Zena the Wonder Dog experiences her first temblor while I practice Tweeting!

I wasn’t planning to say too much about last Friday evening’s magnitude 5.1 earthquake. It’s was modest in size, and although never entirely inconsequential, I’ve written about California’s seismic activity before. There isn’t much new to tell you.

But it’s still headline news here in Los Angeles.

It’s estimated that 17 million people felt the temblor, so perhaps that’s why every local news source and radio personality won’t stop talking about it.


It may have been a small earthquake, but we live close enough to the epicenter to have felt a good jolt. I might have been more undone by it, but I was distracted by poor Zena who swiftly made a bee-line for the back door, whimpering the entire way.

Zena under calmer circumstances
Zena under calmer circumstances

Once I was sure we were going to be fine, I returned to my Friday night activity. I had set aside an evening to learn all that I could about how to Tweet. Yes, Tweet!

I realized my deficiencies in this area when I attempted to join in the promotion of Andra Watkins’ recently published book, To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis and her 444-mile walk of the Natchez Trace.

I know how to Retweet. Not too hard; there’s a button. But hashtags and the whole world of knowing when to mention versus reply, and then restrict the number of characters used? I was clumsy and just sure that if done incorrectly, I would be deemed a social media pariah!

No more than a minute after the quake I jumped in to Tweet my alarm bell in the quickly thrown out there, “Holy Crap! Earthquake! It made the dog cry! #earthquake.”

Not exactly poetry, but those fight or flight endorphins had me a little amped. To my surprise I immediately received a Tweet from my Canadian blogging friend Thea, checking in to ask if I was alright. I loved the immediacy of hearing from Thea and that propelled me to get a little bolder. I was off and running.

A few well-placed hashtags and I was following streams of information from all over the Southland. By Saturday I’d found my favorite seismologist, Dr. Lucy Jones @DrLucyJones, a brilliant scientist with the ability to educate the public in a sensitive and reassuring manner. She made her first Tweet on Saturday and immediately had thousands of followers.

Dr. Jones is immensely popular in Southern California, brought in after any significant seismic activity to demystify the event and calm the jumpy public. She explains plate tectonics in a way that almost makes us feel special! Well, not quite, but she emphasizes preparedness and that makes much more sense than hysteria. And following every emergency, headline grabbers love to promote fear.

I don’t Tweet much. And you can see that when excited I don’t have much to say other than a hasty exclamation.  I think I may still have a lot to learn, but at least I’m not afraid of it any more.

And I can support Andra, and so can you! She just finished day 31 of walking the Trace and she’ll reach the final destination in Memphis this Thursday!

If you haven’t yet been introduced to Meriwether Lewis through her book and journey, do take the time to read her April 1st post HERE. You’ll quickly see why I am so eager to be a long-distance part of her adventure.

And my final word on the earthquake?

You know how enthusiastic I am about the lovely San Gabriel Mountains.

I think they are a continual reminder, a visual aid perhaps, of how Californians live with continual seismic activity. The same temblors that rattle our nerves are responsible for the beautiful mountain range.

We need to be prepared, and then we can still breathe lighter.


59 thoughts on “Zena the Wonder Dog experiences her first temblor while I practice Tweeting!

    1. I don’t really know for certain, Cristine. I think perhaps she did sense it more quickly than I did, but she was in the other room. All of sudden, about the time I was sure it was an earthquake, she came running right on by me, not even looking to me for comfort, and wanted out the back door. Poor thing. She was really whimpering and she wasn’t herself for the rest of the evening!

  1. I just took one very deep breathe, Debbie! Your mountain backdrop looks so serene but that grumbling giant lurks, doesn’t he? May he enjoy a long and peaceful sleep, hon, for all your sakes. Glad you are safe.
    # I’m missing a trick! I don’t use them. I guess I’d better get clued up. So many tasks in life! 🙂

    1. I am a person of faith who trusts we’ll be alright…and I do ask that the grumbling giant take a long, long nap! I like that image, Jo! Perfect. And yes. Hashtags! I’m very slow to join this party, but there is a party out there to join. I’m more of an observer than participant at this point, but as government representatives and civic organizations take on a Twitter presence, it’s become a way to express my approval or disapproval in present time and often get an immediate response. I could easily become a nuisance! LOL!

