Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We Are All Culpbable

I am amazed and troubled by the many people who have spoken about the actions of Jerry Sandusky as if his actions only impacted his victims. Though I understand their predicament, I am especially disturbed by the statements of Joe Paterno's family and former Penn State University president Graham Spanier

There are many commentators and interested persons stating that the NCAA went too far. However, I believe the NCAA took the correct action and could have gone further, though it still would not bring enough relief to the young men victimized by Sandusky. These young men - boys at the time of the incidents - are our children. Sandusky's ability to molest and abuse the 11 children that we know of was facilitated by the failures of the leadership at Penn StateThe ramifications of all their actions and inactions are already disrupting the lives of the survivors of Sandusky's abuse and all the families of the victimized, and will likely ripple through their lives in unexpected ways for innumerable years, if not generations. The same is true for the lives of the survivors of abuse by priests, ultra-orthodox rabbis and other trusted adults. 

What is unprecedented about Sandusky and Penn State is that we know about it. What is not unprecedented is that a respected adult molested and abused children, repeatedly, and that other trusted adults covered it up - and I am not just talking about the Catholic Church

We know that the Air Force most recently uncovered a problem at Lackland Air Force base. Yet, sexual abuse in the military is also not new. 

According to the American Association of University Women, the majority of sexual assaults on college and university campuses still go unreported. AAUW also asserts that the majority of bullying and other types of harassment are under reported

We have a societal problem when it comes to protecting our children, boys and girls. We have the worst record in the industrialized world when it comes to protecting our children, according to childhelp.org - and that ought not to surprise anyone. For too long we have viewed child abuse and neglect as well as violence against women as the failings of individuals, and the consequences of such crimes as limited to the individual victims and families.  

When are we going to wake up and see the collective wreckage?! We continue to teach our children to watch out for strangers. Yet, it is estimated that 93 percent of the time, a child knows her/his abuser. We know that not all kids who are abused or neglected become criminals; however, we also know that a number of juveniles offenders are or were also victims

That the actions of the NCAA holds ramifications for the entire Penn State community, including the young men who were expecting to play football for a great program, the merchants expecting to make money off the crowds, and the legacies of otherwise good men is indicative of the ramifications we pay as a society for the neglect and abuse of our children, young people and violence against women. Most of the time, we are blind to the ripples or assume we cannot do anything about them. 

I say we can do something about child abuse and neglect and violence against women, beginning with loving our children, grandchildren and community children enough to tell them the age appropriate truth about being safe. We can take an interest in the lives of our neighbors, the truancy and absentee policy of our school districts, and educate ourselves about the rates of neglect and abuse in our communities - and ask our public officials what are they doing to curb abuse and neglect. We can talk to our children about self respect; ask our daughters, nieces, their friends and our friends about injuries, clothing that seems out-of-character and reclusive behaviors also out-of-character. We can ask about changes in behavior of our sons and the men in our lives. 

We can admit that we are capable of misjudging people; assuming that wealth, education and/or stature is a vaccination against abusive behavior. It's not; never has been, never will be. 

We can demand that Congress pass the Violence Against Women Act and take crimes against children seriously; that the military really get its house in order to create an egalitarian culture, and that the NCAA conduct an appreciative inquiry into how it contributed to the pathology that produced the mess at Penn State. 

This is not the beginning of the end of abuse and neglect of children or violence against women. However, we can use it as a sea change opportunity if we are willing to make the changes in ourselves we want to see in the world. We cannot all do everything, however, each of us doing something will make a difference.  

(c) Copyright Sabrina Sojourner 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Good Month in the Wake of Tragedy

Today is the first day of Av, a conflicting month for Jews. We wish one another "חדש טוב" (Chodesh Tov), a good month, for a month that holds many historical tragedies. What a wonderful paradox.

