The other earthquake of note to hit San Francisco and the Bay Area was the Loma Prieta quake in 1989. Otherwise known as the World Series earthquake, this 6.9 shaker rocked the Bay Area for about 10-15 seconds, but left more than 60 people dead, up to 4,000 injured, and approximately 12,000 people homeless.
This quake is referred to at the World Series Earthquake because the initial shaking occurred while the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants were warming up for the third game in the 1989 World Series. Because this was obviously a big event and covered by major news broadcasting networks, this was the first earthquake's rumblings to be broadcast live on TV.
Of the deaths caused by the quake, the only one on the Bay Bridge occurred when a section of the Bridge collapsed (see above) and crushed a car underneath. A great number of deaths occurred in Oakland because of the failure of a double decker section of freeway that collapsed. Interestingly, the deaths on the freeways could have been much higher, but since the World Series game was about to start, traffic was light due to many commuters staying behind in the city to watch the game or attend viewing parties.
In San Francisco particularly, the highest degree of damage was felt in the Marina District (where I live). Since the Marina, along with a few other areas of the city, is built on soil and rubble from the San Francisco Bay, the ground is notoriously unsteady. During the 1989 quake, the soil beneath the Marina basically liquified - compromising most of the structures built upon it.
Something I shouldn't have done but I did anyway was research the probabilities of future large earthquakes in the Bay Area. Scientists (2003) have estimated that ten quakes will occur before 2030 (obviously this does not include the micro and mini shakers the Bay Area feels often). Of these ten, six or seven will range in magnitude from 6.7 to 7.9. If you read my last post - you'll understand that this is major quakeage. The damage these could cause is estimated to be equal to or greater than the 1989 Loma Prieta. Just for reference, that earthquake caused over $6 billion in just structural damage. This doesn't even include the economic loss sustained by the Bay Area and obviously the loss of life.
Maybe we're crazy to live here, but if God willed, we could be killed in an earthquake anywhere right? And isn't it beautiful?
I have been struggling and fighting to get back into running again recently. I've never been an awesome runner - not in the competitive sense - but I've been a very committed, goal-oriented runner in the past and the absence of that drive from my life has been harder than I thought it would be. I stopped running on purpose just before we moved to San Francisco. I had had an injury in a race I'd run the previous October (2009), and it was giving me problem upon problem. I had been running several miles a day before and then found myself struggling to make it through my regular warm up without pain. When the pain started to follow me into my daily life, I talked with my doctor and he suggested I either take a few months off running or have a knee replacement by the time I'm thirty. Ouch. So I gave it up for a time and gravitated toward other forms of exercise - I discovered a love for spin and yoga class.
I think one of the reasons it was so difficult to get back into running when the time came was because I didn't have the support and motivation that my former running buddy gave me. My future sister-in-law was my running buddy for about three years. We did almost all of our big racing together and tried to train together as much as possible. She ran a half-marathon (one we'd run together twice in the past) this past October and it was really hard not to be there. I found some of my old running pictures tonight when I was scrolling through a backup hard drive we have.
My start in running came when I was a junior in college. I was at my heaviest and I knew I had to get some exercise for my health and so my weight didn't get out of control. I had always been interested in running - I ran track in high school - but had never really committed to it. I started out just jogging/walking a one mile loop in our neighborhood. At first I could only run about 1/4 mile and then would have to walk, but pretty soon I could run the whole thing. I extended my route a little a 1/2 mile. Then the day came when I ran two miles without stopping. I felt like I was on top of the world. After a couple months I was running four miles a day consistently. I always ran in the afternoon when I got home from school. I remember very vividly watching my shadow in front of myself when I ran. I remembered hating the way my shadow looked at first. Then as the weeks progressed and my body got used to running, I noticed my shadow looked better and better.
With the running came a desire to eat better - because I noticed that when I ate poorly, I ran poorly. It hurt more, I got tired faster, and I recovered more slowly. I stopped eating seconds and cut desserts to a minimum. I only drank water and diet drinks instead of my usual Pepsi and sweet tea. I learned all I could about nutrition and tried to reform my wayward appetite. Over the next year, I lost 25 pounds. More importantly, I developed a love for running. It was a time I could be by myself and with just my thoughts. I could think hard or not think at all. I could listen to music or just be silent. I got in tune with what my body needed and was trying to tell me - and I learned to respond to it.
I did my first race (a crazy 11k trail run) three months after Marc and I got married. I was hooked. I loved the atmosphere of racing and the camaraderie you felt with the other runners. I loved the sense of accomplishment you felt when you crossed the line. I loved setting a goal for myself and working really hard to get there. I kept entering races. The following April, I ran my first half-marathon (13.1 miles). I felt like a superstar. I decided I wanted to do a full one the next winter. I trained and four weeks before the race, I got a stress fracture in my foot and could barely walk. Perhaps the 18 and 20 mile runs were a little much for my body. Maybe I'll do one some day.
