Thursday, May 28, 2020

Who Is My Top Five?

Not A Primrose Path
One of my friends fell while we walked a few days ago, and has wisely decided to take a few days to heal up well. There's just the two of us walking right now, which changes the conversational pattern a bit.

I drove for FEEST and tinkered around the house. Staying focussed without the structure of work is a new challenge, but it's one I would have faced in retirement anyway, so it's nice to have the time to practice. I have been thinking about the advice (from Darren LeCroix) that as speakers we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time around. This concept may apply to other things as well. I have my walking buddies and my Toastmaster friends and occasional WPTL contacts and ... not much time with the neighbors really, and I never really bonded with the people at work or my bio-family. I don't know that I have a top 5.
The concept works in the opposite direction as well: negative people.
Recently yet another angry brother raged at me on Facebook for disagreeing with him when he posted things which were obviously false, and seems to have cut me off. On the whole, I'm better off this way although I would have preferred to maintain the contact.
This bothered one of my nephews, who had the same thing happen at the same time, so we commiserated a little and I found myself in the role of the Unce With More Experience. It's something I must accept for although I still feel young and inexperienced compared to many, I have the job so I must do it, and forget about the Imposter Syndrome.
It's a little like my "Audience Is Part Of The Presentation" speech. I have to figure out my limits and research around them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Speech Duck

I spent most of the day tinkering with my presentation "The Audience Is Part Of The Presentation" to SPEAKOUT, and in the end was satisfied with the result. It was, however, quite different from what I had started with. There's a lesson there, I suppose. I am going to give it again to 832, because the message is important.
I got a message confirming my Social Security application. Iacta Alea Est!
At the end of the morning walk, I saw a duck in a tree.
Normally I might assume this was part of the effort to put out stuffed animals for children to see as they went around the neighborhood, but in this case - it's the purple house next to Hannah and Julies's - I think the neighbor just likes to decorate.

Monday, May 25, 2020

At Puget Ridge Edible Park

Today I revised my Toastmasters speech into straight text, no images, because much of the point was to demonstrate the use of chat for audience engagement, and I couldn't figure out how to do that will fullscreen, except perhaps to log in a second time on my cellphone.
I avoided Memorial Day commemorations or activities. This is a time for reflection not ostentatious display.
I prepared my MassMutual pension mail-in. This is going to be a nice help for my retirement.
The morning walk was soggy but fun. We met at the Puget Ridge Edible Park and walked around that neighborhood. Unfortunately but understandably the oriental garden at the college is closed along with the rest of the campus, but I saw a lot of family gardens.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

More gardening and Toastmasters

Wild Rose And Bee
Today I loaded my mower and weedwacker into the car and helped a member of the Time Bank whose grass needed a trim. It was nice to be out in the air. Listening to her troubles I realized again that I am luckier than most.
I completed a version of my speech centered around Powerpoint, but I now believe I can deliver it straight so I don't have to hassle with the whole show screen thing, which I can't get to work easily with chat.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Zumba Garden Speechwriting

Saturday I did Zumba and gardened. Diane Shires from work (now retired) dropped off some plants and I gave her some hens-and-chicks.
I am still puzzling about my upcoming Toastmasters research speech but will keep at it. Part of the problem is that I want to have some authority for my comments on maintaining audience engagement, which means I actually have to work on research like I have not for a while. Then I have to craft a speech using that research; this is a useful exercise but I'm out of practice.

My Apples Are Coming!