The commencement of Shabbat is just a few minutes away. It is guaranteed I will be delayed in kindling the candles. This Shabbat, I will carry the historical memory of ancient destruction and the devastation of today in Aurora, Colorado. Into Shabbat I bring and hold:
  • Blessings for the Souls of those who died. May the Eternal Bless and Keep you.
  • Blessings for the Hearts of those who are injured. May you feel the prayers of those you love and those you do not know pulling for you - willing you to survive; the Eternal's shining face.
  • Blessings for the Lives of those who witnessed the tragedy. May you receive the love and the support you need to learn to live your life and hold the tragedy you experienced; the Eternal's sacred blessing of peace.
  • Blessings for the families, friends and communities touched by this tragedy. May you collectively and individually receive the support you need to remain openhearted or to be openhearted for the first time in a long time; the Eternal's sacred blessing of peace.
  • Blessings for all of us who care. May we use this event for the good of the whole and not to further divide us; the Eternal's sacred blessing of peace.
I take with me and offer to all the Eternal's sacred blessing of peace. We are the vehicle through which that peace will occur. Live it. Walk it. Talk it. Shabbat Shalom, dear ones near and far, of this tribe or another.

(c) Copyright Sabrina Sojourner 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Private Ownership and Public Power

I am among those who did not lose power during the June 29 storm. However, I have lost power many times in the past, including the storm on June 22. More than ten years ago, I lived at the corner of Otis Street and South Dakota Avenue NE and lost power with every storm. I remember the first time I lost power in that location, calling Pepco and being told by their customer service agent that since I was calling from a cell phone she couldn't verify my location and couldn't help me!?!

Anyone who has lost electrical power at their home or business knows directly what a stressful experience it is. It makes very plain many of the daily items in our lives we take for granted: proper temperature control of our homes and work places; communication services such as telephone, internet, radio and television; security systems; and food refrigeration, preparation and storage. If you or someone in your family has a medical situation that requires electrical and/or electronic equipment, that creates another set of stresses.

Now that the outages are behind us, District Council member Mary Cheh (Ward 3) is among the many elected officials and residents talking about burying power lines underground. Indeed, this is a national discussion about how to prevent the loss of something on which we all depend and how to have it quickly restored when it is loss. 

Conceptually, the notion is that burying lines underground would reduce outages as a result of most weather related incidents. I am compelled to say: not so fast. This is a health and safety issue. I think it's time to take a larger look at our power companies and what our fees to them actually cover. Deregulation has led to increased costs for consumers and much of that appears to be going into executive salaries. It's no secret that Pepco president Joseph Rigby made $7.2 million last year. His senior staff are also doing quite well. 

High salaries seem to be the industry norm. Duke Energy, however, must to love pay out big bucks to their CEOs. William D. Johnson, former CEO of Progress Energy signed a three-year agreement with Duke on June 27 in advance of the merger completion with Progress on July 2. Johnson resigned on July 3 and received $44.4 million in severance for essentially a few hours of work. Because of deregulation, some of us in the metro area are Duke and Pepco customers, which is why I hope the public service commissions overseeing Duke energy rates are paying attention. 

In terms of burying lines, the cost is estimated to be one million dollars a mile. That's definitely a number that causes me to gulp. Pepco estimates the cost for DC would be $5 billion (personally, I think that's low as we have 1200 linear miles of streets in DC) and will take 30 years. Aside from the disruption of construction - already a constant source of irritation, will placing lines underground really increase reliability? What will be the cost per household and business to support the effort? What do you do over the 30 years of mess? Most importantly, are we asking the correct set of questions, allowing us to make an informed decision?

To talk honestly about costs is also to look at the personal, business and public costs for: cooling and warming centers, keeping recreation facilities open longer hours, providing emergency supply services (food, medications, pet care, counseling, temporary or special housing, and hotels), emergency disaster grants, reconstruction and repair, food lost, business loses, compromised health of individuals, and missed work.

We also need to consider: 
  • What is the frequency of community-wide events? What does the historical data tell us? What do the scientist have to say about future events?
  • Are there communities similar to ours in terms of weather events and geography that have buried their lines? What have they seen? 
  • Large portions of our region are prone to flooding. We will be trading one set of problems for another? 
  • We also had two earthquakes in 13 months. Is that the beginning or the end of a trend?
  • Once the lines are in the ground, who will pay to hook homes and other buildings to the source? Is that cost included in the estimates? Or, will we consumers have a "surprise, surprise, surprise!" (Dated reference, I know)
  • Should DC ban corporate money from elections; and should the investments of elected, and certain appointed, officials be placed in blind trusts? 
We also need to ask: Has privatization and deregulation of utilities really worked for consumers? While the question can be debated, at best, the answer is mixed. The power companies have cut linemen and customer service agents, resulting in fewer in area workers to respond to outages, less maintenance or updating of equipment, and less customer service (though Pepco solved the problem I had 10 years ago, they apparently still can't find people). Whatever the savings gained from those cuts appear to have gone to executive salaries and bonuses and dividends for shareholders. To its credit the industry knows it is in trouble. Last year, Julia E. Sullivan and Jennifer Good wrote a paper, explaining how to recover executive compensation in utility rate cases.   

