Thursday, August 25, 2011

Earthquakes Continued

Small aftershocks have continued since the initial quake. The last one occured at about 1:08 am and was a 4.5 according to the US Geological Survey. It woke everyone here up.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The 5.9 Earthquake

I have long felt that my area was overdue for a significant earthquake. This is what motivated us to put an earthquake rider on our homeowner's insurance and to secure much of the heavier mirrors,furniture and other things, to walls. A few years ago, we had a 4.3 earthquake while I was out changing alpaca waters, and Stephanie brought Daniel out to the front yard, who was barefoot at the time.
No one is injured here thankfully, but we have damage. Our kitchen has pots and pans thrown to the floor. The pantry looks as if it has thrown all of its food to the floor. Jars crashed and exploded, and a jar of ketchup ruptured and is all over the floor. Our bedroom bookcases look as if they have thrown CDs, DVDs, books, and decorative items. Our daughter's room has a lot of damage. Our outbuildings have damage and cracks in their siding, although we do not yet see foundational cracks. We are certainly fortunate that this was not much worse.
Interestingly, today, and when we have had earthquakes before, Stephanie, Adam and I have headaches, nausea, and auditory disturbances when there is an impending earthquake. Today was no different. Perhaps we are sensitive to barometric pressure changes or to the sliding of one tectonic plate against another. Our poor cat is still upset.
I am hearing that schools will be closed in the neighboring five counties for the next few days. Virginia Commonwealth University has closed for the day. The quake was felt as far away as Toronto. The Pentagon and the Capitol in DC have been evacuated. Shelters have been opened nearby for people with signficant home damage. There have been at least two aftershocks.
Our cellular and regular phones have also been out for most of the afternoon. I finally reached all of our kids, and everyone is ok, though shaken. The tv says that there is structural damage in Baltimore, DC, Virginia and other places also.
So far this week, Adam was in one of our outbuildings while it was struck by lightning. Two days later, we have earthquake damage. We are expecting a hurricane, and possibly tornadoes. I think I want a nap.

Update: Thus far, there have been three aftershocks, 2.2, 2.3 and 4.2 and it's only 8:30 pm

Sunday, August 21, 2011


It is not unusual for us to have some pretty severe thunderstorms during the hot summer months, particularly at the end of the day. In summer here, it is often oppressively humid and extremely hot. As five or six pm approaches, the temperature drops, The sky clouds, and the winds pick up. Sometimes there are tornadoes, though they are usually isolated. Then a rapidly occuring rainstorm with thunder and lightning occurs. Lightning strikes kill at least a few people each year and sometimes in heavily forested areas like our own, people in cars are killed when lightning and wind drops a heavy tree on a road where someone has been driving in their car.One of our relatives lost a horse due to being struck by lightning during an outdoor party. We try to come indoors as soon as a storm seems imminent, but this can be difficult when the same pattern of extreme heat resolving in an early evening storm goes on, sometimes for a week at a time. About a week ago, a terrible storm decimated one of our beautiful border trees, which looks as if it was afflicted by a spiral of lightning from the damage seen.
This was a good weekend. We went to an end of summer party being given by a dear friend at his farm, in part to promote a new record his label was releasing. His farm was lovely, and the music was very good. The kids not only enjoyed the party but they enjoyed helping with the set up, The food was catered and the entire event was casual. This was the first time in a very long time, that our family went to such a thing. The last outdoor party I recall, Daniel attended. Daniel would have loved this party. J even got some fishing in at the pond on the dock there.
Today (Sunday) was a quiet day afterward. We were catching up on work we didn't complete yesterday, when a storm came upon us quickly. We all headed to the house, but Adam who left for one of the outbuildings to close windows and unplug some electrical equipment there. Shortly after a huge green bolt of lightning hit the metal roofed building he was in. The breakers are blown there, and Adam's hearing is a little off from the severe clap of thunder which accompanied the strike, but he seems ok. He waited there for a little while, as it smelled a little like wood burning, and we have fire extinguishers in all the outbuildings. The electrical systems in all the other outbuildings appear also to have their breakers tripped.
I think it's time to consider lightning rods in addition to the grounding which has been done on each building when it was built. We are lucky that nothing more happened. I will have to check tomorrow to see that the phones still work in those buildings.
UPDATE: Later that evening the lightning returned blowing out a transformer. We were asleep when it happened, but woke when we heard power company repair trucks working nearby in the middle of the night. They were here all might, as the security system beeped, along with the carbon monoxide detector all night.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What Might Have Been