  2. Poor Zena – it must be terribly frightening for animals when you can’t explain to them that everything will be fine! The Tweeting is a completely unknown world to me, but glad you have got some practice in now! Over 20 years ago now I was in Japan for a couple of years and we experienced tremors regularly… once I was in a cinema on the 20th floor mid-Tokyo and when the curtains next to the screen started swaying with the building our row of foreigners all got up and started heading for the door, while the Japanese all stayed put and looked as cool as cucumbers! Apparently it was a really minor tremor, but at that height the bulding is designed to sway to avaoid structural damage and it felt major… Yikes! Take care Debra! 😀

    1. If you experienced some of the tremors in Japan, Cathy, I’d think they were probably significant, even if, thankfully, not one of their larger. It seems to me that every time I hear the magnitude of one of Japan’s quakes I’m awed by the size. Ours have typically been smaller, and yet they are frightening and do enough damage. My understanding is that Tokyo has been one of the cities designed to withstand some pretty significant jolts. Yet with a highly dense population, they have their own issues. They aren’t fun, but the good thing about them, if I can look for the silver lining, is that you can’t anticipate, so there isn’t a feeling of dread, and they don’t last long. I think I’d be more frightened of a hurricane or tornado. I try not to dwell on things I can’t control, and that eliminates a whole lot of fears. Ha!

  3. Our dog always noticed a thunderstorm approaching before we did.
    Today the big earthquake effecting the northern coastline of Chile was headline news here in Australia.

    1. Yes, Uta, the Chilean earthquake is a significant jolt! We haven’t had anything that size, and yet we’ve had big ones with lots of damage. TO even think of 8.2 is terrifying. And the resulting tsunami warnings have even been issued for Hawaii. We could see larger than usual waves here, and that emphasizes to me that none of us lives in isolation of each other. We need to be concerned beyond our own shores. And when it comes to a natural disaster, I always think of what that means to those who have been directly affected. Aren’t dogs funny? They really are very intuitive. I don’t want to start watching Zena’s behavior, though, and trying to interpret it. LOL! That might take me places I’d rather not go. LOL!

  4. Poor Zena. Our dog Ralph is precious but fearful of a number of things, one of which is wind. I’m serious. You and I may not notice that the breeze has picked up, but Ralph will. And he will let you know by attempting to deposit all 42 pounds of himself on your lap.

    I had heard about your earthquake. We have had a number around here recently and a BIG one hit in Chile last night, triggering a tsunami warning here in Ecuador. Our friends on the coast had to evacuate. But all is clear now. The quake in northern Chile was big and shallow–an 8.2.

    Glad all is well with you, Debra!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    1. I heard about the Chilean earthquake before I went to bed last night. It sent chills–8.2 is larger than I can imagine, or want to! I knew there would be a tsunami warning, but didn’t know where they would evacuate “from” and then the “where to” is always my next question! Higher ground, I guess. I think after the last big Chilean earthquake (2010?) there were many casualties and the resulting tsunami created a lot of damage. I always feel very sympathetic and deeply concerned when I hear about an earthquake anywhere, and I’ll be listening for more news today. I hope your friends have been able to return home, but I suspect the danger period might be longer while they wait for the aftershocks to calm down. I heard that there’s a tsunami warning in Hawaii, as a result of this quake. We are all a lot more connected than we sometimes remember! All is well here, Kathy, thank you. And I hope for you, too. ox

  5. Poor Zena, I’d of been whimpering with her. Or at least going for the door too. I “have” twitter. But don’t use it. And the things you said you just learned about I still have no idea about.

    And I can’t believe Andra’s walk is almost complete!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Ha! I have had to literally read a Twitter glossary, Colleen. Do you post your blogs to your Twitter account? That’s in part what started me thinking I should better understand. I have had some Twitter responses to the posts about the wine country that have been really interesting, and have linked me to some wonderful reading materials. It’s kind of fun, yet another time waster, I’m sure. 🙂 It really hit me when I realized yesterday that Andra had been walking for a full month. You just have to admier that, don’t you!

      1. I do admire Andra. A LOT!

        I don’t link to Twitter. I would. But I know know know if I start it will truly like you say suck more time I dont have! But I wonder if it would help the blog…..

        1. I doubt it would help the blog that much, Colleen. I find that sometimes people who already subscribe read it on Twitter and sometimes retweet, which is nice, but I don’t experience a very noticeable increase in stats. And you’re so right about the time…I’m like a cat with a shiny toy! ha! Not good!

  6. I grew up in Wellington, NZ where earthquakes were frequent and always frightening. I do feel sorry for everyone in LA with the concern they have for earthquakes – I think you’re all very brave and I hope ‘the big one’ is a long way off! xx

    1. I don’t want to ever make light of earthquakes, but I’m completely sincere when I say we exhibit more courage to drive our freeways than to anticipate an earthquake. I think I’m so aware that there is danger absolutely everywhere, that I don’t dwell on earthquake dangers. Now, that said, I am absolutely unnerved when I have to sit under a freeway overpass. I do try to avoid them, when I can! 🙂

  7. dandyknife

    Poor puppy. I’ve heard of dogs crawling under beds for fear of thunder, but not rushing to go outside. Maybe her fright gave her a sudden urge to relieve herself?

