Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Xerox Is Doing The Heavy Thanks Lifting For You

Xerox is extending this awesome way for all of us to thank the troops again this holiday season! Simply pick out a card, add a greeting, and they do the rest by printing your card and sending it to a deployed service member. How coolio is that?! And is there any better time to reach out than the eve of our national day of Thanks? Yeah, I didn't think so either.

As I sit here musing about how many people across our great land yack every Turkey Day from not pushing away from the dinner plate soon enough, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

I'll let you go now, so you can hop on the Xerox site and thank a brave Soldier serving over this holiday season.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bourbon: Not just a breakfast drink anymore

I am having so much fun using bourbon in the kitchen! I follow a bunch of different food blogs, and bourbon just seems to be popping up more and more in their recipes.

Bourbon, like Bruce Springsteen and Velveeta, is made in the USA. Named for the Bourbon county region of Kentucky, this amber colored love is made primarily of corn and has been around since the 1700s.

You might remember the Bad-ass Bourbon Banana bread I made a few weeks ago...well there's more!

How about Bourbon Cranberry sauce? If that doesn't float your Thanksgiving gravy boat, I don't rightly know what will! And you don't have to wait for Turkey day or even turkey to enjoy this dish. I am going to be serving it as an appetizer this weekend, spooned over a brick of cream cheese with mini toasts on the side. Oh yeah - you know that is going to be all about the yum!

Need a helping hand this Thanksgiving to get through another one of Aunt Myrtle's agonizing old folk's home bingo tourney blow-by-blows? How about bliss-buzzing out while she drones with a nice fat wedge of Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake?

"But Daniella" you say, "what in the french toast am I going to do for the rest of the year when my bourbon hankering is-a-ragin? My friend, you will wait for the summer sun to kiss those peaches, and then you will commence the making of Bourbon Peach Hand Pies

Perhaps you have signed a contractual agreement with the devil to be on Atkins for the next 10 years, so you are trembling in fear by now that all of this carby bourbon fun is going to pass you by. Well, it is, and you should be crapping meatballs over that travesty! Everyone knows that cutting out carbohydrates entirely is the first level of hell. I am sad for you. However, you can ease some of your misery by adding some vitamin bourbon to your beef with this recipe for Beef Tenderloin with Bourbon.

I think bourbon might just be one of my new heroes!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Up Yours!

I have had ringing ears and mild dizzyness for about 10 years now. Usually more pronounced on my right side, chronic nasal drip [that is an equally sufficient description of my personality for my profile too, by the way] my Eustachian tubes swell up and trap fluid, causing on the ear canal chaos. It's as fun as it sounds.

Now all the rage is for Neti pots. The Ayurvedic idea behind the Neti is that regular saline irrigation of the nasal passages is the key to new cars, fur coats, mad cash, and taco flavored kisses. Sometimes it doesn't do all that and you just end up with less allergy and sinus symptoms.

I figured even without the taco flavored kisses, I could still use calmer booger troughs, so I bought one a couple of days ago.

I have two day of happy Neti-ing under my nose and I am really getting into it. It's a pretty simple routine. You want mildly warm, not nasty water [ie, if your tap shoots out chlorinated chemical soup -- go bottled]. Most of the pots seem to call for about 1/4 of a teaspoon of noniodized table salt. Mix those two up, and you are ready to Neti!

It's quite the efficient apparatus, if I do say so myself. The shape of the spout creates a nice little seal in your standard issue nostril, and just moves the warm saline water right on through. For shoving something up your nose, you really do walk away feeling pretty refreshed.

If you don't thumbs up yourself while doing it, like the guy in the photo, you for sure won't be getting the mad cash and fur - just so you know.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Your Dirty Lies Are Starving My Dog!

I've got some liars in my life. Now don't get me wrong, I know we all lie - myself included. None of us are really exempt from those occasional "oh, I wish I could but I have to wash my hair and get a liver transplant that day" moments.

I am talking more about the giant, chronic, drama queen, ass-face liar. They use their lies more than they tell the truth. In fact, their tale spinning is second nature to them and they pretty much believe they are hiding well behind the camouflage of it.

I got a call recently from a pretty accomplished liar I know. As soon as I answer the phone my ear is under attack as the rapid-fire Armageddon victim story unfolds. One horrific occurrence after another has allegedly befallen this poor person.

