This post is off topic and a bit rambling, bear with me. We’ll get back to turkeys tomorrow.
Many of you know I attend and speak at conferences on topics related to blogging, writing, and working with new media. Last year I decided to attend Blog World Expo in Las Vegas, only I screwed up and bought the wrong ticket. I couldn’t get into any of the sessions the first day and I ended up hanging out in a hallway waiting on Kelby Carr, my hotel roommate. While I can’t remember what exactly opened the conversation -I think it had something to do with the outlet I was using to charge- I met Blake Powers. He was excited about his non-profit Cooking With the Troops and began to tell me all about the program. When he got to the part about the Homefront program, in which they planned on teaching cooking and nutrition to wounded warriors and their families, I knew I had to get involved.
You’ve seen the results of my involvement with CWtT.
I’m placing a donation button, just like this one, in the upper right corner of the site.
Last week I flew to NYC where I had the honor and privilege to participate in the Cooking With the Troops Veterans Day event at NASDAQ in Times Square. Because of serendipitous timing I also had the opportunity to attend two other events.
Bob Woodruff Foundation’s Stand Up for Heroes
A lady sitting near me described what’s happening as a “silent war” and I’ve been mulling that over ever since. Yes, we know we’re at war; yes, we know that our troops are slowly coming home. What we don’t hear enough about is the ridiculously high unemployment rate of vets nor the disproportionately high suicide rate. If you ever have the chance to hear Andrew Kinard tell his story, listen.
Blake tried to tell me about what to expect from the Stand Up for Heroes event, but I had this preconceived notion that it was one of those boring fundraising dinners. My fall calendar was packed with travel and deadlines, so I never paid attention to WHAT I was attending, I was just worried about the getting the details right: what time, where, what am I expected to wear. I never really looked into what it was. I was absolutely blown away from the moment we approached. I had no clue that it was an evening of entertainment with comedians like Jim Gaffigan (who also has four kids and describes it perfectly) and Jon Stewart. I got to see Bruce Springsteen, who I’ve heard my entire life, but have never seen. We were there because the Bob Woodruff Foundation supports CWtT and I wish there was a way to condense all that I saw and heard and who it was for into a succinct recap, but I can’t.
There are amazing people working hard to support our wounded and I wish the work of all of these people received more attention.
One of those people is Chef David Robinson who has created the Vets2Chefs program. He invited Blake and I to attend the graduation dinner of the inaugural class in Chatham, NY. Veterans and active duty men and women who are interested in transitioning to a career as a chef worked a 30 day, intensive culinary bootcamp. I could go on and on about the meal, the wine, and the amazing people involved. The lady on the far right is one of those amazing people, she spent three years in a wheelchair after being wounded.
Friday found me in Times Square at 6:45am in front of the NASDAQ building. You see, we were in on a surprise proposal that was to occur at 7:30. It was incredibly sweet and I wish the couple all the best in the years ahead. The rest of the day was spent with cooking demos and a luncheon for veterans and active military personnel. The afternoon was capped off by our participation in the closing bell ceremony. The bell was rung by the man in the middle of the above picture. He is Phil Perugini one of the surviving members of the Band of Brothers.
On a side note, some of you may recognize J$ from Budgets are Sexy, he’s a fellow blogger who took the time to come up for the event and that’s Blake Powers on the left.
Now for the brag.
Friday afternoon, just before the closing bell, we were abuzz with excitement. We were excited by how well the day had gone and let’s face it, it’s just an exciting thing in which to participate. My phone buzzed with an email from my editor.
My book, Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living is listed on Amazon’s Best of Home & Garden 2011.
A year ago I was terrified that no one would read it.
I am over the moon and obnoxiously happy.
Since I’m in such a ridiculously good mood, I’m giving away a signed copy of my book. (Is that gauche? If it is, oh well)
There’s no purchase necessary. Just leave a comment below to enter. I’ll draw a winner at random from the comments on Sunday November 20, 2011 at 9pm Eastern. The winner will be announced on Monday morning. Limit one entry per person and this is open to US residents only, due to the cost of shipping.
I had been struggling with how to write this post as I didn’t want it to come across as bragging about all the things I get to do. I’ve been working on this site for almost five years and it has lead to some wonderful opportunities and experiences such as those in this post. Blogging is a bizarre line of work, you never know what is going to catch on and become an “overnight success” and usually you don’t get to see all of the work that lead up to someone else’s success. Some of you have been around since the very beginning of this site and have been supportive from the very first time a post was published and some of you have just wandered by more recently. Thank you all for being a part of Home-Ec 101. I like to think that what I’m doing here is not only fun, but helpful, too. You can’t know how much I value your questions, comments, and the occasional random email that just says “thank you,” those are the things that tell me to keep going.