    1. Ha! You may be right about Zena’s running to the back door. I did think it was a little funny that she didn’t come to me, and instead wanted to escape. On the other hand, the sounds that come into the house during even a small quake always make me want to run outdoors, which is precisely what we’re told not to do. So I guess her instinct to get out isn’t all that odd to me! 🙂

  8. Poor Zena …. but I imagine she’s returned to being a happy dog. Glad this quake was a mild one …. and as daylight appears, let’s hope that damage from the strong Chilean quake isn’t too bad. … Meanwhile, no Twitter for me … well, at least not yet … but considering it isn’t on my radar.

    1. I just read something about the tsunami that accompanied the Chilean quake. I haven’t figured out yet if the headline is accurate. We see tsunami warning signs all over the place here, too, with evacuation routes. I don’t know where you would go to be fully safe from nature’s reminders of who’s in charge. I just pay attention and try to be prepared. And to comfort our animals. 🙂 You’d be amazed at how much interesting interaction, via the blog, I’ve received simply because I post the shortlink to Twitter. And that’s what started my interest. When I started talking about the Santa Barbara Wine Country I was “retweeted” to wine groups, wine distributors, and a variety of interesting wine-related coalitions. It indicated to me that I might want to know how it works! And I’ve found an interesting community that only exists through Twitter. Of course, my time hasn’t expanded, so that’s an entirely different circumstance. 🙂

    1. I wonder if you felt the March 17th one that I think centered in Encino? Here I go…just like everybody else. “Did you feel it? Did you feel it?” LOL! It’s kind of funny, isn’t it? Maybe nervous energy!

  9. Poor pup! Hopefully it didn’t make him need to pee! My cats hide under the beds during storms. We don’t get earthquakes here so I am not sure what they would do. Glad you are all ok.

    1. Poor Zena! She really didn’t know what had happened. Animals are just amazing in their instincts, and I only wish Zena had been in the same room as I when the quake first began to rumble. Perhaps I would have taken note of whether she sensed it before it was obvious to me. We’re fine…and handling the incessant fear-talk that the media is drumming up. It doesn’t do much good to keep telling us of how horrible “the big one” is going to be. Where would I go to avoid that?

    1. It can be a uniting experience, can’t it, Amy? Everyone collectively holds their breath and then at the same time exhales! We have small earthquakes, and anything under 5 is small for us, often enough to not be too concerned, but even the small ones make me queasy!

  10. I’ve been wondering how you were all doing, not thinking that poor Zena would be troubled by the quake. Poor thing.
    Out of every crisis comes opportunity, so say Confucious, and there you were, Debra, tweeting. Good for you. You give me the impetus to at least try (as if I can possible stay within the character count – may be a problem) and have given another good shout out to Andra’s fete. What an inspiration she is.

    1. The earthquake was strong enough to make me a little jumpy, but they are over so quickly that if at the end it isn’t too significant, I can manage to calm down. But Zena was so nervous. The next morning I woke up to find her asleep on the sofa, and she never does that. Poor baby. I remember when we did have a larger earthquake in the 80’s and there was real damage to the house. I wasn’t at home when it hit and when I came home I couldn’t even find our little dog. She was hiding and I felt so sorry for her to have gone through that without her family. Now you just might find Twitter fun, Penny. I don’t anticipate putting much out there that comes directly from me, but I love the way I can quickly find what others are saying about something. Just what I need…more distraction! LOL! Oh well…cheap thrills. ha!

  11. I’m glad you’re OK, Debra. I have to say if my minutes were numbered, I would NOT spend them tweeting. Instead, I’d head straight for the chocolate!

    1. I would think San Diego is a little too far from La Habra to feel it. Thankfully it wasn’t that big! And I wonder if he was out having some Friday night fun. It was only 9pm. Hopefully he never experiences one! Thanks for stopping by, Sandi.

    1. It really is something we live with, Meg. I was born in California and we really do have “protocol” drilled into us. They are frightening, of course, but they don’t last long, typically, and it only takes seconds to determine the immediate dangers. I shouldn’t speak too confidently, however, because I don’t know how I would react if we had a “bad” one. 🙂 This latest shaker did affect some of the rides at Disneyland…I was concerned for the tourists! Poor things!