As our political leaders continue to put forward legislation based on the assumption that burying lines is the way to go, it's also clear they will create less than stellar panels to make the decisions. In DC the very same people who voted against consumer advocate Elizabeth Noel's appointment to the Public Service Commission are likely to be on the panel that will examine burying lines. At lease one of Pepco's shareholders, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson out to recuse himself from any further deliberations involving Pepco. 

As we consumers seek to make Pepco and other power companies more accountable to us, come November, we need to remind our elected officials where their true loyalties ought to lie. (For more information regarding Pepco and campaign contributions to the District Council see the Washington City Paper.As panels are created to examine the issue of burying lines, we - the ratepayers will be bear the consequences of the decisions made. Therefore, the commissions and panels ought to be composed by a majority of consumers and chaired by consumers. It's time to put the public back into power. 

(c) Copyright Sabrina Sojourner 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Native Irritation

I don't think I'm alone in pointing out that among the small, take-a-deep-breath-and-get-over-it irritations of life are people who take "literary license" to extremes: geographically impossible car chases through a city, having a scantily clad blond hero or heroine in a place where fair-skinned people are best covered up, and picking icons for a place for which they know nothing or ought to know more. 

Sometimes, the choices are so comical - it's easy to dismiss them. Others times, the choice can provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection or insight. Today, however, I am not that lucky. I am just plan irritated with NPR's Morning Edition feature "Crime in the City" - tagged as "a summertime series about fictional detectives and the cities where they live." 

Clearly, I had expectations that I had not expressed, and I take full responsibility for that. It's a common error in relationships. 

My primary expectation was that the chosen writers and their detectives would provide us with a sense of the the city in which they operate: the neighborhoods, the local eateries and politicians, heroes and heroines writ large and very small; the smells and aromas, the unique and ordinary characters, and the many other characteristics that provide a sense of location instead of backdrop. 

Up until today, from what I know and can tell, that actually has been true. However, today was Washington, DC's turn and - unfortunately, they picked the predictable icon for detective stories for Washington, DC. I have nothing against Mike Lawson. He is a good writer with interesting plots that keep the action moving. I don't even mind that he is a relative newcomer or that his stories are mostly about official Washington. My point is that Washington is a backdrop and a prop much as it is for TV series such as Scandal and NCIS. If the nation's capitol was in another city, it would be the same story. 

I love Washington, DC and as a 20 plus year resident, I know many of its secrets as well as its magnificence. I do love the panoramic beauty of the monumental core in endless shades of light and dark, brilliance and moody. I appreciate the majesty of the Capitol Dome as I drive south on North Capitol Street - a spectacular optical illusion. Yes, lots of intriguing adventures - real and imagined take place in those locations, but they are not what makes Washington, the only town in the District of Columbia, home. 

When a writer uses a city as a character in her or his writing, it becomes a living, breathing organism with its own thoughts, ecstasies and sorrows that are palpable through the pages. While I do not eat half smokes, my mouth waters with a character on their way to Ben's Chili Bowl. I appreciate "remember when" references so rooted in the landscape that I wonder if I can find out if something similar to the described event actually happened! That's why George Pelecanos would be my pick for Washington detective mysteries

Whether hanging out with Nick Stephanos, Derek Strange or Spero Lucas, the newest of his characters, Pelecanos serves you Washington as place where people live, love, struggle, party, work and try to make a difference. He references communal events, such as the riots, and you see the devastation or the return to life as the character sees it in that block because you've passed by that house or restored business; the empty lot begging to be filled with new possibilities. 