It goes something like this:

"Okay, you're never going to believe this...I was superglued to the toilet by Somali pirates in the wee hours of the morning. They left me there in my own bathroom for dead! In my last-ditch effort to save myself, I managed to bite down on the toilet roll hanger bar and tear my butt cheeks from the toilet.

Once the massive bleeding subsided a little, I went outside to throw the toilet seat away (everyone knows that ass skin sticks like a mothersmucker to those seats, so I didn't doubt this part of the story) and I was attacked by a troop of ground squirrels. I guess they had been waiting for me on the side of the house, because as soon as I rounded the corner, they launched right at me! Before I could do anything, they had me face down and wrist cuffed with one of those zip ties. Then they sodomized me with a Star Wars toy light Saber they claim they found in the neighbor's recycling bin. They weren't gentle. And If you have ever heard a ground squirrel was evil.

They left me face down ass in the air, but were kind enough to chew through the zip tie before they took off. I managed to get to my feet. I staggered back in the house and my cell phone was beeping with a voice mail. Apparently I had missed a call during my anal invasion. It was my boss. I got fired. Apparently he didn't believe me yesterday when I called in and tried to explain to him that I was having trouble getting to work because this chimp had chewed off my thumbs in the 7/11 parking lot the night before. Have you ever tried to start your car without your thumbs?! I was only asking for a little time to get transplants, but I guess he didn't want to deal with me. People with disabilities are so often discriminated against, ya know?

Anyway, as soon as I hung up the phone, the doorbell rang. When I answered it, some ski-masked punk threw a flaming bag of dog shit into the house, and it slid right across the hardwood into the living room. I limp-scurried my sore ass over to it to stomp out the flames, and I fishtailed in dog shit, fell, and broke my right hip. The fire spread and I only managed to save myself - the house and all of my worldly possessions inside, are gone.

When I got to the hospital the doctor examined me before the hip x-ray. Bad news -- they found this giant mole under my left nut that they think is malignant Melanoma. So I am probably going to die which is why I am canceling our plans at the last minute like this. Sorry."

Yeah, you're right -- I don't believe you.

I did however get pretty distracted by the whole pile of bullshit slung at me over the phone lines. So distracted in fact, that I forgot I was in the middle of feeding The Ru when I answered the phone. I didn't remember this for three hours after the call ended. Three whole hours. My dog could have died of starvation. There is no better reason than that to always abide by the Honesty Is Always The Best Policy rule.

The truth would have taken a fraction of the time.

It goes something like this:

"Hi there - I'm a fucking tool. I am calling to cancel last minute on our plans for today. I don't have a good reason, I just don't like planning. Flaking teaches everyone not to engage in scheduling things with me in the future. Sorry. And I say sorry because I know that is just one of those things I am supposed to say. I don't actually give a shit or I wouldn't be such a tool in the first place."

So much easier, right? And I would have had the brain power to feed my poor pooch afterward.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Doll" Dungeon

Adults do creepy shit to kids all the time. It's a horrible, heartbreaking, damaging reality. I have lived through some of it.

That's right, I come to you now as an adult who carries a very traumatized little kid inside. But then again, by now you have probably already guessed this Crazytown 'n down action ain't coming from a well-adjusted place.

Like any other trauma survivor, often times different things will spark flashbacks of my original horror. These snippets of the past are rough my friends. They strike almost as much dread in my heart as the time I dreamt that aliens stole all of the planet's dougnuts. Yeah, that scary.

And you never know when they are going to strike, these flashbacks. One got me out of the blue just a couple of days ago.

I was checking out this design blog, when I unwittingly scrolled down into a picture that took me right back to a dark place in my childhood.I was five all over again. Lying as still as I could in my narrow little metal framed twin bed. Trying not to twitch and call their attention to me. All of them there surrounding the perimeter of the room. Surrounding me. So many eyes fixed upon me in that dark room. Always watching. Never blinking. Waiting. Always.

My maternal grandmother was my torturer. Unlike the picture shown here where the little freaks are nailed to the wall, she had her miniature porcelain minions in eight foot tall glass cases around the room. It was at her hand I was forced to endure the night with them.

