Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My heart goes out to the people of Joplin, MO....with prayers (such as I have) and Good Thoughts (of which I have many) for them, and for everyone else in "Tornado Alley."  

I can hardly imagine.  We live in Earthquake Country, so I can sort of imagine.  But hardly. 

As far as I know, you get more prep time for a tornado and, for those who can afford it, a basement seems to be a good idea.  (I'd hate to be in a basement during an earthquake.)  But I wonder - how do architects and contractors design buildings that can withstand the twisting force of large tornadoes?  It doesn't seem possible.  It seems to be all about basements.  And windowless rooms, with thick walls sunk well into the earth?  I have the same question regarding the shearing force of earthquakes, but people around here seem fairly confident that our buildings can withstand a quake.   It has to do with a building's ability to expand and contract.  I don't get it, but I try to have faith in it.  I'm pretty sure our house wasn't built up to earthquake code, back in the early sixties.  My husband says we're good because the house is built on a hill of granite.  A solid bed, as compared to.....shifting land-fill, for instance.  Hmmmm.  You just have to 

The closest I've been to a tornado was back in the late 80's, shortly after my ex and I purchased a house in suburbia.  We had a little ranch cat named "Mexie," who was used to leaping into our old laundry room through an open window, and sleeping on the dryer. 

When we moved, I tried to approximate her "safe house" (and its attendant relief from our German Shepherd and Other Creatures) by setting up a crate/bed on a wide window sill.  Happily, Mexie liked her new spot.  Until, one windy day, a tornado touched down in our backyard and whisked the crate, cat and all, up into the air - spinning it around before dropping it to the ground, where the crate broke and the cat skeedaddled.  (Okay, okay - maybe it was only a sudden gust of wind.  But I saw it happen, and it sure looked like a twister to me.)   It took Mex about three days to come back home, and she never went near the window sill again. 

Actually, the closest I've ever been to a 'tornado' was sitting through five or six different community theatre productions of WIZARD OF OZ, over the years, plus a preview performance of WICKED, in San Francisco. (Wait - we didn't need a tornado to get to OZ in WICKED.  But I do remember a very cool dragon.)  And I've watched the old OZ movie on TV about a bazillion times.  I'm sure many native Californians have the same story. 
Here are some photos of the tornado in an OZ production at the local Junior College:  

Not much like the real deal (Joplin photos from news sources):

Yeah.  Like that.  So. 

Good Thoughts.  Best Wishes.  and Prayers.

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