All this to say, now I'm starting over. Even though I was a committed runner for four years, I was back to square one. I started running/walking a mile loop at the college campus where I work. Then I walked/ran it twice. Now I'm doing it three times and today I ran the whole time. I have to remember that when I look back on these photos and think about what I've accomplished in the past that it's not about what I used to be, but that I still love what I used to do. I love it enough to work hard and get it back.
My advice if you want to get into a regular exercise routine:
-- Start slowly. Most people start exercising because they want to lose weight. This is fine, but coincidentally they start off too strongly and end up losing steam because they are so sore and tired and not seeing the results they want. Just go for a walk around the block. Then walk two blocks, then run one, walk one, etc. Your body will naturally respond to an increase in activity, but if you do too much too fast, you'll get shin splints, cramps, soreness, and your body will not get used to the movement and pressure in a healthy way.
-- Always pair strength training with cardio work. If you want a flat belly, doing crunches alone will not give it to you. You need to work off the fat that covers your abdominal muscles while you are firming them up. The same goes for arm jiggles. Your body also burns calories more efficiently when it has more muscle mass.
-- ENJOY WHAT YOU DO!! There is no point in running if you hate running. It's insane to do yoga if you are suffering through the class every time. Don't choose an exercise routine just because your friend does it. If you hate running but like to shake it, try Zumba. If you have bad knees, do a spin class or get a bike or swim. If you don't enjoy being outside, get one of those workout video games (my recommendation: EA Sports Active for Wii or PS3) or a great DVD (my recommendations: P90X for the cadventurous; Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred for the just-getting-started, and Tae Bo Boot Camp for the in between).
-- Don't punish yourself. If you ate a cupcake, be conscious of what you eat the next day - don't take it out on your body. This behavior leads to an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. You will hate working out if you use it as a punishment.
-- Figure out if you need a workout buddy. Having someone to be accountable to is really helpful for some, and others don't want the commitment of having to talk with someone about their progress. It's not better or worse either way, but figure out what you need and get it - it will help immensely.
-- DO something! Be kind to your body. It's the only one you get (despite what the Real Housewives would say).
My parents are going to think the title of this post is totally not amusing.
I've been thinking about earthquakes a lot lately. I know it sounds a little fatalistic to think and talk about the inevitable shaker that is supposed to rock California to its core. But everywhere you turn here people are talking about it, warning you to be prepared, to be afraid - very afraid.
Even more comforting than these encouraging words are the disaster preparedness trainings you go to and trained disaster experts kindly show you pictures of your neighborhood: "this was the corner of Chestnut and Scott after the 1989 quake." Oh, terrific. Thank you for that.
I'd never even felt a little tremor before I moved to California. I lived most of my life in Tornado Alley and saw tornados (and even secretly wanted to be one of those storm chasers). South Carolina didn't see much more than a heavy thunderstorm during the summer months and the occasional windy rain from hurricanes coming up the coast.
I remember the first time I felt an earthquake here. It was about 7:30 A.M. and I had just woken up. I was sitting in bed checking my email and I heard a decoration we have on our hallway cabinet shaking. "That's strange," I thought. Then I felt my bed shake. It was only about 2 seconds worth of movement, but it made my heart stop. I don't want to feel a bigger one. Over the months I've felt several little shakers. They happen all the time. You usually only really feel the shaking if you are sitting still. There are even websites and iPhone applications where you can look and see the magnitude of these micro-earthquakes (microearthquake = a shaker with a magnitude of 2.0 or less on the Richter scale).
I thought I would do some reading on the bigger earthquakes (1906 and 1989) that have in essence formed much of the history of this region. Mom, you may not want to read.
(Note: I did not take any of the photos that follow, just so you know)
The 1906 Earthquake and Fire:
This is the big one. One source said that this earthquake was "one of the most significant earthquakes of all time." The article goes on to explain that although this is certainly not the biggest quake of all time in terms of magnitude, the knowledge science has gained from studying this event has been invaluable. It was not until almost fifty years later that scientists began to realize the uniqueness of this event and start to develop models and theories to predict other large earthquakes.This quake brought burgeoning San Francisco to its knees and shocked the nation with its destructive force.
On April 18, 1906 at 5:12 A.M. the foreshock hit the city and less than half a minute later, the minute from hell shook San Francisco, the Bay Area and rocked the earth up to Oregon, down to Los Angeles, and over through Nevada. The hardest shaking (and the most damage) was felt in the areas reclaimed by the city from the Bay and made into landfill...I happen to be sitting on one such area as I write.