Would they break the glass and stab me in the neck with a spork stolen from the kitchen junk drawer? If I accidentally fell asleep, was I going to wake to their little cold dead hands wrapped around my neck? Or maybe they were just going to start whispering horrible things to me like, "You will never get a chance to ride Papa's go-kart" or "You are too retarded to use an etch-a-sketch" until I went insane?

Night after night, I would focus on my survival. Each dawn bringing another chance to get out of this nightmare alive. Just needed to make it through one more night.

Eventually I was able to escape that hell, and after decades of therapy as an adult, I became strong enough to confront my g-ma. I did this on the one condition that they stayed in the other room. She claims that she had no idea that the "Doll Room" (nice syrupy sweet name right? They always try to sugar coat their shit.) as she called it, would be scary for me to sleep in.

Of course this was an outright lie. How could she not know? After all, she had been the one to hand pick all of them. You could tell they were chosen specifically for their powers of fear and intimidation. And she was the one to line them up into battalion formation in their glass barracks once they enlisted with her. Oh, she knew.

I didn't really expect her to own up to the abuse anyway. In fact, she had the nerve to laugh off my confrontation. In the end, all she would say is that she loved me and that she thought I considered it a real treat to spend the night in the Doll Room. When I mentioned other victims such as my brother and other cousins close in age, she just dismissed me again, stating that she was sure they had enjoyed staying in her Dungeon Room as well (I call it like it is people.) as I was the only one complaining about it.

I wasn't complaining anyway - I was speaking out. If finding my voice about this issue helps even one other child out there, then all of my work to get better has not been in vain.

This is some sick shit people! If you know of an adult who is making a poor defenseless child sleep with tiny replicas of dead babies, or "dolls" as the abuser will often call them -- speak out!

We can't just stand by and allow this to keep happening. The next generation is depending on us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


It's Veteran's Day -- "happy" doesn't sound quite right to put with those words. I think these are much better:

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
~ Rev. Denis Edward O’Brien from the US Marine Corps

Thank you to all of the brave men and women, past and present, who have answered the call and served our nation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Corps Is 234! (that rhymes party people)

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps! Oorah! I don't think two hundred and thirty four has ever looked more stellar!

Since learning more about the Marines after starting OAP, I will admit I have had a little bit of a crush. The discipline, the rugged Leatherneckedness, the uniform, it just all works for me. I have also had the honor to get to know a few Marines OAP reached out to during their deployments, and they were each and every one some pretty special people.

What's that, you want to know more? Well, let's start at the start, shall we?

Brief Wikipedian History Lesson:The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States armed forces responsible for providing force projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States. In the civilian leadership structure of the United States military, the Marine Corps is a component of the Department of the Navy, often working closely with U.S. naval forces for training, transportation and logistic purposes; however, in the military leadership structure the Marine Corps is a separate branch.

Captain Samuel Nicholas formed two battalions of Continental Marines on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as naval infantry. Since then, the mission of Marine Corps has evolved with changing military doctrine and American foreign policy. The Marine Corps served in every American armed conflict and attained prominence in the 20th century when its theories and practices of amphibious warfare proved prescient and ultimately formed the cornerstone of the Pacific campaign of World War II. By the mid-20th century, the Marine Corps had become the dominant theorist and practitioner of amphibious warfare. Its ability to respond rapidly to regional crises gives it a strong role in the implementation and execution of American foreign policy.

The United States Marine Corps includes just over 203,000 (as of October 2009) active duty Marines and just under 40,000 reserve Marines. It is the smallest of the United States' armed forces in the Department of Defense (the United States Coast Guard is smaller, about one-fifth the size of the Marine Corps, but is under the Department of Homeland Security). The Marine Corps is nonetheless larger than the entire armed forces of many significant military powers; for example, it is larger than the active duty Israel Defense Forces or the whole of the British Army.

The Marine Corps is highly cost-effective. The cost per Marine is $20,000 less than the cost of a serviceman from the other services, and the entire force can be used for both hybrid and major combat operations, that is, the Marines cover the entire Three Block War.

I love military uniforms. The elegance and pageantry of them is not only inspiring but also a rather traditionally feminine trait of such a traditionally masculine field.

Remember earlier in the post how I mentioned getting to know a few Marines personally? Well one of my favorite memories on that subject is about Gunnery Sergeant Moncibais. He was only with us for a month or two when I put out an email to him and few others requesting a group Marine photo to gift to a very special donor we have who is a retired Marine. He literally rallied the troops and organized this this wonderful photo!