  12. Adding another social platform for me like Tweeting would be too much for me to handle. Too much sharing. 😀 I even find it hard to keep up with blogging which I really love to do.
    We didn’t feel the earthquake here in Ventura. It’s no wonder I was getting asked about earthquakes all of a sudden. 😀

    1. I don’t do much with independent Tweeting, but I admit I enjoy reading what others are saying. I move in and out of all forms of social media, not necessarily keeping up with them all at the same time or the same rate! I find it funny that I’m now following some of my local governmental representatives and their Twitter feeds. They’re all trying to get in on the game. The earthquake was in north Orange County, so that’s quite a distance from Ventura. I’m glad you didn’t feel it–that would have indicated it was a BIG one. We don’t want that. 🙂

  13. I’m so glad to learn that you weren’t bothered much by the quake, Debra. Poor Zina. It’s not like you can explain things to her. There was yet another powerful quake in Chile this evening. This “aftershock” would destroy a metropolitan area. On the news tonight, they showed a graphic of the “ring of fire” and the number of earthquakes to have occurred during the past week. I was surprised by the number. There’d been quakes all around the ring of fire. Unbelievable!
    My posts are tweeted automatically but there’s little else I do with it. Maybe one day I’ll do more but, for now, WordPress is more than enough for me to handle. 🙂

    1. You know, John, that earthquake in Chile frightens me even from a distance. I know just enough about what a small one feels like to be quite overwhelmed at the thought of one that large. And then the tsunami probabilities. I don’t spend too much time worrying about them, but I do put time into preparation. And then recognize you can’t really predict how any of us would respond. I don’t see myself doing much Tweeting for my own independent purposes, but I’ve found lately that some others in my life (mostly younger) have an expectation that I can keep up! I try! 🙂

  14. Animals are very perceptive. I use Twitter to suit me – a quick way to make contact, without becoming a slave to it. Like all modern technology, it is only addictive if we allow it to be so.

  15. I find it quite interesting that such huge populations settled down in an area with lots of seismic activity. But I guess when I am in Seattle I am not much safer myself – and don’t think much about it in the end. As for tweeting I have to admit I am not there yet, but I have promised myself to look more seriously into it and not just scoffed at it. 🙂

    1. I love your comment and questioning, Otto, because I often think similar thoughts about the entire west coast. California was originally settled as an outgrowth of all the people who headed west during the Gold Rush. There was absolutely no form of city planning, so Los Angeles grew entirely too fast and families found themselves here, with earthquakes, no water and all sorts of other issues made complicated by too many people. But more than 300 days a year of sunshine seems to bring even more people here, earthquakes and all. And tweeting is just one more thing that is at times fun. I don’t know how useful. 🙂

  16. Zena is quite intelligent, but I was quite scared for a minute when you started this post! Now I am breathing a bit lighter!
    I hope there will be no other earthquakes!!

    Choc Chip Uru

  17. Tom McCubbin

    I was in Rancho Mirage during the quake and felt nothing. However, the dogs I was babysitting seemed very nervous all day, and I don’t think it was from the birds tweeting. Lovely photo!

  18. Pingback: Exhaling (and dancing) right into the weekend | breathelighter

  19. That would scare the pants off me for sure! I’d be jittery for days. You didn’t have aftershocks though, did you? I will keep my fingers crossed that this was the last quake for a very long time! I have twitter, but I’m not much on it at all. I have followed so many people back that I find it difficult to develop a communication strategy. I have a few “groups” that I can click on the make the feed select only those in the group, but I still find it overwhelming. Good old blogging, no pressure on timing, just easy visits.. I like this best:D

  20. I thought about you as soon as I heard about the earthquake, Debra, and am glad it was only a jolt. Poor Zena – it must have been a shock for her, but hopefully she won’t need to experience another.

    I’m full of admiration for your tweeting progress. I’ve steered well away from Twitter and Facebook or I’d never get off the computer. 🙂

  21. I think we all thought about you and our other friends in the area when we heard about the rumblings in California, thank goodness it wasn’t bad. I remember when I visited Japan and the first night I was there it felt a quake. I immediately called the front desk and they said to go back to sleep…the building was built for earthquakes and they happen all the time.

    1. Your story of experiencing a quake in Japan brings to mind a time we were in Nevada and a California quake was strong enough that it was felt in one of the casino high-rises. We sailed through it, but I was so aware of the tourists. Many of them were badly undone, and I wanted to just give them a hug. But I do think that Japan is lightyears ahead of California in creating safe buildings. The more modern parts of Los Angeles are designed to “move” with the quake, but the fear, and all the current talk, is what about the older buildings? I certainly don’t have any answers, but I do have earthquake supplies. Thank you for thinking of me, Karen. I appreciate that!

  22. I lived through a 5.2 in LA and it was an experience that I’ll never forget. I heard my next door neighbor’s little girl scream, the bottles rattle in the bathroom medicine cabinet, and when I turned over in bed, my attention was drawn to the corner of the upper wall which was wobbling! I thought the noise was a heavy truck rumbling down the road. That was my first earthquake that I felt. There were others when I lived in Indiana, but they were so minimal that I didn’t notice them. I couldn’t believe that my husband was going to leave me at home alone while he went to work! He told me to either stand in a door jam or go out in the street if there were aftershocks. I was 7 months pregnant at the time. I don’t know how you folks turn a blind eye to it! But then, I never understood how women could give birth again after the first one! And I had an “easy” birth! I guess it’s just me!

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