Although the modern seismic measurements were not in place in 1906, scientists estimate the magnitude of the earthquake to have been a 7.9. Now this means nothing if you aren't familiar with the Richter Scale of earthquake magnitude. The Richter scale was developed in 1935 (by Charles Richter, surprisingly enough) and uses whole numbers and decimal/fraction measurements to give value to the amount of energy exerted by the earth when it quakes. A moderate earthquake would be around a 5 on the scale, while a strong quake would be a 6.3, and a great earthquake (like the Good Friday quake in Alaska, for you history buffs) would be an 8. Why the little difference in number between moderate and strong and great? Each whole number on the scale represents a ten fold increase in strength. So, a magnitude of 6 is ten times stronger than that of a 5 on the scale. When you consider the energy exerted by the earth, a 6 represents 31x more energy to shake the earth than does a 5. The scale has no limit and only measures magnitude of the quake - not the damage to the earth that shook.
While there was significant damage to San Francisco during and after the earthquake by the earth movement beneath the city and surrounding areas, the real destruction (estimated at 90%) was caused by a fire that broke out during the earthquake. It is estimated that over 3,000 deaths occurred during the time of the quake and fire. Interestingly, at the time of the quake, death tolls were reported to be around 400 - falsely claimed by city officials in order to not discourage the potential of the city's real estate and commerce while they rebuilt. Out of a population of about 400,000, around 250,000 of these were evacuated or completely homeless.
A rupture in the San Andreas fault, which runs the length of California and is the major reason for so many quakes in the state, is the cause of the San Francisco earthquake. This earthquake had been preceded by many small earthquakes, and some believe that the disruption in the seismic plates was caused by the heavy mining activity of the previous decades. Since San Francisco developed during the Gold Rush, this is a likely story.
The fire, as I stated above, was the real destroyer in this disaster. The blaze raged for about five days. There was not one source of the fire, but rather several small fires (gas lines, kitchens, ammunition and explosives in storage, etc.) caused by the displacement of the quake spread to create a monster fire that devoured 25,000 buildings in 490 city blocks. Sadly and ironically, many "extra" fires were started by untrained volunteer firemen who tried to use dynamite to stop fires from spreading. Another result of the ground displacement during the earthquake was some rupture water mains - causing water to be scarce and firemen to have few resources to use in fighting the enormous, growing fire.
Reconstruction after the earthquake and fire was a daunting undertaking. The property losses alone were estimated to be over $400 million. As I said above, the city leaders seriously and purposefully underestimated the loss and destruction because they feared investors would be hesitant to help them rebuild San Francisco. At first, the building codes were made more stringent to protect against such devastation in a future event. But as the pressure from city leaders and businessmen came on stronger, building construction standards were cut by as much as 50%. The city would reap what they sowed during the 1989 shaker.
Recover San Francisco did, and the spirit of the city was reborn a little cleaner, a little stronger after they endured such a tragedy and banded together to rebuild. By 1915 the city sufficiently recovered to hold its head high for the Panama-Pacific Exposition (birthplace of the original Palace of Fine Arts landmark). They showed the world that they were indeed stronger than their circumstances and could rise from the rubble and ashes stronger and more determined to make their mark on the developing world.
I have blogger guilt.
Marc asks me: "So have you written any blog posts lately?"
A twinge in my tummy.
No. I haven't.
I haven't had anything to write about.
We have the best communication.
But it's true. I really haven't had anything interesting going on lately. I planned something super interesting for Marc's birthday last weekend, but we didn't end up doing it because it was too cold. So there goes that post. Hopefully we'll do that activity later, because I think it'll be a blast. I don't have endless hours of free time wherein I can traipse about the city exploring the neighborhoods and culture. I don't even have time to work out any more. And the effects of that are interesting, but not in a good way. I don't make New Years' Resolutions. There was a diarrhea virus going around in my classroom early this week...but that doesn't necessarily merit a blog post.
Maybe I haven't had anything exceptional to write about because I'm finally feeling like life has settled into a routine. We've made San Francisco our home. We both have jobs we enjoy and are trying to get better at them daily. We love our church and our friends there. We've gotten to know our area and know what we like and what we plan to try in the future. Basically, we're settled for now. As I sit at my desk I'm listening to the sound of the foghorn in the Bay. It's a sound I've come to love and I've missed it in the relatively fogless weeks we've had since fall. Maybe I just couldn't hear it over the radiator style heater in our room that sounds like ten turtles trying to escape from a lead pipe. But the foghorn is part of living in the Bay Area. I still get a shiver of novelty when I cross the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset on my commute home each day. This place is breathtakingly beautiful and I love it.