Boy did we have one happy Marine birthday boy when he received this framed photo with a note from GySgt. Moncibais. I have heard that this gift ended up in a place of honor in the middle of his "Marine Wall"
He and his Marines went out of their way [even made the nifty birthday sign, yo!] to do this when all along we were supposed to be helping them. A perfect example of a Marine's discipline of service.

And a colorful people too, those marines are. Their vernacular is one of my faves. Some of my favorite Marine sayings, or as I like to refer to them, truisms:

Semper Fidelis (Latin, meaning Always Faithful)
Marine Sniper -- Visualize World Peace
USMC IS Part Of The Navy -- The Men's Department
Pain Is Weakness Leaving The Body
Heaven Won't Take Us and Hell Is Afraid We'll Take Over
Death smiles at everyone. The Marines smile back.

Speaking of colorful, there have been a few memorable quotes about the Marines throughout history:

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem." -Ronald Reagan

"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I'll kill you all." -Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders

"I want you boys to hurry up and whip these Germans so we can get out to the Pacific to kick the s**t out of the purple-pissing Japanese, before the Godda**ed MARINES get all the credit!" -Lt General George Patton, US Army 1945

Books about the Marines I have really enjoyed:

Jarhead by Anthony Swofford

Shooter: The Autobiography Of The Top-Ranked Marine Sniper by Sgt. Jack Coughlin and Capt Casey Kuhlman

Making the Corps by Thomas Ricks

Are you one of those "movies are better than books" people? Fine then...

A Few Good Men - if you have never heard of it then I am speechless, and quite frankly, disappointed.

Jarhead - based on the book by the same name. Very well done account of one Marine's experience during the Gulf War. Added bonus -- it stars the yummy Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx

Making the Corps - documentary series done by the Discovery channel that takes you from the disorientatingly dark parking lot bus drop off at Parris Island Recruit Depot to graduation day. There is a serious amount of ass-kicking training in between.

I will wrap it up here. I hope this posts inspires you to learn more about our military. Where would we be without all they do for our nation?!

Happy Birthday to corps - all you guys and gals out there who have done so much to protect and serve us all! Oorah!

Monday, November 9, 2009


You know that stoopid (I like to spell it that way) saying "food is love"? Well, I think I have just caught myself spoon-handed trying to love up on people with stuff from my kitchen.

I do it because it makes me feel good. Big surprise that their is a personal payoff in my motivations huh. Luckily, this particular loverly thing usually makes other people feel good too (big sigh of relief from everyone who endured my crank calling and pantsing phases). And it's fun. If I only had me, myself, and I with which to share all the things I want to cook, we would be wasting some serious amounts of food. That doesn't go over too well in my psyche.

So out of all these things, my mini-scale Meals On Wheels was born.

Last week I made these.

Next up on the roster before Turkey day hits, are these.

I don't just bake mind you; and good thing because I am fairly craptacular when it comes to all things flour, eggs and butter. Most cookies I can pull off while steering clear of complete disaster though. They also tend to be pretty MOW friendly for traveling.

MOW menu dinner items extend to things like a completely cooked pasta dinner with homemade sauce and spicy Italian sausages to a friend. Or Salmon Wellington with a side of rice and breaded zucchini spears.

Pretty soon here I want to add rice and tomato sauce to my Sicilian meatball recipe and stuff it in bell peppers. Will be leaving two of those on someone's porch like abandoned twins at the back door of a church. Just heat and eat! - The peppers of course, not the twins in my analogy. NOT advocating that you warm children in your oven and then eat them. I want to be clear about that because the government is watching me. I already have to wear a special helmet to block out the GAMA rays they have aimed at me. I don't want to have to tin foil my windows too.

Anywho, feeling a little hungry over here. Not sure what to eat... NOT those twins - I know that much! Okay -- we are clear on that then. Good.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An Evening In Small Bites

A friend came over for dinner last night and I didn't want to be distracted by the chaos I can sometimes impose on myself in the kitchen. The last minute little detail things always seem to catch up to me, the last minute. Then I find myself scrambling around trying to juggle several dishes and get hot yummy food on the table, not crap burnt food all while feigning attention to the conversation.