Chocolate Mint from Diana

Dandelions are pretty

My Wild Rose is prettier tho

Radish Sprouts to Thin!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Well Met On A Long Walk

Today's walk started by Salty's on Alki (Jack Block Park was closed). Going along Alki we saw seals or sea lions resting on the buoys! There were not many other walkers out and many wore masks. I was wearing mine when one of my companions asked, "Isn't that Jenn?"
It was. I called to her and she looked puzzled, then I took my mask off and she recognized me (we were totally out of context). We had a delightful chat; we all enjoyed each other's company and the fresh air. Perhaps we'll do lunch soon but the social distancing thing is a complication.
Our walk went longer than expected as we took steps up from the beach to the top of the overlooking bluff. We didn't want to simply retrace our steps so we may have wandered a bit before coming down the road east of the former Pacific Institute building.
I had another FEEST shop, during which I chatted with CeCe who mentioned that Lees was her favorite shop for produce but it would be an extra stop for shopping. I resolved to stop by there on the way back, and filled up with various things. It's a local treasure! I also went to William Nute's to pick up the kindling he was giving away, which is already spoken for by Buy Nothing friends. He has more irisses to move on  but when I talked with Cyril (also today) he thinks Al can pick them up from my place to take to the CLC which has been neglected (understandable what with the staffing and pandemic problems). I have been working on my next speech and many other things around the house, including trying to learn to relax and enjoy occasional inactivity - but this does not come naturally.
Alki has a lot of rebar/sea life art

More Alki Art

"Life's A Beach" with cute buoys

Dancing Swimmers 

Berries Already!

Useful Map And Art

Blue Tree Is Blue

Steps To Seattle-Under-The-Sound

Drift Would

Former Pacific Institute.
Cue "Ozymandias"
Unofficial Park?

Road up (or down) the bluff

Wonder Stone Flowers

Back To Alki And My Car

Thursday, May 21, 2020

On today's morning walk, we encountered this sign alerting us that we had reaching the Department Of Silly Walks, and must proceed with a silly walk so that the Ring Camera could record it. Ha!
I did a couple of FEEST shops and then went home to apply for social security and Medicare. I had expected the process to be difficult, but the website was pretty straightforward. It helps that my case is simple: no spouse or children; the only complication was estimating my income this year (presumably so they can more precisely determine my benefit.)
This was a big step but not so hard once I sat down and did it. There's a lesson there, but mostly I just go hunh.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Things That Make You Go Bam!

Scenes from this morning's walk that make you go bam!:

Little Art Installation

Alley Play Area!

Passion Flower With Passion
I ran one FEEST shop this morning, and got a text asking me to help out with another, so I ended up doing two - which filled much of the work part of the day.
At 6 I joined a Stage Time University call, prepared with my short little scene from my most recent speech, as it really is about a universal pain made mine. When there was a request for volunteers, I habitually let others go first and of course the audience was reluctant - so I remembered the advice to take every opportunity to take the stage and volunteered. I gave the first scene from "Up Down or Sideways" and got some praise and advice. What I remember most is that this is the seed for a speech on dealing with age.
I also enjoyed the doctor working on his humor about morbid things.
The rest of the program was very interesting; realtime comment on recorded speeches that were competition-level. I enjoy my home clubs but this is a higher level of coaching indeed. I especially noted the last speech (about running a marathon for her dad, and "Mile 17") and how its personal struggle made universal was more compelling about the preceeding "Subway Hero" speech which was objectively speaking about more danger, but was impersonal.
#ThingsThatMake YouGoHm !

Monday, May 18, 2020

Walk and Talk

The morning walk was especially long today - maybe 13,000 steps! We were thinking of taking the bus back after going out to the viewpoint park, but they aren't running very often so it was just as fast to walk.
In the evening I zoomed into another Toastmasters meeting. I am working on a speech about keeping the audience interested over Zoom, and I need to see how other people do it.

Nice Parking Strip Bench

Curbside "I Spy" game: lots of dinosaurs, etc

I love Little Free Libraries

Surprised House

Nicely Terraced Front Garden

At first, it's a cute gate with a fairy.
But look closer: is she caught in the spirder's web?

"Alexa Turn Off Pandemic"
"Have We Tried Turning 2020 Off & On Again?"

They Look Fake But Are Real

The Payoff: What A View!