Pelecanos' newest novel is What It Was. Fan or newbie, if you want to check out the writer Stephen King calls "perhaps the greatest living American crime writer" (though I don't know why he used the word perhaps), checkout PelecanosFacebook page to find how to get the first chapter of it or The Cut online

It was just last year that Pelecanos introduced Lucas in The Cut. Chances are some producer somewhere said, "Well, you just interviewed him last year. Isn't there someone else who writes mysteries about Washington?" There are many writers writing all kinds mysteries and other stories in Washington. As far as I can see, there's only one writing mysteries about Washington. If you haven't found your summer read and you like mysteries I urge you to treat yourself. 

(c) Copyright Sabrina Sojourner 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Beautiful and Delicious Mistake

Since right after Pesach (Passover), I have been playing with a new recipe for gluten free challah. It is a modification of a recipe I found on Food.com. What I like about this one is the texture of the bread. I discovered that the texture is the result of a good blend and baking at high heat. You can certainly use the ingredients described in the original, use your own or another of the many recommendations for blends. I do not use blends with soy, nut or potato flours because each is an allergen. Though I enjoy using Namaste Perfect Flour Blend, with the exception of pizza or focaccia, it doesn't work well for bread. My favorites for bread blends are Bob's Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills. 

Like most gluten free bread recipes, it is wet. Yet, it stands up to two rising and people who are not gluten-free enjoy it. Last Friday in preparing for Shabbat, I made a change in the recipe. When it came to the second rising, I got distracted, causing me to miss placing the dough in the challah mold. The second rising was also in the mixing bowl. 

After the rising as I was trying to figure out what to do, it occurred to me to turn it out on a backing sheet. I lined a backing sheet with parchment paper, turned the mixing bowl upside down such that it was parallel to the sheet. With one gentle shake the dough landed on the baking sheet. Using wet fingers, I smoothed the surface and pat it into a round shape. The final step was an egg wash

Since I still had some time for the oven to preheat, I scraped out the dough in the bowl, formed it into a small roll and did the same finishing process. Both went into the oven and you can see how beautiful the "challah" turned out. It was also quite delicious. 

The recipe below reflects the changes that produced the loaf above. Another time, I will provide an adaption for pecan sticky buns. Though friends and I enjoyed the first attempt, I want to play with it. 

Gluten Free Challah Bread
By Chef #1283639 on June 01, 2009 as adapted by me, July 2012

 Prep Time: 2 1/2 hrs. Total Time: 3 hrs. Yield: 2 challahs, or 18 rolls
1 Challah and  4-6 rolls or sticky buns.

3/4 cups of your favorite gluten free flour blend 
1/4 cup brown sugar (can substitute pure cane sugar or 2 T agave)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
2/3 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1/4 Cup Olive Oil or other good quality oil
1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
4 eggs room temperature

1.   If you have a new oven (without a traditional pilot light) turn oven on 375F degrees.
      2.   Dissolve the 2 tsp sugar in the 2/3 cup of water and mix in the yeast and place on stove top (not in oven).
3.    Crack eggs into a bowl and set aside.
4.    In a separate bowl, combine the flour(s), 1/4 c sugar, xantham gum, and salt and set aside.
5.    In the mixing bowl combine the olive oil with the additional 3/4 cup water and vinegar and mix on low speed until blended. Note: if using a Kitchen Aid or other standing mixer, used the whisk for this step, then switch to dough hook
6.    Add the dry ingredients a third at a time. Blend in the eggs, 1 or 2 at a time. The dough should feel slightly warm. Pour the yeast mixture into the ingredients in the bowl. Blend then beat the highest speed for approximately 2 minutes.
7.    Turn oven off.
8.    Cover with greased plastic wrap and a towel.
9.    Place the bowl in a warm spot and let rise approximately 1 hour.
10. This is the step I skipped: Oil challah mold (I use coconut oil), including the outside edges. If you are using a traditional quick loaf pan, you may want to grease (palm oil) and flour it. (If you want the round loaf, follow the instructions above).
11. Preheat oven again.
12. Return the dough to the mixer and beat on high for 3 minutes. Using a silicone spatula, scoop approximately 1/2 to 2/3 of the dough into oiled challah pan or greased and floured loaf pan. If needed, use wet fingers to even out or shape. (You may divide and bake the remainder as rustic rolls by dividing dough with spatula and use wet fingers to shape. You can also place in greased muffin tins, etc.) Or make all rolls into about 18.
13. Turn oven off when you are ready for the second rising. Let the dough rise for 60 minutes.
14. Preheat the oven to 375F and bake the Challah loaf for approximately 20 to 25. Bake the rolls 15 to 20 minutes. If using loaf pan, bake at 400F for approximately one hour. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Do We Become Too Sensible to Chase a Dream?