Most of the time I resist the temptation to wonder what life would be if God had graciously decided that day, almost three years ago now, to let Daniel return to us after CPR, and live a normal life, or perhaps even skipped his cardiac arrest due to unknown cause, entirely.
Sometimes though, I give in, as I did this week. Everyone in our family has been heavily impacted by Daniel's departure. I can't help wondering what life would be without Daniel's passing. What would we be doing ? What would Daniel be doing now had he remained on Earth ? For that matter, what would life be had my father not passed, and remained with us a few more years? Certainly, my father prepared me in little ways, all of my life for the day when he would pass before me. Other than conveying my absolute faith to Daniel, I hope that I somehow helped to prepare him for his passage to God ahead of mine. I still remember, as if it were last evening, what a hug from Daniel is like. When here on Earth he was a tall and muscular boy of 12 1/2. He still had soft skin as he did when he was small. I would like a hug now, and I would never let go. There is just no complete imagining of what his life, at now 15 would be like. Would we have adopted James? Would James and Daniel be comrades or at times, adversaries ? I can only imagine. Sometimes I realize that our grief has not come all that far, and that sometimes we still stand within the light of the shock and disbelief that our twelve year old son could have passed suddenly, and that even after autopsy, no one can truly tell us why, other than an educated guess.

This is a rare song, "I'm Still Not Over You" performed by Richard Carpenter, of "Carpenters" fame.

This is Richard Carpenter and his wife Mary. They have five children, (Kristi Lynn, Traci Tatum, Mindi Karen, Colin Paul, and Taylor Mary) a couple of which perform with their father on occasion.

Mary, Richard and one of their daughters, Mindi

This is Mindi Karen Carpenter, one of Richard and Mary's daughters.  She certainly resembles both of them.

This is an updated picture of their family

Sunday, August 7, 2011

How Stun Guns and Tazers Can Cause Deaths

stun gun


In the US, police, security guards, and others carry stun guns and tazers as supposedly non lethal means of controling those who could be dangerous to themselves of others. Most of us in health care know that they are not so innocuous, and that their use can be fatal.
When a shock of any kind is delivered to the person, and the person's heart happens to be at its refractory period, during the EKG "T wave" we call this an "R on T phenomenon". In R on T, the heart is forced to beat during its rest period, and what follows is disorganized non productive beats, called Ventricular Tachycardia. When a person goes into V-Tach. they either receive expert medical help and an AED pretty quickly, or they die. We need to understand that stun guns are not always a safe means of controlling someone.


Teen struck by Ohio campus officer's stun gun dies

CINCINNATI (AP) — Police say an 18-year-old attending summer classes at the University of Cincinnati was struck by a campus officer's stun gun and died of cardiac arrest.

Officers received a 911 call about an assault at Turner Hall early Saturday. The university's assistant police chief, Jeff Corcoran, tells The Cincinnati Enquirer ( ) that the teenage boy approached officers in the dorm hallway, appearing agitated and angry.

Corcoran says officers ordered the teen to back off, but he refused. He was then hit once by an officer's stun gun.

Afterward, the teen appeared incoherent. He went into cardiac arrest after paramedics arrived and was pronounced dead at University Hospital.

The department has suspended the use of stun guns until his cause of death is determined. Authorities are also investigating the original 911 call.


Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer,



Update:   May 1, 2012
This article also mirrors my post above.

Tasers Can Trigger Fatal Heart Trouble, Study Says

TUESDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- Taser guns used by law enforcement can cause heart rhythm problems, sudden cardiac arrest and death, according to a new study.
Tasers, which are widely used by police forces in the United States and other countries, are designed to stun suspects by delivering a 50,000-volt shock.
Indiana University Health cardiologist Dr. Douglas Zipes analyzed the cases of eight healthy men, ages 16 to 48, who were tasered between 2006 and 2009 and lost consciousness. All but one of the men died.
Zipes reviewed police, medical and emergency response records, autopsy reports, and other sources of information such as witness testimony and data from the Taser devices, automated external defibrillators, and electrocardiograms.
The study found that six of the eight men developed severely abnormal heart rhythms after being tasered.
"This study doesn't say that we should abandon using Taser devices, but it does show that users should exercise caution, avoid chest shocks and monitor the person after shock to ensure there are no adverse reactions," Zipes, who is also a professor emeritus of medicine with the Krannert Institute of Cardiology at the Indiana School of Medicine, said in an Indiana University Health news release.
"Taser users need to be prepared for the possibility of inducing sudden cardiac arrest in those stunned and have adequate medical knowledge in such situations," he added.
The study was published April 30 in the journal Circulation.
More information
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about sudden cardiac arrest.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