I'll try to be better at blogging. I need to make up things to find interesting. I know I'll have an interesting one in February, because my blogging heroine is coming to SF for a book signing. I'm bringing my camera, her cookbook, and her new book and then I'll do a blog post about meeting here Can't wait. Until then, friends, I'll try to do better. Really.
We went back to Greenville for Christmas. It was my second time to go back since we moved to California, and Marc's first visit back. We split the time in Greenville between our two families, and had a tiny bit of time to spend with some friends, too. It was a great trip and we had such a fun time being with our families and participating in all those Christmas traditions. Like all trips, it was nice to go visit, and great to be home again in SF. I'm not sure the next time we'll go to Greenville, so I'm glad we got some great time in with family.
The photos won't need much explanation, so I'll refrain from talking too much.
I'm working on putting together a mega post about our trip to Greenville for Christmas, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a little of what I've been thinking about since our visit back South.
Our pastor brought a great message today introducing his new series on the books of Corinthians. He decided to teach through these books in particular because of the interesting and applicable parallels to our church's current situation. Corinth was a metropolitan city under Roman rule that had developed a culture of permissiveness in all things sinful. It was also a materialistic society where professional connections, material possessions, career and societal status, and image were everything. It was a city full of transplants - coming to a new place where the promise of opportunity and the freedom of expression and expansion glowed like a beacon. It was a city that had the gospel, but in many instances it had been perverted, watered-down, or otherwise formatted to fit the culture of the city.
Corinth was a lot like San Francisco.
The reactions to us deciding to move to San Francisco for Marc to take this job were very mixed. Most were happy for us and supportive. Some reacted in shock: "Why would you want to move there?" / "That is the most liberal city in America!" / "How will you find a church/friends/fellowship?"
Well-meaning but tactless individuals offered their veiled condolences on our probable moral demise as we moved to the black hole of sin and liberalism. Greenville is an extremely conservative place, mind you, and the thought that we would even want to live within 1,000 miles of Nancy Pelosi was too outlandish to fathom. We were warned repeatedly that there were so few churches here that we would be hard pressed to find a "decent" one and that whatever church we decided to join, we should get really involved because they really needed our ministry. I'm all about helping our church's ministry, but it was like people believed that outside our buckle-of-the-Bible-belt-bubble there could not possibly be any really spiritual people capable of depending on God's grace to have an effective ministry.
Thankfully our families were very supportive and excited for the opportunity we were given. And we have some close friends who were with us all the way and truly prayed that we would find a good ministry here where we could be a blessing but where we could also grow as a couple and as individuals in Christ.
We found a great church in just a couple weeks. And believe it or not, the people of Christ Church weren't mutants. We didn't smoke pot as a means of worship and there was not a homosexual minister. They were godly people who were growing in Christ and who desired to build a community of believers in a fallen city. Sounds like the purpose of the local church, huh?
When I returned to Greenville this summer to visit, I was able to chat with many of the same people who offered their support or their sugar-coated criticism when we moved four months earlier. I was questioned on the progress of my church and job search, 1 down, 1 to go at that point. I was bombarded with awkward questions about the prevalence of the gay rights movement in San Francisco, and about the cost of living and how we managed it. I was asked if I had turned into a Democrat yet (with the naive assumption that I was a staunch far-right Republican to begin with). Had I ever seen anyone smoke pot in public?
The reason I've been thinking about this today is that our pastor made an excellent point in his introduction to Corinthians. Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers because their church had adopted some of the corrupted philosophies and practices of their materialistic, perverted culture. They wanted to serve Christ but were being distracted and deceived by the expectations and goals of their society. But in spite of all that, the gospel worked in Corinth. People were changed, regenerated community was built and spread, and Christ was glorified. Culture, philosophy, and liberal politics didn't stop Christ from changing the city. Christ is just as powerful in San Francisco , CA as He is in Greenville, SC. There is sin here, but did we stop believing that the gospel can change lives and conquer sin? Do we believe that you have to be a Tea Party Republican to be a Bible-believing Christian? Do we make the decision to condemn an entire city to hell just because we're too afraid to confront the sin that exists there with love, grace, and patience? How big is your God?
I'm excited about learning more about the power of the gospel in Corinth. I'm also looking forward to seeing our city change one person at a time through Christ.
"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it."
-- Mother Teresa
bethany lives in san francisco with her husband marc.
Marc was born in Florida and lived most of his life in Greenville, SC. Bethany was born in Georgia and lived in Texas for 17 years before moving to South Carolina where she met Marc while working at a church camp. They were married in 2007.
you can follow bethany on Twitter: @bhthomps.
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein
"You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." - Christopher Columbus
"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." - E.M. Forster
Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes. - Henry David Thoreau