Mark Twain wrote: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." This is the favorite quote of my nephew, Rich Sasek. Quite wonderfully, Rich is considering doing the unexpected and going for the possibility of being able to complete his dream in an unexpected place: Cozumel, Mexico. The offer? To work as a Dive Master at a diving education and tourist business with a friend. It means picking up his wife, Carolyn, and their teenage son (who I totally adore), and moving to a completely different country; relearning a language he hasn't used much since high school and knowing that most of us who love them are not quite as physically close as we have been for most of the 40 years of his young life. 

Carolyn and Rich are engaging friends and family in their process of deciding, though most of us - including me - are saying "GO!" The fact that we are having this discussion is one of the reasons that I appreciate their blog and Facebook. Carolyn, Rich and I are close enough that I know they would have called me and asked my advise; then let me know when they were on their way. It's wonderful to be a stand for their going; to firmly and enthusiastically say "Yes!" 

The public and private exchanges with Rich and Carolyn have me wondering why I cannot muster the same undaunted enthusiasm for moving myself in the direction of my dream. Last night, the spiritual restlessness would not let me sleep. About midnight, I turned on the TV in search of a feel good program or movie. I had no idea how hard that would be but, I did stumble upon the early scenes of "A Dolphin Tale" and stayed with it. I am among the few who saw the movie when it came out last December. I was drawn to it in large part because it features Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick, Jr., and Kris Kristofferson  and nobody was getting shot or blown-up! It is a very sweet tale. Your teeth will only hurt in a few places. If you have young children, they will really like it because the children are the heroes.

The premise of the movie is true: a dolphin, Winter, was rescued from fisherman's netting, nursed back to health and given a prosthetic tail. Beyond the facts, I cannot attest to the accuracy of other points of the movie. Yet, in seeing it again, I was struck by the unwavering certainty of the kids, Sawyer Nelson and Hazel Haskett (Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff), that another way was possible. 

I saw different aspects of me in all of the adults, particularly the Frances Sternhagen and Connick characters. Somewhere along the way, I have become the practical person in relationship to my dreams and the unwavering stand for possibility in relationship to others. I can provide a litany as to why that is so, including the real practicality of "how will I have income?" But, it all comes down to fears that need my attention and losses I have not properly grieved. 

As I write, I see clearly that I, too, have people in my life who are my unwavering stand for possibility. It's really easy to isolate them as "this person over here" or "that person over there" or finding others way to diminish their support. With every word I am moving them into my sight lines and feeling them cheering me on as a community. How can I not be moved?! Yes, I have grieving to do. Yes, there are practical things that need to be done AND I can move forward into a different future; one that is fulfilling for me and will make a difference in the world. It may be a dream, however, I no longer see myself as too old to go for it. Succeed or fail, in 20 years I will be among those knowing I gave it my best.

(c) Copyright Sabrina Sojourner 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This Is My Country - Too!

"This is my country! Land of my birth!"

I think I first learned this song by Don Raye (lyrics) and Al Jacobs (music) as a Girl Scout Brownie. Among the many versions of the song running around in my head is my unmistakable young voice with one or two others singing out:

What difference if I hail from North or South
Or from the East or West?
My heart is filled with love
For all of these.
I only know I swell with pride
And deep within my breast
I thrill to see Old Glory
Paint the breeze.

I love Fourth of July celebrations. I love the company of friends, family and neighbors; the friendliness of strangers, the wonderful aromas of grilled meat, poultry, fish and corn. The giddy anticipation of fireworks, even if they are neighborhood fare - sometimes, those are the best! I love the parades, community picnics and outdoor fireworks; running into people I like and accepting the blessing of being ignored by people who don't like me - life in its wondrous complexity occurs in the celebration, including the opportunity to be bored.

It doesn't seem to matter what the weather is, the collective we always seems to find a way to salvage the joy and glory, and honor the sanctity of the day. In addition to celebrating the birth of our country, July 4, 1776 is also the birth of an idea - a collection of ideas as written in the  Declaration of Independence. Many of us focus on the second sentence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I will spare you (and me) the professorial parsing of key words, instead offering a 2012 rewrite: 

There are certain truths that ought to be obvious and universal: all people are created equal as each of us is endowed by our Creator with rights that no one can deny, including the inherent right to human dignity, the right to live in a peaceful and just world, and the right to be free from all forms of tyranny, including but not limited to, freedom from bigotry and discrimination. 

