Tag Archives: Rachel Lawley

Quake Rattle and Roll Week

What a week this has been. It started with an Earthquake DeeCee and ended with Hurricane Irene, which cancelled our girls’ weekend in NYC. Sandwiched in the middle, I began the Planning, Governance and Globalization PhD program at Virginia Tech, my daughter Carol turned 30, both daughters joined Twitter, AND we discovered a HUGE rat in my yard!!

But, let’s talk about Earthquake DeeCee!

Yes, I named her. If hurricanes get names, why not earthquakes?

Here’s my story: My daughter Steph and I were meeting with my LAUNCH.org teammates Diane Powell and Rachel Lawley at a restaurant in DC’s Eastern Market. Steph came to work with me so she could meet with her PhD advisor in DC. Rachel had just flown in from San Francisco. While we were chatting, our bench began to pitch back and forth. I watched Steph bounce about, nearly thrown off a couple of time. At first, I thought a truck hit the building. Then I thought perhaps an explosion rocked us, or that the subway derailed below us. But the movement didn’t stop. We kept rolling. My instinct was to get out of the building, but Rachel calmly told us to stay put. She advised us to take shelter under the table. Yet, we sat — stunned. Still swaying, I tweeted the message below, and looked on Twitter to see if anyone else was talking about our human roller-coaster experience.

Earthquake tweetNote: Please excuse the typo “on” instead of “in” — the ground was still moving while I typed.

What was amazing for me: Twitter confirmed it. Yep. We were in the middle of an earthquake. I was shocked to see tweets from NYC to North Carolina to New Jersey — all experiencing rumbles and rattles. The epicenter of the quake: Mineral, Virginia (or Lake Anna to locals). Only 67 miles from DC.

Quake tweet
Quake tweet
quake tweet

Animated quake-tweet map by Eric Fischer

Quake-tweet map by Eric Fischer

Here’s another animated gif of quake-related tweets, thanks to @brobof.

Much of the rest of the day, Steph and I both experienced “quake-sickness.” I was amazed that 30 seconds or more of quake, rattle, and roll could give me such stubborn motion sickness.

quake tweetWe returned home to find pictures knocked off the walls and things strewn about. The only real damage was one of my pinhole camera images. My cross suffered the most — the glass shattered. (Mother Earth persecuting my faith?) Yet, my faith remains intact. 😉

Hipstamatic image of earthquake damage

Quake damage: shattered glass on my pinhole Cross photo.

Post-quake thoughts:

1. Social media ROCKets! I didn’t have to turn on the radio or watch the news. Post-quake phone lines were snarled. Steph‘s text messages were delayed over an hour. But Twitter worked. My daughter Carol signed up for Twitter the morning of Quake DeeCee. She read my tweets, and knew I was ok.

quake tweet

2. My mother made a comment at the end of the day that put our crazy day in perspective: “We still have beds to sleep in tonight.” She was right. Though the earthquake put some new cracks in my walls and broke things, we are alive and well and have safe shelter.

My mother’s words add context to this thoughtful tweet from Japan — in the aftermath of their 9.0 earthquake:

quake tweetEarthquake DeeCee is a reminder to be thankful. We are richly blessed! 

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little STARDUST caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched. — Henry David Thoreau

Before I close this post: Meet my two tweeting  daughters:

My 2 tweeting daughters

Carol @CarolKecil 


Steph @StephCBeck


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