I also currently don't have any kitchen chairs. It's a long furniture swapping story that involves my brother - and my kitchen chairs.

So in planning a little menu for my very special friend, I took all of these things into consideration and came up with a coffee table appetizer picnic of sorts. My master plan would not only cover the "yummy food" base, it would also give me a chance to prep most of the plates ahead of time, to lounge on the couch munching and chatting.

I mean seriously, I should probably be ashamed to even post these pics. The excitement over talking about the food has blurred my sense of dignity and decency I tell you! So, keeping in mind that I am a craptacular photographer,(oddly enough my skills and magic don't get any better after a glass of Chardonnay and the food being seriously picked over) let's take a photo food journey from last night, shall we? Alrighty, let's get started....

In the bottom right corner there is a sneak peek at Peppers Agrodolce. The literal translation being sour/sweet, Agrodolce is a Sicilian method of reducing sweet and sour elements in cooking. Traditionally this is a combination of vinegar and sugar. It's believed that the Arabs originally introduced this cuisine style to Sicilians.

This was a new recipe for me actually. I was able to cook it ahead of time and serve it chilled. The little balancing act the sweet and sour do on bell peppers and onion is pretty damn tasty. I think Agrodolce will have to go on my repeat hit list.

Next up, above that is the postively decrepit little remains of the cheese board yummyness. I just sliced some Fontina cheese and a Mozzarella/Prosciutto log and paired it with some pepperoncini and sea salt pita chips. Amongst the dwindling carnage is a representative of each though.

Beyond that you will see a blue fish head deadpanning just out of reach of full photo recognition. That my friends was some of the tastiest smoked salmon I have had in a while. Smoky and fresh smelling, very tender - I could have made a meal of just that platter once I got started on it. I simply flaked it off of the main piece I bought, sprinkled it with some cracked black pepper, flanked it with some lemon wedges and bread cubes, and set out a little cream cheese along side of it.

On the right in the white oblong platter is what I like to call our little ballish baker's dozen. The top half of the platter is Arancini. Another Sicilian treat, Arancini were the original invention born of the necessity to use up left over risotto. There are many variations on the recipe, but you are basically talking about a rice ball covered in breadcrumbs that has a little chuck of Fontina cheese nestled in the middle. You then fry these bad boys and sit back and pop them in your bocca. Tasty, tasty!

After telling you all of that, let me say that I did not make these Arancini. I found them at the store and was pleasantly surprised at how good they were. Since I don't understand the concept of leftover risotto, nor do I like to get my hands egged and breadcrumbed, I will gladly buy these again.

Sharing the platter are Sicilian mini meatballs. I Frankensteined these myself a few months ago by blending three different recipes I liked for different elements they contained. I have made them twice now and I am pretty happy with them.

Last but not least are the butternut squash ravioli in that greenish/gray plate there. My stepmom made the ravs and I had a couple dozen of them in the freezer. I looked up a brown butter Sage sauce to go with them. It had a great blend of Fall spices to compliment the squash. The richness of the butter went so well with the warmth and sweet of the rav filling - absolutely fabuloso!

Oops - I almost forgot the olives! See that little green bowl with the varied color bumps peeking out at you back there? Those are orange scented greek olives. They were super simple but so worth the extra step. I simply took a container of prepared Greek olive medley, drained them, zested the orange over them, added half the juice and a splash of olive oil. You will get the most out of this trip to flavor town if you do this to your olives the day before you plan to enjoy them and then pop them in the fridge. The next day be sure and set them out at least an hour before you serve. Orange you glad I remembered to tell you all of that?....Sorry.

My food coma flooded my senses towards the end of the evening and I didn't even remember to take a picture of our dessert. I made a Bourbon Banana bread, cubed it, and then kissed the bottom half of each piece in semi-sweet chocolate. Always nice to end the evening with a little kiss, right?

Recipes, anyone?

For Peppers Agrodolce from the Julia Child of Sicily (Eleonora Consoli) you can click here

There are quite a few recipes for Arancini. Here is one to get you started.

Click here for the Maple Sage butter sauce I used on the ravs.

