Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chile con Wreckage

Tonight I had a chance to read about the 8.8 quake that shook the daylight out of Chile Saturday morning. The report spoke of the rising death toll, (currently in the thousands), 1.5 million homes damaged or destroyed, and massive looting sprees igniting across the country.

The quake hit in Concepcion, a city which my brother spent a good deal of time in while serving a mission for the Lord. Through this one degree of separation, I began to feel the weight of what these people must be experiencing. Another thought that came strongly to my mind was the importance of emergency preparedness!

Chile is not a newcomer to seismic disasters. In fact, Chile was home to the largest earthquake ever recorded. The 1960 Valdivia earthquake or Great Chilean Earthquake rated 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale. Its resulting tsunami's affects reached as far as southeast Australia! This formative quake changed the course of Chile's building codes, laws, and regulations. Their retrofitting standards are among the highest in the world! Thus, many of the building were able to roll with Saturday's quake for 3+ minutes straight.

Unlike Haiti, Chile also takes great care in mixing high grade cement- 3 parts sand, one part cement. The sand is washed first to remove impurities that could cause it to fracture and crack under pressure. Much of Haiti's cement was 5 parts impure sand to one part cement which is why it pancaked.

Disaster forced Chile to prepare themselves for the future which spared them from greater destruction. For decades modern prophets have pleaded with the membership of the church to gather and store a years supply of food and water in case disaster strikes. We are asked, at the very least to have a 3 day emergency backpack on hand, with enough water, food, clothes and supplies for 3 days.

After reading about Haiti and Chile's woes, the importance of being prepared is so clear to me now.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

He Stopped the Rain

Saturday, Jon and I drove out to Irvine to catch The Young Victoria- clearly one of the best films of the year. The DP's style is unlike any other- a fascinating use of shallow and rack focus! After the movie we went to the Irvine Spectrum and ate at the Veggie Grill; 3 words: Sweet Potato Fries (with chipotle ranch)!

Yesterday Nick and I drove to downtown Long Beach to plan a pirate scavenger hunt for my birthday. It rained all the way there. We parked the car and prepared ourselves for the frigid wet cold we were about to embrace. Minutes after shedding our vehicular skin, the rain ceased. We proceeded to have a great time traipsing about, pinpointing hiding places for clues, concocting the puzzle our guests will unravel on Saturday night.

I felt like a parent on Christmas Eve wrapping the last gifts- It's an exciting feeling to create something for others to enjoy!

Exhausted from our adventure, Nick introduced me to a delicious El Salvadorian eatery on 7th- our famished state made grand food more glorious, our hilarious server Able added to the impressiveness of the experience.

When we walked to the restaurant there was no rain- as we ate, the sky rung heavy drops from the clouds... we walked back to the car and the skies were dry yet again! I could not help but feel watched over, smiled and upon even- Heavenly Father stopped the rain so two of His children could enjoy a beautiful afternoon by the sea, worry free of future colds or sore throats:)

The evening concluded with Br. Johnson's Institute class. He taught us about the importance of bridling (directing) our passions. Loved it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Some of you know that I work at a preschool part-time. I absolutely LOVE 4 & 5 year olds! For some reason, this year more so than other years, the kids have been taking a great interest in my fingernails; they'll take my hands in theirs and try all sorts of tactics to remove them. Yes children, I felt that. They are real. They all comment on how long my nails are and counsel me to cut them as soon as possible.

Yesterday, one of the girls came up to me, scoped out my nails briefly and concluded, "Teacher, you have long claws!" I laughed so loud and quickly shared the observation with fellow teacher Sarah.

Earlier that day, Sam was laying across the bike path staring and the ground with his arms pulled into his shirt. I called over to him to make sure he was OK. He called back and said, "Teacher! I'm a snake!!!"

Preschoolers never cease to amaze me with their beautiful minds! :)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Traveling the World

World Book style.

I overheard a conversation yesterday, in which my brother was informed tomorrow would be Columbus Day; to which the other person informed him that Columbus Day was not February 8th, but was in fact in October, the month Columbus struck land, San Salvador, a little island off the coast of Cuba.

Well...I forgot about this correction of dates and was pleasantly surprised when this morning, the encyclopedia I was holding in search of the color wheel, fell open to Christopher Columbus. "How appropriate", I thought to myself, "with Columbus Day just around the corner."

Thus, I refreshed my memory in honor of February 8th: Non-Columbus-Columbus Day.
I read about Columbus' Italian birth, his young love and loss, his 4 voyages, in which he only touched, very briefly, what could be considered North American soil, (Costa Rica), once.

Most of his explorations were contained in Hispaniola. We give him a lot of credit, but his vision seems so limited from the account I read this morning. He continued to return to and work to redeem his original discovery which did not produce the kinds of results anyone had hoped for.

Myth Busters: Most of the world did not believe the world was flat at the time of Columbus' voyage and Columbus did not intentionally bring diseases to the people of Hispaniola (i.e. nasty blankets). He did enslave the people, make them mine for gold, and punish them if they failed to meet their quotas. A bit of a power trip?

The positive note:
He ended centuries of ignorance about what lay on the other side of the Atlantic, and his discovery led to trade with Native American peoples who taught the ancestors of our future founding fathers the love of freedom and shared leadership. So in an indirect way, Columbus led the way to democracy and freedom, even though his personal choice did not reflect such values. This is most likely how he ended up being mentioned in the Book of Mormon (1 Ne. 13:12) and why we of the LDS faith, consider him to have played an integral part in the restoration of Christ's gospel.