captain Kirpatrick, the enemy retreated. However, this was not the only drama threatening the spaceship’s crew. After Kirpatrick had given the order to fire, his Chief Weapons Officer stood and attempted to shoot the Captain. The Weapons Officer was an enemy spy, of course.

Captain Kirpatrick always wore heavy personal shields on Thursdays.   So, the blast was ineffective.   Just after the enemy fleet retreated, the enemy spy was trussed up and tossed in the brig.

This last victory proved to be the tipping point. Captain Kirpatrick was called home. He began a new career as a high level diplomat. He began to suspect that the Space Coalition leaders were mainly using him as bait.

This suspicion was strengthened when he was given a new assignment one Thursday to meet with a hostile group of rebels in order to mediate a truce.   “Are you certain this is a good idea?” He asked. “It’s Thursday.”

“Precisely,” the Space Coalition President said. “Perfect timing. Do you think you’ll need back up?”

Grand Ambassador Kirpatrick sighed. “I’ll at least need witnesses.”

The Space Coalition President chuckled. “Good thinking.”

Kirpatrick managed to defuse the bomb and rescue the rebel leaders from their mutinous assistant. They were grateful, and the treaty negotiations went smoothly the following day.

“Someday this won’t work as well,” Kirpatrick warned the President. “I really am terribly unlucky on Thursdays.”

“Nonsense,” the President said. “Look how far it’s gotten you. There’s not really good luck or bad luck, you know. It all depends on how you look at things.”

“If you say so,” Grand Ambassador Kirpatrick said.

The Little Spaceship That Could

Once there was a mighty civilization that lived on a dying planet. The sun was growing larger and the planet was overheating to the point that living there just wasn’t possible for much longer. Fortunately, the civilization had already built a colony on another planet, far away from the growing sun.

Unfortunately, the colony planet was on the other side of the galaxy. There was only enough time to make one trip. And so, the civilization threw all its resources into building space ships and gathering resources for the journey.

The politicians all promised that there would be room for everyone on the spaceships. Everyone was calm as they began to plan and pack and prepare. Eventually, it was time to load up the spaceships and send them on their way.

The trouble started when there were only three spaceships left. The last group of people on the list had nowhere to go. The spaceships were all full.

The group hurried over to the largest, newest spaceship before it could take off. The leader of the group, an older man who had done a lot of good for his community, called for the ship’s captain to come meet with them. After a long wait, the captain met them at the staging area just outside the ship.

“You have the biggest, newest ship. Won’t you make room for us so that we aren’t left behind?” the man asked.

The captain frowned. “My ship is loaded to capacity. Regulations say that it isn’t safe to add extra weight beyond the maximum recommendations. I will not risk the lives of those already aboard.”

“But if we’re left behind, we’ll all die. Can’t we ask some scientists if there is some way to redistribute the load to safely add a few more passengers?” the old man pleaded.

The captain shook his head. “It was scientists who designed the ship and decided on the safety standards after numerous tests. They were experts on this ship. Why consult anyone else? I’m sorry that I cannot help you.”

He returned to his ship, and sealed the door. The warning lights came on and the group hurried out of the staging area. The large, shiny new spaceship took off and left the dying planet behind.

The group turned to the next ship. It was as large as the first, but older. It had traveled to the colony planet more than once, and was considered a safe, reliable ship.

The leader of the group called for the ship’s captain. The captain met with them at the door of the ship. “Will this take long?” he asked. “I’m already behind schedule.”

The leader pointed out the group behind him. “Could you make room for our group? The ships are full, and if we’re left behind we’ll all die.”

The captain shook his head. “I’m sorry. My ship is old, and it’s completely full. I know what it can handle, and I wouldn’t risk adding any more weight. It just isn’t safe.”

The old man looked back at his group. “Can’t you leave something behind? Surely you can make room for at least some of us? There will be resources to make up what was lost when you arrive at the new colony.”

The captain sighed and ran his hand through his hair until it stood on end. “I’m sorry, I really am. Unfortunately, we’re already behind schedule. We just don’t have time to take inventory again and debate what we could leave behind. I’ve gone over the list so many times. I’m afraid that we just can’t help you.”

He closed the door and the warning lights went on. The group hurried away as the ship took off. Only the smallest, oldest ship was left. Feeling almost hopeless, the group approached the ship.

The leader called for the captain. The captain met them at the door. “There are people left here?” the captain asked in surprise. “Did you know this is the last ship?”

“Yes, we know,” the leader said. “Can you make room for us?”

“Of course I can,” the captain said. “If you’re left behind, you’ll all die.”

The captain called for a few of his officers. “We have to make room,” he told them.

“With extra people, we won’t need all those blankets,” the first said.

“Blankets don’t take up much room,” the second pointed out. “Let’s rip out the chairs. We can sit on the floor.”

“We can throw out our shoes and hats, too,” the first said. “Who needs those in space?”

“We don’t need doors.”

“We don’t need chocolate.”

“Let’s not get crazy,” the captain said. “Of course we need chocolate. Get rid of the bed frames and tables instead.”

The crew and passengers spent the next few hours building a towering pile of things to leave behind. The ship was still a little heavier than expected, but the captain wasn’t worried.

“If we can make it out of the atmosphere, the rest is smooth sailing,” he assured everyone.

They huddled close during countdown. The ship took off. As they sped through the atmosphere, everyone in the ship could hear the captain quietly tell them through the intercom, “We can do this. Our ship can do this. In a few minutes, the worst will be over. We can do this.”

He was right. The ship made it through the atmosphere just fine. It was a little uncomfortable crossing the galaxy without tables and chairs and bed frames, but at least there was chocolate.

The passengers and crew of the little-ship-that-could went down in legend. Great leaders and inventors and heroes in the colony planet could trace their family lines to the people who traveled there on the little ship.

Many years after the voyage, a researcher interviewed the last surviving passenger, who had been a little girl during the journey. “Why do you think so many great innovators traveled on that particular ship?” the researcher asked.

“We knew that we could do anything. The captain told us so, and he was right.”


Grandpa’s Astronomy Lesson

“Grandpa, look at the book I checked out from the library,” Jim said. He held up a book with a picture of the solar system on the front.

Grandpa took the book as he sat down on the couch next to Jim. “The planets?” He opened the book and flipped through the pages.

Jim leaned over and turned the pages to show a picture of the earth with a wedge removed. “See, the earth has layers, like a jawbreaker. Inside the center, there’s liquid and solid metal. Neat, huh?”

“Of course there is,” Grandpa said. “That’s what baby space phoenixes look like.”

“Huh?” Jim looked at the diagram again. “Space phoenixes?”

Neil, who had been adding a mustache to a picture of a panda in Carrie’s coloring book, dropped his pen and grinned. “Is this a grandpa story? We should get Lynn. She’ll want to hear it.” Read More