No, it is not as elegant and simple as the original, which might pass current sensibilities with one word change (people instead of men). However, it's 2012 and we are still arguing about the rights of women of all colors, men of color, people of  faith - including which faith and which strand of a faith; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people; people with disabilities, poor people, old people.... 

Even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights talks about "brotherhood" instead of humanity. Yet, 64 years ago, it represented progress; and for its time, the US Declaration of Independence represented progress. As news of the document traveled the world, it inspired others to asses their relationship to their kings or tyrants. 

With all its flaws (and there is no such thing as a perfect country), there is no other place I want to live. There are numerous ways in which our events and our history have terrified and mortified me as well as inspired and humbled me. We, the people of the United States, are more than our government. We are each other - with all our flaws, all our love, all our disappointments and shame, and all our inspiration and pride. That's why - whether via TV or in person, I will tear up at the end of the fireworks display "to see Old Glory paint the breeze" or emblazoned against the dark by sparks. After all, regardless of what other's say, I agree with Curtis MayfieldThis Is My Country.

(c) Copyright Sabrina Sojourner 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


There is always a time before
        and a time after.
A time before now
        and a time after now;

And I have been wrestling with who
       I was before (now)
       Who I am now
       And who I will be after (now)

So many events
Sear the soul
Cut deep into the fibers of the
Cellular structure of
Each new generation of nuclei pass on
       their knowledge, sense of a moment
Creating distance and 
       perspective that goes in unpredictable
       ways with unpredictable

Now I know
that is to be expected 
with unpredictable

Monday, July 2, 2012

Aftermath and Blessings

I know I am not the only one in my neighborhood who is breathing a sigh of relief and also very worried. We are relieved that the few hours of storm inconvenience we experienced the night of June 22 was not repeated on June 29. Our assumption is that the repairs to whatever caused the June 22 outage were such that we were protected from last week's ravages. Of course, we also know that is a foolhardy assumption since we really have no idea what actually caused the outage for us and many others. 

We are also worried. How are the people we know doing? How are the officials providing for them? Are there people we don't know that we could help? Over the last few days, I have spoken with many friends, read the posts on Facebook and responded to other inquiries. The images are haunting. While no one I know was injured or killed, I am sadden that so many have suffered. My heart goes out to the surviving family members of those who died, and I pray that those who were injured will recover completely from their injuries. 

I invited people to come share my air-conditioning, and did have a friend who came with her daughter for dinner Saturday night (dairy free and gluten-free chicken tacos). They left with charged electronics and a cooler with all the ice from my freezer to try and sleep in their own beds. 

We touched base on Sunday and in the interim, my friend Meena (not her real name) was trying to figure out what to do about ice without using too much of the limited power she had for her cell phone. I offered to visit the Montgomery County website to see if they had places to get ice, or any other suggestions. I was surprised to discover that the County website referred me to WTOP's website and that of an AM station. However, the WTOP website only talked about Harris Teeter being out of the free ice they had offered and didn't know when they would get more. I reported what I learned to Meena and it was decided that they would just bring their groceries, clothes and whatever else they needed and come stay with me.   

So, I suddenly had two more people for dinner. Meena's daughter Bibi (also not her real name) was excited to try my new beef back rib recipe. Meena, however, does not eat red meat. Fortunately, I had a tilapia filet waiting to be prepared into something. Meena seasoned, I cooked. The crispy kale was finished and already in its own bowl. I added another cucumber to the cuke salad, heated up the rice from their supplies, finished the dipping sauce for the ribs and voila! A dinner fit for storm refugees, and really good friends. 

I am thankful my power is on, my yard is clear and that I can still cook a meal that a teenager will eat. Mostly, I am reminded that resilience is a step-ladder and anyone could offer another a hand-up. Feeding one another is a simple way to provide comfort and nourishment for body and soul. I am privileged to be able to do what I can for Meena and Bibi. I pray that others are as fortunate and privileged. 

(c) Copyright Sabrina Sojourner 2012