Below is my recipe for the Sicilian mini meatballs (neck bolts not included)

Meatballs are a universal dish, but are more popular in some areas than others. In Italy, for example, they're more common in the south than the north. These grilled meatballs are a delicious Sicilian specialty. To serve 6, you'll need:
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

* 2 1/4 pounds (1 k) ground pork or veal
* 5 ounces (125 g) ground pecorino, ideally the Sicilian variety that's made with peppercorns
* 1 cup bread crumbs, soaked 3 minutes in milk and the excess squeezed out (it should be loose and in small pieces)
* 3 eggs
* 2 tablespoons minced parsley
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon allspice
* pinch of crushed red pepper
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* Currants
* Optional: grated lemon zest, or lemon or orange juice
* Optional: ricotta

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the currants and breadcrumbs. Squeeze out excess milk from the soaking bread (it should be loose and in small pieces) then add it to the meat mixture and mix everything with your hands to combine. Then form slightly flattened meatballs, roll into mini balls - 1 1/2 inches across - placing one or two currants in the center of each. Arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degree F for 10 to 12 minutes or until firm and lightly golden.

The Bourbon Banana bread is from the Smitten Kitchen blog and you can get that recipe here (chocolate kiss dip not included -- that's a Daniellaland original variation right there folks!)

I hope you enjoyed the trip around my coffee table!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yellow Ribbon Lightning Bolt

I try not to get too obnoxious about supporting our troops on this blog. If you have read my madness for a while, or go back over postings, you will not see a lot on here about OAP.

Sure, I have had my moments but if you were inside my head and knew how much I thought about it in contrast to posting about it, you would think I was downright disciplined!

I try not to make people uncomfortable. As the saying goes, war is hell and I have found that trying to talk to people about it isn't always much better.

You aren't going to find many people in social settings that want to sip their cocktail while you tell them about John, who spent a freezing winter in a tent with 7 other dudes in the middle of Iraq because they didn't have housing units for them. How all we could afford to send them at the time was coco packets, coffee and eight goody treats bags, but they loved it. When you launch into Capt Ellis' story too about his isolated base on a dangerous border area where everyone wanted to creep out of the mountains and kill them. They were just looking for condiments and salt to dress up their MRE rations. Or Tom, who upon finding out about our waitlist thanked us for the email, and asked if anyone could just write to him once in a while. He he lost friends. More important to him than snacks and toiletries was a link to the outside world that didn't involve the war and his role in it while stationed in Afghanistan. Yeah, just call me Captain Buzzkill.

So I try to temper my shiz. Afterall, there is a fine line between a passionate person and a fanatical freak. ASPCA and PETA. Small town pastor and Jim and Tammy Bakker.

So I am telling you all of that in order to negate it all by making this post about the troops. Hello, self-contradiction my old friend. Have a seat; I have a story to tell you.

This morning I sat down at the computer with a piping hot cowboy size mug of this new-to-me brand of Stash tea (it's a mix of Green and White teas -- it was pretty decent) to get my voyeur Facebook Devil Machine fix. While creeping along the news feed, I came across this video.

The washer was rattling away behind me when I hit play but I like to get the full Youtube experience, so I turned up the volume on the video. The music starts and off we go. As far as troop support videos of the last five or so years go, this one is pretty upbeat. It's a nice little social experiment/outreach effort. People look happy. It is uplifting. Was even filmed on a sunny day. There's smiles and hugs and high fives even. Nice. These are not always common to the military support world.

Anywho, in the middle of all the dryer noise, video music, and yellow ribbon rainbows in my heart, I didn't realize that my cell phone rang. I picked it up and listened to the voicemail. It was from a corporate contact I hadn't heard from in over a year. She was calling to verify that none of my company info had changed because her regional manager was organizing several of their store locations to donate items to OAP.

How tripper-roo is that?! Of course it wouldn't even take that big of a skeptic to say it was all just a coincidence. And perhaps they are correct. What the wouldn't know is that for months now I have been feeling sorry for OAP. I have been feeling blown out and tanked on moral over OAP. No one loves OAP. I haven't done enough for OAP. Maybe it is time to just hang it up. Apologize and go home. Failure.

Then this. Maybe the troop support gods are trying to tell me something. As one friend put it when I reached out for feedback, "Give that gal a call girlfriend - I think the universe is saying your work's not done yet!" My brother was perhaps a little when he offered, "You are an idiot if you let OAP go - call her"

Okay, I will make the call. I'm dialing with absolute gratitude for both an encouraging sign post on the path, and the opportunity to serve.