S & P Downgrades America's Credit Rating

Yesterday evening, it was announced that Standard and Poors had downgraded the credit rating of the United States from AAA or AA. Now, nations who wish to buy bonds can find bonds with a higher rating by buying them from Britain, France, Germany or from Canada. This is not in fact, in response to the US defaulting in any way with regard to its debt, but rather its continuing to spend with abandon following this weeks raising of the debt limit. Other decreases in the US credit rating are possible and even likely according to some sources, later in the year.
What are the implications of this ? It means, that the US will pay more to borrow money. It means also that the US will charge more to lend to banks. It also means that banks will have to charge more to lend money for homes, cars, college fees, and consumer goods. It means that an already floundering economy will see the losses of more jobs, and the closure of even more businesses, as they will not be able to sell their products to an already squeezed America.
Although our family has always been very careful with credit, we do owe some debt. University fees are expensive, and our children owe fees for their educations and we are continuing to help to pay for Matthew's education. We do have a couple of credit cards, which definitely will go up in terms of interest rates charges. The implications are mostly for our children. How will they ever by homes in a land in which the only real way to get ahead, where rent cannot be raised, is to buy your own home, maintain it, and eventually have the payments stop. This is the beginning of what we had feared.
We did not like President Obama's policies and direction before, but it appears that it is his intent to steer us into the Third World. This could have devastating effects on the Stock Market, and therefore world stock markets, and this could nudge us into, not just an additional recession, but the second Great Depression, S&P has said that additional credit downgrades for the US will likely follow.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Warm Tears

Today in the continual effervescent humid heat of August,I wanted to achieve something from my lengthy list of things to do, but I wanted to remain at home. I decided to go through our collection of aging VHS tapes, and decide which ones are to be sent to have DVD copies made. I would like to place some of our family videos of the kids in our safe deposit box for safekeeping, and I would also like to make copies for eventual distribution to our kids, so they each have videos of some Christmases, birthdays and happy times with their siblings. It's tough work. There were videos of building our first farmhouse, and the children watching as backhoes dug out a place for a basement as if cutting into a big chocolate cake. There were videos of Christmases with Matthew as a small boy with a rabbit skin beard, dressed as Santa. There were videos of Daniel when he was a bit older than one, playing with my husband. There was one showing Daniel enjoying Christmas with my aunt and with my mother. So much has changed, and sometimes all the evidence I feel I have of these feelings in my heart, are videos. Of course, when we leave the Earth, we don't take DVDs with us. We only carry the love and memories we have in our hearts. It was nice to see Daniel is videos as a small person, although it made me cry. I enjoyed seeing my aunt and my mother in video, though they have long passed. Interestingly, there are no videos of my father, who would have preferred to be in the moment with us rather than documented on film. Seeing Daniel as a small one was good. Still, the tears fell in warm salty buckets, just as they did so many times within the first year after Daniel's and Dad's passings.

Piano by Jim Brickman Vocals by Canadian Roch Voisine

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Challenges

You might think that when the weather is around 105-110 degrees F, (In excess of 40 degrees Centigrade or more) that criminals might have the sense to stay indoors in air conditioning, or at a pool somewhere. Apparently, things are so difficult financially even for them, that they are out en force, even in the terribly hot weather.
This week a man in camoflage clothing who claimed to be from the Tax Assessors Office, entered the a neighbor's farm seeking an access to yet another property, which borders our own. Because a court case will follow,I can't go into too much detail here. Suffice it to say that criminals are out, they are casing areas with intent to steal or pillage whatever they can. We are a large county and so our sheriff cannot always get out easily to all the farms which might need help quickly. In addition, we have a number of wild animals here, and rabid animals are often a problem. Wolves, bobcat, bears, poisonous snakes, and even the rare cougar are found here, For this reason, most everyone is armed. For years we have always had rifles, but a few years ago we realized that we needed some handguns for use on belt holsters while working on the farm,especially when our work entails having our hands free. This week I was never so glad to have been armed. In this era in our world it can be easy to count up the number of people who have been killed with firearms. What happened in Norway is incredibly sad and egregious. However, we must remember that arming rational law abiding people, saves lives, and we must remember to count those as well. A firearm is a tool, much like a hammer, a car, or a steak knife, and most tools handled improperly can be quite dangerous. Owning and using guns comes with significant responsibility to understand the operation and proper use of your weapon. One must clean it following each use, and target practice safely in order to be proficient. There is also the significant task of ensuring that your weapon not be stolen from you, or grabbed from you while you are using it, and used on you and on others My older sons all can safely manage guns as can my husband. I was late to the game, but began to train about five years ago when I realized the need to protect myself and my family. I completed proper and continued training and I am specially licensed as well. I don't begin to train our kids to use firearms in target shooting or for defensive purposes until after 14, so Daniel never had a chance to fire on the practice range with me. I am grateful for the chance to be armed in order to protect my family from criminals who would invade the farm, and from rabid animals. Although I have personally owned guns for many years, I honestly did not fully appreciate this right, until recently. I took for granted that anyone would see the need for proper protection of property and lives in a rural place.